Category Archives: contemporary

When by Victoria Laurie

whenAs far back as she can remember, Maddie Fynn has always seen the numbers.  When she was really little, she didn’t even realize that other people couldn’t see them.  Then, one day, she drew an eerie picture of her family.  While it was fairly similar to most kids’ pictures of their families — with Maddie and her parents scrawled in little kid style — it also included numbers above their heads.  No one knew what those numbers meant, since even Maddie couldn’t explain what she was seeing, so they chalked it up to a quirky thing where she randomly assigned numbers to people around her… Until the day her father died.  Only then did Maddie’s mom realize that the numbers above her husband’s head [in the drawing] were actually the numbers that corresponded to his death date.

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Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

AfterworldsSo, I know I just posted a review of another book last night, but this book was so AH-MAZING that I just couldn’t stand to think of waiting to review it.  Let’s just look at this as preparation for Thanksgiving, since you’re getting an “extra helping” of YA awesomeness this morning.  I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge how insane I was for waiting so long to read this book.  I was among the first people on the request list, but I ended up sending it back and re-adding my name to the list because it showed up when I was in the middle of another book and didn’t think I would have time to read it then.  Well…  Even though this book was rather large (599 pages), I ended up reading it in ONE WEEK!  Considering the fact that I didn’t have any days off from work and/or caring for my kids, that’s crazy!  But, this book is crazy good, so I went to extremes to stay up late reading.  I’m talking, get up and walk around when I feel my eyelids start to droop or purposely playing Candy Crush before sitting down to read because I know the glow from electronics makes it harder for me to fall asleep.  Yeah.  I’m dedicated like that!  ;-) Continue reading

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

aristotle-and-danteI don’t typically like books that aren’t plot-driven.  Most of the time, I find that books without a plot just drag along.  Well, I can’t truly say this book “doesn’t have a plot”…  I mean, it has a sequence of events and the characters do things over a period of time.  But there’s not a big build up to a climax followed by a tidy resolution as there would be in so many books.  (Which I tend to prefer.)  It’s hard to explain, but I think you probably know what I mean.  Rather than some huge event that the book centers around, it’s just a description of what happens to these two characters over a length of time.  A snapshot of their lives, if you will.  An absolutely beautiful snapshot! Continue reading

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Lets-Get-LostLeila was just a random girl in a red car who was driving across the country (from Louisiana to Alaska) to see the Northern Lights.  But, to the people who she met along the way, Leila was also a huge help.  Well… Her interaction with Hudson could actually be construed as less than helpful, but she definitely helped the rest of the people she met along the way!  I like how the story was broken down into five distinct sections, like short stories, since the other characters that Leila interacted with didn’t cross over at all.  These adventures were five different episodes in her life, if you will.  I also appreciated the fact that, though the interactions were life-changing for the people she met, Leila often left feeling just as lost and confused as when she first arrived.  I mean, it just felt so much more genuine to me that Leila *didn’t* have all the answers.  Because, who does?
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Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Walk_Two_MoonsI first thought about reading this book when I helped a student request it for her summer reading assignment about ten and a half years ago.  Since there was a wait list of students who needed it for their assignment, I decided not to add a hold for myself.  (I thought it would be unfair to the kids who really needed it.)  Every summer I thought to myself, “I need to remember to read that when summer is over.”  And, every year, I’ve had such a long “to be read” pile when summer reading ended that this book was added to my “I’ll read this book someday” list.  At the end of the summer this year, though, the planets finally aligned.  I only had one week left before I was on vacation with my family, so I wanted an audiobook short enough that I could finish it before the week was up.  Even though it was still summer reading season, this audiobook was available on OverDrive, and I went for it! Continue reading

Panic by Lauren Oliver

PanicYALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten list was announced, and I CANNOT believe Panic wasn’t on it!  I mean, I had a heck of a time even getting my hands on this one because it seems like everyone else who loved Delirium and Before I Fall managed to get on the list before me.  I sometimes take the full four weeks to read my library books because I have so much else going on — like reading to my kids at night.  I mean, I know it’s important.  But that’s time I could totally use to read my *own* books!  ;-)  At the end of the day, I often only read to myself for about 15 minutes before I pass out.  It’s so common for me to fall asleep reading, in fact, that my husband has learned to check his side of the bed for my book or Kindle before simply laying down.  (He clunked his head quite a few times before he learned that lesson!)  This book, though, was so intense that it had me reading long past my standard bedtime.  So long, in fact, that my husband found me still awake and reading when he came to bed for something like four nights in a row! Continue reading

Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

RUMBLEPeople sometimes make the mistake of asking my what my favorite book is.  As in, “What’s your favorite book of all time?”  Seriously?  I don’t think I could pick a single favorite book from the books I have read so far this year, let alone all of the books I have read in my lifetime!  Maybe there are some people out there who could name their favorite book.  Some could probably do it without any hesitation, but I am most definitely not one of those people!  I can’t even pick one favorite book from a single author.  Case in point — a teen asked me the other day which of Ellen Hopkins’ books was “the best,” and I just stared back at her with a tilted head and squinty look of confusion.  As a matter of fact, I probably looked a lot like this dog:

confused-dog

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