Quincie Morris leads a stressful life; playing the part of a responsible adult since the death of her parents has left her the owner of the family res...moreQuincie Morris leads a stressful life; playing the part of a responsible adult since the death of her parents has left her the owner of the family restaurant. Fat Lorenzo's was a successful family business until a large Italian restaurant chain moved in down the street. The small business couldn't compete, so in order to keep the doors open, her Uncle Davidson, now her guardian and manager of the restaurant, decided to change Fat Lorenzo's into a vampire themed Italian restaurant called Sanguini's. The chef would be the center of the act, leading a midnight toast every night. Quincie's close friend, Vaggio, has been with the restaurant for years as its chef and is looking forward to the new challenge.
Quincie works late many nights a week. She is either working with Vaggio, taste testing for the new menu, or organizing some of the many tasks left to do before opening night. One night while she is in the office reviewing her "To Do List," she hears a noise from the kitchen. Thinking Vaggio simply dropped something, she continues to work. She is also waiting for Kieren, a half-werewolf that has been the love of her life and best friend for years. She is startled when she hears Kieren's frantic cry calling her name from the kitchen. Immediately going to meet him, she is horrified by the site of Vaggio dead on the kitchen floor, bloodied and mangled as if torn apart by wolves. Kieren is bloodied from attempting to help and is desperate with worry about Quincie. He quickly pulls her from the restaurant and goes down the street to call the police. Once the police arrive, they return to the scene of the crime to answer questions.
Quincie feels her world closing in on her. She has lost her parents and a dear friend within a short period of time. Her Uncle Davidson has been preoccupied with Ruby, his wannabe vampire girlfriend, so much so that he isn't ever home and rarely spends time with Quincie anymore. Now, she learns that Kieren is planning to leave. He is going to join a werewolf pack for support while he learns the ways of his culture. Once he joins, he will never be able to come back. The thought of never seeing, touching, or talking to Kieren again leaves her shaken.
Quincie is in a vulnerable state when the new chef for Sanguini's shows up unexpectedly. Uncle Davidson hired him without even consulting her, which irritates her since she is usually considered a partner when it comes to major decisions. Henry Johnson is the new chef and as he and Quincie work together to make him more vampire-like, they grow closer. The first thing they change is his name and Henry Johnson becomes Bradley Sanguini. Bradley cooks for her daily, constantly trying new recipes for the possible menu. He also introduces her to wine. Never one for drinking, she quickly develops a taste for it, seeming to always have a glass of wine in her hand while she is working. She is surprised that her uncle doesn't say anything about her drinking. She is even more shocked when Uncle Davidson allows her to drink wine at home.
Quincie's life seems to flash before her eyes. Her mind is occupied with thoughts of the restaurant so much that her grades at school begin to fall. She loses interest in any activity that isn't surrounding Sanguini's. She begins to spend less time with Kieren, both because she is afraid of her feelings when he is gone for good and because Bradley and Uncle Davidson plant the seed of suspicion in her mind that Kieren might have lost control of his change and killed Vaggio himself. All of these thoughts distract her to the point she is lured into a dangerous situation where there is no way out. Her life will be forever changed.
Emil's life has been turned upside down in the last year. His mother has died of cancer and his brother, who he has always looked up to, has disappear...moreEmil's life has been turned upside down in the last year. His mother has died of cancer and his brother, who he has always looked up to, has disappeared without a trace. Emil and his father don't communicate about anything important and rarely see each other due to his father's work schedule. The only friend he has is Soma, a rule-bending, line-crossing boy who is in the same grade as Emil.
Nothing exciting happens to Emil. He is average in every way. His brother, Ethan, was the bright, shining star with all the friends, good grades, and a way with the ladies. Emil just lives in Ethan's shadow. He attends Caramoor Academy, a private school with a hefty tuition. Since everything has happened in his family, Emil's grades have started to slip and his father is riding him harder than ever to make the grade; especially since he is paying so much for him to go to school at Caramoor.
Emil does have the key though -- the key to notoriety, the key to exploration, the key to discovery. One day before Ethan left home, Emil was digging around in his bedroom and found an actual key. When he asked Ethan what the key unlocked he received a surprising answer: the key was a master key to the entire Caramoor Academy campus. Every door in every building was available to the person who held the key. Emil asked if he could have it and unbelievably, Ethan said yes. Normally the key was passed from one student to another each year. No one except the key holder was supposed to know who had it. The goal of the year was to pull off a monumental prank.
