I Crawl Through It

By A.S. King
Rated by Chris K.
Dec 17, 2015

"Challenging" was the first word I heard used to describe this book. I think "surreal" was the next. Following that was "impossible to describe." Even the author herself, when asked to describe the book, talked about the themes and ideas that led to its creation without attempting to describe the plot or characters.

Other descriptions they could have just as accurately used: captivating; insightful; imaginative; perceptive; funny; and enlightening. That this book is unusual isn't the first or most remarkable thing you need to know about it, but that it powerfully and effectively conveys

There Will Be Lies

By Nick Lake
Rated by Chris K.
Dec 11, 2015

There will be two lies, [the coyote] says. Then there will be the truth. And that will be the hardest of all.

And what lies they are. Even more so, as the coyote promises, the lies exposed by the truth. Nothing will be the same.

Not ever.

And that's not even to mention the small surprises and little white lies along the way.

For all that she can remember of her nearly 18 years, Shelby has enjoyed a quiet, stable life. She and her mom live in a simple house, do simple things. She is homeschooled. They have a routine that never changes. And she has little contact with others

The Motherless Oven

By Rob Davis
Rated by Chris K.
Oct 26, 2015

The weather clock said, "Knife o'clock." So I chained Dad up in the shed." So begins The Motherless Oven.

On its surface this is an intentionally opaque story, with a world so drastically different than ours that it's impossible to not feel unmoored as you read it. In this world it rains knives and the gales blow laughter, parents are mechanistic beings created by their children, devices and gadgets are talking, singing "gods," school subjects include circular history, mythmatics, shrine mechanics, and god science, and so much more that is utterly alien, all presented as normal and matter

I Crawl Through It

By A. S. King
Rated by Jo F.
Aug 24, 2015

I was lucky enough to hear AS King speak when she visited our Library in August 2015. Eventually, after much fascinating talk, one of the moderators got around to asking her about her newest book, I Crawl Through It. "What's it about?" We all laughed, as we had earlier established how difficult it can be to neatly summarize a King novel. But then King's expression turned serious and she said, "It's about the way teens have to deal, daily, with both intruder drills and standardized tests - and how messed up that is." I had already been planning on reading King's new book, but now I knew, I had to read it now.

Bone Gap

By Laura Ruby
Rated by Chris K.
Jul 20, 2015

The dedication:

For Steve, who sees.
And for Anne, who believes.

At its core, this is a book about perception. About seeing who a person really is at his or her core and believing in them. Most of the time when we look at others, we see a blurry picture of a person based on surface appearances and casual observations, then bring them into focus with our own assumptions and prejudices, largely defining them based on who we are, not who they are. It's a rare and valuable thing to look and really see, to let a person fully define him or herself to us without our faulty

The Alex Crow

By Andrew Smith
Rated by Chris K.
May 7, 2015

The promotional tour Andrew Smith undertook with the release of this book was dubbed "Keep YA Weird," with an accompanying online campaign and fun images. And on the general continuum of stories books tell, The Alex Crow does indeed tilt toward the stranger side--

Consider, for instance:

  • The subplot about Leonard Fountain, the physically deteriorating "melting man," who might just be the most insane man on the planet, as he wanders the countryside in an old U-Haul with a radioactive bomb he's built, bullied (and constantly urged to homicide) by the voice of Joseph Stalin in his head-

Reality Boy

By A.S. King
Rated by Kate M.
Jun 24, 2014

Imagine having your worst moments caught on film, and your best moments edited out. When he was five years old Gerald Faust’s mother auditioned the family for Network Nanny, a reality tv show. In one-hour on network TV, Gerald became a national phenomenon for taking a dump on the family’s kitchen table. Twelve years later, Gerald is still haunted by the actions of his five-year-old-self. Ostracized at school, bullied by his older sister and left alone by his parents, Gerald attempts to control his anger through boxing workouts and trips to Gersday (an imaginary land where everything is made of

Jul 21, 2013

This sequel to the dreamy and delightful The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is at least just as good as the first book, possibly better. It's a little darker, a little stranger, and a bit more complicated, but just as whimsical and wondrous.

Our heroine, September, is back home in Omaha with her mother, still missing her father, who is off at war. She feels out of place in school, out of touch with the mundane life of her classmates. She longs to return to the fantastic Fairyland...which she does, of course. Only to find that things are not good in Fairyland

Dec 30, 2011

Lucky Linderman is dealing with a lot of problems:

  1. His mother is a squid who would rather swim hundreds of laps a day than deal with the problems in her life.
  2. His father is a turtle chef who would rather hide in his shell or at work, or on the sofa watching the food network than talk to his son.
  3. Lucky has been tormented by the same bully, Nader, since he was seven years old, and no one will believe him or do anything about it.
  4. Everyone things he is suicidal after a school statistics project where he circulated a poll about how students would kill themselves, this has led to regular