Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Why can't we all just be who we are? I have spent too much of my life worrying about what other people think of me. It takes a lot of energy to hide part of yourself from others in fear of being rejected.

Jamie is gay and has been out to his family for awhile, but not at school. Jamie is a afraid to tell his best friend Mason he is gay because it could ruin everything between them. Also, Jamie has a crush on Mason, the same guy Jamie sees kissing a girl after the prom.

So Jamie plans to take a girl to the prom (if he can figure out who) and work on the school literary magazine and maybe he will never have to tell Mason (even though next year they are going to colleges located near each other). Who is he kidding - Mason will find out and it will all be ruined.

Another problem...the girls in art class know Jamie is gay. How is that possible? He never told any of them. Even worse - they know he has a crush on Mason and think it would great for them to get together.

If that weren't enough, Jamie is also battling his fellow staff members on the inclusion of a student drawn comic in the magazine. They reject it for fear of controversy and possible loss of funds, but Jamie feels strongly that it should be included even if it might reveal his secret.

Never having to worry about coming out, I can only imagine the inner turmoil the decision can cause. This story is a light hearted look at the struggle a teen faces. You will find yourself hoping all turns out well for Jamie.

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

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

It seems as a society, we want people to be either good or bad, but people are complex and contain at least some of both. Imagine if people in your life were interviewed about you. Would it be an accurate portrayal? How well do people really know you? Does this book tell us about the real Addison Stone...we may never know, but its all we have.

Addison Stone was a hot young artist who exploded onto the New York scene when she was just 16. She quickly became a regular face at all the clubs and best parties. Her work hangs in important galleries and in the homes of the wealthy. Her stunts and public pieces helped make her famous through social media. It was during the installation of one of these that she fell to her death leaving many questions (including the whereabouts of two former boyfriends). She was 18 at the time.

We learn of Addison's life and quick rise to fame through from the people she knew (parents, best friend, teachers, benefactors, agent, artists).  The book is written as if a journalist conducted interviews and edited them to tell Addison's story. It is an effective method and makes the character seem more real. We also see photos of Addison, her friends and her art as well as magazine and newspaper articles. This is particularly helpful since the story is told through the first person accounts and lacks the description you find in the regular novel.

Addison is a small town girl who is anxious to leave and then makes good in the big city. Sadly, her issues stay with her no matter where she is living or working. We are given a few excerpts in Addison's own words, but it is difficult to know what is truly going on in her head. Genius often seems to walk a fine line between sanity and madness. Could anyone have saved Addison or was she ultimately destined to burn brightly and have a short life.

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga

Wow. What an ending to this trilogy. Mr. Lyga does not disappoint in this continuing tale of Jazz, son of notorious serial killer Billy Dent.

How do I talk about this without giving away too much? (Hint: I'm not going to!) Jazz, his girlfriend Connie and his best friend Howie have been separated by circumstances. Jazz is in New York seriously injured and in danger of being arrested. Connie is also in New York and has no idea what has happened to Jazz (oh, she was lured there by Jazz's dad). Howie is back in Lobo's Nod, small hometown to he and Jazz. Surprise, surprise, Howie wakes up in a hospital after a near scrape with death. Being Jazz's friend is tough business.

The story is a non stop run through violence, surprise revelations, deceptions, nail biting suspense and trips through the mind of a serial killer. As with the previous two books, it is not for the faint of heart.

What ultimately drives the story is Jazz's decision that he must be the one to stop his father. He knows how Billy thinks better than anyone. Jazz knows sacrificing himself (if need be) is better than letting Billy live to kill again.

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

Monday, October 20, 2014

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

This has been on my radar for quite some time. I heard about it at a couple of conferences I attended, but didn't think much about it. Fortunately, a young person at my library recommended it to me, and I cannot wait to tell her how much I liked it.

Once again I found myself in the pages of a book. Ari, our narrator, says things that I have thought in my own head (and even said out loud to a few people). I always pause when I hit one of those lines. It is a moment of clarity and wonder. I am always surprised that others have felt the same way that I have. But enough about me...

Ari doesn't have any friends until he meets Dante. And he questions their friendship often (for a long time). Dante is so different. He seems so sure of things and thinks about life a unique way. Dante's father is a professor; his mother a therapist. They are outgoing and friendly. Ari's dad doesn't say much; he was in Vietnam and never talks about it. His mom is a teacher and more open with Ari, but she, too, keeps things locked inside. Neither talk about Ari's older brother who is in prison.

