Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.


Like a lot of teenagers, sixteen-year-old Mackenzie, the protagonist of Victoria Schwab's The Archived, has a job. Unlike most teenagers, her job is rounding up the Histories of the deceased and sending them back to the Archive where they belong. She inherited the position from her grandfather, and has spent the past four years patrolling a shadowy realm of corridors called the Narrows, battling the dead who have woken up and sending them back before they escape into the world of the living and cause harm.

 In the aftermath of her little brother's tragic death, Mackenzie's parents decide to relocate to give the family a fresh start. They rent an apartment in an old building called the Coronado, with the intention of renovating the long-disused coffee shop in the lobby. The Coronado is where she meets Wesley Ayers, another Keeper.
 For the first time since her grandfather's death, Mackenzie has someone to talk to about the Archive. Wesley understands her double life and becomes a friend and ally.

But before Mackenzie has a chance to settle in, the activity in the Narrows becomes strange. The Histories assigned to her are older and more violent. And a shadowy figure appears to pose a greater threat than Mackenzie has encountered before.

I read this book because I like novels with library settings, but there is much to enjoy here beyond the Archive. After the first half of the novel--where much of the initial world building takes place--elements of mystery drive the plot toward the conclusion, and as a reader I was eager to see where the book was going. Schwab strikes a delicate balance between plot and character, neither taking a backseat to the other, and each shining throughout. Her characters possess flaws that help complicate and propel the plot, and they behave in ways that are occasionally frustrating but entirely realistic within the context of the book.

Mackenzie's story continues in The Unbound. The sequel adds new characters and settings while taking the reader deeper into the established world of the Archive and maintaining the eerie atmosphere that makes the first book so appealing.

This series is perfect for fans of urban fantasy featuring realistic settings with a darkly magical twist. If you've ever looked at a door, wondered where it led, and wished that it opened into another world, you will love The Archived.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

New 2016 Titles for YA

Here are a few of this year's most anticipated books in YA Fiction. There were quite a few series on the list, including a surprise from Rowling with the 8th installment in the Harry Potter series. Click the link for the Complete Goodreads YA 2016 List

Unfamiliar with Goodreads? It's a bookworm's dream come true. You can keep track of what you are reading, look for other books to read, and get recommendations from friends. You can rate books and/or write a review as you finish titles.The best part is connecting with other readers around the globe. There are thousands of book clubs to join (including Emma Watson's, Our Shared Shelf), which opens the door for great discussions. To set up an account, click here
All synopses in this review can be read and viewed on Goodreads.com


Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) 

By Victoria Aveyard

FEBRUARY 2016
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal harden her forever?


The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.


Morning Star (Red Rising #3) 

By Pierce Brown

FEBRUARY 2016
Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society's mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.


Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied - and too glorious to surrender. Start the series with Red Rising.


Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles) 

By Marissa Meyer

FEBRUARY 2016
The enchantment continues....

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?



With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.


Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1

By Cassandra Clare


MARCH 2016

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it? Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.


A Study In Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) 

By Brittany Cavallaro

MARCH 2016
The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.


From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.



Yellow Brick War (Dorothy Must Die #3) 

By Danielle Paige


MARCH 2016
In this dark, action-packed third book in the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Amy Gumm—the new girl from Kansas—must do everything in her power to save Kansas, kill Dorothy, and make Oz a free land once more.

Amy Gumm’s mission to take down Dorothy Gale is not going according to plan. Dorothy has found a way to bridge the worlds of Oz and Kansas, and if the power-hungry dictator of Oz has her way, Kansas will be destroyed forever. Now, Amy has to team up with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to save her home, restore the balance between the magic and non-magic worlds, maybe get the guy—and kill that not-so-sweet Kansas farm girl once and for all.


In the third installment of the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Danielle Paige’s twisted versions of beloved Oz characters are back, including the biggest, baddest, most famous of all: the Wicked Witch of the West.

Welcome to the other side of the rainbow. Here there’s danger around every corner, and magic shoes won’t be able to save you. Star the series with Dorothy Must Die here.


The Raven King (Raven Cycle #4) 

By Maggie Steifvater

APRIL 2016

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.



