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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Stick by Andrew Smith

Stick was another wonderful read by Andrew Smith.  Like everything else I have read by him, I loved it.  Smith provides the reader with another wonderful voice in that of Stark "Stick" McClellan.  He makes you want to root for and rescue Stick and his brother Bosten as they deal with the terrible situation they are stuck in with their abusive parents.  When Bosten finally runs away, we want nothing more than for Stick to find his brother and become whole again.  Smith again gives us a story that is both heartbreaking and hopeful all in one.  Only a couple more books to check off my Andrew Smith list and I will be all caught up.   

From Amazon:

Fourteen-year-old Stark McClellan (nicknamed Stick because he's tall and thin) is bullied for being "deformed" - he was born with only one ear. His older brother Bosten is always there to defend Stick. But the boys can't defend one another from their abusive parents.

When Stick realizes Bosten is gay, he knows that to survive his father's anger, Bosten must leave home. Stick has to find his brother, or he will never feel whole again. In his search, he will encounter good people, bad people, and people who are simply indifferent to kids from the wrong side of the tracks. But he never loses hope of finding love - and his brother.

From Andrew Smith, the Printz-Honor author of Grasshopper Jungle and Winger, this is a powerful young adult novel full of joy, heartbreak, and survival.

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

Monday, June 27, 2016

Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz

This book, it tears me up.  It stuns me out.  It was incredible.  Last Night I Sang to the Monster is a story about addiction, and one teen's battle with his monster.  It is sad.  It is depressing.  It is hopeless.  And at the same time, it is wonderful.  It is uplifting.  It is hopeful.  I cannot sing the praises of this book any higher.  I loved it and it is a book that is going to stick with me for quite a while.  Thank you Adelyn Soellner for suggesting this book to me.

From Amazon:

Last Night I Sang to the Monster was chosen as one of the Top Ten YA Books of Fiction in 2010.

Zach is eighteen, bright, and articulate. He's also an alcoholic, in rehab instead of high school, but he doesn't remember how he got there. What's up with that?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Blind by Rachel Dewoskin

This book was okay.  It wasn't my favorite book I have read this summer.  It was definitely an interesting read.  It is told from the perspective of a character who could once see, but due to a fireworks accident, is now bling.  Emma has to learn how to deal with her new disability and figure how not only how to live, but who she really is.  This novel was very character driven.  

From Amazon:

A powerful story about blindness from an award-winning author.

When Emma Sasha Silver loses her eyesight in a nightmare accident, she must relearn everything from walking across the street to recognizing her own sisters to imagining colors. One of seven children, Emma used to be the invisible kid, but now it seems everyone is watching her. And just as she’s about to start high school and try to recover her friendships and former life, one of her classmates is found dead in an apparent suicide. Fifteen and blind, Emma has to untangle what happened and why—in order to see for herself what makes life worth living.

Unflinching in its portrayal of Emma’s darkest days, yet full of hope and humor, Rachel DeWoskin’s brilliant Blind is one of those rare books that utterly absorbs the reader into the life and experience of another.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Merciless by Danielle Vega


I really enjoyed The Merciless.  It was a fun read.  If you are looking for something that is kind of creepy and very suspenseful, this one will do the trick.  I really enjoyed The Merciless.  It was a fun read. There is a sequel coming out in just over a week, and after this one, I will definitely be reading the second one.    

From Amazon:

"Page-to-page Stephen King-style terror..."—Booklist"The Merciless is chilling...think 'Mean Girls' meets 'The Exorcist.'"—

Pretty Little Liars fans, get a sneak peek at your new favorite book The Mercilessa nail biting thriller.”Seventeen Magazine

Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.

Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.

Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls...unless she wants to be next.

By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

We are the Ants by Shaun Davi Hutchinson

"If the world were going to end, and you could stop it, would you?"

This is the question that Henry Denton continues to ask in We are the Ants.  As he tries to figure out who he really is, he also starts to discover so much more about the other people in his life.  But is that life worth saving?  Henry has until January 29, 2016, to figure it all out.

