Monday, February 23, 2009

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Jennifer Harris was able to change her life after her only friend, Cameron, moved away when she was 9. She lost weight, changed her name, and moved. Now she is 17 and senior and high school, has a boyfriend and tons of friends but now Cameron has returned turning her life upside down. Secrets come out about his abusive father. They have to confront past memories with out letting anyone else know. Cameron ends up staying with her parents while they try to get everything straightened out but in the end he decides to return to California (where the rest of his family is) to help his brothers and sisters. A quiet novel about the strength of childhood friendships

Chanda's War by Allan Stratton

This compelling book tells the story of Chanda, who due to her mother's recent death, is responsible for the well-being of her brother and sister. Encouraged to make amends with her estranged family, Chanda travels to a nearby town from which her brother and sister are stolen by a group of rebels. This book is, in large part, a book about child soldiers in war-torn Africa. More than that, however, this is a family story and one of courage and adventure. The narrative is well-constructed and Stratton keeps you wondering with each page what is going to happen.

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott

Danielle has never known a life without stealing. She and her mother live on the run, stealing silver, and never letting anyone know the real them. Then they come to Heaven, and Danielle starts gets a taste of what she has never had, realizing that she wants a life without stealing, without silver, and without fake names or IDs, she just wants to be normal. But, will she ever be able to?

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Kidnapped at 10 from a school field trip, and held captive by a psycho child molester until age 15, "Alice" has to choose her replacement, knowing she would rather be dead than alive.

Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Pena

Danny is spending the summer in National City with his Mexican relatives while his mother tries out living with her new boyfriend in San Francisco. Danny has essentially stopped talking; his heart is broken by his father's abandonment three years earlier. The only thing that Danny really seems to care about is baseball, yet even his passion and talent for the game can't earn him a spot on the team at his private prep school back home. During one intense summer Danny comes to terms with his depression and anger, perfects his game, hangs out with his cousin Sofia and her crew of tough-yet-caring gangsta friends, finds first love, and discovers what really happened with his father.

Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by e. Lockhart

This is one of those boarding school books I loved as a teen,
with a new twist. Frankie gets the hot guy as her boyfriend,
but instead of losing herself, she actually finds herself. There's a
lot of intrigue, too, because there's a secret society and a mystery to solve.

Venomous by Christopher Krovatin

Chris Krovatin (rhymes with "Satan") has written a touching, humorous, meaningful novel profiling Locke (stockinbarrel), a teen with a huge anger problem which he refers to as his alter ego, Venom. Locke beats the s*** out of people--so bad, they are barely alive after! Locke also loves his little brother and wants to set a good example for him. The novel alternates between Locke's story and the story of Venom, which of course becomes the story of Locke as well. Along the way, Locke makes some friends, falls in love, beats somebody up, gets a tattoo, and basically lives his teenaged life.

Playing with Matches by Brian Katcher

Leon has faced his share of bullying in his 17 years but he still manages to keep his odd sense of humor though he never seems to get the girl. His new locker neighbor has seen even more bullying. When Melody was a child she was severely scared when a kerosene lamp exploded in her face. They soon become fast friends and then a little more though he does deny it for awhile. But he still holds a flame for the class beauty Amy and it soon lands him in the fire.

Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon

When Ben is a young teen his father tells both him and his mom that he is gay. Bens mom splits and Ben is left with his father, feeling like his very existence is a result of his dads lie. Now Ben is 17, and after he has been acting out with drugs, drinking, etc, for the last few years His father with his boyfriend Edward, also known as Ben's "Momdad", make the decision to move the family out of Spokane to rural Montana so they can live with Edwards rather strict mother, in the hopes that a new life will help straighten Ben out. Unfortunately the whole family sticks out like a sore thumb and Ben does not really fit in very well as the only skateboard punk in a town full of cowboys. As if this is not enough, he soon starts to realize that there are some dark secrets involved with his 11 year old neighbor Billy. Now Ben has to try and come to grips with his own situation all the while trying to fit in to his new surroundings and try to help his young neighbor.

