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.