Reading Rants Summer 2009

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3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows by Ann Brashares (Realistic)A new sisterhood begins. Polly lives with her artist mom and wants to be a model. Ama, a straight “A” student, who is never without her flat iron, is spending the summer in clunky hiking boots at a wilderness camp where she will have to rappel down a 350 foot cliff (all for high school credit). Jo’s parents are getting a divorce and she is spending the summer at her beach house with the “cool” kids and working at a seafood restaurant. Polly who just wants to be beautiful and noticed. The girls have been drifting apart, but how deep do their roots go? You will enjoy 3 Willows whether or not you’ve read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
13 by Jason Robert Brown & Dan Elish (Realistic)Evan’s parents are getting divorced and he has to move to Appleton, Indiana where he will have his Bar Mitzvah in the basement of a Methodist church. He thought becoming a man was going to be tough, he had no idea that Appleton would be more difficult than the streets of Manhattan. 13 is also a Broadway Musical where the cast, and even the band, are all 13-year-olds.
Beanball by Gene Fehler (Sports)Luke “Wizard” Wallace has it all – he is good in school, everyone likes him and he is an all-around athlete. He is best known for his “magic glove” in center field. No ball gets past Wizard, until one tragic day when an out-of-control fast ball hits him in the face when he is up to bat. Beanball is written from the perspective of everyone involved in Luke’s accident – from a baseball fan to Luke himself.
The Big Splash by Jack D. Ferraiolo (Mystery)Matt Stevens is an average middle schooler with a knack for solving crimes. He uncovers a mystery while working with “the organization,” a mafia-like syndicate run by 7th grader Vincent “Mr. Biggs” Biggio who specializes in forged hall passes, test-copying rings, black market candy selling, and taking out hits with water guns. This is a hilarious spoof of school life with all of its ups and downs.
The Book Book: A Journey into Bookmaking by Sophie Benini Pietromarchi (Nonfiction)”Books are like houses,” and just like the door to a house, the cover of a book protects what is inside until you are ready to come in and discover it all. Find out not only how to write a story, but how to turn that story into a book of your own design.
Chaos Code by Justin Richards (Supernatural/Mystery)Fifteen-year-old Matt and his new friend Robin search the globe to retrieve an ancient code—rumored to have brought down the ancient civilization of Atlantis—from the hands of a madman who is bent on destroying the modern world. Science, legend, madmen, and action wrapped into a powerful story.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman (Graphic Novel)The popular novel has been adapted into this amazing graphic novel. Coraline moves into one quarter of an old mansion with her parents. They are too busy to play with her so she goes exploring. Soon she has seen everything there is to see and met everyone there is to meet . . . except for whatever lies through the bricked up door in the living room. Coraline opens it to find a doorway to another world where her “Other Mother” and “Other Father” live and everything looks similar but nothing is the same.
Dead is the New Black by Marlene Perez (Mystery/Supernatural)
Daisy Giordano is part of a crime-solving family of psychics. Her mom has premonitions, her sister Rose can hear people’s thoughts and her other sister Poppy is able to move objects with her mind. Daisy is the only “norm” in the family . . . she doesn’t have any psychic abilities. Don’t worry, though! She doesn’t let her “norm” status stop her from investigating the mysterious deaths of high school girls around Nightshade, Daisy’s bizarre hometown. Part mystery, part supernatural thriller, part comedy with a splash of Buffy, Veronica Mars and Nancy Drew.
Derby Girl by Shawna Cross (Realistic)Bliss Cavendar is stuck in tiny Bodeen, Texas. She is a blue-haired girl lost in a sea of pageant queens and barbecue restaurants. She doesn’t feel like she’ll ever be able to get out of the rut that is Bodeen until she picks up a flier for the Austin roller derby and finds herself lacing up her Barbie roller skates for the first time in years. Of course, her beauty pagent mom can never find out that she’s racing to victory instead of racing to the crown. (Soon to be the movie Whip It! staring Ellen Paige and Drew Barrymore.)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Realistic)Frankie undergoes a complete metamorphosis the summer between freshman and sophomore year and becomes a complete knock-out. She draws the attention of Matthew, a notorious senior at Alabaster Prep. When Frankie finds out that he is part of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, an all-male Alabaster secret society that Frankie’s dad often alludes to, she decides to infiltrate the group. But, how far will she go and at what cost?
The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson (Historical Fiction)
Tally Hamilton is furious to hear that she is being sent from London to a horrid, stuffy boarding school in the countryside, and all because of the stupid war. But Delderton Hall is a far more interesting place than Tally ever imagined, and an exciting school trip to the beautiful and luscious kingdom of Bergania whisks Tally into an unexpected adventure. Strong, eccentric characters and a life-or-death mystery in Bergania make this an original and satisfying read.
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman (Fantasy/Historical)Sixteen-year-old Eon hopes to become an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune and learn to be its main interpreter, but to do so will require much, including keeping secret that she is a girl. This is no mere fantasy—this book is rich in ancient lore and Chinese culture, the fighting and battle scenes are intense, and all the characters, from master to maid and emperor to servant, are complex and fascinating.
Football Hero by Tim Green (Sports/Suspense)Since his brother is away at college, Ty is forced to live with his stingy and mean aunt and uncle when their parents die. When Thane is recruited out of college to play for the New York Jets, their Uncle Gus uses Ty to get insider information for his gambling ring, which leads them to some life-and-death choices. Grim realism and sports sequences bring this tense drama to life.
Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve (Historical Fiction)When her village is attacked and burned, Gwyna seeks protection from the bard Myrddin, who uses Gwyna in his plan to transform young Arthur into the heroic King Arthur. Cruel and calculating characters fight for honor and power in a retelling of this legendary story.
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder (Supernatural)Ava had never been to a funeral before her boyfriend died. Now she finds herself overwhelmed with guilt because she blames herself that he is gone … but when she starts seeing him in the mirror, smelling his cologne and the radio turns on and plays her love songs, she realizes that he is not that far away. I Heart You is a novel in verse.
I Wanna Be Your Shoebox by Cristina Garcia (Realistic)Yumi Ruiz-Hirsch’s mother calls her a poster-child for the twenty-first century . . . she is part Japanese, part Cuban and part Jewish. She is trying to figure out who she is while standing in the middle of all three cultures. She knows that she plays the clarinet, lives in LA, loves punk music and is a surfer, but Yumi knows she is more than all of that. She also knows that she doesn’t want anything in her life to change, but unfortunately change is coming in more ways than Yumi could ever imagine.
I.Q.: Book One: Independence Hall by Roland Smith (Adventure)Fame has arrived for rockers Blaze and Roger! Just married, leaving Los Angeles, and touring the United States with teenagers Q (Quest) and Angela in tow, the excitement heightens in Philadelphia when Angela realizes she’s being followed. Q soon learns the secret about Angela’s real mother, a former Secret Service agent. Fast-paced action and interesting characters make a great beginning to this new series.
The Lab by Jack Heath (Science Fiction)When Agent Six, a member of The Deck, a group fighting against their corrupt society, discovers that he is the product of an illegal experiment by the evil Lab, he takes dangerous steps to discover the truth about himself.
Me, the Missing and the Dead by Jenny Valentine (Mystery/Supernatural)Me = Lucas, a sixteen year old kid living in London. The Missing = Lucas’ dad, a journalist who disappeared five years ago without a clue as to where he had gone or if he is even alive. The Dead = Violet Parks, a woman who was left cremated in an urn in the back of a taxi cab and now left to wait in the taxi cab office. Lucas doesn’t know it but all of these things are going to come together in a unique, funny ghost story wrapped in a mystery.
Nathan Fox: Dangerous Times by L. Brittney (Historical/Adventure)14-year-old Nathan Fox is an actor in the same company as young Will Shakespeare. His life in the theatre has taught him a thing or two about disguises and deception. But nothing can prepare Nathan for the shadowy, dangerous world he’s about to enter as he begins work as a spy for England’s spymaster general. Great historical detail, action and fight sequences, and mysterious characters make this a can’t-miss book.
Scat by Carl Hiaasen (Realistic/Suspense)Nick and his friend Marta decide to investigate when a mysterious fire starts near a Florida wildlife preserve and an unpopular teacher goes missing. Strong-willed characters and an ecological message tie this very funny, fast-paced story together.
Shift by Jennifer Bradbury (Mystery)Best friends Chris and Win go on a cross country bicycle trek the summer after graduating and only one returns. Win’s parents are powerful and mean; they send an FBI agent to get the truth out of Chris. This adventurous book flashes back to incidents along their journey as Chris puts the pieces together as to what may have happened to his friend. And then he needs to decide what to do about it!
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (Ghost/Suspense)After 15-year-old Chloe starts seeing ghosts and is sent to Lyle House, a mysterious group home for mentally distrubed teenagers, she discovers that neither Lyle House nor its inhabitants are exactly what they seem, and that she and her new friends are in danger.
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr (Realistic)Jennifer has always lived her life on the outside. She only had one friend, Cameron, who is the only person who cares about her or will stick up for her, but now he is gone. She feels completely alone until her family’s move to the other side of town allows her to reinvent herself. She calls herself Jenna, loses weight, wears the best clothes and tries to do everything she can to make everyone around her happy. Then, Cameron returns and Jennifer/Jenna doesn’t know who she is supposed to be.
The Switch by Anthony Horowitz (Suspense)When wealthy, spoiled, thirteen-year-old Tad Spencer wishes he were someone else, he awakens as Bob Snarby, the uncouth, impoverished son of carnival workers, and as he is drawn into a life of crime he begins to discover truths about himself and his family. A book full of twisted fun by the author of the Alex Rider series.
Trouble by Gary Schmidt (Adventure)Henry’s dad has always told him, “If you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you.” Since the Smith family has lived in the same house in New England for the past 300 hundred years, this seems to be true. Then Henry’s brother dies and it seems that trouble has flooded into their lives. Henry decides that the only way to honor his brother’s memory is to climb Maine’s Mt. Katahdin like he and his brother were planning to do together . . . but he will find that getting up the mountain is the easiest part of his journey.
The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem (Fantasy)On Island, you are officially named on your 14th birthday. If you are a cook, your name is Cook. A potter? Potter. Ever since Medford Runyuin washed up on Island as a baby, he has never felt like a part of the community because of his “funny name.” He knows he is destined to be a Carver just like his adopted father and create simple and useful bowls and spoons. He just hopes he can be named before someone finds the carvings he’s created in private . . . his Unnameable objects.
Zombie Blondes by Brian James (Horror/Humor)Each time 15-year-old Hannah and her out-of-work father move she has some fears about making friends. Then a classmate warns her that in Maplecrest, Vermont, the cheerleaders really are monsters. Can these smart, pretty and powerful girls really be all that bad? Should Hannah try out for the team? All the drama of high school with bone-crushing and hilarious results.

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