Paper Towns by John Green

Quentin is only weeks away from graduating high school, moving on to a good college and starting a successful life. However, he hits a little snag before that can happen. The unrequited love of his life, Margo Roth Spiegleman, who just happens to be his neighbor and childhood friend, un-expectantly shows up at Quentin’s window in the middle of the night. This visit sparks a night of pranks, revenge, and fun. It is one of the best nights of Quentin’s life, but it also sets him on a mysterious search that will change how he looks at the world forever.

Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film about the Grapes of Wrath by Steven Goldman

In this funny story, Mitchell's best friend David comes out of the closet (only to him), they take girls to the prom, Mitchell gets dumped and then realizes he is better off dating his sister's best friend. He also turned in a mildly risque film project in place of an essay on "The Grapes of Wrath" because he didn't want to read the book And he still has to come to terms with his best friend being gay.

Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante

Agnes wants to be a saint. Honey is absorbed by learning about and seeing butterflies. They live in a religious compound, Agnes has two parents and a brother on the compound and Honey is an orphan. The brainwashing and blind following of the seemingly hypocritical "father" of the group is bile-fetching.

It is amazing that Honey would have such a sense of self and right despite the limited positive adult role models among the brainwashing. The alternatives to living in the commune could have been more detailed, but perhaps that would have come across as preachy. Although Honey saw the hypocracy of Veronica and Emmanuel, no other Believers question it. Following the events in Eldorado, some folks might be up in arms against this book, others against cult communes.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Based on a Norse Myth, a young girl, whose mother neglected to give her a name, has an encounter with the White Deer and can now talk to animals. A White Bear, called an isbjorn asks her to come away with him for a year in exchange for making her family wealthy. She goes with him to an ice palace and learns that everyone there is under an enchantment woven by the troll queen, of whom they are all terrified. She doesn't quite make it the year and tries to undo the consequences of her disregard of the instructions given her.

Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Bod's family was killed by the man Jack. He now lives in the graveyard that he toddled to the night his parents were killed and is protected by the ghosts that haunt the graveyard and his guardian who is neither living or dead. Jack is still after Bod but can only get to Bod if he leaves the graveyard. This book has been my favorite so far. The story is full of quirky characters and is full of snap shots of Bod's life from the night his parents were murdered through to the night when it was safe for him to leave and live his life.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Fantastic techno-geek adventure wherein Marcus (a consumate hacker and rule breaker) is the target of intense scrutiny by the Department of Homeland Security. Rather than lie low and let the DHS run his life, Marcus and friends fight back by waging a cyberwar on an alternate internet. Fast paced, very hip, great teen appeal.

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor

Twelve year old Addie's parents' recent separation has split not only her father-in-law and mother, but Addie from her step-siblings. A driving force between the break-up is likely whatever mental illness drives her mother to spend all her waking hours on the Internet looking for "business opportunities". Dwight, the step-father, has without obligation sprung for a yellow trailer in the city in which mother and daughter will live, and sends monthly checks that usually catch flight once they're in "Mommers'" hands. At a service station across the street friom the trailer, Addie befriends Soula and Elliot. Soula is in chemo, and Elliot dates the owner of a local restaurant. When her mother's business opportunity finally arrives, Addie is often left home alone for days on end. She even resorts to packing empty cereal boxes with thumbtacks to cover when her grandfather comes over to check up on her. She has managed to mature beyond her years, but maturation isn't enough to avoid a terrible accident that will eventually alter her and her family's way of life.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12. She helps take care of her mother and sister by hunting, even though it is illegal. When the drawing for The Hunger Games comes up, 12 year old Primrose Everdeen, sister of Katniss, is called to be the girl representative for District 12, Katniss runs up to take her place. Now Katniss is literally in the game of her life, can her hunting and survival skills keep her alive, when 23 other people are hunting to kill her and claim victory for their district?

Debbie Harry Sings in French by Megan Brothers

When we meet Johnny he is in the middle of an drunken, goth dressing teenage-hood. He plummets into self destructive behaviors, that eventually lead to his mother sending him to live in South Carolina with an uncle he barely knows. As Johnny tries to set his life back on track, he becomes obsessed with Blondie singer Debbie Harry. So much so that he begins to realize he is actually longing to be her. But Johnny is pretty sure he isn't gay, especially since he's really into ubercool Maria.