In a starred review for Blue Lily, Lily BlueKirkus Reviews declared: "Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close."
Start the series with Raven Boys here.



The Rose and The Dagger 

(The Wrath and and the Dawn #2) 

By Renee Ahdieh

APRIL 2016
The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as "a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance."

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.


While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love. Start the series with The Wrath and the Dawn, here.



The Crown (The Selection #5) 

By Kiera Cass



MAY 2016

Kiera Cass’s bestselling Selection series has enchanted readers from the very first page. Now the end of the journey is here, in a wonderfully romantic series finale that will sweep you off your feet.

Twenty years have passed since the events of The One, and America and Maxon’s daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you... and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.



The Selection series has sold more than 3 million copies and captured the hearts of fans around the world. This swoon-worthy final installment is the happily ever after they’ve all been waiting for.
Start reading this series with The Selection, here.


The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) 

By Rick Yancey

MAY 2016

We’re here, then we’re gone, and that was true before they came. That’s always been true. The Others didn’t invent death; they just perfected it. Gave death a face to put back in our face, because they knew that was the only way to crush us. It won’t end on any continent or ocean, no mountain or plain, jungle or desert. It will end where it began, where it had been from the beginning, on the battlefield of the last beating human heart.



Master storyteller Rick Yancey invokes triumph, loss, and unrelenting action as the fate of the planet is decided in the conclusion to this epic series. Start reading this series with The 5th Wave, here.


Harry Potter and The Cursed Child 

(Harry Potter #8) 

By J.K. Rowling

JULY 2016
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne, is the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. It will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016 

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.




While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.


Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) 

By Leigh Bardugo

SEPTEMBER 2016
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world. Start reading this series with Six of Crows, here.

Heartless 

By Marissa Meyer

NOVEMBER 2016

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.



At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.



Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Get Away @ Your Library!



The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) was created in an effort to help libraries build capacity by serving, engaging and empowering teen readers. Libraries are important to any child passionate about reading, and  YALSA helps to expand and nurture that passion. Teen Read Week was started as a national adolescent initiative in 1998. It focuses on keeping teens active readers and library users. This year's Teen Read Week theme is Get Away @ Your Library. The theme encourages teens to explore new genres such as fantasy, travelogues, science fiction, and many more. There are so many great books out there filled with adventure. Cold weather is just around the corner, which makes it the perfect time of year to go on a staycation with a book. Here are some books worth checking out to celebrate!



Take a road trip with

Paper Towns by John GreenOne month before graduating from Central Florida high school, Quentin "Q" Jacobsen basks in the predictable boringness of his life. Until the beautiful and exciting Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q's neighbor and classmate, takes him on a midnight adventure. The next day she disappears. Q and his friends pile in his car in search of Margot and where she has gone.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray- In an attempt to find a cure after being diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob's (aka mad cow) disease, Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen-year-old boy, sets off on a  road trip with a death-obsessed video-gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital.


Get lost in the past with

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysOne night 15-year-old Lina, her mother and young brother are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle cars, and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia. An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun. Lina doesn't know if she'll ever see her father or her friends again. But she refuses to give up hope.

The Book Thief by Markus ZusakTrying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.



Take a voyage with


Graceling by Kristin Cashore - In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing. She then teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.

The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-CookeDr. Anya Molokova is called in to work at MacNeice House, an adolescent mental health treatment center. There she is told to observe and assess Alex Connolly, a keenly intelligent sensitive ten-year-old coping with his mother's latest suicide attempt. Alex is in need of serious counseling: he has been harming himself and others, often during blackouts. At the root of his destructive behavior, Alex claims, is his imaginary "friend" Ruen, a cunning demon who urges Alex to bend to his often violent will. But Anya has seen this kind of behavior before--with her own daughter, Poppy, who suffered from early-onset schizophrenia. Determined to help Alex out of his darkness, Anya begins to treat the child. But soon strange and alarming coincidences compel Anya to wonder: is Alex's condition a cruel trick of the mind? Or is Ruen not so make-believe after all? The reality, it turns out, is more terrifying than anything she has ever encountered.


