Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Weightless by Sarah Bannan

So sad, and so necessary.  I think that all high school students and their parents and teachers  and school counselors and administrators should read this as well as the parents of middle school students.  The narrator of the story only calls herself "we" because she is just part of the group and in the end, we are all responsible.  The narrator describes how a beautiful new girl named Carolyn arrives in town and. because she is beautiful and new, she is accepted into the school and is nominated for the homecoming court.  Carolyn doesn't understand that the various cliques at the school are separate and that she can't just go from one to another.  She begin's dating the most handsome boy at school, Shane, which makes his now ex-girlfriend hate Carolyn.  She joins the swim team where they see scars on her arms.  Eventually, Carolyn is bullied and a video of her making out with Shane is posted online.  The book shows the attitudes of the students about everything that goes down.  "We" didn't really participate in any bullying of Carolyn.  Sure, there was that one time, but they changed what we said or perhaps someone else spread that rumor.  The book shows how we are all accountable for how we treat others and that being a bystander is also being guilty.  We could have done something different if we had known what was going to happen.  Perhaps we could have changed things, but it is too late now.  The book is just heartbreaking.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Signs Point To Yes by Sandy Hall

Signs Point to Yes
This is a light, cute, fun teen summer romance novel with a few important issues added in.  Jane is not interested in college though her parents are pushing her to make that decision.  She takes a summer job as a babysitter and the girls' older half brother, Teo, is the romantic interest, although not at first.  He has step-dad issues and wants to find his real dad, but his mother has not ever cooperated with him about that.  I think teens who like romance will enjoy this novel.

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan

Julia VanishesThis is an interesting first book in a new series.  Julia is not a witch, although her mother was drowned as a witch when Julia was 7 years old.  However, Julia can hide from other people's sight.  She works in the seedier side of town and her current job is to be a maid in a house as she searches for  something there, she is not really sure what.  There is mystery, action, and magic in this intriguing book!

Friday, May 26, 2017

In America's Shadow (Carter G Woodson Award Book (Awards)) by Kimberly Komatsu, Kaleigh Komatsu, Mitchell T. Maki,

In America's Shadow (Carter G Woodson Award Book (Awards))

Sad, haunting photographs illustrate this story of sadness and hope of how the Japanese Americans were forced to live in concentration camps in the deserts during World War II.   Their young men were still drafted and fought and died for our country, but the families were imprisoned in concentration camps in substandard conditions.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

The Bone Sparrow
This is such a sad story.  And what is even sadder is that real things like this are happening to people right now in many places in the world. Subhi was born in an Australian refugee center where people who have fled from atrocities in their home countries are treated like prisoners.  While his story is fiction, the conditions in the Australian refugee detention center are horrible and the country has made it illegal for people to report about what goes on in them.  Refugees are treated horribly there and in other places in the world, with many countries, including the US, either holding them in prisons or detention centers or refusing to allow them into the country so they die in boats at sea.  The book is suitable for grades 5 and up.  I think that it is an important issue and this book helps bring it to light.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

The Perfect Stranger
I couldn't put this mystery thriller down!  Leah Stevens, a journalist who was forced to leave her job because she was accused of unethical behavior, has moved to a small town with her old friend, Emmy, and become a high school teacher.  When the body of a woman who looks a lot like Leah is found nearby, and Emmy is missing, Leah is determined to find her roommate and find out what happened and what is going on.  There are plot twists and many mysteries in this fun to read story.

The Atlas of Us by Tracy Buchannan

The Atlas of Us
Several stories are told in this book as Louise searches for her mother, Nora, or her mother's body after the tsunami in Thailand.  A journal belonging to a woman named Claire is found in Louise's mother's bag and so, we follow Claire's story and try to learn how it she is connected to Nora.

