New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2016
Sasha has suffered many loses in her short 13 years. First her mother left the family. Then her father was killed in a mining accident. Her brother Michael gave up his dream of leaving their small town to stay and take care of Sasha. But he too is gone. Michael has died in an accident and now Sasha is alone in the world. She is sent to live with Phyllis, a nice woman who takes in foster children. It isn't easy for Phyllis. Sasha is a handful. She runs away. She breaks things. She gets into fights. But through it all, Phyllis stays by Sasha's side. Sasha is drawn to 9-year-old Mikey who lives next door and has lots of issues of his own. When Sasha joins the school's poetry club, she finally finds something in her life that makes sense. Will poetry be Sasha's voice?
DROWNED CITY : HURRICANE KATRINA AND NEW ORLEANS
New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
On August 29, 2005, everything changed for the people of New Orleans. Everyone was watching Hurricane Katrina for days as it tracked towards the city. It was unthinkable that this could happen. But it did. The storm was massive and hit with such tremendous force that there was no escaping the fury. There were many mistakes made by the those in charge that made thinks worse. When the storm was finally over, more than 1,400 people had lost their lives and things would never be the same. Live the horrible event as it crashes into the city.
Schlitz, Laura Amy.
THE HIRED GIRL
Somerville, MA : Candlewick, 2015
Fourteen year old Joan Scraggs sees a horrible future ahead of her. Her father has forced her to drop out of school to work around the farm. She loved school and her teacher who had encouraged her to read and learn. But since Joan's mother passed away, Joan is forced to do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry as well as looking after the chickens and the vegetable garden. He father shows her no affection and her brothers are slobs. Joan just can't imagine that she will be cooking and cleaning for these men for the rest of her life. So she does what she sees as her only hope. She runs away and heads to the city of Baltimore. Hired girls can cook and clean and get paid $6 a week. After a long train ride, Joan finds herself alone in the dark and not sure where to go after the train is delayed. What was she thinking? How did she think a dirty girl from a hardscrabble farm in Pennyslvania could ever hope to become a respectable educated girl in the city?
A DEATH-STRUCK YEAR
New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014
It is 1918 and the United States is involved in the First World War. In Portland, Oregon Cleo and her family believe they are too far west to be affected by the Spanish flu that is striking people on the east coast. They have heard about the devastation that this disease has played in Europe and in the soldiers returning from war. Cleo is told to stay at her boarding school until her family returns from a short trip but she decides that she will be better off at home than stuck at school so she sneaks off. Within one day, the influenza epidemic has found it's way to Portland and that 200 people are affected. At home, she learns that the Red Cross is looking for volunteers to help with the influenza epidemic. She musters up her courage and volunteers to help by going door to door to find those too sick to ask for help. This sounds like a noble cause until reality hits.
New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.
Peak Marcello made headlines for his attempt to be the youngest person to climb Mt. Everest. At the top, Peak decided that his sherpa deserved the honor more than he did. It has been awhile since that time and he has tried to live a normal life -- whatever that is. When one of the richest men in the world offers him a chance to be part of a massive climbing event, he and his mother decide to take part. Two hundred teens from all over the world will be taking part in the Peace Climb. They will be working in small groups and will be climbing different mountains but all are scheduled to summit the same day. Peak's group will be climbing in war-torn Afghanistan. Peak is not exactly thrilled at this idea but he is assured that they will be safe. He will be working with his old film crew from Everest as well as his Sherpa friend Zopa. There will be body guards along also. His team consists of four other teens -- one of which happens to be the daughter of an important French diplomat. Surely they wouldn't send her into a dangerous situation. Or would they? Climb along with Peak as he finds himself in a very different sort of danger.
Going, K. L.
PIECES OF WHY
New York : Kathy Dawson Books, 2015
IL 5-8, RL 4.9
Tia is a 12-year-old girl living in New Orleans. Her favorite thing to do is to sing. She is part of a gospel choir and she loves everything about the choir. Until it happens. One night as they are rehearsing, shots ring out near the church. A car jacking has led to a murder of a child. Tia is suddenly flooded with memories of her father. Her father who is in prison for the murder of a young girl. As much as Tia's mother has tried to protect her from this, Tia is wanting to know more. And the other members of the choir have learned about Tia's past.
ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND
Alice Bell knows that her father won't go out at night. She doesn't understand why. Everyone thinks he is a bit deranged. But when he does agree to go to her sister's concert, she comes to understand why he is so afraid. On the way home, they are attacked by creatures who kill Alice's parents and her sister. Alice goes to live with her grandparents and she learns the horrible truth. There are monsters out there that only a few can see. Her father was one of them. And she is another. And now she joins a team of others teens to fight the undead and avenge the deaths of her family.
