Aug 23, 2012

Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, tackles two entirely different character perspectives while taking readers on an adventure aboard a space ship traveling to a new Earth.

Amy was seventeen when her family decided to board the 300-year flight into space to find a new home for humans. While she did have a choice to stay at home or leave with her parents, Amy knew she could never leave them. She would sleep for 300 years, but only feel like seconds had passed.

Elder is sixteen years old and he has spent his entire life on the ship. He must follow the exact rules of his totalitarian-like

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

By Joe Schreiber
Rated by Bethany T.
Feb 24, 2014

Perry Stormaire has a major problem: all he wants to do is go play a gig with his band in New York City, but instead, his parents are making him take the weird Lithuanian exchange student to prom.  Perry is chronically unable to say no to his overbearing father, so he reluctantly but politely takes Gobi to the dance.  At her request, they end up in New York City anyway, and then in a moment that floors Perry, she tears away her bulky outfit to reveal a slinky dress and an amazing body; no less amazing, she kills a man.  What follows is a whirlwind chase through New York City as Gobi plans to


By Alex Flinn
Rated by Sarah W.
Aug 16, 2010

Beastly by Alex FinnI bought Beastly shortly after I saw the movie trailer. I wanted to read it before the movie came out. Then it got lost on my bookshelves and I didn't unearth it until Audiobook Community chose Beastly as a free audiobook last week. I started listening and couldn't get enough. It was fun to listen to and pick apart the differences I could see in the movie already. I won't give them away, but you can see the trailer for yourself here. Alex Flinn wrote this version of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale from the beast's perspective, Kyle Kingsbury aka Adrian King. Kyle was not a nice kid at

Apr 8, 2013

A modern-day fairy tale with some teen drama and angst thrown in!  A 15-year-old girl brings a storybook character to life as she struggles with her own real-life issues. My 12-year-old daughter and I both really enjoyed this book! It would make a great mother/daughter read. The audiobook provides three different voices which added to my enjoyment of the story.  Another fun fact is that it is co-written with Jodi Picoult’s daughter.

Apr 7, 2010

Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire is the second book in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. Like the first book which was a suggested read by a colleague, this book too is filled with plenty of action and adventure.

Katniss is home after winning the games, but something is wrong. President Snow from the Capitol has paid her a visit, and he is not happy. The fact that two participants in the games lived, both Peeta and Katniss, had never happened. An attempt by Katniss to end Peeta’s life and her life at the same time could be perceived as an act of defiance. As a result, President Snow fears an uprising

City of Heavenly Fire

By Cassandra Clare
Rated by Diane H.
Aug 14, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire is the sixth and final book in The Mortal Instruments series. Cassandra Clare has created a world in which supernatural creatures, magic, and humans coexist. Not an unusual theme these days, especially for a young adult book. The twist in this series is the addition of shadowhunters—​humans who have angel blood in their veins and whose mission in life is to keep demons and other supernatural creatures from harming mundane humans. The books follow the adventures, tragedies, dramas, and triumphs of several teens—shadowhunters, humans, and others.

The story continues, or

Mar 2, 2013

In Arras, society is tightly overseen and controlled by the government. The Guild keeps boys and girls segregated until they reach marrying age. Food is rationed, travel is restricted, and people are euthanized before they die of natural causes. Women are forced to work in subservient jobs, as secretaries and maids--except for the ones who have a talent for weaving, who are sent to an isolated academy where they are trained to be Spinsters. And what the Spinsters weave is reality itself.

With Crewel, local author Gennifer Albin has created a fascinating and compelling story of social control

Die For Me by Amy Plum

Rated by Leslie G.
Jul 14, 2012

Die for Me, written by Amy Plum, is a story of love, loss, desire, and the supernatural. Kate and her sister Georgia have suffered the tragic loss of their parents, who were so horrifically injured in a car accident that Kate could not even recognize her father’s face. After the funerals, Georgia who is now acting as the legal guardian to Kate decides that they will go live with their grandparents in France.

