unRequired Reading Blog

06/20/2012 - 5:21am
Watership Down by Richard Adams

Hazel was young and strong and a bit clever.  His best friend, however, was a runt no one thought much of.  But Hazel knew something about Fiver that made him respect the little fellow. Fiver was gifted with the Sight. He somehow could tell in advance what might be coming, and just then Fiver was terrified to the very marrow of his bones.

Rabbits such as Hazel and Fiver who live in the English countryside usually lead a pretty nice life. There are predators, sure. Foxes, hawks, and even stray dogs might grab an unwary rabbit. But rabbits are sociable creatures, living in cozy warrens underground, usually staying in the same place for years at a time. They eat together, play together, and follow a leader. And so it was at Sandleford warren.

Rabbits are usually rather biddable beings of habit so when Fiver, with Hazel backing him up, tries to convince their chief rabbit Threarah  that death and disaster are coming—and soon—it’s a losing situation.  After all, "The Threarah doesn't like anything he hasn't thought of for himself."  His Owsla guards don’t believe them, either, and it is against the rules of the warren to leave it without permission.  But they’re going to do it anyway.

06/11/2012 - 7:22am
Mangaman by Barry Lyga

In the world of manga, Ryoko Kiyama is an ideal character. His eyes turn into pulsating hearts when he sees the object of his affection, sadness creates literal storm clouds overhead, and he is an expert at combating giant lizards and robots without getting injured. After accidentally falling through an “interdimensional cross-rip,” however, Ryoko’s ordinary behavior suddenly becomes freakish and bizarre. Ryoko has accidentally fallen into Western comics, a place populated by American teenagers who struggle to understand and tolerate such a strange visitor.

06/04/2012 - 3:30am
The Returning by Christine Hinwood

In Christine Hinwood’s The Returning, the war between the Uplanders and the Downlanders is over. But everyone in the village of Kayforl is still struggling with the after effects. Cam returns home from the fighting maimed and struggles to make a new life for himself. But his betrothal to Graceful Fenister is broken off by her father.

05/30/2012 - 4:34pm
Girl Stolen by April Henry

Seventh and eighth graders at Walker-Grant Middle School have chosen their favorite titles from this year's Cafe Book program. Check 'em out!

Top Picks:

Girl, Stolen by April Henry
When an impulsive carjacking turns into a kidnapping, Griffin, a high school dropout, finds himself more in sympathy with his wealthy, blind victim, sixteen-year-old Cheyenne, than with his greedy father.
 

You Wish by Mandy HubbardYou Wish by Mandy Hubbard

Kayla McHenry's sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla's secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin? do. Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year's supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla's wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend's boyfriend.


Other Favorites:

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan MaberryA Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam GidwitzTrapped by Michael Northrop

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Trapped by Michael Northrop

05/28/2012 - 3:30am
Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

Let me get this out of the way: if you're not a "computer person," someone with more than a vague knowledge of computer networking technology, Brain Jack, by Brian Falkner, is probably not the book for you. If, however, you ARE such a person, Brain Jack will start off as the kind of thriller that you think you will love, but its ending, like so many other cyber-thrillers, feels rushed and absurd. Don’t get me wrong--you'll enjoy reading it, but don't expect anything too deep from this book.  

Sam is the generic hero of our story. He's 17; he's a computer prodigy; and he's going to save the country from itself. The world of Brain Jack is set only a few years into our future. Falkner does a good job of building a world that, initially, is entirely conceivable based on our present. Computer technology is even more prevalent, and its consequences all the more potent. Las Vegas has been the victim of a nuclear attack that has left it in ruins, and the rest of the country is decaying under strict martial conditions.

05/24/2012 - 3:31am
Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola

From the time she was quite young, Sylvia Earle loved the outdoors. She spent her early childhood on a farm in New Jersey exploring the animals and plants around her. Her family moved to Florida when Sylvia was twelve, to a home with a backyard on the Gulf of Mexico. Once Sylvia began exploring the waters of the Gulf, she found her life’s calling. Throughout her career as an oceanographer, Sylvia has been driven to push the boundaries of the possible in order to find out more about the underwater world she loves so much.

05/22/2012 - 3:34pm
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Here are the Top Teen Picks for 2012 chosen by Spotsylvania Middle School Cafe Book participants:

Top Pick:

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
In a post-apocalyptic world where fences and border patrols guard the few people left from the zombies that have overtaken civilization, fifteen-year-old Benny Imura is finally convinced that he must follow in his older brother's footsteps and become a bounty hunter.
 

Other Favorites:

A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz The False Princess by Ellis O'NealRuby Red by Kerstin GierBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

The False Princess by Ellis O'Neal

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

05/22/2012 - 3:24pm
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Cafe Book teens at Post Oak Middle School selected the following books as their 2012 Top Teen Picks:

Top Pick:

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
In a post-apocalyptic world where fences and border patrols guard the few people left from the zombies that have overtaken civilization, fifteen-year-old Benny Imura is finally convinced that he must follow in his older brother's footsteps and become a bounty hunter.
 

Other Favorites:

A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz Between Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysHuman.4 by Mike Lancaster

A Tale Dark & Grimm
by Adam Gidwitz

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Human.4 by Mike Lancaster

05/30/2012 - 4:19pm
A Tale Dark and Grimm book cover image

Fantasy, adventure, and mystery were the winning genres at Thornburg Middle School, where students in grades seven and eight voted for their favorite books of the Café Book year. The teens voted on 20 books, selecting their Top Picks for 2012. Here are the heart-pounding winners!

Top Picks:

A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz 
Follows Hansel and Gretel as they walk out of their own story and into eight more tales, encountering such wicked creatures as witches, along with kindly strangers and other helpful folk. Based in part on the Grimms' fairy tales Faithful Johannes, Hansel and Gretel, The seven ravens, Brother and sister, The robber bridegroom, and The devil and his three golden hairs.


Akata Witch
Akata Witch
by Nnedi Okorafor
Twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, an American-born albino child of Nigerian parents, moves with her family back to Nigeria, where she learns that she has latent magical powers which she and three similarly gifted friends use to catch a serial killer.

 


 

Trapped by Michael Northrop
Trapped by Michael Northrop
Seven high school students are stranded at their New England high school during a week-long blizzard that shuts down the power and heat, freezes the pipes, and leaves them wondering if they will survive.


 

 

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
In a post-apocalyptic world where fences and border patrols guard the few people left from the zombies that have overtaken civilization, fifteen-year-old Benny Imura is finally convinced that he must follow in his older brother's footsteps and become a bounty hunter.

 

 

Other Favorites:

The False Princess by Ellis O'NealLost in the River of GrassTrash by Andy MulliganGirl, Stolen by April Henry

The False Princess by Ellis O'Neal

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

Trash by Andy Mulligan

Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Check these awesome titles out with our online catalog, or visit your nearest branch and ask for them!

Pages

Subscribe to unRequired Reading Blog