Sunday, October 21, 2012


Shine. Lauren Myracle. 2011.  


Cat's best friend is dying in the hospital following a traumatic beating and it's up to her to find those who participated in the hate crime. Even if those same attackers turn out to be people she knows just as well as Patrick.  


Cat's best friend, Patrick, is in the hospital following an almost deadly beating. It's not a surprise because Patrick has been getting harassed by classmates for awhile now, but Cat's been choosing to turn a blind eye. Unable to ignore the hate running rampant in her small Southern town any longer and convinced the police aren't doing enough to find his attackers, Cat sets out to bring them to justice. Along the way, though, she realizes those attackers may be closer to herself and Patrick than originally thought.  

Thoughts: Excellent
I read this book when it was first released and I still remember how I felt after reading it. Thought-provoking and heart-wrenching, Cat's struggle serves to remind us all that prejudice is still alive and well and needs to be stopped immediately. Myracle writes a book that is so realistic you can't help but stop and think. I recommend this novel all the time - one of the best releases of 2011.

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death and the girl next door

death and the girl next door. Darynda Jones. 2012

Lorelei McAlister has been trying to find out why her parents mysteriously disappeared years ago. When a new boy shows up at school, she realizes Jared might finally be able to reveal the truth...if only she's ready to hear it.

Lorelei McAlister is struggling through yet another anniversary of the disappearance of her parents. It's been years, but there's still no new leads to report or information coming forward. Until a new boy at school shows up. Jared Kovach seems to know more about Lorelei than anyone else and it seems he knows a lot about her fellow classmate, the quiet and brooding Cameron Lusk, as well. In fact, the longer he stays the more he appears to be mysteriously connected to other people in Riley's Switch. Determined to figure out all of her town's secrets, Lorelei and her friends start digging into the new boy's true identity. Who is Jared exactly and more importantly, will he finally be able to answer the questions surrounding the disappearance of Lorelei's parents?

Thoughts: Average
Forbidden love. Lots of flirting. Gorgeous men vying to protect Lorelei at every turn. All typical YA book backbone. What wasn't typical were the supernatural beings being represented. This book was definitely not what I expected.

Pros: The writing itself was well-done. The dialogue was funny and didn't weigh the novel down. I also thought the plot was well-paced and kept your attention by moving you along. The element of suspense stayed with you as well. Just when you thought you had the next move figured out, the author surprised you.

Cons: The plot was difficult for me to follow. I often felt like I missing crucial information that was necessary to understand a scene or conversation. Also, it seemed like the characters had more knowledge about what was going on than I did and, being out of the loop, I couldn't always keep up. Who knew what and how much they knew was hard to ascertain as well - especially towards the end.

 The search for Lorelei's parents continues in March 2013 with death, doom and detention.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Kissing Kate

Myracle, Lauren.  Kissing Kate.  New York: Penguin Group, 2003.  Print.


2004 ALA Best Books for Young Adults


One night at a party, best friends Kate and Lissa kissed.  Now Kate is ignoring Lissa, who’s left on her own to figure what and more importantly, who she really wants.


““Isn’t it amazing the stuff we can convince ourselves of?  And not just in our dreams, but in our normal lives, too.  You know?””  I wondered what she was thinking of, what lies she’d convinced herself were truths.  But I didn’t ask.”

I’ve had a lot of practice lately with these lies disguised as truths.  Ever since Kate and I, best friends since seventh grade, kissed everything has been screwed up.  It was in the summer, at the last party before school started.  Kate was drunk, but I wasn’t.  And even though Kate’s acting like being drunk was an excuse, I know she feels the same way about me.  She just won’t admit it.

I’ve tried to talk to her about it since, to tell her how much I like her, but she wants to forget it ever happened.  Kate is beautiful, popular and dating gorgeous Ben; she doesn’t want to be a lesbian.  She doesn’t want to be “abnormal”.  To me, though, it feels completely normal and I’m not sure that I can convince myself I’m really straight.  I’m not even sure I want to…

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Invented Life

Bjorkman, Lauren.  My Invented Life.  New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2009.  Print.



Roz is convinced her sister Eva is a lesbian.  To prove she’s right Roz decides to come out as a lesbian first, until her invented life gets totally out of control.


Then:  I used to be known as “Roz: sister and best friend”.  Recently, though, Eva’s taken that folder off her computer desktop and moved it into the trash.  In fact, she’s trashed our whole relationship.  If there was a replacement folder on her desktop it would be labeled: Roz: person to be ignored.

Now:  Currently, Eva barely speaks to me.  PD (post deletion) means we no longer share clothes, secrets or even mundane details about our lives.  We don’t even talk about the school play, even though we’re both in it together.

Then:  I used to know everything about Eva.  I would pine for (and sometimes go out with) her (ex) boyfriends.  She always talked to me about things and I thought she was perfect.

Now:  Eva has a new group of friends, the cheerleaders.  She’s still pretty much perfect, except I only know this from afar since she barely acknowledges me, let alone confides in me.  And…Eva’s a lesbian.  I think.

After finding a lesbian novel in Eva’s bedroom leant to her by Eyeliner Andie (a rumored lesbian herself), I started having suspicions about my sister.  PD, unfortunately, meant they would remain unconfirmed because Eva would never ever tell me.  I had a plan though.  I decided to come out as a lesbian and tell everyone at school about my “girlfriend”.  Once Eva saw how accepting and tolerant everyone was, she would feel safe enough to come out too.  Except…

That’s not exactly what happened.  I did come out at school, but then I starting having feelings for Eyeliner Andie in addition to my years-long crush on my sister’s current boyfriend, Bryan.  Will I able to figure out who I’m supposed to be with, get my invented life under control and gain my sister’s trust back, all before opening night?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Hunger Games

Collins, Suzanne.  The Hunger Games.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2008.  Print.


