Thursday, March 31, 2011

You by Charles Benoit

Kyle is not who he used to be. He used to get better grades; now he thinks school is a joke. He used to have different friends; now he hangs out with the 'hoodies.' His parents used to treat him like they do his little sister; now they just criticize him all the time. Things are not all bad - at least he has Ashley and someday he will tell her how he feels so they might actually be a couple.

So where did it all go wrong? Kyle needs to know before time runs out. And how come there's so much blood?

I must confess that I wasn't sure about this book when I started it. The narrator's perspective took me a few chapters to get used to. Like Kyle, I wanted to know what was going on. We are also introduced to another character that made the book interesting enough for me to recommend it.

Click here for more info about this book from the Westfield Washington Public Library.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Kick by Walter Dean Myers & Ross Workman

Kevin has never been in trouble in his life, but one night he is arrested after driving a car into a pole. There are many unanswered questions about what really happened, but two things are certain - Kevin is thirteen and has no license. Fortunately for Kevin, Sergeant Brown steps in to see if he can help. He likes Kevin, but he is not sure Kevin is totally innocent particularly since he saw him lose his temper during an important soccer game. Ultimately, Kevin must tell the truth or go to juvie.

Walter Dean Myers' characters live in troubled worlds. He has written some incredible books. Fallen Angels is one of my favorites and tells the story of young soldiers in Vietnam. Monster is the story of a sixteen year old on trial for murder.

For this book, Myers teamed up with a teenager who wrote him an e-mail. They alternate chapters to tell the story of Kevin and Sergeant Brown. It's not as dark as some of his other books, but is a promising start for new author Ross Workman.

Click here for more info about this book from the Westfield Washington Public Library.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lockdown: Escape from the Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith

Alex is framed for murdering his friend and sent to the Furnace, a special prison a mile below the earth's surface. The prison is hell below earth for Alex and his fellow prisoners. In the middle of the night, horrible creatures randomly drag prisoners from their cells never to be seen again. The guards patrol with large, vicious dog like creatures, but never stop the gangs from attacking others. Escape is the only hope, but is it even possible?

This is one of the books I think about when I am asked to recommend books to teens. It is dark and tense; there is terror and excitement. Alex is never truly safe and you feel it on each page. The story does not end here; the sequel, Solitary, is available and a third book is expected.

Click here for more info about this book from the Westfield Washington Public Library.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin

This book has the pinkest cover of any book I have ever read. Not that I choose books based on their covers. When I look for a book, I want a premise that is different. In this one, Charlie and Fielding (aka Aaron) have spent the last four years on a popular Disney-style show. On the show, they portray Jenna & Jonah, two average high school students (and next door neighbors) who are secretly world famous rock stars. To keep interest in the show alive, they must also pretend to be in love off screen even though they have truly grown tired of each other.

When we enter the story, Charlie and Fielding are not sure if their show will be cancelled or not. They are strolling along on a beautiful California day acting all romantic for the paparazzi cameras that they know are out there. They have given up everything just to be in the popular show and the tension is high between them but must remain a secret. Something happens that changes everything and forces them to prove something to the world and each other.

This book took a different direction than I was expecting, but I still liked it. If you are looking for a nice quick read, I recommend it.

Click here for more info about this book from the Westfield Washington Public Library.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick

War is ugly. Things happen so fast you cannot even be sure of anything including what happened yesterday. Matt Duffy wakes up in a military hospital in Iraq. His head injury makes it difficult for him to remember how he even got there. He knows he was on patrol and that he and his buddy Justin chased a car into an alley. The rest is just flashes of memory.

Matt tries to make sense of everything he is learning knowing that he will be questioned about the death of a civilian during the incident. Who can he trust when his own brain seems to be working against him? There are no easy answers.

Patricial McCormick tackles serious topics (see Cut) and makes them accessible through the eyes of her characters. Matt is still a teenager when he is wounded in Iraq. Through Matt's story we get a glimpse of what life might be like for the many troops currently serving in war zones. I recommend this book to anyone curious about the lives that soldiers are living.

Click here for more info about this book from the Westfield Washington Public Library.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

This is the most excellent manga I have ever read (ok, I haven't read a lot, but still). Light Yagami finds a notebook dropped in our world by a Shinigami. Light quickly realizes that any person whose name is written in the notebook dies. The rules of the notebook are complex and become more apparent as Light decides to use it to rid the world of evil.

Over twelve volumes, the story takes many twists and becomes more involved with Light being investigated by the police and pursued by L, the world's greatest detective.

This was recommended to me a few years ago, and I cannot say enough about the incredible writing. I never knew what to expect and couldn't wait to get to the next volume.

Click here for more info about this book from the Westfield Washington Public Library.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Playing With Matches by Brian Katcher

Leon is not much to look at, but he does have his sense of humor. Imagine his shock and disappointment when he finds his new locker neighbor is Melody Hennon, considered an outcast and a freak be everyone in school. Melody was severely burned as a child and her face bears the scars that she will have for life. Once Leon makes her laugh with a really bad joke, he sees her differently. Can he go out with her and not be totally embarrassed by his friends and everyone else in school? Things get more complicated when the hottest girl in school asks Leon out.

It has been awhile since I read this book. Whenever I see it or think of books to recommend, I remember how much I liked it. I was not always happy with Leon's decisions, but I liked how Melody was revealed to be nice, smart person with all the worries of other teens.

Click here for more info about this book from the Westfield Washington Public Library.