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)
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children
by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Gabe is a trans man, born as Liz, finally about to get out of high school, so he can begin living his life as himself.
He tells us:
“I’ve been a boy my whole life. I wish I’d been born a vampire or a werewolf instead, or with a big red clown nose permanently stuck to my face, because that stuff would be easy. Having a brain that doesn’t agree with your body is a much bigger pain…”
His best friend, Paige, is totally supportive, though there's that pesky attraction to her that makes life difficult. Gabe's parents and brother haven't been able to look him in the eye since he broke the news to them. His next-door neighbor and mentor, John, doesn't know yet, and Gabe's nervous about telling him. In the meantime, John and Gabe share a passion for music, and John's just gotten Gabe a gig DJing on KZUK in the middle of the night. Gabe calls his show Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, and is so honest and inspiring, he inspires an Ugly Children Brigade to form.
(Booktalk by NH Flume Committee)
WE WERE LIARS
The wealthy Sinclair family (or is this the Kennedys?) owns a private island off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. They are beautiful and perfect in every way. Or are they?
Cadence is our narrator who talks about a particular summer she spends with her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and also Gat Patil (a friend and love interest of Cadence) who often stirs up the family with his political stance on the wealthy - trying to remind them that there are people who are NOT ridiculously loaded with money . They've been summering on the island together as a group for years (the patriarch of the family built three houses on the island besides his own for his three daughters, and these houses are filled with people who have secrets and lie), but this year deserves a special telling, and along the way, we learn that seemingly typical quirky teenager Cadence is damaged - has debilitating migraines and we don't learn why -- until we reach, or so we think, the TRUTH, and the book's end.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
(Booktalk by NH Flume Committee)
Sanderson, Brandon. .
The future is rather grim - populated and dominated by superheroes, but these superheroes - or EPICS as they're called, are not your comic book characters. Ever since "Calamity"arrived, which from the description sounds like a kind of satellite - and is hovering over the Earth, the superheroes have populated the earth as villains intent on ruling the world and eliminating anyone - human or fellow epic - who get in their way. Main character and snarky teen David's city of Chicago is ruled by Steelheart who is strong beyond measure, and can control the elements. He has turned Chicago into a shining city of STEEL. After losing his father to Steelheart as a 6 year old, David spends his entire life dedicated to finding this Epic's weakness and plans to destroy him.
Enter the Reckoners - a group of rag tag kids and adults whose mission is to restore peace by systematically taking out the epics. When David finds them, his knowledge becomes essential to their plans. Will they get to the strongest Epic to destroy him?
(Booktalk by NH Flume Committee)
FAR FAR AWAY
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2013
Jeremy is a regular kid in modern-day middle America, but there are a couple of unique things about him: he lives in the back of the Two-Book Bookstore that he inherited from his grandfather, which only sells both volumes of his grandfather's memoir, with his shut-in dad, and he has an interesting relationship with a ghost that only he can hear: Jacob Grimm. Yep, that Jacob Grimm, or, as it is properly pronounced and specifically mentioned in the book, Yaukub. (Booktalk by NH Flume Committee)
This beautifully written story follows Jeremy through the tribulations of both regular teenage life and the potential loss of his home as the bookstore fails, and then life begins to resemble the fairy tales that he loves so much (and don't forget that they are the grim Grimm versions). (Booktalk by NH Flume Committee)
MORE THAN THIS
Take a moment to imagine what your own private hell might look like... Got an image? Well, in the opening scene of this book, our main character Seth drowns and dies - a rather intensely portrayed drowning, I might add (and note that this is NOT the worst of it!) He is bewildered to awaken unclothed, starving, and thirsty in a bizarrely unpopulated and dusty world that is somehow familiar to him. Turns out, it's his childhood home in England - where he lived before the family moved to America - and he's about to face his own private hell. Interestingly, it's taken his own death to get him to confront his demons. Whenever Seth closes his eyes in this strange world, troubling past events haunt him in nightmares - these dreams include his family, the boy he loves and past traumas. The reader shares the oddity of the situation and wonders whether Seth is in heaven, hell, a fully reborn life? What the heck is happening? Is he really alive? (Booktalk by NH Flume Committee)
BROWN GIRL DREAMING
NY: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014
(select a poem to read from the book)
Jacqueline Woodson was born in Columbus Ohio in 1963 in a time of dramatic and violent change in America. In expressive and illuminative poetry, she tells her story of growing up as an African American girl in the 1960’s and 1970’s between the worlds of the North in New York City and of the South. Jacqueline shares with us her story – of loving books and stories and yet also struggling to learn to read; of her family losses and struggles and her thoughts and dreams. Through her engaging poems, we are invited into her world; we taste, smell, and feel what is there and what is experienced by a young girl dreaming and finding her voice as a writer. (Booktalk by the NH Great Stone Face Committee)
New York : Walker Books, 2014
Fiona and Jonah are no longer beasts. The cure has worked and now there is hope for everyone. But some are still living outside the wall and dealing with the raiders. The sequel to Stung is told from Jacqui's point of view. Forced to live as a boy to keep safe from the raiders, Jack has almost forgotten she is a girl. Her family has survived outside the wall because her father is needed. As the only dentist around, he treats the raiders as well as those inside the wall. But Jack's brother is missing. He left to bring Fiona's mother to safety when she was banned from the walled city. And now Jack has set out to find him. She enlists the help of Fiona, Bowen, and Jonah. The journey will not be easy. There are rumors that people have escaped to Wyoming. so the kids set off. Along the way there will be raiders, untreated beasts, wolves and maybe even some new friends.
