Reading Room Blog

03/16/2011 - 2:31am
Kate Brian's Private series

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. You can browse our book matches here.

Private by Kate Brian
Fifteen-year-old Reed Brennan wins a scholarship to Easton Academy -- the golden ticket away from her pill-popping mother and run-of-the-mill suburban life. But when she arrives on the beautiful, tradition-steeped campus of Easton, everyone is just a bit more sophisticated, a bit more gorgeous, and a lot wealthier than she ever thought possible. Reed realizes that even though she has been accepted to Easton, Easton has not accepted her. She feels like she's on the outside, looking in. Until she meets the Billings Girls.

Since you like Kate Brian's Private series, here are some other books filled with school drama and the lives
of the "in-crowds:"

The A-List (series) by Zoey Dean
The A-List (series)
by Zoey Dean
Seventeen-year-old blueblood Anna Percy leaves Manhattan to spend the second half of her senior year with her father in Los Angeles and quickly becomes involved in the lives of the rich and famous at Beverly Hills High School. 


 

The Au Pairs (series) by Melissa de la CruzThe Au Pairs (series) by Melissa de la Cruz
Designer labels and movie star names fall like hailstones in this trendy story of three girls spending a summer in the Hamptons, taking care of a superwealthy couple's kids. Actually, Eliza was once rich herself--until her father got busted for illegal financial activities. Forced to move to Buffalo, she's eager to be back on the scene, though she's afraid people will learn she's a worker not a player. Jacqui, from Brazil, hopes to reunite with the love of her life, and Mara is a hard worker from Sturbridge who doesn't know her Gucci from her Pucci. (from Booklist review)
 

The Clique (series) by Lisi Harrison
The Clique (series)
by Lisi Harrison
Head-to-toe Calvin Klein is in. So is Ralph Lauren. Burberry is so out. And as for Claire's platform navy Keds and two-year-old, white Gap jeans--doesn't she know that clothes are like milk or cheese with a "best-before date" and a limited shelf life? Claire is clueless when she enters seventh grade, a newcomer and total outsider when it comes to Massie's friends at an exclusive private girls' school. Massie leads her clique in humiliating Claire and the instant  messaging is very mean. (from Booklist review)

09/06/2011 - 4:21pm
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. You can browse our book matches here.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.

Here are some suggestions for books with school drama/situations and plots that keep you guessing at the ending:
 

Amandine by Adele Griffin
Amandine
by Adele Griffin
Her first week at a new school, shy, plain Delia befriends Amandine, not anticipating the dangerous turns their friendship would take.

 

 

The Boyfriend List: (15 guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs, and Me, Roby Oliver) by E. Lockhart
The Boyfriend List: (15 guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs, and Me, Roby Oliver)
by E. Lockhart
A Seattle fifteen-year-old explains some of the reasons for her recent panic attacks, including breaking up with her boyfriend, losing all her girlfriends, tension between her performance-artist mother and her father, and more.
 

 

Cut by Patricia McCormick
Cut
by Patricia McCormick
While confined to a mental hospital, thirteen-year-old Callie slowly comes to understand some of the reasons behind her self-mutilation, and gradually starts to get better.

03/02/2011 - 3:31am
Exit Here by Jason Myers

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you.

Exit Here by Jason Myers
Enter apathy. Travis is back from college for the summer, and he's just starting to settle in to the usual pattern at home: drinking, drugging ... and hooking up. But Travis isn't settling in like he used to; something isn't right. Maybe it's that deadly debauch in Hawaii, the memories of which Travis can't quite shake. Maybe it's Laura, Travis's ex, who reappears on the scene after a messy breakup and seems to want to get together -- or not. Or maybe it's his suddenly sensing how empty and messed up his life is, and wanting out. But once you're at the party, it's tough to leave...

If you like Exit Here you might like:

Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Crank
by Ellen Hopkins
Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina -- she's fearless. Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul -- her life.

 

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Looking for Alaska
by John Green
Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.

