Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Where Things Come Back by John Whaley

This has been on my list for a while as it was nominated for the book of the year. The original cover was very unappealing and NO ONE checked it out. Once the paperback edition came out more students have been willing to give it a try. This book was definitely unlike anything I have ever read before. I didn't love it, or hate it.

Winner of the 2012 Michael L. Printz and William C. Morris Awards, this poignant and hilarious story of loss and redemption “explores the process of grief, second chances, and even the meaning of life” (Kirkus Reviews). In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter’s senior year of high school, he is forced to examine everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears.      Meanwhile, the crisis of faith spawned by a young missionary’s disillusion in Africa prompts a frantic search for meaning that has far-reaching consequences. As distant as the two stories initially seem, they are woven together through masterful plotting and merge in a surprising and harrowing climax.      This extraordinary tale from a rare literary voice finds wonder in the ordinary and illuminates the hope of second chances.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder was nomiated for one of the 2013 Notable books for children. While shopping for books at Andersons book fair I saw this book. My initial thought was it was too young for High School as it was about a 5th grade boy. I had a few extra dollars to spend and grabbed it thinking it would be good for low level high interest. Boy was I wrong. This book is wonderful for all ages. I loved this book and couldn't put it down besides to wipe the tears away. I recommend this for everyone young and old.

Book Description
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

I absolutely loved Between Shades of Gray and was so excited to find out the author wrote another book. From the very first page I was captivated by Jo and her crazy life living in New Orleans in the 1950's. I see this book winning many awards and being very popular in 2013! 
It's 1950 and the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie Moraine wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity was an honorable mention at the ALA awards this year. Michael Cart also recommeneded it as one of his favorite books of 2012. I decided to read all the Prinze nominees so was determined to finish this book. The book starts off slow and is not much of a page turner. I did feel rewarded sticking with this book and enjoyed the ending.


Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York TimesCode Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.