Flake, Sharon. Who Am I Without
Him? A Short Story Collection About Girls and the Boys in Their Lives.
Hilarious and anguished, these 10 short stories about growing up black today
speak with rare truth about family, friends, school, and especially about
finding a boyfriend. Erika is a “ghetto girl” who likes white boys; she can't
help it, and the other black kids in school can't stand her, because they know.
Class is a big issue for Erin, who steals clothes so he can take a suburban girl
to the homecoming dance. The church girls are forbidden to date, and they get
hurt when they go hunting for boys. But their well-meaning parents don't have it
right, and the girls won't stop looking. As with Janet MacDonald's fiction, the
talk here is wild, angry, and outrageous, but there's no overt sex or obscenity.
Yes, there are messages, but the narrative is never preachy or uplifting; it's
honest about the pain. When one girl's boyfriend hits her, she apologizes “just
like my momma does when daddy slaps her.” The best advice comes from a dad who
abandoned his family, who now tells his teenage daughter how to avoid getting
stuck with someone like him (“you is so much more than a pretty face and a tight
pair of jeans, some boy's girlfriend or some man's wife”). Not everyone makes
it. The stories work because Flake never denies the truths of poverty,
prejudice, and failure. Fiction
Gottlieb, Andrew. In the Paint: Tattoos of the NBA and the Stories Behind
For many, the name Dennis Rodman conjures up much more than a picture of a
basketball player; it evokes an image of shocking hair, outrageous tattoos and
that amazing solo wedding. And while Rodman is unfortunately not featured in
this collection of the NBA's most popular and wondered-about tattoos, stars like
Shaq and Hardaway share the meaning (or the lack thereof) behind the tattoos
they proudly display. Shaquille O'Neal's surprising response to what informed
his decision to get tattooed with the Superman logo, his kids' names, Against
the Law, etc., is "First of all, I got my tattoos because I was allowed to get
them. You better believe I asked my mother first." The "Part 2 Heaven Cent"
tattoo etched on Penny Hardaway's left arm represents his spiritual side ("I
wanted something to do with Christ") and the "Cent" plays on the name Penny.
Jason Williams, on the other hand, admits: "Ah, hell, man. I don't have no
meaning behind my tattoos," echoing the sentiment of several other players who
have tattoos just because they like them. Closeup shots and honest explanations
straight from the tattoo bearers may please and enlighten curious NBA fans. 25
b&w and 75 full-color photos. Nonfiction
Heimberg, Jason and Justin Heimberg. The Official Movie Plot Generator:
27,000 Hilarious Movie Plot Combinations.
Screenwriter or not, anyone will get a kick of this simple but creative guide to
coming up with movie plot ideas. Justin and Jason Heimberg, comedy screenwriters
in Hollywood, have assembled a spiral-bound, three-paneled interactive flipbook
that offers readers endless (well, 27,000) movie plot combinations. The book's
panels are arranged vertically, with the top panel starting off the scenario
with a protagonist (e.g., "An adorable panda cub," "A flamboyantly gay
hairdresser," "A small-town girl with big-time dreams"). The second panel gives
the heart of the action (e.g., "hits the karaoke circuit," "becomes a pimp,"
"struggles to get off heroin"), while the third panel gives the plot its twist
(e.g., "with the help of former tennis great Ivan Lendl based on a true story,"
"set against the backdrop of a Florida retirement community," "to save the local
synagogue"). Aspiring writers will find plenty of inspiration here, and will
certainly owe thanks to the Heimberg brothers if their film about "Three naughty
nurses" "on the run from the Mob" "in the heart of Amish Country" wins an
Academy Award. Nonfiction
Kenner, Rob and Pitts, George. VX: 10 Years of Vibe Photography.
Since 1993, VIBE magazine has documented hip-hop's prodigious rise and constant
reinvention. With a foreword by founder Quincy Jones, this 10-year anniversary
volume of photos from the publication's archives proves that the image-makers
aren't only on the mic-they lurk behind the lens, too. Styles range widely,
including Sacha Waldman's luminous, saturated, otherworldly streetscape tableaus
of OutKast, Erykah Badu, RZA and Tiny Lister; Dana Lixenberg's simple, lingering
portraits of Navajo-kids throwing gang signs, women idling curbside in Cape
Town, and the now-iconic wistful Tupac in a bandanna; and Dean Karr's
deliriously absurd action shot of Redman and a goose locked in airborne embrace.
Editors Kenner and Pitts have organized the collection less by history than by
composition-Wesley Snipes's mud-caked profile faces Eve's close-cropped crown;
Alicia Keyes stretched across a piano abuts Ricky Martin reclining on a luxury
speedboat. Still, a larger trajectory does emerge, mainly that the expressive
idiosyncrasy of rap progenitors-quizzical Chuck D, skeptical Flavor Flav,
stately, knowing Run-D.M.C.-has given way to the ubiquitous half-lidded,
stone-faced glower: the thug pose. Other requisite images: women splayed on
cars, women extending their tongues. There are striking departures from type,
though, such as Nelly in bejeweled, bent-wrist, and parted-lip ecstasy or the
unflinching Voletta Wallace holding a framed portrait of her son, Notorious
B.I.G. Brief quotes and snippets from articles complement some of the pictures,
such as Rob Kenner's gleeful note that "although Nas dropped out of school in
the eighth grade his verses are beginning to be studied in university classes
alongside the poetry of T.S. Eliot." 150 full-color photographs. Nonfiction
Klancher, Lee. Monster Garage: How to Customize Damn Near Everything.
Monster Garage celebrates the work of craftsmen who combine hard-earned skills
with job-site ingenuity. Their creations are fantastic machines -- a Mustang
that cuts grass at 90 miles per hour, a Top Fuel Dragster that serves up hot
dogs, or a Suburban turned wedding chapel. The magic of the show is the
blue-collar heroics of a group of skilled engineers, builders, and fabricators
working together to make something fantastic. If you want to get a little taste
of what it's like to create your own monster, How To Customize Damn Near
Anything is your ticket to the world of custom vehicles. You'll learn the ins
and outs of custom painting, engine building, chassis construction, welding, and
more. There are also quotes from your favorite guests on the show and photos
that show the vehicles being built. An in-depth introduction for the wannabe
mechanical DIY guy (or gal), How To Customize Damn Near Anything can help you
bring the can-do skills of Monster Garage into your world. Nonfiction
Riley, Andy. The Book of Bunny Suicides.
Rabbits. We'll never quite know why, but sometimes they decide they've just had
enough of this world- and that's when they start getting inventive. The Book of
Bunny Suicides follows over one hundred bunnies as they find ever more
outlandish ways to do themselves in. From an encounter with the business end of
Darth Vader's lightsaber, to supergluing themselves to a diving submarine, to
hanging around underneath a loose stalactite, these bunnies are serious about
Illustrated in a stark and simple style, The Book of Bunny Suicides is a
collection of hilarious and outrageous cartoons that will appeal to anyone in
touch with their evil side. Fiction
Shaw, Tucker. Confessions of a Backup Dancer.
Kelly Kimball, 17, is a talented dancer. When her best friend convinces her to
attempt a Los Angeles audition, Kelly ultimately finds herself on a summer tour
as a backup with pop princess Darcy Barnes, who soon views Kelly as her new best
friend. Kelly works hard to be a top performer, which is difficult when she has
to deal with Darcy's overbearing mother, Darla, who calls the shots; sensational
media hype; the star's tendencies to smoke pot, drink too much, and sneak around
with her boyfriend; and the pressures of the road. However, Kelly feels
responsible for earning the money she knows her family needs. When Darla
unjustly fires her, Kelly dances with a competitor's tour, until the diva has
the guts to stand up to her mother, bring Kelly back into the show, and prove
that she truly is her friend. The book is told through Kelly's "entries" into
personal diary software, interspersed with instant messages and e-mails. The
teen's lively character is realized through this creative format, and her voice
rings clear and true. It is through that voice, complete with wry humor,
realistic slang, and occasional coarse vernacular, that supporting characters
and situations come to life. The purposeful grammatical errors simulating the
way a "real" teen might write are mildly annoying. Fiction
Sleator, William. The Boy Who
Couldn’t Die. YA SLE
After his best friend dies in a plane crash, 16-year-old Ken Pritchard keeps
thinking of a folktale about a monster that hid his soul, ensuring eternal life.
Determined to avoid death himself, Ken finds a woman who removes his soul from
his body. At first he is pleased; as in the folktale, he gains physical
invulnerability, along with a respite from his misery. But, as readers will
suspect from the many creepy details Ken willfully ignores, the rest of the
folktale comes true as well. The woman is a zombie master, and he has become a
modern-day monster partially under her control. Ken's increasingly desperate
first-person narration, as he struggles to find his hidden soul and escape the
zombie master's ever more brutal commands, makes for a gripping read.
Particularly well rendered are the scuba-diving scenes in the shark-infested
waters of the Caribbean and under the thick ice on a wintry Adirondack lake.
Sleator spends little time on the spiritual or emotional consequences of Ken's
transformation, and characterization is secondary to plot development, but
teenaged horror fans won't mind. From the photo of a just-unearthed skull on its
cover to the plot twist in its final pages, this fast-paced, suspenseful book
will appeal to reluctant and avid readers alike. Fiction
Fruits Basket series.
YA GRAPHIC NOVEL 741.5 TAK Volumes 1 through 13
Takaya's romantic comedy brims with teenage melodrama, corny humor and hijinks.
