Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

The world may end as we know it. An asteroid named Ardor is coming to earth. Will it hit or just pass closely? Unknown. Will it change the lives of Peter, Anita, Andy and Eliza? Yes.

Anita wants to be a singer, but her strict parents have done everything to discourage her. For them, it's all about going to Princeton and becoming a respected professional. Prestige is important to her father.

Peter is an athlete dating a popular girl named Stacy, but he's not sure why anymore. He kinda accidentally kissed Eliza last year in the school's dark room. They were seen and word got around quickly. As Peter was dating Stacy at the time, she made sure everyone knew Eliza was a slut.

Eliza loves photography. Her father, who is dying from cancer, encourages her creativity. She likes being on the fringe observing rather than being observed. Getting a reputation and becoming the talk of the school was a nightmare.

Andy is a drug user living in the basement with practically no supervision from his parents. He plays guitar in a band with his friend Bobo. Their music is loud and mostly incomprehensible, but Andy does write other songs, more melodic and personal. He bets Bobo he will no long be a virgin when the world ends.

The lives of these four young people seem interconnected as society falls apart in the (possible) impending disaster. Just like the world, their relationships are in flux. Sometimes they hate each other and other times they need each other. Whatever happens (and I'm not going to tell you), the four are given new opportunities to make their lives better (no matter how short those lives may be).

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


Monday, June 15, 2015

Endangered by Lamar Giles

She aims her camera, framing the shot from her place in the bushes. As always, Lauren (aka Panda) wants to go unnoticed. Anonymity is critical when exacting revenge via her blog. The photos she is taking tonight will bring retribution for another. Panda is a vigilante of sorts, specializing in bringing justice down on those who deserve it with her camera and computer. 

Her target this night is Keachin, a stunningly beautiful, popular girl who was unusually cruel to Nina, a girl who needs crutches due to cerebral palsy. Keachin is hardly an angel to those she believes are beneath her, but hiding Nina's crutches was too much for Panda to endure. 

Gray (Panda’s alias on her blog) has many followers. Sticking it to those who deserve it turns out to be popular on the internet. Her post about Keachin catches the attention of a lot more people than usual and ultimately leads to a huge scandal and death for someone involved. 

Panda is more determined than ever to keep her identity secret (people who are exposed do not tend to be happy about it). Someone who calls him/herself the Admirer has uncovered Panda's secret and uses it to blackmail her into a 'game' that pushes each of them to dangerous places. 


So many questions and so much tension...this is a nail biter for sure as Panda finds herself trapped in the mess she created with no easy way out. 

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



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Silent Alarm by Jennifer Banash

The gun was pointed right in her face. Just minutes before, someone had come into the school library yelling about the shooter. Alys heard shots fired and found herself facing the gunman, her brother Luke. The gun shots, the screams, the blood - a horrible nightmare and she was right in the middle of it.

In her life before the shooting, Alys had her best friend Delilah and her boyfriend Ben. She had time for little else, practicing her violin for an important audition at the end of the school year - the one she'd been preparing for her whole life. Her parents had sacrificed so much to get her to this point.

In her life after, Alys has lost everything. Her family is blamed for her brother's actions. Her parents are breaking apart. And Alys can't even pick up her violin. The only person who will speak to her is her brother's best friend, Riley and he is as confused as anyone about Luke's actions.

Alys cannot reconcile the brother of her childhood and the one who killed people. She is haunted by him; seeing him and talking to him. Is it real? It doesn't matter since the tragedy will never make sense. Luke will never be able to explain why he killed so many people including ones he knew his whole life, like Ben's younger sister.

Luke spared Alys's life, but she is a victim, too. He killed the life she had before and maybe the one she was going to have. This story gives us just a glimpse into an all too common event in our society.

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



Saturday, April 25, 2015

Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

How different would your life be if one thing could have happened another way or not happened at all? In Fiona's case, it is the accident - when she was five she burned her face leaving it scarred. She says she doesn't think about the 'what if...', but we get to see it for her.

This story alternates between Fiona, the girl with the scar, and Fi, the girl who never got burned. How much difference can living with a scar make? Fiona is more withdrawn and spends her time writing songs that she would never sing for anyone - it would mean opening herself up to others. She has spent her life being noticed and wants to draw as little attention to herself as possible.

Fi is a star lacrosse player. Although Fiona had the desire, getting hit in the face was too much of a risk for sports. Fi lives for lacrosse and is hoping to earn a scholarship to Northwestern. She hangs out with other popular athletes.

