Monday, December 13, 2010

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben

A fascinating, compulsive page-turner that weaves together a group of families in a New Jersey suburb. When teenager Adam Baye's best friend commits suicide, Adam's parents become concerned that they are 'losing' him and decide to install spyware on his personal computer. When Adam disappears, his parents get swept up into a criminal investigation as they frantically try to find their missing son. The secrets that lie buried in this seemingly normal community create a web of intrigue that slowly connects them all to an explosive climax.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sundays At Tiffany's by James Patterson

An utterly charming, whimsical romance! Jane is a lonely little girl whose mother is the head of a Broadway theater company and has no time for her. While growing up, Jane has always had a handsome friend that only she can see...then suddenly when she is nine-years-old, he tells her he must go away. Now in her early thirties, Jane is as lonely as ever, when suddenly, she and Michael, her imaginary childhood friend become reunited.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Eternal by Cynthia L. Smith

Told in alternating narratives between main character, Miranda and her guardian angel, Zachary. A dark comedy/romance about a guardian angel that falls in love with the soul he guards, and his heroic efforts to save her after she is turned into a vampire by the legendary Dracul.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wake by Lisa McMann -- Book Trailer

Unwind Fanmade Trailer

Twisted Book Trailer

A Thousand Splendid Suns Book Trailer

Spanking Shakespeare

Rucker Park Setup Book Trailer

Right Behind You by Gail Giles Book Trailer

Just Listen

Jerk California book trailer

The Hunger Games - Trailer (fan made)

Rachel Sontag-House Rules: A Memoir-Author interview

Hold Tight - Harlan Coben

Graceling Trailer - Fan-Made

Evermore book trailer

Elsewhere book trailer

Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Deadline by Chris Crutcher

Boot Camp by Todd Strasser trailer

Artichoke's Heart

Artichoke's Heart

Book Trailer- Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Everafter by Amy Huntley

The haunting story of 17 year-old Maddy Staunton who discovers that she is dead....but doesn't remember how she died. She is surrounded by glowing objects of hers that she lost during her life. The objects take her back to the moment in her life when she lost them. The experience helps her to understand her life with greater clarity until finally, she discovers the shocking events leading up to her own death.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

A supernatural thriller and love story, with a plot that will grip your senses! Nora Grey, a high school sophomore gets a new biology partner. Patch is mysterious, handsome and ... immortal. Suddenly, Nora finds Patch's presence everywhere, even in her mind. She also discovers that another presence is watching her - and trying to kill her! Fitzpatrick has written a rather unique story about fallen angels and their interactions with humans with a plot that intensifies right to the end.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Seventeen-year-old Tyler has always thought of himself as a 'loser.' Taunted and abused by bullies all through grade school, he finally does something that gets him some notice - he gets caught vandalizing the school. After working all summer with the school maintenance department as part of his sentence, Tyler is strong and pumped. This gets him the notice of the girl of his dreams - Bethany Milbury, whose father is his dad's boss. The budding relationship between Tyler and Bethany create a stream of unfortunate events that changes both of them and causes Tyler to finally confront his angry father.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Literary Leydenites: Wench: a novel by Dolan Perkins-Valdez

Literary Leydenites: Wench: a novel by Dolan Perkins-Valdez: "Tawawa House in many respects is like any other American resort before the Civil War. Situated in Ohio, this idyllic retreat is particularly..."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

From the opening page, where 15-year-old Liz Hall is hit by a taxi, the book is a fascinating story about the possibilities of the afterlife. Liz wakes up in a place called 'Elsewhere' which is both like and unlike Earth. Though Liz mourns her mortal life, she slowly adjusts to her new 'life' as she opens herself up to the promise of new experiences. A compelling read!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Chris Cleave's Little Bee works because the unflinching, brutal story balances an outwardly political motive with rich, deep character development (and even some welcome humor), focusing narrowly on events before broadening to reveal some larger truths. Cleave's firm grasp of human nature and his unsparing disdain for injustice allow him to articulate lives as different as those of Little Bee and the less-likeable Sarah; both characters, though, are unforgettable. Comparisons between Cleave and fellow Brits Ian McEwan and John Banville are apt. All others agreed, however, that Cleave's sophomore effort is, as the Chicago Sun-Times succinctly put it, "a loud shout of talent."Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Not my usual type of novel, but I was pleasantly surprised! Suspenseful and eerie as it depicts a futuristic society divided into twelve districts in which 2 representatives from each district are chosen by a lottery, and compete in an annual game of survival - to the death. The book is narrated by Katniss, a sharp, no-nonsense young girl from one of the impoverished districts. She takes the place of her younger sister, Prim whom she is devoted to. Katniss competes in the competition, which is considered 'entertainment,' readers will find her experiences make for a gripping, and at times, tender story. Read the sequel, "Catching Fire."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rucker Park Setup by Paul Volponi

