The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

July 28, 2008

Sometimes for an unknown reason I think I don’t want to read a book.  Yes, The White Darkness had high acclaim and an intriguing title, but it kept falling to the bottom of my list.  Why didn’t I read this sooner?  At least I had a  summer read worthy of the experience – an adventure that captured my imagination and a character I wanted to spend time with.  Symone’s inner voice exploring silence, history, and human motivations are worth the trip to the Arctic’s vast void.  As she learns to listen to herself, enough mystery remains to let us dream… Add this to your vacation reads if you haven’t already explored the land of Titus Oates.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson

June 17, 2008

Part science-fiction, part thriller, part mystery – the essence of this story is like the discovery of Jenna herself.  Jenna is on a quest to discover who she is, making this a very typical teen story, but this complex search to regain her memory after a severe accident is extraordinary.  This book deserves a spot on your next book discussion group for the story of Jenna’s relationships with her parents, her grandmother and her friends.  The beauty lies in the exploration of the soul and the ethics as much as the biology of who we are.  This is a must read for all of us. I would have chosen to read this based on the cover alone and would have been well rewarded.

The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas

May 27, 2008

Besides having a name worthy of fame, Antonia Lucia LaBella is a believer in miracles, the power of prayers, and divine intervention from her beloved patron saints.  She is a girl on a mission to petition the Vatican for a new patron saint (with herself as a living candidate) and to have her first kiss.  She doesn’t wait for miracles to happen however, and it’s her spunk and spirit that make this such an enjoyable read.

The Klipfish Code by Mary Casanova

May 6, 2008

For your tween readers who want to learn all they can about the Holocaust, this story of the Nazi invasion of Norway will expand their persepective on  both history and sympathy.  Marit faces an internal struggle for courage and acceptance as she fights the enemy and for understanding of individuals whose choices can be life altering and confusing.  The effects of adult choices on children’s lives and the courage it takes for a child to grow into their own adult path is beautifully explored here.  Sadly we are still in an incomprehensible time of war, and the need for humane titles will continue. 

Varmints by Helen Ward and Marc Craste

March 25, 2008

Once upon sometimes you find a book that truly delights you –  is different and leaves you different too.  That’s what happened with Varmints which feels like a picture book graphic novel.  It’s a book about perspective, loss and ultimately hope. Sharing picture books with teen readers is always a wonderful experience, in the real “wonder” sense of the word.  This book is meant for them; thank Dewey when they discover ‘e’ is for everyone.

Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes

March 6, 2008

lemonade.jpgIf you’re looking for a younger read-alike to recommend to tweens who aren’t quite ready for Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist, Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes would be a great choice.  An age appropriate read-alike without all the music would be The Schwa was Here for all those kids who consider themselves outside the norm.  For the middle school years, isn’t that everyone?  This is a good story for helping to learn that normal is freaks and  geeks.  Somehow 5 self-identified freaks who meet in detention, mix some frozen lemonade, a ukulele, drums, and a dying cat into their story, and with the help of an ok teacher, find themselves creating a successful band and student protest in this fast paced journal style novel.   I couldn’t  help but imagine Phoebe,  from Friends singing her cat song while I read about Skinny Nancy

God of Animals by Aryn Kyle

February 5, 2008

godofanimals.jpg   God of Animals is a 2008 Alex award winner, and a complex story of love, secrets, loss and how a child becoming an adult is buffeted by the storms surrounding her. The struggle was painful for me, and true horse lovers will find this story alarming at best.  Alice, her sister and husband, her depressed mom, the catfish, the kids at school and at the barn, her grandparents,  the teacher even the horses are fully developed people you can’t help but care about.  This title is is for your mature readers because of the emotional depths explored. You will have to move to adult books for more read-alikes for this reader.

YA NOTES

February 5, 2008

From today forward, I’ll be sharing my YA Notes on this blog; so you can share your favorite reads and reader’s advisory success!