Friday, December 11, 2015

The Unlikely hero of room 13B by Teresa Roten

I enjoyed this book. I found it slow at times but an interesting and relevant topic for all students. I think this could be an interesting read for book club.

Amazon Summary
Filled with moments of deep emotion and unexpected humor, this understand and wise novel explores the complexities of living with OCD and offers the prospect of hope, happiness and healing. Perfect for readers who love Eleanor & Park and All the Bright Places.
 
ADAM’S GOALS:
Grow immediately.
Find courage.
Keep courage.
Get normal.
Marry Robyn Plummer.
 
The instant Adam Spencer Ross meets Robyn Plummer in his Young Adult OCD Support Group, he is hopelessly, desperately drawn to her. Robyn has an hypnotic voice, blue eyes the shade of an angry sky, and ravishing beauty that makes Adam’s insides ache. She’s also just been released from a residential psychiatric program—the kind for the worst, most difficult-to-cure cases; the kind that Adam and his fellow support group members will do anything to avoid joining.
Adam immediately knows that he has to save Robyn, must save Robyn, or die trying. But is it really Robyn who needs rescuing? And is it possible to have a normal relationship when your life is anything but?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

I was not a fan of this whimsical story. At times I felt lost and disinterested in the characters and the mystery.

Amazon Summary

Bone Gap is the story of Roza, a beautiful girl who is taken from a quiet midwestern town and imprisoned by a mysterious man, and Finn, the only witness, who cannot forgive himself for being unable to identify her kidnapper. As we follow them through their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures, acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

My sister recommended this book to me over the Summer. There were so many popular books this summer with "Girl" in the title so I figured I would give it a try. I LOVED the way the author told the story from various perspectives and time periods. This was a fast-paced thriller with very strong character building.

Amazon Summary
"I've been following her for the past few days.

I know where she buys her groceries, where she

works. I don't know the color of her eyes or

what they look like when she's scared. But I will."

One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems.


Monday, November 9, 2015

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

I really liked the main character in this book. I rooted for him and wanted him to find happiness and closure. The plot of this book was too slow for me and I didn't enjoy the story that much. It was a quick read and I think it would appeal to several young men.

Amazon Summary
Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this “vivid, satisfying, and ultimately upbeat tale of grief, redemption, and grace” (Kirkus Reviews) from the Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award–winning author of When I Was the Greatest.

Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey. Crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy stuff than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness—and who can maybe even help take it away.

The Loners by Lex Thomas

 I LOVED THIS BOOK. It is not often I stumble upon a series where I have a very strong desire to continue on with the sequel. The plot is slightly unbelievable, but once you accept it for the dystopian novel that it is, you will quickly fall in love. I can't wait to continue the series and find out what happens to all of the gangs.

Amazon Summary
It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High--until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.

A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you're as good as dead. And David has no gang. It's just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.

In this frighteningly dark and captivating novel, a 2012 Booklist Editor's Choice, Lex Thomas locks readers inside a school where kids don't fight to be popular, they fight to stay alive.

The Martian by Andy Weir

I saw that the movie was coming out soon so I rushed to read the book first. The book was definitely interesting and exciting but a little too science focused for me.

Amazon Summary
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

The Berlin Boxing Club by Rob Sharernow

This was on my reading list as a potential contender for the Abe Lincoln list. I adored this story. I have read countless stories of historical fiction books focusing on the holocaust and typically enjoy them as I am interested in the topic. This book knocked it out of the park. The story focuses on Nazi Germany from 1932-1939. I found it interesting to focus on the lead up to the death and murders of the slow social changes of what it was like to be a Jew in Germany leading up to the war. I think this book will be loved by all.

