Saturday, December 31, 2016

Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel

There was a time not so long ago when dinosaurs were new. Not to the planet, but to the knowledge of humans. The fossilized bones of dinosaurs had to be discovered and dug up to reveal the extinct creatures. The bones had to be assembled and the creature classified and named. Some of the men doing such work were formally educated like Professor Cartland. Some were self-taught like Michael Bolt. Cartland and Bolt are rivals and hate each other so much that they often stoop to petty sabotage.

This story is about the children of those two men - Rachel Cartland and Samuel Bolt. Both were raised without their mothers by fathers who surrounded them with science and the new discipline of paleontology. Rachel and Sam want to search for bones like their fathers. Sam might not have the money to go to school, but could be like his father. Rachel...well, women do not go to university and become dinosaur hunters. It's not proper.

Sam and Rachel meet for the first time on the night Sam's father is presenting his latest find and Rachel's father is there to embarrass him. Sam feels a connection to Rachel (even as they are both pulling their fathers apart during the fight that breaks out). Rachel has never had boys show interest in her (and is considered plain by most standards), so she hesitates in the face of Sam's interest.

Maybe they would never see each other again...until their super competitive fathers end up pursuing the same dinosaur that could be the most extraordinary find of all. The search takes them all out west (Rachel had to beg to go since a young lady does not travel in the wilds of the west with a bunch of young male students). The heated battle between the two parties is not even the worst of it. They face the hot dry conditions and the ever looming presence of Sioux who view the Badlands as sacred ground.

Through it all, Sam and Rachel find each other. If they survive this expedition, can they be together when their fathers hate each other so much?

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

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick

Claire enters 8th grade not having much fun. Ryder, the kid who's been tormenting her since 6th grade, is in all of her classes. The mean girls seem even worse this year. Dance has always been an escape for her, but now her friends have been moved up to a higher group leaving her with the kids.

Worst of all, Claire's dad has a stroke. One minute they are talking in the kitchen; the next he is slumping to the floor mumbling nonsense. Her world is turned upside down. She needs her funny dad who writes books for teens. He cannot speak, can barely walk and struggles to get food to his mouth. The annual Dad's Dance performance was one thing Claire always looked forward to. Now, she will not be able to dance with her father on stage like the other girls.

Claire's mom is always super positive (which is sometimes annoying in a crisis). Her older brother is practically perfect. Her father's prolonged illness tests them all.

We follow Claire through her whole 8th grade year. Her friendships are tested along with her patience and self-esteem. Middle school is tough enough without having an almost non-functioning parent. Once again, Jordan Sonnenblick has given his readers wonderful characters to cheer on.

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash

For three days in 1969, the Woodstock music festival made the small town of Bethel, New York, the center of the rock world. Thousands of people gathered in the name of peace to hear some of the biggest names in music. Two of those people are Michael and Cora, and this is how they met and spent those three days.

Michael drove from Massachusetts with his friend Evan, his girlfriend Amanda, and Amanda's two friends. He's not sure what to do with his life. Go to college? Join the military? He's also not sure about his girlfriend Amanda. Sometimes it seems like she doesn't even like him, so why is she with him at all?

Cora lives in Bethel on a farm. Her dad has nothing but disdain for the people coming to the festival. He is a veteran with great pride in his oldest son's current service in Vietnam. He's not as happy with Cora and her war protesting twin brother. Cora wants to be a, she really wants to be a doctor, a lofty goal for a woman from a small town in those times. She works as a candy striper in the medical tent at the festival.

Michael takes some acid with bad results, so his friends take him to the medical tent where he is attended to by Cora. Michael doesn't remember much about their first encounter, but soon realizes Cora is nothing like Amanda. Separated from his friends, Michael asks Cora to hang with him.

The festival allows to Michael and Cora to escape their worries for a bit: Cora's strict father and her brother in Vietnam; Michael's future and his issues with Amanda. Michael gets lost in the music and takes Cora with him. They run into famous people and share in the generosity of their fellow festival goers. Neither, of course, knows the mythical quality that Woodstock will one day represent to generations. But we do, so we can go along with them to feel just a little bit of what it could have been like for those three days of peace, love and music.

