Monday, July 11, 2011

This Girl Is Different by J.J. Johnson

Evie is different. She is an intelligent, independent thinker who is not afraid to voice her opinion. She lives in an eco-friendly dome house constructed by her, her mother and uncle. She has learned from her somewhat radical mother to never shy away from a fight against 'the man.'

Evie has been home-schooled, and for the first time ever she decides to go to public school. She is a senior and knows it is her last chance to experience typical teenage life like she has seen in the movies. She enters school with trepidation but happy to have two new friends Jacinda and Rajas she met during the summer. She is hoping that Rajas likes her as much as she likes him.

She quickly learns that school is not a democracy (and not like the movies) and is fraught with potential disasters (like demonstrating to the class how smart you are). What starts out as prank to put a teacher in her place becomes much bigger than Evie expects. With her dream of going to Cornell on the line, Evie must find a way to make everything right.

I liked the idea of a home school student going to school for the first time. Gordon Korman wrote a book for younger readers a few years back called Schooled. In that book, the student did not want to go to public school and has a hard time adjusting. Evie has chosen to go and is more than qualified. It is her disagreements with the rules and authority figures that make her life difficult.

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

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

I expected this to be another story set in a dystopian society (like Matched by Allyson Condie where everyone's life is controlled by the government). This turned out to be our society in 2036 where no one over the age of 20 can conceive children. This has lead to a market for babies that only teens can produce. Inevitably, the teens with the most desirable traits can charge the highest prices.

We are introduced (through alternating chapters in their voices) to Melody and Harmony. Melody became a bit of a pioneer by being the first in her school to go pro and charge for her 'preg.' She is approaching the end of her viability as a baby donor and she still has not 'bumped' with anyone. Her agent has been working to match her up with the hottest professional guy.

Harmony is Melody's identical twin sister and until recently they had never met. They were both adopted and grew up in different worlds. Harmony was raised in a religious community with strict rules and an adherence to the word of God. In Melody's world, not only is teen sex encouraged it is paid for by wannabe parents. One day Harmony shows up at Melody's door and unbeknownst to either of them threatens Melody's uniqueness in the market.

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

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Rarely have I been so frustrated with the main character of a book. There were times I just wanted to take Alex aside and ask her what she was doing. I know she is in over her head and is truly a victim, butI just wanted her to realize it. But I am getting ahead of myself...

Alex lost her mom when she was young and her dad will not talk about her. She's knows her mom was heading to Colorado when she died, so that is where Alex has always wanted to go. She and her best friends, Bethany and Zack, have been planning the trip since they were young. Nothing will keep them from making the trip until Cole comes along.

Cole is the charming and handsome new student that Alex starts to tutor at school. He seems interested in Alex right away and before long they are dating. Cole is kind and gentle to Alex and their time together is wonderful, so she cannot understand why her friends do not like him. Overtime, Cole reveals he is verbally abusive and violent. Alex cannot reconcile the boyfriend she loves and the one who hurts her. "...I didn't understand how he could be punching my face one minute and telling me he loved me the next." Make no mistake, some of the scenes are brutal and hard to read.

What I really like about this book and author's other book the Hate List is how she takes us into the mind of someone in a difficult situation and shows the internal conflicts. There were times I was mad at Alex for denying the truth, but I was hoping desperately for her to open her eyes and find a way out.

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