Emil's chance at greatness comes when his father has to go out of town for a long business trip and he has four days and nights home alone. He decides to use his time exploring Caramoor Academy. He sets up a makeshift bed in the attic of the main building and proceeds to unlock every door he can find. One evening during his exploration, Emil sees the art studio lit up and hears music blaring from the room. He finds a girl inside spinning a clay pot. He is shocked and doesn't give her his real name because he doesn't want to get caught, but he also wants to find out what she is doing there. After some conversation, he realizes she is the daughter of the art teacher at the Academy.
Over the next several days Emil and Jade, the girl in the art studio, form a relationship that leads them to many discoveries about themselves, about the death of Emil's mother and Ethan's role in it, and the importance of friendship. Eireann Corrigan has written a complex novel with true-to-life young adult characters that grow throughout the course of the story. Definitely for older teens, this novel covers topics such as grief, loss, family, and discovery with compassion and humor.
Three troubled teens cross paths at Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital, after attempting suicide. Connor, Tony, and Vanessa all have demons that tr...moreThree troubled teens cross paths at Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital, after attempting suicide. Connor, Tony, and Vanessa all have demons that try to pull them under and get them to succumb to the temptation to try it again; this time making sure they succeed.
Connor's overbearing family, only concerned about his GPA, or his making the varsity football team, or getting into an Ivy League college, offer no solace during his time of need. Feeling suicide is the only answer after a deeply emotional love affair ends; he takes a gun and points it to his chest before pulling the trigger.
Tony, after many years in a juvenile home for a crime that still haunts him, decides to ease his feelings of despair and loneliness by swallowing a handful of pills, only to vomit them up and be found by the police lying on the sidewalk unconscious.
Vanessa is a cutter. In order to ease her mind in any time of stress she slices her skin with anything sharp enough to do the job. One day, when she was drowning in her blue ocean of sadness, she cuts too deep. She feels herself slipping into the abyss until her younger brother Bryan walks in and finds her. When he calls for their ex-nurse Grandma, she is able to hold off death.
After arriving at Aspen Springs, Connor, Tony, and Vanessa are introduced to a life under constant surveillance, strict routines, and hours and hours or counseling. Immediately the three form a bond, feeling drawn to one another as if they might be able to save each other from death. Together they navigate the regulations of the hospital and make progress toward healing as they tell each other their deepest, darkest secrets; things they won't even tell their counselors.
Ellen Hopkins uses her wonderful free verse style to weave together the story of three troubled teens as they attempt to heal the terrible scars left by their lives. The consistency the author uses when alternating the points of view makes the story easy to follow. Hopkins gives away just enough information that the reader feels a part of the story while still saving a big bang for the end. IMPULSE is a great story that reveals the importance of family during the healing process and is a must read for anyone who knows a teen.
Powerful doesn't begin to describe BOY TOY by Barry Lyga. It is the story of Josh, a young man that was involved in an inappropriate relationship with...morePowerful doesn't begin to describe BOY TOY by Barry Lyga. It is the story of Josh, a young man that was involved in an inappropriate relationship with his teacher five years ago. Barry Lyga does an amazing job showing the impact this event has on Josh's life. Relationships with his parents, kids at school, and teachers are changed forever.
There is one relationship that hasn't changed much since the incident. Zik is Josh's best friend and he has stood by him through everything. He doesn't push Josh for information about what happened with the teacher and stands up for him when others give him a hard time.
The area of his life that was most damaged by the relationship with Eve, the teacher from the relationship, was his ability to deal with girls his own age. It seems that every time he gets in a situation with a girl where closeness is involved, he thinks about Eve's likes and needs and transfers those into the current situation. He can't feel comfortable with girls because Eve is always in the back of his mind.
Things really heat up when Eve is released from prison after serving a 5 year sentence. With the story hitting the news again, the situation is on everyone's mind which causes stress for Josh. He feels the need to talk to Eve to answer some of his own questions while at the same time he is attempting to reconnect with Rachel - a girl he thought he lost when the relationship between Josh and Eve was revealed.
BOY TOY is amazing. It really shines some light on a situation that doesn't get as much thought as it should. After talking to several men I know, their first response is, "Where were teachers like that when I was in school," but ask them about a young girl being in an inappropriate relationship with a male teacher and the situation is totally different. There is a double standard. BOY TOY gives us a good look at the issues young men have to deal with after a relationship of this nature.
Billy Bloom has been forced to move to Florida for his Senior year of High School. His mom, a little on the bi-polar side, couldn't take his flamboyan...moreBilly Bloom has been forced to move to Florida for his Senior year of High School. His mom, a little on the bi-polar side, couldn't take his flamboyant attitude toward life anymore. Billy is a self-proclaimed "Gender Obscurist". A fabulously creative drag queen and a character that is resilient, lovable, and stronger than anyone ever would have imagined, including himself.
