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Here are our picks for Teens, 14-19 years old!
It is no secret that I am a fan of Jasper Fforde’s writing; you should see the happy dance I do when an advanced reader copy of a new book is unwrapped in the store!
However many of his first in series books have a single fatal flaw… the first third of the books are slow, seriously slow---but, after you get thru this first third, they zip by and you can’t wait for the next book to come out! (The rest of the books after the first in series do not suffer from this flaw.) It’s proven to be a significant hurdle for less patient readers (I do what I can to reassure them to stick with it).
The Last Dragonslayer does NOT possess this flaw. The book reads like a song; from beginning to end it is graceful and flowing.
Jennifer Strange lives in a world where metal, machines and magic live side by side. She runs the Kazam, an employment agency for wizards, since her boss disappeared a few months back…. add to this the fact that magic has been slowly fading from the world, making her magicians harder and harder to hire out, Jennifer has enough problems on her plate.
Then the visions start.
Around the world wizards with the ability to foresee the future are inundated with a single vision, the death of the last dragon is at hand. With this vision Jennifer’s world tilts, all the signs point to Big Magic and Jennifer is in the thick of it!
While this book is billed as a Young Adult, it is suitable for any age. It would read a bit on the cozy side for an adult, and there isn’t any teen age angst in sight!
This book is all about choice. Choosing to do the right, best or necessary thing, because Jennifer understands the value of this freedom. As a foundling, she works as an indentured servant at Kazam, and will work there until her eighteenth birthday (unless she chooses to stay). So when presented with a choice it is important to her to actively make a decision, instead of just doing her duty or letting it flit away. This theme is repeated through out the book, in great ways, never with a heavy hand.
I seriously cannot say enough great things about this book! If you are a fan of any of Jasper’s series, or need one to cut your teeth on, I would recommend this book for you!
Rory Deveaux has an exciting year ahead of her: her parents accepted a temporary position teaching law at the University of Bristol in England! Rory will be attending Wexford, a boarding school, in the heart of London. It will be a bit of a culture shock for this Louisiana native, however there isn’t much which will dampen her enthusiasm for this new, if temporary life.
“In our lifetime those who kill the news world hands them stardom and these are the ways on which I was raised.” (pg. 139)
Then August 31st comes around and a body is found, one which parallel’s the first Ripper strike in 1888. Instantly, London (and the media) is transfixed by the news of a new Ripper copycat…..there isn’t any physical evidence, video or leads. Until one lone witness steps forward, Rory.
“Fear can’t hurt you….It’s a snake with no venom.” (pg. 260)
The Name of the Star was nominated for an Edgar award this year, and I can see why. This is a fantastic read. I loved every second of it!
This Ripper novel never allows itself to get mired down in all the theories, facts and innuendo surrounding the historical case. The author has done a great job in adding paranormal elements into this story and expanding it beyond just a standard copy cat novel (I am trying to not give away all the wonderful twists and turns Maureen takes us on, while trying to tell you Why I Loved This Mystery!).
The characters are smart and witty, without teen angst weighing it down. The mystery and its conclusion are fantastic - you think you know exactly where it is going, then it makes a left hand turn and you are left wondering and burning the midnight oil in order to finish the book!
I would recommend this to girls 14+ (or open minded boys since there are a number of great male characters) as it is told exclusively from Rory’s point of view. 14 AR points.
I cannot wait for the next installment in the ‘Shades of London’ series, The Madness Underneath, which is being published on Feb. 26, 2013!
This summer, sixteen-year-old Violet is staying wither her dad, who is an up-and-coming Seattle Area artist. Violet is over the moon when her father’s biggest client, the Yamadas, commission him to paint a mural in their corporate headquarters in Tokyo. Being a huge fan of all things Japanese, including manga (she is in the process of inking her own book; she’s an artist herself) this is a dream come true. Plus she can hang out with her friend, who is also in Tokyo all summer! However the trip takes a darker turn when the Yamadas’ house is broken into and three Van Gogh sketches are stolen.
Emulating her favorite manga detectives, Violet begins to investigate the theft, leading her thru the streets of Seattle, Tokyo and Kyoto; meeting artists, businessmen and Yakuza members. This is a trip she will never forget!