Kate is distressed, depressed, and horribly lonely. While France is a familiar place, as she visited every summer growing up and can speak French fluently, she cannot get over the void

Dreams of the Golden Age

By Carrie Vaughn
Rated by Lisa J.
Dec 21, 2014

Continuing the story of Celia West following the death of her superhero father and the retirement of the superheroes of her beloved city, Celia continues to look out for the best interests of her city and has carefully been watching the grandchildren of the superheroes waiting to see if there is a new generation of powerful superheroes in the making.  Two of these new superheroes may be her own daughters Anna and Bethy but so far they aren't exhibiting any signs of superpowers or at least they're not sharing with her if they are developing powers. 

Meanwhile, Anna is having trouble figuring

Easy A

Rated by Josh N.
Jan 28, 2011

Easy A is an absolutely brilliant movie! Emma Stone is fantastic in the lead role, and the rest of the cast are terrific, too. The script is incredibly smart, sharp, hilariously funny and emotionally resonant. The movie shows some of the gritty reality of high school and has a protagonist who is, in the end, incredibly moral, and yet it never feels preachy. The language and situations are often somewhat raunchy (without being gross), so this is definitely a movie for more sophisticated teens. But it's a movie you shouldn't miss!

Aug 25, 2013

Gated by Amy Christine Parker is a high anxiety filled novel that continues to build until the very last chapter. Lyla is seventeen, and has been living in a cult called the Community, since she was 5 years old. However, to Lyla her life is ideal as she follows the words of her leader Pioneer without question.  The reader can tell that she is in a dangerous situation, that is only going to get worse, but to Lyla life is normal.

Parker makes the interesting choice to use 9/11 as the reason the cult was created and why Lyla’s parents fled (in addition to a kidnapped younger sister). 9/11 proved

Jan 22, 2010

Generation Dead by Daniel WatersGeneration Dead by Daniel Waters is another take on teen vampires. In this vampire tale, teens, and only some teens, who die are coming back as the living dead. These living dead teens have lost a lot of their previous personality and functionality however, in Oakvale; there is a significant number of "living impaired" or "differently biotic" teens attending Oakvale High. For the most part they are ignored by the rest of the student body and tolerated by the teachers until Tommy Williams, living impaired junior, tries out for the football team. Goth girl, Phoebe takes an interest in Tommy

Jan 13, 2011

 “Teen Suicide Tragedies Deadly Bullying - At least three teens, tormented by classmates have taken their own lives in the past month.  Why did this happen, and how can it be stopped.”  The cover of October 18, 2010’s issue of People Magazine caught my attention, so I read the inside story.  “He thought he was just being funny and cool, but then Daniel Harrison realized the true consequences of his ugly behavior.”  He had just finished reading one of Ben Mikaelsen’s books, Touching Spirit Bear. ““It was just perfect timing to read that book,” he says of the story about an angry teen who

Mar 18, 2012

Gone is a "what if" story. What if everyone over the age of 14 suddenly disappeared? What if this phenomenon was localized, affecting a small slice on the California coast? What if there was no visible way to escape the affected area and get back to the "normal" world? The story sounds a bit like the Lord of the Flies on a larger scale with boys and girls of all ages, from babies up to age 14. But there is a twist. Even before all the adults disappeared some of the kids were experiencing...something strange, developing unusual powers that ranged from mild to deadly. What these new talents have

Half Bad

By Sally Green
Rated by Bethany T.
Apr 28, 2014

Nathan is the seventeen-year-old son of a White Witch and a Black Witch, and in the viciously divided community of English witches that makes him an outcast.  Questioned, brutalized and eventually imprisoned, the Council will stop at nothing to make sure that Nathan's half-Black Magic side doesn't corrupt the rest of the underground magic community.  It doesn't help that his father is one of the most violent Black Witches in the world, responsible for more deaths than any other living witch.  But Nathan doesn't feel evil...although he doesn't necessarily feel good either, and this duality

Oct 13, 2017

Dr. Adam Price has twenty-five years of experience with children and adolescents, especially boys, and his experience shows. He's Not Lazy details how and why an adolescent boy’s brain is often behind, they fear of failure, often "opt out". They opt out by procrastinating, losing themselves in the world of video games, or appearing ambivalent towards everything.

