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Young Adult Books for Boys

Here is a list of young adult books sure to motivate and inspire the young man in your life to read! Printer Friendly Version


Hard Love

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Wittlinger, Ellen(1999)
Hard Love
Young Adult

Through his zine, Bananafish, John is able to express his feelings regarding his dysfunctional family, high school, small town, etc. He soon meets Marisol, a girl from a neighboring town who publishes her own zine, Escape Velocity. This book focuses on their tumultuous relationship and provides amazing insight into the world of zines. Wittlinger cleverly provides "photocopied" excerpts from Bananafish and Escape Velocity, lending an aura of realism. Real zines and underground musicians are also namedropped, which underscores the intensity and believability of the main characters in this wonderful coming-of-age novel.

Reviewed by Greg E., South County Regional

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Tangerine

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Bloor, Edward(1997)
Tangerine
Young Adult

Paul has always been a nerd, but he hopes that his family's move to Tangerine, Florida will finally allow him to fit in. The move does bring new friends in the form of the school's championship soccer team, but Paul is still troubled. Why would people live in a place where sinkholes swallow school buildings? What was the mysterious injury that forced him to wear thick glasses? And why can't anyone see what a monster his brother Erik truly is? Bloor's fast-paced novel offers a character who discovers that tough comes from the inside.

Reviewed by Snow W., South County Regional

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Paul and the reader both learn that the truth and being true to others can lead to courage and freedom.
-Mel, Stanley, NC

This book is wonderful. Anyone who has had conflict within their family will be able to identify with the characters.
-Angela, Concord, NC

Amazing! Everybody should read this book. 5 stars!!
-Gino, Illiniois

I think this book is for anyone who wants to read it.
-Kavon Williams, Texas

I hate reading, but I could not put this book down when I got it. It was a very good book. I relate to Paul a lot with his vision and his big brother. I think this book is for all races & poor, middle, & upper class. I wish they had an part 2.
-Emma, Huntsville, Alabama

This is the best book I`ve read in a year. Paul's journey taught me a lot about others and myself. Anyone who likes stories about nerds that prevail should read this book. Bloor makes you feel like you Know Paul and have met him many times.
-Tom, CA

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Death of Artemio Cruz

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Fuentes, Carlos(1964)
Death of Artemio Cruz

Fuentes uses Artemio Cruz to tell the tale of Revolutionary Mexico. A young idealist with a passion for social justice, Cruz becomes corrupted by power and money. We first meet him as a rich old man on his deathbed struggling with the inevitability of encroaching death. As the old man relives his life, we see the many facets of the individual, and we also come to view him as a symbol of Mexico. Cruz and the Mexican Revolution began as advocates for the rights of the common people, the working class and the peasants, only to be co-opted by the lures of luxury. This is a powerful literary tour-de-force by one of the modern masters of fiction; don't miss it!

Reviewed by Mark B., Main Library

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Flight 116 is Down!

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Cooney, Caroline B.(1992)
Flight 116 is Down!
Young Adult

What would you do if a plane crashed in your backyard? Heidi, 16, has to face this question as she is sitting alone one Saturday night feeling sorry for herself. A jumbo jet on the way to New York crashes into the woods behind her house. Heidi discovers that she has depths of strength and courage that she didn't know about as she, along with 17-year-old Patrick and the other volunteer rescue workers, struggles to save the lives of the passengers and crew of Flight #116. Edge of your seat action combined with deep emotion create a powerful book which you won't be able to put down.

Reviewed by Snow W., South County Regional

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The Outsiders

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Hinton, S.E.(1967)
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The Outsiders
Young Adult

It seems as if at every high school there have been easily identified groups of people, whether it be city kids, country kids, jocks, nerds, or, in the case of Hinton's book, greasers and socs. Hinton's use of nicknames and teen language makes this a true to life reading experience and you end up rooting for the group you wouldn't root for in real life--the greasers. Many readers have enjoyed spending time with Cherry, Ponyboy, and Soda. You can dwell on the themes of classism and stereotypes by reading Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet or The Merchant of Venice or by reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Reviewed by Mel B., North County Regional

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Reader's comments about this book

The Outsiders is an emotional story about a young boy who is a greaser. I think it`s the best book I`ve read!
-Michael, Train Your Brain Summer Reading

Ponyboy Curtis and his gang are tight. From Dally (Dallas) the toughest one, to Johnny, the gang's pet, these pals all have one thing in common; they've all been stereotyped as greasers by the Socs, the rich group. It's a great book.
-Mary, Charlotte, NC

Ponyboy Curtis and his gang feel set apart from the Socs. They all dream of a world where there is no stereotyping, just everyone living together in peace. The Socs and the greasers are constantly at war, and both groups think they have it bad, but things aren't easy anywhere. Ponyboy realizes this in time, because he finds out something surprising from Cherry, a girl he meets at the movies: Socs watch sunsets, too.
-Mary, Charlotte, NC

I recently read this book over the summer and I think Pony boy and his friends were heroes. I loved this book and I would recommend this book.
-Stacy, Middletown, NJ

I recently read this book when it was recommended by a friend. I have seen people like Ponyboy and Johnny growing up on the rough side of town, afraid of their own shadows. This is a great book.
-Lin-Z, Cottondale, Al

This book contains many different themes, from who is the better group between the soc and the greasers to being a hero in many different ways. This book is very inspirational but also emotional.
-Zach, New York City, NY

I knew that this would be an excellent book from the minute that I saw the cover. Outstanding. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
-Tamir, Los Angeles, CA

This book is hot!
-Jessica, Bronx, New York

I read the outsiders literally 100 times. It is an awesome book with a great storyline.
-Tiffany, Western Australia

I just finished reading this book in school. I loved the book so much that I had to watch the movie. I fell in love with the characters. The movie was great but the book was even greater. Ponyboy was my favorite in the book, and Sodapop was my favorite in the movie.
-Emily, Mechanicsburg, PA

My favorite book ever! I would totally recommend this to anyone!
-Ashley, Macomb, MI

This book is just like explaining how it is in our world right now with all of the gangs and fighting. Some people want it to stop because it does kill all loved ones!
-Tiffany, NY

The Outsiders is a tale of passion, hope, friendship and tragedy, funny at times and other times moving to the point of tears.
-Windsong, South Africa

Be prepared for a book that will take your breath away...
-Brittany, Little Rock, Arkansas

This was a unique book. It is an edifying and special book. This tells the hardships of losing your parents; it tells you how hard it is to be poor. Being beat up every day and jumped by people who think they’re “High-Class” when they beat up people that don’t have fancy cars, and clothes, and living the high road, when that makes them a lower class. They beat people that have problems, when they do too. This was a very good book.
-Evan, Dallas, TX

This book is the best book I've ever read! I would highly recomend this book to everyone!
-Mai, AZ

This is one of the BEST books I've ever read! I couldn't put it down last night until i got to the end and I do agree it is like the groups at our schools today and that we do route for the side we more then likely wouldn't route for in real life but this book was SOOOOOOO good I cried! I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!! :)
-Jessica, Stokesdale, NC

This book was truly amazing it made me cry...for some reason I feal like I can relate to this book, it was just indescribable it's inspired me to do so many things so far.
-Jason, Raymore, MO

I really enjoyed this book. My best friend has a life like this. It can show people the other side of life. So I do love this book.
-Parsa M., Colorado

I love this book! It's extremely hard not to cry. My teacher told us to only read one chapter per night, but I read over half of it in one night!
-Mariangella, Durham, NC

I think that this book was excellent. I think that Ponyboy and his brothers, Dally and Sodapop, went through a lot growing up with no parents at their age. If you really think about it they have no one there to feed them. It's all up to Dally. It must have been hard for him. It's hard enough for him to work for himself to eat but to have two brothers to feed too. I think that's why Dally always snapped at Ponyboy. He cared so much for him and didn't want him getting hurt. I think that "Cherry" was right when she said, "Things are rough all over." It goes to show you that although you may think you are the only one with problems that there are other people out there with problems too. I think this was an excellent novel and if you haven't read it yet, head over to the nearest bookstore and READ!!!
-Melissa, Chicago, IL

I think that this book was great. It is my favorite book. At first, I didn't want to read it. My cousin said it was amazing so I thought fine. I read the first chapter and thought its pretty good. The next day I finished the book and was amazed. I loved it!
-ALLEY, PARKCITY, KANSAS

I think this book was the best book evaaa!!! Make another one!!!:)
-Jeremy, North little rock,Arkansas

The best book EVER!
-Anonymous, Rochester, NY

I love this book more than any other book I have ever read! I would definitely recommend it to anyone! I have just finished reading this book recently and am already looking forward to the movie! Hopefully more people will read about this book! IT'S GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-Jannell, NC

I had to read this one for class and usually I hate books but this one was TRULY AMAZING.
-Cail, Cailfornia

this was a great book. It really opened my eyes about the different types of people there are in this world. It really chenged my life. I also feel that any and every teenager of any age should read this book. If you like it or not it's extremely informational.
-Chelsea, Georia, Riverdale

I love this book because of all the action, excitment, and tragedy.
-codie, Portage, WI

Seriously, this is the best book in the world. Its completly INCREDIBLE. If you havent read it yet I dont know whats stopping you, it is a moving story about friendship and belonging. This book, might actually change your life. ps. Johnny Cade (Ralph Macchio) IS HOT.
-Ale, ontario

This book is amazing it shows how teenagers cope and live roughly. Probably the best book I have ever read.
-Rose, England

The same reason I read the outsiders by S.E Hinton is because my cousin told me that it was her favorite book. I thought ahh, whatever. I read the first chapter. I thought so-so. The next day I was hooked! That book was absolutely amazing. It was action packed and made you think about them. I read the book last summer and I loved it.
-Outsiderfan, Wichita, KS

This book was so awesome. I love how it ended. This is the most amazing book I have ever read in my life so far. The storyline was so great. I will also say this was the greatest book EVER!!!! And that's the truth.
-Tishonda, Brooklyn, NY

A pretty good book.
-X-D Supreme,

This book was really good. I recommend everybody read it!
-Kirt, Ringgold, GA

I think that this is a great book. We started reading this book in my language arts class. You have to really get into it, and take your time reading and understanding it. I think that it is pretty easy to understand at times, and I think it is a great book for people of all ages as well.
-Sarah, Phoenix, Arizona

It is an awesome book. If you can read, I recommend you read this book.
-Jamyssa, Gastonia, NC

The book is great.....
-Tiffany, carrollton,texas

I cried a lot when jonny died I love him
-ulasha, Bronx, New York

I love this book! The story lines are great and it is completely awesome. This book teaches people about friendship and brothehood.
-Misbha S., Markham

Great. I cried. Good :p
-riley, chicago IL

Good book!
-Ryan, Chicago, IL

This is a good book.
-Emiy, Newar, OH

This is a grreat book. I love it!!!!!!!!!
-Kat, CO

This is one of the best books I've ever read.
-MLM, Birmingam, AL

I freaking love this book-the movie too.
-Laneah, Carson, CA

The best book I ever read!
-Brooke, Ohio

This novel was thrilling and suspenseful from start to finish -the best book I have ever read!!!
-Ehtasham, Yonkers, New York

This book was good. It is very inspiring and entertaining. I finished it literally in one night.
-Phoebe, Hamden, Connecticut

This book is REALLY, REALLY good! I could not put it down. It is one of the best books I have read. Thank you S.E. Hinton!
-Viktor Hernandez, Kankakee, IL

This book was full of excitement and action. Just a great book!
-Zach, Portville, New York

The book The Outsiders was a really good book. It was exciting and powerful and sad all at the same time. It was the best book I have ever read.
-Jordan, Innisful, Ontario

Great book with amazing qualities! I think my favorite character was Darry! He`s so cool!
-Jenny, Tecumseh, MI

This was a really great book. I can't wait to see the movie.
-J. Will, Los Angeles, CA

The Outsiders was amazing. The greasers' relationship was so unique, how they stood up for each other through anything. The greasers portray how a true family treats each other.
-Tarryie, PA

This book is a truly amazing book with a unique storyline. I can honestly say that I could read this book hundreds of time without getting bored. It's a very inspiring book and at the same time emotional. Readers can really feel suspense at the tense parts of the story. The ending is awesome.
-Gladwin, Singapore

This book was amazing!!!!! This is a great book for someone that is looking for something adventurous. You will not want to put this book down. This is a good book to read if you are not a big reader because it will really grab you. Hope you read it and enjoy it as much as I did.......... btw it's my all time fav book ever.
-Christina, NJ

it seems as if every school has its own little clicks. Whether it's the jocks, nerds, or hoods. In the book The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton really outdoes herself. Ponyboy is just a regular kid who might use just a bit too much hair grease. His gang (the Greasers) really has it out for another gang (The Soc) who enjoy jumping all greasers and making them feel like dirt every day of their lives! Usually everytime pony gets jumped the greasers are there to give him a hand exept one night when he only has his best friend Johnny(anouther greaser) when the socs take it too far. I highly recommend this book!
-Gem, Lunenburg, MA

This book is so interesting.
-Maria, Ligonier, IN

This book is outstanding!! I love all the nicknames. S.E Hinton is a good book writer and the Outsiders tought me to not be in a gang and to stay out of trouble! READ IT!!!
-Kelsey, Los Angeles, CA

This is an awesome book! I read it with my class and loved it. I would highly recommend this book to others. This book shows the true meaning of friendship and heroism. Some parts are depressing, yet they make you feel what the characters are feeling. I love it!!!!!!!!
-Polina, New York City ,NY

I was not fond of this book at first, but before long I was way into it. I would definitely recommend this book.
-Ellee, Catoosa, OK

This book is very wonderful!!!!!!! I enjoyed it very much. I think Ponyboy and Sodapop are so hot.
-Nelsy, China

I love this book.
-Ashley, Waxahachie, TX

Best book I`ve read in years!
-Jessica, Fairfield, CA

This is the best book I ever read. It is a touching yet action packed story of friendship, brotherhood, and reliance. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves inspirational storyies about brotherhood and the importance of sticking together. This is also based on true story.
-Hunter Labbie, Destin, FL

This is a great book. I find it inspiring. I hope everyone reads it.
-Emani, Rochester, NY

This book is amazing. It is the best thing I have ever read. I love books by S.E. Hinton.
-Georgia, Victoria, Australia

This book is SO GOOD! Hinton you are great!
-Angel, Tempe, AZ

`The Outsiders` is a great book that I would recommend as a must read. It`s about gang warfare and the troubles the two gangs face. It also taught me that you shouldn`t judge a book by it`s cover or you may miss out on a great story!
-Megan, Perth, Australia

This is one of the best book I`ve ever read.
-Michael, Charlotte, NC

Great read, I truly recommend it!
-Diane, Florida

Love this book! It is very ...... exciting,sad and adventurous.
-Angie, VA

The best book eveeer.....PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!
-Mira, New York

A great book to read from the minute you pick up it up.
-Varsha, Sugarland,Tx

This book was good but what really interested me was how realistic this book was. That is what made me like it and think of it as an excellent book. That is also why I would recommend it to a lot of people.
-Faris, Weston, Florida

This story reminded me of my life. I had to deal with getting beaten up by bullies everyday(socs). The way Johnny`s parents treated him is how I feel the way my dad treats me. But now this book has changed my life and told me how to be strong. I also caught onto some of the language. But over all this book was amazing.
-Lola, Canada

The Outsiders is a book that made me cry. Learning about what the greasers went through and how they survived was the best part. Reading this book made me think about the kids at my school. Everyone is different. Judging a book by it`s cover, you just might miss the importance of it. Ponyboy shows that went he and Johnny have to hideout. He stuck by his friend. SO PLEASE READ THE OUTSIDERS!!!!!! A MUST READ.
-Alexis, Bronx, New York

This book is a wonderful and great book to read. I recommend you read it.
-Nicole, Willoughby, OH

I like the book The Outsiders very much. I got this book from my dad for my 15th birthday. It laid on my shelf for several months but then I started reading it and wasn`t able to stop.
-Sarah, Seattle, WA

This is the best book I`ve ever read. S.E. Hinton is the best writer ever.
-Dominic, Pender, Nebraska

Amazing and the best book I ever read.
-Pad, NY

Best book ever. I use it in almost every English essay or college paper as this book works for basically every topic!
-Refath, Queens, NY

One of the best books I have ever read and I`m not a reader, so that`s saying something!
-Josh, Epping, NH

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Miracle's Boys

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Woodson, Jacqueline(2000)
Miracle's Boys
Young Adult

Charlie comes home from a two year sentence in a juvenile correctional facility and Lafayette feels like he's become a new person. The old Charlie was a good brother, but the "Newcharlie" is distant and says hateful things. This story is told through Lafayette's 13-year-old eyes and contains flashbacks into the past. Lafayette reflects on sorrow and a looming fear that Charlie will do something to cause a family breakup. Woodson has written a thoughtful book about grief, family, and hope.