In the vein of Ranma 1/2, the work's humor also derives from the transformation
of humans into animals. It goes like this: Tohru Honda is unsinkable; when her
mother dies and her grandfather denies her a place to live, the homeless high-schooler
is determined to make it on her own by pitching a tent alone in the woods. En
route to her tent one day, Tohru encounters Shigure, who informs her that the
tent is pitched on his family property. He's appalled by her squalid living
conditions and invites her to his estate. Tohru becomes part of the household on
the condition that she helps guard their family secret: when hugged by members
of the opposite sex, Shigure and his family transform into animals from the
Chinese zodiac calendar. Tohru soon learns Shigure is the cousin of Yuki Sohma,
a quiet, mysterious boy at her high school whom all the girls adore. (Yuki,
incidentally, has spurned any female advances for fear of revealing his true
form: a rat.) And it's not long before she finds out another cousin, Kyo,
transforms into a cat. As an animal left off the zodiac, Kyo feels he's been
wronged. As Tohru and Kyo become friends, they realize that as misfits they may
have a chance at understanding each other. Similar to other romance manga, this
tale's illustration style is cartoonish and whimsical. Each panel-packed page
conveys a melodramatic event or upturn, giving the story a fast rhythm. Fiction
Woods, Brenda. Emako Blue.
Gr. 7-10. Woods' The Red Rose Box, a 2003 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book,
is a moving historical novel that follows young sisters who move to a posh L.A.
home in the 1950s. Woods returns to L.A. here, but this time her story is
contemporary and raw: in the first scene, high-school friends attend the funeral
of one of their own--Emako, a beautiful, talented young singer who was shot
outside her South Central home. In alternating voices, four young people talk
about Emako, revealing something about their own very different lives. The
shifting viewpoints create interesting perspectives on the story, but with so
little space devoted to each speaker, characterizations sometimes feel
superficial. Even so, many teens will want this for the wrenching story and for
the young, up-to-the-minute African American voices that, like the characters in
Janet McDonald's novels, ask honest questions about friendship, race, love, and
how best to navigate dangerous neighborhoods, self-absorbed parents, and their
own flaws--and realize their dreams. Fiction
Quick Picks for Reluctant
Young Adult Readers 2005
(The rest of the list)
CosmoGirl Quiz Book: All About You.
Teen, Heal Thyself New titles offer tips, quizzes and info to help teenagers
examine their lives and habits. A pair of CosmoGIRL! Quiz Books tell All About
You and All About Guys by offering multiple-choice answers to questions such as
"Are You a Bore?" (in All About You) or "Is it Love or Lust?" (in Guys). Among
the smart-alecky options to a question about "the last time you and your
boyfriend hung out": "a few nights ago" or "he's rubbing my shoulders while I
take this quiz." Visual appeal comes from pages of full-bleed photos of
good-looking teens appearing effortlessly attractive and content. Nonfiction
Dr. Ernest Drake’s Dragonology.
YA 398.24 DRA
This faux nonfiction title carries echoes of James Gurney's Dinotopia (Turner,
1992; o.p.) in that it purports to be the actual writings of English
dragonologist Ernest Drake. Unlike Dinotopia, however, this book is not a
narrative, but rather an almost encyclopedic treatment of the subject. It
delivers on its subtitle and covers every aspect of the study of dragons,
treating the magical creatures as if they were real objects of scientific study.
The discussion of the different species includes all types of dragons with which
children might be familiar, from Chinese dragons to the European ones of the
Grimm fairy tales. One particularly fun bit is the dragon alphabet, combined
with some ancient runes written in dragon that can be translated. An aspect of
the book that will be totally fascinating to children is the natural history of
this creature, including diagrams of its skeletal and muscular structures, and
even the development of a dragon embryo in the egg. The illustrations, mainly in
color, and overall design of the book are appealing, from a foldout map of
"Dragons of the World" to the flaps and cutouts throughout. Fiction
The Homer Book.
YA Graphic Novel
Homer Simpson is a man's man, an Average Joe, a loving father and husband, and a
devoted beer drinker. But do you know the "real" Homer? Find out what's on
Homer's mind, discover the mysteries of Homer's fridge, hang out in Homer's
haunts; meet his friends and enemies; and spend a typical day with the lovable
lout who will lift you out of your D'oh-ldrums. Fiction
Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
YA 031.02 RIP
“The ultimate trivia browsing book, this volume offers a captivating
collection of interesting, gross, and amazing stories and features that will
seize the attention of children and keep them turning pages. The book opens with
the legacy of Robert Ripley's cartoon series and chain of museums before
dividing into chapters such as "Beyond Understanding," "Amazing Earth," "Body &
Mind," and "Wonders of Science." Large color photographs illustrate segments on
topics such as vampire bats, a public autopsy, bog snorkeling, and the winners
of the dirtiest children contest. The book design leads readers' eyes from the
captions to the rest of the text, which offers additional enticing facts. A
thorough index adds to the appeal because of the number of celebrities
So What? The Good, the Mad and the Ugly: The Official Metallica
The recently released documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster offers some
revealing glimpses into the biggest metal band in history: bassist Jason
Newsted's sudden departure, group therapy, rehab for frontman James Hetfield,
drummer Lars Ulrich's crusade against Napster, and, after it all, an album, St.
Anger. Unfortunately, Metallica's first authorized book doesn't deliver as
much—in fact, it's a disappointment on par with the boys chopping their hair
off. Focusing on the latter half of the group's 25-year career, the book is
nothing more than a collection of reprinted articles and interviews from the
group's fan-club magazine of the same title. While it mines some semiprecious
nuggets—e.g., rare interviews with the complete group, a story written by
Ulrich's father—it does little to penetrate issues like why Newsted left and how
close the group was to calling it quits when Hetfield entered rehab. Its most
revealing aspects come in the form of handwritten comments from the band on past
articles and the dozens of candid photos. Nonfiction
YM’s The Best of Say Anything.
Culling from experiences submitted by readers to the "Say Anything" column, the
editors of ym (Your Magazine) have compiled the most horrifying, most "made my
face red" moments from the magazine. The funny, sometimes gross, sometimes very
gross tales are divided into eight chapters ranging from "School Daze" and "That
Special, Special Time of the Month" to "Nightmares of the Century" and "Oldies"
(classics dating back to the 1960s, when the magazine was named Calling All
Girls, and the '70s and '80s, when it was called Young Miss). Bodily functions
and bare butts do seem to make it into every section, though, as do some almost
unbelievable reminiscences of public humiliation. Readers will laugh out loud,
blush in empathy for, and shake their heads in disbelief at the wild and wacky
stories related throughout the book. Cartoons and decorative graphics are
included. A breezy read, perfect for comic relief during finals or anytime a
stress-release moment is needed. Nonfiction
Abbott, Hailey. Summer Boys
In what could almost be the novelization of a yet-to-be-produced WB series,
three cousins embrace summer romance in their pursuit of various hot guys while
vacationing in Maine. Characterization relies heavily on teen-magazinelike
descriptions ("she was more an Avril than a Christina"), and most chapters begin
with lengthy wardrobe summaries. Despite the superficiality, however, each of
the girls' situations holds some interest, particularly in the realistic ways
they mature throughout. Smoking, alcohol consumption, and sexuality are
contextualized in a matter-of-fact way, with only a hint of after-school-special
didacticism. Don't look for substance, but this is nonetheless an acceptable
addition for teens looking for escapist beach reading. Fiction
Brisick, Jamie. Have Board, Will Travel.
Adult/High School–In this big, beautiful title, Brisick shows how surfing,
skateboarding, and snowboarding developed, each one feeding off the advancements
and buzz of the others. The author skims the surface of these
multimillion-dollar industries with just a paragraph or two, and an occasional
quote, per page. Because of the superficial nature of the text, there are some
gaps, including the lack of attention given to Laird Hamilton, one of the
biggest surfers of the past decade. But browsers and reluctant readers are going
to be more interested in the large, colorful photographs from a variety of
historical and contemporary sources. Also included are drawn maps of great surf
spots of the world, and snow and skate parks of the U.S. Board-sports fans might
not find a lot of new information, but they'll enjoy reliving the action.
Burnham, Niki. Royally Jacked.
Fifteen-year-old Valerie's life gets turned upside down when her mother
announces that she has fallen in love with another woman and is going to live
with her. Then, as Valerie is trying to process this bombshell, her father's
boss, the very conservative President of the U.S., decides to ship her father
off to tiny Schwerinborg to serve as protocol chief to the royal family (in
order to avoid a scandal at the White House). Valerie is left with two choices:
live with Mom and her vegan girlfriend in a new school district or go with Dad
to an obscure country where she doesn't speak the language or know a soul.
Rather than having to explain her mom's new lifestyle to her friends, Valerie
opts to go with her father, but when they arrive in foggy, gray Schwerinborg and
see their spartan palace housing, the teen is sure she has made a huge mistake.
Until, of course, she meets the royal family's son, Prince Georg, and romance is
ignited. Burnham, an adult romance writer, targets a younger audience with this
fluffy, predictable, yet entertaining romance, which will most certainly be
compared to Meg Cabot's popular "Princess Diaries" series. Fiction
Coker, Cheo Hodari. Unbelievable: The Life, Death and Afterlife of the
From the same people who brought you vibe magazine’s New York Times bestseller
tupac shakur comes the other half of the story that rocked the world:
unbelievable, the larger-than-life biography of Christopher Wallace, a.k.a.
Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. Nonfiction
Choyce, Leslie Thunderbowl
Who needs school when you’re going to be a rock star? The music had made me a
lot higher than the beer. I didn't want to come down. I looked at Suzanne. I
looked around at the crowd thinning out of The Dungeon. And I looked again at my
watch. I knew that this whole scene was going to be my downfall. And I couldn't
wait to get started. Fiction
Davidson, Dana. Jason and Kyra
Davidson, a high school teacher, debuts with a tried-and-true teen romance,
unusual chiefly for its setting in an affluent black suburb of Detroit. Jason,
16, is gorgeous, smart, graceful on the basketball court, and he dates popular,
beautiful Lisa. But "fine-as-hell, super-jock, popular-as-Nikes-in-the-NBA,
can-have-anybody-he-wants" Jason falls for
"double-brained-nappy-headed-sweet-but-nobody" Kyra, his nonconformist, highly
academic research partner from AP English class. Davidson describes the
beginnings of their mutual attraction in spine-tinglingly prolonged detail,
effectively camouflaging the staple elements of her plot: only Kyra understands
that Jason, whose mother died when he was three and whose father leaves on
frequent business trips, experiences his solitude as loneliness, not as freedom
to do as he likes; Lisa, furious at being dumped by Jason, gets revenge in a
manner that will be familiar to readers of middle-grade and YA fiction. But
other story lines advance the narrative, too, such as Kyra's dedication to her
project for a Westinghouse-like national science competition. Readers with an
appetite for love stories are likely to follow Jason and Kyra's pas de deux from
its beginning straight through to its satisfying end. Fiction
De La Cruz, Melissa. The Au Pairs
Sun and sea, hot parties, hot guys, and the promise of $10,000 for taking care
of four over privileged, under supervised kids. This is the life that awaits
three teens during a summer in New York's exclusive Hamptons. Eliza, whose
father's fortune fell, is hoping to recapture some of the glamour and luxury of
her former life by taking this position where her family once had a summer home.