Amazon Summary

Sydney Taylor Award-winning novel Berlin Boxing Club is loosely inspired by the true story of boxer Max Schmeling's experiences following Kristallnacht.
Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But the bullies at his school in Nazi-era Berlin, don't care that Karl has never been in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth.
So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl's father to give Karl boxing lessons, A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but now it seems like the perfect chance to reinvent himself.
But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. And as Max's fame forces him to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, Karl begins to wonder where his hero's sympathies truly lie. Can Karl balance his dream of boxing greatness with his obligation to keep his family out of harm's way?

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

I think Liane Moriarty is my new favorite author. I have read 5 of her books thus far and love each book. Moriarty does a great job creating kooky characters and realistic family dynamics. Each books has been filled with great characters, plot and a little bit of mystery.

Amazon Summary
Sophie Honeywell always wondered if Thomas Gordon was the one who got away. He was the perfect boyfriend, but on the day he was going to propose, she broke his heart. A year later he married his travel agent, while Sophie has been mortifyingly single ever since. Now Thomas is back in her life because Sophie has unexpectedly inherited his aunt Connie's house on Scribbly Gum Island—home of the famously unsolved Munro Baby mystery.
Sophie moves onto the island and begins a new life as part of an unconventional family, where it seems everyone has a secret. Grace, a beautiful young mother, is feverishly planning a shocking escape from her perfect life. Margie, a frumpy housewife, has made a pact with a stranger, while dreamy Aunt Rose wonders if maybe it's about time she started making her own decisions.
As Sophie's life becomes increasingly complicated, she discovers that sometimes you have to stop waiting around—and come up with your own fairy-tale ending.

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout

I lovd this book. From the beginning to the end it was a captivating, gripping memoir. I find myself still thinking and taling about this tragic story. I highly recommend this book to ALL.

Amazon Summary
Amanda Lindhout wrote about her fifteen month abduction in Somalia in A House in the Sky. It is the New York Times bestselling memoir of a woman whose curiosity led her to the world’s most remote places and then into captivity: “Exquisitely told…A young woman’s harrowing coming-of-age story and an extraordinary narrative of forgiveness and spiritual triumph” (The New York Times Book Review).

As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself visiting its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, working as a cocktail waitress, she began saving her tips so she could travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each adventure, went on to Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Somalia—“the most dangerous place on earth.” On her fourth day, she was abducted by a group of masked men along a dusty road.

Held hostage for 460 days, Amanda survives on memory—every lush detail of the world she experienced in her life before captivity—and on strategy, fortitude, and hope. When she is most desperate, she visits a house in the sky, high above the woman kept in chains, in the dark.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

A house in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout

I asked my sisters for a book recommendation and they had both recently finished A House in The Sky. I started reading this book and was instantly captivated by Amanda's story. The book begins with Amanda as a captive in Somalia and then returns to Amandas childhood and adulthood. This was such a captivating read for so many reasons. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

I was really exicted to read this book after finishing Reconstructing Amelia by the same author. I thought this book was great and can't wait to see what else this Author comes up with.  Lots of twists and a great thriller!

Amazon Summary
An idyllic suburban town.
A devastating discovery.
Shocking revelations that will change three lives forever.
At the end of a long winter in well-to-do Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of a newborn is found in the woods fringing the campus of the town's prestigious university. No one knows the identity of the baby, what ended her very short life, or how she came to be found among the fallen leaves. But for the residents of Ridgedale, there is no shortage of opinions.
When freelance journalist and recent Ridgedale transplant Molly Sanderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the disturbing news for the Ridgedale Reader—the town's local paper—she has good reason to hesitate. A severe depression followed the loss of her own baby, and this assignment could unearth memories she has tried hard to bury. But the disturbing history Molly uncovers is not her own. Her investigation reveals a decades-old trail of dark secrets hiding behind Ridgedale's white picket fences.
Told from the perspectives of three Ridgedale women, Kimberly McCreight's taut and profoundly moving novel unwinds the tangled truth behind the tragedy, revealing that these women have far more in common than they could ever have imagined: that the very worst crimes are committed against those we love. And that—sooner or later—the past catches up to all of us.