Reviewed by Jeanenne R., Steele Creek Branch

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Reader's comments about this book

This book is really good and I recommended it to all.
-Mimi, New York

This book is one that anyone could read and be unable to put down! Though the story takes place over the course of one day, it will be an easy read that is inspirational!
-Casey, Fairborn, Ohio

A heartfelt book!!!!!!!!!!!!
-Devi, NY

This book was great and Ilove how they need each other to make it in life.
-Aja, p-town

This was a very good book. I just couldn't put the book down. It was very heart felt!
-T.A.K., indianapolis, indiana

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Brian's Winter

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Paulsen, Gary(1996)
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Brian's Winter
Young Adult

Brian's plane crashed and he is the only survivor. What if he is not found by the end of the Summer? He can already see signs of Fall, and he is outgrowing his clothes and running out of food. Brian only has his survival pack and his hatchet. Can he build a shelter, hunt for food, make warm clothes, and fight off predators? Live and struggle with Brian through a wilderness winter in this exciting survival story, an alternative to the original story in Hatchet .

Reviewed by Sarah H., Independence Regional

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Holes

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Sachar, Louis(1998)
Holes
Young Adult

Camp Green Lake is like no other camp. There is no lake - it has been dry for the last 100 years. There are no games, no campfire stories, and no songs. You see, Camp Green Lake is a prison camp - a juvenile detention center - and it is to Camp Green Lake that Stanley Yelnats is sent when he is mistakenly convicted of stealing. There, he must dig a hole five feet long and five feet deep every day, including Saturday and Sunday. But Stanley digs up more than just dirt. He unearths hidden secrets and past mysteries involving many of the characters.

Reviewed by Melissa B., Hickory Grove Branch

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This is the captivating (and humorous) story of Stanley Yelnats, an innocent kid accused of robbery, and how he ends up at Camp Green Lake, the detention center without a lake. There Stanley meets the mysteriously wicked Warden, the silent and secretive Zero, and he learns many other lessons about his past and friendship.
-Abby, NC

Holes is a really good book. I would recommend this book to anyone.
-Jene, Train Your Brain Summer Reading

Great book, full of adventure, perfect to the last chapter. Great story full of questions and coincidences. I wish I had a no-good-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather to blame things on.
-Jay, Charlotte, NC

Holes is one of the best books that I have ever read! I could read it over and over again! I would recommend this book to anyone!
-Megan, Charlotte, NC

I loved this book! I saw the movie before reading the book, and I liked the book more. I could hardly put it down.
-Anna, Charlotte, NC

Holes is one of the best books that I have ever read. It contains mystery and adventure, two of my favorite features in a book.
-Maria, Spain

I loved Holes. You really begin to feel sorry for Stanley in the story.
-Emma, Charlotte, NC

I loved Holes. It's a great adventure book. I especially loved the movie, with Khleo Thomas as Zero. It has a great cast.
-Nicole, Charlotte, N.C.

Well, I first saw the movie, Holes when I was in the sixth grade. I thought the movie was great It wasn't until eighth grade when a friend of mine told me about the book, Holes. I read The book the next week. I thought the book was so much better than the movie. I liked the movie but I loved the book. It was outstanding!
-October, charlotte,nc

Holes has got to be one of the best novels ever written. I have read it 44 times and still havent gotten tired of it. Thanks Mr Sachar!!!
-Justin, Charlotte NC

I love this book! Most anyone who loves to read would like this book!!!
-Sabrina, Dayton, OH

This is a very good book with amazing wit. I like how the book changes from one story to another. I would recomend it to anyone
-Chelsea, UK

Holes is amazing! Louis Sacher is a genius, weaving a delicate tapestry of intersecting stories. He has a bizarre (in a good way) imagination and I love the light hearted way it is told.
-Delilah, UK

I thought the book was really good. My favorite character was Zero because he was really good at math but everyone thought he was stupid when he wasn't.
-Jack, Manchester, UK

The book is the bomb.
-Untaka, Manchester, UK

This book was one of the best books I've read in a long time. Once I started it I couldn't put it down. This book shows great determination and friendship throughout the entire book
-Drew, Highlands ranch CO

It’s a great book. I read all of it in two days.
-Barney, London, England

Holes is a very good book! It has tons of excitement and adventure. Once I started reading, I couldn`t put it down! I would totally recommend it!! This is a book for anyone.
-, Clarksburg, Maryland

Holes is a very interesting story, and when you begin reading it, you will feel really sorry for Stanley because it's not his fault to be sent to the camp but it was a curse from Madame Zeroni.
-Lilly, Manchester, UK

I believe that Holes is an intresting story. I think that the story has a good theme and a good ending.
-Benafsha, America

The book is fantastic. I would recommend it to anyone. It is full of humour and irony and I loved it when I first read it.
-Lillian, UK

I really loved reading this book - it was a really exciting and interesting story to read.
-Meghan, UK

Check out the multi-colored monkeys - or is that Jason and the Argonauts?
-Kesky, NYC

It is an amazing book. The movie was great too, but the books are always bigger and better than the movies.
-Kaya, London, United Kingdom

I think the book is ok, we read it in class. The book is very descriptive and it`s full of character and some adventure. I would recommend somebody to read this. The book is a slow starter but it quickens about halfway through. If you want to know about it, read the book instead of the film. The book is better.
-Charlotte, London

I think this book is amazing. I have read it 5 times already!
-Eleana, England

Holes is a wonderful book. I felt as if I were on Stanley and Zero`s escapade. Great job Mr.Sachar.
-Dakota, Phenix City, AL

Great book, it has a slow beginning but becomes very interesting about half way through the book. Overall a really great book.
-Hannah, Toronto

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The Cay

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Taylor, Theodore(1987)
The Cay
Young Adult

Young Phillip is faced with tons of problems-his dad must leave for the army and he and his mom are moving to the US to get away from the war. But the little steamer they take is torpedoed by German U-boats. Phillip is rescued by a native black man and he comes to live at his new home, the Cay. There he becomes blind and Timothy dies. How will Phillip survive? Will he live or die? This action-packed thriller is sure to keep you reading to the end.

Reviewed by Isaiah, Weddington Middle School

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Reader's comments about this book

This is a very intriguing book. It showed a friendship unlike any other.
-Erin, NC

This is a marvelous book! I am a teacher and have used it as a read-aloud for many years (grades 4 - 6). It walks the reader through the slow recognition of what prejudice is - and a boy`s change and growth into a more loving, more accepting person. Wonderful for all readers!
-Leigh, Denver, Colorado

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Rats Saw God

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Thomas, Rob(1996)
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Rats Saw God
Young Adult

Steve York is writing his life story to earn the make-up credit he needs to graduate from high school. He recounts many of his high school experiences including his adventures as a charter member of the iconoclastic Grace Order of Dadaists, his first ever romance with a girl nicknamed Dub, and his difficult relationship with his distant father, a former football star and famous astronaut who wants Steve to be more like him. In writing his story, Steve confronts past feelings of anger and resentment and learns that life`s situations are not always black and white. Rob Thomas` writing is intelligent, irreverently funny, and truly evocative of the teenage spirit and voice. A must for any teen who swims outside the mainstream.

Reviewed by Peter J., Carmel Branch

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Stuck in Neutral

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Trueman, Terry(2000)
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Stuck in Neutral
Young Adult

Because Shawn has cerebal palsy, he is unable to communicate, though he is a keen observer of the world around him. Most people see him as a "total retardate". But Shawn is really brilliant, bright and full of insight, though he is unable to control any of his muscles--his fingers, hands, even his eyelids. Amazingly, Shawn's sudden seizures don't bring him suffering, but moments of ecstatic release. How could anyone ever understand this, especially his father, who takes on a personal campaign that supports "ending the suffering" of kids like Shawn? This book will challenge your thoughts on what it really means to be alive.

Reviewed by Tony T., Main Library

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Ender's Game

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Card, Orson Scott(1985)
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Ender's Game
Young Adult

Earth’s military has been trying to breed child geniuses to train, in hopes of saving Earth from an impending alien attack. Six-year-old Ender is one such child selected to train with other children on a military academy space station. Training is conducted by mental and physical “games.” Excelling, Ender is quickly promoted, leaving behind the few friends he has made and the enemies who are jealous of his talents. Meanwhile, back on Earth, his older siblings are carrying out political plans of their own. The action never slows—multiple viewpoints, good and evil, social interactions—Ender’s stoic spirit and Card’s page-turning writing will leave you breathless!

Reviewed by Donna R., Mint Hill Branch

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The Contender

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Lipsyte, Robert(1967)
The Contender
Young Adult

Alfred doesn't have much of a future. He's dropped out of school, his best friend's been arrested, and troublemakers are bullying him. Alfred begins training at a boxing gym in his Harlem neighborhood. The gym becomes a place where he can build his self-esteem and make positive friends. As he begins training, he battles sweat, sore muscles, and feelings of giving up. This is not just a story about boxing, but also the inner struggles and outer circumstances of a young man as he discovers who he can be. Experience Alfred's story as he obtains his own personal triumph--becoming a contender in boxing and in life.

Reviewed by Jeanenne R., Steele Creek Branch

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Reader's comments about this book

This book is very interesting.I told all my friends about this book and they agree that the author of this book has a lot of talent.
-Brittany, Cincinnati, OH

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Chbosky, Stephen(1999)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Young Adult

Charlie has friends, but is not even close to being popular. He is a wallflower in every respect, shy and introverted, yet alert and always thinking. This is a wonderful story full of teen angst, highlighting first crushes, new friends, school struggles, sexuality, and drugs. Charlie is a sweet-natured, likable character, faltering on the edge of adulthood. The story is written by Charlie in letter form to an unidentified third person, which adds to Charlie's personality as a trusting, somewhat gullible teenager. Once he realizes a dark secret about his own family past and is faced with his best friend's suicide, only Charlie's friends can help to keep him above the waves of depression and help him to move on to a new school year.

Reviewed by Amanda B., Main Library

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This book is amazing. I love how it grabs your attention quickly as the drama increases. I would definitely recommend to any teens!
-Megan Hager, Charlotte, NC

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Redwall

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Jacques, Brian(1986)
Redwall
Young Adult

Mathias, a novice in the order of Redwall, aspires to be as brave as Martin the Warrior, an ancient protector of Redwall Abbey. However, Redwall is an order of peace, charged with healing the sick and nurturing the impoverished. The mice vow never to harm another creature unless under enemy attack. When Cluny the Scourge, a warlord rat, sets his sights on conquering Redwall, the brothers must defend the Abbey and the woodland creatures in their care. Determined to defend Redwall, Mathias sets out on a quest to recover Martin's sword and shield. An epic novel of good and evil, Redwall is also a story filled with humor, adventure, and exciting action.

Reviewed by Sarah H., Independence Regional

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Reader's comments about this book

This is an exellent book with adventure, revenge and determination. It's a long book, but it is not to hard to read. Once you start reading it you won't be able to stop. At night your parents are going to stop you from reading. I read it a while ago and right when I finished it, I asked my dad to take me to the bookstore and buy me the sequal (Mossflower.) I recomend it for fantasy book lovers.
-Matthew, Charlotte, North Carolina

It is the best book I've ever read.
-Heather, Davidson, NC

Redwall is the best book ever! It's full of adventure and fun. Once you start the first page you can't stop reading them. The whole series is a winner.
-Heather, Train Your Brain Summer Reading

It was amazing! I couldn't put it down! After you finish it, You must read Mossflower right after it! It's even great for kids who have already read other books in the series. You don't have to read it first, but you should.
-Jay, Charlotte, NC

With heartbreaking moments and hilarious acts, this book is a great one!
-Scott, Matthews, North Carolina

This is such a good book! It takes a little while to get into the story, but once you start, you can't stop!
-Elara, Charlotte, NC

Brian Jaques has written an amazing book that combines adventure with fables.
-Caitlin, Charlotte, NC

The Redwall series are the most incredible books that are out there! These are my favorite books - Action, Vengeance, Friendship, all in one! A great read.
-Adrian, Matthews, NC

I loved it! One of my favorites!
-Anna, Charlotte, NC

Redwall is an amazing book!!
-Amyn, Charlotte, N.C.

Wow, what can i say. I have read Redwall, Mossflower, and a lot of the Brian Jacques books. Redwall is just the start of the avalanche!!!
-CJ, Charlotte, NC

Ah, the tales of Redwall. There`s something about brave sword-wielding mice, villainous rat hordes, quick-thinking squirrels, and strong-hearted young otters that endears these books to so many generations. These were my first fantasy favorites, and I still have my worn out old copy of Redwall (though several pages are missing, and the spine is long cracked). The characters are cute and acessible, and the plot moves quickly at a crackling pace. For those who enjoy fantasy, and want a lighthearted tale filled with cute woodland creatures, I highly recommend.
-Erica, Charlotte, NC

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Slam!

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Myers, Walter Dean(1996)
Slam!
Young Adult

Slam gets his nickname from the way he slams the basketball. He was one of the best players at Carver, his old high school. Now he attends Lattimore, a mostly white magnet school, and joins the basketball team despite the tension between him and the coach and other players. Slam has been able to hold on to old friends from Carver, in particular Mtisha and Ice. He begins to fall in love with Mtisha and she alerts him to the possiblity of Ice being involved in illegal activities. In the end, Slam must make a heart-wrenching choice about friendship. Myers' true-to-life story is told by Slam and is filled with humor as well as serious issues.

Reviewed by Jeanenne R., Steele Creek Branch

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The Beet Fields: memories of a sixteenth summer

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Paulsen, Gary(2000)
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The Beet Fields: memories of a sixteenth summer
Young Adult

He is just called the boy. But this boy has no ordinary sixteenth summer. Feeling forced from his home, he runs away to make a new life for himself. Gary Paulsen's young character--based heavily on his own youth--struggles to keep food in his stomach and look for a place where he feels safe. Paulsen's clear and firm writing will have you feeling the heat of open fields, tasting the stale bread of a mid-day meal, witnessing the hardships of being alone, and longing for a new life--one where a boy steps into being a man.

Reviewed by Tony T., Main Library

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Reader's comments about this book

I will give this book 3 stars because it was a very intriguing story until Paulsen brings in the sex factor which ruined it for me because it`s not my thing and took away from the book.
-Jack, Albany, NY

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Bud, Not Buddy

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Curtis, Christopher Paul(1999)
Bud, Not Buddy
Young Adult

Guided by a flyer advertising a musical group that had mysteriously upset his mother before her death, ten-year-old Bud (not Buddy) sets off on a journey to Flint, Michigan to find his father. Although Bud's mission and discovery is serious, the story begins with a comical scene when a son in a foster home attempts to jam a pencil in Bud's nose. This will make a great read-aloud with slapstick and laugh-out-loud humor.

Reviewed by Nancy S., Morrison Regional

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Reader's comments about this book

A very moving story about a young, orphaned boy who vows not to give up until he finds his family. A simple but touching story.
-Abby, Charlotte, NC

A feel-good book that will warm your heart.
-Michelle, Charlotte, NC

This book is actually really good!
-Keenah, Toledo

This book was touching. I really liked it a lot!!!!!
-Lydia, NY

This is a great book! I could not put it down. Every one should read it!
-Liv, Maine

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Hatchet

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Paulsen, Gary(1987)
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Hatchet
Young Adult

Brian is stranded in the wilderness with only his hatchet to survive. There are many creative survival techniques that Brian uses to keep himself alive, like using his shoestrings for a bow string. The book is full of action, suspense, and adventure. Hatchet is a wonderful book for adventurous readers!

Reviewed by Amy H., Steele Creek Branch

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Silent to the Bone

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Konigsburg, E. L.(2000)
Silent to the Bone
Young Adult

On Wednesday, November 25, Branwell Zamborska went totally silent. At the time, he was calling 911 to report his infant half-sister, Nikki's, life-threatening accident. Or was it? Her au pair, Vivian Shawcurt, seems to think otherwise. When Branwell is sent to the local juvenile behavioral center, his father calls for best friend Connor to try to communicate with Branwell. What's a best friend to do? Connor develops a system Branwell uses to share clues to the mystery of how Nikki was injured. Numerous interesting characters play a role in the unveiling of the truth surrounding what really happened to Nikki. This is a page turner that lives up to Konigsburg's well-deserved status as a popular writer of young adult fiction.