READY PLAYER ONE
The year is 2044 and the world is a lot different than we know now. The world is an ugly reality to live in so those who can escape into the OASIS, a utopian virtual world. Wade Watts can't afford to purchase a lot of extras in the world but he does attend school in OASIS and plays lots of games. When James Halliday announces the biggest game in the universe, Wade is all in. Halliday has died and in his will he has detailed an elaborate online game. Halliday is the inventor of OASIS and he has hidden an Easter egg somewhere in OASIS. The contestants must make their way through different levels of the game and duel virtual enemies to try to find the Easter egg. Wade takes on the challenge and he sends his avatar Parzival on the quest for the largest payout in history -- ownership of OASIS itself. It won't be easy. Thousands of players are also on the quest. And there are evil corporations that will do anything for the prize.
Clark, Simon P.
TELL THE STORY TO ITS END
New York : St. Martin's Griffin, 2015
Oli and his mother have come to the country to stay with relatives but no one will tell him why his father is not with them. Oli in encouraged to explore the house as well as the town. He explores the attic in the house and finds a mysterious creature named Eren. Oli is not quite sure if Eren is even real. But the winged creature thirsts for stories. Lots of stories. Oli tells the stories but there is always the need for another. What is Eren and why are the stories needed?
LARRY AND THE MEANING OF LIFE
New York : Square Fish, 2014
Josh Swensen, aka Larry, is back and he is still searching for the meaning of life. After his adventures writing his blog and his run for President, he is still searching. And what better place to search than Walden Pond. Here he meets a strange man who convinces him to join a study group to find answers. Josh is a bit skeptical at first but he is intrigued. He starts with the idea that this is all a joke, but when he finds that his old crush is in the group, he is drawn in even more. How far will Josh go to find the meaning of life? And what twists and turns will we be put through this time?
New York : Feiwel and Friends, 2015
This is going to be the cruise of a lifetime. Laurel can't believe that she gets to go. There is no way her family could afford to send her but her best friend's father has paid her way. The curise is filled with celebrities and the ship is amazing. This is the launch of Solu -- a new sweetener that actually helps you loose weight. The world has been waiting for this and the guest on this cruise will be the first to use it. Laurel is wondering if she can really fit in and when the Tom Forelli, the hottest celeb on the cruise, starts to talk to her, she throws up on his shoes. Not a great start. Little does she know that things will get a lot worse on this cruise. When she realizes that Solu may have shocking side effects, can she convince her best friend to stop taking it?
FIND MOMO : MY DOG IS HIDING IN THIS BOOK
New York : Quirk Books, 2014
In 2012, Andrew Knapp started photographing his border collie, Momo, hiding in various places, and then posted these shots on Instagram with the hashtag #findMomo. Knapp’s 600 followers quickly grew and now he has over 350,000 followers who play this massive game of hide-and-seek. In this photo essay readers can join the fun, searching for Momo in over 100 photographs. In case readers get stumped, an answer key is included which also gives information about where each photograph was taken. This book is pure enjoyment, reminiscent of searching for Waldo, but with beautiful photography. (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE
Simon & Schuster, 2014
Lara Jean’s love letters to all the boys she’s ever crushed on were never supposed to be mailed. They were just a way for her to move on by proving to herself that she is over it. The letters were sealed and safely stored away in a special hatbox that belonged to her mother, who died years ago. But somehow these secret love letters have been sent and delivered: to a crush from summer camp … to her very first kiss, Peter, who has just broken up with his girlfriend … and to her older sister’s boyfriend, the boy next door who Lara Jean adored from afar before he began dating Margot. Now that her secrets have been exposed, what will Lara Jean do next? She can’t turn to Margot, who is studying abroad. A fake relationship with Peter, who wants to get back at his ex, seems like a good idea at first. But real feelings bubble to the surface as Lara Jean realizes that maybe she’s not as over it all as she thought. Is this whole mess the worst thing that could happen, or a bit of romantic serendipity? And if you need more sweet secrets in your life, check out P.S. I Still Love You, a sequel that will make you fall for Lara Jean’s story all over again! (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
New York : Speak, 2014
At age 13, Theo was focused on ballet, her best friend Donovan, and her secret older boyfriend Trent. But then Trent dumped her, Donovan vanished, and Theo developed a severe eating disorder. Four years later, she's healthier and steadily pursuing her dream of being one of only a few African-American ballerinas to dance with a professional company. When Donovan is found and returned home, Theo is shocked to discover that the "person of interest" in Donovan's abduction is none other than Trent. Now Theo is torn between her dark secret and her loyalty to Donovan, who isn't speaking to anyone. As one of the last people to see Donovan before his disappearance, Theo is expected to testify, and she battles with herself over how much to reveal about her history with the man on trial. Will it impact her opportunities in the dance world, and will it change how a new love interest sees her? Meanwhile, the more she worries, the less she eats. Theo’s awakening to the truth about Trent, Donovan, and especially herself is suspenseful and emotional. This beautifully creative debut novel is realistic YA fiction at its best! (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Boston : Little Brown, 2012
Four minutes. That's all. Just four minutes late for her flight. When has a flight ever left on time? As she watches the plane leave, she is wondering if maybe she wanted to miss the plane. She is on her way to London for her father's second marriage. She is not happy about him leaving and she doesn't really want to go. As she waits for a later flight, she meets a young man who is also going to London for a family event. As the hours pass by on the flight, the two talk, share, tease and pass the time. They both feel very comfortable with each other and are reluctant to part when they land. Oliver likes throwing out statistics. What would he say was the statistical probability of them ever meeting again?