The Stranger by Harlan Coben

I have read every book Harlan Coben has ever written. Lately some of his books have become predictable and not as thrilling. The Stranger was Harlan Coben at his BEST. I was guessing up until the last page how the twists were going to turn out.

Amazon Summary
The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.

Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne’s deception, and realizes that if he doesn’t make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

If I had not read anything else by Jeannette Walls I would have loved Silver Star, BUT since I have read Jeannette Walls other two biographical books I found this book a slight copy of her other books. The novel was well done and interesting but reminded me too much of The Glass Castle and not an original enough plot.

Amazon Summary
It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, and the sisters start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Liz is whip-smart—an inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox.

Jeannette Walls has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices.

The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

This book was on a list of books to read if you liked Gone Girl. I enjoyed Luckiest Girl Alive, but I do not think it was anywhere near as good or suspensful as Gone Girl. Good, quick read.

Amazon Summary
HER PERFECT LIFE IS A PERFECT LIE.

As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fianc√©, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I loved this quirky book. If only you could hand out a survey and find your true love.
Amazon Summary
The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut “navigates the choppy waters of adult relationships, both romantic and platonic, with a fresh take (USA TODAY). “Filled with humor and plenty of heart, The Rosie Project is a delightful reminder that all of us, no matter how we’re wired, just want to fit in” (Chicago Tribune).

I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

What a thriller! I could not put this book down. Chemical Terrorism in the U.S. Terrifying!

Amazon Summary
A breakneck race against time…and an implacable enemy.

An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.

A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.

A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard.

Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.

A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.

One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey.

Pilgrim.

One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard ( Abe Book)

I was not looking forward to this book about a small town baseball team. I found myself really enjoying the story and rooting for the team. I think a lot of students would enjoy this read, especially the baseball fans.

Amazon Summary
In 1971, a small-town high school baseball team from rural Illinois
playing with hand-me-down uniforms and peace signs on their hats
defied convention and the odds. Led by an English teacher with no
coaching experience, the Macon Ironmen emerged from a field of 370
teams to become the smallest school in modern Illinois history to make the
state final, a distinction that still stands. There, sporting long
hair, and warming up to Jesus Christ Superstar, the Ironmen would play
a dramatic game against a Chicago powerhouse that would change their
lives forever.

Butter by Erin Lange ( Abe Book)

I loved this book. Such a unique concept and a page turner. My heart broke for Butter.

Amazon Summary

A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

I had been wanting to read this book for a while as one of my students LOVED it and it was a contender for the Abe Lincoln list. I added it to my Kindle and my sister started it before I had a chance and she LOVED it. I was very excited to start this book and it did not disappoint. I found myself talking about this book to anyone who would listen. What a remarkable and scary true story. A story that can happen to anyone!

Amazon Summary
An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.

When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?

In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen. “A fascinating look at the disease that . . . could have cost this vibrant, vital young woman her life” (People), Brain on Fire is an unforgettable exploration of memory and identity, faith and love, and a profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Conversion by Katherine Howe

I saw this book as recommendation to read if you liked Fault in Our Stars, Say What You Will and I'll Give You the Sun. As a big fan of the other titles I wanted to try out Conversion. It was a very fast and interesting read. Very different then anything ekse out there right now and a good mystery twist. I highly recommend Conversion

Amazon Summary
It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.

First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.

Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago . . .

Inspired by true events—from seventeenth-century colonial life to the halls of a modern-day high school—Conversion casts a spell. With her signature wit and passion, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe delivers an exciting and suspenseful novel, a chilling mystery that raises the question, what’s really happening to the girls at St. Joan’s?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry ( Abe Book)

I was very hesitant to read this book as Zombies are not necessarily my genre. However, within a few pages I was definitely into the story and eager to read more. I don't know if I'll continue in the series but I did enjoy the pacing and plot of Rot & Ruin.

Amazon Summary
In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

Friday, May 8, 2015

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I really enjoyed this book. I read online that it was a cross between "The Fault in our Stars" and "Eleanor and Park". I think eveyrone will enjoy this book and hopefully learn a lot from the book and the characters.