After enduring unspeakable torture and bullying from his shell-shocked classmates, Billy ends up in the hospital and has a month long recuperating period. During this time, Billy develops a deep friendship with Flip Kelly, the star and golden boy of the high school. Flip, the one who saved Billy from the angry mob of students and whisked him to the hospital. Flip, who is feeling the pressure to be the best from his family and the entire school. Flip, the guy Billy falls head-over-heels in love with.
Billy relates his experiences at Eisenhower Academy with brutal honesty and laugh-out-loud humor. His decision to run for Homecoming Queen proves to be a true test of his character, strength, and resolve. Billy's message of tolerance and acceptance is important for everyone to hear. After all, "Gender is a choice, not a life sentence."
No matter your gender persuasion, FREAK SHOW by James St. James is a delightful story of bravery, trust, love, and friendship. So, put on your tiara and platform shoes and settle in for a FABULOUS ride. (less)
Regan’s brother, Liam, lives a double life and Regan is the only one who knows about it. Liam assumes the role of “boy” by day and only reveals his/he...moreRegan’s brother, Liam, lives a double life and Regan is the only one who knows about it. Liam assumes the role of “boy” by day and only reveals his/her true self at night. During those moments of peace when she is trying on new outfits, experimenting with different wigs, and trying various makeup techniques she calls herself Luna. Regan witnesses these moments because they always take place in Regan’s room.
Regan’s own life suffers because of the time and effort it takes to keep Luna’s secret. Regan doesn’t feel like she can invite friends over because Luna might emerge. Regan had one slumber party and Luna couldn’t help but join in the dancing and toenail painting. After that humiliation, Regan vowed never to have people over again.
Regan knows her life isn’t full. She doesn’t have friends, doesn’t date, and her relationship with Luna is pretty much one-sided. She is constantly concerned about Luna’s mood; always wanting to make everything okay. When Regan meets Chris in Chemistry class things start to change for her though. She realizes how much she is missing by only focusing on Luna.
Not only do we get to see Liam transform into Luna; we also get to see Regan transform into a confident young woman. While the ending of the book is hopeful, getting there is sometimes heartbreaking.
While on a class field trip Alice is lured away from the group by Ray - a child predator. The minute she starts to walk with him, her life is over. Sh...moreWhile on a class field trip Alice is lured away from the group by Ray - a child predator. The minute she starts to walk with him, her life is over. She becomes a shell of a girl. A girl technically alive, but dead on the inside.
The story picks up after Alice has lived with Ray for five years. She knows what to expect - she can read his moods. Ray maintains control by reminding Alice that he knows where her “real” family lives. He’s even driven her there and told her that if she attempts to run away - he’ll kill everyone inside.
Ray wants Alice to remain young looking. He withholds food when he thinks she is gaining weight, he gives her medication to stop her menstrual cycle, and requires her to wax ALL the hair from her body.
When Alice reaches the age of fifteen, Ray begins to talk more and more about her death. He brings up finding a new girl, someone else that needs to be shown how lucky they are. He forces Alice to scout possible girls for him. When Alice finds a six-year-old girl that would meet Ray’s approval, she finally sees a way out for herself.
Elizabeth Scott has written a heart-wrenching account of one girl’s life as an abductee. The amount of detail used to describe her daily experiences is amazing. Many sexually graphic scenes fill the pages of this book and threaten to turn the stomach of the reader. LIVING DEAD GIRL is a story that will stick with you after you finish.
Titus is a a typical teen. He lives with his parents and annoying younger brother, likes to hang out with his friends, and is always looking for somet...moreTitus is a a typical teen. He lives with his parents and annoying younger brother, likes to hang out with his friends, and is always looking for something exciting to do. During Spring Break, he and his friends decide to go to the Moon. That’s right – the Moon. Titus lives in a technologically advanced future where people cruise around in “upcars” and have chip implants for the Feed. The Feed is great. It allows the government and advertisers to learn everything about you so they can tell you what you want. It allows you to access information instantly making school basically worthless since everyone already “knows” everything. Titus can’t imagine a better life.
When Titus meets Violet on the Moon he is instantly attracted to her. Violet is very different from all the other girls he knows who only spend their time watching out for the hourly hair style trends and following the story of their favorite show Oh, Wow, Thing. Violet is great, but their relationship doesn’t get off to a good start. At a dance club on the Moon, Titus, Violet, and many others’ Feeds are hacked. They end up spending several days in the hospital for repairs. What Titus doesn’t find out until much later is, Violet’s feed was seriously damaged and most likely can’t be repaired.
