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23 Apr 14

Meyer, Marissa. CINDER
Feiwel and Friends, 2012

Cinder is a sixteen-year-old cyborg; human, but she’s been reconfigured with some mechanical parts. It’s a hard life. Cyborgs are considered second class citizens in society and Cinder is also mistreated at home. She lives with her nasty step-mother and step-sisters. Taking her name into account, I bet you’re sensing a familiar story here. And you’re right. This is a science fiction mash-up of the classic Cinderella tale, but it’s unique; set in futuristic China with some exciting added action. Of course, like the original, there’s romance with an uber-charming prince. But this isn’t a flat retelling. The connection between Cinder and Prince Kai is more than love at first sight and it’s fun watching it develop. The characters aren’t stereotypes. Cinder’s a good mix: feisty, mechanical and tough. There are no mice or fairy godmothers to help out. Cinder’s a take charge gal determined to solve her own problems, although she does get a bit of help from a droid and the prince. Anyone could use help since the problems facing Cinder, and all of New Beijing for that matter, are monumental. There’s a deadly plague, and the threat of an invasion from a civilization hell bent on taking over Earth. This is a fresh look at a timeless tale. There’s only one drawback; it’s part of a trilogy so you’ll need to keep reading for the final resolution. Patricia McClune, Conestoga Valley High School (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

22 Apr 14

Levithan, David. EVERY DAY
New York : Knopf, 2012
ISBN 0375971114
“Every day I am someone else … It has always been like this.” Every morning, A wakes up in a different body: a boy or girl, rich or poor, healthy or sick. He can access facts about the person’s life to guide him through the day, but every night he leaves it all behind to start over again the next morning. After 16 years he’s gotten used to this existence, and he’s learned not to get too attached to anyone or anything. But on Day 5994, everything changes. A wakes up in the body of a boy named Justin, and he spends the day with Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. Suddenly, letting go at the end of the day isn’t so easy. A wants to be with Rhiannon the next day, and the next, and every day after that. He starts taking risks to see Rhiannon again, though every time he looks like a stranger to her. He wants to explain everything, but would she ever believe him, or be able to love him back? Is A the only one in the world who lives this way? If he could change his life, would he … or should he? Open Every Day and you will get caught up in this one-of-a-kind novel by David Levithan from the very first page!
Amy V. Pickett, Ridley High School (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

21 Apr 14

Laban, Elizabeth. THE TRAGEDY PAPER
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2013
ISBN 0375970401

The Tragedy Paper is the title of the book and also the name of a huge assignment that every student at the prestigious Irving School must write in order to pass senior English. They all know the assignment is coming and it’s stressful. Like the tragedy paper, there are other traditions at the Irving School. It’s a boarding school steeped in traditions, including one that involves graduating seniors leaving a “treasure” for the next student to get his or her room. On the first day of fall semester the new seniors are excited to see what was left for them. Was it a favorite book with a list of tips for passing English, a check for $500 (someone actually got that one year!) or something generic like a bag of M&Ms? Duncan finds a note and a stack of CDs narrated by and left for him by Tim MacBeth. Tim was a loner who only came to Irving for the last semester of his senior year. Duncan already knows what happened to Tim last year and it wasn’t good. But he doesn’t know the whole story. It’s important for Tim to recount it and for Duncan to hear it. This is an interwoven story of friendship and first love, and of peer pressure and the magnitude of certain choices. Patricia McClune, Conestoga Valley High School (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

26 Mar 14

Somerville, MA : Candlewick, 2012
ISBN 0763655279
Matt Foster is angry—belligerent at school, alienated from his bullying father—and grieving for his big brother T. J., who never came back from the Iraq war. All he wants is for people to leave him alone and to have some of T. J.’s personal effects, something to remember him by. So when big boxes arrive from the military, he is determined to open them up, even though his father has warned him not to go anywhere near them. The letters Matt finds inside reveal a secret life that T.J. led before he died that Matt had never even dreamed of. Matt takes off on a road trip to find the letter writer, even though he knows his father will be furious. What will he find? Will this letter writer even want to meet him? Will what he discovers change his life forever? (Winnie Host, Penncrest High School)
(Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

