Sunday, May 18, 2014

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

If you were branded a violent person, would that make you one? If everyone treated you like you were a killer and then you were put into situations where you had to defend yourself, would you kill to survive and, thus, confirm everyone's suspicions about you? It is an interesting scenario to contemplate. For Davey, it is her life.

Davey had everything. She is a musical prodigy - playing multiple instruments at a young age with no formal training. She attends an exclusive private school and has been accepted to Julliard. She is dating, Jake, the hottest boy in school.

A few weeks before graduation she receives the test results - she has the 'killer gene.' A carrier of the gene is supposedly predisposed to violence. In a society that takes no chances with carriers, Davey is expelled from school, loses her admission to college and is forced into public school where she must be locked up in a classroom (aka a cage) with other carriers. Once you are marked, you are marked for life. And her life will never be the same.

With her future taken from her, what will become of Davey? She always feared carriers herself and now that she is one she must spend time confined with others. Some deserve the label, but others do not: like Gil, a smart boy who doesn't seem like he would hurt anyone and the the mysterious Sean, who protects Davey when situations arise. They may be her only allies in her new life.

This is one of the best books I have read so far this year.  The story is full of heart wrenching unfairness and action driven suspense. It is a world that does not seem that far from our own. And this is not just another copycat dystopian book with a strong female protagonist. Davey must fight for her survival, but has a great vulnerability, too. She is not trying to save the world, just herself, and her story doesn't end here.

For more info, check out the Evergreen library catalog and the author's site.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Crash Into Me by Albert Borris

Four teens who don't know each other meet for the first time to go on a road trip. What brings them together? Suicide.

Owen, Frank, Audrey and Jin-Ae all want to die. They met online and decide to travel from the east coast to visit the graves of famous people who committed suicide (like to Seattle for Kurt Cobain). Their final destination is Death Valley where they will each end their own lives.

Jin-Ae is a lesbian, but she fears her parents reaction if they ever found out. Frank's father wants him to be a star athlete, but Frank will never be that. Audrey just hates her life in general.

Owen has tried committing suicide six times. He has much he could say, but he doesn't talk much.  He has researched suicide (types, causes,  pertinent stats). He knows it all; just not how to complete it.

I know it sounds pretty grim, but this is more a trip of discovery for these young people. The trip is a chance to escape from their lives and find out what life is like out in the world. Their issues are not uncommon and unmanageable. They just need to see that for themselves.

This story has much to offer so don't be turned away by the topic.

For more info, check out the Evergreen library catalog

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

Kippy idolizes Diane Sawyer. She likes the way she investigates stories and interviews people to get to the truth. And the truth is what Kippy wants to find after her best friend Ruth is murdered; not just murdered but brutally murdered and hung in cornfield like a scarecrow.

Ruth was Kippy's best friend. They had been best friends since grade school and even as they grew older and changed, they were still there for each other. OK, Kippy was a little clingy at times, and Ruth got annoyed that Kippy didn't have a boyfriend and could dress better if she just tried, but they still hung out together. In fact, Ruth was coming over to Kippy's house the night she was killed.

The murder has caused quite a sensation in the small town of Friendship, Wisconsin where the two girls live. Thankfully, Ruth's boyfriend Colt is quickly arrested by the sheriff who is convinced he has the killer...except Kippy finds out that Colt was somewhere else at the time. So why won't the sheriff listen to her? The only one who does believe her is Ruth's older brother, Davey.

It is up to Kippy and Davey to find the real killer even if it means breaking a few laws themselves. They gather evidence, question suspects (like the sleazy old lawyer Ruth was sleeping with) and stop another murder from happening...oops, make that a third murder from happening.

Kippy is driven, but not perfect. She is very likable and her heart is the right place. Even when no adults will believe her, she presses on. It is complex story with Kippy in the middle. Good stuff.

For more info, check out the Evergreen library catalog.