 

 

Saint Iggy by K.L. Going
Saint Iggy
by K.L. Going
Iggy Corso, who lives in city public housing, is caught physically and spiritually between good and bad when he is kicked out of high school, goes searching for his missing mother, and causes his friend to get involved with the same dangerous drug dealer who deals to his parents.

02/23/2011 - 3:31am
ttyl by Lauren Myracle

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you.

ttyl by Lauren Myracle
Chronicles, in "instant message" format, the day-to-day experiences, feelings, and plans of three friends, Zoe, Maddie and Angela, as they begin tenth grade.

If you like ttyl you'll definitely want to read the sequels ttfn and l8r, g8r which follow Zoe, Maddie and Angela through their junior and senior years of high school.

ttfn by Lauren Myraclel8r g8r by Lauren Myracle

Another novel that uses Instant Messages to tell a story is:

24 Girls in Seven Days by Alex Bradley
24 Girls in Seven Days
by Alex Bradley
There are few things sadder than Jack Grammar's love life. So when his friends take it upon themselves to get him a date to the prom by placing an intensely humiliating ad in the school paper, they think they are doing him a favor. Jack doesn't agree. But then the most amazing thing happens: responses to the ad are overwhelming. So overwhelming, in fact, that Jack must narrow the list down. A lot. Not an easy task. Turns out, the girls at City High are quite competitive. From drive-by flashings to breaking and entering to cell phone stalkers, these potential prom dates will stop at nothing to snag the suddenly popular Jack. How will he ever choose just one? (From BN.com)

You may also like:

All Alone in the Universe by Lynne Rae Perkins
All Alone in the Universe
by Lynne Rae Perkins
A book that captures the exquisite pain that comes from being dumped by your best friend when you are thirteen.

 

 

The Boyfriend List: (15 guys, 11 shrink appointments, 4 ceramic frogs, and me, Ruby Oliver) by E. Lockhart
The Boyfriend List: (15 guys, 11 shrink appointments, 4 ceramic frogs, and me, Ruby Oliver)
by E. Lockhart
A Seattle fifteen-year-old explains some of the reasons for her recent panic attacks, including breaking up with her boyfriend, losing all her girlfriends, tensions between her performance-artist mother and her father, and more.
 

 

Confessions of a Not It Girl by Melissa Kantor
Confessions of a Not It Girl
by Melissa Kantor
High School senior, Jan Miller is convinced she is destined for the world's least fabulous life.

 

02/16/2011 - 1:31pm
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
When Kendra and Seth go to stay at their grandparents' estate, they discover that it is a sanctuary for magical creatures and that a battle between good and evil is looming.

If you like the Fablehaven series you might like:
 

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
The Alchemyst
by Michael Scott
While working at pleasant but mundane summer jobs in San Francisco, fifteen-year-old twins, Sophie and Josh, suddenly find themselves caught up in the deadly, centuries-old struggle between rival alchemists, Nicholas Flamel and John Dee, over the possession of an ancient and powerful book holding the secret formulas for alchemy and everlasting life.
 
 

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
The Amulet of Samarkand
by Jonathan Stroud
Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice, summons up the djinni Bartimaeus and instructs him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the powerful magician Simon Lovelace.


 


Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
Dragon Slippers
by Jessica Day George
Orphaned after a fever epidemic, Creel befriends a dragon and unknowingly inherits an object that can either save or destroy her kingdom.