Dr. Price concentrates mostly on high school teens, but I found a lot of it very useful for my twelve-year old, and plan to revisit this book often during his high school years. There are some great worksheets to be used by both

Hourglass by Myra Mcentire

Rated by Leslie G.
Jul 10, 2012

Emerson is not a normal 17-year-old girl. She may appear to be on the outside, but everything about her, including her daily routine, is off. A few months before her parents’ tragic deaths, Emerson began seeing people. These people were out of place, out of time and, more importantly, out of their physical bodies. They were similar to ghosts, except that when she touched them, they would disintegrate rapidly. Some of them would even speak with her, which proved to be hazardous as she would get into yelling matches in public with an entity that no one else could see.

Due to these


By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Rated by Diane H.
Feb 8, 2016

Illuminae is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve come across recently. I don’t know what it would be like to read the book, but the audio was marvelous to listen to. The different voices encapsulate the personalities and essences of the different characters, making the story richer and adding depth. 

I also appreciated the unique format--the whole story is told in messages, transcripts and recordings. It begins with a memo about the information to follow, then goes right into two interviews with the main characters, Kady Grant and Ezra Mason.

These two teenagers just survived a

Last Night I Sang To The Monster

By Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Rated by Scott S.
Sep 20, 2017

Having never experienced life in a rehab center I cannot speak to the authenticity or veracity of the setting Benjamin Alire Sáenz creates in, Last Night I Sang To The Monster. 18 year-old Zach is an alcoholic who comes out of a black out in a treatment center with no memory of how he got there. I can say the novel is populated by memorable characters who are engaged in emotionally resonant relationships in a visceral setting. And in those respects, Sáenz has succeeded in crafting a very effective and moving novel. While not all aspects of the novel work perfectly, it is clear that Sáenz has

Looking for Alaska

By John Green
Rated by Becky C.
Jan 24, 2014

John Green writes novels for young adults, but you don't have to be young to enjoy them.  I'm forty-three, and he's one of my favorite contemporary authors.  I became a fan of Green not by reading his books but by watching videos on his amazing YouTube channels CrashCourseMental Floss, and Vlogbrothers.  I thought I was too sophisticated and mature to read a young-adult novel, but I love Green so much I gave him a shot.  Most fans of John Green that I know love his book The Fault in Our Stars the best, but my favorite John Green novel is Looking for Alaska.  It’s the story of a 16-year-old

Feb 1, 2013

Book two in the Watersong trilogy, Lullaby, picks right up where Wake left off.  Harper is desperate to find her sixteen-year-old sister Gemma who has run off with Penn, Thea, and Lexi after a horrific fight where Penn turns into a monster and the girls all swam away with mermaid tails.  Harper is convinced that Gemma didn’t want to go with them but left to keep them safe and has somehow become a mermaid.  While Harper, Alex, and Daniel research mermaids, Gemma is busy trying to get used to being a siren and all that entails (pun intended).  Gemma learns that the other sirens need her as there

Sep 14, 2012

Masque of the Red Death, by Bethany Griffin is an intriguing re-production of Poe’s original version, “The Masque of the Red Death”. Griffin creates a world that has succumbed to an air-borne infectious disease, which leaves people dying on every corner. Only the rich are able to provide their families with masks that purify the air before breathing it in.

Araby Worth, the female protagonist, is part of the elite because her father was the scientist who first created the masks that began saving lives immediately. But her world is far from glamorous. She drinks copious amounts of alcohol and

Persona 5 (PS4)

Rated by Rachel C.
Jul 3, 2017

Have you ever wanted to execute a massive heist?  How about pretend to be a Japanese high schooler?  Explore Jungian psychology?  You're in luck!