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

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand

Justin, Gabe and Bobby have been making short horror movies for a while. When things fall apart on their most recent one, they decide to make an epic movie, one to stand among the best. They will make the greatest zombie movie ever. OK, so they have no money, no actors and only two months to do it (Gabe is leaving for the summer so they have to get done before the end of school). What could go wrong?

The first order of business is finding the perfect lead actress. Alicia is the best choice except for the fact that she is Justin's major crush. She agrees to the part but wants to see the script. No problem she is told. They will show it to her on Monday. They have a whole weekend to write the script - they each can write a third. It is totally worth not sleeping and possibly failing a test to make the greatest zombie movie ever.

As you can imagine, further complications happen causing many compromises along the way. An obnoxious birthday party clown, Bobby's crazy uncle, a male lead who has way too much chemistry with Alicia, an angry principal, broken equipment, a few injuries and one house destroying fire are not enough to make them stop the production. But Gabe begins to question whether they are really still trying to achieve their goal.

Three good friends and lots of humorous situations make for a quick, fun read.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker

Girl meets boy. Boy likes girl. Boy and girl rob a bank. OK, it's more complicated than that. Let's start with the boy...

Christian lives in rough part of Los Angeles. Even though he is a good student and gets accepted to college, he has not been able to avoid being involved with a gang. The gang takes care of his alcoholic dad's debts as long as Christian fulfills his obligations: robbing banks with his crew.  The crew (aka the Romero Robbers) stage hold ups and keep some of the money with the rest going to the gang leaders. Keep the jobs quick and small - get too ambitious and you get careless. That's how you get caught. But now Christian's boss wants a big job: breaking into a vault.

Lexi goes to an exclusive private school. She, her brother and their friends do extreme activities (like illegally BASE jumping from the top of an office building). Her life is pretty good until her father is arrested for a fraud scheme at the bank where he works. Her family's accounts are frozen and the school kicks her and her brother out. Lexi is so angry that her father's boss is probably also guilty but continues to live his luxurious life. She must find a way to take him down even if it means breaking into the bank to find incriminating evidence.

After a few chance encounters, Lexi and Christian have an attraction, but are suspicious of each other. Once they reveal their plans, they decide the best course is to team up to rob the bank - him to get money and her to get documents. They need each other, but they have different objectives that do not always mesh.

The story is involved, suspenseful and a fun exploration of a topic not often seen in teen books.

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

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy

A giant asteroid is heading for earth. Southern California is the target, but the whole world will be impacted. The smartest minds are assembled in a NASA facility in Pasadena to solve the problem. With less than a month left, a young Russian physicist arrives to join the team. Yuri's mathematical skills are unquestioned, but since he is only seventeen he is often not taken seriously by his fellow scientists. That is most unfortunate when Yuri knows he has the best solution to stop the asteroid.

One day Yuri decides to eat lunch outside and finds a pretty young woman named Dovie. Having spent most of his life focused on physics, Yuri is socially awkward and does not know how to interact with other people his age. In addition, Yuri has never been to the U.S. and does not understand the customs (or often the subtleties of the English language). Fortunately, the artsy Dovie takes a liking to Yuri and invites him to her house. Dovie's hippie parents and wheelchair bound brother Lennon are welcoming but live a very different existence than Yuri's.

With the world in peril, Yuri gets to spend time as a regular teenager while simultaneously trying to convince his colleagues that his unique knowledge holds the key to saving the planet. It's possible his overzealous behavior will keep him from returning to Russia.

This is a nice blend of science and teenage uncertainty about their own future.

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

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

Graham really likes Roxy. They have been friends ever since Graham moved next door to her after his mother died eight years ago. The first thing she asked him was which Hogwarts house he would be sorted into. How could he not love her after that? Graham is ready to tell Roxy how he really feels, and he is planning to do it at Comic Con.

Graham and Roxy collaborate on their own graphic novel (he writes, she illustrates) and are huge fans of the reclusive Robert Zinc, creator of The Chronicles of Althena. Zinc has not been seen in public for years, but with the movie adaptation in production he will be appearing at the convention in a Q&A session with limited seating. What a perfect time for Graham to express his true feelings.

Things are complicated from the start. To get tickets to see Zinc, Graham will have to wait in line all night outside in New York City. Roxy's parents would never allow her to do that, so Graham convinces his best friend Casey to get Roxy's ticket (but not before agreeing to convince his sister to go out with Casey).