A tense, exciting novel that intertwines basketball, betting, friendship and murder into an action-packed urban suspense story. Mackey and J.R. grew up together playing basketball in Rucker Park, where the neighborhood watched professional NBA players go up against street legends. When they both get picked to play in a big tournament, J.R. is the victim of a fatal stabbing and only Mackey knows the truth. Will he do the right thing? Read the book and find out!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Paper Towns by John Green

Another winner from one of our favorite authors! Green has an unusual knack for portraying realistic experiences and honest dialogue among his characters - and making it both profound and amusing. Set in Orlando, Florida, it is the story of the enigmatic Margo Roth Spiegelman, as told by her classmate Quentin, who worships her from afar. When Margo goes missing again in senior year, it is up to Quentin to unravel the mystery and find her.

Artichoke's Heart: a novel by Suzanne Supplee

This was one of the most charming books I've read this year! The story is set in Spring Hill, Tennessee and features the smart and funny Rosemary Goode - a self-conscious, overweight teen whose single mother owns Heavenly Hair, the most popular and gossipy beauty salon in town. The plot is a thoughtful and humorous look at Rosemary's senior year of high school as her social life and figure transform.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

An update on the Romeo and Juliet star-crossed lovers theme, this novel is told in the alternating voices of Brittany Ellis,a rich, blonde suburbanite who seems to be perfect and Alejandro Fuentes, a rough, poor gang member, trying to keep his family safe. This unlikely pair are forced together as chemistry partners for a project. Set in the burbs of Chicago, the trials and tribulations of this sympathetic couple makes a read that you just can't put down.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Nation of Amor Book Trailer

A Nation of Amor by Christopher McConnell

Set in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, the story begins in the 1960's with the Matos brothers, Angel, Bobo and Reynaldo. Frustrated with the way the Puerto Rican community is treated, the brothers form the Latin Kings street gang as a way to protect their people. McConnell, a native of Chicago's West side, vividly captures the dialogue and culture of the street. Told in alternating narratives by several main characters, the story paints a realistic portrait of tough choices, politics, corruption, gentrification and the immigrant experience.

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

On a summer trip to visit her long absent father, seventeen-year-old Kristina, a dutiful young girl and straight-A student, is introduced to meth aka crank. She immediately gets caught up in the unfamiliar yet captivating lifestyle of a crank addict and develops and alter ego - Bree. Once Kristina "shakes hands with the monster" her alter ego of Bree begins to take over, sending her life spiraling out of control, with devastating consequences. Hopkins, a former poet, writes the novel in free verse which gives the story even more impact. Hopkins also writes a short author's note to the reader, revealing that the story references her own struggle to save her daughter from "the monster."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm Down: a Memoir by Mishna Wolff

Mishna Wolff presents her amusing, bittersweet memoir about growing up with a divorced, white father who truly believes he is a black man, and begins a crusade to make his daughter "down." A sensitive, hilarious and hip story about an awkward white girl's struggle to fit in, in a working-class black neighborhood. Readers will relate to the author's challenge to develop her own identity in the midst of being pushed and prodded by her father and others to be what they want her to be. A highly recommended read.

Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner

Shakespeare Shapiro hates his name, yet despite his angst, he is a lovable character that manages to see the humor in any situation. Wizner's portrayal of Shakespeare is never boring, in fact, he pushes the adolescent humor to the limit. As Shakespeare enters his senior year of high school, he humorously narrates the process of writing the memoir of his embarassing life. Adolescent male readers will find much material here to snicker about as Shakespeare puts his witty pen to his family, friends, and his quest to get a date.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

As the story begins, Percy Jackson seems like a typical, contemporary 12-year old from New York City - with a few extra problems: he has ADHD, he's also dyslexic, his father left before he was born, and he's been kicked out of six schools in six years. Unfortunately, things are going to get worse....Percy discovers that he is a demigod, i.e, he's half-human, and half-god, his father being Poseidon, God of the Sea! As if that isn't enough, he discovers his best friend is a satyr. Riordan has written a humorous and exciting adventure story that puts a contemporary spin on classical mthology. The first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Read the book, then see the movie!