The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

The Compound by S.A. Bodeen
This first novel by author Bodeen is a truly gripping thriller. Eli, 15 years old, and most of his family have been locked away for the last six years in a massive underground shelter built by his billionaire father. Life on the outside has been destroyed by a nuclear war that also claimed the lives of Eli's twin brother and grandmother who were unable to make it to the shelter in time. They have 9 years to go before the door to the shelter can be unlocked but they are running out of supplies and won't last much longer. But then Eli makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.
Top Twenty Titles Announced!
We have chosen the top 20 titles for Thumbs Up!
They are:
Anderson, Laurie Halse. Chains
Bodeen, S.A. The Compound
Brothers, Meagan. Debbie Harry Sings in French
Collins, Suzanne. Hunger Games
Connor, Leslie. Waiting for Normal
Doctorow, Cory. Little Brother
Gaiman, Neil. Graveyard Book
George, Jessica Day. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
Galante, Cecilia. Patron Saint of Butterflies
Goldman, Steven. Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film about the Grapes of Wrath
Green, John. Paper Towns
Harmon, Michael B. Last Exit to Normal
Katcher, Brian. Playing with Matches
Krovatin, Chris. Venemous
Lockhart, E. Disreputable History of Frankie Landau- Banks
Pena, Matt de la. Mexican White Boy
Scott, Elizabeth. Living Dead Girl
Scott, Elizabeth. Stealing Heaven
Stratton, Allan. Chanda’s Wars
Zarr, Sara. Sweethearts
I'll set up a new post for each of these titles so we can start blogging fresh!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Falling Hard edited by Betsy Franco

Falling Hard is a collection of 100 love poems by teenagers.  A few of these have been published previously, most have not. A very interesting collection and a range in quality (in my opinion).  A view of love from many angles. Includes poems from gay/lesbian/bi viewpoints. There were a few that I really liked and it is a neat collection for teens to hear about love from other teens . . . but as a whole, I think not Thumb's Up. Nay

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

March Toward the Thunder by Joseph Bruchac

The story of 15 year old Louis Nolette, an Abenaki Indian from Canada, who joins the Irish Brigade during the Civil War.  Meeting up briefly with several prominent historical names such as Abraham Lincoln, Clara Barton, and Walt Whitman as well as touching on issues of the times: a hidden female soldier, black soldiers, the war doctors, and the destructive force of of bombs (such as they were), this story was a very good historical novel that not only makes you feel like you are there and seeing war from their time frame but that also has historical notes and a bibliography at the end.  I vote Yay.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Based on a Norse Myth, a young girl, whose mother neglected to give her a name, has an encounter with the White Deer and can now talk to animals. A White Bear, called an isbjorn asks her to come away with him for a year in exchange for making her family wealthy. She goes with him to an ice palace and learns that everyone there is under an enchantment woven by the troll queen, of whom they are all terrified. She doesn't quite make it the year and tries to undo the consequences of her disregard of the instructions given her. I found this a delightful book and a page turner. I give it a yay

The Shepherd's Granddaughter by Anne Laurel Carter

Amani, a Palestinian girl, dreams of being a shepherd like her grandfather, and though it is a dying occupation, she is home schooled and her grandfather teaches her the craft. After his death, she starts school determined to learn English so she can communicate with the settlers that are taking over the land where her sheep graze. Her father is arrested and she makes friends with a settler's son. Both are powerless. A quick read that sheds light on a current topic, giving it a human side. Good book but timely not timeless. I'm nay.

Caught Between the Pages by Marlene Carvell

PJ Barnes is, in many ways, a typical high school student. At least the kind who is this close to failing - because he doesn't care. Not a lot of friends and not doing his homework - things start to unwind the day he finds that he has his teacher's journal. Reading it and dealing with life: druggies pressuring him (not to take drugs though), the jerk captain of his soccer team, his mentally not present step-father, and his mother getting in a car crash.  What would YOU do?  A fun read - reminded me of my brother (reasons for not doing homework).  But not TU.  Nay.

