“Scuze my language.” — Billy, Ask the Dark
Billy Zeet has quite a reputation. And he got it the hard way—he earned it. Despite having a heart of gold, Billy’s rap sheet includes more petty crimes than even he can remember. He can silently break into a locked second-story window with one hand tied behind his back. And nobody can slip unseen through the dark like Billy. He’s practically a shadow. Nobody can skip school quite like Billy, either. Being the invisible man at school has put him in the seventh grade for the second time. But he has an expansive vocabulary—of cuss words.
Grace Manning is a fifteen-year-old candy striper at a local nursing home, Hanover House, with a spunky attitude. Her life has been in a free fall since her father recently left her mother, sister, and her to build a new life with a woman from the church where he used to take his daughters every Sunday. Grace's mother doesn't quite have a stance on her beliefs about God, but church was always the place Grace and her sister Sophie went with their father. Now that their father is gone Grace has to come to terms with her religious beliefs. In God is in the Pancakes, by Robin Epstein, Grace must sort out life, love, friendship, and God.
Best friends forever, Lani and Erin have been friends since they can remember in Susane Colasanti's Something Like Fate. Their lives are tied together by a tragedy that happened years ago, and neither girl can now imagine a life without one another. They have always been inseparable but their lives are rapidly changing, moving them farther away from each other.
Lani is an environmental activist and a high school student. In her school, it isn't exactly cool to care about the environment. Her best friend Erin is in the popular crowd, the Golden Kids. They used to both be part of the group but when Lani quit hanging out with the group and stopped going to their parties, she fell out of touch with the Golden Crowd. The best friends have a hard time spending time together with Erin hanging out with the popular kids and Lani promoting recycling and green activities.
Lennie, a 17-year-old bookworm and band geek, has always walked, safe and happy, in the shadow of her dynamic older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies suddenly, Lennie is left to cope with life in this intense debut novel The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, here is Cupid, by Julius Lester. In this retelling from Greek mythology, we are introduced to Psyche. She is the daughter of a king and so beautiful that every time she walks outside people stopped and stared. They even stopped working. In fact, it was getting so bad that it was affecting the infrastructure of her community--and not in a good way. Her father, the king, felt it was in the best interest of his kingdom and his subjects to restrict Psyche from her daily walks. He decreed that she could only walk outside the castle gates once a month.
Word quickly reached Mount Olympus about the young beauty and the effect she was having on the other humans. Venus, the goddess of love, was not pleased at all when she learned of this young woman, She viewed her as a threat and decided to dispatch her son, Cupid, to do away with her. Never one to disappont his mother, Cupid quickly plans how he will get rid of this pesky human. However, when Cupid lays his eyes on Psyche, he is immediately stunned by her beauty, and he falls in love with her himself. He vows that she will become his wife, but he is reluctant to let his mother in on his little plan as she is a formidable force with which to be reckoned.
Jem stays away from people. She is a loner and she likes it that way. Then she meets Spider one day under a bridge in London. As much as she tries, he won't leave her alone. She rarely makes eye contact with people and for good reason. When Jem looks into people's eyes she can see the day they are going to die. She looks into Spider's eyes. This is the basis for the story Numbers by Rachel Ward (audiobook version).
Despite Jem's efforts, she and Spider form a friendship, which eventually evolves into something more when they decide to run away together. This happens after a trip to the London Eye. Jem looks into the eyes of the people waiting in line to board the attraction and she realizes that they all have the same death date...that very day. Jem suddenly realizes that something catastrophic is going to happen and that she and Spider have to get away immediately. While they are running away a tragic event occurs. Jem and Spider are safe...but are they? The surveillance cameras capture their escape and suddenly they are wanted by authorities for questioning. Jem and Spider steal a car and head west across England. As they continue to outrun the authorities, their relationship grows.
Fast paced and gritty ...this audio will keep you on the edge of your seat. The reader is adept at the various accents found throughout England. The story is touching and engaging. Jem and Spider provide such compelling characters that you can't help rooting for them.
The ending was stunning and completey unexpected...at least by me!!!