Mara is looking for a way out of her small hometown and a way to earn enough
money for a car and college tuition. Jacqui, a Brazilian beauty used to getting
everything she wants, is looking for the one thing that eludes her: true love.
The three are hired by the Perrys and wade through problematic relationships,
power struggles, and the ever-important social scene. De la Cruz name-drops and
power-shops throughout, creating an entertaining vision of how "the other half"
lives. The Au Pairs offers wealth, status, steamy sex, lots of heavy drinking,
changing values, and juicy fun on the East Coast for fans of Zoey Dean's "The
A-List" series and Cecily von Ziegesar's "Gossip Girl" series. Fiction
Ehrenhaft, Daniel. Ten Things To Do Before I Die
Gr. 8-12. It's the first day of spring break, and bright, nerdy 16-year-old Ted
Burger is hanging out with his best friends at a New York City diner. Ted's
friends are constructing a “to do” list for him, the first item of which is
“lose virginity.” Then Ted discovers a disgruntled employee has poisoned the
fries he has just eaten, and he'll be dead in 24 hours. Suddenly the “to do”
list takes on new meaning. The novel, which is broken into cleverly titled
snippets, takes a while to gather speed, but the premise is fun, and Ehrenhaft
employs many different literary devices, including lists, screenplays, and
delightfully bad puns. Urban teens will enjoy the lighthearted romance and its
unlikely hero. Fiction
Flinn, Alex. Nothing to Lose.
Michael Daye, aka Robert Frost, is on the run, and he knows he never should have
returned to Miami, but in order to keep his job with the carnival, he has to go
where it takes him. He hopes that he won't be recognized as the son of Lisa
Monroe, who is on trial for the murder of her millionaire husband, Michael's
tyrannical, abusive stepfather. Through alternating present/last-year chapters,
readers follow the teen as he tries to live in the moment and avoid the cops who
want to question him, while remembering his life just before he ran away from
home. Unfortunately, he had been unable to convince his mother to leave the
marriage, so she took the only other way out… or did she? Flinn has created a
believable, conflicted, and often angry protagonist. This is a compelling story
about abusive relationships and the trauma they cause, as well as the legal
implications of "self-defense" within them. Readers will be drawn to Michael in
his despair and his fervent desire to protect his mother. Unfortunately, all too
many young adults will know firsthand how accurate the portrayals are. This is a
heartrending, unforgettable book. Fiction
Giles, Gail. Playing in
Traffic YA GIL
Weird Goth-girl Skye has singled out Matt for attention. He's not sure why,
since he's always tried his best to remain anonymous. He agrees to meet with her
secretly and likes the excitement she adds to his life. When Skye claims that
her stepfather abuses her and that her stepsister suffers from Down's syndrome,
Matt feels compelled to "save" her. When another student warns him that Skye is
not what she seems, Matt notices inconsistencies in her version of events and
begins to question why she lures him to her parents' beach house for intimacy.
The characterization and teen dialogue are mostly on target, with the exception
of the remarkable maturity of Matt's 13-year-old sister. His self-questioning
and paralysis when under stress will sound familiar to teens but the conclusion
is disappointing. There are way too many loose ends, and Skye's sinister
over-the-top demands detract from the character study of a quiet young man and a
deeply disturbed girl. Fiction
Grandits, John. Technically,
It’s Not My Fault: Concrete Poems. YA 811 GRA
This graphically inventive sequence of concrete poems, printed in red and black
on white, mimes an 11-year-old's sarcastic perspective. The protagonist, Robert,
opens with a poem in black type that traces the diameter of a clock; six words
in red ink, roundabout the number seven, indicate the start and conclusion ("I
wake up in the morning...") of a school-to-homework-to-bed cycle. The narrator's
wry attitude becomes more apparent in a footnoted letter that dutifully thanks
an aunt for a hated gift. "I'm already planning when to wear my new sweater,"
Robert writes, and only readers catch his footnoted subtext ("the next time you
come to visit. I just hope nobody sees me"). The interrelated statements evolve
from ridiculous daydreams and everyday pastimes alike. In one spread, Robert
imagines a typographical wrestling match between the words "octopus" and "boa
constrictor"; in a skateboarding story, his angled and twisting words leap
invisible curbs on the bare white page, while red letters shout, "Hey kid!...
Get outta here!" Knowing audience members will appreciate the scatological wit
of poems like "Bloodcurdling Screams," where spiraling bright-red text ("...Ow
Ow Ow Hoo Hoo...") suggests what happens when a brother flushes a toilet during
his sister's shower. Grandits (Pictures Tell Stories) weaves Robert's portrait
in distorted letterforms, language mazes and comic first-person narration. A
technically (and imaginatively) inspired typeface experiment.
Hareas, John. NBA’s Greatest.
Imagine being one of only 4.12 fans to witness the unthinkable on a cold night
in March as Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points in a single game versus the New
York Knicks in Hershey. Pennsylvania? Or sitting courtside at the fabled Boston
Garden as John Havlicck swoops out of nowhere to tip a Hal Greer inbounds pass
away from Chet Walker and toward teammate Sam Jones, who dribbled out the clock
as fans poured onto the court? The greatness of Oscar Robertson, who not only
averaged a triple-double for an entire season but actually averaged one during
the first five seasons of his career? What about the scoring brilliance of Kobe
Bryant as he shot an NBA single-game record 12 three-pointers, including an
incredible nine in a row? Or the unparalleled excellence of the Boston Celties
winning 11 championships in 13 seasons? Great players. Great teams. Great games.
Great moments. Since the NBA debuted more than 50 years ago, thousands of
players have logged at least one minute of NBA action yet only a sclect few have
left an indelible mark on the game. NBA's Greatest profiles these players plus
the greatest teams and coaches in NBA history as well as reliving the greatest
moments and games.
Harrison, Lisi The Clique
Claire Lyons moves with her parents from Florida to wealthy Westchester County,
NY. Until they can get settled, the family stays in the guest house of Mr.
Lyons's college buddy, who happens to have a daughter who is also in seventh
grade. Expected to welcome her, Massie instead chooses to make Claire's life
miserable for no other reason than she's the new girl. Massie enlists her clique
of friends at Octavian Country Day School, all part of the beautiful and popular
crowd, to help with the harassment, which ranges from catty comments on Claire's
clothes to spilling red paint on her white jeans in a conspicuous spot. Tired of
it all, Claire tries to fight back, but then the abuse worsens. The book has
trendy references kids will love, including Starbucks in the school, designer
clothes, and PalmPilots for list making. However, this trendiness doesn't make
up for the shallowness of the characters or the one-dimensional plot. Nor is the
cruelty of the clique redeemed with any sort of a satisfying ending. The
conclusion leaves one with the feeling that a sequel is in the works.
Last Chance Texaco.
Lucy Pitt is 15 when she is sent to Kindle Home, a group home and her last
chance at a semi-normal life. If she makes any errors, she'll be sent to the
high-security facility known as Eat-Their-Young Island. Kindle Home is different
from the other places she's lived, primarily due to the dedication of the
counselors and the way in which they connect with the kids. Lucy realizes that
she wants to stay there, and although she manages to weather the consequences of
her own impulsive tendencies, she can't control the lack of funding that
threatens the Home or the arson that is causing the neighbors to become even
more leery of having such an establishment nearby. Readers will root for Lucy
and come away with a greater understanding of the complexities of group homes
and their inhabitants. Hartinger excels at giving readers an insider's view of
the subculture, with its myriad unspoken rules created by the kids, not the
system. There is a touch of romance and mystery, and while those elements may be
a lure for less sophisticated readers, the memorable aspect of the novel is the
way it takes readers inside a system most of them have never experienced.
Heneghan, James. Hit Squad.
Birgit Neilsen, gorgeous and popular, is tired of the long-standing status quo
at Grandview High School. She organizes a group of like-minded students to
combat the bullying and terrorism that exists, but their good intentions soon
result in tragedy and the death of a fellow student. This book is obviously
intended for reluctant readers. Engaging dialogue, an absorbing plot, and
well-defined characters are all sacrificed to short, choppy sentences; stilted
dialogue; and a message that has all of the subtlety of a hammer blow to the
head. An incredibly monotonous book.
Hirano, Kohta Hellsing series
Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3 Volume 4
Another in a long line of manga featuring an off-kilter hero, this lively tale
about vampire hunters features the eponymous top-secret organization based in
England that's called on for only the toughest jobs. Hellsing's top vampire
hunter is Alucard, a lanky figure in an oversized hat and a duster that swirls
dashingly as he blows bad guys to smithereens with his arsenal of enormous
firearms. Alucard, it turns out, is actually a vampire himself, and just why
he's tearing up his own kind is open to question, but then, Hellsing doesn't
lend itself to much deep contemplation. It's mostly a fun, violent romp. In the
first story readers meet a young policewoman who joins the undead after becoming
an innocent victim in a battle. Police Girl, as she's known, comes to the
organization via Integra, Hellsing's leader, and her adaptation to her new life
affords some amusing moments. In a flashback, readers learn how Integra took
over Hellsing and how she first met Alucard when he rescued her from her own
murderous relatives. Later, the heroes nearly meet their match in Father
Alexander Anderson, a superhuman priest who works for Section XIII, the
Vatican's own vampire division. The bloody battle is accompanied by some rather
awkward religious sparring between the Catholic Church and Hellsing, which is
sworn to protect, believe it or not, the Protestant Church. It's goofy details
like this that give the book some charm and energy. Hirano's storytelling is
easy to follow, as stylish close-ups of the "we're-groovy-and-we-know-it"
characters explode into violent full-page illustrations of all-out mayhem.