And it only gets worse. Graham could not have foreseen the large number of fans willing to do anything to see Zinc. Or the attractive guy who attaches himself to Roxy from the beginning of the con. What should be the best Comic Con of Graham's life turns into a series of frustrating events.

For all of Graham's misery, this is fun excursion into the New York Comic Con. It's all you could ever want from a con without being there - laughs, suspense, adventure and pop culture references galore.

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Autumn's Wish by Bella Thorne

Autumn receives a locket from her late father that allows her to travel through time. In the past two Autumn Falls books (which I have not read), Autumn gets a journal that grants her wishes and a dry erase map that lets her travel anywhere instantaneously. In conjunction with her father's wishes, she uses these items to bring peace and happiness to her little corner of the world.

As with any time travel story, there must be parameters. First, Autumn can only use the locket ten times. Second, she cannot travel into the past. Third, her visits are very short. Fourth, she cannot interact with anyone; she is merely an observing ghost.

By seeing the future, she can interfere with current events to change it. And what does she see? Her friends' lives are in turmoil and her mom is married to some goofy guy. So Autumn sets out altering the course of each person's life. But the changes often moves someone else's life in the wrong direction. Sometimes it makes her wonder what her dad really wants to happen.

I chose to read this because I like time travel stories. Imagine if you could see your own future. Would it be worth the risk to change it? Would you feel guilty about changing other people's lives? The possibility of time travel always causes more questions than answers, but that is the fun of it. And this books is an enjoyable, quick read.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog.

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Haters by Jesse Andrews

Wes and Corey love music, well except the music they hate on...which is a lot of it. They know they are haters - it's what they do. They are attending a jazz camp (Wes plays bass and Corey plays drums) with a bunch of young people way more into jazz than they are.

Back home, Wes and Corey do not play together a lot - they usually just end up listening to music. Needless to say they are not the best players in camp, so they end up in the worst group. But so does a guitar player named Ash. On the first day of camp, the three end up jamming together. They are so impressed with themselves that they decide to form a group and immediately hit the road to find venues to play.

What could go wrong with spur of the moment tour? Wes, Corey and Ash find out as the head through the South on route to New Orleans. It is a road trip of disasters, disappointments, weird characters and epic moments.

Music has a way of bringing people together. Wes, Corey and Ash came together through music and their lives will never be the same.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Drag Teen by Jeffery Self

JT has only done drag once - and it was humiliating. Of course, it wasn't the best venue with the most receptive audience (high school talent show with jocks watching). JT will not put himself through that again.

The problem is that JT does not want to be stuck working in his family's gas station in Florida for the rest of his life. His parents do not have the money to send him to college and do not seem to care what happens to him as long as he works at the station. How can he escape? His boyfriend, Seth, discovers a teen drag contest that gives the winner a four year scholarship to college.

So here are the problems (as JT sees it): 1)The contest is in New York City and he has no money to get there and 2) He is not a real drag queen since his only performance was a total embarrassment.

It's a good thing JT has friends like Seth and Heather. They are constantly talking him through his insecurities. And they have a plan. JT just has to find the confidence in himself and trust the people who want to help him. In New York and on the trip there, JT finds many of those people.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan

Max is tired of being 'Just Max.' So when he receives a mysterious invitation  from the Chaos Club to meet at the water tower, he goes. For decades, the Chaos Club has pulled pranks around the school. Could this be an invitation to join the secret society?

Max soon realizes he is not the only one to get the invitation. The group includes a dumb jock, a tough girl, a slacker/troublemaker,  and the girl Max has a crush on. They make it to the top of the water tower as instructed only to realize they have been set up (and the whole thing is recorded and uploaded to the internet).

Tired of being pushed around, the group decides to pull their own epic pranks and take down the Chaos Club at the same time (and if they can make a certain coach look bad, too, all the better). Each group member will pull a prank to see who can do the best one.

How do you pull of pranks without involving innocent people? It's a question Max asks himself as the 'war' escalates. He wants to be somebody, but is it worth getting expelled?

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Holmes and Watson must solve the mystery before the killer catches up to them. No, not Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson (they are long dead). This is Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson, decedents of the famous crime solving team. Through coincidence (or is it?), they both end up at a private school in Connecticut. Watson knew of Charlotte, of course, but had never met her.