16 Mar 14

New York : Random Hosue, 2010
ISBN 1400064163
This is the extraordinary true story of Louis Zamperini, 1936 Olympic runner and World War II bombardier, who was shot down over the Pacific Ocean flying a mission and didn’t make it home for twenty- seven months. Adrift on a raft, starving, thirsty, and weakened for 47 days he survived only to fall into the hands of the Japanese who imprisoned him for the next two years. Louis suffered physical and mental torture, hunger, extreme cold, illness, and crushing work loads which almost broke him—and yet he survived. Read this, and be inspired by a war hero who was forced to the very limits of human endurance. Winnie Host, Penncrest High School (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

13 Mar 14

New York : Acacia Publishing, 2013
ISBN 1935089447
Have you ever felt like you are just trying to survive high school? Neighbors and best friends, Sophie and Carter are working hard to do just that. They do not dream about cars, proms, and graduation. Instead, they struggle to meet their very adult responsibilities and still attend high school. Both Carter and Sophie struggle to keep their families together while caring for troubled mothers and siblings. The only thing they have to look forward to is the evenings they spend together on Sophie’s front porch swing. -Peg Bruch, Bangor Area High School. (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

12 Mar 14

Somerville, MA : Candlewick Press, 2012
ISBN 0763655562
“It’s my best idea yet!” Coming from Coop, this can only mean trouble. Whether it’s a plot to see a naked girl or to play in the Battle of the Bands, Coop’s schemes usually end in headache and heartbreak for his best friends Matt and Sean. His newest plan is to get rich quick by making the next big low-budget horror film. Sean laughs it off until his parents drop a bombshell: his mother is pregnant, and when the baby arrives, Sean will have to share a room with his twin sister and “Queen of Darkness,” Kathy. Suddenly, Sean could really use some extra cash to help pay for an addition on the house, and winning $30,000 in a film contest doesn’t seem so crazy. Luckily they have a killer concept for Zonkey!, featuring a plague of half-man, half-monkey zombie-vampire hybrids. Things start falling into place when Sean talks his Uncle Doug into financing the project. His new girlfriend, Evelyn, has access to some slick video equipment. Kathy’s best friend, Nessa, volunteers to help Sean out with the script. Maybe best of all, Sean gets to cast his drama class crush as the lead actress. But things get complicated when Uncle Doug demands creative control … Evelyn insists on taking over the lead part, revealing a serious jealous streak in the process … and Sean starts to wonder if Nessa actually likes him, or if she and Kathy are just up to a scheme of their own. Will Sean straighten out his love life, secure his own room, and finish the movie on time? Read the hilarious, totally fun Call the Shots to find out! (Amy V. Pickett, Ridley High School) (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

08 Mar 14

Bruchac, Joseph. WOLF MARK
New York : Tu Books, 2011
ISBN 160060661X
Luke’s dad taught him a lot of things including outdoor survival skills, of course; after all they’re descendants of a Native American Indian tribe. But Luke’s dad also taught him martial arts including four different ways to disarm an unsuspecting enemy. Luke and his dad live alone in a ram shackled trailer in the middle of nowhere. They stay under the radar and Luke doesn’t ask too many questions. He knows his dad is former black ops, and that it left him emotionally scarred. They don’t have neighbors or family to rely on, so when Dad is kidnapped it’s up to Luke to find him. This story rips into a high-octane action adventure as Luke uses every skill in his arsenal to outwit evil villains, the Russian mafia and an unscrupulous scientist to rescue his dad. Along the way he uncovers the family’s dark secret. One look at the cover and it’s not likely giving anything away to say the story includes werewolves. But not the European werewolves you probably imagine. Luke and his dad are skin walkers…shape changers. Is that a blessing or a curse? You’ll need to read Wolf Mark to find out.
Patricia McClune, Conestoga Valley High School (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