M.T. Anderson paints a grim picture of what can happen if a society relies completely on technology. The ease and convenience of instant knowledge from the Feed is to us like searching Google is to our Grandparents. While advertisers constantly bombard people with special offers and great deals in the book, we are rarely without banner ads on the websites we visit. The Feed monitors the purchases of people to better recommend future products. Amazon and Facebook do the same thing in order to recommend things to us. We continually want better and faster. Soon we’ll be so reliant that we won’t be able to do without. Just think. Regular cell phones that don’t require data plans are already becoming harder and harder to find. Soon, even great granny who only needs a cell phone for emergencies will be required to pay $30 for a Smart Phone data plan she’ll never use.
FEED is a book not only about the dangers of complete reliance on technology. It also covers topics such as peer pressure and first love. Titus faces many of the same issues teens of today face, even though he lives in a world where you can take a vacation on the Moon.
I’ve read this book three times. Twice in print and once I listened to the audio version. The audio book is fantastic because it provides the reader with a taste of the Feed. Scattered throughout the book you get to hear advertisements and special news reports about issues the government is facing during the course of this story.(less)
Meredith is fifteen and has already lived through nightmares worse than anything most people could even imagine. Her father sexually abused her and he...moreMeredith is fifteen and has already lived through nightmares worse than anything most people could even imagine. Her father sexually abused her and her mother didn’t do anything to stop it. Meredith wasn’t alone though; he abused several other young children, but it was Meredith being injured to the point of needing an emergency room visit and Meredith finally admitting to what was going on that put him in jail. Her father received nine years in prison - long enough for her to turn eighteen and move away on her own.
The only problem…the justice system doesn’t always work the way it is supposed to. Because of progress during therapy and good behavior, Meredith’s father is released just three years after his incarceration. Meredith is scared to death. Her only salvation is Andy, a young man with whom she has a strange connection. He makes her feel calm when nothing else can. Andy is fighting his own demons though and plans to leave for Iowa to see a victim soul - someone who takes on the pain and suffering of another. Andy is paralyzed and he and his mother put their faith in God to cure him. He is leaving just when Meredith needs him the most. Meredith will have to find strength in herself to overcome her newest nightmare.
SUCH A PRETTY GIRL is an intense and emotional novel. It will catch the reader’s attention quickly. However, there are a few details will cause the reader to question the plot. For instance, it just so happens that her father’s arresting officer is now retired and lives in the same condo complex as Meredith. Also, her father can’t live with Meredith and her mother right away, but he does buy a condo on the other side of the complex. All in all, SUCH A PRETTY GIRL is a book to read. If you’ve enjoyed Ellen Hopkins’ IDENTICAL or Elizabeth Scott’s LIVING DEAD GIRL you probably will enjoy SUCH A PRETTY GIRL.(less)
CRACKED UP TO BE is the story of Parker Fadley. She once held the position of queen bee of the school. She was the Captain of the cheerleaders, always...moreCRACKED UP TO BE is the story of Parker Fadley. She once held the position of queen bee of the school. She was the Captain of the cheerleaders, always landed on the honor roll list, and had the same basketball-star boyfriend since freshman year.
After a particularly wild party at her boyfriend’s house, something happened that left Parker with major feelings of guilt. She no longer feels like she deserved to live the life of perfection and slowly starts alienating herself from everyone and everything she once thought was so important. The problem is, the people around her don’t want to let her slip into the background.
If you are in the mood for a light pick-me-up then CRACKED UP TO BE isn’t the book for you. It is filled with page after page of pain. Parker has to deal with feelings of loss and helplessness and discuss all of her painful experiences and poor decisions in therapy once a week.
You’ll read obsessively until you learn what happened to change Parker’s life so drastically. The author eludes to the event throughout the story, but only reveals the whole picture when Parker is forced to come to terms with her decisions. While the entire book is filled with painful, awkward, and difficult situations, the story still ends on a hopeful note. It is definitely a book you don’t want to miss.(less)
Candice (Dice) has been transplanted from a busy New York City to a quiet Swoon, Connecticut – and nothing much happens in Swoon. She spends her time...moreCandice (Dice) has been transplanted from a busy New York City to a quiet Swoon, Connecticut – and nothing much happens in Swoon. She spends her time hanging out with her cousin Pen since her parents stay away most of the time because of their jobs. Mostly just home for the weekends, they aren’t involved in Dice’s daily life.