RULE OF THRE3
New York : Farrar, Straus Giroux, 2014
It is just another day at school. Todd is trying to get a paper done before last period and Adam is trying to help. When the lights go out, it sends that giddy feeling to the kids in the library. But it is more than that. The cell phones don't work either. Then they find that the buses and cars don't work. Any item that needs a computer to run is just dead. No explanations and no way to find out what is going on. Fortunately Adam's car is an old one that doesn't need computers to run. He is able to get home but many others are not so fortunate. Everyone assumes things will be back to normal soon. As the days go by and that doesn't happen, things begin to get a bit desperate. There are three rules for survival. You can go 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. Beyond that, you're dead. Now it is down to survival. What will happen to Adam's neighborhood? What happens when civilization breaks down?
Katherine Tegen Books, 2014
Jamie is a senior on the staff of Gumshoe, the school's literary magazine. He is confident with his sexuality at home where his mom and stepdad applaud him - in fact, his mom can't wait for him to have a boyfriend, and his stepfather wanted to be sure to support Jamie when he came out, so he threw him a party with balloons and "congratulations" - very charming family!
At school, though, it's a different story. He's had a crush on his best friend Mason for a long time and fears losing his friendship if he fesses up to being gay. The girls in the art class have it all figured out, though, and they attempt to work their magic to get Jamie together with his dream boy and best friend. When Jamie makes an independent decision about including a gay-themed comic for the magazine, things start happening - big time! .(Booktalk by NH Flume Committee)
I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN
New York : Dial Books, 2014
Noah and Jude are twins who have always felt connected. Jude is the popular one, pretty and outgoing. Noah is the quiet, artistic one, who sees more in the world, but is always being picked on, until Brian moves in next door.
Fast forward two years, and things have changed. Their mom is dead, and the twins seem to have swapped lives. What happened and why comes in spurts of insight/story from each twin, both past and present, until it all comes together.
The language and imagery is delightful, with Noah being the more fanciful, but this excerpt is Jude talking to Noah:
“‘Maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people’ I say. ‘Maybe we’re accumulating these new selves all the time.’ Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things.
“He grins. ‘Each new self standing on the last one’s shoulders until we’re these wobbly people poles?’
“I die of delight. ‘Yes, exactly! We’re all just wobbly people poles!’” (Booktalk by NH Flume Committee)
TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE
New York : Simon and Schuster, 2014
Lara Jean has this habit of writing really detailed love letters to boys she has crushes on in order to get them out of her system. Detailed, down to cataloging their good and bad qualities. Then she puts them away, and is done with both the boy and the letter.
Suddenly, the letters are missing, and boys are coming up to her with her letter in their hands.
This wasn't just a story of mortification, though it could have been, but it's about how Lara Jean copes with the revelations, as well as her sister Margot going off to college in Scotland, being in love with Margot’s boyfriend, taking care of her father and Kitty, now that Margot isn't around to do it, etc. (Booktalk by NH Flume Committee)
Jury, Walter. SCAN
GP Putnam's Sons, 2014
I expected to hate this from the very beginning. Wrestling? Um, no. Aliens? Nope. But then the action drew me in.
The story of Tate and his friends and family was relatively interesting until people started shooting at them, and then the pace really picked up.
“[Dad’s] fingers close over my shoulder. ‘Tate, I know you’re angry with me. But we can fight later.’
“I wrench myself away from him. ‘Get off me.’…
“‘Tate.’ Dad grabs my arm again. ‘It’s very important that we run. Now.”… “Tate, wir müssen fliehen. Jetzt. Jetzt!” my father barks, snapping me out of my trance.
“We have to escape. Now. Clipped German words, tinged with pure desperation.”
I was emotionally involved right up until the big cliffhanger. Luckily, the sequel, Burn, comes out May 12th. (Booktalk by NH Flume Committee)
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