07 Mar 14

Bodeen, S. A. THE RAFT
New York : Feiwel and Friends, 2012
ISBN 0312650108

Robie peeked over the edge of the raft, water everywhere. It wasn’t a dream, it was a real nightmare. It was her normal flight from Honolulu to her home on the island. It was the same cargo plane, the same pilot, just a new co-pilot. But something had gone terribly wrong. There was a crash in the ocean. With the pilot dead and the co-pilot unconscious, she struggles to survive on a leaky raft with no supplies but a bag of Skittles. Robie just hoped that help would come in time. Marti Trzepacz, Strath Haven Middle School (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

05 Mar 14

Bardugo, Leigh. SHADOW AND BONE
New York : Henry Holt, 2012
ISBN 0805094598
Ravka, a land constantly at war with its neighbors, is divided in two by the “Unsea,” an almost impenetrable swath of darkness infested with flesh-eating monsters called volcra. Alina Starkov, an orphan of the Border Wars, has spent most of her life in an orphanage along with her best friend and secret crush, Mal. In Ravka, Grisha Examiners test every child for magical abilities. When neither Alina nor Mal shows any talent for magic, they are assigned to the less glamorous tasks of map-making and tracking. But on their first crossing through the Unsea, they are attacked by volcra. Mal is nearly killed and Alina’s magic finally reveals itself: she is a Sun-Summoner, the only one who can bring light into the Unsea and reunite all of Ravka. She’s quickly whisked away into the glamorous world of the Grisha elite and their mysterious leader, the Darkling. As Alina struggles to adapt to a world of rigorous training and royal gossip, she falls under the Darkling’s seductive spell even though Mal is never far from her mind. But when a dark secret is revealed, she realizes that she might be even more important to Ravka than she ever could have imagined – and in more danger. This intense, action-packed, romantic high fantasy is the first in a trilogy, and a movie is already in development. Read it ASAP! (Amy V. Pickett, Ridley High School) (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

04 Mar 14

TenNapel, Doug. CARDBOARD
New York : Graphix, 2012
IL 5-8, RL 2.6
ISBN 0545418720

When you were young did you build things out of cardboard boxes? Cam’s father brings home a cardboard box for Cam’s birthday and they build a boxer with it. Only the cardboard is magical and the cardboard Boxer comes alive. Read this to see the adventures Cam and his Boxer have after Cam’s spoiled, really bad neighbor steals the left over cardboard and makes evil creatures. A fun, enjoyable story for all ages. (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

04 Mar 14

New York : Disney/Hyperion Books, 2011
IL 5-8, RL 4.7
ISBN 1423139968

“I’m not just un-cool; I’m anti-cool. I mean, I even know how to properly use a semicolon in a sentence. What could be more pathetic than that?” That’s the description Maureen gives of herself. She is a nerd girl. And one day she stands up to the Popular Perfect Pretty Girls in her school and forever seals her fate as a nerd. She’s not alone, however. She has two new “friends” in Allergy Alice and Barbara. Suddenly, by uniting, these three nerd girls could just take on the Popular Pretty perfect and undoubtedly mean girls of the school and reclaim some self-dignity. Can the Nerd Girls take the Popular Girls? You’ll sure hope so in this roller coaster ride of a book. (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

26 Feb 14

New York : Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
IL 5-8, RL 6.0
ISBN 0547707789

Elaine Scott takes us to Chile to the San Jose copper mine where, on August 5, 2010, 33 miners were trapped 2000 feet underground. It doesn't take long for the men to discover that the safety features designed to save their lives are insufficient for the task. Quickly the men switch their thinking from escape to survival mode. They begin to ration the little food and water they can find and try to keep active, all the while hoping for a miracle. A miracle” that’s what it would take. A miracle is something wonderful that happens in spite of overwhelming odds.” Follow the miners through their epic journey and back. You will be amazed to learn of the global interest and involvement in problem solving that made this rescue a success. (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