This is a fantastic book. Leading the reader through an action packed series of clues, events and blind alleys, Violet is a strong character, relying on herself to find solutions to the problems facing her, as well as showing passion for her art and the evolution of her own story line. Showing how every day events can influence and inspire someone when writing a story. Even when she is down, she is never a shrinking violet.
I also enjoyed reading the street scenes in Japan, the interactions between the characters (which are not always what they seem to be) and viewing Seattle thru someone else’s eyes. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fun, fast and action-packed read this summer. This is a great book. (YA 12 - 16).
Agnes lives in London. In her time, Napoleon has returned for a second time and is threatening all of Europe with his war machine. On principle, the normal social scene of London marches on, with Agnes in tow. This is her year to make her debut and make a smart match, the year when she trades her dreams of adventure, her studies and cleverness for the small world of marriage, children and societal expectations. Lord Showalter’s is the first party Agnes will attend during her debut season, and during the party an Egyptian mummy is unwrapped. Agnes believes this will be as close as she will ever come to her dreams of travel and adventure, until one small act - her filching of a small dog statue - has her destiny taking an unexpected left turn into parts unknown.
I absolutely loved this book. It deals with London at a time when Egyptian mummies were looked on as curiosities instead of great cultural artifacts. Then spies, intrigue and two kids who are trying to make their own place in the world. You get a fast paced and fun look into 1815 London and how war affected them. Plus Agnes is clever and resourceful, never simpering or filled with teen angst -- which makes her a great heroine.
It is set in history versus trying to teach it, which is another great thing about it. I would recommend this book for any girl (there is a strong male lead in it as well, but the story is told exclusively from Agnes’s point of view, sorry guys) from ages 11 - 15. 11 AR points.
Griff Shaw is a Centurion, an angel who escorts the souls of those who have been victims of violent murders the other side. Being a murder victim himself, and unable to let go of his past landed him his current assignment. While on a routine retrieval, he takes pity on a prostitute whose been murdered in a seedy motel. Since the dead keep whatever they look like right before their death including their clothes (and she wasn‘t wearing a whole lot) he bends the rules and thru some jiggery pokery she is allowed to change her final appearence.
This lands him in hot water with his bosses since she wasn’t a prostitute; but an investigative reporter who wrote her killer’s name down while Shaw’s back was turned for her partner to find, thus changing her partner‘s, Kit Craig’s fate, to one filled with rape and murder. Now Griff has a choice, does he follow his bosses plan, or team up with Kit to nail the exposé and solve her best friend’s murder……..and perhaps his own.
I had some trepidations when I started this book, I have read some really bad books based around angels. However this one surprised me, I really enjoyed reading it. Kate is a Rockabilly reporter who fits well with Griff Shaw’s ‘50’s hardboiled P.I. mindset. Kate is snarky, clever, hard-headed reporter who won’t stop until she gets truth. This is a dark, gritty and twisting story which does not shy away from violence, but doesn’t use it gratuitously either. It does not dwell on religion or uses the angel angle with a heavy hand.
The book is an urban fantasy edging towards noir and geared more towards the female audience, I think, than to a male. I would recommend this to any urban fantasy mystery reader looking for something new to read!
Violet lives in London in the year 1865 with her mother and two childhood friends. Her mother is a Spiritualist by trade and is all the rage in London. However Violet is conflicted about this fame, since it often means duping those in grief…… since her mother’s is a fraud. Violet’s mother manages to land an important engagement at an Earl’s estate, one which could open doors to much more important members of society. Everything is going according to plan, until Violet starts seeing real ghost…. One in particular, a sixteen year old girl, who won’t leave her alone until Violet solves her murder.
I could not put this book down! It is a novel placed in history, which slyly slides in real issues of the day which correlate to many of today’s issues without diminishing the story a bit. I found it had far more substance than a good portion of the teen novels I have read recently for work. I cannot wait to see if a sequel to this novel is published!
I would highly recommend this book for a girl (since it is told exclusively from Violet's point of view) from ages 13-18. It would make a good cozy read for an adult as well who likes historical novels.