2008 New York Times Notable Children’s Book
2008 New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
2008 Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller
2008 Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2008: Children’s Fiction
2008 Cybil Award for Fantasy & Science Fiction
2008 Kirkus Best Book
2008 School Library Journal Best Books
2008 Booklist Editors’ Choice
2008 LA Times Favorite Children’s Books
2008-2009 (Winter) #1 Children’s Indie Next List
2009 ALA Notable Children’s Book
2009 ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults
2009 ALA Amelia Bloomer Project List
2009 Indies Choice for Best Indie Young Adult Buzz Book Honor
2009 Children’s Choice Book Award
2009 ALA YALSA Teens’ Top Ten
2009 New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age
2009 CCBC Choices
2010 USA Today Bestseller
Teen Choice Book of the Year Finalist
#1 New York Times Bestseller
Wall Street Journal Bestseller


Selected to participate in the Hunger Games, Katniss knows that in order to win she has to survive the harsh environment of the arena and kill off all of the other players, regardless of whether they're friends or enemies.


It’s not enough that Katniss has to fight for her life everyday, risking death in order to sneak out of town so she can hunt and gather in the woods.  Now she’s in the biggest fight of her life: the Hunger Games.  Televised throughout the districts, Katniss knows everyone will be watching her and she also knows SHE HAS TO WIN.  Winning means ensuring her future and her family’s survival as well as helping out her town.  But winning also comes with a price: Katniss is pitted against someone else from her district, a boy named Peeta who once snuck her a loaf of bread when she had nothing to eat.

In order to win the Games and save her own life, will Katniss be able to kill the boy who may be in love with her…the boy who may be her only true ally…the boy who once saved her and her family from starvation?  Even if Katniss lives through the Games, can she live with her guilt?

“May the odds ever be in [her] favor!”

*This book was recommended to me by Nicole (19 years old) because it's "the best book in the series...there's more adventure and depth" in the first one compared to the others.  For her, the novel revolves around Katniss's decision, essentially "sacrificing everything for [her sister] Prim and then having the added burden of not letting her or the town down on top of simply trying to stay alive".*

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

almost perfect

Katcher, Brian.  almost perfect.  New York: Delacorte Press, 2009.  Print. 


2010 ALA Best Books for Young Adults
2010 Capitol Choice Noteworthy Book
2011 ALA Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature Award


Still upset over his last break-up, Logan avoids dating until a new girl shows up at school with a big secret.


Logan’s life is far from perfect: 

  • Just a few months ago his girlfriend Brenda broke up with him…after she cheated on him with another guy.  Hopeful they would get back together, Logan has been waiting around for her (literally: waiting for her to get off the bus every morning).  He's starting to realize now that it’s over. 
  • Logan’s sister moved out to go to college.  While they used to be really close he doesn’t get to see her that much anymore. 
  • His mom is gone most of the time because she has to work so many shifts at the diner just to make ends meet. 
  • And he’s still living in the trailer he grew up in, the same one they lived in after Logan’s dad left.

All Logan really has to look forward to is his upcoming graduation and hanging out with his friends.  But when a new girl, Sage, transfers to his high school at the start of senior year Logan’s life starts to look a little better.  After all, it’s small town Boyer, no one new ever shows up and on top of that Sage is funny, smart, quirky…almost perfect.  Except Sage has a secret she can’t risk anyone finding out about.  And once Logan discovers what it is, he doesn’t want anyone to find out either.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Keeping You A Secret

Peters, Julie Anne.  Keeping You A Secret.  New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2003.  Print.


2003 Lambda Literary Award Finalist
2004 ALA Stonewall Honor Book
2004 ALA Amelia Bloomer Project List of Recommended Feminist Books for Youth
2006 ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults   
New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age
Alphabet Award (First recipient)


Holland Jaeger has just realized she’s a lesbian and she’s in love with a girl from her school, Cece Goddard.  Both Cece and Holland decide to keep their relationship a secret, until the truth becomes impossible to hide.


These are the rules:

1.)   “They got it wrong when they called it “the closet”.  [It’s] a prison”.
2.)   “You can’t always trust your friends”.
3.)   “You don’t have to do anything to be hated for being gay”.
4.)   You think telling people your gay is “about identity.  Love…asking for acceptance”.  Others, including your friends and family, think you’re “asking for trouble”.

These are just some of the rules Holland Jaeger has to live by now that she’s admitted she’s a lesbian.  Holland works hard at school, has a job and is on the swim team.  She loves her sister Hannah and is trying to get along with her other sister, Faith.  It shouldn’t matter that she’s in love with Cece Goddard.  Cece, though, knows that’s not the case.  Having transferred from another school in the area, Cece knows how hurtful people can be when they find out you’re gay.  She begs Holland to keep the secret.  And while Holland does break up with her boyfriend, she doesn’t tell him why and she doesn’t tell her two closest friends either.

Keeping the secret seems like such a good idea at first, but will staying quiet turn out to be a mistake?  What if everyone at school finds out (it wouldn’t be too hard, Cece’s not exactly in the closet).  What if Faith tells their parents just to spite Holland?  Most importantly, what if everyone Holland loves finds out the truth from someone other than her?   

*Christine (19 years old) suggested I read this book.  She told me that she enjoyed it because "it talks about current themes, themes teenagers can relate to".  "It's emotional because Holland's friends and family have a hard time accepting her, but once Holland is at peace with herself, there's also a message of hope [and] that's important" she added.*

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