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)
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.
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