Reviewed by Nancy D., Davidson Branch

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Reader's comments about this book

An expressive, genuine, frank and open story from the fresh pen of E.L. Konigsburg.
-Abby, Charlotte, NC

This is an amazing and breath taking book about friendship, and most importantly, silence. You never know how powerful it can be until you read this book.
-Emily, Centennial, CO

It is a good book you should read it. The family is back together at the end. The beginning is kind of confusing at first, but the farther you get into the book the more the book makes sense. It is cool and sweet!!!!!
-Theresa, Denver, Colorado

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The River

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Paulsen, Gary(1991)
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The River
Young Adult

Brian Robeson is now older and is going back to the wilderness with a psychologist named Derek as part of a program to teach others about surviving in the wild. Tragedy strikes, lightning rather, and Derek is left in a life-threatening coma. Brian uses amazing strength and courage to get himself and Derek to safety. If you liked Hatchet, you`ll love The River.

Reviewed by Amy H., Steele Creek Branch

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Kit's Wilderness

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Almond, David(2000)
Kit's Wilderness
Young Adult

Thirteen-year-old Kit moves with his family to Stoneygate, England, an old coal mining town to care for Kit's recently widowed grandfather. He meets John Askew and together they play a game called "Death" to find the childhood ghosts of their long-gone ancestors. Written in eerie, haunting, and lyrical prose, this multi-layered novel explores the bonds of family from one generation to the next. The story's reflections on death and the power of love will strike most readers.

Reviewed by Nancy S., Morrison Regional

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Jip: His Story

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Paterson, Katherine(1996)
Jip: His Story
Young Adult

Set in rural Vermont in 1855, Jip is abandoned by the roadside at the age of two, where he works contently on a poor farm for 8 years. But his life changes when he befriends a lunatic, Put, who helps him face his questionable ancestry. The readable, foreshadowing plot eventually evokes a story full of revelations and surprise. Readers of Lyddie will be surprised to discover that Jip's teacher is Lyddie, from Paterson's earlier novel.

Reviewed by Nancy S., Morrison Regional

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Reader's comments about this book

JIP:HIS STORY is a down-to-earth, simple story of a young boy searching for his past and for a future.
-Abby, Charlotte, NC

Paterson brings another major historical issue home to Vermonters, and brings the characters to life.
-Ruth, Holland, Vermont

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Brian's Return

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Paulsen, Gary(1999)
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Brian's Return
Young Adult

Brian Robeson has finally returned to normal life in the city. He can enjoy his favorite foods and watch TV again, but he feels isolated and bored with city life. He misses watching the sun rise over the lake and the taste of fresh deer meat. He longs to go back to his wilderness home. Will Brian abandon city life and go home to the forest?

Reviewed by Amy H., Steele Creek Branch

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963

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Curtis, Christopher Paul(1995)
The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963
Young Adult

Fourth grader Kenny Watson, who lives in Flint, Michigan, tells about his African-American family which consists of his strict but loving parents, little sister, and his older brother, Byron. Because Byron is in so much trouble, the family decides to return to Birmingham hoping his grandmother can shape him up. Curtis has succeeded in writing a hilarious, heart-warming, and thought-provoking book. A laugh out loud scene occurs when Byron freezes his lips to the mirror of the new family car. Readers will gain some insight into the Civil Rights Era and the senseless bombing of the Sixteenth Avenue Church in 1963.

Reviewed by Nancy S., Morrison Regional

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I really liked the book because it shows you what African Americans go though each and every day.
-Trabrissa, Charlotte, NC

I absolutely LOVED this book. It keeps you reading till the end, and you can't put it down. You gotta read it!
-Sarah, Matthews, NC

I am in the Sixth grade and my teacher got a class set of this book that we are all are reading in class right now! The book really gets me into reading because I usually do not like to read at all! But the book is really interesting and I enjoy reading. It shows how black or white families' lives are really the same. The book is the best. I love it!
-Jessica, Sachse, TX

I am a ten year old in fifth grade and my class read the book together. I enjoyed the book because it was exciting and had a lot of hooks where I couldn't stop reading.
-Bryn, Ny, Ny

I absolutley loved this book! I love how this book brings history into real life situations and events. I learned a lot about the civil rights movement from this book.
-Megan, Oshkosh Wi

This book was very good, I couldn't put it down for anything in the world. It was sad at times and funny at others. My 5th grade teacher Ms.Okolo wanted me to read it and I'm glad she did.
-Kristina, Houston, Txas

I loved this book! I am now doing a time capsule on Kenny and it should be a lot of fun. I will tell everyone to read this book because I really enjoyed it!
-Alanna, Joliet, Illinois

I love this book I could read it all day long! It is so cool it just feels like you are actually there when you start to read it. I actually thought I was not going to like it at first, but then it came to me I like Byron the most. He sounds like a nice character and he is funny. I love this book, it is one of my favorites!
-Ra, Indianapolis, IN

I think this book was GREAT! It was funny and you would always think, "What's going to happen next?" For me, this book was so good I could hardly put it down.
-Kate, Gastonia, NC

So amazing.
-Alyssa, Pembroke Pines, FL

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A Year Down Yonder

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Peck, Richard(2000)
A Year Down Yonder
Young Adult

This sequel is a companion to Peck's A Long Way From Chicago, but now Joey is serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps and his sister, Mary Alice, must stay with Grandma Dowdel for a year while her family attempts to recover from the Depression. When Mary Alice first steps off the train she doesn't know how she'll survive in this hick town, but she is soon an accomplice to some of Grandma's shenanigans. She even invents a few of her own that are sure to entertain readers. Most heart-warming is Mary Alice's own growth as she comes to understand that Grandma Dowdel is quite the role model. As Mary Alice shares: "She had eyes in the back of her heart."

Reviewed by Nancy S., Morrison Regional

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This brilliant, amazingly funny story will capture ANY reader - boy or girl, young or old, child or parent. I recommend it to everyone! This story will remain as one of your favorites, as it has for me.
-Abby, Charlotte, NC

I am absolutely crazy about this book!
-Jasmin, Huntersville, NC

I loved A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. I'm in 6th grade and I read the first book in 3 days and the second in only two. These books are extremely funny but serious also.
-Sara, Illinois

I absolutely love this book and A Long Way From Chicago. They both are hillarious and touching. I LOVE it. I reccomend it to any teacher to have their students read it.
-Amanda H., Minnesota

This book is the best! i recommend it to any child or adult.
-rana sweat, hoover alabama

I love this book so much, and I like the chapter about the Chicago, rich girl.
-Daniela, Corona, CA.

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Far North

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Hobbs, Will(1996)
Far North
Young Adult

Fifteen-year-old Gabe Rodgers has just moved from the Texas heartland to the Canadian Northwest Territories to be closer to his father, a driller on an oil rig. Gabe's father arranges a flight with a bush pilot to show Gabe some of the sites of the Northwest Territory. The bush pilot is taking a Dene boy and his uncle back to their village on the Nahanni River. Sitting in the co-pilot's seat, Gabe checks the maps and reads the names of the mountain ranges that surround their small Cessna. "Up here nature reigns supreme." And so it does as Gabe and his new friends will soon find out! An adventure written in the style of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, Will Hobbs' Far North weaves a fast-paced, action-packed journey that will draw you deeply in.

Reviewed by Jim M., Main Library

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The Rag and Bone Shop

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Cormier, Robert(2001)
The Rag and Bone Shop
Young Adult

12-year-old Jason Dorrant enjoyed hanging around with Alicia. But now Alicia is dead and Jason was the last person to see her alive. The police are questioning him under the pretense that he is "helping with the investigation." Jason does not realize that he is the prime suspect in the case and that Trent, an expert interrogator, has been called in specifically to get him to confess to the crime. The police are desperate to find the murderer, but is it really Jason or are the police pointing fingers at the wrong guy? Robert Cormier presents a chilling look at how a person's life can be altered by certain events. Find out what happens when Jason's innocence is questioned. What you read in The Rag and Bone Shop will shock you.

Reviewed by Christine B., South County Regional

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Reader's comments about this book

This novel by far is the greatest suspense/mystery story written by Robert Cormier. It grabs and sucks you in because although you know that Jason did not kill Alicia, you come to realize that he did have opportunity and an alibi. But it doesn't make sense because he and Alicia were also friends. The Rag and Bone Shop will keep you on the edge of your seat until you find out who really killed little Alicia and you’ll be surprised when you find out!!
-Brittany, Chicago, Illinois

In The Rag and Bone Shop, Jason goes through a hard time with losing his only friend and being the number one suspect for her murder. It was a miserable story, and it expresses that life is not easy. So, you should learn how to deal with it. He was truly saddened and disturbed by her death. Some of the questions Jason is asked are too much for him to handle, and he gets upset and confused. Basically, The Rag and Bone Shop teaches to endure life because of Jason’s tragic loss of his friend, Alicia. To me, The Rag and Bone Shop was an interesting book that was very suspenseful at the same time. I wouldn’t say that it was great, but it wasn’t horrible either. I think it was solid, right in the middle. The ending was shocking and left me wanting to know more.
-Allie, Long Valley, NJ

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Run If You Dare

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Powell, Randy(2001)
Run If You Dare
Young Adult

Fifteen-year-old Gardner Dickinson’s life was somewhat like his room. “Piles of library books covered the floor. My only chair was buried in dirty clothes. I had to step between the gaps in the books; one wrong step and I’d topple a stack, making for even fewer places to plant a foot.” His mother had to go back to work because his father was laid off from his job and kept putting off searching for another one. Gardner’s sister Lacy goes to community college and works at the local pizza joint. As many teens do, Gardner ponders what to do with his life, but he knows it should go somewhere.

Reviewed by Mel B., North County Regional

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The Man Who Was Poe

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Avi(1989)
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The Man Who Was Poe
Young Adult

Edmund and Sis are twins who have been mysteriously abandoned by their Aunty Pru. Left to their own devices in the city of Providence, R.I. in 1848, their situation becomes even more desperate when Sis vanishes without a clue. Edmund pleads with a stranger to help him find Sis. The stranger is none other than Edgar Allan Poe using his alter ego's name, Auguste Dupin, the mystery sleuth in Poe's classic, "The Murder in the Rue Morgue." This story twists and turns with ghosts and murders, kidnappings and cemeteries, robbery and conspiracy to do evil. The author has made much of Poe's reputation as a drunk but has allowed him moments of clarity and genius. One more fictional portrayal of Edgar Allan Poe, a 19th-Century writer who continues to fascinate new generations of readers.

Reviewed by Sue G., Davidson Branch

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Reader's comments about this book

This dark and mysterious novel will enchant the reader and bring to light some of the other sides of the famed Edgar Allen Poe.
-Abby, Charlotte, NC

The Man Who Was Poe is a book with powerful feelings, not in a sad way though. This book is a must read. You will enjoy it, so check it out!
-Sabrina, Charlotte, NC

This book is a masterpiece!
-katherynne, camarillo,ca

This is a great book to read for those of you who love mysteries. I hope you chose to read it.
-Paula, NJ

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Crash

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Spinelli, Jerry(1996)
Crash
Young Adult

John "Crash" Coogan plays football, copes with school life, and dreams of dating the new girl in school. Crash probably thinks of himself as an okay guy, but he acts like a bully to a neighbor who wants to be his friend. Crash does learn something about friendship and family in this slice-of-life story, sure to remind you of someone you know.

Reviewed by Kathy M., Morrison Regional

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The Chocolate War

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Cormier, Robert(1974)
The Chocolate War
Young Adult

A secret society has control over Trinity School, as Jerry Renault finds out when he tries to refuse an `assignment.` It seems simple enough, sell some chocolate for the school sale, but the Vigils have an agenda and Jerry is being threatened. Even the teachers at Trinity seem to be ruled by something other than reason, and the tension builds until Jerry must make a stand. A compelling, sometimes disturbing book that will make you think about what it means to be strong.

Reviewed by Kathy M., Morrison Regional

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Guts: The True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books

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Paulsen, Gary(2001)
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Guts: The True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books
Young Adult

Ever wonder where Gary Paulsen got all those ideas to write the Hatchet series? He lived them! In his autobiography, Gary Paulsen relates incidents in his life and how they were incorporated into his character, Brian Robeson. One chapter not to miss is "Eating Eyeballs and Guts, or Starving." Paulsen reminds us that if you are hungry, truly hungry, it will not matter that what you eat is not the choicest piece of meat. There is even a culinary chapter on "The Joy of Cooking" in which he describes how you can cook, eat, and live in the wilderness. This is a great read for those fans of Brian and his series of adventures.

Reviewed by Jim M., Main Library

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Whale Talk

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Crutcher, Chris(2001)
Whale Talk
Young Adult

When Mr. Simet asks T.J. Jones to help him form a swim team at Cutter High School, T.J.'s response is "NO." Cutter High doesn't have a pool, and organized school athletics leave T.J. cold. But after he sees the football team picking on Chris Coughlin one time too many, he decides that maybe what Cutter High School needs is a new team. A swim team, where non-athletes and other misfits can work toward the symbol of ultimate achievement at Cutter High - The Varsity Letter Jacket. So T.J. recruits his team from the most unlikely places, and ends up with the strangest looking swim team ever seen. But the question remains, will the Cutter High Athletic Council give them the letters they have earned? This quick-paced story is realistic; almost painfully so. As the team bonds with one another, you feel as if you belong too.

Reviewed by Tammy S., University City Regional

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Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

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Crutcher, Chris(1993)
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
Young Adult

Eric Calhoune and Sarah Byrnes have been friends for most of their lives, up to the time in high school when this novel starts. The strong bond that exists between the two of them is based on appearance. He was given the nickname of Moby because of his weight, and Sarah's hands and face were badly burned when she was three years old. When Eric begins to lose weight while on the high school swimming team he vows to "stay fat for Sarah Byrnes." As they delve beneath the surface of their bond, they discover that the answer may be more than they can handle. Crutcher effectively shows that a human relationship can have just as strong a connection as any man-made chain.

Reviewed by Mel B., North County Regional

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Silverwing

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Oppel, Kenneth(1997)
Silverwing
Young Adult

Shade, a young silverwing bat, is lost in a storm on his first migration to Hibernaculum, "millions of wingbeats away." Together with a new friend, Marina, Shade sets forth on a perilous journey to rejoin his colony before winter. What adventures and dangers lie in store for Shade and Marina? Can they escape Goth, a huge vampire bat, and keep him from finding the colony at Hibernaculum? Shade must summon all his courage and self-reliance if he is to succeed in his quest. This exciting and suspenseful story is filled with fascinating details about the lives of bats. The adventure continues in Sunwing, the sequel to Silverwing.

Reviewed by Anne W., Cornelius Branch

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The Body of Christopher Creed

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Plum-Ucci, Carol(2000)
The Body of Christopher Creed
Young Adult

Christopher has a reputation of being an annoying oddball at his high school. When he suddenly vanishes into thin air, the whole school begins to talk. The only clue to what might have happened is an e-mail message allegedly written by Creed 24 hours before his disappearance. Tory was not close to Creed, but after he speaks with Creed's next door neighbor Ali, he becomes wrapped up in finding the truth. As he and Ali begin to unravel the complex mystery, they also begin to uncover the other complexities of the town and its people. The two begin to understand that standing up for individual beliefs and nonconformity can often be a difficult, painful experience. Carol Plum-Ucci has written a truly engrossing and unforgettable debut novel that will keep you thinking long after you have read the last paragraph.

Reviewed by Michelle F., Hickory Grove Branch

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No More Dead Dogs

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Korman, Gordon(2000)
No More Dead Dogs
Young Adult

Wallace only tells the truth, a quirky habit which creates trouble when he is to report on the book "Old Shep, Old Pal" for his English class. He ponders, "Why does the dog in every classic book always have to croak at the end?" His report does not please his teacher, who orders Wallace to attend play rehearsals rather than his football practices until he can write a satisfactory report on the book. Coincidentally, the school play, directed by Wallace's English teacher, happens to be based upon this classic dog drama. Wallace and a unique cast of characters discover the meaning of friendship as the canine tragedy evolves into a rock-and-roll extravaganza through this quickly-paced tale of hysterical consequences which result from Wallace's refusal to lie.

Reviewed by Tricia B., South County Regional

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The Golden Compass

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Pullman, Philip(1995)
The Golden Compass
Young Adult

Lyra overhears a murder being plotted and foils it, but is soon drawn into a web of intrigue that will expose shocking state secrets, force her into alliance with outcasts, and reveal the truth about her parents' identity and fate. Along the way she learns how to use a golden compass that gives figurative as well as literal directions. Just when Lyra thinks she's gotten to the bottom of the mystery, immense new complications develop. Author Philip Pullman sets the story in a world much like our own, but different in significant ways. Most interestingly, every person in this world has his or her own daemon - an animal spirit that can advise, comfort, and befriend its human companion. Pullman's imaginative tale has only just begun.