25 Feb 14

Nielson, Jennifer A. FALSE PRINCE
New York : Scholastic, 2012
IL 5-8, RL 5.2
ISBN 0545284139

Was he or wasn’t he, the true Prince of Carthya? Had he been murdered by pirates or was he alive in an orphanage? Follow the treacherous trail filled with murder and mayhem through this imaginary kingdom and locate the real Prince Jaron. (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

24 Feb 14

New York : Scholastic, 2012
IL 3-6, RL 4.5
ISBN 0545395399

If you love a good adventure where ordinary kids like you can do amazing things, Capture the Flag is for you! Three seventh graders with nothing in common attend an event at the Smithsonian Museum where the original flag created by Betsey Ross is stolen. The next day, the same three kids are stranded in the same part of the airport after a snowstorm. They soon discover that they have more in common than they realized, particularly that they were at the Smithsonian when the flag was stolen. Figuring that the thief could be stranded at the airport with them, they launch an investigation to “capture the flag” before it becomes lost forever. (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

22 Feb 14


The Unwanteds is like The Giver meeting Harry Potter. Thirteen years-olds in Quill are assigned a category on Purge Day. The Wanteds go on to the University, The Necessarys do the farming and other necessary jobs and those who are creative are the Unwanteds and sent to be purged at the Death Farm. Once they get to the Death Farm they discover Mr. Today who helps them learn magic and prepares them to fight the Quillians, if necessary. This fantasy, adventure is for those who are dystopian fans. (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

21 Feb 14

New York : G P. Putnam's Sons, 2012
IL 5-8, RL 3.9
ISBN 039925644X

Best friends forever, it seems so simple. Middle school is difficult enough, but Marlee and Lisa find themselves in a stressful situation that could be dangerous. They are in the wrong place, at the wrong time. In the late 1950’s, Little Rock, Arkansas and many southern Communities are trying to come to grips with the Federal school integration laws. Everyone is taking sides, teachers, parents, students, and politicians. Two best friends forever-Faithful through thick and thin. One Black, one white. Friends forever regardless of color of skin. (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

20 Feb 14

New York : Harper, 2011
IL 3-6, RL 4.8
ISBN 0061962783

Ten year old Ha lives in Saigon during the Vietnam War. Her father is missing in action in North Vietnam. When South Vietnam falls, her mother, brothers and Ha are forced to leave Saigon for the United States on a crowded ship. Ha’s family is adopted by an Alabama man. They struggle to adjust to American food, holidays, school and customs. Using details from the author’s life, this moving story is a year in the life of this family that is told in verse. (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

17 Feb 14

New York : Harper, 2012
IL 5-8, RL 5.6
ISBN 0061988901
John Smith, Jr., nicknamed Houdini after his favorite hero, hears an author speak and decides that he too can write a book following the authors’ rules for writing for teens. Hoping to write a best seller so he can buy his father a new car and pay for college, his writings humorously explore his life and interactions with friends and family. His fear of the town bully and the one armed Vietnam vet and worries for his own brother serving in Iraq lead him to better understand himself and others around him. See how this alters his world view. (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

14 Feb 14

New York : Scholastic, 2012
IL 3-6, RL 7.6
ISBN 0545116740
Have you ever wondered what it was really like to be aboard the Titanic when she sank? In Titanic: Voices from the Disaster, Deborah Hopkinson collects eyewitness accounts from crew, passengers, and those involved in the rescue effort. These account are woven together to present an eerie witness to perhaps the most famous shipwreck ever. The book moves along as the Titanic maiden voyage slowly unfolds. Photographs taken by a passenger who got off the ship before she set sail on the open sea, help the reader feel what it was like aboard the floating city. Information is provided in the back of the book about the final fate of the passengers whose accounts are included. An extensive list of sources and websites is also included in the back. (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

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