unRequired Reading Blog
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games - twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. A revolution is unfolding, and it is up to Katniss to accept her role as the eponymous Mockingjay in Suzanne Collins' third and final installation of the series. In the first book, The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta manage to survive. In book two, Catching Fire, they are sent back in to the arena. Mockingjay picks up the action with the rebels advancing on the Capital and races to a violent conclusion.
In an interview with School Library Journal, author Suzanne Collins explained her obsession with war. She’s the daughter of an Air Force and Vietnam veteran who taught her from an early age about history and war. Inspired by her combination of combat knowledge and reality TV, The Hunger Games is a dystopian country in chaos, in which teenagers are forced to compete to the death as punishment for an earlier rebellion. Mockingjay examines the necessity of war and answers the question: Will Katniss take on the responsibility for countless lives and change the course of the future of Panem?
If you’ve read the first two books in the trilogy, then you must find out how this gripping story ends. If you’re still a newbie to the Hunger Games phenomenon, you’ll want to get on board. The books deliver action, romance, and depth of characters all in a brilliantly visualized future.
In Lauren Kate’s Fallen, Luce starts life at her new boarding school with a secret. Well, to be honest, most kids there have secrets. The Sword & Cross school is hardly a swanky prep school, with doors open to anyone with enough cash. Rather, it’s a reform school for the hardboiled repeat offenders who really have no where else to go, except behind bars. Luce has been court-ordered to attend The Sword & Cross after the mysterious death of her boyfriend in a fire, where she was the only other person present.
Luce already has a tarnished past, having complained of seeing dark shapes since early childhood, which lead to years of psychiatrist appointments and anti-psychotic medication. She has always seen the shadows: “No one knew about the murky shapes she sometimes saw in the darkness. They’d always come to her.” However, Luce learns early on that no one else can see them, and so tries to keep her fear to herself. Unfortunately, the shadows make things happen, things that can hurt other people, like her doomed boyfriend Trevor.
It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper. She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. In Justina Chen Headley's North of Beautiful, Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college but she gets pushed off course by her controlling father. When a handsome, quirky Goth boy sees her for who she really is Terra is forced in yet another direction.
The red-stained birthmark on Terra’s right cheek isn’t the only challenge she has to overcome. She’s with her insensitive boyfriend for all the wrong reasons. Her malicious father, a mapmaker with a humiliating secret, is critical to the point of verbal abuse. And her family is falling apart. But Terra is a likable girl, who desperately wants to be accepted for who she is – flaws and all. A cast of well-developed characters also make this a fun and touching story.
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!!!
This readalike is in response to a customer'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. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here
Marked: A House of Night Novel by P.C. Cast
One minute, sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird is a normal teenager dealing with everyday high school stress: her cute boyfriend Heath, the school's star quarterback who suddenly seems more interested in partying than playing ball; her nosy frenemy Kayla, who's way too concerned with how things are going with Heath; her uber-tough geometry test tomorrow. The next, she's Marked as a fledgling vampyre, forcing her to leave her ordinary life behind and join the House of Night, a boarding school where she will train to become an adult vampyre. That is, if she makes it through the Change—and not all of those who are Marked do. It sucks to begin a new life, especially away from her friends, and on top of that, Zoey is no average fledgling. She has been chosen as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. Zoey discovers she has amazing powers, but along with her powers come bloodlust and an unfortunate ability to Imprint with Heath, who just doesn't know how to take "no" for an answer. To addto her stress, she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers: when she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite group, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny—with a little help from her new vampyre friends. (catalog summary)
Here are some titles you might like, based on your interest in Marked by P.C. Cast.
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
Having fallen for a human boy, a beautiful teenage werewolf must battle both her packmates and the fear of the townspeople to decide where she belongs and with whom. (catalog summary)
Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen. That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here —it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up. (catalog summary)
Seventh graders Emily, Spencer, Aria and Hanna worship Alison in Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars. Alison’s the prettiest, most popular girl at Rosewood Day School. When the five girls are thrown together at their school’s charity drive, they quickly become friends. Over a year later, the girls are still friends, but the power Ali wields over them all has them feeling uncomfortable. She knows all of their deep, dark secrets: secrets that could ruin their lives if anyone else found out. When Ali disappears, the four girls are shaken, but also…relieved.
Fashion, music, celebrities, art, design, travel…what more could a teen wish for? Nylon magazine first graced newsstands in 1999 and since then has garnered awards for its funky, hip style of presenting the latest in pop culture for the need-to-know teen. I recently picked up The TV Issue here at the CRRL, and a quick scan through this hot teen pick showed why it’s doing so well.
Mock-up style layouts and bold, creative photos accompany articles ranging from jewelry and clothing designer updates to bios of the newest musicians. The strong colors are contrasted with plenty of white space, so it’s not a headache to read, and longer articles are nicely interspersed with short blurbs for readers with a shorter attention span. The fashion conscious teen will love all the impressive photos that are not just ads, and appreciate the detailed articles about designers’ newest trends.
This past weekend, the film adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story opened in theaters across the country. Vizzini’s book centers on a smart teenager named Craig Gilner, who has had growing issues of anxiety and depression since joining an extremely selective, intense private high school in Manhattan. After obsessively studying and getting a perfect score on the entrance exam, Craig finds himself in way over his head, drowning in a sea of labs and math equations. Partying and pining for his best friend’s girl doesn’t help matters either.
This readalike is in response to a customer'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. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter, but she meets a boy who introduces her to drugs and becomes a very different person, struggling to control her life and her mind. (catalog summary)
If you like Crank, read the other books in the trilogy:
If you like Crank by Ellen Hopkins, here are some other books that you may like:
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
A fifteen-year-old drug user chronicles her daily struggle to escape the pull of the drug world. (catalog summary)
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
At the age of 23, James Frey woke up on a plane to find his front teeth knocked out and his nose broken. He had no idea where the plane was headed nor any recollection of the past two weeks. An alcoholic for ten years and a crack addict for three, he checked into a treatment facility shortly after landing. There he was told he could either stop using or die before he reached age 24. This is Frey's acclaimed account of his six weeks in rehab. (catalog summary)
Let’s face it, people--this vampire craze might just be on its way out. Passé. Gone from undead to dead again. A new kind of hero has been taking their place. A powerful being with brains, creativity, and money on his side. This is a new kind of hero for the ages: The Super-villain.