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Tag Archives: realistic

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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Where You’ll Find Me

25666024Title: Where You’ll Find Me
Author: Natasha Friend
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 7th Grade and Up
Pages: 272
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Friend, N.

Synopsis: The first month of school, thirteen-year-old Anna Collette finds herself…

Dumped by her best friend, Dani, who suddenly wants to spend eighth grade “hanging out with different people.”

Deserted by her mom, who’s in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt.

Trapped in a house with her dad, a new baby sister, and a stepmother young enough to wear her Delta Delta Delta sweatshirt with pride.

Stuck at a lunch table with Shawna the Eyebrow Plucker and Sarabeth the Irish Stepper because she has no one else to sit with.

But what if all isn’t lost? What if Anna’s mom didn’t exactly mean to leave her? What if Anna’s stepmother is cooler than she thought? What if the misfit lunch table isn’t such a bad fit after all?

With help from some unlikely sources, including a crazy girl-band talent show act, Anna just may find herself on the road to okay.

My review: This one got off to a shaky start, but it got better as it went. I love how it handled mental illness (in this case bipolar two) and how a child would deal with it. It was very realistic approach and especially liked all the times she thought back on how her mom did something odd and if the illness had caused that or not. And of course, there were plenty of feelings of abandonment and she tried to figure out how to deal with this new diagnoses (up from depression) and her mother’s attempted suicide.

Friend also touches on divorce and how awkward she feels in her father’s new family, especially sine she thinks like the new wife is a betrayal to her mother. But the more time she allows Marnie (step-mom) in, the more she starts to like/accept her. The trip to Atlanta was great because it showed Anna that you could be spontaneous without going overboard. Plus, it was a good experience for her to get away/bond with Marnie.

And if that wasn’t enough, she has to deal with being dumped by her best friend as she climbs the social ladder. At first, this is devastating, but she hooks up with a group of “outcasts” and really finds her place. It’s fun watching Anna grow with these new group of friends and really seems to find her stride by the end.

All in all, a great realistic novel that should easily been giving to teens who life the tougher issues w/o a lot of sex talk.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2016 in Realistic, Teen, Uncategorized

 

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Not if I see you first

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Title: Not if I see you first
Author: Eric Lindstrom
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 8th thru 12th grade
Pages: 310
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION LINDSTROM

Synopsis: Blind sixteen-year-old Parker Grant navigates friendships and romantic relationships, including a run-in with a boy who previously broke her heart, while coping with her father’s recent death.

Parker Grant lost her sight at the age of seven in an accident that killed her mother.  As a coping mechanism, she created what she refers to as “The Rules,” and she expects everyone in her life to adhere to them. “Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.” “Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.”  Through these rules, and many others, I was drawn into what it is like to be a blind teenager (as much as I could be).  With the recent death of her father, she is trying to continue on with life in a no-nonsense fashion.  She has a quick wit and a gift for sarcasm.  Things get complicated when she meets a boy who doesn’t treat her like a blind girl, and her former best friend/boyfriend begins attending her high school (she hasn’t spoken to him in two years). Luckily she has some true friends who help her navigate the ups and downs of life.

I loved this book!  It drew me in right away, which surprised me because I wasn’t convinced I would like the book when I read the book jacket.  The struggles of high school as a teenage girl rang very true (I was a teenage girl back in the day!).  The insights into being blind were very interesting to me, and made me think about so many things I take for granted as a sighted person. The friendships were genuine and the emotions very raw at times.  I highly recommend this book for someone looking for realistic fiction.  It is a safe book to recommend if the patron is looking for a book without sex.  The most physical interaction in a make-out session in the back seat of a car.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Realistic, Romance, Teen

 

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Don’t Fail Me Now

Title: Don’t Fail Me Now
Author: Una LaMarche
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 7th grade & up
Pages: 288
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction LaMarche, U.

Synopsis: Michelle and her little siblings Cass and Denny are African-American and living on the poverty line in urban Baltimore, struggling to keep it together with their mom in jail and only Michelle’s part-time job at the Taco Bell to sustain them.

Leah and her stepbrother Tim are white and middle class from suburban Maryland, with few worries beyond winning lacrosse games and getting college applications in on time.