Hobbs, Valerie. Letting Go of
Bobby James, or How I Found My Self of Steam. YA HOB
Sally Jo Walker, known as Jody, is a 16-year-old runaway bride of 13 weeks who
finds herself on her own with $20 in her pocket and nowhere to go. If Bobby
James hadn't hit her, she wouldn't be holed up in a gas-station bathroom. She
uses the time to write a letter on paper towels to the corporate head of the
Harris Teeter food-store chain with a suggestion on how to improve his inferior
coleslaw. This literary device is a bit confusing, as Hobbs drops it early on
and doesn't pick it up again until this improbable coming-of-age tale ends. The
first-person exposition is frank and endearing, and Jody is apparently wiser
than many people twice her age as she struggles to survive in a strange town.
She is resourceful and likable and the novel is peopled with the downtrodden,
both with hearts of gold and flint. The teen's determination makes the adults
around her seem foolish and lost. Despite the title, Bobby James plays a minor
role, and when he reappears on the scene readers may be hard-pressed to believe
Jody is so susceptible to his questionable charm–yet it is then that she reacts
as the average 16-year-old might. This story suffers from too many implausible
events, but this feisty character has considerable appeal. Fiction
Hopkins, Cathy. Truth or Dare
series.The Princess of Pop. YA
"I have un grando dare for Becca and Cat, " said Squidge. "You know this
competition for Pop Princess? Well, I dare you both to enter." He looked
pointedly at me. "And I mean both of you. Auditions are next Saturday." Becca
missed the fun of the school production of Grease, and she has a reputation of
being fickle and a dreamer. But the Pop Princess challenge makes her determined
to try harder than she has ever tried before. She has the voice, but has she got
the staying power?
Teen Queens and Has-Beens.
"Yeah but...," I started, then I decided to confront what I thought was probably
really bothering her. "Look, about Jonno. I didn't mean for anything to happen.
He just kind of..." After a game of truth or dare, Lia manages to gain the
interest of the school heartthrob, and alienates "teen queen" Kaylie, who was
after Jonno for herself. Kaylie and her friends then start a campaign of
bullying against Lia -- the nasty, underhanded kind where rumors are spread,
threats are sent, secrets are exposed, and confidence is underminded. Soon Lia
begins to question her whole life: who she is, why these girls have got it in
for her, and who her real friends are....
White Lies and Barefaced Truths.
Dear Squidge, I really like you but...I ripped the letter up. Pathetic. "How am
I going to do this, Bec? Help me." Becca's face clouded. "He's going to be
devastated. He really adores you." Cat's always been the perfect girl next door.
Thoughtful friend. Supportive girlfriend. Surrogate mother to her three younger
siblings. A great help to her dad since her mum died. But now Cat's facing some
major dilemmas. A game of truth or dare lands her in hot water when she's asked
for a truth she can't reveal. On top of this, she doesn't want to hurt her
boyfriend by telling him the truth, but she knows it's over between them. Is it
right to tell lies to protect people or keep the peace? Can the truth be too
hurtful? Cat tries to sort all this out, and in doing so, discovers a lot about
herself and others.
Hopkins, Ellen. Crank.
Seventeen-year-old Kristina Snow is introduced to crank on a trip to visit her
wayward father. Caught up in a fast-paced, frightening, and unfamiliar world,
she morphs into "Bree" after she "shakes hands with the monster." Her fearless,
risk-taking alter ego grows stronger, "convincing me to be someone I never
dreamed I'd want to be." When Kristina goes home, things don't return to normal.
Although she tries to reconnect with her mother and her former life as a good
student, her drug use soon takes over, leaving her "starving for speed" and for
boys who will soon leave her scarred and pregnant. Hopkins writes in free-verse
poems that paint painfully sharp images of Kristina/Bree and those around her,
detailing how powerful the "monster" can be. The poems are masterpieces of word,
shape, and pacing, compelling readers on to the next chapter in Kristina's
spiraling world. This is a topical page-turner and a stunning portrayal of a
teen's loss of direction and realistically uncertain future. Fiction
Horowitz, Anthony. Eagle
Strike. YA HOR
Alex Rider, a 14-year-old secret agent who has worked for MI6–British military
intelligence–returns for his fourth adventure. Vacationing in France with his
girlfriend, Sabina Pleasure, and her parents, Alex spots Yassen Gregorovich, a
known assassin, and senses something isn't quite right. Before long, Sabina's
journalist father is injured in an "accidental" bombing and Alex is thrown into
another mystery that involves a devious scheme to annihilate the world. In this
heart-racing novel, Horowitz combines fast-paced action with ingenious gadgets
that Alex either has on his side or is forced to battle against. The
straightforward writing will appeal to a wide audience; the story is intricate
enough to entertain older readers, but accessible to younger ones as well. For
anyone who has enjoyed Alex's previous adventures, EagleStrike will prove just
as good if not better, and for those who haven't been introduced to this young
spy, this book will certainly get them addicted and anxiously awaiting the next
Darcy Frasier, 15, has grown up with the overwhelming responsibility of caring
for himself and his 11-year-old sister, who is deaf and suffers from epileptic
seizures. Their father has halfheartedly raised them while their mother has been
in prison for 10 years, charged with dropping baby Kat from a balcony. Darcy's
and Kat's lives are turned upside-down when they receive word that their mother
is going to be released. Darcy will do anything to distance himself from the
woman, who he believes does not deserve a second chance, but then he remembers
the truth about Kat's fall: it was he who dropped his infant sister. Just as the
teen is coming to terms with the truth, he is accused of molesting the little
girl he baby-sits as well as his sister. It is with the help of his teacher and
his mom that his name is cleared. Each surprising new plot element keeps readers
turning pages until every truth unfolds. Darcy develops as an everyday hero who
proves that perseverance in any situation is possible as he approaches each
challenge with dignity and grace. Additionally, the supporting characters unfold
to reveal their own compassion. This powerful novel is both heart wrenching and
Jacobs, Thomas. They Broke the
Law; You Be the Judge: True Cases of Teen Crime. YA 345.73 JAC
A former juvenile court judge offers a compelling “behind the bench” look at
juvenile crime and justice. In each of the 21 real-life cases of teen crime,
Jacobs describes the background of the offender and the circumstances of the
offense. He then presents several sentencing options, leaving it up to the
reader to decide what punishment is appropriate by offering a series of
questions to consider before imposing a sentence. Jacobs also includes the
judge's decision in each case, and he asks readers to compare and contrast their
decision to the judge's. Through the encouraged role-playing, students will gain
a better understanding of the intricacies of the system. An excellent
introduction to how juvenile justice works, this will be a great resource for
classroom and group discussions. Nonfiction
Johns, Geoff. Teen Titans: A
Kid’s Game. YA Graphic Novel 741.5 JOH
Cyborg, a former teen hero, realizes that the adolescent sidekicks of the
world's most powerful heroes need to be guided and trained, so he recruits the
young adventurersQRobin, Superboy, Wonder Girl, and ImpulseQinto the new Teen
Jones, Patrick. Things Change.
Alternating the perspectives of 16-year-old Johanna and her emotionally
disturbed boyfriend, this psychologically involving first novel gives a frank,
up-close look at a textbook case of dating violence. Johanna, a straight-A
student, has always worked hard to please her controlling parents ("Love in our
family was like a bad novel: all tell and no show") but has done little to make
herself happy. Then she starts dating the boy least likely to win her parents'
approval: ruggedly handsome, outspoken Paul, a senior and a kind of class clown
who, Johanna soon learns, vents his anger by hurting himself and others.
Predictably, Johanna's life changes drastically as she and Paul become involved.
Johanna's passion for her new boyfriend is eclipsed only by her anxiety over
hiding the bruises he leaves on her arms. Paul becomes increasingly possessive,
insulting and aggressive. Meanwhile, Johanna loses her dignity, her parents'
respect and her best friend's trust in order to keep Paul. Chapters told from
Johanna's point of view convey a battle between heart and intellect. Paul's
narrative reveals deep resentment caused by his father's abandonment and
eventual deathůespecially Paul's letters to him, veiled in humor (they begin,
"Dear Dead Dad"). This dark, at times insightful book serves as a warning,
depicting the teen scene as it is, rather than how adults would like it to be.
The provocative conclusion may well send chills down readers' spines.
Kool Moe Dee. There’s a God on the Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs.
