Posts Tagged ‘young adult books’

Final Mini-Review: Living Dead Girl

April 19, 2009

As National Library Week comes to a close we’re wrapping things up with one last mini-review.

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Living Dead GirlIt’s hard to know exactly where to start with this one, as Living Dead Girl is a heavy, heavy book.  I’m talkin’ heavy.  It’s the story of a 15 yr. old girl who was taken away from her normal family life five years ago and has been kept at the mercy of a man named Ray, and at the mercy of his every desire, ever since.  I still haven’t finished the book because one can only read so much of it without stopping and wanting to throw up a little bit in their mouth.  However, the absolutely stellar storytelling and writing done by author Elizabeth Scott is so perfectly haunting, so acutely hideous, and so unshakably real for the topic she’s portraying that I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who can handle it—please note that this book is for mature readers ONLY—ages 16 and up.

And since I haven’t finished the book yet…And since it’s our last mini-review of the week…And since there just happens to be a blurb on the back of the book by Chris Crutcher…And since it just happens to be 5 sentences…And since that fits what we call a mini-review…And since, well, I’m going to include it here and that makes it a bonus mini-review for you…

“I was knocked over by Living Dead Girl.  Most authors want to hear ‘I couldn’t put it down’ from their fans.  Living Dead Girl is a book you have to put down; then you have to pick it right back up.  The beauty of the story is that, though none of its readers will have had this experience, all will feel connected to it.  It is told in the rarest of air, yet speaks horrifically to all our imaginations.” -Chris Crutcher


Little Review—>Little Brother

April 18, 2009

Little Brother

It’s hard to review Little Brother by Cory Doctorow in 5 sentences or less because there are so many great things to say about it.  But 5 sentences it is…

It is such an understatement to say that THIS BOOK RAWKS!!  It’s perfect for cool, smart, tech-savvy teens who are bored with life and just don’t like to read.  Little Brother flows at a rapid pace and digs its hooks into your mushy mind instantly…never letting go.  By illustrating just how easy it is for the government to cross its boundaries Doctorow’s tale provides an all too real depiction of what the very near future might hold for us, while highlighting the true power that today’s teens possess in terms of protecting their privacy and executing a technological revolution lively enough to make the whole country turn its head—-for reals.  Little Brother is by far the best book I read in 2008 and Cory Doctorow is a seriously freakin’ awesome dude.Cory Doctorow

Nuff said.


Happy National Library Week!

April 13, 2009

Now that National Library Week has arrived we thought it might be fun to celebrate by going back to basics library-style.  It’s no secret that public libraries these days offer all sorts of valuable resources—from books to video games, DVDs to audio books, internet services, and even coffee shop goodies.  But this week it’s all about the books.  Good books.  Great books to be exact.  And all this week we’ll be featuring mini-reviews of some of our favorite reads for Young Adults.  And by “mini-review” we mean 5 sentences or less.  Okay?  Okay.  Here we go…

Hunger GamesHunger Games by Suzanne Collins

You must read it.  Read it.  Seriously, read it.  I don’t care what you like to read (or what you don’t like to read) you really need to trust me on this one.  Read it!

Phew, a review in 5 sentences or less wasn’t too hard ;)  READ IT!  Stay tuned all week for more mini-reviews. 


With the Light by Keiko Tobe

December 30, 2008

HikaruKeiko Tobe’s With the Light, set in modern day Japan, is a truly gorgeous story that will fill you with joy and compassion.  As you walk through the struggles, pain, laughter, triumphs, and unwavering love that a mother experiences while coming to grips with the realization that her first born child is autistic and see all that she has to go through raising him, you find yourself emotionally invested and always curious for more as the author manages to hook you into the world of Hikaru, the young autistic boy.  It is unequivocally awe-inspiring to see how Sachiko, the amazing mother, is able to provide the best for her son even in the face of such adverse situations and with, at times, little to no emotional support from those closest to her.

manga!I’d highly recommend this read to anyone in 7th grade or higher, even adults…especially adults!   I say that because Tobe’s tale is a Japanese graphic novel (more commonly known as manga) and it is a perfect “gateway book” for those who are unfamiliar with graphic novels, yet still a bit curious about them.  Manga is a wildly popular genre right now and yields a highly favorable response from reluctant readers.  The novels are read from back to front and Tobe’s four volume set has great intros and tips on exactly how to best follow them, which is wonderful for those who are new to the genre.  With the Light also has lots of extra factual tid-bits strewn throughout the story about autism in general, where you can find support, as well as how it fits into certain aspects of modern Japanese culture.