The Lab by Jack Heath

Six of Hearts is a 16 yr old secret agent superhuman. He's the best of the Deck and determined to "uphold justice in a completely corrupt world." as a toddler he escaped from a lab in which he was created and one of his clones is actually one of the Jokers (the Deck's leaders). He gets caught on one of his most dangerous missions ever: freeing hostages from a robot factory that will soon be killed. Some of the italicized dialog radio communication was difficult to keep strait who was talking. Great action, fun read from a new Aussie author. Good but not quite TU.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Black Box by Julie Schumacher

When Dora, Elena's older sister, is diagnosed with depression and has to be admitted to the hospital, Elena can’t seem to make sense of their lives anymore. At school, the only people who acknowledge Elena are Dora’s friends and Jimmy Zenk—who failed at least one grade and wears blackevery day of the week. And at home, Elena’s parents keep arguing with each other. Elena will do anything to help her sister get better and get their lives back to normal—even when the responsibility becomes too much to bear. 

Good book, but lacked some details that would have made me care more about the character.  I just found it really hard to believe that Elena had absolutely no friends at all in her school or from her old school.  This was a quick read, and I think it has teen appeal, but I am going to say nay for TU quality.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sucks To Be Me by Kimberly Pauley

Mina is 16 years old and now has to take Vampire classes in order to decide to either become a bloodsucker, like her parents, or get her memory wiped of all things vampire. At the classes she meets a couple of cute guys, one with more personality than the other. She has great friends, good parents and an odd ball uncle. Really fun read with vampire myths and truths sprinkled throughout and the saga of her Bram Stoker paper. Just not TU. I'm nay though I really liked the book.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

Deirdre is a 16 year old music prodigy and is also painfully introverted until she meets Luke and with a little magic, convinces her into a duet. She soon discovers some magic of her own that leads to the discovery that Luke is a gallowglass, a soulless assassin for the faerie queen. (Her family has been tormented by faeries for generations.) She eventually must choose to risk her own life to free his soul. Good book, great book to recommend to Twilight fans but not TU.

Hippie Chick by Joseph Monniger

Lolly is used to taking her sail boat out into the bay by herself, but when her boat founders and she is soon seperated from it. Just when she thought it was over for her she is rescued by a manatee and taken to a warm spring in a mangrove island. She was able to warm up and eat some vegetation. Her hippie mother and friends are frantically searching for her but they are following the currents never knowing the manatee took her in the opposite direction. She isn't missing for long though, on the second day she swims with her manatee once more out into the ocean where a helicopter spots her. When the rescuers spot the manatees they carefully rescues her with out scaring them away. But unfortunately a Miami news crew boat sliced into her rescuing manatee. This fictional book was designed as the book she wrote a couple of years after the incident to sell after she went on talk shows, and her story was optioned by a movie studio. I had expected the living with the manatees part of her story to be longer but in general it is a quick read that is definitely a book about the plight of the manatees. Good but I just don't see this as a TU.

The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli

Monna Elisabetta, 15, will soon be betrothed to a noble of Florence Italy. She betroths herself to Giuliano de'Medici but her father has other ideas. The whole time through her life's good times and bad, from her mother's death through the birth of her children, Leonardo da Vinci is just waiting for her to mature to paint her portrait that he'll never know how famous his Mona Lisa will become. For a portrait that little is known about Napoli presents a great historical what if, who could the woman be. well written and researched. Good book but I'm just not feeling TU.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Suckerpunch by David Hernandez

Marcus is a teenage boy who thinks about sex a lot - with his friend's mom, with his brother's girlfriend, with the news anchor . . .  he also gets wasted a lot. He feels - ineffectual? because he only once jumped his dad to get him to stop beating up his younger brother. At least half the book is about going with his brother to his Dad's apartment (he left the family a year ago) with a starter gun (used in sports to start races kind of gun) to confront their dad and stop him from coming home again. Told in almost a stream of consciousness, the time was continually being flipped here and back again. Marcus is five, he is sixteen, he is seven kind of deal. This was occasionally confusing. I'm surprised (after finishing) that I think that it was rather a good book - almost like a suckerpunch to my senses. However, I found many parts of it distasteful - and I really hope that not all teens live and think like this!  I vote maybe.