Reviewed by Tom C., Main Library

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Ender's Shadow

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Card, Orson Scott(1999)
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Ender's Shadow
Young Adult

In Ender’s Shadow, Orson Scott Card revisits the story told in his award-winning novel Ender’s Game, this time through the eyes of another character, Bean. Although this absorbing tale easily stand on its own, the reader who has read both books will appreciate the ways in which they intersect and complement each other. Bean’s story begins on the streets of Rotterdam and moves to Battle School, where he and other exceptional children are trained for leadership in a war against an alien race that threatens humanity. At Battle School, Bean’s story becomes intertwined with that of Ender Wiggin, and events culminate in a way that will be unexpected even for readers of the earlier novel.

Reviewed by Anne W., Cornelius Branch

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Another wonderful addition to the Ender series by Orson Scott Card, and a treat for anyone who has read Ender's Game. Although you can read either one first, I highly recommend starting with Ender's Game. Take my word for it and you'll see why. The only problem is, you won't be sure who you love more: Ender, or Bean!
-Joel, Joanna, SC

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The Gospel According to Larry

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Tashjian, Janet(2001)
The Gospel According to Larry
Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Josh Swensen has always veered away from the in-crowd at school. He is intelligent, somewhat of a loner, and has some very solid Thoreau-like principles of anti-consumerism and commercialism. He decides to build a web site using the pseudonym Larry, sharing his views with other Internet surfers - out of boredom, no big deal, right? Wrong. His site quickly gains national attention. Soon "Larry" becomes a household name and his anonymity becomes threatened when mysterious "Betagold" starts posting to the site. Can Josh remain anonymous? Will his life ever be the same? Tashjian's novel is wonderfully witty, entertaining, absorbing, original, and sure to be loved by all.

Reviewed by Michelle F., Hickory Grove Branch

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Ransom

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Duncan, Lois(1990)
Ransom
Young Adult

When five teenagers are kidnapped from the school bus, the race for a resolution begins. The seemingly wealthy parents scramble to gather the ransom while the teens plan their own escape from a remote cabin in the snow-covered mountains. Will their plans collide and place one another in danger? In this remarkable suspense thriller, Lois Duncan draws the reader in with complex characters, situations, and adolescent social dynamics, making the book impossible to put down.

Reviewed by Melanie L., Matthews Branch

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This book was very thrilling and you can picture what is going through the characters' minds.
-Emma, Charlotte, NC

This book was amazing! You could actually relate to how the characters felt.
-Emma, Charlotte, NC

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The Subtle Knife

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Pullman, Philip(1997)
The Subtle Knife
Young Adult

In The Subtle Knife, Will Parry, a boy of our Earth, becomes the bearer of the subtle knife, a much sought-after tool for crossing from one universe into another. He encounters Lyra from The Golden Compass in an alternate world to which they have both fled. The multiple, overlying worlds of Pullman's story contain an extraordinary variety of characters. Along with the humans, witches, and talking bears from The Golden Compass, the reader meets angels, specters, elephant-like creatures and tiny humanoids with stings like wasps. Disruption of the boundaries between the worlds has brought about a crisis in the heavenly realms, and Will and Lyra will play key roles in a new rebellion of the angels. Stay tuned, it gets weirder and grander in the third book.

Reviewed by Tom C., Main Library

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The Amber Spyglass

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Pullman, Philip(2000)
The Amber Spyglass
Young Adult

The Amber Spyglass concludes a trilogy of adventures. Will and Lyra discover great resources of inner strength and wisdom as they overcome extraordinary obstacles and outwit unscrupulous authority figures. Along the way they cross the boundary from innocence to experience. They learn what friendship requires, what it means to accept one's own mortality, and most poignantly, what love and loss bring. In addition to completing Pullman's wonderfully complex story, The Amber Spyglass illustrates the spiritual lesson of the series: the physical world is all we have, "our true home," as one character puts it. Some characters do teach that eternal life awaits in another realm, and Pullman shows how they repress their fellow humans ruthlessly here and now. Characters without such expectations attain wisdom and peace through their own exertions and show more compassion.

Reviewed by Tom C., Main Library

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Operating Codes

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Manns, Nick(2000)
Operating Codes
Young Adult

Something strange and mysterious is happening at Sentinel House. Graham and Matty's father is working on a top secret defense project and is totally absorbed with his work, even though Graham and Matty try to tell him about the weird apparitions around the house. They become locked in the cellar one Sunday afternoon and hear someone signing on to their father's computer. This leads to secret information being sent through the Internet, and their father is put on trial for betraying government confidences. It is only after the children uncover the history of the house and give testimony at the trial that new light is shed on the situation. Readers will enjoy the suspense and mystery but will also confront a moral dilemma in the question of furthering defense efforts. This story truly makes the reader think about all the "operating codes" that take place in our lives.

Reviewed by Donna H., Matthews Branch

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Night Hoops

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Deuker, Carl(2000)
Night Hoops
Young Adult

Nick Abbot and Trent Dawson live across the street from each other but couldn't be more different. Nick is a typical suburban kid while Trent and his brother Zack are borderline criminals. They have one thing in common, though -- basketball. They are both on the school basketball team. As the season progresses, the two form an unlikely friendship and help propel the team toward its first championship. But in the middle of the season, Zack crosses the line and leaves town for attempted murder. Will Trent follow in his brother's footsteps? Or can Nick's friendship be a lifeline? This is a strong story set with exciting game scenes that explores questions of friendship and loyalty.

Reviewed by Carl S., Main Library

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Crispin: The Cross of Lead

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Avi(2002)
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Crispin: The Cross of Lead
Young Adult

He is known simply as Asta's son. Left orphaned and declared a "wolf's head" by the town steward for a crime he did not commit, Asta's son is considered less than human and can be killed on sight by anyone. Before fleeing his small village, a priest gives him the only two things he has left in the world: a cross of lead that once belonged to his mother and a name he never knew he had, Crispin. Struggling to survive, Crispin enters a strange new world. During his flight, he meets Bear, a large and strange man with secrets of his own. Together the two go on a journey that will eventually lead them to ultimate self-discovery and the true meaning of friendship and love. Avi's description of life in medieval England will transport the reader through time on an exciting adventure full of unforgettable characters.

Reviewed by Michelle F., Hickory Grove Branch

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Satellite Down

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Thomas, Rob(1998)
Satellite Down
Young Adult

Classroom Direct is a television news program shown in schools throughout the United States. Patrick Sheridan, a high school senior, has just been selected to fill the reporter position. Discovering the truth and reporting it has been Patrick's main focus for most of his life. Patrick believes that he got this job because of his reporting skills, however he soon discovers that it was his good looks that got him the job. He soon discovers that the pursuit of truth is not always the case in journalism. Truth becomes very elusive in Patrick's life. Feeling very disillusioned, Patrick takes drastic actions while on assignment in Northern Ireland.

Reviewed by Angela A., Cornelius Branch

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The Long Night of Leo and Bree

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Wittlinger, Ellen(0689835647)
The Long Night of Leo and Bree
Young Adult

On the four year anniversary of his sister's murder, seventeen-year-old Leo is out to get revenge on the world. He wants to make others hurt like he has from the loss of his sister, and in a rage irrationally decides to kidnap a teenage girl named Bree. In efforts to keep Leo from hurting her, Bree initiates conversation. In The Long Night of Leo and Bree, two very opposite people from different worlds change each other's perspective on life.

Reviewed by Mercede W., Freedom Regional

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Among the Brave

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Haddix, Margaret Peterson(2004)
Among the Brave
Young Adult

Trey’s not brave, in fact just the opposite. He was just trying to warn Mr. Talbot about the Baron’s murders. When Mr. Talbot is arrested and Trey’s friends disappear, he decides to hide out in the Talbot’s house. Trey eventually must journey to Population Police headquarters to find his friends. With a limited food supply and a few documents in his possession, does Trey have any chance of rescuing his friends? With the Population Police controlling the food supply, will anyone be safe? This fifth book in the Shadow Children series is sure to make you question who can be trusted.

Reviewed by Emily N., Steele Creek Branch

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Al Capone Does My Shirts

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Choldenko, Gennifer(2004)
Al Capone Does My Shirts
Young Adult

Having Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly as your next-door neighbors would make anybody nervous, so it's no wonder Moose is less than thrilled to move to that 12- acre rock in the middle of San Francisco Bay: Alcatraz. His father took the prison guard job so they could afford to send Moose’s autistic sister to an experimental school where she might have a chance at a normal life. But good motives do not make it any easier to deal with the warden’s gangster-loving daughter and her crazy schemes to capitalize on their convict contacts. When the new school rejects his sister, Moose has no one to turn to – except maybe Scarface himself.

Reviewed by Ginger J., Morrison Regional

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The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts

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Peck, Richard(2004)
The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts
Young Adult

When their sour-faced teacher has the good grace to drop dead just days before fall term is set to start, Russell and his brother are ecstatic. There is no way the school board will be able to find a replacement in their rural corner of 1904 Indiana. But the boy’s joy turns to horror when their bossy teen-aged sister volunteers to take on the education of the quirky characters that attend their one-room school. Not only will they be forced to go to classes; they will be living with the teacher! It is a fate they can just not accept. Therefore snakes will slither out of desks, the schoolhouse bell will be silenced and the privy will go up in smoke, however who will have the last laugh?

Reviewed by Ginger J., Morrison Regional

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this book was an exciting book for me to read. Congrats to the sister!!!!!!
-Darla, wichita, Ks

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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Adams, Douglas(1980)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Arthur Dent wakes up one morning to a series of nasty surprises. His home is being knocked down and his best friend tells him he is from Betelgeuse and not from Guildford! Worse yet, he finds out that Earth is being demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass. We follow Dent as he stumbles from one misadventure to another, never really sure exactly what will happen next. Yet, he always carries his trusty book, "The Guide" with him, that offers advice about trekking through the universe and that has the words "Don't Panic" written on the front cover. Adams has written a humorous, sarcastic, smart sci-fi novel, a real sci-fi classic, filled with excitement and great insight. A true must-read.

Reviewed by Ian R., North County Regional

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The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

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Adams, Douglas(1981)
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

The Hitchhiker trilogy continues with this darkly comic novel that follows the adventures of Arthur Dent and his friends. In this book, they get sent to the end of time for dinner, watch as publishing companies get bombed, spend several days trapped in someone`s jacket pocket, and finally end up marooned on prehistoric Earth with a shipload of hairdressers and security guards. Actually they are trying really hard to find out the secret of life, the universe and everything. But they already know the answer to it all is the number 42! Humorous and moving romp from a great storyteller who just happens to also be considered as one of the great contemporary sci-fi writers.

Reviewed by Ian R., North County Regional

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Life, The Universe and Everything

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Adams, Douglas(1982)
Life, The Universe and Everything

The Hitchhiker trilogy enters new ground with this book in the series since it is not based on the original BBC radio scripts. Arthur Dent and Ford Perfect finally find their way off prehistoric Earth (by means of a Chesterfield sofa and Lords cricket ground) only to find themselves in the midst of an ancient plot to destroy all existence. Pausing to grab some fresh towels, attend a party, learn how to fly (the secret is to fall over and forget to hit the ground) and some disturbing but important things about the game of cricket, Arthur and friends do their level best to save the day. Funny, thoughtful book by an accomplished sci-fi novelist.

Reviewed by Ian R., North County Regional

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Mostly Harmless

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Adams, Douglas(1992)
Mostly Harmless

Arthur Dent is in a bad way. He has lost forever the woman he loved, there's an evil swamp where his planet should be, and he's beginning to think that the universe is deeply unfair. This is the author's darkest book, although it is at different points very comical, yet the tone is a bit less jovial than Adams' other books in the Hitchhiker series. Yet through the solemnity, we touch upon some of Adams' most beautiful writing. A humorous, yet deeply moving book from one of sci-fi's accomplished writers.

Reviewed by Ian R., North County Regional

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The Salmon of Doubt

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Adams, Douglas(1981)
The Salmon of Doubt

Douglas Adams' death in 2001 at the age of forty-nine deprived the reading world of a great sci-fi writer, a passionate thinker and with his demise, the end of the popular Hitchhiker series. The Salmon of Doubt is a collection of the essays that Adams left, along with a tantalizingly and frustratingly incomplete manuscript for the early chapters of a new novel. The book, however, is worthwhile because it offers his fans a way to commemorate his passing. Surely one of the greatest sci-fi writers of our time.

Reviewed by Ian R., North County Regional

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The Metamorphosis

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Kuper, Peter(2003)
The Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka’s classic tale of Gregor Samsa, a man who wakes up one morning to discover he’s been transformed into a giant bug, proves to be a perfect fit with the graphic novel medium. Illustrator Peter Kuper uses a striking expressionistic black and white visual style which evokes the look of a woodcut. The alienation and pressures of responsibility bearing down on Samsa are echoed in the dark, claustrophobic look of most of the book—which is mostly set in a small apartment. Only at the end, when Samsa’s family takes a train trip to the country, does the atmosphere brighten. Not a light read, but a fascinating, completely successful merger of modern literature with the graphic medium.

Reviewed by Mark S., University City Regional

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Brian's Hunt

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Paulsen, Gary(2003)
Brian's Hunt
Young Adult

Brian is back with an exciting new adventure! He is back in the wilderness doing what he loves most, enjoying the quiet serenity of the forest. But his serenity is shattered when he comes across a wounded dog that leads him to a horrifying discovery. You will most definitely read this amazing book in one sitting. This is Gary Paulsen at his best!

Reviewed by Amy H., Steele Creek Branch

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Persepolis 2

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Satrapi, Marjane(2004)
Persepolis 2

Marjane Satrapi’s story continues in this sequel to her graphic novel/memoir Persepolis. Using the same minimal black and white art style as the first book, she first tells of her new life as an Iranian expatriate in Vienna. Facing the trials of adolescence far from family and friends proves difficult: after four years she manages to graduate, but is homesick and returns to Iran. Re-adjusting to life at home is nearly as difficult as life abroad had been. She finds friends and begins a new life, but by the end of the narrative she has again decided she must leave Iran. Like the first book, Persepolis 2 is an honest depiction of the struggles of growing up, full of rich observations about society. Since there is no introduction or summary of past events, it would be best to read Persepolis first.

Reviewed by Mark S., University City Regional

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Kingdom of the Golden Dragon

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Allende, Isabel(2004)
Kingdom of the Golden Dragon
Young Adult

In this sequel to City of the Beasts, Alexander and his friend Nadia travel with Kate to the Himalayas. Kate is sent by International Geographic to find the Golden Dragon, a statue that can foretell the future. Soon the tiny town is in distress when a group of young women, including Nadia, are kidnapped. This event creates the disturbance that the Blue Warriors need to steal the statue. Nadia escapes and is rescued by Alexander, a Buddhist monk and his student. Alexander and Nadia will have to use their totemic animal powers to help save the kidnapped girls and return the Golden Dragon to its rightful place.

Reviewed by Angela A., Cornelius Branch

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Fade to Black

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Flinn, Alex(2005)
Fade to Black
Young Adult

Alex Crusan is an HIV-positive teenager. So, when his family moves from Miami to Pinedale, Florida he is not exactly the most popular student. He has to deal with the whispers and taunts from students, especially Clinton Cole and his gang of jocks. So, one Monday morning when Alex goes to pick up coffee and donuts for his family he is violently attacked. Everyone suspects Clinton, especially when an eye-witness comes forward. But, did Clinton really do this? Is he really capable of this kind of violence? Each chapter alternates between the voices of Alex, Clinton and Daria, the eye-witness. As each narrator fills in the gaps of this story the reader starts to see the whole picture more clearly. Fade to Black explores issues of fear, prejudice and AIDs.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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Feed

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Anderson, M.T.(2002)
Feed
Young Adult

Titus is a normal teenager. He spends his spring break on the moon, is bored stiff by School-Inc., and really wants his parents to buy him an Up-Car. He is constantly connected to the Feed through his in-built computer. It shows him things to buy, lets him m-chat his friends, and connects him to the world. One day, Titus meets a girl called Violet, and everything changes. This book is a dystopia narrated by someone who thinks it is a utopia, a world well drawn that it takes a while to see how bad things are behind the banner ads and Gap commercials, where cancer lesions are fashion statements, and labour saving devices mean you don’t even have to think anymore. Excellent, compelling writing.

Reviewed by Ian R., North County Regional

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This book is very interesting. I had a hard time putting it down! This is a very good book written by M.T Anderson.
-Eliot, Charlotte, NC

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Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth

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Hart, J.V.(2005)
Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth
Young Adult

This is the story of James Matthew, the future Captain Hook. James is sent to Eton, an all boys’ school in his native England. He quickly learns that he will not and can not fit in with the other students. Along the way, James decides he must make his mark at Eton and to do this must rely on the help of his only friend Roger Peter Davies, a.k.a. Jolly Roger. Together they bring great glory and shame to the school and their families. When James is punished for his crimes by being sent on a sea voyage, he is excited. At long last his dreams of being at see are realized. This adventure will change James’s outlook on everything and his future course is set.

