Saturday, February 8, 2014

Eleanor & Park

by Rainbow Rowell

Park never thought that being nice enough to share his seat on the bus with some random girl would change his life. Eleanor never thought that deciding to take the bus would become the best decision she's ever made. But as the school year progresses, Eleanor and Park slowly fall in love. And while they know that first loves don't usually last, they are going to give everything to try to make it.

This was a fantastic love story. Set in 1986, it's the story of 2 teens who fall in love over a shared love of music and comics. Their star crossed tale is absolutely fantastic While younger teens might be slightly confused over the talk of batteries, cassettes, and only having a home phone line to talk on, I thought that setting it in the 80s made the book even better. Neither character is perfect, but their flaws are what makes them relatable and wonderful. I loved that Eleanor was not your typical skinny girl heroine, and that Park wasn't the tall and handsome tough guy. It's not all love for these two, the book hits some heavy themes about drinking and abuse which results in an ending  I won't spoil. I couldn't put the book down, and I bet you won't be able to either.

Genre: Love Story
Age Level: 9th Grade

Six Months Later

by Natalie Richards

Imagine waking up to discover you've missed the last 6 months of your life. You haven't been in a coma, but you can't remember anything from the last 6 months. But now you're suddenly a star student, one of the popular kids, you're dating the most popular guy in school and you've got your choice of colleges just waiting for you. You might be happy about the great turnaround in your life, but wouldn't you wonder about the cost?  Chloe will stop at nothing to figure out why she can't remember the last 6 months, because if she doesn't she just might end up dead.

Six Months Later is a great read for anyone who likes mysteries. While slightly far fetched, Richards' book is fast paced and hard to put down. Chloe is a likable character who's desire for the truth is pretty realistic. She doesn't want her fancy new life if it comes at a terrible price.  The intrigue, danger and suspense make this a solid read for anyone who likes these types of novels.

Genre: Mystery
Age Level: 10th Grade

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

True Blue

by Deborah Ellis

Would you be able to stand up for your best friend if she was accused of murder? What if all the evidence pointed to her? What if everyone else already believed it? Jess might have thought she would, but when her best friend Casey is arrested for the murder of a  young girl who was in their cabin at summer camp, she finds herself swayed by the masses. As Casey is put on trial, Jess harbors a secret that could set her free. But she has to be brave enough to say it. And what happens if she is not?

When I picked up this book I thought it would end pretty typically, with Jess coming to Casey's rescue and becoming a better person. Without too many spoilers, it doesn't, and in not coming to a perfect happy ending the book becomes more realistic. It is incredibly hard to stand up for something when everyone else isn't behind it. We'd all like to think we'd stand up for the right thing, but how many of us actually would? Jess' story is a bit of a cautionary tale, and one that is definitely worth reading.

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Level: 8th Grade

These Broken Stars

by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Tarver and Lilac couldn't be more different. He's a war hero who is on board the Icarus as a publicity, she is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. But when the massive spaceship crashes on a uninhabited planet, and chance leaves them the only two people to survive, they must work together to try and seek help. The planet holds many secrets, and as Lilac and Tarver search to find a way off it they will discover they aren't the same people that landed there.

I was completely drawn in by These Broken Stars. Told in alternating perspectives, it's a love story that is both predictable but not. It's a science fiction book that will appeal to non-science fiction lovers, and has some surprising twists at the end that will leave you hoping for a sequel.

Genre: Science Fiction
Age Level: 9th Grade