Meet Frankie Landau-Banks: smart, funny, and unwilling to be left out of an all-guy’s secret society. She’s now a Sophomore at the elite boarding scho...moreMeet Frankie Landau-Banks: smart, funny, and unwilling to be left out of an all-guy’s secret society. She’s now a Sophomore at the elite boarding school, Alabaster. During the summer between her Freshman and Sophomore years, she grows up a bit, fills out, briefly meets a guy at the beach whom she meets again at Alabaster, and no longer fits the cloying nickname from her family, “bunny rabbit.”
Frankie’s father and older sister both attended Alabaster. It used to be an all-boys school. Frankie has heard hushed stories of the secret society to which her father belonged. But when Frankie starts dating hottie and senior Matthew, she catches on quickly that his abrupt cancellations and occasionally mysterious behavior mask his meetings with the boys-only secret society, The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds.
Frankie’s not one to be left out or sit idly by while Matthew refuses to share the truth about his clandestine meetings. But direct confrontation and whining aren’t her style. Instead, she decides to infiltrate The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds on her own terms. She outwits the guys at their own game, bests their pranks, and discovers a thing or two about herself and her relationships along the way.
Witty, irreverent, and insightful about gender relationships and how one smart girl rewrites the old boys’ code, this is a terrific story, and my favorite one so far by the talented E. Lockhart.(less)
Mau thought he was paddling his dugout canoe home to his small island to be greeted by the elders eager to celebrate his “passage into manhood.” But a...moreMau thought he was paddling his dugout canoe home to his small island to be greeted by the elders eager to celebrate his “passage into manhood.” But a tidal wave ravages his island, located somewhere in the South Pacific, and Mau returns home only to find dead bodies, his entire family gone. But wait - he is caught off guard when ”trousergirl” Daphne (an English girl), whose ship was deposited on the island by the wave, suddenly appears before him. Then a pregnant woman, and next a woman with a baby. Still others make their way to the island, and Mau has to help, because if he doesn’t, who else will?
Imagine desperate Mau wrangling milk from a mother pig to feed a human baby. And “demon boy” Mau wrestling with the gods, and barely escaping a shark attack. The survivors reinvent civilization, exploring language, religion, and science as they struggle to survive. Deeply philosophical and laugh-out-loud funny, the inimitable Terry Pratchett has crafted an original, masterful tale, reminiscent of Robinson Crusoe and Lord of the Flies, and with all the nail-biting tension of The Hunger Games and Lost.(less)
t’s a face known across the centuries and the world over. And that enigmatic smile, beguiling and distant, makes you wonder, who was Mona Lisa? What w...moret’s a face known across the centuries and the world over. And that enigmatic smile, beguiling and distant, makes you wonder, who was Mona Lisa? What was her life like?
Author Donna Jo Napoli imagines the life of Monna Elisabetta, daughter of a wealthy silk merchant. Elisabetta’s mother is planning her big 13th birthday party in hopes of finding a suitable husband for her.
But Leonardo da Vinci introduces Elisabetta, who lives in the countryside, to Guiliano de Medici, son of the ruling Florentine family. They are immediately attracted to each other and form a friendship that deepens into love. But political strife, personal tragedy, and troubling economic times make it difficult for Elisabetta and Guiliano to see each other.
There is much behind those eyes of the famous Mona Lisa, and this story made me see her in a richer light. Highly recommended (less)
Evie is a normal teenager in post-WWII New York: interested in boys and hanging out with her best friend, buying chocolate and practicing smoking. And...moreEvie is a normal teenager in post-WWII New York: interested in boys and hanging out with her best friend, buying chocolate and practicing smoking. And she’s happy that her step-father, Joe, has returned safely from the war. But when Joe starts getting mysterious phone calls and decides, on a whim, to pack the family car and head for Florida, things start to get a little bit crazy.
At first, Evie enjoys Palm Beach and their extended vacation, but she craves some excitement. Enter Peter, a handsome ex-GI who served with Joe in the war and for whom Evie falls, hard. But Peter and Joe’s relationship isn’t as simple as it seems and as Evie begins to figure out the truth and the plot takes a deadly turn, she must make decisions that will change her family’s life forever.