With The LightSo, if you’re an adult and don’t understand why the teen you know ALWAYS has their nose buried in a book that they seem to be reading backwards, then you need to investigate for yourself.  Check out a manga!  Not only will you be able to connect to your teen in a whole new fashion but you might find that you really appreciate the art form, too.  Or if you’re a manga-loving teen and find that your parents just don’t understand, give them a copy and see what happens.  You can’t go wrong if you choose With the Light.  Place your hold today!


33 snowfish By Adam Rapp

December 27, 2008

33 snowfishA hideous tale of four young souls living out an incredibly potent slice of squalor and degradation, 33 snowfish is a book so singular in tone and presentation that you will, without a doubt, never forget reading it.  This book is not, I repeat, NOT for everyone.   Although highly recommended, it’s definitely for the mature reader (9th grade up)-one who can handle heavy topics concerning abuse and violence (both physical and sexual) depicted in a very emotionally raw fashion.  As the story haphazardly spills itself out into a depressing mess, it’s shocking to realize that it offers only a mere glimpse of what the characters have actually survived in their short lives.  For most of the book, one can’t help but wonder where the hope is, where the relief might reside, and just what sort of journey the author is taking his audience on.  

All of the adolescent characters are running and with good reason-Boobie killed his parents, Curl is a teenage prostitute, and Custis managed to escape his pedophilic captor.  While things continually seem to get worse and worse for the troubled teens as they head out on the road to who knows where, it’s alarming to realize that they might be actually be experiencing some of the best parts of their lives together.  At least they are together.  At least there’s that, albeit momentary.  Oh, and did I mention they’re towing a baby along as well, and that they keep it safely tucked in a hollowed out TV?  Seriously.

While this tale breaks your heart and slowly hands the pieces back to you one at a time, you’ll quickly find yourself in the midst of an incredibly moving piece of work created by a terribly terrific writer.  The vivid tale ultimately reminds you to keep your eye fastened to the tiniest speck of hope, even when you can’t see it.  Rare.  Controversial.  Brilliant.


Revolution is not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine

December 4, 2008

Tired of reading about vampires? I’m not but in case you are here’s something a little different but just as suspenseful. Revolution is not a Dinner Party is an incredible story about a young girl living through the cultural revolution. During this time China saw the rise of the powerful communist leader Mao Ze dong. The basis of Chariman Mao’s rule or revolution was to do away with anything western, wealthy or intellectual – he wanted to overthrow the old China and replace it with a new working class. The precocious main character, Ling struggles wth the blatant injustices during this time. Once caring neighbors turn on one another, food and other items become severely rationed. Good, hard working people are humiliated, beaten and taken to labor camps. Eventually Ling’s adoring father, a brilliant and caring surgeon, is also taken away. Ling’s story is absolutely captivating.

Ying Chang Compestine, the author of Revolution is Not a Dinner Party, writes this concise tale with simplicity. The events she describes are so compelling and detailed – perhaps since much of the story comes from her own childhood. Mrs. Compestine has written many picture books as well as several cookbooks. In September Rivermont Collegiate and the Bettendorf Library were so lucky to host Mrs. Compestine as a guest speaker. You won’t want to miss this fabulous book!


Teen Approved: Monster by Walter Dean Myers

November 18, 2008

If you’re looking for a great read that’s a bit different be sure to check out Walter Dean Myers’ Monster.  A teen patron told me about the book and said it was a really good.  It’s fantastic!  Monster is definitely the most thrilling Young Adult book I’ve come across.   I can’t wait to see the teen who suggested it, not only to tell him how much I enjoyed Myers’ tale, but to see what other titles he has to recommend.   

The book’s unique format is actually that of a film script depicting the murder trial of a young man, 16 yr. old Steve Harmon, who is accused of serving as a lookout on a simple robbery that went awry.  The script was created by the young man, a budding filmmaker, and it is his way of dealing with the harsh reality of the devastating legal predicament that he is facing.  Also strewn throughout the script are bits of Steve’s journal entries which allow the reader to establish an even stronger connection to the character and what he’s going through concerning the aftermath of the stick-up.  The robbery, which was supposed to have been a cut and dry execution in order to attain some fast cash, quickly turned into a whole new ballgame when the store owner pulled a gun on the unarmed criminals. 

You’ll have to read it yourself to see what actually happens in Myers’ gripping tale and find out where Steve ends up.  There’s certainly enough suspense involved that you won’t be disappointed.  Monster would be a great selection for book clubs.  It would also make a great classroom read for students in middle school on up.  Many thanks to the teen who approved this one!