The Hunt for the Seventh by Christine Morton-Shaw

Jim and his family have moved to a new estate where his father has gotten a new job as groundskeeper in hopes that it helps all of them cope with Jim's mother's death. Jim and his sister have specific areas where they are allowed to go with in the house and if they are caught it means his father will be fired. Jim soon sees that the estate is haunted by six children and it is left to him to find the seventh to avert catastrophe. He makes friends with an autistic boy Einstein. Come to find out Einstein is the 7th ghost and was killed by Lord Minerva. Good suspenseful book but not TU. I'm nay.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford

Chronicles the 45 day stay of 15 year old Jeff in a psychiatric ward because of an attempted suicide. He'll talk but he doesn't want to talk about his best friend Allie nor about dating and girls in general. But after death of a friend he made in the hospital and sexual encounters with a new guy in the ward, he finally admits to his doctor that he had kissed his best friend's boyfriend and was rejected then rejected again by an angry Allie. It was funny, it was sad, it was really good not great. I'm a nay

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier

In this companion to Wildwood Dancing Paula has traveled with her father and a load of goods to Istanbul to trade and find "Cybele's Gift." A bodyguard, Stoyan, is hired primarily to protect Paula since one of her fathers friends was murdered. Of course a romance develops and adventure. It has a really slow beginning and I had trouble getting into it. I hadn't read Wildwood Dancing and didn't feel lost. Good not great. I'm nay.

Big Splash by Jack D. Ferraiolo

Matt Stevens is a 7th grade PI that is hired by Vincent "Vinny Biggs" Biggio who is known for his candy black market. It was also Vinny Biggs that got the candy vending machines banned in the first place. There are Squirt-gun Assassins (they squirt water on kids below the belt). There are the "Outs" the least popular club. When Nikki Fingers is made an Out by an assassin Matt tries to solve the mystery. Fun read but reads young. So I'm a nay.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dooley Takes the Fall by Norah McClintock

Dooley has had a checkered past and his reputation precedes him when he begins attending his new High School. One evening, Dooley witnesses someone falling from a bridge - and comes upon the body of one of his new classmates moments later. Suspicions are cast and it isn't long before Dooley is in hot water. A little mystery, a little love - a handful of language and lots of violence leaning this towards the upper tiers of YA - I enjoyed the story - but I don't think it's Thumb's Up.


Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka
This book does give insight into the practice of polygamy. I'll be honest, though, I have about 100 more books to read than this one and it just doesn't catch my attention right away--so thumbs down.

Everything Beautiful in the World by Lisa Levchuk

Edna is getting away with a lot since her mother was hospitalized for cancer in this early 80s (dare I say) historical fiction. She is failing Latin, refuses to talk to her mother on the phone let alone see her in the hospital. All the girls in school have crushes on the art teacher, Mr. Howland but it is Edna that has a secret affair with him. But it doesn't stay secret for long after his wife and another teach both figure it out. Her mother forces her from the hospital to go see a therapist which dregs up her insecurity over her autistic brother's death. (Though to me, this plot line seemed a little extraneous). A good book not great. I'm nay.

Swiss Mist by Randy Powell

This book follows Milo from his parent's divorce when he is in 5th grade through his mother's remarriage when he is in 10th. Milo's parent's divorced because his philosopher professor father did psychedelic drugs, cheated and lost the family's savings. The divorce forced his mother to move them into a cheap crime ridden apartment in a suburb of Seattle while she went to school to be a dental aid. She eventually starts dating an old widower friend from high school with 3 kids of his own. Meanwhile Milo's dad sends him sporadic post cards from around the world and eventually has him visit in Arizona. Milo also remembers his favorite 5th grade teacher who would tell tales of her trip to Switzerland and her aunt and uncle but he never understood why she was fired. Finally he sees her speak on her trip at a community college and afterward talks to her only to learn that it was all a lie. She's never been to Switzerland just photo-shopped her picture into stock pictures, she never had a great aunt and uncle and she now works as a topless dancer outside of town. He eventually realizes he is his own person not dependent on his father or who he thought this teacher was. Good book, not great. I'm nay.