Dice’s life gets a little more interesting after Pen has an accident during a dangerous stunt while climbing a tree. While unconscious, Pen is inhabited by a vengeful ghost named Sinclair Youngblood Powers. Dice is aware of this change due to her heightened psychic abilities and immediately feels drawn to Sin, but after she realizes what he plans to do, she makes it her mission to send Sin back to where he came from and out of Pen’s body. But, things don’t go as planned. Sin becomes flesh and blood and way more dangerous than before. Dangerous to the town because of the revenge he is exacting on its inhabitants and dangerous to Dice because of the deep feelings Sin brings out in her.
SWOON is dark, sensual, and edgy. There are a lot of references to sex and drugs so be aware when recommending this book to adolescents. This would definitely be a book for high school students and above. Nina Malkin should be commended for creating a unique paranormal story. She weaves together many loose ends to create a thought-provoking story. SWOON will stay with you long after you read it.(less)
By the time GOTH GIRL RISING hits the shelves it will have been three years since THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL was published. Fo...moreBy the time GOTH GIRL RISING hits the shelves it will have been three years since THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL was published. For those that haven’t read it, do so now! You will probably enjoy GOTH GIRL RISING even without the backstory from TAAFGG, but not nearly as much as you could if you take the time to read it.
Unlike TAAFGG, this story is told from Kyra’s point-of-view. Six-months have passed since the last time we saw her. Because of something that happened at the end of FANBOY, Kyra was sent to stay at the Maryland Mental Health Unit. GOTH GIRL picks up on the day she is released.
Kyra is both relieved and nervous to be going home. Dealing with her father is tough and the thought of going back to school turns her stomach upside down. But, she is excited about one thing and that is seeing Fanboy. Here is a what she is thinking when she is walking into the school her first day back and she is looking for Fanboy. “I feel all light and puffy inside, like someone filled me up with a cloud or something. The Spermling doesn’t bother me. Roger doesn’t bother me. I’m going to find Fanboy and then everything is going to be fine. No wait, that’s wrong. Everything is going to be perfect.” (p. 35)
What Kyra finds is not what she expects and her world is shaken again. She begins to fill her days with plans of revenge and ways to ruin Fanboy. Thoughts of suicide find their way back into her head and she struggles to make it through each day. So many things are confusing: her feelings toward a long time friend, her relationship with her father, the way she feels about her mother’s death, and her plans for Fanboy.
Through letters she writes to her favorite author, Neil Gaiman, Kyra works through her many emotions in an attempt to be satisfied with life. She just can’t decide if it is worth all the trouble.(less)
Elphame, a satyr goddess born to a human mother and centaur father, has never felt a part of life. She has been worshipped and taken care of to the po...moreElphame, a satyr goddess born to a human mother and centaur father, has never felt a part of life. She has been worshipped and taken care of to the point no one feels comfortable enough with her to be free to speak to her like a friend. She has always been on a pedestal in the eyes of the people in Partholon.
Elphame decides it is time to strike out on her own. Along with her brother, she travels across the country to restore the long abandoned MacCallan Castle. A century has passed since the terrible Fomorian battle that killed many of Elphame’s clansman. While tales of ghosts keep most people away, Elphame feels the pull of the castle and knows deep in her soul she is meant to restore it and claim the castle as her own. She is meant to become The MacCallan, the leader of the clan.
Love is something Elphame assumed she would never experience. Who would want to love someone so clearly not human. She loves her strong hoofed legs, but at the same time is aware how they set her apart from everyone around her. She is completely caught off guard when she meets Lochlan, a hybrid Fomorian who claims to be her destiny. But, what are Lochlan’s true intentions? Can she trust the well-being of her clan for a chance at love?
ELPHAME’S CHOICE is a great romance. Anyone who enjoys reading about days of warriors and castles will find the setting appealing and Elphame is a very strong character and wonderful role model for girl readers. My major concern is this – I don’t think this should be marketed as a young adult novel. I found my copy in the young adult section at Borders and as you can see from the publisher information, it is being rereleased by Harlequin Teen. P.C. Cast first published this book in 2004 under Harlequin’s Luna imprint. I realize Harlequin didn’t have a teen imprint at that time, but…. ELPHAME’S CHOICE contains clearly spelled out sex scenes with typical “romance” language. I’m totally for allowing people (including teens) reading what they want to, but I think labeling it young adult and putting it on the young adult shelf is a little misleading.
Has anyone else read this yet? If so, tell me what you think.(less)