unRequired Reading Blog

07/25/2011 - 1:53pm
Framed by Gordon Korman

You met Griffin Bing and his friends in Swindle and followed their escapades in Zoobreak.  Now Gordon Korman has brought the gang back in his latest installment--Framed.  Griffin always seems to find trouble even when he is not looking for it.  In this latest adventure, Cedarville Middle School has become the recipient of of a Super Bowl ring.  It is put on display in the school's trophy cabinet.  Suddenly, it goes missing. Griffin is held responsible for the heist. His friends decide to prove his innocence and set out to find the real thief.

Griffin has an eclectic group of friends.  There is Ben Slovak, who suffers from narcolepsy and has a therapeutic ferret, and Savannah Drysdale, an avid animal enthusiast.  Logan is a budding actor, and Pitch is a super athlete.  Together with several other characters, the team assembles a sophisticated crime-busting enterprise as they attempt to identify the actual perp.  However, Griffin is sent to "JFK" - Jail for Kids. He is being framed for the crime. He has a reputation of being a trouble maker throughout his town of Cedarville. Even though the John F. Kennedy Alternative School is not a detention center, he is not supposed to see his friends. However, a pesky little detail like that never stopped Griffin.  There is a monitoring system installed in his home and when he ventures beyond the required boundaries a comic episode occurs.

07/20/2011 - 6:44pm
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

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.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
The summer following her father's death, Macy plans to work at the library and wait for her brainy boyfriend to return from camp, but instead she goes to work at a catering business where she makes new friends and finally faces her grief.

If you like The Truth About Forever you might like these books: 

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
The Boyfriend List
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. Read the sequel, The Boy Book, too!

 


The Earth, My Butt, and Other, Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
The Earth, My Butt, and Other, Big Round Things
by Carolyn Mackler
Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family, who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her.


 

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
How I Live Now
by Meg Rosoff
To get away from her pregnant stepmother in New York City, fifteen-year-old Daisy goes to England to stay with her aunt and cousins, with whom she instantly bonds, but soon war breaks out and rips apart the family while devastating the land.

07/18/2011 - 8:34am
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent, by Veronica Roth, is an example of dystopian young adult fiction at its best! It takes place in a Chicago of the future--in a world that has been rebuilt after society collapsed. In an attempt to avoid the problems of the past, this new Chicago society is divided into five factions - Dauntless (bravery), Amity (friendship), Erudite (knowledge), Candor (truth), and Abnegation (selflessness). Each faction follows a strict code of conduct; each has its own ideals; and each has its own role in governing the new society. At the age of 16, every person throughout the city must go through a simulation designed to show him or her which faction would be most suitable to join.

07/15/2011 - 3:30am
Blood on My Hands by Todd Strasser

If you liked Wish You Were Dead  check out Todd Strasser's newest page-turner mystery, Blood on My Hands: Callie is on the run since being photographed by the body of her murdered best friend holding the murder weapon. Can she discover who the murderer is and prove her innocence?

07/13/2011 - 1:35pm
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

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. See our other Book Matches.

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
When wealthy, seemingly perfect Brittany and Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, develop a relationship after Alex discovers that Brittany is not exactly who she seems to be, they must face the disapproval of their schoolmates--and others.

Try these other books by Simone Elkeles:

Rules of Attraction
Rules of Attraction
by Simone Elkeles
(The sequel to Perfect Chemistry) Living on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus with his older brother Alex, a college student and ex-gang member, high school senior Carlos is not ready to give up his wild ways until he meets a shy classmate named Kiara and becomes unwillingly involved in a drug ring.

 

Leaving Paradise
Leaving Paradise
by Simone Elkeles
Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk and crashed into Maggie Armstrong. One year later, both teenagers have become outsiders in their small community. Pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak," Caleb and Maggie end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.

 


If you like Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles then you might like:

Along for the Ride
Along for the Ride
by Sarah Dessen
When Auden impulsively goes to stay with her father, stepmother, and new baby sister the summer before she starts college, all the trauma of her parents' divorce is revived, even as she is making new friends and having new experiences such as learning to ride a bike and dating.

  

 
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
North of Beautiful
by Justina Chen Headley
Terra, a sensitive, artistic high school senior born with a facial port-wine stain, struggles with issues of inner and outer beauty with the help of her Goth classmate Jacob.

07/14/2011 - 4:20pm
Between Shades of Gray

We are all very familiar with the atrocities engineered by Adolph Hitler, but less is heard about the atrocities that occurred at the direction of Joseph Stalin.  Twenty million people were murdered under his leadership.  In the book Between the Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys gives a very compelling account of the Soviet invasion of the country of Lithuania in 1941.  Lists of people who were considered enemies of the state were compliled, and these people were removed from their homes and workplaces.  These people were often professors, teachers, writers, artists, and librarians.  The men were sent to prison and the women and children to forced labor camps--some of which were located in Siberia and the Arctic Circle.  These individuals were separated from family members and forced to live under extremely harsh conditions with none of the comforts of home.  They were not given food or medical attention.  The women and children were shoved into railroad cars and sent away without ever being told where they were going.

The main character in this book is named Lina.  She, her mother, and her younger brother are removed by force from their home and sent to Siberia.  In Siberia, which is harsh enough to begin with, they have to scrounge for anything to eat.  Even one potato becomes a luxury for the prisoners.  Beets become a treat.  The prisoners are forced to dig with shovels which have no handles, and they sleep on the freezing cold floor of a shack.

07/04/2011 - 3:31am
Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn

On April 15, 1912, the supposedly unsinkable Titanic struck an iceberg, cracked in two and plunged fathoms deep into the icy North Atlantic.  Some passengers were saved, but more than a thousand souls were lost that night, and each one had a rich, full life leading up to either those final moments or desperate rescues. Such was the case for one special family in Suzanne Weyn’s Distant Waves.

Jane and her four sisters were very young when their mother, widowed and alone, decided to move the lot of them to Spirit Vale, a place where ghosts gathered around the psychics, real and fake, who were the principal citizens of the place. Their mother could have chosen to stay with her mother-in-law—a woman whose grudging wealth and the security it provided did not make up for her cold, insulting ways.  Spirit Vale seemed the answer to their mother’s dreams, as she had the Sight, and so did several of her daughters.

07/01/2011 - 9:59am
Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie
All her life, Cassia has never had a choice. The Society dictates everything: when and how to play, where to work, where to live, what to eat and wear, when to die, and most importantly to Cassia as she turns 17, who to marry. When she is Matched with her best friend Xander, things couldn't be more perfect. But why did her neighbor Ky's face show up on her match disk as well?

Crossed, the sequel to Matched, comes out this November. Place your hold now!

06/27/2011 - 7:39am
Bystander

Eric is thirteen.  His family has moved to Long Island.  They are in a new place and he is in a new school, but all this happens without his Dad.  His Dad did not move with them.  He is elsewhere and suffering from depression.  In Bystander by James Preller, the reader sympathizes with Eric as he makes all these new adjustments in his new life.  He misses his dad, and his mom is very busy trying to create a typical life for her children.

Eric is the new kid in town and in school. He meets a group of middle schoolers while on the basketball court one day.  As the dynamics of the group reveal themselves, Eric is quick to realize that Griffin Connelly (the leader of the pack) is not such a nice guy.  In fact, he is a bully.  One of the main targets for his mean antics is David Hallenback.  David is under the mistaken assumption that he is part of the group and a friend of Griffin's.  That is not the case.

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