These books showcase rap and hip-hop icons with varying results. Seminal rapper
Kool Mo Dee made his name with the platinum album How Ya Like Me Now (1987), on
which he introduced "report cards" for evaluating fellow MCs (rap vocalists). In
There's a God on the Mic, he expands on and formalizes that system, scoring 50
prominent rap vocalists (including himself) on a scale of one to ten in 17
areas, including originality, versatility, vocabulary, and social impact. Each
dramatically typeset entry begins with representative lyrics, continues with a
brief biography and stylistic overview of the artist, pauses for Kool Mo Dee's
encapsulated opinion of his or her overall strengths and weaknesses, and wraps
with a list (and explanation) of the scores. The scores are then totaled and
averaged, resulting in overall grades-with Just-Ice receiving the lowest and
Melle Mel (at 94.1) the highest. While Kool Mo Dee's credentials are impressive,
he is guilty of some overtly dubious inclusions and almost unforgivable
oversights: arguably marginal MCs like Lil' Kim are included, but indispensable
rappers such as Eminem and Everlast are omitted. Paniccioli's black-and-white
photographs are subpar. Still, though this is not the definitive reference it
intends to be, it is nonetheless entertaining and will do well in the
circulating popular music collections of larger public libraries. Hip Hop
Immortals, on the other hand, manages to convey the essence of rap and hip-hop
with its mutual confirmation of text, photo, font play, and color. Not so much a
book as a work of pop art, it has the unmistakable feel of a Graphis Annual. Art
director Giovanni Russo playfully shrinks, explodes, twirls, and swirls the
informative text by Malone (a columnist for Vibe), forcing words into readers'
eyes. Hundreds of exceptional photographs (color and b&w) not only capture the
style of each "immortal" but also the zeitgeist of hip-hop as a whole: inspired,
impressionistic, innovative, and simultaneously illustrative to the max. Editor
Beattie's selection of hip-hop greats is far more balanced than Mo Dee's-she
includes both sine qua non groundbreakers such as Third Bass as well as
world-famous MCs like Eminem. An evident and appropriate tribute to the work of
Warhol, Haring, and Indiana, the powerful visual aesthetic of Immortals never
overshadows its subjects; instead, it captures and communicates both the unique
style and the substance of each rapper. Note to librarians: Immortals does not
pander to the gutter dwellers of rap, being almost wholly devoid of ho, bitch,
and other epithets. The downside: no table of contents, index, or pagination.
Highly recommended for all popular music collections. Fiction
Leiker, Ken. Unscripted.
The fans in their seats are barely able to contain themselves. The buzz of the
crowd rises higher and higher until that first Superstar walks onto the stage
and into the ring. It doesn't matter where you are in the arena -- ringside or
high above the floor you know that it's going to be an exciting night. There are
signs everywhere, the people in their seats chant for their favorite wrestler.
You get caught up in the wave of excitement filling the place. Maybe tonight a
title changes hands. This is the WWE anything can happen.
You begin to wonder just what is it like to be a WWE Superstar. What do you have
to do everyday to make it? What is it like to spend your life with countless
numbers of people cheering or even booing you? You look into the ring and
wonder. What if you could go behind the stage? What if you could travel with one
of the wrestlers? What would it be like to visit a Superstar in their home?
Unscripted is an unvarnished, all access look inside the lives of World
Wrestling Entertainment's Superstars. From life on the road traveling more than
two hundred days a year, to performing in front of hundreds of thousands, the
WWE's Superstar's share their incredible story in their own words offering
readers an unprecedented glimpse behind the scenes.
The Undertaker tells you why he didn't become a professional basketball player.
Goldberg tells you why he joined the WWE. The Rock reveals how his own father
tried to sabotage his career. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon speak openly and
frankly about their relationship. Chris Jericho describes how he keeps it all in
perspective. Sean Michaels talks about his revitalized career and how important
his family and his faith are. Kurt Angle explains how you can wrestle with a
Unscripted lifts the curtain on the backstage areas of the shows, the homes and
the everyday lives and ordinary events of these extraordinary people. It is a
lavishly illustrated tribute to the men and women who climb over the rope
day-after-day for the roar of the crowd. Nonfiction
Lynch, Clam. Ruby Gloom’s Keys
to Happiness. YA Graphic Novel 741.5 LYN
Beetlejuice meets Eloise in this humorous, goth debut.
Ruby Gloom is already a best-selling apparel and accessory design of Mighty
Fine's, for 'tweens and teens, especially goth girls. Now she introduces herself
with seventeen slightly offbeat lessons for life, as seen from the shadowy
Victorian mansion where she hangs out with her cat, Doom, the seven skeletons in
her closet, and the occasional ghost ("They're so dramatic!").
"Absence makes the heart grow fonder," Ruby tells her three crow companions, "so
get lost!" She's the perfect guide for any girl who's ever felt alienated or
thought no one quite understood her because she's just, well, different. Ruby's
popularity attests to her appeal and her maverick wisdom, reminding girls among
other things that "What's ugly on the outside can be pretty on the inside," and
that "It's good to take the road less traveled." AUTHOR BIO: Mighty Fine is a
Los Angeles-based design team that began designing and manufacturing sportswear
for teenagers in 1992. Fiction
Mackler, Carolyn. Vegan Virgin Valentine.
Overachieving high school senior Mara Valentine's drive stems from the belief
that she is her parents' "Only Hope"; her 35-year-old sister has achieved
nothing but having a daughter, V, who is only a year younger than Mara and
appears to be a "nicotine-addicted nympho." Sport for Mara is competing with her
ex-boyfriend for class valedictorian; she has been accepted early decision to
Yale. Mara is a sharp, interesting narrator, but she has alienated most of her
friends with her rigid, single-minded attitudes. Her life is thrown into chaos
when V comes to live with the family, and provides multiple shades of gray in
Mara's black-and-white world. She makes out with Mara's ex on the first day of
school and constantly makes cutting, but frighteningly accurate, comments about
the limitations of her aunt's life plans. In the midst of this chaos, while
working part-time at a local café, Mara falls in love with her 22-year-old boss
who hasn't gone to college and is forced to reassess the goals that V has
already called into question. The romance is believable, as is the tension
between Mara and V, although both situations resolve smoothly and somewhat
quickly. This is a fast, often humorous read with some meat but no bite
(although Mara does lose her virginity)–just the universal theme of growing up
and figuring out what's important. This title will have strong appeal for teens
grappling with these same questions. Fiction
Manning, Sarra. Guitar Girl.
Molly, 17, never planned to reach pop stardom. She just enjoyed writing songs
and playing music with her friends, Jane and Tara. When they start a rock band
called The Hormones, two slightly older guys, T and Dean, maneuver their way
into the group, and there is no looking back. Suddenly famous, Molly takes off
on tour with the band, performing in England and eventually in the United
States. Despite Dean and Molly's frequent confrontations, they fall in love.
They have plenty of tender and passionate sex (protection isn't mentioned),
until she learns that his motivation for the relationship hasn't been totally
honest. Finally determining that rock-star life is less than idyllic, Molly
chooses to call it quits, despite lawsuit threats. The story's carefully
developed characters and relationships, driven by tuned-in dialogue, make it
realistic and compelling. Molly's first-person voice rings clear and true. Like
16-year-old Wonder in Rachel Cohn's Pop Princess (S & S, 2004), she finds
herself on a roller-coaster ride through makeovers, alcohol-laden parties,
sensationalist critiques, attempts to manage schoolwork, demands of a pushy
manager, losing her virginity, and dealing with parents. Wryly funny, often
sincere, and sometimes pressed into banshee-like behavior, Molly is endearing in
her attempts to reach maturity, sort out what's important, and decide what needs
to be left behind. Fiction
McGrath, Jeremy. Wide Open: A
Life in Supercross. 796.72 MCG
In this gossipy, spiteful memoir, champion Supercross motorcycle racer McGrath
wastes no opportunity to settle scores and gloat over vanquished enemies.
Targets include his former Yamaha sponsors ("how quickly people can turn their
back on you"), Supercross rivals Damon Bradshaw ("failed to win a single pro
championship") and Jeff Emig ("always felt he was above everyone else") and
"spoiled diva" actress Alyssa Milano ("she was a little bit out of shape and her
butt was kind of big.") The nursing of resentments gives some energy and focus
to an otherwise slack, anecdotal recounting of McGrath's aimless off-track
existence as it meanders from his party-hearty bachelorhood, to his tense but
dull courtship of his wife, to the furnishing of his home ("I rubbed my knees on
each individual carpet sample page to simulate lying on the floor watching TV.")
McGrath's account of his on-track career is preoccupied with the minutiae of
sponsorship and endorsement deals and a catalogue of his record-setting
accomplishments, but it occasionally includes revealing material on racing
strategy and the exploitation of riders by promoters. Advice sidebars on topics
like motorcycle maintenance ("modestly apply oil to filter, then gently massage
in") and career-building ("you need parents to supplement your paper-route money
and take you to the races") may be of interest to young Supercross wannabes, who
will be further inspired by the countless photos of McGrath and motorcycle
soaring through the air. Nonfiction
McManners, Hugh. Ultimate Special Forces.
A riveting exploration of the world's most highly trained military units, from
the ancient Spartans to modern-day US Navy SEALs, Ultimate Special Forces offers
over 700 illustrations of equipment and techniques used by today's special
forces- from intelligence-gathering methods to special vehicles and survival
gear. In-depth accounts of the background, organization, and landmark operations
of famous military units such as the US's Delta Force and Britain's SAS make
this gripping and essential reading for both casual readers and military history
Miller, Timothy and Steve Milton.
NASCAR racing is currently so popular that, according to the authors, one Nextel
Cup race draws more fans than the Super Bowl, a World Series baseball game and
an NBA Finals game combined. All this is a far cry from the early days of stock
car racing, when drivers rushed around oval dirt tracks in rural areas on
Saturday nights before local fans. The authors offer a complete,
up-to-the-minute introduction to NASCAR for new fans as well as a keepsake for
dedicated fans. Like the well-oiled machines they describe, Miller and Milton
race through various aspects of NASCAR racing. After taking the starting flag
with a brief introduction and history of the sport, they barrel through topics
ranging from safety and pit stops to officials, points, scoring and the business
of NASCAR. They include diagrams of all the major tracks on the circuit, and in
brief vignettes, they offer overviews of the top teams, top drivers and legends
of the sport, and provide pointers on drivers to watch. Full-color photos.
Milner-Halls, Kelly. Albino Animals.
Halls's curiosity and awe of albino animals is evident in her writing as she
tracks down incidents of this genetic wonder around the world and across
species. After overcoming the incredible odds against inheriting the recessive
gene for albinism from both parents, these unique creatures begin life having
already used up the greater part of their luck. Their striking white appearance
leaves them exposed to the sharp eyes of predators, and the lack of melanin in
their skin makes them particularly vulnerable to the harmful rays of the sun.
