Thursday, February 11, 2016

Need by Joelle Charbonneau

Imagine a social media site that gives you what you ask for - for a price, of course. Not money, but a task. Complete the task and get your wish, your want, your need. The teens of Nottawa, Wisconsin are invited to join NEED. Some teens ask for small things like a new cell phone; others concert tickets. But Kaylee just wants one thing...

Nate invites Kaylee to join NEED. She thinks its ridiculous and a scam. How could a website afford to give away things for free? But they both know it works because Nate's brother Jack got the phone he ask for.

Everyone knows that Kaylee has only wanted one thing for the past few years - a kidney for her brother DJ. She has asked everyone she knows to get tested to be a donor. She has tried hunting for her father (who ran out on them when DJ got really ill). Kaylee has been so desperate that she has alienated her classmates, broke school rules and ended up seeing a therapist. Her mom is not happy and does not trust her at all.

With nothing to lose, Kaylee asks NEED for a kidney. And then the bad stuff starts happening - minor crimes at first but it quickly escalates. It is amazing what some people are willing to do just to get something they want. Often their task seems innocuous but it is part of a more sinister plan.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Placebo Junkies by J.C. Carleson

You have to feel for Audie. She seems cool with everything, but her life is far from ideal. Audie makes money through medical trials. She fills out forms and answers questions; takes pills and injections; gets poked and prodded. All for the advancement of medicine! If only it was as noble as it sounds. If only the trials and medical personnel were as ethical as they should be.

Audie is just one of a group of people who sell their flesh to the medical profession. It is a seedy underworld of existence where the 'guinea pigs' cheat the rules by participating in more trials than permissible (nobody checks). It's a risk, but money is in short supply so Audie does what she needs to do. And the higher the risk, the bigger the payoff.

Audie wants to take her terminally ill boyfriend Dylan on a special vacation. If Audie can make enough money, she and Dylan can get away. Maybe she can even quite doing the trials. Maybe...maybe...Audie has no idea where her life is going. Her story is often cringe worthy and sometimes heartbreaking, but worth exploring.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Willowdean lives in a small Texas town known for its Miss Clover City beauty pageant. Her mom is a former winner. Willowdean has always hated the pageant - she does not have the physique of a 'beauty' queen, and she is really ok with that. Her mom on the other hand sees Willowdean's weight is a character flaw. So every year when it is pageant time, Willowdean braces herself while her mother dives deep into the preparations for the pageant as one of its directors.

It's not all about the pageant. First, there's Bo. He's the hot guy behind the grill at the hamburger joint where Willowdean works. He's been paying attention to her. When they kiss, Willowdean cannot figure out what someone like Bo would see in a fat girl like her.

Second, Willowdean is still not over the loss of her beloved aunt Lucy. She was not petite either and lived with Willowdean and her mom. Lucy shared her love of Dolly Parton with Willowdean. She had a bond with her aunt that she will never have with her mother.

Third, Willowdean's best friend Ellen seems to be drifting away. She has a new friend (who Willowdean can't stand) and a job at a 'skinney girls' store.

Willowdean decides to make a statement by joining the pageant. It turns out to be more difficult than she thought.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Some Boys by Patty Blount

Grace was raped by Zac, the school's most popular athlete. No one believes her. To everyone, she is trying to ruin Zac's life. Her own friends turn against her. To everyone, she is a slut.

Grace could run (her mother wants her to study in Europe), but she will not let her life be dictated by others. She is going to dress in her dark clothes no matter how much attention she gets (against the wishes of her dad and stepmother). Grace knows the truth and even though the police will not do anything she will not let Zac and his followers win.

Ian, Zac's best friend, liked Grace. In the world of unspoken guy rules: since Zac had Grace, she is off limits to Ian. Besides, she is accusing his best friend of rape. Grace must have wanted it - the way she was dressed at the party, the way she was drinking and dancing. She didn't fight off Zac when they were off together in the dark. She let him take off her clothes.

Over spring break, Grace and Ian find themselves together all alone in the school cleaning lockers. Ian is there after suffering a concussion that may end his athletic career and scholarship hopes. Grace is being punished - more fallout from the rape. After all, it's always her fault.

Grace and Ian's story is a powerful one. He is torn between his growing faith in Grace and loyalty to his friend. She is forever facing the verbal assault of others while trying to out Zac for who he really is. Ian is confused and reasonable. Grace is strong and vulnerable. Lots of questions with no easy answers, but a story worth reading.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Gone Too Far by Natalie D. Richards

How did a popular girl like Stella end up getting killed by a train? Piper has good idea how. She has seen the video that was posted on a school website. She was there in the hallway when Stella was being ridiculed by the same jocks who made the video and posted it. Piper just stood there and did nothing to stop it. Even if Stella was alone at the railroad crossing, others had a hand in her death.

Piper avoids the jocks and cheerleaders. She is not a part of the popular crowd (like Stella was), so she did not know Stella well. Still, Piper should have said something that day in the hallway. Someone needs to do something to stop the bullies and jerks who practically run the school and get away with everything. Maybe its not too late to do something.

An anonymous text offers Piper the chance to do just that. She just has to give the texter a name and he/she will do the rest. Piper will be told when it is going to happen so she can capture it all with her camera. For her first target she chooses the person most responsible for Stella's humiliation.

Revenge sounds like a good idea, but it can get out of hand. And does it really make you any better than your targets? Piper is drawn further into the scheme by this mysterious texter. How can she find out who it is without her secrets being exposed, too.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Edge of Forever by Melissa E. Hurst

In 2146, time travel is possible. But only for those with a specific gene. Bridger has the gene and is on training trip to the year 2076 to witness the assassination of the president. Bridger and his fellow cadets wear cloaking devices so as to not be seen while they record specific aspects of the event. It is most important to not disrupt the timeline.