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

The third book in the Inheritance Cycle finds Eragon and Saphira facing many new challenges in their quest to assist the Varden in destroying Galbatorix and his empire. Brisingr reveals long-held secrets that help to fill gaps in the story; though there are less battle scenes, they are more intense than in the previous two volumes. Fans will have to wait for the eagerly anticipated fourth book though to see how the quest ends. Readers of Fantasy, especially those who favor the work of J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, will enjoy this engaging series.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ruined: a Ghost Story by Paula Morris

Beat Voices: an anthology of Beat Poetry by David Kherdian

Kherdian presents a collection of American poetry by and about the Beat Generation, featuring such poets as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Diane di Prima and others.
David Kherdian lived in San Francisco during the 1950's and '60's during the height of the beat movement, until "the Hippie invasion of Haight-Ashbury." His introduction presents an intimate look at some of the "Angel-headed Hipsters" of that influential literary and cultural movement. Many of the Beat poets were themselves influenced by William Blake and Walt Whitman, to name a few. The poetry of the Beats heralded a revolution that shaped future generations of poets. This book serves as an insightful introduction to the era and the poets that defined that era. Ms. Monegato

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Audio Book: Sorta Like A Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Sorta Like A Rock Star is excellent young adult literature. An unusual premiss; Amber Appleton, a poor homeless girl and her mother live in the back of a school bus that her mother drives during the day to earn money. In the face of all hardships, our 16 year old "rock star" remains relentlessly optimistic. One day, however, tradegy strikes, and the horror of it challenges Amber in ways she never anticipated. Will her faith in mankind withstand the unexpcted brutality of a total stranger?

Read by Cynthia Holloway whose acting career spans stage, film and television as well as other work requiring theatrical ability. As the reader of Sorta Like a Rock Star she assigns each character a different voice and a believeable set of emotions. She makes you smile, laugh and cry as Amber Appleton, aka "Rock Star" clings to an optimistic view of life in the face of great odds that would lead a weaker soul to despair.

Audio Book: The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

"It's hard not to feel sorry for seventeen-year-old Alton Richards when his parents rope him into driving his cranky, blind, great-Uncle Lester to his bridge club four times a week - during summer vacation, no less. Even worse: Alton must be Uncle Lester's eyes during this old-fashioned game; his cardturner. As the summer wears on, Alton, in turn, learns the game of bridge requires players to look beyond the surface, which extends to the way he perceives his uncle. Despite his blindness, Uncle Lester is quite insightful. The Cardturner by Louis Sachar is a wholly original story that breaks many rules of what should be an interesting book for teens. It's about bridge - a game for old people and not even parent old, more like grandparent old. I can assure you, the author manages to make the subject not only a good read, but you may even consider playing bridge because the book provides some "how to" tips as a bonus. In his Newbery Award winning Holes, Mr. Sachar broke a few rules, too. And I, for one, hope that he continues to be his wonderful non-conformist self , writing about whatever subject or story moves him." -- Reviewed by Michelle Delisle for Whatcha Reading Now?
Read by Luis Sachar, the author, this audio book would benefit from narration by a trained actor as the subject matter can be dry (if you aren't into cards). Never-the-less, Sachars enthusiasm for the card game Bridge comes through loud and clear in his reading and, at times, is very contagous.

Audio Book: Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman

"Vince Luca, 17, has always been concerned, embarrassed, and fearful about his crime-family background, though he has sworn never to become involved or to let it keep him from upstanding behavior. During his senior year, all he wants is romance, friendship, and to get through school, just like any normal guy, but things don't go as planned. His new girlfriend turns out to be the daughter of the FBI agent who is bugging his house; his older brother has figured out how to use his New Media class Web-page project for a bookmaking scheme; and he decides to save two lowlifes who owe big bucks to his father from the pains of mob revenge." Review from School Lirary Journal
Reader Max Casella spits Korman's words out at a rapid fire pace, and the speed is perfect for this delightfully humorous story that spoofs organized crime. "Uncle Pampers" and "Uncle N0-nose" will have you laughing out loud. He successfully conveys Vince's determination, frustration and acceptance of the absurd as the high schooler tries explaining to his family that he is "not goin' inta da bizness." Vince desires may be pure and authentic, but sometimes life just gets in the way of our deepest desires.