The author's discussion consists mainly of a reiteration of these two dangers
for each new animal she introduces, resulting in somewhat tedious repetition.
The stories rarely have happy endings. The striking cover photo of an albino
mouse is likely to draw in curious animal lovers, but the rodent's bulging red
eyes provide a clue that this is not a cute, snuggly book. The effect of a white
animal on a white background may be appealing on the cover, but the internal
photographs become washed out and at times leave their subjects looking more
freakish than they truly are. Still, this is an acceptable addition for
libraries seeking to satisfy a demand for information on this intriguing topic.
Minter, J. The Insiders.
Designed to resemble a Gossip Girl entry, this enticingly trashy entrant into
the yearly teen beach read sweepstakes attempts to do for lower Manhattan what
the Cecily von Ziegesar books have done for the Upper East Side.
Fashion-obsessed private high-schooler Jonathan is less than thrilled when his
mother strong-arms him into taking his "country" cousin Kelli (she's visiting
from St. Louis) to his friend's party. To Jonathan's surprise and eventual
horror, high-energy, Bubblicious-chomping Kelli uses her
"Mickey-Mouse-Club-gone-bad" good looks to work her way through his crew of four
male buddies and nearly destroys all their relationships in the process. As if
that weren't enough, in the single week of her stay, 17-year-old Kelli becomes
downtown's newest "It" girl (and makes a triumphal detour to South Beach, too),
palling around with models and artists, and even chatting with Calvin Klein.
Although the series hangs on the boys—the author is the guys-point-of-view
columnist for Seventeen— Kelli's on- and offscreen actions are responsible for
nearly all the wit and fun here. A somewhat tacked-on subplot has the boys
searching for their coolest friend, who seems to have gone missing.
Up-to-the-minute music and fashion references (price tags included) and a
thorough knowledge of downtown locales flavor the boys' picaresque meanderings
from party to art opening to restaurant to after-hours club and back again, not
to mention the obligatory pilgrimage to Barneys. Fiction
Morgan, David Lee. LeBron James: The Rise of a Star.
These sports biographies in the new A Robbie Reader series balance slight,
overly simplified texts with a good selection of color photos of the athletes.
Both biographies touch on the athletes' childhoods, early training, and current
successes, and both titles contain a few passages that feel too breezy, as in
this excerpt from Lebron James about the athlete's mother: "Sometimes Gloria got
in trouble with the police. Gloria's troubles hurt Lebron." Readers will
probably want to know more about how James coped with his early challenges, but
the short sentences and relatively simple vocabulary make these acceptable
choices for emerging readers or for somewhat older students who are reading
below grade level. The many images of the athletes practicing, playing, and
having fun with their families and friends will surely attract browsers and draw
reluctant readers into the words. A chronology, a list of further readings, and
a glossary close these uneven titles, which are best suited to collections in
which high-interest, easy-reading sports materials are in great demand.
Myers, Walter Dean. Shooter.
In this chilling cautionary tale, Myers revisits the themes of his Monster and
Scorpions in a slightly more detached structure, but the outcome is every bit as
moving. The novel opens with what serves as a cover sheet to a "Threat Analysis
Report," which, in its mission statement, makes mention of "the tragic events of
last April." Fiction
Myracle, Lauren TTYL
Three high school sophomores, lifelong best friends, are now facing a variety of
emotional upsets in their personal and social lives. Angela is boy crazy and
emotive, but able to lend support to her friends when they need it. Zoe is the
quietest and most self-effacing, considered by some to be a goody two-shoes but
in fact headed full speed into a very dangerous relationship. Madigan is the
hothead, less certain of how to grow up than she allows anyone, including
herself, to see. The entire narrative is composed of the instant messages sent
among these three, from September into November, as they each get involved with
dating, sort out how to have friendships with others, cope with disasters that
range from wardrobe issues to getting drunk, and offer one another advice and
defiance. Each character's voice is fully realized and wonderfully realistic in
spite of the very limiting scope of the IM device. Page layout mimics a computer
screen and each girl IMs in a different font and in her own unique verbal style.
(The title is IM jargon for "talk to you later"). Myracle not only sustains all
this but also offers readers some meaty-and genuine-issues. Both revealing and
innovative, this novel will inspire teens to pass it to their friends and will
suggest to nascent writers that experimenting with nonnarrative communication
can be a great way to tell a story. Fiction
Nagatomo, Haruno. Draw Your Own Manga: All the Basics.
The textbook of choice at Tokyo Animation College, the leading school for manga
artists, this book outlines all of the basic techniques one needs to know
through easy-to-draw characters of all ages and detailed instructions.
Nash, Naomi. You are So Cursed.
Posing as a witch, an outcast high school student attempts to use street magic
and a dangerous persona to make her life easier. But she is about to learn that
real magic lies in knowing her true friends. Fiction
Naylor, Caroline. Beauty Trix for
Cool Chix: Easy-to-Make Lotions, Potions, and Spells to Bring Out a Beautiful
You. YA 646.7 NAY
This fun, jazzy craft book features more than 20 step-by-step projects to help
tweens and teens create their own cool beauty products. Each project comes with
clear instructions and three interactive quizzes that help girls decide which
recipes suit their moods and personalities. Full color. Nonfiction
Nelson, Blake. Rock Star, Superstar.
A brilliant, tender, funny, and utterly believable novel about music and
relationships. Pete, 16, joins a band possibly headed for stardom. While the
three other performers in Tiny Masters dream of fame and fortune, Pete loves the
music and relishes the chance to play his bass guitar on stage. As the group's
popularity grows, he also stumbles his way through his first romance. The
relationship is awkward, sweet, wonderful, and confusing all at the same time.
Margaret makes the first move, and at the beginning Pete is ambivalent, but
eventually he realizes that he has fallen in love with her. Complications ensue,
including Pete's feelings of jealousy, his need to dedicate time to his music,
and Margaret's parents' anger when they find out that the teenagers are having
sex. Pete's voice is totally convincing, as are his interactions with his
widowed father and his male friends. Readers who loved Rachel Cohn's Pop
Princess (S & S, 2004) and Sarra Manning's Guitar Girl (Dutton, 2004) will find
that this novel takes a more down-to-earth view of the road to stardom, with
hard work and disappointment part of the package. Pete is one of the best male
protagonists in recent YA fiction and the other characters are equally strong.
O’Connell, Tyne. Pulling Princes.
Calypso, an LA teenager with movie-industry parents, attends a posh British
boarding school. Having no title and no landed-gentry relatives, she has a hard
time fitting in. So when she pretends that her mother's gay personal assistant
is her new boyfriend, her popularity improves. Not only do the other girls make
a fuss over her new guy, but the teen also gains self-confidence and the
prince's attention during a fencing match. He starts calling her cell phone and
they begin a budding romance. One big problem–Honey, one of the most popular
girls in school, also has her eye on him, and she starts to make life truly
miserable for Calypso. The story is jam-packed with posh toffs, true friends,
late-night sneak outs for vodka drinking, silly fads, English slang, and plenty
of boarding-school antics. Budding Anglophiles can add "pulling fit boys" (a
phrase that basically translates to "making out with hot guys") to their
lexicon, and will soak up the flood of upper-class British culture in this book.
The story is milder than Louise Rennison's stories about Georgia Nicolson
(HarperCollins) but similar in tone and style; fans of Cecily von Ziegesar's
"Gossip Girl" series and Zoey Dean's "A-List" series (both Little, Brown) should
enjoy it. Fiction
Oppell, Kenneth. Airborn.
In crisp, precise prose that gracefully conveys a wealth of detail, Oppel (the
Silverwing Saga) imagines an alternate past where zeppelins crowd the skies over
the Atlanticus and the Pacificus, and luxury liners travel the air rather than
the sea (references to films by the Lumičre "triplets" and various fashions
suggest a very early 20th-century setting). Young Matt Cruse works aboard the
elegant passenger airship Aurora, where his late father also worked. In an
exciting opening sequence, Matt rescues an injured old man flying solo in a
stranded hot air balloon; the man later dies, but not before telling Matt of
"beautiful creatures" that he saw sailing through the air. Matt's curiosity
about the man's dying words is piqued a year later when the fellow's
granddaughter Kate arrives on board, bearing his journal. As other plot lines
develop, pirates attack the Aurora, which crash-lands on an island that closely
resembles a drawing in the old man's journal. There are minor, pleasing shades
of the film Titanic throughout—the rich but overprotected girl, the poor but
daring and lovable cabin boy, and the vessel itself, which is a sprawling and
multifaceted character in its own right—but Oppel places the emphasis squarely
on adventure rather than romance, keeping the pace brisk and the characters
dynamic. The author's inviting new world will stoke readers' imaginations—and
may leave them hoping for a sequel (those curious for a preview can log onto
Parker, Daniel and Lee Miller. Watching Alice series.
Break the Surface Sixteen-year-old Tom Sinclair moves to New York
City to escape a troubled past. Then he meets Alice Brown and falls deeply in
love. Could his life be back on track at last?
Then Alice disappears, and Tom fears his past may have something to do with it.
His only clues: an e-mail from someone with the screen name WatchingAlice, and
Alice's diary entries--which reveal that Alice had deeply hidden secrets of her
Walk On Water
Alice's diary reveals her true, hidden reason for pursuing Tom; her secret
meetings in a downtown hospital with a mysterious bed-ridden patient; and her
desperation to escape her aggressive ex-boyfriend, Carter.
In his effort to find Alice, Tom publishes her diary. He implores the reader to
aid him in decoding the cryptic entries inside.
Perez. Marlene. Unexpected Development.