“What I Saw and How I Lied” just won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. It’s a mysterious thriller with a film noir setting that will suck you into the plot. (less)
King Randa of the Middluns is hosting a party and eight-year-old Lady Katsa is suffering under the unnervingly intense attention of her distant cousin...moreKing Randa of the Middluns is hosting a party and eight-year-old Lady Katsa is suffering under the unnervingly intense attention of her distant cousin. He slides his hand towards her leg and she reaches out to slap him, only to, quite literally, smash his face. Young Katsa has a killing grace. In Graceling, Kristin Cashore’s richly imagined fantasy, gracelings are characters with superpowers, and they are marked by strikingly colored eyes, each a different color. In Katsa’s case, one eye is bright blue, the other green.
Katsa is rather invincible against friend and foe alike, but because her grace has many benefits to those in power, her uncle, King Randa, ruler of one of the seven kingdoms, uses her to exact revenge on disloyal subjects or rival kings – whatever suits his fancy. Katsa, during a covert mission, encounters a strange man with one silver and one golden eye. Something compels her to trust him and she doesn’t kill him. This begins her rebellion against her uncle’s tyrannical claims. Katsa discovers the strange man is Po, a young prince from another kingdom who is a graceling like her. Po and Katsa teem up to practice their fighting skills (against each other) and to uncover the mystery of Po’s grandfather’s kidnapping. Together they embark on a dangerous mission, finding justice and corruption, adventure and brutality, political intrigue and romance.
Both Katsa and Po struggle enormously with their supernatural talents, and their graces evolve along with the story. Katsa is strong, confident, and unsure at the same time. Her extraordinary skill is not something she takes lightly, questioning how to use it and what its consequences are every step of the way. Po is strong and wise, but neither of them is prepared for the obstacles they face on their formidable quest. Nail-biting tension, mesmerizing & subtly crafted characters, and absorbing and surprising plot twists give this fantasy broad appeal. It’s on the teens’ top ten nominated list. The top ten winners on this list will be announced during teen read week.(less)
You’re in your parents bedroom. You’re looking for something, could be anything – a beach pass, your dad’s Swiss Army Knife, maybe a sweater your mom...moreYou’re in your parents bedroom. You’re looking for something, could be anything – a beach pass, your dad’s Swiss Army Knife, maybe a sweater your mom asked you to grab. Imagine it now. Imagine their bedroom. Now you’re shuffling through their things. And that’s when you find it. The Unwind Order. Your blood runs cold, a flash shocks your eyes, your heart thrashes. This must be a joke. But, no, this isn’t a joke because there are your parents’ signatures right there slashed across the page: ‘We hereby grant permission for the federal government to unwind our son.’ You drop the page to the floor, shaking. You’re going to be unwound. Frantically you touch your arms, your teeth, your eyelids, your tongue, your hair, and your knees. You’re feeling, feeling the parts of the body you’re going to lose when they unwind you. This is the end. Goodnight, sweet prince.
In Neal Shusterman’s seriously creepy book of darkness, Unwind, this is what happens to teenagers who are considered too much trouble by their parents. They’re erased, all their body parts recycled, disappeared. Unwound. They’re not dead, but they exist silent and helpless in a thousand different bodies where their organs, their hair, their fingernails and bones are donated and absorbed. Sure, many of them run – if they make it to 18 years old the government will quit the chase, they’ll be safe – but no one’s ever made it, they always get you. Unwind is the story of three teens who try to escape despite the odds, who run from the Unwind Order, their parents, and the police in a desperate attempt to save their skins – literally. It’s a suspenseful read with great chase scenes, action, and tense, paranoid drama (especially when they reach a secret, underground facility for runaway Unwinds). If anything, read this book for the horrifying scene in which one of the central characters gets unwound – the process is vividly depicted and…disarming, he-he.(less)
Maybe you’ve been pulled over by a cop for no apparent reason, patted down, or even falsely arrested. On the other hand, there are cops out there doin...moreMaybe you’ve been pulled over by a cop for no apparent reason, patted down, or even falsely arrested. On the other hand, there are cops out there doing their best to protect and serve under extremely difficult circumstances. Cape Cod policeman John Busby, one of few on his force with the courage to stand up to the local bully — a suspected arsonist and murderer — is one of those, and it costs him dearly. One beautiful summer evening while driving to his midnight shift at work, Busby’s jaw is shot off at close range. He manages to remain coherent long enough in the midst of blood spewing everywhere to pass on the message that the shooting was intentional and his family is in imminent danger. What happens to John and his family? Who is behind this outrageous act of violence? How does John cope with his intense desire for revenge?
