Thursday, March 29, 2012

What Boys Really Want by Pete Hautman

This is the kind of book I really like - interesting high schoolers dealing with issues in a humorous way. I've been reading a lot of darker teen books lately particularly ones with dystopian settings. I needed a book like this to provide a break.

Adam and Lita have been friends for a long time, but a rift forms when Adam gets the idea to write a book. Being an author has long been Lita's dream, but she has recently gotten distracted giving out relationship advice anonymously on her blog instead of working on her novel. Adam has only ever been interested in money making schemes, so Lita is annoyed when Adam decides selling a book on what boys really want could make money.

The conflict and hope of teen relationships are dealt with throughout the story. Lita has been known to sabotage Adam's relationships because she knows that those girls are not really Adam's type. She tries to help her best friend Emily get the attention of Dennis (who is only interested in Blair). Lita meets grease monkey Brett who may be dating Blair even though she is showing interest in Adam. Don't worry, it all gets sorted out in the end.

Told in the alternating voices of Adam and Lita, both boy and girl perspectives are represented. It's a quick, fun read.

For more info about this book from the Westfield Washington Public Library catalog, click here or visit Pete Hautman's website.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tempest by Julie Cross

I like time travel stories, but it is often too easy to get lost in the potential paradoxes. That's why I think it is best not too give it too much thought as long as the author stays true to the story. This author avoids some of that by not allowing visitors to the past to change anything that affects the future (for the most part). The classic example of this is A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury where the smallest thing (like stepping on a butterfly) can have catastrophic consequences.

Jackson can jump into the past just by using his mind. At first he can only go back a few hours, a couple days at the most. As stated before, he cannot change anything, so if he were to kiss a girl in the past she would not remember it in his own time (or home base). If he injures himself, he does not return injured. In fact while he is gone, his home base self remains in a catatonic state. He tells no one about his ability except his friend Adam whose analytical thinking leads them to conduct experiments to test Jackson's ability.

It is the moment when something tragic happens to Jackson's girlfriend Holly that he jumps back farther than he has ever gone - two years in the past to 2007 and finds he cannot return to his own time. He can jump to the past but never beyond 2007. His many trips to his past lead him to suspect his father of living a secret life possibly as a government agent. He also takes the opportunity to visit his twin sister who died of cancer. Time travel is a physical strain for Jackson. It is also mentally taxing to discover so many things about the people around him and not be able to return home to rescue Holly.

I almost gave up on this book. I kept reading when Jackson decided to find Holly in the time before he had even met her. I was intrigued by the idea of Jackson meeting her and interacting with her when she was a younger and a less mature version of the Holly he knows. He also knows so much about her while she is just meeting him for the first time. The old saying is "If I knew then what I know now." That is what kept me reading - that Jackson can approach his relationship with Holly in a different way knowing everything he has learned.

The story has action and lots of twists and never gets to bogged down in some of the more confusing aspects of time travel.

For more info about this book from the Westfield Washington Public Library catalog, click here or visit Julie Cross's website.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Imagine waking up after 62 years no older than the day you went to sleep. The world has changed. The people you knew are dead. In Rose's case, she was put into a stasis tube when she was 16 and forgotten. She was lost to the world until her tube was discovered and accidentally opened.

Rose is the only living heir to a vast global company. Her existence will upset the balance of the company and displace some who may otherwise have been in charge. This notoriety only complicates her life.

Rose attends school, but doesn't know how to operate the technology. The classes are too overwhelming, particularly history class where she learns about the Dark Times that devastated the population and probably killed the people she knew. She has not close friends and would rather be drawing in her sketch book than attend class. Worst of all, she misses her best friend and true love, Xavier.

I felt this book started slow, but I recommend sticking with it. There are questions to be answered, like who sent the humanoid to kidnap Rose and why did her parents put her in stasis in the first place.

For more information about this book from the Westfield Washington Public Library catalog, click here or visit Anna Sheehan's website.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I thought about reading this long before now. A movie adaptation is scheduled to be released in 2012, so I had been thinking about it again when someone donated a copy to the library. I read it over a weekend, staying up later than usual just to finish it.

Charlie tells the story of his freshman year in letters. At times, he has a worldly view of the things and people around him, but is also very naive when it comes to relationships. Fortunately, Charlie makes friends with two seniors who help him navigate the world of high school. He has experiences beyond anything he could have imagined.

The problem is there is something going on with Charlie - something in his family or past that may explain why he acts the way he does.

I did not lead a life anything like Charlie's, but the book did remind me of the times when I was in high school and the older kids were moving on with their lives at the end of the year. It was always a bitter sweet time even when it was my time to leave.

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

Monday, March 5, 2012

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

I don't recall ever reading a book quite like this. It is mostly realistic but has a touch of surreal bits thrown in. These bits come in the form of Lucky's dreams where he 'travels' to Vietnam to rescue the grandfather that never came home from the war. Lucky's dad never seemed to recover from growing up without his father and puts the MIA/POW emblem on everything. He also spends so much time at his restaurant that Lucky feels like his father is missing, too.

Lucky and his mom leave to spend time with her brother and his wife in Arizona after Lucky is attacked again by Nader, the bully that has been terrorizing him for years. Lucky has tried being friends with Nader and ignoring him, but nothing helps...except escaping with his missing grandfather.

Lucky's grandmother never accepted that her husband died in Vietnam and she asked Lucky on her deathbed to rescue him. So Lucky drifts off and visits his grandfather who lives in a constant state of being a prisoner of war. It could be just elaborate dreams, but Lucky always 'returns' with something physical on him like a makeshift headband or dirt.

Away from the bully and his dad, Luck and his mom try to sort things out in Arizona - a nasy face wound, a strange aunt, a sympathetic uncle and a beautiful rebellious girl are all part of the journey...and what about those ants that Lucky sees everywhere...

Click here for more info about this book from the Evergreen catalog.