In this debut novel, written as a "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" essay,
narrator Megan addresses her teacher, reflecting on seeing "the best and the
worst in [guys]" and her struggles with a body that "polite people call
top-heavy." During the summer before her senior year, Megan attracts the
attention of her longtime crush, Jake, who works alongside her at the Pancake
Palace, faces both a sexually harassing bully and boss, and grapples with
whether or not to have breast-reduction surgery. Megan is likable and funny (she
says Jake "smell[s] like temptation and Ivory soap") and Perez focuses on a
compelling body-image issue. Megan wears baggy clothes and not only must she
listen to warnings from her mother ("Boys Jake's age have only one thing on
their minds"), but she, too, worries that that's all Jake wants. Readers will
find Megan easy to relate to, but may find some of the book's other elements
troublesome. Her pervert boss's affair with a promiscuous co-worker, for
instance, reads as stereotypical, and her shopping trip and heart-to-heart with
her often-hurtful mother wraps things up a bit too easily. While these elements
detract from the novel, Megan's appealing character will draw readers in, and
will likely make the audience hope for more from this promising writer.
Rabb, M.E. The Missing Persons
The Chocolate Lover YA
This second entry in the series continues the Shattenberg sisters' adventures.
Sophie is in high school and Sam is working as an assistant to Gus Jenkins, the
local private eye. The girls begin a new missing-persons case when they meet Leo
Shattenberg, a retired professor who shares their uncommon last name. Leo asks
for their help in tracking down a woman who's been missing since 1947 in order
to return a painting to her. The plot frequently veers off course so suddenly
that Sophie seems to be forever explaining odd and illogical turns of events.
However, even though the narrative is a little contrived, it's also sweet, wry,
and entertaining. Adults are on the sidelines; it's Sophie, Sam, and their
friends who solve the mystery. This lighthearted novel is bound to please
mystery fans and reluctant teen readers alike.
The Rose Queen YA Mystery RAB
Gr 6 Up-After their father dies, Sam, 17, and Sophie, 15, are forced to leave
their home in Queens, NY, and begin a new life on the lam. Afraid that their
evil stepmother will separate them and force Sophie to attend a boarding school
in Canada, they take their father's funds and make a run for it. With the help
of a schoolmate with criminal connections, the sisters establish new identities
as Sam and Fiona Scott and take up residence in the small town of Venice, IN.
There, they meet many new people, including Noelle McBride, the 16-year-old Rose
Queen of Venice and a stuck-up snob. When she disappears after Sam and Sophie
drop her off one evening, they become the prime suspects because they were the
last people to see her. With the police on their trail, the sisters become
amateur sleuths to crack the case and clear their own names. At the same time,
they must stay hidden themselves. Narrated by Sophie in a chatty style, this
fast-paced book is filled with humor. Teens will identify with the characters.
The story is fun and entertaining with the added appeal of a twist of mystery.-
The Unsuspecting Gourmet YA Mystery RAB
When Sophie shares her late mother's matzo ball soup recipe with the owner of a
local diner, she has no idea how much trouble it will cause--especially when it
wins first prize in a television cooking show contest. When a TV crew arrives to
meet with the chef, she's disappeared.
The Venetian Policeman
YA Mystery RAB
Sophie and Sam thought they knew everything there was to know about Gus Jenkins,
the private detective they're working with. But when Gus's life takes a turn for
the worse, the girls discover that he has a missing son (who happens to be a
total stud), and they decide that they just have to find him. Can they manage to
find Gus's son, while keeping their identity and their motives a secret?
Rohrer, Russ. Ten Days in the Dirt: Spectacle of Off-Road Motorcycling.
The world of off-road racing comes to life in this photo-oriented look at the
sport. The author visited ten of the hottest off-road racing events in the U.S.,
and came back with a high-quality look at the state of off-road racing today.
The book is divided into 10 sections, each dealing with a particular type of
off-road riding or competition. Described is what happens during a typical day
of competition, with quotes from the racers and their families. Detailed photos
show the action on the track, and the majority of the shots are the competitors
in the pits working on their bikes, sharing racing stories, camping, and living
the lives of a racer. Nonfiction
Rothbart, Davy. Found: The Best Lost, Tossed and Forgotten Items from
Around the World.
In the tradition of NPR's National Story Project comes this funky collection of
letters, flyers and other miscellany from the pages of Found magazine. Rothbart,
the magazine's editor and founder, has pulled together the funniest, weirdest
and most moving items found by himself and his readers over the years. Fairly
typical is the note left on a car's windshield, intended for a wayward boyfriend
named Mario: "You said you had to work then whys your car here at HER place?....
I hate you..." piling invective upon invective until concluding: "p.s. Page me
later." Rothbart and company find stuff just about everywhere: on buses, taped
to trees, underneath Coke machines, in the recycling bin at Kinko's. Some items
are heartbreaking (a missing person poster found in Manhattan after September
11), some hilarious (an algebra test, flunked with creativity and panache) and
some just plain odd (a note directing residents to lock a door in order to
"prevent unauthorized people from entering the building and defecating in the
washing machine"). There are some explanations, but mostly, the trash speaks for
itself, reproduced with Rothbart's particular punk-collagist aesthetic. At
times, reading the notes and letters feels uncomfortably voyeuristic, and
inevitably, readers are left wanting more, wishing for details about these lives
beyond what the sketchy fragments provide (did that scoundrel Mario ever change
his wanton ways?). A provocative and original book, Rothbart's collection
manages to pull laughter and drama from the flotsam and jetsam of society.
Seate, Mike. Choppers: Heavy Metal.
When a motorcycle has been built from the ground up, stripped of anything not
needed for speed, power, and striking looks, and draped in rich colors and
chrome, it has been transformed into a chopper. What was once considered an
outlaw ride has now become. Nonfiction
Shaw, Maria. Maria Shaw's Star Gazer: Your Soul Searching, Dream Seeking,
Make Something Happen Guide to the Future.
Maria Shaw has been in the national spotlight appearing on shows such as Blind
Date, Soap Talk, and the FOX reality show Mr. Personality. She currently writes
a monthly astrology column for Soap Opera Digest and is a regular contributor to
various new age publications. She even finds time to do a weekly radio segment
on a local morning program. Now, Maria Shaw is lending her astrological
expertise to the teen market with her new book Maria Shaw's Star Gazer.
Star Gazer is Maria's first foray into the teen genre. The book was written with
her own teenage daughters in mind. She hopes that this book will be a tool that
teens will use to discover and develop their spiritual gifts, and to help them
realize that there is a higher power source they can tap into for help.
Maria has helped thousands of people across the country with her workshop, "Soul
Mates: Past Lives and Present Loves." She also continues to provide personal
readings to a large client base. Nonfiction
Sones, Sonya. One of Those
Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies. YA SON
In one- to two-page breezy poetic prose-style entries, 15-year-old Ruby Milliken
describes her flight from Boston to California and her gradual adjustment to
life with her estranged movie-star father following her mother's death. E-mails
to her best friend, her boyfriend, and her mother ("in heaven") and outpourings
of her innermost thoughts display her overwhelming unhappiness and feelings of
isolation, loss, and grief ("…most days,/I wander around Lakewood feeling
invisible./Like I'm just a speck of dust/floating in the air/that can only be
seen/when a shaft of light hits it"). Ruby's affable personality is evident in
her humorous quips and clever wordplays. Her depth of character is revealed
through her honest admissions, poignant revelations, and sensitive insights.
This is not just another one of those gimmicky novels written in poetry. It's
solid and well written, and Sones has a lot to say about the importance of
carefully assessing people and situations and about opening the door to one's
own happiness. Despite several predictable particulars of plot, Ruby's story is
gripping, enjoyable, and memorable. Fiction
Stephens, J.B. The Big Empty series. Fiction
The Big Empty YA STE
In the very near future, a devastating virus has killed off more than
half the human race. In the United States, a military dictatorship has taken
over, moving the population toward the coasts, away from what has been renamed
The Big Empty. Seven teens come together in what used to be Clearwater, MO. Keely, Jonah, and Irene are there looking for Novo Mundum,
which seems to be a commune of intelligent, creative sorts who don't want to
follow the martial law of the new and unelected president. Diego, a local, has
been shot by soldiers after refusing to evacuate. Streetwise Amber is 15,
pregnant, and looking for her ex-boyfriend. Michael and his
about-to-be-ex-girlfriend, Maggie, meet up with the group when they flee their
comfortable lives in order to avoid execution for a crime they didn't commit.
Stephens's dystopian vision is all the more frightening because it's not outside
the realm of possibility. The adventure is filled with little details that set
it firmly in the next few years, and all of the teens are smart and resourceful
(except for Maggie, a living, breathing cliché who absolutely refuses to admit
that the world she knew no longer exists). The ending leaves the door wide open
for further volumes.
Paradise City. YA STE
The secret community of Novo Mundum promised everything seven teens craved when
the world they knew crumbled around them. But soon they realize that Novo Mundum
is far from perfect. In fact, someone inside has the power to create an even
scarier crisis than Strain 7. This second installment takes readers deeper into
the post-apocalyptic America from The Big Empty, following the characters as
they uncover a shocking truth about the identity of the traitor.
Stolarz, Laurie F. Blue is for Nightmares.
Gr 7-10-Stacey's nightmares have proven to tell the future in the past, and now
they have returned. The person who is in danger in the teen's dreams is her
roommate. Determined to discover who is out to kill Drea, the protagonist
performs a series of spells taught to her by her grandmother to ferret out the
murderer. Seemingly, all of the girls' friends and acquaintances are suspects.
This mystery will initially attract readers who are into Wicca and spells, but
may not be successful in keeping their interest. Stacey's bedwetting (at age 16)
is a troublesome plot point that remains mostly unresolved at the end. The
girls' adventures are unfettered by adults for the most part, and since the
story takes place at a boarding school, it is hard to believe that so much could
go on unnoticed. Stolarz's first novel is an admirable attempt, but falls short
when compared to the works of other mystery-writing greats such as Nancy Werlin
and Carol Plum-Ucci. Fiction
Strasser, Todd. Can’t Get There From Here.