Ari wants nothing more than to know about his brother. He was just a child when his brother was incarcerated, so he has only possible memories of him. Ari wants someone to at least acknowledge that his brother exists.

With Dante, Ari's life is more interesting and frustrating at times. They are both growing and learning about themselves as tragedies happen and events separate them.

If it seems like I am being purposely vague, that would be because I am. I don't want to give anything away in this amazing story about these boys and their complex relationship with each other and their parents.

Books fascinate me. If you read enough and you are lucky, you might find one that speaks to you on levels you never could have imagined. This is one of those books for me.

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

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fifteen Minutes of Fame by Julie Young

MonAmi is a world famous superstar singer. She has had numerous hit songs, sold millions of albums, and toured the planet multiple times. She wears custom made clothes with dazzling makeup. Megan is a Midwestern girl who enjoys singing and writing songs. She grew up in a nice house with hard working parents and a younger sister. MonAmi and Megan are the same person, but few people know it.

Megan lives a double life as her career is carefully managed and promoted. All goes as planned because from the time she begins her career at 15 Megan becomes one of the most successful singers ever. But through it all, Megan misses her family and feels the stress of keeping her success alive with an ever fickle public and of meeting the demands of the record company who has invested to much in her success to let her fail.

We begin our story with Megan running away at the end of MonAmi's farewell tour. She just disappears not even telling her long time (and mostly trusted) manager, Mike. Her rise to fame has been stressful - working hours writing and recording, doing tours that always have to top the last one, making appearances at award shows on the arm of some famous actor she doesn't even know. And through it all, she cannot tell the world who she really is.

Megan was just the person the record company was looking for when they 'discovered' through a scholarship application. After her reluctant parents were convinced that this was an opportunity to good to pass up, Megan was whisked away to Europe for months to make her transformation into MonAmi. She was given the new name, a new look (to hide her true face) and a vague history (along with a somewhat European accent).

As the runaway, Megan recounts her story for us while she decides what her next move will be. Megan is a great character that is living the dream, but finds that even dreams can have a darkness to them. It is an intriguing look into the music business and the 'manufactured' star as well as our culture of instant celebrity.

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora

Is there a better way to make a book popular than by making it hard to get? Three friends in a small Connecticut town do not think so. The summer before they start high school, they decide that the only book from their summer reading list that anyone should read is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

It seems like a crazy notion at first (even to them), but Lucy, Michael and Elena love books and want to pay tribute to their favorite teacher, Fat Bob, who died unexpectedly during school the past year.

So how does one make a classic book that can be found in any library or bookstore disappear? They can't steal them. Breaking the law is not an option. They decide to hide them among books in other sections of the stores and libraries. They are committed to the cause, taking the bus to as many surrounding stores and libraries as possible. Wanting people to know it is being done, they leave fliers in place of the missing books and become a presence on all the major social media outlets. Keeping their identities secret is a must.

They never meant to start a movement, but books start disappearing all over the country (ah, the power of the internet). What is driving people to participate and how can our trio stop it before it gets truly out of hand and their secret is revealed?

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

Monday, September 22, 2014

Perfected by Kate Jarvick Birch

Ella is a loyal pet to a wealthy congressman's family. She was bred in an elite kennel to bring happiness to her family who chose her specifically. She will be well taken care of in her new role as companion to Ruby, the youngest member of the family. Oh, Ella is human being.

It is not explained how the United States reached the point where genetically bred humans can be pets (to those who can afford them). We know the congressman was behind the legislation and feels obligate (so he says) to have one. He is always proud to show Ella off to important people.

Ella is our narrator and expresses her naivete about the real world (so many things were never explained in her proper education). Although she can play the piano exquisitely, she knows nothing of swimming, candy and romantic attraction. Being 16, it is only natural that she would have feelings toward, Penn, the congressman's son. She is, after all, only human.

Yes, owning humans is wrong. Keeping them as pets raises a whole myriad of questions - like what happens when they get older? What if there is a sexual attraction? And what if it is acted on? This story does not delve too deeply into these issues - just enough to raise the questions on how we view the value of individual freedom and how we treat others (including our animal pets).

For awhile, Ella seems content, but maybe she just doesn't know any better.

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