The death of a classmate finds them awkwardly paired. Jamie must adjust to Charlotte's unusual habits and eccentricities. From birth she has been trained in the Holmes tradition of crime solving and all the goes with it (observation, forensics, interrogation). Although the Holmes and Watson families have shared history, Jamie's mother has tried to keep him away from the Holmes'.

But once Jamie follows Charlotte through the dead student's window to examine the crime scene, there is no going back. Jamie is completely immersed in Charlotte's world. Adding another level of intrigue, the crime (and the ones that follow) mimics the stories of the original Holmes and Watson.

I have never been a reader of Sherlock Holmes (other than a few in high school), so I do not know how closely the characters of Charlotte and Jamie resemble their famous ancestors. I do know that there is enough mystery (mixed with teen angst) to keep the pages turning.

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

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

Almost by accident, Normandy, Dusk and Neil start a movement to find the truth. They ask the questions everyone wants to know but are afraid to ask. Why did Aimee have plastic surgery over the summer? Is Tyler Jones gay? But how do you get the answers - you go right to the person of interest and ask them.

Normandy, Dusk and Neil attend the Green Pastures Academy of Art and Applied Design. It is a unique school that allows students to focus on different aspects of art. Neil is a painter (of the female form). He also likes to dress as characters from classic 60s and 70s movies. Dusk is currently working on taxidermy. She is the most effortlessly beautiful girl in the school. Normandy is a writer who is famous for being portrayed in her sister Keira's hugely popular graphic novel.

Normandy is uncomfortable asking others about their secrets because she has enough of her own family secrets (like how her sister has left college in California but won't tell anyone why including her agent). Normandy's family has always revolved around her sister's gifts and talents, so as long as Keira is working on her novel her parents will not do anything to upset her.

Normandy tells the story in a paper (aka the book itself) she is writing (complete with footnotes) for her Spring Special Project. She includes all the humor and drama that is her life: her sister's breakdown and her friend's quest for the truth that becomes bigger than all of them.

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

23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde

Imagine if you could go back in time to change something. Correct an answer on an exam. Take back something hurtful you said. Save someone's life. It seems easy enough, but time can be unforgiving. Suppose you can only go back 23 minutes. Zoe can. She doesn't know why, but she has the ability to jump back 23 minutes (and reset 10 times before the she reaches her oringinal starting time).

So on a rainy day, she ducks into a bank to stay dry and finds herself in the middle of a robbery. The young man who steps between her and the gunman should not have to die, no one should. Zoe tries to intervene using her time travel abilities.

It should be easy enough - call the police before the robbery happens; try to stop the robber from entering the bank; tell the young man not to enter the bank. Zoe has ten tries to stop people from dying. Her time travel has never been needed for something so important.

The author has given us a tight scenario with strict rules that makes for a tense story.

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

Monday, April 25, 2016

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

I have started a few books assuming the gender of a character only to find out in a few pages that I was wrong causing me to rethink how I picture them. With this book, that's part of the point. Riley is gender fluid. Some days, Riley feels like a girl and other days Riley feels like a boy.

Starting a new school, Riley wants to go unnoticed. One problem is that Riley sometimes wants to dress like a girl and sometimes like a boy. Riley would never be able to do that - at school or home. So Riley dresses neutral, fighting anxious feelings and possible panic attacks.

Only Riley's therapist knows about being gender fluid. Riley's parents don't even know. It would be a particular sticky issue for Riley's conservative congressman father who is running for reelection. As election day gets closer, it is increasingly difficult for Riley to find a way to get out of attending campaign events - they only bring on the worst panic attacks.

Riley's attempt to be invisible at school does not last long either. Riley does meet a cool guy named Solo on the first day. But is he interested in Riley as a guy friend or a girlfriend? Riley is also taken with Bec, a girl who may or may not be flirting with Riley. But the new potential friendships are overshadowed by the taunts of star football player, Jim Vickers, and his snotty girlfriend. Everything Riley feared is happening again.

Following the therapist's advice, Riley starts an anonymous blog about being gender fluid that quickly finds a following. It is the blog that drives Riley and the story forward.

Many things in life are not as straight forward as people would like them to be including gender. This story reminds us that people need to be accepted for who they are and given the chance to find out who that is. Riley is a character you will not easily forget.

