unRequired Reading Blog

07/07/2015 - 2:37pm

Ever since Jacob’s childhood, Grandpa Portman has thrilled him with tales of a beautiful island that provided a safe haven  during World War II. On the island was a home for children, populated by a mix of kids with strange abilities. There were even photos to corroborate these fantastical stories – bizarre pictures of a levitating girl, an invisible boy (so all you see is a floating suit), a boy who is a living beehive to a swarm of bees inside of him, and so on. But as he grew older, Jacob came to see these stories as only foolish fairy tales, and asked Grandpa Portman to stop telling them in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

Now Jacob is sixteen, and a terrible family tragedy has mired him in a miasma of depression and uncontrollable fear. To try and reverse his disintegrating mental state, he decides to look for his grandfather’s mythical island, and travels with his father to a remote island off of the coast of Wales. There he finds the decaying ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – and a lot more that he didn’t anticipate: friendship, danger, love, and the pain of making irrevocable decisions.

02/20/2012 - 3:30am
The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian

The Gospel According to Larry, by Janet Tashjian, is the story of what happens when anti-commercialism meets the world of blogging. Josh Swensen is a nature-loving, hyperactive, slightly ingenious seventeen-year-old boy who spends most of his time avoiding his classmates. Josh only has one friend, Beth, a young feminist in the making. The two have been friends since they were in elementary school.

Recently, Josh and Beth have been spending a lot of time following an anti-commercialism, semi-evangelistic blog by an unknown person with a code name of Larry. Larry is against the widespread commercialism that targets everyone, especially teenagers. He only has seventy-five possessions, which he photographs periodically to show his fans. He does this in order to show his lack of attachment to material goods. Larry sends out sermons that primarily target the faults of big-business marketing schemes.

07/22/2015 - 4:12pm
Empire State by Jason Shiga

Most love stories don't end with a snowball to the face. Then again, this is no love story.

Empire State, by Jason Shiga, actually starts in the Golden State: Oakland, California. Jimmy works in a library and runs his own Web site. He finds inner peace through repairing books and geeking out over sci-fi movies. As he leaves work one day, we meet his friend Sara, who greets him...with an unprovoked punch in the arm.

Sara's sarcastic and unsatisfied world view is a million miles from Jimmy's acceptance of his uncomplicated life. Still, they both find some comfort and security in each other's presence. Unfortunately for Jimmy, Sara has a yearning to leave Oakland and enter New York City's publishing industry. When she receives an internship, the call is too powerful to resist.

02/10/2012 - 3:30am
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Seth, a Drew Middle School Cafe Book teen, reviews I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.

See more teen book reviews on our YouTube channel.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

 In rural Ohio, friendships and a beautiful girl prove distracting to a fifteen-year-old who has hidden on Earth for ten years waiting to develop the Legacies, or powers, he will need to rejoin the other six surviving Garde members and fight the Mogadorians who destroyed their planet, Lorien.

05/22/2012 - 3:31pm
Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Here are the Top Teen Picks and Other Favorites selected by 7th and 8th grade Cafe Book teens at A. G. Wright Middle School:

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.


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.

 


A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
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.
 

 

 

Other Favorites:

Akata WitchBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysThe End of the Line by Angela CerritoThe False Princess by Ellis O'Neal

A Long Wak to WaterLost in the River of GrassHuman.4 by Mike LancasterTrapped by Michael Northrop


Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

The End of the Line by Angela Cerrito

The False Princess by Ellis O'Neal

Human.4 by Mike Lancaster

Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

Trapped by Michael Northrop

07/22/2015 - 4:12pm
Flip by Martyn Bedford

When Alex wakes on a Saturday morning, everything seems different. His mom is calling for him to hurry, but she sounds odd. And why does he need to get ready for school when it's the weekend? The last thing he remembers from the night before is leaving his best friend's house and running through the street. Now Alex feels very unusual. His mom calls again.

"Philip! It's five to eight!"

01/27/2012 - 2:49pm
Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Dust and DecayIn honor of our recent Twitter (@crrlnews) follow by author Jonathan Maberry (@JonathanMaberry) check out this week's Friday Book Flick featuring Maberry talking about his dystopian zombie novel (are there any utopian zombie novels? .... hmmm) Rot & Ruin - a big favorite with Cafe Book teens this year.

If you liked Rot & Ruin you'll definitely want to put a hold on the sequel, Dust & Decay.

Check out Maberry's web site for more cool stuff.

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