Reviewed by Angela A., Cornelius Branch

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Code Orange

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Cooney, Caroline B.(2005)
Code Orange
Young Adult

Mitty Blake is a normal high school student, listening to his iPod and not doing his homework. Grades don’t mean much to Mitty, but he knows he needs to do well in order to stay in his Advance Biology class and be near Olivia. His big biology paper must be on an infectious disease and Mitty stumbles across the topic of smallpox, in an old medical book at his family’s weekend home. Inside this book, Mitty makes a startling discover – an envelope containing smallpox scabs! As Mitty explores smallpox he realizes that the scabs could be deadly. Now a simple Internet request for information could have deadly effects for the entire world!

Reviewed by Angela A., Cornelius Branch

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The Fall of Rome:  A Novel

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Southgate, Martha(2002)
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The Fall of Rome: A Novel
Young Adult

The Fall of Rome, by Martha Southgate, is a must-read for all teenagers and teachers. Jerome Washington is an African American Latin teacher at Chelsea, an all boys boarding school that is mainly Caucasian. Rashid Bryson, from New York City, is one of the few African American students at Chelsea. He registers for Latin class thinking Mr. Washington would be his ally. Rashid soon learns that the challenges at this school might be too much to bear, and that race is unfortunately a factor in how some people judge him, even Mr. Washington. This novel challenges individuals to look honestly at their beliefs about race and class and encourages teachers to think twice before they judge a student.

Reviewed by Vivian B., University City Regional

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Castaways of the Flying Dutchman

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Jacques, Brian(2001)
Castaways of the Flying Dutchman
Young Adult

This book is about a boy named Neb and his dog Den, who end up on the doomed ship The Flying Dutchman. An angel sends Neb and Den to help people in need. Neb changes his name to Ben (Neb backward) and Den changes his name to Ned (Den backward) as the end up in a small town in England. A large company is threatening to take over this village if Miss Winn cannot find the papers that say she owns the village. So, Ben, Ned, Miss Winn, Amy, Alex and other villagers set off on a scavenger hunt to find the papers in time. Castaways of the Flying Dutchman is one of my favorites with a heart-breaking ending.

Reviewed by Rebecca P.

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Great!
-Juan, Mexico City, Mexico

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Things Not Seen

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Clements, Andrew(2002)
Things Not Seen
Young Adult

This novel is a highly recommended adventure detailing the events of a person just struggling to be seen. Bobby, a teenager from Chicago,wakes up one morning only to discover that he is entirely invisible! His parents freak out and hide him away from everyone. He doesn't even go to school. To avoid absolute boredom, Bobby sneaks out to the library and befriends a blind girl, Alicia. Together they try to discover the cause of Bobby's invisibility while sneaking into buildings and avoiding the government!

Reviewed by Matt R., Steele Creek Branch

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This book was really cool. I read it about two weeks ago,it's about this guy who wakes up and finds out he's invisible! The only person who will accept him is this sweet blind girl. She helps him figure things out.
-Christine, Carrollton, Georgia

this book is awesome! It's about this teenager boy called Bobby and he becomes invisible! And then he finds a beautiful blind girl who helps him solve his invisibility! But then it's a sad ending!!
-Rania, Greece

This is my favorite book. I like the idea of a teenage boy who becomes invisible and meets a blind girl.
-Monica, CA

I love this book! There are two others in the series. I really recomend it!
-ooga, washington, dc

This book is totally amazing! It tells a story of a teen boy who faces technical difficulties...turning invisible. I suggest that you read it!
-samantha, dallas,texas

I LOVED this book!!
-Carmen, Chicago, Illinois

This book is amazing, love it!
-Halim, NY

This book is amazing. Love it!
-Halim, NY

This book is awesome. It shows the connection that two people can have, regardless of their problems and disabilities. I recommend this book to teens who want a story that will keep them reading until the very last page.
-Juan, Providence, R.I.

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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Verne, Jules(1874)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Young Adult

I really liked this book because it is about ships and has a lot of action in it. It is an exciting book about a man who goes out to hunt a narwhal and it is very dangerous because the narwhal can go right through the ship. So, I think it is an awesome book because of its great adventure telling. I think the best parts are the flashbacks of the past that tell what happened to other ships that the narwahl attacked. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is awesome!

Reviewed by Colby

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Raven's Gate

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Horowitz, Anthony(2005)
Raven's Gate
Young Adult

Horowitz’s first book in the Gatekeeper series is sure to keep you at the edge of your seat. It tells the story of an orphaned English boy named Matthew Freeman. He is put into a juvenile rehabilitation program on a farm in the English village of Lesser Malling. Matthew is forced into a life of hard labor by Jayne Deverill. A sense of evil surrounds both the village and the farm. Matthew tries to runaway, but everyone who helps him mysteriously dies. He finally flees the village with the help of a journalist named Richard. Upon his escape, Matthew discovers his unique role as a gatekeeper. This tale is both suspenseful and captivating, but readers beware if you don’t like scary stories.

Reviewed by Amy L., Mint Hill Branch

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The Warrior Heir

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Chima, Cinda Williams(2006)
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The Warrior Heir
Young Adult

Sixteen-year-old Jack has taken medicine for his heart every day of his life. He misses taking it just once and discovers that his medicine isn’t for a heart condition, but to cover up something else. He finds out that nobody close to him — even his neighbors — are who they appear to be. A secret society called the Weir has existed for thousands and thousands of years. Different houses of the Weir have been vying for control with warriors who they send out to fight to the death. Jack was born a warrior (or so they say), and all the houses of the Weir are out to get him to be their warrior. Can he escape what they keep telling him is his destiny?

Reviewed by Donna R., Mint Hill Branch

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Reader's comments about this book

This book was awesome, I really liked it. It had some surprises. I'm looking forward to the sequel. I really like the girl, she's certainty not one of your typical damsel in distress.
-WK, New York

The Warrior Heir is one of my favorite books that I have read. Here is what it is about: A boy named Jack has gone to school for years in Trinity, Ohio, then his whole world changes when he finds out he is a "Warrior". I Highly recommend reading this book.
-Becka, WA

I'm an avid reader, and I have to say this is one of my favorite books of all times, and its trilogy is amazing. I place this in the 1-4 category of the top books I have read. Watch out J.K Rowling, here comes C.W Chima.
-Chris, Coatesville,PA

.........jaw dopping, so many interesting turns and surpries, read it! Read it! Read it!
-Daniel, North Wales, PA

OMG, this is the best book I have ever read. There are thrills around every corner. I really liked Ellen`s role. One moment, she snuggles up to Jack, the next, their on the field fighting against each other. This is my second favorite book. Dragon Heir is my all time favorite.
-Harsh, McHenry, IL

Best book ever.
-Laura, Florida

This book is so entertaining! I really loved the characters and it was a brilliant start to an amazing series!
-Peri, Charlotte, NC

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Heavy Metal and You

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Krovatin, Christopher(2005)
Heavy Metal and You
Young Adult

Haven’t we all thought we had met the perfect girl or boy for us at one time? Sammy thinks Melissa, the girl he met in drama, is perfect in every way. He never thought he would be lucky enough to find someone like her especially with his musical tastes and his tendency towards spiked jewelry. When she asks Sam to stop drinking and taking drugs, it doesn’t seem like a big sacrifice to keep the girl he is crazy about. When Sam’s friends tease him about being whipped, it starts to rankle on him, but he adjusts. What happens when she introduces him to her friends? Christopher Krovatin rocks you through Sammy’s world of Heavy Metal with cool facts and the question “Should we change for love?”

Reviewed by Linda K., North County Regional

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Grease Monkey

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Eldred, Tim(2006)
Grease Monkey
Young Adult

Robin Plotnick is an assistant mechanic who has just joined the crew of the Fist of Earth, a huge military space station in earth’s orbit. When he meets his new boss, Mac, he is a little shocked. Mac is straightforward, funny, talented, quick-tempered, and an 800 pound gorilla. What follows is a mixture of comedy, space opera, and buddy movie, as Mac and Robin become fast friends and Robin learns to love life as the assistant to a grease monkey. This is well-told, excellently drawn science fiction with a heart and a brain. It gives us the details of Robin’s life without varnish, not letting the protagonist be too perfect or too wretched. A great, fun read for all ages.

Reviewed by Ian R., North County Regional

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Innocent Soldier

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Holub, Josef(2005)
Innocent Soldier
Young Adult

In 1811, Napoleon calls on soldiers from all over Europe to join his Grande Armée on a campaign to conquer the Russian Empire. In Wurttemburg, Germany a young farmhand named Adam is tricked by his master to serve in the army in place of the farmer’s son. Adam’s sadistic sergeant is determined to make his life miserable, but luck is on Adam’s side when a wealthy young lieutenant chooses him to be his personal servant. Forging a powerful friendship, the two young men endure the cold and hunger of the march to Russia and the brutality of war that awaits them there. Winner of the 2006 Batchelder Award for the best work of fiction for young people translated into English from another language.

Reviewed by Erin N., Independence Regional

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Eager

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Fox, Helen(2004)
Eager
Young Adult

Gavin Bell's family has all the standard home technology including Grumps, the old family robot. Grumps is starting to malfunction, so Gavin's parents are thrilled when they get the opportunity to test an experimental robot called Eager. Eager isn't like any of the BDC4s, the sleek new "intelligent" robots which Gavin's family can't afford. Gavin and his sister initially don't like Eager's actions and appearance, but they soon notice that the BDC4s are behaving secretively. When Gavin discovers their sinister plans, Eager might be their only hope to stop the machines before they destroy mankind!

Reviewed by Donna R., Mint Hill Branch

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Something Upstairs: a Tale of Ghosts

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Avi(1988)
Something Upstairs: a Tale of Ghosts
Young Adult

Can you get rid of a ghost by traveling back in time and haunting the past? After moving into a house built in 1789, Kenny Huldorf finds a strange stain in the attic room that is going to be his bedroom. During his first night in the house, he comes face to face with a ghost. As the spirit communicates with Kenny, it takes him back in time to experience a world of inequality, and Kenny must make a decision between helping his new friend or being trapped in the distant past. Something Upstairs by Avi is an ingenious spin on the classic ghost story. A fantastic historical thriller from the very first page, this book will keep you guessing until the very end.

Reviewed by Rene K., Mountain Island Branch

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Reader's comments about this book

This book was so good. I love this book!!
-Marketta Skye Redell, Butler, KY

I love this book. My teacher read it to me. It's so good!
-Chelsea, Michigan

Even though this book was short, it was a great book!
-Kendall, Michigan

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Facing the Dark

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Harrison, Michael(1999)
Facing the Dark
Young Adult

When a local cab driver is killed and Simon’s father is convicted of the murder, the teenager cannot believe that his father is involved. He soon meets the murder victim’s daughter and they become an unlikely pair of sleuths who try to discover the truth by revisiting the scene of the crime. This British teen thriller is an intelligent and fast-paced story, reading like a diary written from the alternating perspectives of the two teens. Filled with nail-biting suspense and an edge-of-your-seat plot twist ending, Facing the Dark by Michael Harrison is a satisfying treat for any detective story fan.

Reviewed by Rene K., Mountain Island Branch

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It was a very good book, I enjoyed it and I think that every one else should read it too
-shakijah hillman, richmond Va

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The Wish Master

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Wright, Betty Ren(2000)
The Wish Master
Young Adult

During a summer vacation with his grandparents, Corby finds that he has to prove himself to everyone, especially a grandfather who constantly finds fault with him. Corby accepts a dare from another boy to test the legend of a mysterious statue that supposedly grants wishes at the stroke of midnight. When his wishes start to come partly true, he makes a wish to go back home, but the events that unfold are not at all what he expected. The Wish Master by Betty Ren Wright is a powerful, character-rich story about the struggle of a teenager to meet the expectations of the adults in their lives and to find strength in the face of fear.

Reviewed by Rene K., Mountain Island Branch

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The Runaways (vol. 5): Escape to New York

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Vaughan, Brian K.(2006)
The Runaways (vol. 5): Escape to New York

I bet there are days when you think your parents are evil. For the six kids in The Runaways, their parents really are evil. Their six sets of parents make up “The Pride,” a group of super-villains who rule Los Angeles and most of the west coast. Disgusted by what their parents are, the six runaway together. In this action-packed volume, the kids travel to New York to help clear the name of super hero Cloak, of Cloak & Dagger. Readers of comic books will love the many cameo appearances and references to standard super heroes. Action and humor go hand-in-hand in this fast-paced fun read.

Reviewed by Emily L., University City Regional

Author InterviewRead the Author Interview with Brian K. Vaughan

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Larklight, or, The Revenge of the White Spiders!, or, To Saturn's Rings and Back! : a Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space

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Reeve, Philip(2006)
Larklight, or, The Revenge of the White Spiders!, or, To Saturn's Rings and Back! : a Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space
Young Adult

In a Victorian England that managed to develop spaceflight, young Art Mumby and his sister, Myrtle, live with their father in a home circling the moon. Their lives change from the humdrum to the perilous when ancient spiders from the beginning of the universe attack their home. Fleeing after their father is captured, Art and Myrtle fall in with a band of notorious space pirates and begin an adventure that spans from Earth to Saturn and back again in an effort to thwart a conspiracy against the British Empire. Written in the period style of the penny dreadful, Larklight is both humorous with many in-jokes to classic science fiction literature as well as a thrilling adventure yarn at the same time.

Reviewed by James S., Sugar Creek Branch

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Aftershock

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Easton, Kelly(2006)
Aftershock
Young Adult

An exhausting, deeply emotional story. Teenage Adam witnesses the death of his parents. In a state of denial and shock, he wanders away from the scene. He can remember all these bits and pieces of his former life, yet he can’t put words together to return to that life. Gradually, he begins to put all the parts together, remembering that he has a hot girlfriend, a crazy aunt, and an autistic nephew. Yet, the reader realizes the ending will never fit together completely because the biggest piece is missing. How Adam attempts to recover from this horrible shock and the bizarre personalities he meets along the way portray a painful, yet honest journey.

Reviewed by Julie S., South County Regional

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Fablehaven

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Mull, Brandon(2006)
Fablehaven
Young Adult

Things are not what they seem at Fablehaven . . . . Being stuck with a grandfather they don’t even know for three weeks while their parents go on a cruise doesn’t sound like a good time for Kendra and her younger brother, Seth. And when they get to his house, Fablehaven, he's got all sorts of crazy rules for them to follow. Don’t drink the milk. Don’t open your window at night. Don’t go into the woods because of ticks. Yeah, right. With all of those rules, what Grandpa failed to tell them was that there are more dangerous creatures than ticks waiting in the woods, and they’ve got a score to settle. You’ve got to watch out when fairy tales come true . . . because now they’re coming to get you!

Reviewed by Amanda D., Sugar Creek Branch

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Reader's comments about this book

This book is so good I encourage everyone who loves fantasy to read this book. The cover I thought was strange but it was worth getting. I can't wait to read the next two.
-Brittany, Booneys, CA

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Mercy on These Teenage Chimps

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Soto, Gary(2007)
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Mercy on These Teenage Chimps
Young Adult

Best friends Ronnie and Joey turn thirteen and discover they have turned into chimps! Not literally but the long arms and big ears that accompany their maturing bodies make them feel like eating bananas and hanging out in the trees. At school one day, Joey is embarrassed in front of the girl he has a crush on and decides to take drastic measures. Joey climbs up a tree and refuses to come down! Now Ronnie must look out for his best bud and convince the girl of Joey’s (and Ronnie’s) dreams to visit Joey but how can he keep her from discovering that they’re just a bunch of teenage chimps?

Reviewed by Julie S., South County Regional

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A Hole in the World

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Hite, Sid(2001)
A Hole in the World
Young Adult

For a typical 15-year old city kid like Paul Shackleford, being sent to work on an isolated farm as punishment for a lie seems like a prison sentence instead of a summer vacation. Everyone Paul meets on the Vallenport farm (including the dog) seems to be haunted by the unexpected death of one of the farmhands. As he begins to experience the mystical events firsthand, Paul realizes the lasting impact of a person’s words and actions. A Hole in the World by Sid Hite is a compelling, character-driven novel that offers Southern charm, a hint of romance and a good dose of farm wisdom. It will leave you pondering the power of love, memory and integrity

Reviewed by Rene K., Mountain Island Branch

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The Road of the Dead

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Brooks, Kevin(2006)
The Road of the Dead
Young Adult

Ruben has an odd sort of sixth sense and he knows he must follow his brother Cole in order to protect him. Cole is determined to find who killed their sister, as she was murdered violently. Being half gypsies and the children of a jailed father, the brothers have already experienced a great deal of prejudice yet they have never faced the challenges of trying to discover who murdered their sister. What are the village people hiding in the small town where Rachel was murdered? Do they know who killed Rachel? Why is everyone so afraid? What will happen to Cole and Ruben once they discover the horrible truth?