A surrogate family of homeless teens lives on the streets of New York
City, and the bleakness of their lives is clear early on when Country Club dies
of "liver failure due to acute alcohol poisoning." His brief life is summarized
in a one-page dossierlike format that immediately precedes the narrative
description of his death. These clinical dossiers recur, like a premonition, as
one by one this ragtag "family" disintegrates. But first, readers meet Maggot;
Rainbow; beautiful, HIV-positive 2Moro; her club-hopping, sexually amorphous
friend Jewel; the protagonist/narrator Maybe; and Tears, the newest, and, at 12
years of age, youngest member of the group. Gradually revealed are the physical
and psychological scars that marked their paths to the police sweeps, illness,
drugs, and destitution that litter their lives. Also made clear is the fact that
these teens reject many offers of help, but find that the street looks better
than the horrors from which they've fled. A kindly librarian, Anthony, becomes
the hero, reuniting Tears with her grandparents and offering the possibility of
a safe future to Maybe. While the events described in this cautionary tale are
shocking, the language is not, making these all-too-real problems accessible to
a wide readership. More sanitized than E. R. Frank's America (Atheneum, 2002),
Han Nolan's Born Blue (Harcourt, 2001), or Adam Rapp's 33 Snowfish(Candlewick,
2003), this is nevertheless a powerful and disturbing look at the downward
spiral of despair that remains too common for too many teens. Fiction
Sweeney, Joyce. Takedown.
Joe is hosting a party in honor of his favorite weekly wrestling show
when a college student-turned-murderer crashes the get-together and holds the
13-year-olds hostage. As the terrifying ordeal continues, Joe thinks back about
how he met each friend, their history together, and problems they are facing in
their lives. Their troubles allow for some character development, but they also
bog down the story. While some parts of the plot are implausible, Sweeney's use
of simple language, in combination with the suspense of the tense hostage
situation and the wrestling theme, will draw reluctant readers and fans of
sports entertainment. Fiction
Thomson, Celia. The Nine Lives of Chloe King series. Fiction
The day before her 16th birthday, Chloe ditches school and, with her two
best friends, goes to San Francisco's Coit Tower. When she falls from a window
at the top of it and lands on her head on the concrete below, she appears to be
unscathed. In the days immediately following, Chloe develops both unusual
physical powers and ever-stranger relationships with assorted young men. While
this plot outline holds a lot of promise for teens who like suspense mixed with
slowly creeping horror, Thomson fails to deliver a page-turner. The prose is
clunky and many descriptions either make no sense or offer tantalizing tidbits
that never get adequately addressed. There seems to be a secret supernatural
society working undercover, but it takes center stage only in one chapter. There
are some moments that are charming, including Chloe's introduction to one
character who turns out to be paranormal many chapters later. The ending–which
comes several pages after readers have finally been told that Chloe is, in fact,
dead–suggests the intent to be cliff-hanging, with two sequels listed on the
back cover. Hopefully they will offer smoother writing without sacrificing the
tale's successful quirks.
From Russia and Eastern Europe comes a breed of humans with feline
characteristics called the Mai. Chloe King is one of them. In this second
installment in the series, she finds that there are others like her, others with
nine lives and the ability to see in the dark. Just as she's beginning to
understand her unique powers, the Tenth Blade, a ruthless group out to kill her
and the rest of the Mai, strikes again. Having already lost one life, and with
her mother and her friends also in danger, Chloe will do anything to stop them.
Complicating matters is her growing attraction to Brian, a member of the Tenth
Blade. He says he's on her side, but can she believe him? Readers not familiar
with the first book may have trouble following the plot as previous events are
not summarized here. There is some action, some romance, but, overall, not
enough to warrant first purchase.
Thorley, Joe. Avril Lavigne: The Unofficial Book.
This book had the style like her offical website but it just wasn't personal
enough. It had the information we all already know. Good parts about the books
are the pictures. Nonfiction
Vizzini, Ned. Be More Chill.
This wacky, irreverent novel stars an uncouth, smart, nerdy, but
sympathetic antihero, Jeremy Heere. The teen actually keeps Humiliations Sheets
on which he tallies the number and types of affronts that he encounters in his
daily life at his New Jersey high school and finds solace in the evenings
viewing Internet porn. When the girl he secretly loves is cast opposite him in a
school play, he decides to find a way to break the mold he's built around
himself so that she will understand and reciprocate his admiration. Buying an
extreme bit of illegal nanotechnology in the back room of a Payless shoe store,
Jeremy swallows the "squip," which embeds itself in his brain and advises him on
all the cool things to say and do to impress Christine. Vizzini has devised a
hilarious alternate reality, very close to the one available to Jeremy's real
peers–Eminem is a pop-culture presence (although he has recently died in this
world). The squip malfunctions when Jeremy takes Ecstasy (not only miscuing
Jeremy but also defaulting to Spanish), and so on. There are genuine and serious
issues of morality folded into this story, including Jeremy's dilemma of how to
make himself both attractive and sincere in Christine's perception. Like Janet
Tashjian's The Gospel According to Larry (Holt, 2001), this novel has substance
as well as flash, and lots of appeal to bright teens. Although it is literary
and funny, the blatant sexual themes and use of profanity may limit its
acceptability in schools. Fiction
Walters, Eric. Overdrive.
Aspiring mechanic Jake is elated when his brother loans him his souped-up Chevy
on the first day of having his driver's license. The 300-plus horsepower goes to
Jake's head, and he is goaded into a street race with his arch-nemesis, Luke.
The Chevy dusts the Acura, but Luke does not know when to quit and plows into a
SUV containing a man and his pregnant wife. Panicked, Jake drives away from the
scene of the accident, encouraged by his passenger Mickey, who warns Jake to
avoid trouble by keeping quiet about his "almost involvement." Inner turmoil
ensues. The plot moves quickly-even the cover showing the arc of a speedometer
edging past 80 mph/140 kmh, indicates speed. Part of Orca's new Soundings series
for reluctant readers, this high interest, low reading level novel is simple,
engaging, and well written. Characters have a slightly cookie-cutter feel-the
wisecracking big brother, the mean teacher, the helpful adult mentor-and the
length does not leave a lot of room for details, but it is still a satisfying
read. The page count might appease some teachers who think that books with fewer
than one hundred pages are not appropriate for grades six and up. Books from
this imprint combine plots to which youth can relate and a moral dilemma that
lends itself to classroom discussion. This particular title has more appeal for
boys, and some of the vocabulary may be unfamiliar to those who are not car
Westerfeld, Scott. The Secret Hour.
Moving when you're in high school is difficult enough, especially when
your parents can't seem to hold their own lives together and your younger sister
is being more obnoxious than usual. However, for 15-year-old Jessica Day, these
concerns pale when bizarre things start to happen and she discovers that she now
has unwanted magical powers. Part science fiction, part horror story, this novel
is the first in a series about the midnighters, a select group of individuals
whose birth at the stroke of midnight gives them the special ability to move
about in a mysterious 25th hour. As Jessica takes her place among these
extraordinary teens, she must battle the increasingly dangerous slithers and
other darklings that have suddenly become more violent and aggressive. The story
is exciting and the writing compelling. Gaps in the account will not bother
readers, who will be totally absorbed by the paranormal elements as well as the
intriguing characters, and who will be eagerly awaiting the next book. Fiction
Weyn, Suzanne. Bar Code Tattoo.
Gr 6 Up “It's 2025, and the thing to do on your 17th birthday is to get a bar
code tattoo, which is used for everything from driver's licenses to shopping.
Kayla, almost 17, resists because she hates the idea of being labeled. Then the
tattoos begin to drive people to commit suicide, Kayla's father among them, and
she soon finds out that the markings contain detailed information about their
bearers, including their genetic code. When the government, controlled by a
corporation called Global-1, makes the tattoo mandatory, Kayla joins a teen
resistance movement and falls for a gorgeous guy, unaware that he's a double
agent. She discovers she has some psychic ability and has confusing visions of
future events. Forced to run away after being implicated in her mother's
accidental death, she eventually joins other resisters hiding in the Adirondack
Mountains, finds romance with an old friend, and learns to harness her psychic
powers to fight Global-1 and fulfill her visions. Like M. T. Anderson's Feed
(Candlewick, 2002), this novel examines issues of individuality versus
conformity and individual freedom versus governmental control. Because it also
deals with the ethics of enhanced genetics and cloning, it tries to cover too
much territory and relies too heavily on coincidence and far-fetched plotting.
Whedon, Joss. Fray.
Hundreds of years in the future, Manhattan has become a deadly slum, run by
mutant crime-lords and disinterested cops. Stuck in the middle is a young girl
who thought she had no future, but learns she has a great destiny. In a world so
poisoned that it doesn't notice the monsters on its streets, how can a street
kid like Fray unite a fallen city against a demonic plot to consume mankind?
Joss Whedon, the celebrated creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, brings his
vision to the future in this unique tale. As inventive in the comics medium as
in that of television of film, Whedon spins a complex tale of a skilled thief
coming of age without the help of friends or family, guided only by a demonic
Woodson, Jacqueline. Behind You.
Gr 8-10–In this poignant, stand-alone sequel to the wrenching romance, If You
Come Softly (Putnam, 1998), Woodson's characters are dealing with grief and
picking up the pieces of their lives after the death of 15-year-old Jeremiah (Miah)
Roselind. The impact of their loss is revealed through the alternating voices of
his white girlfriend, Ellie; basketball teammate, Kennedy; childhood friend,
Carlton; and his separated parents. As a year passes and these characters take
"a step deeper into their worldâ€¦. The world they're learning to live in
without you," Miah's spiritual voice searches for a final, parting moment to
whisper that they are loved so that they can move on into their own futures.
With tenderness and compassion, the author exposes the characters'
vulnerabilities and offers the hope that they will emerge and grow from this
tragic loss. Although the voices are distinct, a quiet, reflective tone pervades
the story. Interestingly, each character opens up and changes in some way except
Ellie's parents, who espouse liberal views but never accepted their daughter's
African-American boyfriend or his friends. Readers who savor tough reality
stories as much as happy endings will appreciate this thought-provoking,
satisfying novel that offers hope but no easy answers. Fiction