Amazon Summary
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge ( Abe Book)

This was not my favorite book, but I was intrigued to keep reading and find out how it would all end!

Amazon Summary

The romance of Beauty and the Beast meets the adventure of Graceling in a dazzling fantasy novel about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny. For fans of bestselling authors Kristin Cashore and Alex Flinn, this gorgeously written debut infuses the classic fairy tale with glittering magic, a feisty heroine, and a romance sure to take your breath away.
Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom's mountaintop, nothing is what she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can't resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who's gotten in her way by stealing her heart.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern (Abe Book)

I really enjoyed this book. I found it fascinating learning about Amy's disability and how she worked so hard not to let it hold her back. I also liked the aspect of Matthews OCD and how the two of them came to rely and need each other. I highly recommend to all!

Amazon Summary
John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.
Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.
When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Positive: a memoir by Paige Rawl ( Abe Book)

I really enjoyed this memoir. I felt like a learned a lot from Paige and about HIV and also how important it is to be who you are and stay true to yourself. We can all learn from Paige's positive attiditude on life and her ability to move on from those who tried to hurt her.

Amazon Summary
An astonishing memoir for the untold number of children whose lives have been touched by bullying. Positive is a must-read for teens, their parents, educators, and administrators—a brave, visceral work that will save lives and resonate deeply.
Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth, but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. On an unremarkable day in middle school, she disclosed to a friend her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. From that moment forward, every day was like walking through a minefield. Paige was never sure when or from where the next text, taunt, or hateful message would come. Then one night, desperate for escape, fifteen-year-old Paige found herself in her bathroom staring at a bottle of sleeping pills.
That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning. Paige's memoir calls for readers to choose action over complacency, compassion over cruelty—and above all, to be Positive.
Includes twenty-five photos from Paige's personal collection throughout.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson ( Abe Book)

Wow. I loved this book. Sitting here holding back tears of joy at such an incredible story about family, heartbreak, loss, and being your true self. This could be the winner!

Amazon Summary

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (Abe Book)

I absolutely loved this book. From the first page to the last. I didn't want this book to end and wanted to keep learning about Kimberly's life in America and all her struggles and successes. I have to read more from this author now.

Amazon Summary
When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

Through Kimberly's story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about. Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic American immigrant novel—a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (Abe Book)

I thought the books started off a little slow. I wasn't that interested in the chcracter or the story until about 100 pages in. I couldn't put the book down as I wound down to the final pages. Definitely a great read!

Amazon Summary
For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (Abe Book)

Wow, what a story. I absolutely loved this book from cover to cover. I highly recommend to any and everyone. This is one of those books you just can't put down and once you do it will leave you with chills.

Amazon Summary
Orphan Train is a gripping story of friendship and second chances from Christina Baker Kline, author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be.
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...
As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

This book started strong and ended strong with a really slow middle. I was tempted not to even finish the book but i'm glad I stuck it out. Now the question is to continue with the sequel!

Amazon Summary
Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.
The first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

I loved this book. From start to finish I couldnt wait to figure out the twists and turns of what happened to Amelia. Did she kill herself? Was she murdered? Who would want to hurt her?

Amazon Summary
In Reconstructing Amelia, the stunning debut novel from Kimberly McCreight, Kate's in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter—now. But Kate’s stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.
An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump.
Reconstructing Amelia is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it’s the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save.
Fans of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl will find Reconstructing Amelia just as gripping and surprising.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagla

What a horrible sad story of the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami.