In the chaos of the assassination, Bridger separates from his mission partner (and girlfriend) Vika. He sees his dad, a fellow time traveler who died months ago. His father's only words, "Save Alora, son." Bridger knows his father was never assigned to this time period. He also has no idea who Alora is and why she needs to be saved. If it involves time travel, Bridger's father is asking him to break the law.

Alora lives in 2013 with her aunt in a small Georgia town. At the age of six, her father left her there and has not been seen since. Alora's aunt refuses to tell her anything about her parents, so Alora must find any information she can even if it means breaking her aunt's rules. She is just starting to uncover things (in her aunt's room and the attic) when a guy named Bridger appears.

Bridger was never supposed to interact with Alora, but an injury upon his arrival makes that impossible. Why is Alora so important and can he save her without messing up the timeline? These are only two of the many questions that make the story so intriguing.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler

When you were a freshman, did you wonder who you would be when you graduated? Did you think about what your life would be like over the four years of high school? I didn't. At least, I don't remember giving it any thought. I sure didn't know what I wanted to do after high school.

At freshman orientation, five students (Gregor, Zoe, Jake, Whitney and Mia) are assigned to the same group and must complete a project together. They choose to write letters to their future selves and agree to meet after graduation to read them.

We follow each of them through the four year of high school. Whitney is beautiful and popular. Gregor is not so popular but totally taken with Whitney. Jake is athletic (but no longer on the football team) and has a crush on his best friend, Ted. Zoe is the daughter of a famous actress who has a scandalous secret. Mia is searching for her identity and casually watches the others.

We follow each student through their ups and downs. We see how they change and grow and how their lives intersect with each other. In order to tell the story over a four year period, the author jumps several months at a time often leaving us with mini cliff hangers. The letters themselves aren't really important; they are just the vehicle for bringing the five together.

I found this story intriguing because it is different from many other books about teens. Normally, we see teens and their lives change around major events. This story allowed us to see a group of teens changing as a normal course in life.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Losers Take All by David Klass

In school, I never played sports. I was just not interested. And if my P.E. classes are any indication, I had little athletic ability anyway. Thankfully, there was no one who forced me to play organized sports. The same cannot be said for Jack and his fellow non-athletes.

At Fremont High, sports rule. And football rules most of all. Due to unforeseen circumstances (and the school board's obsession with sports), Head Football Coach Muhldinger is made principal and declares that all seniors must join an athletic team.

Jack Logan is one of the seniors who does not want to be on a team. He could be good at sports. His dad is the all-time football star ever at Fremont (and could have gone pro if he hadn't injured his knee in college). Jack's brothers also played. How can Jack defy the Logan family legacy?

Needless to say, Muhldinger (being a total maniac) is furious when Jack refuses to play football after demonstrating his quick speed. Instead, Jack and his friends decide to form a soccer team. A bunch of non-athletes who don't care about winning turns out to be the worst soccer team ever. You might even call it anti-athletics. For Muhldinger, the very legacy of the school is at stake - although not the way he thinks.

In our world of social media and the internet, small actions can become big issues particularly when recorded and posted online. Things get crazy and messy for all concerned before the Losers (the team's unofficial nickname) even play their second game. It's an interesting and fun look at school sports and the role they play in the lives of students.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

From the moment Phillip Digby first appears on Zoe's porch, he will not leave her alone. Digby pops up at any moment and seems to know way too much about what is going on. It's kind of creepy and yet Zoe is drawn into his schemes even when she is breaking the rules.

And breaking the rules will not get Zoe into Princeton. Her goal is to get into the exclusive Prentiss Academy in New York first. Since her parents are separated, she will move in with her father and his new wife in New York (which her mom is not thrilled about).

After the divorce, Zoe and her mother moved to River Heights, a small town still reeling from the abduction of a local teen. Digby's mission is to find the girl or at least the person (or persons) who did it. It's just possible that this kidnapping may be connected to the disappearance of his own sister eight years ago.

Digby drags Zoe and his friend Henry through a series of investigative adventures: stakeouts, break-ins, interrogations, vandalism - you know, general mayhem that eventually involves the police.

Zoe keeps following Digby because she has no other friends and he at least gives her something to do. Plus Digby is smart and has studied police methods and procedures. He is passionate about finding this missing girl. It's suspenseful, a bit chaotic and fun.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sophomores and Other Oxymorons by David Lubar

It has been a long time since we followed Scott Hudson through his freshman year in Sleeping Freshman Never Lie, but for Scott it has only been a summer. Freshman year was a tough one, but he knows that sophomore year will be easier. Well...maybe not so much.

Let's start with Lee, Scott's best friend. He wants to ask her out, but doesn't know how. He's also afraid it will mess up their friendship - she might freak if he tells her how he feels.

At the bus stop on the first day, Scott protects a scrawny freshman named Jeremy from bullies. Jeremy is chatty, but he's not so bad. Scott decides he can help Jeremy by passing on all his words of wisdom from his own freshman year (for a small fee, of course).

The worst of it all is Scott's new English teacher, Mrs. Gilroy. Scott is an aspiring writer. He is on the newspaper staff and really liked his English teacher last year. Once he fails to impress Mrs.Gilroy on the first day, it all goes down hill from there. Scott makes it a personal vendetta to impress her or expose her silly 'arbitrary' rules (that he can't seem to follow).

A few other things: Scott does not impress his biology teacher when he vomits on the first day in class. His former best friend, Kyle, still seems to hate him. And he is still adjusting to his new baby brother (although Scott is writing down his own experiences to assist his brother when he is a teen).

Scott's life has its ups and downs, but it is a humorous story and even when he is making stupid choices you will be cheering him on.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.