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Friday, May 20, 2016

The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith

"I was thinking, what if the world was like that?  What if we only saw one surface of it, the outside, but there was all kinds of other stuff going on, too?  All the time.  Underneath.  But we just don't see it, even if we're part of it?  Even if we're in it?  And what if you had a chance to see a different layer, like flipping a channel or something?  Would you want to look?  Even if what you saw looked like hell?  Or worse?" 

I think this passage from The Marbury Lens sums it all up pretty perfectly.  It was a wild journey from beginning to end.  It was a story that not only makes the main character question what is real, but will make the reader do the same as well. 

This was the first novel of Andrew Smith's that I have read that was written before Winger.  Much like everything else I have read by him, this one is going to stick with me for a while.  It was haunting and beautiful all at once.

From Amazon:

Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.

There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys.

Conner is there, too. But he's trying to kill them.

Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he's losing his mind.

Conner tells Jack it's going to be okay.

But it's not.

Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

     "A few seconds later, he shot up from under the water in a big, loud splash.  "Did that just happen?" he yelled, wiping water out of his eyes."

     "That just happened," Clark said." 

This is exactly how I feel after finishing this book.  That just happened.  I love the writing of John Corey Whaley, and this novel shows exactly why.  Highly Illogical Behavior is as beautiful as his first two novels were.  His characters become so real that every happiness, every hurt, and every ounce of hope they feel, the reader feels along with them.  My only complaint is that it was over too soon and who knows how long I am going to have to wait to read something from John Corey Whaley again. 

Here is the book trailer:

From Amazon:

Teen and adult fans of All The Bright Places, Me and Earl and the Dying Girland Everything, Everything will adore this quirky story of coming-of-age, coming out, friendship, love...and agoraphobia.
Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there?

Solomon is the answer.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark and confiding her fears in him. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they’d be, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well. 

A hilarious and heartwarming coming-of-age perfect for readers of Matthew Quick and Rainbow Rowell, Highly Illogical Behavior showcases the different ways in which we hide ourselves from the world—and the ways in which love, tragedy, and the need for connection may be the only things to bring us back into the light.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

What a great read!  While this is a book that has basketball in it, it is so much more than a basketball book.  This is a book about family, and growing up, and loss, and so much more.  Kwame Alexander tells his story in such an incredible voice, through the power of poetry.  It won't take you long to read it, but you will enjoy the ride for a long time to come.

From Amazon:

"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander.

   Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.