Audio Book: Boy in the Stripped Pajamas by John Boyne

Berlin, 1942: When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new home out-side of a Nazi concentration camp, where his father will be incharge. At the camp a tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the people on the other side. People in stripped pajamas. While exploring his new environment, he meets a boy his own age, who lives on the other side of the fence and whose life and circumstances are very different to his own. Their meeting slowly turns into a friendship that has devastating consequences.
Reader, Michael Maloney, digs deep, calling on all of his training as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company to successfully convey the confusion, delight, and then outrage of our central character, nine-year old Bruno. He is particularly convicing, and heartbreaking, as he relates the terrible abuse and torment inflicted by the controlling soldier on the "people in the striped pajamas."

Audio Book: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

When Clary Fray witnesses three tattoo-covered teenagers murder another teen, she is unable to prove the crime because the victim disappears right in front of her eyes, and no one else can see the killers. She learns that the teens are Shadowhunters (humans who hunt and kill demons), and Clary, a mundie (i.e., mundane human), should not be able to see them either. Shortly after this discovery, her mother, Jocelyn, an erstwhile Shadowhunter, is kidnapped. Jocelyn is the only person who knows the whereabouts of The Mortal Cup, a dangerous magical item that turns humans into Shadowhunters. Clary must find the cup and keep it from a renegade sector of Shadowhunters bent on eliminating all nonhumans, including benevolent werewolves and friendly vampires. Review from the School Library Journal
Narrator, Ari Graynor, does a good job keeping the story moving along, but fails to differentiate the voices of the various teens or successfully convey their emotions. In spite of these short comings, it is still easy to tell the characters apart and the story is steller making the emotions obvious.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Boot Camp!

Todd Strasser has a way of just pulling you into his books and Boot Camp has grabbed my attetion! Can't put it down. Have you started reading it yet?

Anyone reading Artichoke's Heart?

Her Aunt Mary is driving me nuts! I can't believe her nerve and nag about "Artichoke's" weight. Can you believe it---she bought her a talking scale?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Audio Book: 3 Willows by Ann Brashares

3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows [Audiobook]
Ann Brashares (Author) / Kimberly Farr (Reader)

Incoming freshmen at the same high school that the original sisterhood attended, Ama, Jo, and Polly are learning that falling out of friendship is an unfortunate part of growing up. They're spending the summer apart—uprooted—dealing with divorce, unmet expectations, and, of course, boys. Listeners will become involved with the girls as they grow their separate ways, ultimately realizing that the roots of their friendship have never really come undone. Review from School Library Journal

Kimbery Farr does a fantastic job giving each girl a unique voice and pulling the listener along.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Abraham Lincoln Nominating Committee 2011

Unwind by Neil Shusterman

Unwind by Neil Shusterman

The Second Civil War has come and gone and with its end comes the creation of "Unwinds"-young adults between the ages of 13 and 17 whose parents or guardians have decided to donate them to the state, so that they can be "unwound" and their body parts can be harvested and used in transplants. Three teens fight the system to try and stay whole until they reach the safe age of 18 . . . a gritty, brutal and haunting story of survival that will force you to read until the bitter end. An Abraham Lincoln 2011 Nominee.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Aftershock by Kelly Easton

From School Library Journal
In a state of shock, 17-year-old Adam walks away from the scene of the car accident that has killed his parents. Stranded on a lonely road in rural Idaho, he heads east, on foot, as random snippets of memory wander in and out of his mind. Too traumatized to speak, his silence is misinterpreted by the succession of characters he meets on the odyssey home to Rhode Island. Stumbling upon a Wiccan meeting in a forest, he is taken in by one of the chatty young women and takes a job as a dishwasher in a local diner, where he is treated as deaf. Weeks later, he hitchhikes with a trucker and finds backbreaking work in Colorado fields with Mexican migrant farmers. He struggles to survive as he devours a frozen pizza found in a taxidermist's cabin, sleeps in a Dumpster, crashes a picnic, and steals a car. The adventures intertwine with thoughts about his girlfriend, locker-room antics, his parents, their bookstore, and his autistic cousin–spontaneously, as if his mind has short-circuited from the crash. Adam, though still mute, arrives home emotionally ready to accept his parents' death. While some situations seem far-fetched and there is some raw language, readers will be caught up in the teen's predicament.–Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY