Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Colin Fischer by Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz

A gun goes off in the cafeteria. Everyone runs - except Colin. He has been carefully observing everyone. It's one of the things Colin does that he can't help. He observes and records his observations in his notebook. Colin can't help it. He really can't. He observes, records and analyzes. He is like his hero, Sherlock Holmes.

It's Colin's condition that sets him apart from others and causes him to investigate. He doesn't like to be touched. He doesn't socialize. He carries a sheet with facial expressions so he can recognize them on other people. His own younger brother doesn't understand (and is often annoyed) at Colin and his condition.

But that day in the cafeteria, things change for Colin. He knows that Wayne (the kid who has bullied Colin since elementary school) did not fire the gun, but can he prove it? The principal tells Colin to leave it to the police, but he will not, cannot, stop searching for the real perpetrator.

He enlists the help of Wayne who can't figure out why Colin wants to clear his name. Colin's answer - he wants to find the truth. Oddly, Colin begins to do things he has never done like lie to his parents. Colin doesn't behave like a typical teen, but he begins to feel more like one.

For more info, check out the Evergreen library catalog.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Flash Point by Nancy Kress

When I first picked this up, I thought it was going to be lots of action sequence where teens are trying to 'survive' different games for a television show. It turned out to be much more than that.

We meet Amy in a world after the Collapse that cause a melt down of the economy. Many things have changed as a result - like 16 years old being the legal age. In search of a job so she can support her ailing grandmother (a scientist who lost her job) and younger sister (a gorgeous 15 year old with a penchant for shoplifting), Amy applies for a position with a television station. Thinking it is a job behind the scenes, she is surprised to learn that she will be on a reality show where viewers can win money by predicting how the teens will behave in created scenarios. The money and medical benefits for her grandmother are too good to turn down (not to mention the contract Amy already signed).

Amy finds herself (along with 5 others) in partially computer generated scenarios that can happen anytime and anywhere. Some are innocuous, but as stakes get higher (and ratings become worrisome) the scenarios take a darker turn. The person is in charge of the show, Myra, has no problem exploiting her new television stars. The television station is also purchased by a controversial company that draws protesters and serious threats to Amy and the others.

And speaking of the others...there is Cai, a really hot guy who Amy is immediately drawn to; Waverly, a beautiful and rich aspiring actress who seems only concerned about herself; Rafe, a geeky nice guy; Violet, a dancer who is friendly to Amy; Tommy, the one who shouldn't be there at all due to his decreased mental capacity; and Lynn, a mostly forgettable person (for reasons I cannot give away). Just for a bonus - there is Kaylie, Amy's younger sister, who is more than willing to draw any attention to herself and fight with her sister.

A lot happens in this story - perhaps too much sometimes. Still, it is fascinating to wonder where this society is going, where the television show is going, and where these characters' lives are going.

For more info about this book, check out the Evergreen library catalog.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I Swear by Lane Davis

Leslie is dead. She was a beautiful, smart, nice high school senior, and she took her own life. And the questions linger: why did she do it and is someone responsible?

Leslie was the new girl in school her freshman year. She immediately caught the attention of Macie who didn't like her because Leslie seemed to be getting too close Jake (who she met the summer before).  Macie assumed Jake would be hers. The bullying began right away turning Leslie's friends against her. All through high school, Leslie was tormented, isolating her from others. Words on her locker, rumors, Facebook posts were all used against her. 

Macie is the daughter of a successful politician and wields her own power and charisma to manipulate her world and the people around her. Jake never bought in to it and continued to hang out with Leslie hoping for a deeper relationship.   

When the hammer falls, Macie's friends find themselves giving depositions in front of lawyers. Will their families be sued or will criminal charges be brought against them. Katherine is the beauty pageant participant who is fairly new to the school, but was immediately sucked into Macie's circle. Beth is the petite successful gymnast who has her own secret she wants to keep . Jillian is Jake's twin and was once Leslie's friend.  

Fear, peer pressure, insecurity all play a role in the bullying of Leslie. There are no easy answers in this story.  Even with the flaws revealed in the teens, there is hope that they will learn and be better for it.                                                                                                     

For more information, check out the Evergreen library catalog