Busby’s daughter Cylin is just nine-years-old at the time. On a picture-perfect August day she paints her father’s car green and plays with her new box turtle that he has just given her. The very next day she and her two brothers are sequestered under 24-hour police protection. Cylin narrates her version of events in alternating chapters to her father’s story. Her narrative brings a childlike innocence and bewilderment to this horrific, true crime story. Cylin writes about what it’s like to have the police escort a nine-year-old to school every day, to have friends no longer want to be around her for fear (or in response to their parents’ fear) of putting themselves in harm’s way, and to lose overnight the sense of freedom she has taken for granted. And that’s not all she has lost.
The town tires of covering the escalating costs of police protection for the Busbys, and the shooter is still on the loose. Fearing for their safety, the Busbys pack up their things and disappear. For good. Have you ever wanted to reinvent yourself, like when you leave middle school and begin high school? Well the Busbys are forced to do that just to remain alive — new names, a new (and undisclosed) state, new jobs and schools, and made-up pasts. Given the stories that Cylin is forced to invent, it really isn’t surprising that she grows up to become a storyteller. This is a riveting page-turner about fear, secrets, a search for truth, identity, loneliness, and healing. Recommended for older teens.(less)
Antsy Bonano, wise-cracking narrator of The Schwa Was Here, is back! This time, he befriends Gunnar Umlaut, whom he meets at the Macy’s Thanksgiving D...moreAntsy Bonano, wise-cracking narrator of The Schwa Was Here, is back! This time, he befriends Gunnar Umlaut, whom he meets at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan. There several men are trying to corral a runaway giant-sized raccoon balloon when tragedy strikes. That’s when Gunnar confides in Antsy (short for Anthony) that he has been diagnosed with Pulmonary Monoxic Systemia, leaving him only a few more months to live.
Lest you think the set-up is maudlin, it’s anything but. Antsy offers to donate months of his own life to Gunnar, then other students at their high school do the same, until the whole whacky premise spins out of control. Add to that Antsy’s attraction to Gunnar’s older sister, and his slow discovery that all is not as it seems with Gunnar and his family. Is Gunnar really facing an imminent death, or is there something else going on?
This is an irresistable tragicomedy, with the comedy, and Antsy’s inability to rein in his own quick retorts, running the show. (less)
Shifting gears isn’t as easy at you’d think. Sometimes the chain catches; other times the incline proves more challenging than anticipated. In Jennife...moreShifting gears isn’t as easy at you’d think. Sometimes the chain catches; other times the incline proves more challenging than anticipated. In Jennifer Bradbury’s psychological mystery, it’s a bit of both, metaphorically speaking.
Best friends Chris and Win embark on a bike trek across the country, from West Virginia to the coast of Washington. At least that’s the plan. They have just graduated from high school and are eager to test themselves and explore the world. That seems to be what Chris is after. Chris sets out on this trek with his father’s blessing; in fact, Chris is pursuing dreams his father wished he had. But what are Win’s motives? Is he really out to share an adventure with a best friend, or is he running/riding away? From what?
Chris gets a sudden flat tire at a critical point in the trip, and when he needs Win the most, Win disappears around the corner. The clues are there, the mystery slowly unfolds, but it is really the relationship between Chris and Win that is the most mysterious and thought-provoking part of this gripping story. (less)