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Monday, October 14, 2013


This is for those of you who love zombie books! This quick read, Contaminated, by Em Garner is about strong Velvet Ellis who has been left to raise her little sister, Opal, when their parents are affected by an epidemic that alters peoples' genes. The epidemic was first thought to be caused by contaminated water used in a popular protein-based weightloss drink. The beginning of the story finds Velvet looking for her mom at a kennel - a place the contaminated zombie-like people called Connies are held until a family member claims them. All Connies released back into public are fitted with a collar that is supposed to shock them into calmness so they don't get violent. The general public is unaccepting of the released Connies; thus, Velvet and Opal soon find themselves kicked out of their government-aided housing unit. Everything appears to be hopeless as Velvet continues to face adversity until her mom starts to show signs of understanding and Velvet meets a caring teen who is determined to help them. Definitely see a book two coming...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Knife of Never Letting Go

I was familiar with author, Patrick Ness, from reading A Monster Calls – which had me sobbing into endless amounts of Kleenex. You can read my review in a previous post. I just started this fall as the Librarian of a high school. My students are very busy with required reading and research, but the ones reading for pleasure all told me that I had to read his Chaos Walking trilogy starting with The Knife of Never Letting Go. I love student recommendations more than anything – they always know the next book to read. Although this book is 479 pages long, it is a quick read. In this futuristic world in Prentisstown, although there are many men, there is only one boy, Todd, who will turn into a man in a month. All the women and girls have been killed by the germ released by the Spackles, enemies encountered when humans discovered the New World. The germ not only killed the females, but left all the males able to hear the thoughts of each other and all animals. There is endless NOISE created from the thoughts of men that takes all peace away until Todd and his dog, Manchee, discover the quiet in the forbidden swamp. Todd is given a book written by his mother and told to run away from Prentisstown. He leaves knowing that everything he has been told his entire life is uncertain. He discovers the quiet is actually a girl orphaned by an accident. The townsmen want both of them and are leading an army to attack. The hardest part for me was reading the misspellings in the text which Ness did to assert Todd’s lack of education. This book was so suspenseful – my students were right, it is a must read! I can’t wait to read Book 2 – The Ask and the Answer. The author answers questions about his Chaos Walking trilogy in the video below.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Why We Broke Up

You probably know the author of Why We Broke Up Daniel Handler is popularly known by his pen name, Lemony Snicket. This YA Printz Honor Award-winning novel is about a relationship between theater-loving Min Green and popular basketball star Ed Slaterton. I tried listening to this book on audio and am so happy that I decided to read the book instead. You miss so much of the story if you listen to it as it is creatively illustrated by talented Maira Kalman. The pictures reveal so much of the story. The reader knows from the very beginning that Min and Ed are no longer together. She slowly reveals the timeline of important events in their short relationship. My favorite part of this book is the lesson learned by Min…hopefully, reading the story will forewarn many innocent girls so that they do not make the same mistake that she did. Watch the video below which features the author himself.

Eleanor & Park

I absolutely loved, savored, and now treasure Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. The book takes place in the 80’s and is told from both characters’ points of view. Eleanor, an ivory-skinned overweight new girl, happens to sit by the Asian boy on the school bus. Park, the comic-reading half-Korean boy, who can’t help but like the new girl who reads his comic books as she sits beside him on the bus. Two totally different teens who at first do everything to not like each other, but ultimately cannot stop the chemistry that builds between them. Unbeknownst to Park, Eleanor has deep family secrets that she cannot share with anyone. How could she explain to anyone that she and her much younger siblings are controlled by an abusive stepfather? Will Eleanor ever trust and believe in the love that Park has for her? This is a must read! Click on the student made book trailer video below to learn more. Can’t wait to read Rainbow Rowell’s newest novel – Fangirl.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Siege and Storm

Leigh Bardugo’s debut novel, Shadow and Bone, was my favorite fantasy read of 2012 and I have been eagerly awaiting book 2 – Siege and Storm. Once again Bardugo brings to life the dark and magical “World of Grisha”. Alina and Mal have left their homeland to hide out from the Darkling and to keep her amplifier (Morozova’s collar) hidden so others will not realize that she is the Sun Summoner. Rather quickly, the Darkling returns and takes them captive. Bardugo introduces us to new characters...ones we grow to like, but do not whole-heartedly trust. The Darkling now has the power to be with Alina without others seeing him. Alina’s powers seem to take over her sense of judgment– to the point that her relationship with Mal is jeopardized. Readers will be surprised as to how this second novel in the trilogy goes...the last half was difficult to put down. Hardest part for me is waiting for book 3 – Ruin and Rising – coming in 2014!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shatter Me


The most exciting part of starting my new job at a wonderful high school is the opportunity to read YA and Adult books for my job! Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is a dystopic novel about a seventeen-year-old girl named Juliette who has been imprisoned because her touch has the power to kill people. She is surprised when a soldier is sent to watch over her and he is someone that she loved as a young girl. Adam volunteered for the position so he could protect her. The leader who has imprisoned her plans to use her power to defeat others. When Adam and Juliette break out, she discovers that Adam is immune to her deadly touch. The two are not safe for long and must learn to trust each other and a friend from Adam's past. This is a quick read that will leave readers wanting to immediately pick up book 2, Unravel Me. Book 3 will be published in February 2014.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Last Dragonslayer

Young adult literature fans are so excited that Jasper Fforde has started writing for them. The Last Dragonslayer is the first in a trilogy. The story is narrated by Jennifer Strange who is the acting manager of Kazam - a job agency for magicians. She took on the role when the popular when the most powerful wizard became disgraced. Today's magicians must find menial jobs as their abilities have faded over the years. For the past four hundred years, dragons and humans have been separated by lands in an agreement made by both parties. Dragons had stipulations they had to follow in order to be protected. There is now only one dragon left and there are visions of his death at a certain time by the last dragonslayer. Jennifer soon learns that she is being called upon to end the dragon's life. This causes great turmoil as different kingdoms plan to fight over the forbidden land. She becomes an instant celebrity, but wants to have nothing to do with killing the dragon. Will Jennifer accept her given role? Will war break out once the dragon is killed? Read this entertaining fantasy to find out!Look for the second book in the trilogy - The Song of the Quarkbeast - coming to the US on Sept 3, 2013.