Fall in love with

Just One Day by Gayle FormanWhen sheltered American good girl Allyson first encounters laid-back Dutch actor Willem at an underground performance of Twelfth Night, there's an undeniable spark. So when fate brings them together a second time, Allyson takes an uncharacteristic leap, changes course, and follows Willem to Paris. After just one day together, the spark bursts into a flame. However, Allyson wakes up shocked to discover that Willem is gone.



Carry On by Rainbow Rowell - A ghost story, a love story, a mystery, and a melodrama. Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.


Go out of this world with


The House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer - Matteo Alacran was not born; he was harvested with the DNA from El Patron, lord of a country called Opium. Can a boy who was bred to guarantee another’s survival find his own purpose in life? And can he ever be free?

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessPrentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee, stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, secrets have been hidden and that's only the beginning.



Travel internationally with

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi - Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Inkheart by Corneila FunkeTwelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Star Wars Reads Day Book Review: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray


Lost Stars by Claudia Gray is part of the Journey to the Force Awakens series, which is peppered with events and clues that allude to the new Star Wars movie this December.  Gray is a fresh voice to Star Wars lore and gives a refreshing perspective of the original movies.   

From the time they were children, Ciena and Thane aspired to be pilots and attend the Imperial Academy.  When they are finally given the opportunity to achieve their dreams, their tight friendship is tested.  Their journey starts before the events of A New Hope and ends a year after Return of the Jedi, and it gives an interesting look at the mentality that comes with serving the Empire. 

Ciena and Thane, who graduate at the top of their class at the Imperial Academy, often find themselves at the forefront of conflicts featured in the films as they are both depicted as talented pilots and individuals.  These characters, while being dear friends, come from two different backgrounds, and they each have their own reasons for serving the Empire.  Ciena is an honor-bound individual of humble origins while Thane comes from a well-off family and is a bit of a cynic.  The personal nature of how these new characters respond (and at times justify) the actions of the Empire is one of the strong points of this book.  It is easy to wonder what would cause an individual to serve them.  I would say early on Ciena and Thane are a bit more idealistic in their hopes of serving the Empire, but as the events of the movies unfold, their reasons and rationalizations change.

Ultimately, the close relationship between these two gives way to romance, but then they find themselves on opposite sides of the Galactic Civil War.  Imperial atrocities also become harder to justify to both Ciena and Thane.  One joins the Rebellion in spite of personal reservations, while the other hasn’t completely lost faith in the Empire.  They interact on a (very) limited basis after that point, but their relationship is still poignant and affects decisions they make.

When the book proceeded to depict what happens post-Endor, I was excited to see events that would set up The Force Awakens.  The Empire definitely has a large transition to deal with because of the power vacuum that was created post-Endor, and Gray’s depiction proved quite realistic.  Hopefully, we will see more Star Wars books from Claudia Gray, and the characters she has introduced to the Star Wars galaxy.         

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Is the Testing Safe?





To start off...If you liked the Hunger Games trilogy, THIS is a must-read for you! Yes, YOU!

Each year the United Commonwealth reviews candidates and their achievements for acceptance into the University. There are 18 colonies and only the top students from each colony are considered. Then they are brought to Tosu City, the capital, for testing to attend the University and become future leaders of the Commonwealth.

Do you think you posses the skills and intelligence to pass the testing? Ask yourself these 5 questions and tread lightly. 

"Question One: What makes an ideal testing candidate?

Question Two: How does the Commonwealth decide who passes?

Question Three: Can candidates refuse their nomination? (It should be noted that the answer here is no. No you can't. It results in elimination.)

Question Four: Is the testing safe?

Question Five: Has anyone ever died while participating in the testing?"

The book begins with Cia Vale, who is an ideal candidate for the testing. She is young and purpose-driven, values humanity, and possesses knowledge of all things mechanical and natural.

The testing rewards two parties: warriors and peacemakers, as both are needed in certain leadership roles for a community. It is mandatory that all selected candidates participate in the testing. Refusal of such will result in elimination. The United Commonwealth is not permitted to discuss the details, results, or anything pertaining to the test or its components. Progress of the our great society comes at a price, as we are preparing for our future. The Commonwealth cannot confirm or deny test results of future or past candidates. Thank you for your support and dedication to the greater good.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

High Schools We Wish We Could Attend

 As school starts back, I am reminded of the fictional schools I wish existed. Ones that only existed on the television screen or bound inside of a good book. Sometimes the characters are what made the school appealing, as if you were kindred spirits that understood each other. Other times it was because the school itself was far more interesting than the small town school you were attending in real life. This blog is an ode to those schools. Here is a collection of some great television shows (and books) who define the term "cool school!" And if you aren't familiar with these selections, then it's time to try them out!