Michelle and Leah only have one thing in common: Buck Devereaux, the biological father who abandoned them when they were little.

After news trickles back to them that Buck is dying, they make the uneasy decision to drive across country to his hospice in California. Leah hopes for closure; Michelle just wants to give him a piece of her mind.

Five people in a failing, old station wagon, living off free samples at food courts across America, and the most pressing question on Michelle’s mind is: Who will break down first–herself or the car? All the signs tell her they won’t make it. But Michelle has heard that her whole life, and it’s never stopped her before….

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I loved that it had diversity not only in race, but in class as well. It’s also a kind of different take on roadtrips. It’s not about fun or getting over heartache, but literally a race to make it to the other side of the country before someone dies. At the heart of the story it’s really all about family. It’s more than just about the dad, who was a dead beat all around, but trying to learn to connect with a sister(s) you knew existed but had never met or seen. It was about learning how to connect when if feels like you are worlds apart, but learning you may be more alike than you could have ever imagine. This one is def. worth checking out/suggesting to the teens looking for a realistic story with a splash of drama.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2015 in Realistic, Teen, Uncategorized

 

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Golden Boy

16099325Title: Golden Boy
Author: Tara Sullivan
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 6th Grade and Up
Pages: 384
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Sullivan, T

Synopsis: Habo has always been different from everyone he knows. Light eyes, yellow hair, and white skin. Many in his African village call him a zeruzeru, a ghost boy, a nothing. It’s not until his family goes to live with his aunt in Mwanza that Habo learns zeruzeru has another meaning, albino. Of course, even in this new town, he finds out being a zeruzeru is bad. Here he won’t be ignored, instead he’ll be hunted because albino body parts are thought to bring new luck.  And one hunter, Alasira, has gotten way too close and has already made one attempt on Habo’s life.

On the run, Habo finds himself in Dar es Salaam where albinos are supposed to be safe. The only problem is the city is HUGE and Habo doesn’t know where to go next. When hunger takes over, he tries to exchange an old man’s meal for money, but Kweli, a blind carver has other plans. Instead, he offers Habo a place to stay and food in exchange for helping him around the house. As Habo settles in, for the first time in his life, he finally feels at home! He even learns he has a talent for carver. But when a demon from his past returns, he realizes his running days may not be done after all.

Review: This is one of those “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” books. Even I was like, eh, when I had to read this one, but OMG it’s easily one of my favorites on the Caudill list. It was one I didn’t want to put down and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. The beautiful thing about it is that while the situation is unique, there are emotions that everyone can relate to. Those feeling of belonging somewhere are universal.

The sad thing, is that albinos are truly hunted in Africa, so while it is fiction there is a spark of truth behind it. All in all a very good book that I recommend to all.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2015 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Scarlett Undercover

23197297Title: Scarlett Undercover
Author: Jennifer Latham 
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 6th grade and Up
Pages: 320
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Latham, J.

Synopsis: Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks — and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.

My thoughts: First, let me say YAY for diversity, because YAY! It’s awesome to see a Muslim main character. Other than that, this one falls into the okay category for me. It’s fast paced and pulls you in right away, but then takes this sort weird supernaturally/mythological turn. By the end, I’m not sure if I should believe the legend that her family and many other for years and years and years have been a part of or if it’s simply the madness of an overzealous cult. I lean more towards the first, but still I would have enjoyed it had it not added in that craziness. Also, it seemed super convenient how everything ended up.

Scarlett herself is a great character. She has a lot of sass and spunk, but sometimes the way she though/spoke drove me insane (think old time detective stories). The side characters, especially her sister and a friend or two, held a lot of potential, but felt kind of one-dimensional. I just wanted MORE, but never really got it. Even the love/romance just sort of felt there.

 

If you can get pass the flaws, this is one worth checking out. While it’s a stand alone at the moment, there is room to make this into a series. Should that happen, I would totally pick it up as there is quite a bit of potential to tap into.

Read-a-likes:
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Dance of the Shadows by Yelena Black (If they want the supernatural spin mystery)

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2015 in Mysteries, Realistic, Teen

 

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