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Character, Driven by David Lubar

Cliff's life changes when he sees Jillian for the first time. Yes, she is that beautiful. She is new to school, and everyone notices her when she walks into class. Cliff knows he does not have chance with her but that doesn't keep his mind from thinking up things to say to her.

Cliff is telling us the story of his senior year. Jillian is only one part of it. His dad lost his job and is pathological about saving money. Cliff works two jobs to contribute to the money his mom brings home from working at a bakery. Cliff's dad is constantly harping about what Cliff cannot do because it is a waste of money (like go to a concert of one of  his favorite bands). His dad also tells Cliff he is wasting his time with art. Cliff is not sure what he wants to do with his life, but he would like art to be an option.

Cliff has two best friends, Butch and Robert. Butch has changed her name many times since he's known her. She is "a little twisted, but in a good way" (her skull collection is a good example). Robert moved from Jamaica. Both are very smart and 'fight' with each other constantly.

Then there's Jimby whose mother drank a lot while she was pregnant. As described by Cliff, it messed up Jimby's brain a bit, but he would take a beating for Jimby. Cliff tries to help Jimby whenever he can.

Cliff knows he is writing us a story and makes occasional references to remind us. In reality of course, it is David Lubar who has (once again) given the reader a story filled with humor and poignancy. There are some basic truths to be found alongside the funny musings of Cliff.

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

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Mercedes has sex with virgin guys. She wants to teach them so they will give their girlfriends a better first time than she had. It's not just physical instruction; she tells them how to dress and behave and where to go on dates. She is just providing a service.

She has to keep her sex life a secret (particularly from her best friend Angela) which is difficult because she has helped so may guys (even she is kind of appalled at the number). She thinks the boys will never tell anyone for fear of their girlfriends finding out. If it were to get out...her life would be over.

Mercedes' sex life is not all about virgins. She has a weekly Wednesday 'date' with her chemistry partner Zach. He wants her as a girlfriend, but she wants none of it. She likes their arrangement just the way it is.

Mercedes is just trying to bide her time until she can go to MIT next fall to study chemistry, but life is complicated. Mercedes' dad left when she was young and her mom might as well be gone to for the lack of attention (let alone affection) she shows to her only daughter. Mercedes at least has Angela, although it is becoming more difficult to face her. Angela started a prayer group that is only attended by Mercedes and Angela's boyfriend (who Angela won't have sex with until they are married).  Even the new girl Faye (who is gorgeous and seems to catch Zach's attention) is confusing Mercedes. Is Faye flirting with her or just wanting to be frieds?

Mercedes thinks she is in control, but nothing is as it seems. There is a lot more to Mercedes and this story than sex.

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

Monday, March 28, 2016

Zero Day by Jan Gangsei

Addie Webster was eight years old when she was kidnapped from the governor's mansion. Darrow, her best friend, was the last person to see her. At the time, her dad was the governor. Now, eight year later, her father is the President of the United States, and Addie is back. She escaped her captors and is returned to her family to live in the White House.

So much has changed since Addie was taken. She has a sister who was born while she was away. Darrow is no longer the little boy she used to beat at games. Her parents have become very overprotective. They look at her like she could fall apart, but Addie kept herself alive for years without their help.

Around the same time Addie returns, terrorist attacks start happening in Washington DC, but with no injuries. Cerberus, the group taking responsibility, wants officials to see the flaws in their security systems before someone is hurt or killed.

To some, it is too much of a coincidence that Addie comes back at the same time that the attacks occur. Could they be related? Is Addie involved? It is only a matter of time before everyone is drawn into Cerberus' plot.

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

Friday, March 11, 2016

If Rock and Roll Were a Machine by Terry Davis

Bert Bowden wanted a motorcycle. His parents were against it, but he got one anyway. He doesn't feel like a motorcycle guy, but he feels good when he's riding it. It was something the he had to try.

Bert is not sure of himself anymore. He used to be a smart, outgoing kid until a teacher crushed his spirit. The teacher thought Bert was a know-it-all. He was personally irritated by Bert's classroom outbursts, so he turned the other kids against him. Since then, Bert has been adrift.

He tried out for football, but didn't make the cut. He tries writing for the school paper (his teacher even thinks he could write professionally some day). There's a girl he kind of likes, but he never expresses it.

