unRequired Reading Blog

08/23/2010 - 7:34am

This is Week 4 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review. 

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
Tad Ibsen is a scrawny kid who walks into the classroom on crutches, muttering angrily to himself, with a huge red scar across the side of his head. Why does the teacher seat the new kid next to Jeffrey Alper? “Suddenly I get it,” Jeffrey explains to the reader. “I don’t always catch on so fast, but this time, I put two and two together…I lean over and whisper, ‘Hi, I’m Jeffrey. I had cancer, too.’ He looks at me like I’m a particularly loathsome slice of school-lunch meat loaf and says, ‘Wow, congratulations! What do you want, a medal?’” Of course, they’re best friends from that moment on. 

08/23/2010 - 7:35am

This is Week 3 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review.

"Where they burn books, they will end by burning human beings." - Heinrich Heine

This is the opening quote in Ashes, the story of thirteen-year-old Gabrielle Schramm who is living in Berlin in 1932 during the turbulent days of Hitler's rise to power.

Hitler has not yet seized control when the story begins, but there are signs of what's to come. Sightings of Hitler's private army and his personal guard, the "SA" and the "SS," are becoming more frequent, as are attacks on Jewish neighborhoods, businesses and synagogues.

For the most part, Garbrielle is a typical thirteen-year-old girl. She goes to school, talks about movies and movie stars with her best friend Rosa, and occasionally gets in trouble at school for having her nose stuck in a book during math class. Gabrielle is a serious book lover. Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Helen Keller, Mark Twain ... she devours them all. She's already lost two of her treasured books to her math teacher Herr Doktor Berg.

08/16/2010 - 4:36pm

This is Week 2 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review.

Jem has a secret. When she looks into someone's eyes, a number appears in her head. But not just any number - it's the date of their death. She has seen the numbers ever since she was a little girl, but she didn't know what they meant until her own mother died of an overdose. Since then, Jem has had a rough life, being thrown out of one foster home after another, labeled as a problem kid in school and put in "special" classes. She has built an impenetrable wall around herself so she doesn't have to see anyone's number, and no one so far has been able to be close to her. Until Spider.

Spider is an impossible tall, fidgety boy from school, who Jem runs into one day while skipping class. Through different events they become close, and Jem realizes that she has let herself care about someone for the first time since her mother's death. One day they go together to see the London Eye, when Jem notices something disconcerting. She sees the same death date in every tourist's eyes. Unnerved, she grabs Spider's hands and convinces him to run away from the London Eye, which explodes shortly thereafter. They are caught on security camera fleeing from the scene and are considered suspects. All of a sudden - Jem and Spider, two "troubled" kids from London's projects, are on the run.

12/06/2010 - 3:08pm

Thanks for visiting our website and for your Book Match request. I also enjoy stories featuring urban fiction plotlines like the Drama High series. Here are a few more titles you might enjoy:

 

 

12/09/2010 - 12:24pm

Thanks for using Bookmatch. I am glad that you liked Lady J. Here are some other title you might try:

 

12/14/2010 - 2:17pm

If you like Down to the Wire, you may like other titles in the Specialists series. They include Model Spy, The Winning Element, and Native Tongue, all by Shannon Greenland.

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean.

Taken to Antarctica by the man she thinks of as her uncle for what she believes to be a vacation, Symone--a troubled fourteen year old--discovers that he is dangerously obsessed with seeking Symme's Hole, an opening that supposedly leads into the center of a hollow Earth.

12/06/2010 - 3:34pm

Thanks for visiting our website and for your Book Match request. Also by D.J. MacHale is the new Morpheus Road series. Here are a few more titles you might enjoy:

 

06/10/2010 - 11:15am

Thanks for visiting our website and for your Book Match request. I also enjoy stories featuring science fiction plotlines like Life As We Knew It. Also by Susan Pfeffer are the companion novels The Dead and the Gone and This World We Live In. Here are a few more titles you might enjoy:

 

01/31/2011 - 11:23am
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Cafe Book Thornburg voted on May 28th.  Fifty nine students cast their votes and picked the following winning titles.

Top Pick:

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.

Other Favorites:
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
The Comet's Curse by Dom Testa
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Allison Goodman
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese
Messed Up  by Janet Nichols Lynch
Somebody by Nancy Springer
The Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner

08/16/2010 - 4:38pm

This is Week 1 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review.

For me, summer reading is all about escaping somewhere else. The new vista doesn't have to be pretty, but it does need to be interesting. The world of Incarceron, introduced in the novel Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, delivers an escape like nothing else (for the reader, although not for the poor souls trapped within). Incarceron is a prison, but not like the prisons we are familiar with. It is a world unto itself, with areas of ruins and forests, and some wildernesses so wild that they are only whispered of but never traversed. Incarceron is also aware in a way that most prisons are not - it reacts to the prisoners' actions, manipulating them, and watching them with a pulsing, Sauron-like eye.

Our hero in the world of Incarceron is Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner who is considered "cell born" and remembers only vague memories of his life before he became aware three years ago. He is part of a band of rogues that troll the prison, called the Comitatus. He also has some freaky fainting spells, complete with visions. He believes that he was born "Outside" but no one believes him because that is very rare.

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