Gilmore Girls -  Watch as Rory Gilmore transfers from Starts Hollow High School to the distinguished Chilton Prep. She must adjust to the fast paced education and high standards while dealing with the typical "mean girls". Since birth Rory has had her heart set on going to Harvard University, but will that be where she ends up?



My So-Called Life - If you were a '90s child like me, then you know how pivotal this show was for anyone in high school. At a time when after-school specials were the most popular, the show pushed boundaries in an effort to make a show that was relatable to teens. There was never a moral to the story or a group family hug at the end. Instead the episodes left one feeling validated for having emotions. Enjoy all the music from the this wonderful decade while drooling over the early years of Jared Leto's physique.



Harry Potter - This is probably the number one school I would want to attend. And while I would be happy with visiting Hogwarts, I would also want to experience the entire wizarding world. Diagon Alley, Hogwarts, The Forbidden Forest, Hogsmeade; I think it's safe to say I could spend an entire month there. Rowling created a world and characters I will treasure in my heart forever. A world that not only children wish existed but adults as well and that is something truly magical. A story of friendship and loyalty that will last a lifetime for anyone who reads it. I will always love the books over the movies because I am a bookworm to my core, but the movies are pretty fantastic. Watching a beloved world come to life on screen is marvelous.
 
Smallville - I should just be able to say, "It's Superman! Who wouldn't want to go to that high school?!" But going to this particular school could be dangerous. Villains and superheroes fighting one another with teen angst could escalate pretty quickly. But with danger comes adventure and excitement, which is typically what we all wish had been more present in our schools. The show follows Clark Kent as he begins to accept and learn who/what he is.


Ender's Game Book and Movie - Battle School. Can you imagine coming home and telling your parents you had been accepted to Battle School? Or better yet putting something like that on a resume. Battle school is the place the government sends genetically modified child geniuses for training. They must learn to fight, protect, and lead in an effort to protect the world from invading an invading alien race. Then we meet Ender, who encompasses the importance of humanity in the face of war. Point of interest: the U.S. Marine Corps includes this book on their professional reading list  not just at entry level ranks but Office Candidate as well.

The Magicians - Brakebills is a college where magicians go  after high school. In order to join the school you have to pass a test of intelligence and skill. It is quite possibly my dream school. This is a trilogy that will satisfy any adult Harry Potter fan. The story follows Quinton as he learns to strengthen and prefect his craft, magic. As he grows and matures he learns what it means to be a hero and being a hero isn't always easy.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Go, go, go Sunnydale High School Razorbacks! Home to my favorite cheerleader and trendsetter (of the '90s), Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I must admit this is the high school I dreamed about. A librarian who researches and specializes in vampire hunting. A cheerleader with a mean sidekick. A team of friends bound together by their commitment to protect Buffy and their town. That is what I call an adventure! The graphic novels are available for checkout at our library, as well as the hit  TV series.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Teen Reads About Mental Health

Mental disorders can be difficult to discuss, but it is important to be aware of them nonetheless. The following books are great jumping off points for teens to learn about the effect of mental illness on an individual, a family, or a community. These works of fiction provide young adults with a variety of perspectives on the importance of mental health, and can kickstart a discussion on how to handle issues like depression, anxiety, and other barriers to one's well-being.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Jay Asher’s debut novel follows Clay Jensen, a high school student who comes home to find a box of tapes on his doorstep. These tapes come from Hannah Baker, one of Clay’s classmates who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Through these tapes Hannah describes the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. In this thought-provoking novel, Asher encourages young readers to analyze their interactions with others and keep in mind that everyone is fighting their own private battles.