This is a slice of Bert's life at a time when he seems to be finding his direction. Too often things happen in our early life that even we may not recognize at the time but have long lasting effects. Bert is lucky enough to find adults who want to help him and encourage him. Will riding a motorcycle help him? Maybe not, but riding one at least puts him on a road going somewhere.

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

Unslut: A Diary and a Memoir by Emily Lindin

Emily Lindin was 11 years old when her reputation as a slut began. She was slut shamed all the way through eighth grade by her classmates and older students. Girls (including her friends) shunned and bullied her. Boys expected her to 'put out.' She was called names by everyone. Her reputation was an open invitation for boys to touch her wherever and whenever they wanted.

This book contains a reprint of Emily's actual junior high diary - the words appearing just as she wrote them. She details her life navigating through crushes and romances while being constantly reminded of her reputation. She blames herself in some cases for things that were in no way her fault. She cuts herself and even contemplates suicide.

In the margins, Emily responds to and clarifies her diary entries. We know that Emily has changed and learned and grown since her diary was written. And that is ultimately part of her message: that girls can get past this and grow into successful adults.

Emily chose to share her diary (first online) and founded the Unslut Project to reach girls having similar experiences and to make adults more aware of these situations. It is a compelling read that will hopefully make a difference.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and this site.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Need by Joelle Charbonneau

Imagine a social media site that gives you what you ask for - for a price, of course. Not money, but a task. Complete the task and get your wish, your want, your need. The teens of Nottawa, Wisconsin are invited to join NEED. Some teens ask for small things like a new cell phone; others concert tickets. But Kaylee just wants one thing...

Nate invites Kaylee to join NEED. She thinks its ridiculous and a scam. How could a website afford to give away things for free? But they both know it works because Nate's brother Jack got the phone he ask for.

Everyone knows that Kaylee has only wanted one thing for the past few years - a kidney for her brother DJ. She has asked everyone she knows to get tested to be a donor. She has tried hunting for her father (who ran out on them when DJ got really ill). Kaylee has been so desperate that she has alienated her classmates, broke school rules and ended up seeing a therapist. Her mom is not happy and does not trust her at all.

With nothing to lose, Kaylee asks NEED for a kidney. And then the bad stuff starts happening - minor crimes at first but it quickly escalates. It is amazing what some people are willing to do just to get something they want. Often their task seems innocuous but it is part of a more sinister plan.

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

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Placebo Junkies by J.C. Carleson

You have to feel for Audie. She seems cool with everything, but her life is far from ideal. Audie makes money through medical trials. She fills out forms and answers questions; takes pills and injections; gets poked and prodded. All for the advancement of medicine! If only it was as noble as it sounds. If only the trials and medical personnel were as ethical as they should be.

Audie is just one of a group of people who sell their flesh to the medical profession. It is a seedy underworld of existence where the 'guinea pigs' cheat the rules by participating in more trials than permissible (nobody checks). It's a risk, but money is in short supply so Audie does what she needs to do. And the higher the risk, the bigger the payoff.

Audie wants to take her terminally ill boyfriend Dylan on a special vacation. If Audie can make enough money, she and Dylan can get away. Maybe she can even quite doing the trials. Maybe...maybe...Audie has no idea where her life is going. Her story is often cringe worthy and sometimes heartbreaking, but worth exploring.

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

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Willowdean lives in a small Texas town known for its Miss Clover City beauty pageant. Her mom is a former winner. Willowdean has always hated the pageant - she does not have the physique of a 'beauty' queen, and she is really ok with that. Her mom on the other hand sees Willowdean's weight is a character flaw. So every year when it is pageant time, Willowdean braces herself while her mother dives deep into the preparations for the pageant as one of its directors.

It's not all about the pageant. First, there's Bo. He's the hot guy behind the grill at the hamburger joint where Willowdean works. He's been paying attention to her. When they kiss, Willowdean cannot figure out what someone like Bo would see in a fat girl like her.

Second, Willowdean is still not over the loss of her beloved aunt Lucy. She was not petite either and lived with Willowdean and her mom. Lucy shared her love of Dolly Parton with Willowdean. She had a bond with her aunt that she will never have with her mother.

Third, Willowdean's best friend Ellen seems to be drifting away. She has a new friend (who Willowdean can't stand) and a job at a 'skinney girls' store.

Willowdean decides to make a statement by joining the pageant. It turns out to be more difficult than she thought.

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