Fiona's grades are excellent; Fi needs to work harder. Fiona has a crush on Trent and has barely spoken to him; Fi and Trent are fellow athletes and best friends. Fiona's best friend is Lucy; Fi and Lucy can't stand each other.

Is Fi's life better without the scar? Would Fiona get rid of the scar if she could? It is a story with many questions and (fortunately) answers. It is sometimes confusing going back and forth between the different versions of Fiona (with the same people inhabiting her lives), but it is an intriguing story that make you ponder 'what if's...' about your own life.

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




Sunday, April 12, 2015

Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman

Alex was born with a rare condition that makes her physically both a boy and a girl. When she was very young, her parents decided to raise her as a boy, but at fifteen she knows she's a girl. She stops taking her hormone medicine and starts wearing girl clothes. Her mother freaks out (as usual) and her dad walks out.

Alex enrolls herself in a new school where no one knows the truth or that she was recently a boy. Her hopes for a clean beginning are dashed when the school asks for a birth certificate. It's not her fault she was declared a boy at birth, but it is her burden to bear. Alex stops at the first barrister (aka lawyer) she sees to learn how she can change her birth certificate.

Even though Alex lives in constant fear of being discovered, she likes her new school. She meets a group of friends including the beautiful Amina (yes, Alex is crushing on her from their first meeting). She gets the opportunity to be a model and wear amazing clothes and make up. It is such a girly thing to do and Alex loves it.

Alex's parents have never dealt with her condition in the best way for Alex, and this new decision has pushed them beyond their limits. Her mother (who we follow in her blog posts) is convinced it's just a phase and Alex is too young to know what 'he' really wants. Her judgment is questionable at best. Alex's father tries and is more accepting but still struggles with the change. Of course, guilt is weighing on them as well.

Alex has had a tough road and it's never going to be as easy as it should be. Society has a difficult time dealing with things that do not mesh with the perceived norm. Alex is just another teen with more obstacles than most struggling to find her place in the world.

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




Monday, March 23, 2015

Inherit Midnight by Kate Kae Myers

Eight people flying around the world to historic locations, solving riddles, tackling physical challenges - the latest reality show? No, it is Avery's life, at least until she or one of her family members wins this contest.

After a nearly successful escape from her boarding school, Avery is returned to the mansion where she grew up under the watchful eye of her Grandmother VanDemere. For Avery, the mansion was like a prison - no sleepovers, no dating, no leaving the house except for school.

Grandmother is obsessed with family history and preserving the name VanDemere. Avery's existence is a black mark on that heritage. Her father had an affair with the nanny and Avery was the result. After that her alcoholic father disappeared, so Avery grew up with only her grandmother and occasional visits from her snobby cousins who look down on her.

Grandmother Vandemere is not happy with her sons or grandchildren and decides the only way to find a worthy heir to the family fortune is to pit them against each other. If it means Avery doesn't have to return to school, she will try her best at the competition. She faces backstabbing, cheating and uncles more knowledgeable in family history.

With the family lawyer's attractive son at her side, Avery sets out to the seemingly impossible task of taking on the family she loathes. Avery is not prepared for the things she discovers about herself and her family along the way.

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



Sunday, March 22, 2015

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story by Josh Sundquist

Have you ever thought about tracking down all your exes to find out the real reasons you broke up? If you have, why stop there? Why not ask all the ones you dated one time or kissed a few times or held hands with once in 6th grade? Josh Lindquist wanted to know why by the age of 25 he had never had a girlfriend, so he decided to investigate and yes, this is a true story.

Before we delve into Josh's quest, it is important to know that Josh had his leg amputated at age nine due to cancer. As much as he tries to not draw attention to it being an amputee definitely affects his behavior and psyche.

Josh contacted each significant girl from his past and analyzed their reasons for not wanting to take their relationship further. We get the background of each 'relationship.' Sarah is the first. During a game of Truth or Dare on a school bus, Sarah said she didn't like Josh, but he found out later that she did. We learn how awkward Josh can be when trying to figure out if Sarah wants to be his girlfriend. Josh is clueless about girls which makes him a normal eighth grade boy. Of course when you are in the middle of your awkwardness, you don't realize that you are a normal teenager. You only know that you are embarrassed and feel completely stupid.

Josh follows up with a hypothesis on the reasons the relationships ended. He then recounts what happened when he met each girl (who are now women) again. He calls this part the 'investigation.' Charts and graphs are included (although they are not really based on data).

As a real life inspirational speaker, Josh tells his story with humor and purpose. I laughed out loud many times and sympathized with his difficulty trying to interact with girls. If you've ever been a teen interested in having a relationship, you will relate to something in this story.

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