Friday, November 28, 2014

Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander

Charlie is one of the smart ones. He attends Bright School of Mathematics and Science. His dream is to go to MIT (even though he hasn't sent in the early admission forms yet). Charlie is tall and lanky with blonde hair. When it comes to girls, he has always been awkward. Now, it is his senior year and he is ready to concentrate on school work and not worry about girls until...OK, like you didn't see this coming...he meets Charlotte.

Charlie has never seen Charlotte before the day he touches the infinity tattoo on the back of her neck while waiting in line to get donuts. Not the smartest thing to do, but they briefly speake and it is kind of flirty. Charlie's brain usually so full of equations and theorems is very distracted by this girl with the tattoo.

One thing that can help keep his mind on something else is the new English teacher. Being science minded, none of the Brighton students like the idea of reading poetry and literature. So each year it becomes a game to torment the new teacher until her/she leaves. This has been very successful, but this year's teacher, Ms. Finch, is on to them and openly welcomes the challenge. Charlie is at first reluctant to participate but circumstances make him the leader of all the pranks.

It might have been easier for Charlie to forget Charlotte until he finds her in his kitchen one day. It turns out she has become his sister Becca's new (and only) friend (Charlie isn't the only socially awkward person in his house). So there is Charlotte in his house everyday after school, sleeping over, hanging out on weekends. She practically lives there!

It is whole new world for Charlie. With encouragement of his friends, Greta and James (and once he actually tells them about her), Charlie decides that maybe getting to know Charlotte would be a good thing. Even being distracted by her has lead to new discoveries (I'm not going to go into the details about Charlie driving off the road into an old lady's prized flower garden and what happens as a result).

It's a nice story of young awkward love and the potential for everything.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Why can't we all just be who we are? I have spent too much of my life worrying about what other people think of me. It takes a lot of energy to hide part of yourself from others in fear of being rejected.

Jamie is gay and has been out to his family for awhile, but not at school. Jamie is a afraid to tell his best friend Mason he is gay because it could ruin everything between them. Also, Jamie has a crush on Mason, the same guy Jamie sees kissing a girl after the prom.

So Jamie plans to take a girl to the prom (if he can figure out who) and work on the school literary magazine and maybe he will never have to tell Mason (even though next year they are going to colleges located near each other). Who is he kidding - Mason will find out and it will all be ruined.

Another problem...the girls in art class know Jamie is gay. How is that possible? He never told any of them. Even worse - they know he has a crush on Mason and think it would great for them to get together.

If that weren't enough, Jamie is also battling his fellow staff members on the inclusion of a student drawn comic in the magazine. They reject it for fear of controversy and possible loss of funds, but Jamie feels strongly that it should be included even if it might reveal his secret.

Never having to worry about coming out, I can only imagine the inner turmoil the decision can cause. This story is a light hearted look at the struggle a teen faces. You will find yourself hoping all turns out well for Jamie.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

It seems as a society, we want people to be either good or bad, but people are complex and contain at least some of both. Imagine if people in your life were interviewed about you. Would it be an accurate portrayal? How well do people really know you? Does this book tell us about the real Addison Stone...we may never know, but its all we have.

Addison Stone was a hot young artist who exploded onto the New York scene when she was just 16. She quickly became a regular face at all the clubs and best parties. Her work hangs in important galleries and in the homes of the wealthy. Her stunts and public pieces helped make her famous through social media. It was during the installation of one of these that she fell to her death leaving many questions (including the whereabouts of two former boyfriends). She was 18 at the time.

We learn of Addison's life and quick rise to fame through from the people she knew (parents, best friend, teachers, benefactors, agent, artists).  The book is written as if a journalist conducted interviews and edited them to tell Addison's story. It is an effective method and makes the character seem more real. We also see photos of Addison, her friends and her art as well as magazine and newspaper articles. This is particularly helpful since the story is told through the first person accounts and lacks the description you find in the regular novel.

Addison is a small town girl who is anxious to leave and then makes good in the big city. Sadly, her issues stay with her no matter where she is living or working. We are given a few excerpts in Addison's own words, but it is difficult to know what is truly going on in her head. Genius often seems to walk a fine line between sanity and madness. Could anyone have saved Addison or was she ultimately destined to burn brightly and have a short life.

For more information, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.