Charlie is a shy high school freshman just trying to find his place in a new school. Struggling with the suicide of his friend and the death of his beloved aunt, he is afraid to reach out to his fellow students. That is, until he befriends seniors Patrick and Samantha. Together they help him confront his past and learn that life is what you make of it. Structured as a series of letters to the reader, Chbosky’s debut novel deals with topics such as anxiety, sexual abuse, and suicide, and encourages young adults not to let their past prevent them from enjoying the present.


Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Annabel used to be the girl who had it all, but after being sexaully assaulted at a party, she enters her junior year ostracized and traumatized. It doesn’t help that her picture book family refuses to address the problems that haunt their home, including her sister’s anorexia. Despite her trouble, she finds a friend in Owen, the notorious outcast of the school. Together they learn how to confront their problems honestly and deal with their pain and anger. In this book, Dessen passes these lessons on to her readers, that they might use them to combat the struggles they may face.


Green’s debut novel follows Miles Halter, a teenager who convinces his parents to enroll him in Culver Creek Preparatory High School. There he meets his roommate, Chip Martin, who introduces him to his eclectic group of friends. This includes the wild and unstable Alaska Young, who immediately captures Miles’ affection. They introduce Miles to the underworld of Culver Creek, and spend their time causing trouble for their rivals, a group of students called the Weekday Warriors. Over the course of the novel, readers gain further insight into Alaska’s mental instability and the effect it has on those around her. Together these students suffer through grief, guilt, suicide, and growing up.
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
The Jarretts are your typical American family: Beth is the perfect, efficient housewife; Calvin is a determined, hardworking father; Conrad and Buck are ideal sons. But after Buck’s death, this perfect image of the Jarrett family shatters. Unable to cope with his brother’s death, Conrad attempts suicide. His mother retreats inward, trying even harder to portray the facade of perfection, and Conrad seems to be the only one interested trying to face what has happened to his family. Guest writes this classic tale of forgiveness and recovery in a stream-of-consciousness style that invites her audience into the minds of these characters and explore their grief from within.

Identical by Ellen Hopkins
Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical twins dealing with very dissimilar problems. Still coping with a car crash nearly ten years before, their mother has all but abandoned her family for the campaign trail, and their father has turned to Kaeleigh to fill the void of his wife’s absence. As a result she develops an eating disorder and turns to self-harm, while Raeanne seeks the comfort of drugs and alcohol to deal with her parent’s neglect. In this brutal narrative, told through a series of poems, Hopkins explores the fragility of identity and the impact trauma can have on one’s mental health.





Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
Like Hopkins’ other novels, Impulse is written in verse and follows multiple perspectives. At Aspen Springs, a recovery center for those who have attempted suicide, readers meet Vanessa, Tony, and Connor. These three teenagers each tried to end their life, and must now face their demons in order to recover. This novel not only demonstrates three young adults exploring their identities, but also reveals the harsh reality of addiction, self-harm, suicide, and mental illness.



A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin
Martin’s young adult classic is about eleven-year-old Hattie who helps her parents run the boarding house where they live. She spends most of her time reading, painting and enjoying the company of their eccentric guests passing through the small town. But this summer, Hattie’s uncle Adam has come to stay with her grandparents after his “school,” an institution for the mentally handicapped, closes temporarily. Hattie has never met Adam, but she takes to her uncle immediately, despite the fact that the rest of her family has trouble understanding him.
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
This novel is about a girl named Ruby. After her mother loses her battle with cancer, she moves from Boston to Beverly Hills to live with her father, famous movie star Whip Logan. Frustrated by this turn of events and unable to cope with her mother’s death, Ruby spends most of her time desperately trying to keep in touch with old friends and avoiding her father, who becomes the target of her anger and grief. Sones invites her readers to explore the boundaries of grief and the ways it manifests itself in this verse novel about coping with loss and personal change.
Craig Gilner is an ambitious teenager living in New York City. After months of nonstop work on his exams and application to the Manhattan Executive Pre-Professional High School, he is delighted when he receives his acceptance. However, he is unable to handle the high-pressure environment. He stops sleeping and eating, and nearly ends his own life. After his suicide attempt he is briefly institutionalized. Here, with the help of a few unlikely friends, he learns how to handle his anxiety and depression.



For additional resources, please visit www.mentalhealth.gov. If you or someone you know is at immediate risk, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.