High Dive by Tammar Stein

Arden is an army brat that has travelled the world. Her family owns a vacation home on Sardinia that her parents planned to retire to but her father had died a couple of years before and her mother no longer wants it. And since her mother is now serving in Iraq, Arden travels alone to make one last visit. She meets up with other college students traveling Europe and briefly tags along, making sure to check her email everyday to make sure her mother is OK. Because of her worry for her mother she feels different than the other girls so she leaves and finally arrives on Sardinia. She also slowly comes to the realization that her old friend Peter is worth taking a risk to date him. A good timely book, but I'm not sure about timeless. I'm nay.

The Ghost's Child by Sonya Hartnett

Maddy is an old lady who tells her tale over tea to a strange boy. Her tale is about her younger years meeting a young man, Feather, and loosing a child. She tries to keep Feather by trying to kill herself but that pushes him away. She sails the world having fantastic adventures to return home and become a doctor. And surprise, surprise the strange boy is the child she miscarried sent to escort her to her next life (saw that one coming from the first page). In the end I don't think this is thumbs up material. For such a short book it is still slow and I don't see it as having wide teen appeal.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guardian by Julius Lester

yes. This one is important. Lynching from the viewpoint of a white young man in the south. Kind of predictable, but the prologue was enough to make me a huge fan.

Dear Julia by Amy Bronwen Zemser

Okay- I'm reading like a mad person, but this one was definitely funny. I think we have a lot of serious books in consideration and would like to see if anyone else found this to be amusing. There is also a bff with 2 moms (important, but not overdone). However, I felt the appearance of Julia Child at the end was kinda cliche and won't generate the kind of teen appeal I'd like. Someone else go read this, please!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fancy White Trash by Marjetta Geerling

Abby is trying to avoid making the same mistakes that her mother and sisters have made. After all her mother and one sister are pregnant with the same man's children while another sister is sleeping with him. Her best friend, Cody, is closeted and she is in love with his older brother. Her father moves in after he seperates with his current wife. Fun book but not timeless. I'm nay.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Two Parties, One Tux and A Very Short Film About the Grapes of Wrath by Steven Goldman

In this funny story, Mitchell's best friend David comes out of the closet (only to him), they take girls to the prom, Mitchell gets dumped and then realizes he is better off dating his sister's best friend. He also turned in a mildly risque film project in place of an essay on "The Grapes of Wrath" because he didn't want to read the book And he still has to come to terms with his best friend being gay. A fun book that I laughed out loud to. And eventually the cover makes sense. In the end, even though I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I'm not sure about its timelessness. I'm maybe.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve

This is a more realistic take on the Arthur legend, told by a young woman named Gwynna, a slave who becomes the servant of Myrddin.  Throughout her life with Myrddin she passes off as the Lady of the Lake, a boy solider, and a handmaiden for Gwenhwyfar (Arthur's queen).

There were some plot holes of sorts, the fact that Gwynna keeps switching between being a boy and a girl and yet no one seemed to question it was sort of weak.  Plus, Arthur comes off as really horrible.  Those problems aside, the story itself was pretty strong, so I give it a maybe.

Steinbeck's Ghost by Lewis Buzbee

Travis bikes to his local library every Saturday to re-read his favorite books. The library is named after Steinbeck since it is also Steinbeck's home town of Salinas CA. But soon Travis is seeing Steinbeck's characters come to life. Now the library is threatened with budget cuts and he hopes to save it. There is more to the story than just that but ultimately, I think this would appeal the most to teens who have read a lot of Steinbeck, which limits its appeal. I've only read the "the Red Pony" and that was years ago so I got a little bored. Good book but not great. I'm Nay.

Undone by Brooke Taylor

Serena's wealthy and dark best friend, Kori, is killed in a car accident coming home from a party and the school assignment (five things they would never dream could really happen) leads to the discovery of Serena's father. Serena's mother has always refused to disclose his identity because he was married with kids of his own. Come to find out he is Kori's dad. A little predictable. Good book but not great.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Seaborn by Craig Moodie

Luke's parents split just as they were to leave for their annual sea voyage. So now it is just Luke and his father. Luke is not looking forward to the boredom. But when a storm catches them it is not boring. His father gets washed overboard and Luke doesn't know if he's alive. Good not great. I'm nay.