Amazon Summary
In an unblinking act of storytelling, Sonali Deraniyagala ruthlessly chronicles the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that horrifically snatched from her all that mattered. Throughout this fierce and furious book, I kept wondering how someone who lost so much could write about it with such power, economy and grace. At first, she shrieks and grieves openly, angrily; for years she remains stunned and staggered, shamed by “the outlandish truth of me.” Then, slowly, she allows herself to remember, sharing vivid glimpses of her past. We see, hear, and smell two rowdy little boys, their brotherly scuffling, their muddy shoes and grass stains. By confronting and recreating moments that make us laugh and weep, we accept their absence and root for the author not to quit. Difficult to describe, tricky to recommend, this is a bold and wondrous book. In a wounded voice that manages to convey the snide, sarcastic, funny, and fatalistic personality that survives beneath the pain, Deraniyagala slowly pieces together the elements that represent the life--the lives--she lost. And she brings them back. For us, for her, for them. So brave, so beautiful, in these pages Deraniyagala’s family is brilliantly alive. And so is she.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Reality Boy by A.S. King

I have been a fan of A.S. King's since Please Ignore Vera Dietz and then fell in love with Ask the Passengers. While I enjoyed this book I wouldn't consider it to be a favorite. Very unique concept for a young adult novel. What happens to the stars of reality shows years later.

Amazon Summary
In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child television 'star' struggling to break free of the oppressive anger he's felt since he was five years old. Twelve years later, he's still haunted by his rage-filled youth - which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle - and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts; everyone is just waiting for him to snap. And he's starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that...until he chooses to create possibilities for himself that he never knew he deserved.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Isla and The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

I really liked this book. I thought the character of Isla was very relatable and a sweet love story. I read Anna and the French Kiss but haven't had the chance to read Lola and the boy next door. The author incorporated the old characters from her books into this new one which I thought was pretty cool for loyal fans.

Amazon Summary
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wither by Lauren Destefano

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was an interesting premise and a likeable lead character.

Amazon Summary
What if you knew exactly when you’d die? The first book of The Chemical Garden Trilogy.

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years--leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead

I enjoyed this book. From the beginning I wanted to keep reading to find out who Henry (Hank) David was and how he lost his memory. I think this would be a great read for everyone.

Amazon Summary
Seventeen-year-old "Hank" has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything--who he is, where he came from, why he's running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David--or "Hank"--and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of--Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead's remarkable debut novel about a teen in search of himself. As Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past he realizes that the only way he can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past to stop running and find his way home.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Panic by Lauren Oliver

I loved this book. I thought it was an interesting plot and I enjoyed the perspective from the two main characters. I highly recommend this book for all my students.

Amazon Summary
 Imagine a game that required you to walk, on a dark rainy night, across a narrow plank 50 feet in the air between two water towers. What could be worth that or any of the other terrifying tests of reckless courage in the game of Panic? For Dodge and Heather, graduating high school seniors of Carp, population 12,000, winning means a $67,000 chance at freedom from their claustrophobic town. In Panic, Lauren Oliver's characters are imbued with the emotional intricacy of teenagers hungry for both connection and new beginnings, some hiding secrets that blunt even the most frightening challenge the game can impose. Although there can only be one winner, a competition based on fear shapes powerful new relationships, understanding, and even forgiveness.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh


I had to read this book for a program I am participating in. Initially, I was not looking forward to this read, until I opened it up. I truly ejoyed this graphic novel and found myself laughing out loud as I read each short essay about the authors life.

Amazon Summary
Who among us has not, in moments that sometimes bleed through years, even decades, felt weird, desperate, and absurd--wishing we could turn all the lamest, most shameful episodes in our lives into hilarious illustrated anecdotes? If you’re one of the millions hanging on Allie Brosh’s every blog post, you already know you’ll love Hyperbole and a Half in book form, especially since half its hyperboles are new. If you’re suspicious of books because you live in a world of the INTERNET FOREVER, this is where you make an exception. If you just stumbled across Brosh and can’t yet grasp the allure of a Web comic illustrated by rudimentary MS Paint figures, believe the hype. Brosh has a genius for allowing us to channel her weird childhood and the fits and starts of her adulthood through the manic eyes, gaping mouths, and stick-like arms in the panels that masterfully advance her stories, and she delivers her relentless commentary with deadpan hilarity. Neurosis has rarely been so relatable and entertaining.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

I really enjoyed this book. I woul categorize it as Romance/Fantasy. Interesting premise and plot. Thinking about reading the sequel!

