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Showing posts from November, 2016

The Nightingale

The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah
St. Martin’s Press, 2015
Source: Library
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her. 

As the war progresses, the sisters' relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.


I thought this book would be an overrated, cheesy story filled with plot points that other people have written about in dozens of other stories. I was pleasantly surprised to find a c…

History Is All You Left Me

History Is All You Left Me
Adam Silvera
Soho Teen, 2017
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Older Teens

From Goodreads:
OCD-afflicted Griffin has just lost his first love, Theo, in a drowning accident. In an attempt to hold onto every piece of the past, he forges a friendship with Theo's last boyfriend, Jackson. When Jackson begins to exhibit signs of guilt, Griffin suspects he's hiding something, and will stop at nothing to get to the truth about Theo's death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin's own version of the truth both in terms of what he's willing to hide and what true love means.

History Is All You Left Me is a fantastic book... but the description didn’t fit the story. The book on its own should get four stars - but the book based on the description would only get two or three. The part that I have a problem with is “When Jackson begins to exhibit signs of guilt, Griffin suspects he’s hiding something, and will stop at nothing to …

Pax

Pax
Sara Pennypacker
Balzer + Bray, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Everyone

From Goodreads:
Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. Peter listens to his stern father—as he usually does—and throws Pax’s favorite toy soldier into the woods. When the fox runs to retrieve it, Peter and his dad get back in the car and leave him there—alone. But before Peter makes it through even one night under his grandfather’s roof, regret and duty spur him to action; he packs for a trek to get his best friend back and sneaks into the night. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their independent struggles to return to one another against all odds. Told from the alternating viewpoints of Peter and Pax.

Usually, I’m not a big animal-book reader. I don’t know wh…

Blood Red, Snow White

Blood Red, Snow White
Marcus Sedgwick
Orion Children’s Books, 2007
Source: E-Galley
Audience: All Teens

From Goodreads:
It is 1917, and the world is tearing itself to pieces in a dreadful war, but far to the east of the trenches, another battle is breaking out - the Russian Revolution has just begun... 

Blood Red, Snow White captures the mood of this huge moment in history through the adventure of one man who was in the middle of it all; Arthur Ransome, a young British journalist who had first run away to Russia to collect fairy tales. 

Told as three linked novellas, part one captures the days of revolution but retells the story as Russian Fairy Tale, with typical humour and unashamed brutality. Part two is a spy story, set over the course of one evening, as Ransome faces up to his biggest challenge, and part three is a love story, full of tragedy and hope, as every good Russian love story should be. 


I absolutely LOVED part one. I flew through it and loved the fairy tale/historical len…

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Revised)

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Revised)
Adam Long, Daniel Singer, Jess Borgeson, Jess Winfield
Applause Theater & Cinema Book Publishers, 2011
Source: A friend
Audience: Older Teens, Adults

From Goodreads:
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Reduced Shakespeare Company's classic farce, two of its original writer/performers (Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield) have thoroughly revised the show to bring it up to date for 21st-century audiences, incorporating some of the funniest material from the numerous amateur and professional productions that have been performed around the world. The cultural touchstone that is The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) was born when three inspired, charismatic comics, having honed their pass-the-hat act at Renaissance fairs, premiered their preposterous masterwork at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987. It quickly became a worldwide phenomenon, earning the title of London's second-longest-running come…

Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands
Alwyn Hamilton
Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016
Source: E-Galley, Library
Audience: All Teens

From Goodreads:
She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from. 

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd…

13-Story Treehouse and 26-Story Treehouse

The 13-Story Treehouse
The 26-Story Treehouse
Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton
Feiwel & Friends, 2011 and 2012
Source: Library
Audience: Children

From (The 13-Story Treehouse) Goodreads:
Who wouldn't want to live in a treehouse? Especially a 13-storey treehouse that has a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a tank full of sharks, a library full of comics, a secret underground laboratory, a games room, self-making beds, vines you can swing on, a vegetable vaporiser and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and automatically shoots your favourite flavoured marshmallows into your mouth whenever it discerns you're hungry.

Two new characters – Andy and Terry – live here, make books together, and have a series of completely nutty adventures. Because: ANYTHING can happen in a 13-storey treehouse.

This is a major new series from Andy and Terry- and it's the logical evolution of all their previous books. There are echoes of the Just stories in the Andy and Terry friend…

Leave Me

Leave Me
Gayle Forman Algonquin Books, 2016 Audience: Adults, Older Teens Source: E-Galley, Library
From Goodreads: For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention--meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who's so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn't even realize she's had a heart attack.

Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we're going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself.

With big-hearted c…

How to Talk to Girls at Parties

How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Neil Gaiman Dark Horse Books, 2016 Source: Library, E-Galley Audience: Older Teens, Adults
From Goodreads: Enn is a sixteen-year-old boy who just doesn't understand girls, while his friend Vic seems to have them all figured out. Both teenagers are in for the shock of their young lives, however, when they crash a local party only to discover that the girls there are far, far more than they appear! 
From the Locus Award-winning short story by Neil Gaiman--one of the most celebrated authors of our time-- and adapted in vibrant ink-and-watercolor illustrations by the "Daytripper" duo of Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, this original hardcover graphic novel is absolutely not to be missed!"

I thought that How to Talk to Girls at Parties was the perfect amount of Neil Gaiman and Twilight Zone. It was creepy, surprising, and yet, believable. I could totally see this book happening to some unsuspecting guy at a party. Also, the art fit the mood of th…

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down
Jeff Kinney
Amulet Books, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Younger Teens


Double Down was a particularly entertaining installment in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Highlights include the Heffley’s Halloween celebration, Greg and Rowley making a horror movie, and Greg’s attempt at joining band. I especially loved the end. Greg got in so much trouble, I couldn’t believe it. It was just one thing after another. Honestly, I don’t know how he managed it. Sometimes, it’s almost like he tries to make the worst decisions possible and the fallout from that leads to unpredictable collateral damage. The series is always so fun to read.

Every Exquisite Thing

Every Exquisite Thing
Matthew Quick
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016
Source: E-Galley
Audience: Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Didn’t you ever just simply want to…stop?

Star athlete and straight-A student Nanette O’Hare has played the role of dutiful daughter for as long as she can remember. But one day, a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper—a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic—and the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As the new and outspoken Nanette attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, she befriends the reclusive author and falls in love with a young, troubled poet. Forced to make some hard choices that bring devastating consequences, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion can sometimes come at a high price.


I always love Matthew Quick’s books - especially his teen stories. Books about books - fictional or real - are perfect for bookworms, and are always fun to read. Teen will especially love all the drama that The B…

Save Me a Seat

Save Me a Seat
Sarah Weeks, Gita Varadarajan
Scholastic Press, 2016
Source: Library
Audience: Children, Younger Teens

From Goodreads:
Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they're both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL.

Joe's lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own.

Ravi's family just moved to America from India, and he's finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in.

Joe and Ravi don't think they have anything in common -- but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.


What a wonderful book to teach children and teens about cultural differences and bullying. I think this will be nominated for awards. At least, I hope it will. Save Me a Seat isn’t a story about two friends - it’s about HOW two people BECOME friends. Both main characters grew signifi…