This is a book that I stuck in my backpack a long time ago, with the intention to read it next.  I kept finding something else to read instead.  After finishing this, I'm mad that I waited so long.  I absolutely loved this book.  If you are looking for something funny, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and thought provoking (among many other things), give this one a try.  You won't regret it.    

From Amazon:

From the “author to watch” (Kirkus Reviews) of The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley comes a brand-new novel about a teenage boy who must decide whether or not the world is worth saving.

Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button.

Only he isn’t sure he wants to.

After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.

Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him.

But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever.

Booked by Kwame Alexander

Wow!!!  This was such a beautiful read.  Kwame Alexander followed up The Crossover with Booked and it doesn't disappoint.  Just like its predecessor, this is all in verse.  The language is beautiful and just takes your breath away at times.  I HIGHLY recommend this read!

"Hey April,
I finished the book.
the beginning
was a little slow
but the ending was tight.
The poems
were cool.
The best ones were
like bombs,
and when all the right words
came together
it was like an explosion."

From Amazon:

Like lightning/you strike/fast and free/legs zoom/down field/eyes fixed/on the checkered ball/on the goal/ten yards to go/can’t nobody stop you/
can’t nobody cop you…

In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER, soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read. 

This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match!

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

I really enjoyed this one.  The Darkest Corners was thrilling and tense from the very beginning.  You will venture through this journey with Tessa as she tries to unravel a mystery that is 10 years old on the surface, but goes much deeper than that.  We venture in to the dark underbelly of society as we try to figure out whether the Ohio River Monster is really in jail, or has been free all these years.  It was an excellent read!

From Amazon:

 "Gripping from start to finish . . . with twists that left me shocked."—Victoria Aveyard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Red Queen

For fans of Gillian Flynn and Pretty Little Liars, The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

    There are secrets around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about what happened there that last summer.
    She and her childhood best friend Callie never talked about what they saw. Not before the trial. And certainly not after.
    But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.
    Only the closer Tessa gets to what really happened, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Survive the Night by Danielle Vega

I enjoy reading a bit or horror now and again, and Survive the Night helped to satisfy that need. It was a fun read. If you are a fan of horror, you will enjoy it. There aren't a lot of moments that will outright scare you and make you jump, but the novel's intensity will keep you on edge throughout the story. 

From Amazon:

Stephen King meets Pretty Little Liars in this pulse-pounding novel from the author of The Merciless

Just back from rehab, Casey regrets letting her friends Shana, Julie, and Aya talk her into coming to Survive the Night, an all-night, underground rave in a New York City subway tunnel. Surrounded by frightening drugs and menacing strangers, Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse...

...until she comes across Julie’s mutilated body in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Casey thought she was just off with some guy—no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music. And by the time they get back to the party, everyone is gone.

Desperate for help, Casey and her friends find themselves running through the putrid subway tunnels, searching for a way out. But every manhole is sealed shut, and every noise echoes eerily in the dark, reminding them they’re not alone.

They’re being hunted.

Trapped underground with someone—or something—out to get them, Casey can’t help but listen to Aya’s terrified refrain: “We’re all gonna die down here.”

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Passenger by Andrew Smith

The name of this novel, Passenger, says it all.  Buckle up, because you are in for a ride.  Jack and Conner are back in this follow up to The Marbury Lens.  They will take you further in to Marbury and many places that may or may not be Marbury.  Just like the characters in this book, you will continuously be questioning what is real and what isn't.  This was a great sequel to the first.

From Amazon:

Best friends Jack and Conner can't stay away from Marbury. It's partly because of their obsession with this alternate world and the unresolved war that still wages there. But it's also because forces in Marbury―including the darkest of the dark, who were not revealed in The Marbury Lens―are beckoning the boys back in order to save their friends . . . and themselves.

The boys try to destroy the lens that transports them to Marbury. But that dark world is not so easily reckoned with. Reality and fantasy, good and evil―Andrew Smith's masterpiece closes the loop that began with The Marbury Lens. But is it really closed? Can it ever be?