|I remember two main things from when I was a little kid: my doll Susie, and Chika-Chika Boom Boom. I loved that book. I checked it out from my school library every week until they finally just let me keep it. My love of books has only grown since then. Perhaps my taste in books has always been mature because back then, I was tall enough to reach "the big kids' shelves" and soon read far beyond my "recommended" reading level. I've read a good portion of the children's middle reader and teen sections. You'd better ask someone else for recommendations on history books, though; I only read those at school!|
Most people want to avoid the subject of death and dead bodies, but not Mary Roach. Her book fearlessly discovers just what happens to our bodies when we die. She is especially interested in the subject of cadavers donated to science. Topics she researches span from the history of body snatching for the purpose of dissections to the use of cadavers in car crash testing. Although there are graphic sections, Roach manages to keep the humor going, so you forget some of the gory reality of the subject matter. Stiff may not be for everyone, but it is fascinating and informative, and if you're at all curious about the subject, I highly recommend it.
This one is a long-time staff favorite, but since the movie just came out, I felt people needed to be reminded that it's a book, too! Charlie is a teen living on the fringe of society, writing letters to someone he doesn't know very well. He wants to share his story with someone who wouldn't be able to identify him. As the book progresses, Charlie gains valuable friends who help him learn to take risks and become involved with his surroundings. He writes about his depression, and as he talks about the rest of his life, he discovers many other things about his past. This remarkable coming-to-age story about passivity vs. passion is a must-read for all.
This was one of my favorite children's books of the year, and not just because the main character has my name! Katerina and her family are immigrants, trying to live the American dream in the early 1900's. Their life is not any better here than it was in the Czech Republic, and Katerina longs for her life at home, until she discovers a pond by her house. In the pond, a silver carp comes out of the water to look at her. In an old Czech legend, the silver carp will grant three wishes if it is found. All three sisters make a wish, and the wishes of the younger sisters come true. Katerina's wish is for her family to run a farm, but is the magic really that powerful, or will she have to make it come true herself? Good for 5th grade and up.
If you can’t get enough of all these dystopian books coming out, Gone is a must-read. In this parallel world of Earth, everyone ages fifteen and up disappears. Poof. Just like that, they’re gone. Suddenly, all authority figures are out of the picture- parents, teachers, cops, etc- and chaos reigns. Sam, the main protagonist, bands together with his best friend, Quinn, and Astrid “the Genius” to find their families, but everyone’s gone except for Astrid’s little brother, Pete. They soon realize there’s an unbreakable barrier around town, so no one can escape the fate that awaits all those turning fifteen: vanishing from the town. Sam gets desperate as his fifteenth birthday draws closer and closer…can he be the first to escape? (Psst- have you already started the Gone series? The fourth book, Plague, just came out!)
Yes, it’s finally here! And it was worth the wait! Paolini’s breathtaking conclusion to The Inheritance Cycle has all the adventure, suspense, and action that we’ve come to expect, but it also explores facets of the character’s personalities that haven’t been touched on yet. After nearly dying, Roran contemplates on why so many others have died while he has evaded death so often. Nasuada proves her strength and cunning again and again under the threat of torture. Murtagh faces inner conflict now more than ever as he is forced, again and again, to hurt someone he cares for deeply. And finally, Eragon must gather his strength, physically and mentally, as he prepares to challenge Murtagh and Galbatorix for the last time. All of them will fight for their lives, but will they all survive?
This is Percy Jackson and the Olympians for teens. Ashline Wilde’s life is already complicated enough with a cheating boyfriend and a runaway older sister, but that’s nothing compared to what’s about to happen. Ash discovers that there are gods and goddesses going to her school. And she’s one of them. The only problem? It looks like Ash doesn’t have any powers. Her new friends can split open the earth, instantly grow plants, turn into a muscle-man, use mind-power to summon people, and raise the dead. So what’s Ash’s power? Before she can find out, her sister mysteriously reappears, claiming she wants to be reunited with her baby sister, but is that really what she wants? Whom can Ashline trust? Based on mythology from many different cultures, Wildefire is engrossing and action-packed.
If you loved The Hunger Games and Divergent, try this next! In Katsa’s world, there are certain people born with an extreme talent, called a “Grace.” These people, called “Gracelings,” are respected by some, exploited by others, and feared by all. Katsa’s Grace is one that even she hates-the Grace of killing. Her uncle, the king, uses Katsa to carry out his dirty work: torturing those who displease him. Katsa bears this duty for years, but her attitude is beginning to change. She starts to pity those who displease her uncle, and punishes them less harshly than the king would like. In another act of mercy, Katsa spares the life of a man interfering with her mission; a man Graced with combat skills. Little did she know how this would change her own life. Twists of fate lead Katsa to meet this man again, and she learns he is a prince of another country. She never expected to become his friend, which would lead her to learn the truth about her own Grace, as well as uncover a terrible secret that could destroy her entire world. Suspenseful, with a blend of romance and action, Graceling will be a book you’ll want to read over and over again.