Amazon Summary
Kestrel is a pampered general's daughter who's chafing under the restrictions of her privileged position. With her love of music and an aversion to fighting, she's not the best role model in a society of conquering warriors. Arin is a slave, Kestrel's property, purchased in a fit of guilt during an outing with a friend. If spending an unseemly amount on Arin wasn't gossip fodder enough, being seen around town with the handsome blacksmith isn't helping. They forge an unlikely friendship that begins to buckle under the constraints of slavery, an impending revolution, and a love that no one can justify. Rutkoski's debut crafts a world of aristocrats and slaves that has few differences from standard medieval fare. While romance lovers will easily fall into the rhythm of the story, those looking for something new and different will find it a little flat and predictable. Collections light on historical romance may add the title with confidence, but those with a solid selection won't miss it.

Me and Early and the Dying Girl


I wanted to like this book but I just couldnt get into it. I found the movie scenes to be annoying and slow. Not my favorite book.

Amazon Summary
A frequently hysterical confessional from a teen narrator who won't be able to convince readers he's as unlikable as he wants them to believe.
"I have no idea how to write this stupid book," narrator Greg begins. Without answering the obvious question—just why is he writing" this stupid book"?—Greg lets readers in on plenty else. His filmmaking ambitions. His unlikely friendship with the unfortunately short, chain-smoking, foulmouthed, African-American Earl of the title. And his unlikelier friendship with Rachel, the titular "dying girl." Punctuating his aggressively self-hating account with film scripts and digressions, he chronicles his senior year, in which his mother guilt-trips him into hanging out with Rachel, who has acute myelogenous leukemia. Almost professionally socially awkward, Greg navigates his unwanted relationship with Rachel by showing her the films he's made with Earl, an oeuvre begun in fifth grade with their remake of Aguirre, Wrath of God. Greg's uber-snarky narration is self-conscious in the extreme, resulting in lines like, "This entire paragraph is a moron." Debut novelist Andrews succeeds brilliantly in painting a portrait of a kid whose responses to emotional duress are entirely believable and sympathetic, however fiercely he professes his essential crappiness as a human being.

The Strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender

I throughly enjoyed this book. If I had to categorize it I would say fantasy light, a little whimsical and a little realistic. I think students would enjoy this book.

Amazon Summary
Though the titular Ava serves as narrator and ultimately the tale's heroine, her story spans multiple generations, starting with her great-grandmother, remembered only as Maman, an immigrant to "Manhatine" two generations earlier. Through the eyes of her grandmother Emilienne, and then her mother Vivianne, Ava's lineage unfolds. Emilienne, suffering a broken heart, leaves New York and travels to Seattle, where she sets up shop as a baker on Pinnacle Lane. She gives birth to Vivianne, Ava's mother, who later suffers her own heartbreak and gives birth to Ava in 1944. Ava is a normal girl with one notable exception: she was born with the wings of a bird. Ava looks to the stories of her matriarchs to make sense of her own life and to understand how to navigate the world as both an "other" and a typical teenage girl. It is not until a fateful day in her 16th year that many narrative threads come to a head. This multigenerational tale examines love and considers the conflicting facets of loving and being loved--desire, despair, depression, obsession, self-love, and courage. Difficult to categorize, this is a mystical tale, a historical novel, a coming-of-age story, laced with folkloric qualities and magic realism, often evocative of great narratives like Erin Morgenstern's transcendent The Night Circus (Doubleday, 2011) or the classic Like Water for Chocolate (Anchor, 1995) by Laura Esquivel. It is beautifully crafted and paced, mystical yet grounded by universal themes and sympathetic characters. A unique book, highly recommended for readers looking for something a step away from ordinary.