12 AR points
Amanda is still missing and Vice Principal Thornhill has been attacked at school. Nia, Callie and Hal continue on with their investigation into Amanda’s disappearance, which overlaps with the attack when they discover a note from Amanda in his car. As they continue on, the trio discover they are not the only ones searching for Amanda---the people who they have been taught all their lives to trust; police, doctors---they have less altruistic and more sinister reasons in their search. Even the Amanda Project (their website) the three suspect someone is feeding them information, using them to find her, or even worse using the information they have generated for their own purposes….Nothing is as it seems to be, even Amanda herself.
This is a great follow up to the Amanda Project Invisible I, continuing to expand the conspiracy and mystery which surrounds Amanda. Told from Hal’s perspective, which allows the series to open up to the male readers, however these books do have to be read in order so they do have to be open to reading stories from the female perspective as well. The online website, the Amanda Project, is still fascinating. The weekly mini mysteries, the interaction with the main characters, the ability to ask questions and put forth your theories about what is happening is one of the best things about this series. I would recommend this series to girls (or open minded boys) who are looking for a good mystery and spare time to devote to the website when they become a fan to help locate Amanda and help her out! I cannot wait for the next book coming out in a few weeks, Shattered, told from Nia’s perspective and about her time with Amanda and the trios continued search for Amanda and the truth.
9 AR Points
When Sophie discovered the truth powers as a witch, the fact they come from a less than angelic source, she makes the decision to have them removed. So never has to worry about her demon based powers posing a threat to those she loves. However when she arrives in London for the ceremony she discovers, that she isn't the only one whose powers demonically based, and they don't seem to have the same moral dilemma Sophie has about using them. To make things even more complicated The Eye is bent on hunting her down and will kill anyone who gets in there way......and they are sending Archer Cross, her former crush, after her. But its' not like they have any feelings for each other anymore....
I recommend this for girls 15 and up.
12 AR ponts
Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended and eccentric family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her family's peculiar history she'd had a relatively normal life so far. The time traveling gene which winds it way though the female line of her family is supposed to have skipped over her generation. So she is stunned when she starts taking leaps into the past. Gwen is totally unprepared for time travel, the fancy clothes, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, an obnoxious know-it-all and of course a guy.....
This is one of the few time travel books which has both a believable (as far as time travel goes) premise for the traveling as well as one of the best beginnings of a series I have read in a while. The book has a complete plot in and of itself, as well doing a great job in setting up plot lines for the rest of the series. I really enjoyed reading it!
I would recommend this book for girls between 12 and 17.
11 AR points
Ronnie’s life has recently gone through a massive upheaval; her father burnt out in his job moved the entire family to a rural town in Oregon to open a B&B. The ray of light in her life is Karen, a ten-year old girl Ronnie baby-sits who shows her the wonder of her new world. However all of this comes crashing down when on a run Ronnie finds Karen’s lifeless body floating in the river.
This is a fantastic book, I could not put it down! This is not a light read, it is an atmospheric story which deals with death, isolation, friendship and drug abuse. The novel tackles these topics in new and interesting ways, without succumbing to the clichés you see in many teen novels. I would recommend this to female readers (since it is told exclusively from Ronnie’s point of view) around 15-18.
7 Accelerated reader points
2010 Edgar Award Nominee
All the Fairies have disappeared from The City….. There is no one left to grant wishes, no one is going from rags to riches overnight and Beauty is left scrubbing the floors instead of going to the ball. All that is left is their dust, a cheap imitation of their once powerful magic. For Henry Whelp, the son of the notorious wolf who murdered Little Red Riding Hood and her Grandmother, things are not easy in The City. Everyone assumes that violence runs in his blood…. But when he stumbles upon an underworld conspiracy which might link the fairy’s disappearance to the illegal dust trade…. Henry begins to believe his Dad was set up…..
At the breakfast table Lizzy watches the words of her father’s morning newspaper swirl and coalesce into a headline announcing the death of her best friend. Fourtunately Bizzy, her larger than life grand mother has been watching her closely, and knows what is happening to Lizzy. She has grown into her inheritance, passed down from her ancestor Morgan le Fay, she has become a Death Catcher. Destined to stop the unjust and early deaths of people around her. Even more strange, her destiny is intertwined with Drake Westfall, the last descendant of King Arthur….