New York : Walker Books, 2013
It started out as a good idea. The bees have become endangered and everyone fears what will happen if they disappear forever. It would mean the end of all we know. So the scientists develop genetically modified bees that can live through anything. Unfortunately, their sting can be fatal. When a vaccine is developed to protect from the sting, there is not enough to go around so only a few are vaccinated. And very few have the full 10 dose course of vaccine. Fiona is one of those. When she wakes up in her room, everything is different and she is disoriented. Although she doesn't remember much, it is obvious that many years have gone by. She doesn't recognize the young woman she sees in the mirror. As she tries to make her way to the walled city, she learns that those who received the vaccination have turned into beasts. There are raiders around who sell them to the people who run the pit and that she is a level ten, the most dangerous of all. She is destined to turn into the worst kind of beast. Can she find some answers before this happens?
ANASTASIA AND HER SISTERS
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015
Anastasia was a young girl living what appeared to be a fairy tale life. The daughter of Tsar Nicholas of Russia, she was an actual princess. Her family traveled around Russia showing off the beautiful princess dressed in the finest clothes. Anastasia's brother had a very painful illness and the family hides that fact from the public. The times are not good. There is great poverty in the country and the people have become desperate. The Tsar's power is weakening and beautiful little Anatasia is in danger. When Germany declares war on Russia, the world changes for all involved.
North York, ON : Arthur Press, 2014
When Mara's little brother tells her about his death, Mara is not quite sure what is going on. He talks about his brothers and his other sister. OK, it is normal for 4-year-olds to make up stories and have imaginary friends. But this feels different. When Mara learns that her mother and step-father knew about these stories but never said anything, she can't let it go. She asks Soren lots of questions about the time he was Cole and the story begins to focus. With the help of friends, Mara learns about a murder that took place 15 years ago in a neighboring town. The little boy who was murdered by his own father was named Cole. Could there really be a connection? Could Soren be the reincarnation of Cole? Could his memories be real?
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2014
Dan is a high school senior with a great life and a wonderful future ahead of him. He has loving parents and is on track for a baseball scholarship. He dreams that he may even get drafted right out of school. His girlfriend is beautiful if a bit demanding. All this is about to change. His parents have lost their jobs and have been living on savings and part time work. That just doesn't take care of all the bills and now they have lost their house. Living with their uncle isn't working out so great so the family is forced to move to Dignityville -- the town's tent city. With so many people losing their jobs, the town has designated land near the center of town for a tent city. Can anything be worse than living in a homeless camp?
IN THEIR SHOES
New York : Simon Pulse, 2015
Have you ever thought about someone's life and wondered what it would be like to walk in their shoes? The author has chosen women in all sorts of occupations to help you walk in their shoes. Go beyond job descriptions and educational requirements for jobs and find out what they are like from women living in them. There are interviews with women who are working at a variety of jobs.
Today we add the last podcast from Ms. Jennifer Sacks' class in Darien CT. I've enjoyed sharing these and I know I learned about some good books. Thank you to all the students who shared their books with us.
Today's podcast is from Lennan, Grade 7, Middlesex Middle School, Darien CT
New York : Puffin, 2010
Click in to find related links.