Reviewed by Julie S., South County Regional

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Everlost

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Shusterman, Neal(2006)
Everlost
Young Adult

What if you woke up only to find that you were dead? Nick and Allie do not know one another until they are involved in a deadly car crash where they both lose their lives. Awakening together nine months later in the forest near the crash site, they still wear the clothes of the day they died. They feel like themselves but soon find that they no longer need to breathe, eat or sleep. They also can no longer feel pain except the hurt of the heart and the yearning for the life they have lost. It seems they are stuck between life and death like many other kids in Everlost. Life will never be the same now that they are dead.

Reviewed by Courtney A., South County Regional

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Reader's comments about this book

I absolutely love this book! I've read a lot of books and Everlost definitely one of my all-time favorites. It's very interesting and really makes you think about what happens after death. This book is amazing! It's a must-read.
-Lanni, New England, US

This book was definitely one of my favorites. I would recommend this book to just about anyone if they are into a book that is almost impossible to put down. I don't read much myself but this was a book that I could read over and over.
-Jake, Rochester, NY

AMAZING!!!! This book is the best book I have ever and probably will ever read. It is a must read book!
-Devin, Mrytle Beach, SC

I loved it. Such a page turner. You never know what is going to happen next. 2 thumbs up!
-Summer, los angels,california

I loved this book - it was full of action and you never knew what was going to happen next! I think it should win the Black Eyed Susan Award.
-Heather, MD

I LOVE EVERLOST!!!!
-Everlost fan, minnesota

I absolutely LOVED this book! It is my number 1 favorite as of now. And I love how he forshadowed a lot of things in this novel and how it all ended put together, even if they wern't all together at the end!:)
-Meagan, Chambly, QC

I think "Everlost" is an AMAZING book. It has so much suspense and everything feels so realistic, you actually start thinking that you're in the book! It's a definite attention catcher to all who love to read books!
-Anumeha, Troy

I Loved "Everlost" it is one of my favorite books. Everything is twisted and turned in the end and everyone in the book ends up where you would least suspect they would.
-Kenneth, Austin,Tx

My friend began reading this and didn't really like it, however, I began reading it, and loved it so much I finished it just hours later! I thought it was very exciting and extremely interesting! I, personally, would not mind going to Everlost, so I could explore and do all sorts of things. I recommend this book to anyone who has never read it!
-Marisa, St. Louis, MO

Everlost is a great book, it has everything from love, to dangers, to adventure, to trust. and so much more! if you have'nt read Everlost... you better get on it or else you'll be missing out on a amazing book. PS I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL EVERLOST THE MOVIE COMES OUT!!! OH AND THE REST OF THE SERIES!!!!!!!!!!
-Allison, Bad Axe ,MI

I LOVE THIS BOOK.!!!! it kept making me want to read it more. The weird thing is I bought this book by accident and in the first place didn't want it but when I started reading it I absolutly loved it. I hope the movie comes out soon I read the book in 2008. I thought it was kind of sad how I thought allie and nick would end up togther and go to the living world together with lief(travis) but I just hope it comes out in a sequal of the book or the movie. I hope it comes out this year 2008.
-Jacob, virginia/caroline county

This book was one of my all time favorites!
-Reader, MA

I'm in love with this book. It has turned into my all time fav. book. its soo interesting. I love how everything worked out in the end. very good ending. I love it.
-lynsie, sc

I loved this book. It was the best ever. I hope they come out with a sequel. It would also be amazing if it were made into a movie!
-Kyylliee, Poirt Huron, MI

This book was sooooooo good. I couldn't put it down. I loved it.
-Savannah, Charlotte, NC

This is definitely one of my favorite books. I love the end twists! They were completely surprising and shocking. I'm SO glad its going to be made into a movie!!
-Samah, Brampton, Ontario

This book was so amazingly suspenseful it was intense, heart wrenching and terrific. I read this book in one day it was so hard to put down. Even after I was done there was not one moment I was bored. This isn't a very predictable book like a lot of others this was a spectacular book! I would suggest this to everyone, I am now a big fan of Neal Shusterman.
-Marissa, Torrance, California

I could NOT put the book down all night I absolutely had to finish it and stayed up till 4am on a school night just to see what would happen. It's a shame the book isn't as well known, cause it's terrific! I immediately fell in love with Mary's brother for who he was before everything.
-Ivana, Valencia, CA

I loved this book! It really made me aware of the things that could be around you. You will not put it down.
-Kelly, Orlanda, FL

Hahaha! I think a part 2 would be good! My favorite book!!
-James, Los Angeles, CA

I read this in about two days and I loved it. I recommend everyone read this fantastic book.
-Brandon, Las Vegas, NV

This book was so incredibly great. I love this book!
-Adrianna, Houston, TX

I love this book so much I can't put the book down. There should be a whole series.
-Kawasky, Denver, CO

This book was a must read. I love the way it goes from love to danger and adventure. This book was the greatest all time. I LOVE YOU EVERLOST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-Kayla, Oklahoma City, OK

A wonderful page turner. You could easily get lost in the pages of the book.
-Summer, Honolulu

This book is a must-read. I haven't even finished this book yet, just not at chapter 10, but I just only got it yesterday at the library. Every chance I get I put my nose in this book and read. So far, 2 thumps up!
-Naquetta, Auburn, Alabama

Oh my god, this book is the best in the world. It is so good I think that this book should get to be made into a movie.
-Isaac, Dover, PA

I loved this book so much. I could not put it down!
-danny, wylie,texas

This book is so good! I cannot believe that is going to be a live action film! I am so excited!
-brandon, newton,nj

Greatest book ever!!!!!
-nicole, willoughby, ohio

This book was really good but it was also horrible in some parts. Overall it was OK
-Haley, Plano, Texas

I loved this book... it was fun and entertaining... It also really makes You think.. Some parts were sad but otherwise it is deffinatly in my top ten list... This is a must read!
-Ivy, Naples, ID

I love this book. Its so good i've read it 7 times!!
-Colleen, Huntersville, NC

I love this book. Out of all the books I read I actually finished this one....Take it from me it is very intresting and I wish it had pictures so I would be able to see how the characters look except the McGill. His crew would be funny to see though LOL..... This book is super awesome; it catches people's attention cause yeah its good.
-Sandra, Dallas,Texas

Ahh! I love Everlost. I have read Everwild, the second book. Overall its an amazing book series and I cannot wait for the 3rd book!
-Cerise, Texas

It's a very good book full of exitement, love, jealousy and friendship! One of the best books I've ever read!
-Jenny, New Carlise, Ohio

Neal Shusterman is a genius, when it comes to writing. Everlost is awesome! I can`t wait till May when the third book in the series comes out.
-Matt, Gansevoort, NY

I totally love Everlost; it is an amazing book for girls, boys, teens, adults. My mom and grandma read this book and they both loved it! I got all my friends addicted; it is the book rage at school.
-Ali, NY

I LOVE this book . My fav person is allie I totally relate to her . my least fav is mary. In the 2 book mary is like crazy. oh i also i like nick mikey and jonhie o .I cant wait for the movie . i bet it will be great. other great books like everlost are the immortal books by alison noel or nothing to lose by alex flinn. i cant wait to read everfound. i have decide to write my own book as well.wish me the best of luck!!
-Lia, Gross Pointe MI

It is a good book. I am going to read the next two books, and I can not stop reading the first book again and again!!!
-Gaby, Bloomington, MN

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THE BOOK!!! Definitely one of my all time favorites! At first I didn`t want to read it cause it was just to do some work, but once I started reading, I couldn`t put it down. I took it wherever I went. It was an amazing book; it had me thinking about what actually happens after I die and in some pages where Allie would skin Jack, or as she referred to it as `body surfing` I could actually imagine myself doing that and everything! This book is a must read book and I would recommend it to anyone.
-Marcus, Woonsocket, RI

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Waves

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Dogar, Sharon(2007)
Waves
Young Adult

A year after being found unconscious on the shore near her family’s beach house, sixteen-year-old Charley is still in a coma. Her family has returned to the beach without her, struggling with their grief and searching for answers. Why was Charley in the ocean at night? Was she alone? Did someone hurt her? Charley’s younger brother Hal, who found her on the beach, attempts to solve the mystery of Charley’s injury. Spurred on telepathically by Charley, Hal discovers Charley’s surfer boyfriend and a spunky girl named Jack who might hold the keys to the mystery as well as Hal’s heart. This suspenseful page-turner will keep you guessing as the truth is revealed through Hal’s search in the present and Charley’s memories of the past.

Reviewed by Erin N., Independence Regional

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Garage Band

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Gipi(2007)
Garage Band

Garage bands look alike the world over, as Italian comic artist Gipi shows us in this story of four young men starting a band. Giuliano's dad loans him a garage for the band to practice in and the book's five sections--called "canzone"(songs)--tell the story of their attempt to cut a demo tape. Each member has family tensions to deal with, not to mention their own search for individuality. But their desperate attempt to replace a blown amplifier lands them in a world of trouble, perhaps enough to break up the band for good…Gipi's distinctive watercolors bring both characters and Italian countryside to life; a selection of art studies is also included.

Reviewed by Mark S., University City Regional

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Rash

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Hautman, Pete(2006)
Rash
Young Adult

“I pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the Safer States of America and to the Republic for which it stands one Nation under Law with Security and Safety for All.” Safety is of the utmost importance in the late twenty-first century, so when Bo is accused of starting a rash that infects the entire high school he is sent to prison. This prison is a pizza factory located in Canada and surrounded by hungry polar bears! Prison life can be hard and this one is no different unless you make the illegal football team. As Bo is adjusting to prison life, the artificial intelligence he created, Bork, takes on a life of his own. Just when thing’s can’t possible get worse, they do. Find out how Bo and Bork survive this crazy new world.

Reviewed by Angela A., Cornelius Branch

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The Boy From the Basement

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Shaw, Susan(2004)
The Boy From the Basement
Young Adult

Countless adults and children endure the cruelty of mental and physical abuse by family members every day. This book tells the story of Charlie, who has been abused by his mentally ill father for many years. After his accidental “escape,” he finally collapses in the street and is taken to the hospital. It is very sad (and angering) to read as the extent of his abuse is revealed. With the help of a very loving foster family and a caring doctor, Charlie slowly begins his long journey of recovery. Just when he is beginning to feel safe, his father comes back into the picture. Read this book to see how Charlie stands up for himself and how the foster system is supposed to work.

Reviewed by Donna R., Mint Hill Branch

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Reader's comments about this book

This book was really good, but sad. It makes you really angry at the father for hurting Charlie and the mother for not stopping him. Reading it makes you want to hug Charlie and tell him that it's going to be okay.
-Lani, New England

I couldn't put this book down. I just would keep reading and reading. This is a very sad book and yet with all the books about this topic, this happens day to day. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to read...
-Kaycee, NE

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Lightning Thief, The

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Riordan, Rick(2005)
Lightning Thief, The
Young Adult

Percy Jackson thought he was just a kid with a lot of troubles. He had dyslexia and ADHD and had been kicked out of every school he had attended, but his troubles really started when his pre-algebra teacher turned into a Fury, a monster from the ancient Greek myths. After that he learned that he was a son of Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the sea, and a mortal woman. The only safe place was Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for other kids like him who were sons or daughters of Greek gods and mortals. After he reaches Camp Half-Blood, he learns that he is also destined to be a hero and must go on a quest to prevent a war between the gods. Does this sound exciting so far? Well, you will not want to stop reading once you start this terrific book. It has action, adventure, magic, heroes, villains, and humor. This is the first in a series (The other two are The Sea of Monsters and The Titan's Curse) and I can't wait to read the next one!

Reviewed by Carl S., ImaginOn

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This is one of the best books I have ever read. Everyone loves it and there is now books 2,3,and 4 and all of them are as fun as this book is. I do like to read this book again when I can.
-Daniel, Charlotte, NC

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The Boy Who Couldn't Die

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Sleater, William(2004)
The Boy Who Couldn't Die
Young Adult

Ken is heartbroken when his best friend, Roger dies in a plane crash. Ken can’t get past the fear that he could die too. He flounders in life, worrying his friends and parents until he sees an ad in the paper claiming to help a person be invulnerable to pain and death. Ken thinks he has found the answer to his problems. “In order to be safe from death, you have to experience death first.” (page 2) Are the last words Ken hears before undergoing the woman’s strange ritual. When he awakes, Ken finds he is invincible, but quickly realizes his invincibility comes with a hideous price. A heart pounding mystery with twists that keep you guessing until the last page.

Reviewed by Julie S., South County Regional

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The Righteous Revenge of Artemis Bonner

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Myers, Walter Dean(1992)
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The Righteous Revenge of Artemis Bonner
Young Adult

Take a trip with Artemis and his young side-kick Frolic, across the western frontier. From the barren region of New Mexico to the icy cold terrain of Alaska, Artemis and Frolic must outwit Catfish Grime and his lovely, but mean spirited lady friend to revenge his uncle’s death and recover the lost treasure. Myers reveals the story of a young man who continuously must choose the righteous path in a sinful world. Frolic entered the journey as an adolescent and crosses the threshold into manhood by the end of their excursion. This is an excellent choice for first time western readers.

Reviewed by Ursula J., Independence Regional

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Lord of the Flies

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Golding, William(1954)
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Lord of the Flies

This disturbing and unforgettable classic, after more than twenty rejections, was published to instant acclaim and was instrumental in winning Golding the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983. Few books haunt the reader as this one does as it explores the fine line between schoolboy innocence and primitive savagery with the harrowing tale of young survivors of a wartime airplane crash who establish their own civilization on a deserted island. That civilization rapidly crumbles as responsible leadership is usurped by unbridled hedonism that rapidly descends to madness, resulting in a bloodlust that turns the former leadership into hunted prey.

Reviewed by Jim B., Main Library

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Endymion Spring

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Skelton, Matthew(2006)
Endymion Spring
Young Adult

What harm can come from opening a book? While Blake, a young boy spending time at Oxford with his mother and sister, is in the library he stumbles across a blank book. Now why would a library have a blank book on its shelf? As Blake is pondering this, the book starts to shake, as if alive and words appear that only he can see. Thus begins the mystery of Endymion Spring. A story that transports the reader between the 15th century and the 21st century, it is a must read for those that love mysteries, history and magic.

Reviewed by Angela A., Cornelius Branch

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Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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Alexie, Sherman(2007)
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Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Young Adult

Arnold “Junior” Spirit refuses to give up hope. When he can no longer stand his dead-end life on the Spokane Indian Reservation, he leaves the familiarity of his tribe, family, and friends for a chance at a brighter future, courtesy of the all-white Reardan High. Diary’s short chapters and snappy sentences make it a quick read, and Ellen Forney’s vivid, hilarious drawings give the book an intimate feeling, like you’re paging through someone’s notebook doodles. But what really drives the novel is the narrator: Junior is irreverent and heartbreakingly honest. His humor, creativity, and enduring hope in the face of personal tragedy make him an engaging and sympathetic character. This is a great read for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.

Reviewed by Rebecca P., Matthews Branch

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The Empty Mirror

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Collier, James Lincoln(2004)
The Empty Mirror
Young Adult

Orphan Nick Hodges lost both of his parents in the flu epidemic of the early 1900s. Being raised by his uncle has its challenges, but Nick’s life becomes much more difficult when members of his community start seeing a boy that could be his twin breaking windows and setting fires around town. To try to prove that he is innocent, Nick must learn more about his family’s tragic past and conquer a vengeful spirit who wants to take over and finish his life for him. This delightfully chilling ghost story offers a historical atmosphere, genuinely spooky thrills and a satisfying action-packed ending.

Reviewed by Rene K., Mountain Island Branch

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Evil Genius

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Jinks, Catherine(2007)
Evil Genius
Young Adult

Cadel Piggott is not your ordinary teen. He is a genius and has a habit of hacking into computers. So what is a teen genius to do? Why study for your World Domination degree at the Axis Institute. Taking classes in Disguise, Forgery, Embezzlement, and Infiltration keeps Cadel busy. But as strange events start to take place on campus, Cadel starts to question the motives of the Axis Institute’s founder, Dr. Darkkon. As his life begins to take a dangerous turn, Cadel is forced to make some tough decisions. Just who can he trust and will he be able to stop evil from taking over the world?