This may be the fifth game in the Persona subseries of the Shin Megami Tensei games, but no prior knowledge is required (although it helps to catch references, and maybe a little foreshadowing).  You play as a student shipped off to big-city Tokyo from the country on criminal probation for assault, but you only find this out a little ways into the game, which begins in mid-heist.  You're quickly apprehended by police, informed that you were

Robot Dreams, by Sara Varon

Rated by John Mark E.
Jun 22, 2011

A colleague urged me to read this 2007 graphic novel -- which I ended up doing in one sitting. Although classified as fiction for young adults, I found it irresistible, and it's been a few decades since anyone could consider me a young adult.

"Graphic novel" actually is a bit of a misnomer here; Varon's book is basically wordless. But while the story pacing, narrative, and emotional resonances all depend on visuals, Varon still demonstrates considerable novelistic gifts. She has an excellent eye for detail and knows how to get herself(and us)  inside the heads of her characters.

Having said

May 25, 2010

I just finished reading Catherine Hapka's Something Borrowed this week. It was a book I started on May 2, 2010. Granted, I'm a bit of a slow reader, but this one took an exceptionally long time to finish. Partly because I had other things I wanted to get done and partly because reading this book felt like a chore. I wasn't enjoying it at all - the main character, Ava, was really irritating me and her older sister was such a bridezilla. As they say, "I get too attached to fictional characters".

What I realized is that my ultimate goal wasn't to enjoy the book, but to just finish the book. I

Something Real

By Heather Demetrios
Rated by Diane H.
Mar 31, 2014

Something Real gives us a deliciously inside look at the truth behind “reality” shows. It reminded me of The Truman Show, except that the people being filmed are aware that millions are watching their private lives unfold. So many people in today’s world seek out their 15 minutes of fame. Would so many desire fame if that fame came with a price—everyone you meet knows every embarrassing, bumbling, horrifying experience of your life?

The story rests on “Baker’s Dozen,"  a highly popular family reality television show that was canceled a few years ago. Bonnie Baker, the eldest child, has


By A. G. Howard
Rated by Bethany T.
Feb 11, 2013

Alyssa Gardner skewers bugs so she won’t have to hear them talk.  Like all the women in her family, she suffers from a distinctive madness - a madness that’s afflicted her family since young Alice Liddell emerged from Wonderland and told her adventures to a man named Lewis Carroll. But soon Alyssa discovers that Wonderland is real, and if she enters, she may have a chance to cure her mother and herself of this madness forever.  So long as she stays alive, of course. Splintered by A G. Howard is a delightful romp through a wild and exquisite world, with a plot that twists and turns, a heroine

Feb 15, 2013

Can’t decide between team Edward and Team Jacob? Try Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan. The town of New Whitby was founded by vampires. While there’s not a lot of mingling between vampires and humans, they have mostly co-existed peacefully. But when Mel’s best friend Cathy seems to be falling for the courtly, old-fashioned vampire who just enrolled at their high school, Mel knows she has to intervene. As it says on the cover “Friends don’t let friends date vampires”.

Then there’s the troubling mystery of what happened to the father of Anna, another close friend of Mel

Oct 25, 2011

Budding cartoonist, Junior (Arnold) Spirit, a 15-year-old Spokane Indian boy, transfers to a white school off the reservation because of his eagerness to learn and frustration over conditions at the “res” school, including 15 year-old science textbooks.  This account of his adjustment to a school with a “Redskin” as mascot is sometimes funny, often poignant, including his adoration of the beautiful blonde Penelope.  Junior’s family and lifestyle come to life as he confronts culture clashes, deaths in the family and predictable bigotry.  His insight and coping skills would be enviable to a

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

By Holly Black
Rated by Bethany T.
Nov 16, 2013

When seventeen-year-old Tana wakes up hungover from a wild party at a remote farmhouse, surrounded by dead classmates, she thinks things can't get any worse...until she discovers a mysterious vampire named Gavriel chained up in the same room as her bitten ex-boyfriend Aiden, who is about to turn into a full-fledged bloodsucker at any moment.  Acting on impulse, she saves Gavriel and Aiden from the horde of vampires responsible for the massacre, and prepares to drive them to Coldtown--the quarantine zone where vampires mingle with humans in decadent parties that last for years, all broadcast on