 

02/14/2011 - 8:57am
Books by Robert Heinlein

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

Robert Heinlein is a fantastic "old" master of hard science fiction whose famous books include Stranger in a Strange Land and Starship Troopers. If you like his books, you may also like these selections:

cosmCOSM / Gregory Benford
On an otherwise ordinary day not long from now, inside a massive installation of ultra-high-energy scientific equipment, something goes wrong with a brilliant young physicist's most ambitious experiment. But this is not a calamity. It will soon be seen as one of the most significant breakthroughs in history. For the explosion has left something behind: a wondrous sphere the size of a basketball, made of nothing known to science. Before long, it will be clear that this object has opened a vista on an entirely different universe - a newborn cosmos whose existence will rock this world and test one woman to the limit as she comes face-to-face with fame and terror. That woman is the physicist who has ignited this thrilling adventure. (catalog summary)

Earth / David Brin
Brin uses the escape of a manmade black hole that is eating away at the Earth's core and a plausible future of sophisticated, instant universal and global computer data linkage and retrieval to reexamine, explore, and expand upon the themes regarding genetic creation and advancement begun in Star tide Rising (1983) and The Uplift War (1987). There is an element of suspense and intrigue as the characters scramble to define, find, and solve the black hole damage before each other and before it's too late. Although less engaging than the previously mentioned books, this is timely in its investigation of current ecological issues…(Joan Lewis Reynolds, School Library Journal)

02/09/2011 - 3:30am
Sabriel by Garth Nix

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you.

Sabriel by Garth Nix
Sabriel, daughter of the necromancer Abhorsen, must journey into the mysterious and magical Old Kingdom to rescue her father from the Land of the Dead.

If you liked the Abhorsen Trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen), you'll also want to try (if you haven't already) some of Garth Nix's other series such as the Keys to the Kingdom and the Seventh Tower.

Also, here are a few other fantasy titles you may enjoy:

The Amulet of Samarkand
The Amulet of Samarkand
: Book One of the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice, summons up the djinni Bartimaeus and instructs him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand.

 

 

Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl
by Eoin Colfer (first in a series)
When a twelve-year-old evil genius tries to restore his family fortune by capturing a fairy and demanding a ransom in gold, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll.

 

 

Dragonsong
Dragonsong
by Anne McCaffrey (part of a series)
Forbidden by her father to indulge in music in any way, a girl on the planet Pern runs away, taking shelter with the planet's fire lizards who, along with her music, open a new life for her.

 

 

06/08/2011 - 1:29pm
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Book #1 in the Mortal Instruments series)
Suddenly able to see demons and the Darkhunters who are dedicated to returning them to their own dimension, fifteen-year-old Clary Fray is drawn into this bizzare world when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a monster.

If you like City of Bones you'll want to read the rest of the Mortal Instruments series: City of Ashes, City of Glass and City of Fallen Angels.

City of AshesCity of Glass

Here are some other books you might also enjoy:

Angelology
Angelology
by Danielle Trussoni (Adult Fiction)
When twenty-three-year-old Sister Evangeline accidentally stumbles upon some mysterious letters exchanged between the late mother superior of her convent and the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller, she is thrust into an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the  Nephilim.

 

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
Blood and Chocolate
by Annette Curtis Klause
A beautiful teenage werewolf falls for a human boy and must battle both her packmates and the fear of the townspeople to decide where she belongs and with whom.

 

 

The Blooding by Patricia Windsor
The Blooding
by Patricia Windsor
Maris is spending the summer working as an au pair for a couple in England. She discovers that the husband is a werewolf intent on blooding her and making her one too.

 

 

Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan
Cirque du Freak
(Book #1 in the Cirque du Freak series) by Darren Shan
Two boys who are best friends visit an illegal freak show, where an encounter with a vampire and a deadly spider forces them to make life-changing choices. There are many more in this series.

 

01/26/2011 - 8:22am

Here’s a quick look at four cookbooks that offer very different takes on making the most of your food budget and your schedule. From true Brit to vegan to down home Southern, you’re likely to find that one of these books for cooks matches your palate and your wallet.

01/21/2011 - 11:03am
Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel

I am thrilled to share my first column with Caroline’s readers. Through the years, I have helped many of you find the titles Caroline recommended so I know how enthusiastically the column was embraced and will endeavor to continue her tradition of sharing great books for children of all ages. Luckily, children’s literature is in my blood. I began shelving books in the Headquarters Library children’s department while still in high school.