My Life as a Bench by Jaq Hazell

My Life as a Bench
Well, this is an interesting concept.  Ren died at age 17 and now she is living on in her memorial bench by the Thames river in London.  Ren is able to communicate with Lionel, the memorial bench closest to her.  Lionel was an old man and he tries to share his wisdom with Ren who relives her relationship with her boyfriend, Gabe, every night.  She also relives her death, but she can never remember it when she "awakens" in the mornings.  When she finds out that Gabe has been charged with her death, she is determined to remember how she died because she is certain that Gabe did not kill her.  Lionel has told Ren that she can communicate with the living if she tries hard enough and her goal is to convince someone that Gabe is innocent so that he won't be convicted of her murder.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo book 2) by Rick Riordan

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2)
In this second book of the Trials of Apollo, Apollo is a mortal teenage boy named Lester who is now working with Leo and Calypso and some others to try to save the oracles.  There is action, adventure, friendship and breaking of stereotypes in this fun to read book!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement by Irene Spencer

Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement
Irene tells the story of the LaBaron polygamous cult in Mexico in the 1950s to the 1980s.  While Joel LeBaron was the self-appointed prophet and leader of the group, his brother Ervil wanted to be the leader and he gained his own group, eventually becoming known as the Mormon Charles Manson because he got several of his wives and others to kill people who refused to follow his twisted teachings and leadership.  Irene was married to the third LaBaron brother, Verlen, one of his 10 wives.  She illustrates how truly insane Ervil was, but I don't think that she seemed to understand how insane the whole group and it's teachings were.  The book is quite interesting.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Secrets in Summer
  I chose to read this book because the author will be speaking at the library where I work next week. I am very glad that I chose to read it!  The main character, Darcy, is a librarian in Nantucket, which sounds like a lovely place based on the descriptions in the book.  Darcy has inherited her grandmother's home and is living there when surprisingly, her ex-husband and his wife whom he left Darcy for, show up at the rental house next door.  Darcy has a handsome new boyfriend and while she tries to avoid relationships with the summer people, she winds up befriending her ex-husband's step daughter and an elderly woman named Mimi who is renting the house on the other side of Darcy's home. Mimi is staying there with her handsome grandson who is quite interested in Darcy.  The story and characters are very interesting and the book is a fun read!  I highly recommend it.

Soar by Joan Bauer

I listened to the audio version of this Texas Bluebonnet Award winning book.  It is a touching story and I think that kids will enjoy it.  Eleven year old Jeremiah is a heart transplant recipient and while he is doing well, he is unable to play sports.  An avid baseball fan, he has decided to be a coach and has the opportunity to coach a middle school baseball team in the new town that he and his adoptive father move to.  Even though I am not a sports fan, I still enjoyed this book and it helped me to better appreciate the role of sports in the lives of the people who do enjoy them.  The book is inspirational and a fun read.  I will definitely recommend this book to others.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tree Magic by Harriet Springbett

Tree Magic
Rainbow can shape trees using her hands, but her stepfather is very much against anything spiritual or psychic.  When a tragic accident occurs, the choices that she makes determine the course of her life.  Can she live the way she has chosen to?  With tree magic, parallel universes and romance, this story is a fascinating tale.

The Sound of Gravel a memoir by Ruth Wariner

The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir by [Wariner, Ruth]
I read this book all in one day and stayed up too late at night to finish it because I could not put it down.  Ruth grew up in a polygamous colony, the 39th of her father's 42 children.  Her father had been the leader of his group, but was murdered by his brother when Ruth was an infant.  Her mother had remarried within the group and Ruth grew up in their group's colony in Mexico in abject poverty. Her mother took Ruth and her siblings back and forth to the US to collect welfare and they lived in the US for a couple of years at one point, after her stepfather beat her mother and she left.  Her mother returned to the abusive husband, who, we learn, abused many of his children as well, including Ruth.  The story is heartbreaking in parts, and shows Ruth's strength and resilience as she was able to overcome the abuse and tragedies in her life and save herself and her siblings from her abusive step-father.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase (The Librarians #2) by Greg Cox

The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase (The Librarians, #2)
Cassandra, Ezekiel and Stone, guardians for the Library that houses magical items, set out on a search for the missing parts of the Mother Goose spells after a series of odd events.  There is lots of action and adventure as they battle Mother Goose, the Three Blind Mice and others in a attempt to get the spell book and stop Humpty Dumpty from being put back together again because that would be the end of the world as we know it.  The book is full of action and a fun read!

Nobody's Girl by Barbara Amaya

Nobody's Girl: A Memoir of Lost Innocence, Modern Day Slavery & Transformation

Barbara tells her story of how after being abused at home, she ran away repeatedly and wound up becoming a victim of human trafficking at age 13.  She tells how she became addicted to heroin, but managed to eventually get clean from drugs, get out of prostitution, get an education, and help others who are also in the same trouble.  I think this is an important story and I highly recommend it.