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Nemesis

Title: Nemesis
Author: Brendan Reichs
Series: Project Nemesis
Recommended for: Grade 7 & up
Pages: 443
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Reichs, B.

Synopsis: He killed me. He killed me not. He killed me.

It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.

For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.

Review: This book had such a great premise. However, it utterly and completely failed. After reading 400+ pages, I still can’t tell you WHAT is going on. I’m not sure the author/book quite has an idea as well. It was a bit like reading whiplash to be honest. One moment we’re trying to figure out if she’s having psychotic breaks then we’re at conspiracy theories and then we end at…well, I’m not quite sure where we end up. But it’s doesn’t make much sense. And perhaps in book two, more will be revealed/it’ll make sense, but I’m not sure I want to even wade in that world again. There may be some teens who love this head-spin tale, but for most I think this book will them simply frustrated.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Sci-Fi, Teen

 

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My New Mom and Me

Title: My New Mom and Me
Author: Renata Galindo
Series: N/A
Recommended for: K- 2 ( maybe a little younger)
Pages: 32
Call Number/Link:  E Galindo

Synopsis: When the puppy comes to live with his new mom, he is nervous. After all, his mom has stripes and he doesn’t. But his mom says she likes that they look different, and soon the puppy likes it, too. (And who cares what anyone else thinks!)

The puppy’s new mom does all the things other parents do. She plays with him, takes care of him, and sometimes even makes him mad! But that’s okay, because when he’s feeling sad, she knows just what to say.

Review: This is a super sweet story of adoption or fostering. It is geared towards older children more than those adopted straight from birth. Puppy knows from the get go that this is his new home and he is different from his new mom. At first, he tries to be just like her, even paints on stripes, but his new mom wipes it all away and tells him she loves him just the way he is. In the end, they end up embracing their differences–and even though it’s not easy being a new family they’re going to continue to work on it.  This would be a perfect book to give to families that have either just adopted older-ish kids or who are maybe even just fostering.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Picture Books

 

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A Season of Daring Greatly

Title: A Season of Daring Greatly
Author: Ellen Emerson White
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 7th grade & up
Pages: 432
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction White, E. 

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty just made history. Her high school’s star pitcher, she is now the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. Only days after her high school graduation, she’ll join the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season team . . . but not everyone is happy to have her there.

On top of the pressure heaped on every pitcher, Jill must deal with defying conventions and living up to impossible expectations, all while living away from home for the first time. She’ll go head-to-head against those who are determined to keep baseball an all-male sport. Despite the reassurance of coaches and managers alike, a few of her teammates are giving her trouble. The media presence following her at each game is inescapable. And to top it all off, Jill is struggling with the responsibilities of being a national hero and a role model for young women everywhere. How can she be a role model when she’s not even sure she made the right choice for herself? Didn’t baseball used to be fun?

Review: I really, really, really liked this book. Although, that’s no surprise as someone who grew up on baseball (and adores the TV Show Pitch). Much like Pitch this book explored both being a player and all the stress encountered being a first. Press conferences, death threats, crowds of adoring fans, and just the the overwhelming pressure to prove she is good enough to be there. Jill have a lot of up and downs throughout the book. She questions if she made the right decision & if she made the right decision. I enjoyed that while some of her teammates where jerks, most were friendly and even had her back. I loved reading about the growing friendships between herself and the boys. If I had one complaint it would be the ending. It felt a bit abrupt and just left me wanting more. It just felt like there was so much left to tell. Secretly, I’m hoping the author will revisit this world/these characters because I would read it in a heartbeat.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Goodbye Days

Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 8 & up
Pages: 405
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Zentner

Synopsis: One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

Review: I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. I enjoyed Zentner’s first book, but this one just didn’t work. Mainly, I think he tried to create drama where no drama was needed. Throughout most of the book, Carver has this threat of criminal charges because he was the one who sent the text. There is an actual case were there was a consideration, but it still seems silly to me and far reaching. Even worse that it was the driver’s dad who was trying to push it! Every time it was mentioned I was just dragged out of the book. I think Zenter has enough drama with just the fact that his three best friends were dead and the self-blame that would have already naturally been there.

There were def. some emotional scenes in there that totally tugged at the heart strings—the goodbye day with Blake’s grandma being the top. Although, I will admit the falling in love with the best friends girlfriend was a little weird. I could have done without that as well. There are some very strong features in the book, but for me it ultimately just didn’t work.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Valiant

Title: The Valiant
Author: Lesley Livingston
Series: The Valiant
Recommended for: Grades 8 & up
Pages: 372
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Livingston, L. 

Synopsis: Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

Reviews: I really, really liked this book. It read it super fast because I kept doing the “One more chapter” thing. Fallon is pretty kick butt, although, things do come a little easy to her. However, I still really enjoyed her journey. I’m super glad that the love triangle/complication that started in the beginning of the book wasn’t carried too far. There’s a lot of interesting plot twists, which I won’t spoil. My biggest complaint was I wished there was more fighting. For being a book that is supposed to be about a female gladiator there is very little description in the arena. It’s more about the intrigue/mysteries/secrets that happens outside of the arena. All that said, though, when I got to the end I was super glad to learn there will be a book 2. I will totally read it as soon as I can get my hands on it.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2017 in Historical, Teen, Uncategorized

 

Star Crossed

Title: Star Crossed
Author: Barbara Dee
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Graded 6-8
Pages: 256
Call Number/Link: J Fiction Dee, B. 

Synopsis: Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.

As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.


Review: 
This book is one of those that totally toes the line . The subject matter is totally more teen-ish, but with the cover it’ll never go in J. However, the book is still super sweet and there’s not even kissing beyond what happens in the play. The questioning is very straight forward and handled realistically. I honestly wish they would have put a better cover on it because I do believe that this type of book would circ a bit better in teen. However, I know kids are questioning at any age and I do think this book will be helpful/allow them to see their situation in a book, especially since for the most part it’s no big deal. (Her friends and anyone she tells accepts it.)

Of course, the books deals with way more than just questioning a crush. It deals with normal middle school stuff such as friendships, bullies, dances, being excluded, and more. All of this makes this book super recommendable to middle school-ers. This book is A+ in my opinion.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2017 in Juv, Realistic, Uncategorized

 

Allegedly

30037870Title: Allegedly
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 8th grade and up
Pages: 387
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Jackson, T.

Synopsis: Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

Review: Overall, I really liked this book. It was compelling and the narration pulled your into the story. Most of the story I truly was interested in Mary and her story. Did she do it? Did she not do it? What is the true story around baby Alyssa’s death? Can she get out of this life she’s stuck in? There’s also a lot of commentary on the justice system and kids who fall through the cracks.Was Mary truly a bad kid or just a victim of her circumstances. However, I am not a big fan of not knowing what REALLY happened. The way the book ended there’s an air of ambiguity that you’re not *quite* sure what to believe. Also, if we’re to take it at face value, it’s a little more predictable than I would have liked. There is also a bit of fat shaming, although, it’s pretty subtle and most people will miss it because of everything else going on. All in all, I enjoyed this book and would be a great recommendation for those who like Hopkins or gritty fiction.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2017 in Realistic, Teen, Uncategorized