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Optimists Die First

Title:   Optimists Die First
Author:   Nielsen-Fernlund, Susin
Series:   —
Recommended for:  teens who like books that deal with death, family problems, betrayal, support groups – and a little romance. And fans of The Fault in Our Stars, The Breakfast Club and other books/movies where unlikely strangers wind up becoming friends.
Pages:   228 p.
Call Number/Link:   Teen Fiction Nielsen, S.

Ratings:   ***

 

 

Synopsis:

Since her sister’s death, Petula de Wilde sees danger in everything. A mandatory art therapy class with a groups of teenage misfits is the worst part of each week. She wants nothing to do with them– especially Jacob and his prosthetic arm. When they work together on a project, he helps her with her fears. But a secret he’s been keeping from her could unravel everything….
Comments:
I think we’ve all heard the saying:  “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  I know I have.  And that I still sometimes choose a book to read because the cover grabs me.  Most often, it is because the cover features delicious looking baked goods.  But in this case, I liked the contradiction between the cover and book title.  It looks like the front of a homemade knitted sweater… with skeletons and the title Optimists Die First.  So I read the front flap and found out that the protagonist was in an art therapy group.  Be still my heart!  I’m kind of fascinated with the idea of art therapy, although I only know a little about it.
The book didn’t completely grab me, but I still liked it.  The art therapy group kind of reminded me of the support group in The Fault in Our Stars.  This may be a stretch, but the change in how the group members interacted at the beginning and at he end of the book made me think of The Breakfast Club.  Thus, I think the book could be a hit with teens who like problem novels, support groups, The Fault in Our Stars and/or The Breakfast Club.
And I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that there is a romance….
 
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Time Traveling with a Hamster

timetravelwithahamsterTitle: Time Traveling with a Hamster
Author: Ross Welford
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 4th-7th grade
Pages: 426
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION WELFORD 
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Al Chaudhury discovers his late dad’s time machine and travels back to 1984 with his pet hamster to prevent the go-kart accident that killed his father.

This was an ok story.  My son and I expected more action.  His dad has been dead a few years now, his mum has remarried and they have moved to a new house. On Al’s 12th birthday his Mum  gives him a  letter from his dad.  Al’s dad has tasked him with going back in time to stop the go-kart accident that is the cause of his early death.  That sounds great and all, but there is a lot of talking about feelings and what should he do.  Even when there was action, there is still a lot of just trying to decide what to do.  Most of the book is Al deciding what he should do.  He ends up messing up the past and then having to try to fix it.  I also thought the hamster would be more than a thought, since it was mentioned it in the title.  My son didn’t finish the book because he lost interest in the book, to much time dwelling on what to do.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in Adventure, Juv, Sci-Fi

 

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Boy in the Black Suit

21490991Title: Boy in the Black Suit
Author: Jason Reynolds
Series: N/A
Recommended for: High School
Pages: 255 pages
Call Number/Link: Teen Fiction Reynolds

Synopsis:
High school senior, Matt, has just lost his mom. A fact that both he and his dad are both trying to get used to. While his father finds his answers at the bottom of a bottle, Matt searches for his in other ways. One of them is the new gig he just picked up with Mr. Ray’s funeral home. You’d think that would be the last place he’d want to be, but he find solace in attending the funerals. A certain peace in knowing that he’s not alone in his grieving. But then he meets Love, a girl who doesn’t grieve like the others. A girl who seems to have it all figured out. Will Love be the key to Matt’s healing…or could she end up being so much more?

I really liked this book a lot. I love watching Matt grow and seeing how Love changed him and forced him to think a little differently. Also, love that it shows different economic situations. And that it showed teens who volunteer because they care, not just to pad their college resume/fulfill high school requirements. I don’t know that I would say it’s a love story per say, but it does revolve around Matt and Love a lot. However, it is really more about grief and healing than anything else.

 

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2015 in Realistic, Teen

 

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