This was a really great read. The book is written as a defense paper to her English teacher, of “Why I should Pass English Even Though I Didn’t Turn In My Final Project“. The wry humor at the beginning of each chapter keeps the book from becoming to heavy or slow. It also (don’t tell the young readers) demonstrates concepts you would be taught in an English class; such as setting, mood, analysis or dialogue for example. This is a reinvention of the Arthurian Legend and prior knowledge of it is not required in order to read this book. The author does a great job of touching on key points and retelling it without it ever dragging or seeming out of place. I would recommend this to any girl needing something new to read.
12 AR points
Vera Dietz has been in love with her best friend Charlie for as long as she can remember. So when he betrays their friendship and then dies under mysterious circumstances a short time afterwards she is conflicted. She has more pieces to the puzzle than the police, her friends and adults around her. However the decision to clear his name is a complicated one, which will bring to light more than just the circumstances of Charlie’s death. It will reveal what ultimately sent him down the path to this ending in the first place, taking all of Vera’s courage to see it through.
On Mary Shane’s 17 birthday didn’t start out anything like she had hoped- waking up naked in a display bed in Crate & Barrel, with a monster hang over, bleeding and being gawked at through the windows. He day goes from bad to worse as it progresses, culminating in her own murder. But as they say, Death is only the beginning…. She returns and views her life through the eyes of seven people, all she discovers had plenty of reasons to want her dead. However only one actually pulled the trigger and she only has one chance to stop her own murder.
Is it a coincidence that Zora imagines the Gator King which lurks in the marshes just outside of Eatonville, waiting to devour human souls. While at the same time a decapitated man is found on the railroad tracks. While the two girls investigate the Gator King they stumble on secrets, racism and envy which lead them to the killer and save their town.
This is a story about a girl who lives in a planned society. Where she is told what to wear, what to eat and what to dream. She is also told who she is going to marry, at her matching ceremony. A few days later she opens up the information on the boy she was matched with, only to see someone else's face on her display. This is not suppose to happen The Society does not make mistakes like this. She begins to question what she has always know and finds there is more to her world than she has ever thought possible.
This is a great book! It is fast paced with great characters this is a great introduction this type of fiction. I would recommend this to any YA reader looking for something new to read!
13 AR points
The sequel to Matched, it follows both Cassia and Ky in their search for each other in the outer provinces. Both also discover startling revelations about The Society and those who are fighting against it.
During lunch, a nine-millimeter hand gun goes off. While the gun is found, the culprit is not. However high school being high school, everyone knows Wayne Connelly is the one who brought the gun to school. He is a bully, a tough guy, and all around obnoxious to his fellow classmates. Even the police have zeroed in on him and believe he is the culprit. Colin knows Wayne is innocent and sets out to prove it.
Did I mention Wayne has terrorized Colin for years? And that while Colin’s powers of observation and intelligence are far superior to most people’s, he does have a couple of problems: he doesn't like the color blue, shrill noises and needs to use index cards with facial expressions drawn on them as cheat sheets to know what people are feeling….this mystery will push Colin beyond where anyone thought he could go.
I enjoyed read this book. It is Sherlock Holmes-meets Monk-meets Harriet the Spy. While it has bits from each of these, the voice of the story is unique and strong enough to keep those influences from ever becoming distracting.
I also enjoyed how the authors took situations in which you expect a stereotype to occur and fooling you by avoiding them. A prime example is Colin and his PE class. Colin has a note from his parents asking that he be excused from participating due to his Asperger’s Syndrome. However, the gym teacher is having none of it. This is where you expect of any number of fictional encounters with unpleasant and sadistic PE classes. Turning the situation on it’s head, in the class Colin learns how to throw a free throw by a teacher who is good at his job and listens to his students;
“There, Fischer," Mr. Turrentine said. His expression was blank. “Like that. You’re a damned basketball prodigy. Now retrieve your ball and get back in line.” Colin turned to chase after the basketball, then stopped as a thought occurred….”Mr. Turrentine,” he asked. “Are you God?” “No…I’m a gym teacher. I work for a living.”
I also enjoyed there was a back story which was alluded to (previous cases and enemies) but never fully explained. They give the book added depth and allowing for growth of the characters in what I hope will become a series. This is a great guy book (ages 11-15). Plus is has some great humor in it as well!
New Books I am excited to read!
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