Reviewed by Angela A., Cornelius Branch

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Spud

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Van de Ruit, John(2007)
Spud
Young Adult

This potential classic, set in South Africa in the 90s, has made this reviewer an avid fan of YA lit. Indeed, the hilarious journal of a boy’s first year at boarding school is a celebration of reading; for the young man reads constantly. He is also hugely distracted by his oddball family, his apparently emotionally unbalanced girlfriend, a dream girl he meets while starring in the school’s production of Oliver, his classmates, and – of course – sex. The reader is challenged to get through any two pages of this book without laughing out loud. The one caveat is that this ain’t Tom Brown’s School Days: the language and preoccupation with sex is extreme – as it should be in a tale of newly pubescent boys.

Reviewed by Jim B., Main Library

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The Falcon's Malteser: a Diamond Brothers Mystery

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Horowitz, Anthony(1986)
The Falcon's Malteser: a Diamond Brothers Mystery
Young Adult

What is a thirteen year old boy, Nick, to do when his older brother, Tim, is the worst detective in all of England? Solve all of the cases of course! One day a dwarf enters the office with a case for the Diamond Brothers – protect a small box of candy. Why this will be their easiest and sweetest case yet, or will it. What follows is a tale of gangsters, money and power. Will Nick be able to solve the case before time runs out? Find out in this funny, fast-pasted novel, the first in the Diamond Brothers Mystery series.

Reviewed by Angela A., Cornelius Branch

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The Wednesday Wars

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Schmidt, Gary(2007)
The Wednesday Wars
Young Adult

Holling Hoodhood has a lot on his mind. He’s got to deal with bullies, cream puffs, religion, flower children, nuclear war, and escaped rats--not to mention yellow tights with feathers on the butt. There’s also his 7th grade teacher, Mrs. Baker, who hates his guts. Why else would she make him run wind sprints or read Shakespeare outside of class? Told with warmth, humor, and uncommon sensitivity, The Wednesday Wars tells the story of the dramatic events of 1967-68, as well as the dramatic events of a year in the life of one seventh-grade boy. You won’t want to leave the excitement, uncertainty, friendship, and fun of Camillo Junior High. Highly recommended for middle school readers.

Reviewed by Rebecca P., Matthews Branch

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This was a very enjoyable read; I'd particularly recommmend it to kids who like Shakespeare.
-Linda, St. Louis, MO

This book is awesome all teens should read this book.
-Danielle, Markham, IL

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Damage

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Jenkins, A.M.(2001)
Damage
Young Adult

The newspaper headline read “ Pride of the Parkersville Panthers,” referring to Austin Reid, the senior star receiver of the Parkersville, Texas high school football team. Lately, Austin has been feeling anything but proud. His best friend, Curtis is worried about him. Austin blames himself and plasters a smile on his face, hoping he will feel better. He thinks he found his soul mate in Heather McKenzie, who like him, lost her father at an early age. He spends time with her, instead of his friends. Austin must also cope with a new football coach who humiliates his players. This fascinating novel reminds me of the TV show, Friday Night Lights. What will happen to Austin? Check out Damage to find out.

Reviewed by Megan M., Main Library

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Cover-Up

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Feinstein, John(2007)
Cover-Up
Young Adult

Susan Carol and Stevie are teen reporters with the chance of a lifetime – they get to cover the Super Bowl. Media week, the week leading up to the big game, offers the chance to interview amazing players, owners and coaches. It also offers the scoop of the century. Stevie and Susan Carol discover that all of the offensive line of the California Dreams have tested positive for HGH and the owner is covering it up. These two have managed to get into some tough situations in the past, but taking on the NFL is the toughest yet. Can Stevie and Susan Carol write the story and still stay safe? Tackle this story to find out.

Reviewed by Angela A., Cornelius Branch

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Sure Fire

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Higgins, Jack with Justin Richards(2007)
Sure Fire
Young Adult

Rich and Jade, fifteen-year-old twins, have just been informed that their mother has died. At the funeral they meet the one person they didn’t know existed, their dad. John Chance is not what he seems. Rich and Jade decide to follow their dad when he leaves the house, they have no idea how this will change their lives. As they watch their dad is kidnapped. Then they are confronted with the truth, John Chance is a spy. Rich and Jade must rush to save the dad they have just met and in the process save the world. This book is the first in the Rich and Jade series.

Reviewed by Angela A., Cornelius Branch

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Perpetual Check

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Wallace, Rich(2009)
Perpetual Check
Young Adult

Zeke first beats his father at chess when he is only six years old. He is thrilled to be able to beat someone older than he is. Until it starts happening to him. Now a senior in high school, Zeke's younger brother Randy is a freshman, and they've both qualified for the regional tournament that is a qualifier for the state final. Randy beats Zeke 9 times out of 10. When it is very possible that it will be a brother vs. brother match up in the semi-final, who will make the final checkmate? This quick read alternates between the brothers’ points-of-view.

Reviewed by Emily L., University City Regional

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Reality Check

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Abrahams, Peter(2009)
Reality Check
Young Adult

This is a wonderful mystery for young adult readers. It's about a high school football star named Cody, who becomes caught up in a whirlwind of danger and suspense. After injuring his knee and dropping out of high school, he thinks his life can't get any worse, until his girlfriend mysteriously disappears from her boarding school. With only a poem as a clue to her whereabouts, he begins a desperate and dangerous search for her kidnappers. With lots of twists and turns, it will be hard to put this book down!

Reviewed by Amy H., Steele Creek Branch

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I agree this is a good mystery for teens and adults who would appreciate a mystery with teens in love.
-Lawrence, Charlotte, NC

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The Guardian

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Sweeney, Joyce(2009)
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The Guardian
Young Adult

Doesn’t everyone need a guardian angel? The only difference for Hunter is that he knows that he has seen Gabriel in a vision when he was in the orphanage. Since then, he has been through several foster homes and had almost forgotten. When his latest foster father dies unexpectedly, Hunter no longer has protection from his foster mom who never wanted a boy child in her home. He has had to use some of the excuses he had written down just in case. He finds that he has the need for prayer. Imagine his surprise when his paryers start coming true. Is this guardian really too good to be true or is this the beginning of a great thing? What would you do in his place?

Reviewed by Linda K., North County Regional

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Nightmare Academy

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Peretti, Frank(2002)
Nightmare Academy
Young Adult

In the sequel to The Hangman’s Curse – The Veritas Project, a boy runs away. When he turns up again, he is unstable at best, crazy at worst. He can't tell anyone where he has been or what he has been doing. In fact, he really only says two words: Nightmare Academy. The Springfield twins, Elijah and Elisha, are called in to go undercover to try and find out what and where this place is. They end up at the Knight-Moore Academy and things are kind of weird. What will they do when finding the truth is their job and people tell them that truth is relative, that there are no absolutes? Will they break or will they hold tight to the truths they know? Will this trip become a nighmare?

Reviewed by Elizabeth, Charlotte, NC

Patron Review This book review was submitted on-line by a Reader's Club patron.

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North! Or Be Eaten

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Peterson, Andrew(2009)
North! Or Be Eaten
Young Adult

North! Or Be Eaten follows the Igiby family where On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness left off. Things have gotten worse for the Igiby family and they must leave Glipwood and head for the Ice Praries where a resistance army has gathered to fight Gnag and the Fangs. But, on their way Janner and Tink get separated not only from their family, but also from each other. Both boys must escape from horrific situations and try to find their family in the Ice Praries. Full of page-turning adventures, daring fighting, and surprising revelations we see the Igiby children start to grow into their roles as Annieran royalty. A wonderful sequel that leaves the reader longing for more.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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The Maze Runner

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Dashner, James(2009)
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The Maze Runner
Young Adult

Sixteen year old Thomas wakes alone in an elevator, no memories except his name. Suddenly the doors open and he is in a courtyard enclosed by four massive stone walls. Thomas is welcomed to the Glade by other boys who came before him also without memories. He learns the Glade is surrounded by the Maze, a vast area of mysterious doors, shifting walls and dangerous creatures. Thomas soon breaks the number one rule and finds himself in the Maze at night after those doors have closed. Can Thomas find his way out of the Maze, back to his memories, back to his life and home? Does he want to find what is waiting on the other side? Enjoy a fast-paced adventure which is just the beginning with this first installment of The Maze Runner Trilogy.

Reviewed by Kim W., University City Regional

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Bruiser

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Shusterman, Neal(2010)
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Bruiser
Young Adult

Nicknames, like appearances, can be deceiving. That's the case with Brewster Rawlins, a.k.a. Bruiser. Bruiser is not just big, he’s hulking big. Once voted Most Likely to Receive the Death Penalty, his high school classmates are afraid of him, except for 16-year old Bronte. She goes out with Bruiser, much to the disgust of her twin brother Tennyson. Then Tennyson notices that Bruiser is often in pain, both physical and emotional, while Tennyson and Bronte are pain-free, no cuts, bruises, or even sadness. A strange coincidence? Can pain be traded or taken from those you love, and if so, are there risks? Find out in this unforgettable journey that tests friendship, love and sacrifice. Shusterman offers a unique and well crafted tale for all ages.

Reviewed by Kim W., University City Regional

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The Scorch Trials

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Dashner, James(2010)
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The Scorch Trials
Young Adult

Thomas and the Gladers may have escaped the Maze, but now they find a tougher challenge -- reality. Back in the real world, they find a world after the end: a wasteland devastated by sun flares, brutal climate changes, disintegrated governments, and deadly disease. Yet somehow WICKED is still in control, changing the variables and using the Gladers in more life and death trials which are deemed necessary for the survival of humanity. Yet, Thomas isn’t so sure any longer. He just wants to be free -- free from WICKED, free from the experiments, free from the horrors. Courage, friendship and loyalty are tested is this fast paced, action packed second installment of The Maze Runner Trilogy.

Reviewed by Kim W., University City Regional

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The Postcard

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Abbott, Tony(2008)
The Postcard
Young Adult

Darn! Summer has just begun but Jason must go to Florida to help his dad with his grandmother's belongings. Jason had never even met his now deceased grandmother, Florida is hot, and his best friend is in Boston - BUMMER! But after a strange phone call leading to a hidden postcard, a thrilling nonstop adventure commences intertwining current life with an old magazine story. According to the magazine the author died after writing Chapter 1, but Jason is convinced there is more to the story. And is the bizarre story about his grandmother? Postcard clues of nearby locations lead Jason and his new friend Dia on a race with unknown felons to uncover family secrets. Intrigue grips the reader as you read this fast-paced story within a story.

Reviewed by Debbie G., Morrison Regional

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A Time of Miracles

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Bondoux, Anne-Laure(2010)
A Time of Miracles
Young Adult

Blaise Fortune has been with Gloria for as long as he can remember. He loves hearing her tell the story of how she rescued him as a baby from a train that derailed near their home in the Republic of Georgia. He has always wondered if his mother survived the train wreck; so along with his friend Gloria, they embark on a long journey across a war-torn Europe to France to find his mother. They encounter amazing hardships along the way, but even through the pain, they are able to find friends in other refugees that help mold Blaise into the man he is fast becoming. The end of their journey proves to be the most heartbreaking part of their story. This is one amazing book that should not be missed.

Reviewed by Amy H., Steele Creek Branch

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A World Without Heroes

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Mull, Brandon(2011)
A World Without Heroes
Young Adult

Jason Walker must become a hero; his life depends upon it. After accidentally being swallowed by a hippo and then transported to a world called Lyrian, Jason suddenly finds himself on a quest. Jason must discover all the syllables of the only "Word" that will defeat Maldor, the tyrannical emperor of Lyrian. Jason is joined by Rachel, who also stumbled into Lyrian. Soon the two of them are battling Maldor's supporters and gathering the syllables as quickly as possible. But will they defeat Maldor? Full of danger and secrets, Brandon Mull has given his readers an excellent fantasy to enjoy.

Reviewed by Carrie M., Myers Park Branch

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The Son of Neptune

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Riordan, Rick(2011)
The Son of Neptune
Young Adult

Percy Jackson is back! The only problem is that he doesn’t remember anything about his past! Percy just vaguely recalls he has a girlfriend named Annabeth. Luckily, Percy finds himself at Camp Jupiter, a camp that is for Roman demigods. Percy is befriended by Frank and Hazel, who are both outcasts at camp. Frank and Hazel each have a secret they are desperately guarding. Soon Percy, Frank and Hazel are headed to Alaska on a quest to free Death, who was captured by giants, in order to stop the dead from leaving the Underworld. And they only have four days! How will they ever succeed? Here’s your chance to return to Riordan’s imaginative and amazing new series that’s filled with non-stop action and plenty of laughs!

Reviewed by Carrie M., Myers Park Branch

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Thirst No. 4: The Shadow of Death

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Pike, Christopher(2011)
Thirst No. 4: The Shadow of Death
Young Adult

She feels her death, she leaves her body, and then she watches her own funeral. What does it mean to be aware that your own dead body will soon be lowered into the ground? Christopher Pike starts the fourth installment of the young adult THIRST series with this funeral. Readers are probably shocked to see another book in this series because the “oldest vampire” dies at the end of the last book. Pike manages to bring her back and she is better than ever. She is reborn in a new vampire body, but she is still the old Sita, aka Alisa Perne. With two super-powers on her back, she needs her friends to combat the impossible enemies.

Reviewed by Angel T., Beatties Ford Road Branch

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Twisted

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Anderson, Laurie Halse(2007)
Twisted
Young Adult

Anderson successfully takes the reader inside the mind of seventeen year old Tyler as he struggles with an overbearing father and consequences for his recent actions. Much like her main character Melanie, in her 1999 novel Speak, Tyler is an average kid with normal problems at home and school until one particular event causes all aspects of his life to change. First person perspective allows the reader access to Tyler`s thoughts, feelings and emotions as he deals with bullying, false accusations, and family dysfunction. Although the journey is rough, Tyler comes through emotionally and physically stronger with repaired relationships.

Reviewed by Janet G., Independence Regional

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Enclave

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Aguirre, Ann(2011)
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Enclave
Young Adult

Life is different underground. The subway tunnels once used for transportation are now home to Enclaves- progeny of the survivors of the devastation Topside. There are 4 groups of people: Elders, Hunters, Builders, and Breeders. Nobody`s named until age 15– if they survive that long. Deuce just got named and is now a Huntress. She starts protecting the Enclave from Freaks, horrible mutations that eat human flesh, with her partner, Fade. Fade wasn’t born into the Enclave and he questions the Elders’ authority. When Deuce’s friend is wrongly accused of a crime and nearly exiled, Deuce takes the blame, surprisingly so does Fade. They’re both exiled and decide to go Topside. Can they make it to a safety or will the dangers of Topside stop them? A Must Read!

Reviewed by Jessica W., University City Regional

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Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska's WWII Invasion

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Seiple, Samantha(2011)
Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska's WWII Invasion

Did you know that Japan invaded Alaska in World War II? Probably not, because the United States government asked all service men to never talk about it and kept the government records classified. The Japanese invaded and occupied the Aleutian Islands on May 14,1941. The U.S. Navy publicly denied the invasion and the bloody hand-to-hand fighting that took place. Native Alaskans were placed in dilapidated and deplorable internment camps. Their lives were changed forever. This war is not forgotten in Japan. Each year Japanese commemorate those who died in the Aleutian Island. Come meet Etta Jones, a school teacher and POW, the Kiska weather team and Sherman Smith, a soldier, along with others caught in the grasp of the war.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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Tempest

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Cross, Julie(2012)
Tempest
Young Adult

`Tempest` is science fiction that doesn`t feel like science fiction: Jackson, the main character, is a college freshman who can travel backward in time. When mysterious assailants break into his girlfriend`s dorm room and shoot her, he begins a journey that leads him to discover that no one in his life is who he thought they were, and -- more importantly -- that he is not the only one with his abilities. Fast-paced and full of twists, `Tempest` blends mystery and spy thriller genres with a very unique young man`s coming of age. Though the violence in the book is fairly tame for its genre, delicate references to young adult sexuality make `Tempest` appropriate for older teens.

Reviewed by Erin R., Morrison Regional

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Red Moon Rising

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Moore, Peter(2011)
Red Moon Rising
Young Adult

Do you ever feel like you don’t have any control over your life? That is exactly how Danny Gray feels. Danny is part-vampire, but he is also part-wolf. Treated as third-class citizens, all wolves must register with the government and are forced to remain in compounds when they `Change` into their werewolf form. The conditions in the compounds are horrible; the chances of being hurt or even killed are very, very high. As the full moon grows closer, Danny believes he`s going to experience his first Change and will become a werewolf. Changing is horrifically painful and he’s petrified! Will Danny survive? Moore’s book is not only a fast-paced, edge-of-your seat read, but it also deals with issues like discrimination and equal rights.