Do you like stories about medieval times, with knights in shining armor, kings and queens? Are you a fan of books with lots of adventure and action? If so, you need to try Ranger’s Apprentice, by John Flanagan! It’s a ten book series, starting with The Ruins of Gorlan.
Meet Will, a clever teen who’s just about to start his apprenticeship. He’s always wanted to be a knight, just as he’s imagined his father-who died when he was a baby-was. However, the Craftmaster of Knights, Sir Rodney, said Will was too small to succeed. Crushed, Will resigns himself to the fate that awaits those who aren’t chosen by a Craftmaster: hard labor on a farm. Luckily for Will, Halt has other plans in mind for him. Halt is a Ranger, part of the mysterious group who act as the king’s spies, advisors, and strategists, and he wants Will to be his apprentice. Will is intimidated by Halt but accepts his offer anyway. Join Will on his journey as he transforms from a scrawny boy into one of the most respected people in his kingdom.
Don’t you wish your little brother or sister could just disappear sometimes, so they’d stop annoying you? Steven feels the same way about his brother Jeffrey. Whenever Steven tries to practice his drums Jeffrey interrupts him, begging Steven to teach him how to play. But just when Steven thinks that having a crush on the hottest girl in his school is his next biggest worry, Jeffrey falls sick with leukemia. Suddenly, Steven is left alone with his dad (who has basically turned into a zombie) while his mom takes Jeffrey to different hospitals for treatment. Steven worries constantly about his brother, but doesn’t tell anyone at school about Jeffrey being sick. He wishes everything could go back to the way it was: just drums, girls, and Dangerous Pie (and yes, you’ll have to read the book to find out what that is!).
Hereafter by Tara Hudson
This was a heart-wrenchingly beautiful book radiating passion, love, sorrow, and most of all, hope. Amelia is an unforgettable character, a ghost who's amnesic of her past prior to her death. She sees and hears the world, but can no longer touch, taste or smell anything around her. That is, until she meets Joshua, a boy who manages to reach between boundaries of time and space, between the worlds of the living and the dead, to break Amelia free of her numbness and transform her world forever (a rather long length of time for a ghost!). This paranormal romance will haunt you for months after you finish.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Elisa, the younger, clumsier, more unremarkable of two princesses, suddenly finds herself the wife of a king in a foreign land. This land is in turmoil, and everyone looks to Elisa, supposedly their "chosen one," to save them. I finished the whole second half in just a couple of hours! Elisa is all the more interesting for her struggle with her weight, and through the course of the book she overcomes this challenge beautifully. I loved how much growth (although not in size) and maturity she gained because of her many adventures. She faces typical teenage worries like whether or not her male friends find her appealing, but she also has to face extreme challenges, such as trying to help her people survive in the inevitable war. It's a great coming-of-age book
Imagine living in a world where love is illegal. Yes, you read that right. Love is considered dangerous and the only thing standing in the way of a perfect, peaceful society. To cure this terrible disease, amor deliria nervosa, every citizen is required to go through a surgery around the time of their eighteenth birthday. Lena Holoway has been looking forward to this procedure since grade-school. Both her mother and her sister caught the disease, so Lena is doing everything she can to simply follow the rules, fit in, and avoid the sickness at all costs. But everything changes when Lena meets Alex. Intrigued by him, but terrified of breaking the rules, she tries to stay away from him, but he keeps running into her. Soon, Lena realizes she has done the unthinkable; she has fallen in love.
Before: Miles Halter has an obsession with famous last words. The last words of Francois Rabelais ( "I go to seek a Great Perhaps) inspired Miles to go to Culver Creek boarding school. There, he is dubbed "Pudge" by his roommate, Chip "The Colonel" Martin. Down the hall, he meets Alaska Young and immediately develops a crush on her. As the story progresses, Pudge is dragged into her world. He, The Colonel, and Alaska develop a prank war against the "Weekday Warriors," the gang of rich kids who go home to air-conditioned mansions every weekend. Pudge loves his new life, until...after. You're going to have to read the book to find out what that means!
In this thrilling novel, high school teacher Jake Epping is enlisted by his friend Al, the local diner owner, to take over a mission. Al discovered a time portal in his diner leading to 1958, and he believes that it is his duty to save JFK from assassination. Unfortunately, Al falls ill with cancer just a year before the assassination, and has to entrust someone else to complete his task. And so, Jake Epping becomes George Amberson, and enters the world of 1958, where root beer is ten cents, and gas not much more. On his journey, Jake/George saves the lives of the family of a former student from 2011, falls in love, and directs high school plays, all while keeping tabs on Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of JFK. Jake soon realizes the past is obdurate, and doesn't want to be changed. As 1963 draws nearer, he feels it fighting against him, willing him not to interfere. Will he overcome it and save JFK, or will his years of effort come to nothing? Despite its massive size (850 pages), I was so invested in the lives of the characters that I simply couldn't put it down.