Category Archives: contemporary

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

memoirsI remember seeing this cover, reading the title, and thinking, “That looks interesting!”  I was especially curious about the story behind the old fashioned typewriter keys on the cover.  Yet, somehow, SEVEN years went by before I actually took the time to listen to it.  How in the world did *that* happen?!?  (Especially considering the fact that I listened to, and thoroughly enjoyed, her book Elsewhere!)  I guess this is a case of “better late than never,” right?  I’ve always been curious about what it would be like to have amnesia and, though this wasn’t a true story, it helped me to realize just how grateful I am for my fully intact memories.  It’s terrifying to consider the sudden loss of years worth of my life and to even forget the people I love.  Continue reading

I Have a Bad Feeling About This by Jeff Strand

Bad FeelingAs I was reading this book, I laughed out loud so often that my son — who normally “tunes out” the rest of the world when he reads — actually found it distracting to read in the same room as me.  He kept asking me, “What’s so funny?”  And, though I explained that I didn’t want to stop to share every joke that made me laugh, I offered to start over and read the whole book aloud.  He declined the offer because he was determined to finish the book he was already reading, but I think he may go back and read it himself because he loved the passage I felt compelled to read aloud (about Henry’s wish list of weapons with which he could have protected himself). Continue reading

Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeline Kuderick

kiss of broken glassMany people think that self-injury is becoming more common, while others argue that it is just more widely recognized and/or talked about.  According to a Forbes.com article by Alice G. Walton, “It’s likely that people have been hurting themselves for centuries, but like other closeted behaviors we’re just beginning to talk about, self-injury has only recently risen in the public consciousness.” Regardless of whether there has actually been an increase in self-injuring or just a greater awareness of this behavior, it is definitely something that needs to be addressed. Continue reading

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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