Reviewed by Carrie M., Myers Park Branch

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Ship Breaker

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Bacigalupi, Paolo(2010)
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Ship Breaker
Young Adult

This science fiction novel opens in a future American Gulf city, where oil has run out and the seas rising has caused cities to become submerged under water. Nailer, a small, thin, scarred teenager, is gathering copper wiring from a salvaged oil tanker, in order to just survive and to make his quota for his heartless boss. Other teens are just waiting to take his place on the crew. Readers are immediately thrust into this world of poverty. The fast pace, stark environment and the strong willed characters take you crawling into the dirty, dangerous guts of the tanker with Nailer, only to nearly be drowned. An elegant clipper ship becomes grounded giving Nailer a chance for sudden wealth. With strong characters and important themes, it is easy to understand why this won the 2011 Printz Award.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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Ghetto Cowboy

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Neri, G.(2011)
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Ghetto Cowboy
Young Adult

Cole, a troubled Detroit teen who skips school, drives his single mother to the edge. So she drives Cole to Philadelphia and drops him off at his father’s, a man he’s never known. His father saves old race horses from being turned into dog food and uses the horses to keep inner city kids from gang activity. The topic, setting, and main character are what will attract middle school teens – cowboys in the inner city, a cocky teen and realistic black dialogue. I like the strong, black male role model of his father. Teens need heroes. The theme of struggling with rejection and fitting in appeals to today’s teens. The tale is inspirational, focusing on the importance of doing what`s right. The audio book is even better with realistic inflection, tone and pace.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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The Red Pyramid

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Riordan, Rick(2010)
The Red Pyramid
Young Adult

Carter and Sadie Kane barely know one another. After losing their mother, these siblings lead very separate lives. That all changes the day their father, Julius Kane, causes an explosion in the British Museum! It was supposed to be a normal family outing, but ends with Julius releasing five trapped Egyptian gods! Set, one of the gods, captures Julius inside a coffin. Then their father vanishes into the floor! Carter and Sadie must find a way to save their father and stop Set from destroying the world. A knife-wielding cat, a basketball-loving baboon and a humorous cast of Egyptian gods complete Riordan`s first book in the Kane Chronicles. Filled with adventure and Riordan’s classic wit, fans of Percy Jackson will flock to this fantastic fantasy!

Reviewed by Carrie M., Myers Park Branch

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Woods Runner

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Paulsen, Gary(2010)
Woods Runner
Young Adult

In 1776 Samuel, a thirteen year old on a Pennsylvania colonial homestead with his mother and father, returns from hunting bear to find most of the people in his settlement killed by British soldiers and Iroquois Indians and his parents missing. After he buries the dead, Samuel’s abilities as a skilled woodsman help him track his captured parents, as he runs through the dense frontier woods. This short, fast paced, riveting adventure reveals brave and generous characters along his journey, as well. The vivid, brutal images of war and the simple, straight-forward wording will attract middle to high school readers. The historical notes interspersed within the narrative make for a good educational read. It received the Parent`s Choice Award in 2010.

Reviewed by Gay L., Independence Regional

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Saraswati's Way

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Monika Schröder(2010)
Saraswati's Way
Young Adult

Akash is twelve and obsessed with math. He dearly wants to continue his schooling. However, his family is poor, and after his father’s death, he is forced to work in a quarry to pay off the family`s debt. But Akash won`t stay. He sees the ledger with the amount they are paid, the amount they owe and the interest rates. He`s good enough with numbers to know the debt will never be paid off. He runs away and lives on the street in Delhi. This book follows his life on the street and how he tries to get more schooling so that he may continue to learn math. The plight of many street children in Delhi is presented with delicacy and honesty. Great multicultural story!

Reviewed by Kristi M., Mountain Island Branch

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Dead End in Norvelt

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Gantos, Jack(2011)
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Dead End in Norvelt
Young Adult

Jack Gantos, a 12 year old boy, finds himself grounded for the summer only to be let out of the house to do chores for elderly, arthritic Ms. Volker, the medical examiner of the town. The collection of unique, odd characters from Hell`s Angels to his best friend Bunny, the undertaker`s daughter draw you into the unpredictable and twisted plot. The author uses mystery, adventure, witty humor, and history throughout the book keeping the reader engrossed in the story. As you read along, ancient and modern history facts are woven into events, giving a feel for a small town in the 1960`s. Readers will see why this won the 2012 Newbery Medal and the Scott O`Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

Reviewed by Gay L., Independence Regional

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Curveball: The year I lost my grip

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Sonnenblick, Jordan(2012)
Curveball: The year I lost my grip
Young Adult

Peter Friedman, star pitcher, ruins his arm the summer before his freshman year of high school and wonders how he will ever cope with the loss, let alone tell his best friend and pitching partner AJ that he won’t be playing baseball anymore…ever. After a bumpy start, Pete’s freshman year starts to improve as he gets closer to Angelika, the cutest girl in his photography class, but life is still throwing curveballs. While he struggles to prepare for the inevitable talk with AJ, Pete also worries about his grandfather’s increasing bouts of forgetfulness. Will Pete fess up and stop keeping secrets or will he strike-out with everyone he cares about? Sonnenblick’s honest character-driven novel will have you crossing your fingers for a homerun.

Reviewed by Tracy P., Independence Regional

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Code Talker : a Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two

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Bruchac, Joseph(2006)
Code Talker : a Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two
Young Adult

Bruchac begins this historical novel with six-year-old Ned Begay leaving his Navajo home for a boarding school to Americanize Navajo children. He weaves a tale of how he and other Navajo men were recruited to send radio messages in their native language to the battle front. Their native language mystified the enemy, aiding the American forces. This powerful war story seamlessly intertwines aspects of the Native American culture and honor with World War II facts and experiences. The detailed action-packed narrative, told by Ned to his grandchildren, reveals the injustice the United States government to Native Americans and the horror of battles in Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Guam and Okinawa that Ned experienced. I like this title because this suspense-filled story of great American heroes will appeal to young men.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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The Whisper

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Emma Clayton(2012)
The Whisper
Young Adult

What do you do after the world has ended? The pod fighters are ready for battle; the mutants have been trained; and the children`s army is prepped for war. But for twins with super powers, Mika and Ellie, another discovery must come first. With ancient greed battling to hold onto power and a past enemy tracking them down, Mika and Ellie will need to rely on help from unexpected places. War stalks nearer, promising devastation to all they know and love. Now the two must fight for life and death, but not only for their right to live, but for the right of every being on the planet.

Reviewed by Amanda D., University City Regional

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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

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Riggs, Ransom(2011)
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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Young Adult

Jacob used to wish he could go to the place where all his grandfather’s ‘amazing’ stories were set and have an adventure, but as Jacob got older he realized that the stories weren’t real. Until the day his grandfather died. Something killed Jacob’s grandfather and he saw it, but everyone is telling him that it’s not true. Jacob decides he wants to figure out the message his grandfather left him by going back his to childhood home in Wales. There he finds that his grandfather’s stories are truer than he ever thought - and that Jacob has the same talent his grandfather had. But it may prove to be just as dangerous and might lead him to a similar end.

Reviewed by Jessica W., University City Regional

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Lockdown

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Myers, Walter Dean(2010)
Lockdown
Young Adult

Fifteen year old Reese, locked up in a juvenile facility ironically named Progress, is just a fistfight away from being sent upstate to a “real” prison. A chance at redemption comes in the form of a work program at the local senior citizen’s home, but his behavior at Progress threatens to ruin this opportunity. This first-person account tells the story of a young man struggling to rise above his circumstances: violent inmates, authoritarian guards, an absentee mother, fear of ending up back on the streets, and the possibility of disappointing the most important person in his life, his sister Icy. Fans of Myers’ edgy and honest fiction will love this book.

Reviewed by Tracy P., Independence Regional

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First Meetings: Three Stories from the Enderverse

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Card, Orson Scott(2002)
First Meetings: Three Stories from the Enderverse

This addition to the brilliant Ender`s Game universe gives new insight into the background of several key characters as well as the short story that was later expanded into the first book. For fans of the series, this is a must-read, but the casual reader should definitely read Ender`s Game first, as it gives insight that is only fully appreciated within the context of the larger story. That said, this is a great example of the brilliant short story work of Orson Scott Card, as seen in his collections `Maps in a Mirror` and `Keeper of Dreams.” Fans should also check out the novella `A War of Gifts,` which addresses religious tensions within the battle school during Ender`s stay.

Reviewed by Jonathan W., Morrison Regional

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Acceleration

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McNamee, Graham(2005)
Acceleration
Young Adult

Duncan is serving time at his summer job in the transit system lost and found. It’s boring and tedious. Day after day he sorts and fetches lost items – junk, mostly. One day he comes across a new addition - a book - and he decides to read it. It’s disturbing. The book is a diary in which the owner has documented his crimes. They start small, but quickly escalate to diary entries and newspaper clippings of mutilated animals and arson. Soon, Duncan finds that the diary owner has tired of small crimes; he’s now on the hunt for the most dangerous game - people. Can Duncan stop this killer before it’s too late? This is a great fast-paced suspense/thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Reviewed by Jessica W., University City Regional

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Son

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Lowry, Lois(2012)
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Son
Young Adult

The concluding dystopian book in the Giver series is like you are sitting listening to a fable being told to you. The book is divided into three sections: Before, Between and Beyond. The book opens with Claire, a 14- year-old Vessel, blindfolded birthing a Product. Something goes wrong. The child is taken to the community nursery and Claire is reassigned to work in a boring hatchery job. In her unemotional world where everyone’s needs are met, she discovers her son has been stolen. She fights to find her son. Claire encounters a shipwreck, a monster in the woods and clashes with evil. Readers begin to wonder what it means to be human and live in community. What does real freedom really look like?

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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Earth Unaware: The First Formic War

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Card, Orson Scott(2012)
Earth Unaware: The First Formic War
Young Adult

This exciting addition to the Ender saga creates a much anticipated prequel detailing the events leading up to the popular Ender’s Game. On the edge of our solar system the El Cavador, an independent mining vessel, scratches a living from the refuse of space, and they are not alone. Coming from the border of known space and moving toward earth is a vessel far larger and faster than anything human-made. It is completely silent when contacted, and its motivations are unclear. The tight knit family that has run the El Cavador for generations must warn the rest of humanity before the unknown creatures reach the homeland, but will anyone believe them? A great read before the Ender’s Game movie comes out next year.

Reviewed by Jonathan W., Morrison Regional

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The Absolute Value of Mike

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Erskine, Kathryn(2011)
The Absolute Value of Mike
Young Adult

Mike is in trouble! His genius father took a job for the summer overseas. Mike is sent to his great-aunt and uncle’s house to stay. Mike’s father thinks the relatives have lined up an elaborate engineering project that will get Mike, a less than stellar student, into an elite high school and prepare him for college. What Mike finds when he arrives are elderly relatives teetering on the edge of competency, a town full of equally unique individuals, a $40,000 adoption bill due in just weeks for a town scheme, and no engineering project. How will he explain everything to his dad? How will he get through the summer? You’re sure to laugh as you discover “the absolute value of Mike!”

Reviewed by Larisa M., Morrison Regional

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16 going on 21

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Lee, Darrien(2009)
16 going on 21
Young Adult

Denim and Dre are the ideal picture of teenage puppy love. Growing up together as friends, it was just a matter of time until they fell in love. Denim`s parents are quite concerned about the relationship and when they voice their concerns, it only pushes them closer. These two headstrong teens take you on a ride throughout their early stages to the ultimate test of their love. When Dre mysteriously disappears, Denim is left feeling lost and confused. Unsure of how to handle it, she starts lashing out and not caring about the consequences. Young adults who enjoy the dramas of high school will enjoy this book and the entire series.

Reviewed by Candy H., Beatties Ford Road Branch

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A vs X

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Aaron, Jason(2012)
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A vs X

This collection of one of the most encompassing conflicts in Marvel history has hero fighting hero with the fate of the world in the balance. When the world destroying force known as The Phoenix returns to earth, it targets the young mutant Hope Summers. While the X-Men believe she can harness it for good, the Avengers consider her a threat to all life on Earth. An epic contained in one volume, the greatest heroes of the Marvel universe are forced against each other in increasingly desperate conflicts. This reviewer went into it without reading the stories preceding the book and found it easy to follow and pleasingly unpredictable.

Reviewed by Jonathan W., Morrison Regional

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The Skull in the Rock: How a Scientist, a Boy, and Google Earth Opened a New Window on Human Origins

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Berger, Lee R. and Marc Aronson(2012)
The Skull in the Rock: How a Scientist, a Boy, and Google Earth Opened a New Window on Human Origins
Young Adult

Have you ever seen a picture of a place using Google Earth? Professor Lee Berger, a paleoanthropologist, used Google Earth to find new places to hunt for fossils. When Dr. Berger took his son Matthew to one of the new dig sites, Matthew found the fossil of a human skeleton. That skeleton turned out to be a newly discovered human ancestor. The Skull in the Rock tells of how Dr. Berger studied the fossil Matthew found, explores other fossils Dr. Berger studied, and shows how Dr. Berger became an anthropologist. Photos of fossils, dig sites, charts, timelines, and Google Earth images bring the fossil hunts to life. If you are interested in anthropology, archaeology or fossils then this is the book for you!

Reviewed by Larisa M., Morrison Regional

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Black Heart

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Black, Holly(2012)
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Black Heart
Young Adult

In the third book of the Curse Worker’s series, we find Cassel Sharpe wrestling with major issues. Should he join the feds or continue in the family business? It seems like a pretty good deal, but something feels wrong about going straight. Of course, it would be different if Lila, the girl he is crazy about, wasn’t the daughter of a major mob bosses. There is also the issue of his mother being wanted by the feds and the prisoner of Lila’s father for something she stole. Life would be so much easier had Cassel been born in a normal family without the magical abilities that they all have. But would it be as much fun to be a normal teen as he thinks?

Reviewed by Linda K., North County Regional

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Panic

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Oliver, Lauren(2014)
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Panic
Young Adult

Panic is a secret, dangerous game played by graduating seniors. Heather never thought she would compete. Dodge isn`t afraid and has a secret that fuels him through the game. Both Heather and Dodge are playing for something and will risk everything to win. Panic is gripping suspense that will have you wondering what will happen next. This story makes you want to root for both Dodge and Heather, even though you know only one can win. The book is about more than the game of Panic. The characters learn about who they are and what really matters to them. Every character is flawed in some way, which makes the characters all the more believable. If you want a page-turner, this is the book for you.

Reviewed by DeShea J., West Boulevard Branch

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No Such Thing As Dragons

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Reeve, Phillip(2009)
No Such Thing As Dragons
Young Adult

Set in Germany in the Middle Ages, this is a heroic adventure. Ansel, a mute boy about 7 years old, is sold to a not-so-brave knight named Brock as his helper. Brock goes from town to town, selling protection from dragons, which he doesn`t believe exist. They get to a town in the mountains where the leader sends Brock, Ansel and a friar into the mountains above the town to fight their dragon. Else, a young girl from the mountains, had been taken up there before they arrived to act as a sacrifice to the real dragon. When they meet the dragon, they will all have to battle both it and their fears. They learn about bravery and survival. It`s A LOT of fun.

Reviewed by Thea J., South County Regional

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Hollow City

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Riggs, Ransom(2014)
Hollow City
Young Adult

In this sequel, Jacob and the “peculiar” children must leave their island in search of another ymbryne to help their headmistress, stuck in her bird form, before the “wight soldiers” capture and torture them all. Through a series of brief clashes with the enemy, the children journey through war-torn 1940`s London and its loops to find the last remaining ymbryne Miss Wren. If they fail in their mission, it could mean the end of all “peculiars.” A blend of science fiction, adventure, and mystery with the intriguing period photographs, you will zoom through this addictive read and beg for more!

Reviewed by Kara H., Mountain Island Branch

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Stay Where You Are & Then Leave

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Boyne, John(2013)
Stay Where You Are & Then Leave
Young Adult

Alfie Summerfield’s father broke his promise and went to fight in the First World War. It has now been four years, Alfie is nine-years-old and has no idea where his father could be, except that his mom told him his father was on a secret mission. Soon, Alfie has a shoe shine business in King’s Cross Station when he finally learns where his dad is and why he has stopped writing letters; his father is left alone and confused in a hospital. What should Alfie do? This is a riveting tale about the love a son has for a father during a time that was confusing to most people. It’s exciting, sad, and captivating—a worthwhile read to any lover of historical fiction.

Reviewed by Maeve C., University City Regional

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Trapped

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Northrop, Michael(2011)
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Trapped
Young Adult

Scotty and his friends Jason and Pete get snowed in at school after staying late to work on a shop class project. At first, this seems like it’s going to be fun when Scotty finds out that one of the hottest girls in school is stuck there too, along with three other students and Coach Gossell. After realizing they are stranded, Coach Gossell sets out to try to find help; he’s never seen again. There’s no phone reception, and this ends up turning into the storm of all storms. What was fun at first, turns into a fight for survival.

Reviewed by Donna R., Mint Hill Branch

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