Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Hilly Biddle wants to be a journalist, a real one that tells the truth, sorting fact from fiction. As one of the best writers for her high school newspaper, The Core, Hilly wants to do the best job she can. Hilly lives in a small, apple-picking town in upstate NY. When murders begin piling up near an old--and allegedly haunted—abandoned house, and signs that warn people to stay away mysteriously appear on the lawn, it’s up to Hilly and the school newspaper to figure out the truth. However, the panic from the locals, and the sensationalized writings from the town’s newspaper that is creating even more fear in the community, has Hilly’s truth angle in the minority. Are things really as they appear to be? When Hilly and her friends get too close to the truth, their school newspaper is suspiciously shut down after the lead reporter from the town’s newspaper tries sues the school on the grounds of slander. What connection does this reporter have the mysterious occurrences surrounding the haunted house? Why does Hilly’s secret newspaper, The Peel, which features anonymous articles that threaten to expose the truth, cause so much controversy among the townspeople?

Peeled by Joan Bauer is a cute, well-written mystery, with a plot reminiscent of what you might see in an episode of Scooby Doo.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Goodreads Choice Awards

The 2011 Goodreads ( best book award results are in! The awards covered a variety of genres in both childrens, YA, and adult fiction, as well as non-fiction for adult categories.

The winner for best 2011book is the extremely popular Divergent by Veronica Roth. Divergent also won for best YA in the category of Fantasy/Sci-fi.

Divergent takes place in future Chicago, where sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

Read more about the awards--and check out an amazing site to keep track of what books you've read and want to read--here:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Liesl and Po

The sun hasn’t shown in over 1,000 days, and it’s been three days since Liesl’s father died. Liesl has been locked up in her step-mother’s tower—to keep her out of harm’s way, of course—since her father died. One night, a cookie-cutter figure of a person materializes in her dark room, along with its pet companion. The ghost’s name is Po and it came from the Other Side. When asked if it is a boy or a girl, Po explains it doesn’t remember; on the Other Side, things are different. So begins the friendship of Po and Liesl. Around the same time that Po and Liesl meet, we are introduced to Will, the Alchemist’s orphan apprentice. Will has just been given another late night assignment, to deliver to most impressive magic the Alchemist has ever created to the Lady Premiere and also to get materials from the coroner. The magic he must give to the Lady is rumored to bring the dead back to life. Will accidentally mixes up the box with the magic and the box at the coroner’s that holds Liesl’s father’s ashes. From that one mistake, Will finds himself on the run. Liesl, too, is on the run, having escaped from the tower to deliver what she thinks is her father’s ashes to their old home. Liesl, Will, and Po find themselves in the adventure of a life time and form a friendship strong enough to transcend dimensions.

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver (acclaimed author of Before I Fall and Delirium) is a charming tale about friendship, magic, family, and the power of belief. Oliver’s writing is lyrical, with a fairy tale quality. Illustrations interspersed throughout the book really make the story come alive. This book is highly recommended for fans of the supernatural, fairy tales, and books with beautiful writing.

A Monster Calls

There is one thing that scares Connor more than anything in the world, more than when his father left him and his mother to move to America, more than his creepy grandma, and more than his mother’s cancer that never seems to get better. This is Connor’s one truth, a truth that hides itself in a horrible, incessant nightmare that no one can ever know about. On a particularly stormy night, when the old Yew tree outside his house comes alive, turning itself into a horrible, leafy monster and calls to Connor, Connor is not scared; this monster is not the same monster as in his nightmare. The monster, which has always preferred to take the shape of a Yew tree, is as old as stars, wide as the sky, and righteous in a way that would confuse most humans. The monster has only come walking three times before Connor called it and he tells Connor that he will share three stories with him. When he is done with these tales of royal quarrels, selfish apothecaries, and a wicked step-mother, Connor must tell him a story, the truth he has never dared tell anyone.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is lyrical, haunting and heart-wrenching; it’s one of those rare books that will stay with you forever. The stark black illustrations throughout the book add even more depth to the story and characters. Make sure to have some tissues nearby when you get towards the end of the book. One of the best books I’ve read this year!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Future of Us Book Review

Imagine you've just gotten a new computer. You power it up, go on the internet and are immediately brought to a Facebook page. It's actually your Facebook page, only it is your Facebook page from the future. Your future. Fifteen years from now. Would you read every detail about yourself and try to change the things you don't like or would you ignore it and let things happen as they are supposed to? That's the dilemma that friends Emma and Josh face in
The Future of Us by Jay Asher (13 Reasons Why) and Carolyn Mackler (Tangled).

It's 1996 and Facebook hasn't even been invented yet, but when Emma's dad buys her a computer and she signs on to AOL (WECLOME!) she spies her future Facebook page and realizes that not only can she learn her fate, but she can also change the outcome. The things she does when she is 15 can alter the things that happen to her when she is 30.

Emma and Josh, have big decisions to make. Do they keep reading Facebook and do what they can to make their futures what they want them to be? Or do they log off and keep the future well, in the future? And why aren't they even Facebook friends when they grow up? Talk about a tough decision.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Throughout his entire life, 17-year-old Alton has heard stories about his rich great-uncle. Though he’s only met him once, said uncle must continually be told he is Alton’s “favorite uncle” whenever they talk on the phone, as per his parents’ request. Alton’s parents have made it very clear that they want to be listed in the uncle’s will and must continually try and get in his good graces. This is pretty hard to do, considering his uncle’s heart is “cold as stone” and he’s really not interested in accepting dinner invitations from Alton’s mother nor spending time with Alton and his sister. One day, Alton’s uncle calls, asking Alton if he would like to be his card tuner. Alton’s uncle is a high-ranking bridge player, and after going blind, he requires someone to play the cards he picks. While being a card turner starts out as a chore for Alton—and a way to get the family on his good side—, Alton soon finds himself immersed in the game of bridge and begins to really connect with his uncle. Alton learns there is more to his uncle than meets the eye in this fascinating novel of bridge, family, friendship, love and loss.