Monday, September 28, 2015

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Ok I am calling it...this will be the next "Fault in Our Stars" with accompanying movie and all (alright maybe Amazon called it before me, but whatevs).  I absolutely loved this book, so much more than FIOS (shhh don't tell John Green).  When I first picked this up I couldn't help thinking about John Travolta in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble...remember that piece of cinematic genius?  Well this is not the literary equivalent...this is definitely worth the read, and without giving anything away, it is not the "typical" YA dying kid book, it is so much more and with a really good twist.

Book Description via Amazon

The Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller

If you love Eleanor and Park, Hazel and Augustus, and Mia and Adam, you’ll love the story of Maddy, a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly, the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken. This innovative and heartfelt debut novel unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He's tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rooms by Lauren Oliver

I have read a lot of Lauren Oliver's YA stuff, and *loved* them.  I really want to tell you that I love her debut adult fiction, Rooms, and I might love it, I'm still not sure.  It has received so many great reviews from really smart literary
people, so, in theory I should be gushing but I am still not sure about this one...please read it and tell me if I loved it or hated it.

Book Description via Amazon

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.
Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.
But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.
The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.
Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson

I am on a graphic novel kick...and this is one I normally would have passed on; the style of illustrations just isn't my thing...very cartoony, very busy, very bright.  I started reading it while processing new books and I was drawn into the story very quickly, the writing is that good.  I can see why this guy has won *alot* of awards.  This is a great graphic for ages 9 and up.

Book Description via Amazon

Highly acclaimed graphic novelist Craig Thompson's debut book for young readers about a plucky heroine on a mission to save her dad.

For Violet Marlocke, family is the most important thing in the whole galaxy. So when her father goes missing while on a hazardous job, she can't just sit around and do nothing. To get him back, Violet throws caution to the stars and sets out with a group of misfit friends on a quest to find him. But space is vast and dangerous, and she soon discovers that her dad is in big, BIG trouble. With her father's life on the line, nothing is going to stop Violet from trying to rescue him and keep her family together.

Visionary graphic novel creator Craig Thompson brings all of his wit, warmth, and humor to create a brilliantly drawn story for all ages. Set in a distant yet familiar future, SPACE DUMPLINS weaves themes of family, friendship, and loyalty into a grand space adventure filled with quirky aliens, awesome spaceships, and sharp commentary on our environmentally challenged world.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

I love a good graphic novel, and I have an intense love of the series Babymouse by this sibling duo, so I dove right into their latest collaboration, Sunny Side Up.  This tells the story of 10 year old Sunny (oh it's also set in 1976 - which was AWESOME) who is sent to visit her grandfather in sunny Florida for the summer...a dream come true right?  But Sunny finds herself among the senior set in a over 55 community and to boot, the reader learns that something bad happened at home to send her to the sunshine state.  The illustrations are wonderful, there are some really fun parts but ultimately the book deals with a heavy topic, drug addiction and how it affects the entire family.  This is a heavy topic for any reader, but it can be especially tricky for the 9-12s.  The Holms duo handles this perfectly and they don't leave middle grade reader scarred.  A great addition to any graphic novel collection.

Book Description via Amazon

Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer.  At first she thought Florida might be fun -- it is  the home of Disney World, after all.  But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park.  It’s full of . . . old people.  Really old people.

Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around.  She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors.  But the question remains -- why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place?  The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. . .

Friday, September 18, 2015

Field Trip by Gary Paulson and Jim Paulson

Oh my word, this book makes me want to run to a shelter and adopt all.the.dogs. I loved the first book, Road Trip, and the second definitely did not disappoint.  You will definitely feel all the feels with this one.

Book Description via Amazon

Father-and-son writing team Gary and Jim Paulsen pick up where their Road Trip left off. Ben has been invited to try out for a special hockey academy. But Dad wants Ben to catch up to the school field trip instead. So Ben, Dad, and their dogs, Atticus and Conor, jump into their truck. Ben concocts a secret plan to make the tryout, but Atticus and Conor are on to him. Ben and Dad’s road trip turns into a wacky adventure full of new friends and surprises.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

I *love* historical fiction involving NYC, biased I know, and when the time period is the early part of the twenty century it has the potential to be pure gold.  Jami Attenberg does an incredible job of bringing the readers into the realm of lower Manhattan; through the golden era of flappers and speakeasys, to the horror and despair of the depression.  I loved that she based this piece of historical fiction on a real can read about the real Mazie Phillips here:  and in an article by Joseph Mitchell in The New Yorker Magazine, December 21, 1940. 

An Amazon Best Book of June 2015: Jami Attenberg’s Saint Mazie couldn’t be more different from her popular The Middlesteins, in that it is a) historical not contemporary, b) loosely based on a real woman who lived in early 20th century New York City instead of on an all-too-real fictional character in suburban Chicago and c) told as an oral history instead of as a traditional narrative. Still, this novel exhibits the same kind of wit and depth and heart of the earlier one. Mazie Phillips was a depression-era movie-theater-owner in New York during the Depression; she was big-hearted and bawdy, enough of a neighborhood figure that she became the subject of a 1940 New Yorker profile by the journalist Joseph Mitchell. Starting with his observations—“Mazie has a genuine fondness for bums and undoubtedly knows more bums than any other person in the city”—Attenberg weaves an astonishingly heartfelt story of poverty and loss (one of Mazie’s beloved, orphaned sisters moves to California to become a dancer and is essentially lost to her forever), unconventionality (there’s a lot of socially “inappropriate” sex and love in this book) and, to use a word from that era, “moxie.” With all her tough talk and bootstrap-pulling, Mazie could grow into a cliché – the loose woman with a heart of gold – but Attenberg never lets her, preferring instead to take Mitchell’s sketch and draw all over it with fictional interviews and diaries until Mazie becomes a complex and irresistible real-life woman. She may have lived in a very specific era, but thanks to Attenberg, she has become a character for the ages. --Sara Nelson

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Oh my word, this book, I absolutely loved crying on the way to work while listening to the book kinda love.  Rebecca Stead captures those tween/teen years so perfectly.  I was tearing up both remembering my own (way back when) and that parental heartbreak knowing that your own kids have to experience some of the heartache that comes with life.  My favorite middle grade book of the year...I am calling it my "Wonder" of 2015.

From School Library Journal

Gr 6–9—Ah, seventh grade! A year when your friends transform inexplicably, your own body and emotions perplex you, and the world seems fraught with questions, and the most confusing ones of all concern the nature of love. Stead focuses on Bridge Barsamian, her best girlfriends, and her newest friend Sherm—a boy who is definitely not her boyfriend (probably). They're navigating the shoals of adolescence on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Emily has suddenly developed a figure that attracts a lot of attention, Tabitha is an increasingly committed human rights activist, and Bridge has taken to wearing a headband with black cat's ears for reasons that are unclear even to her. The seventh graders aren't the only characters working out relationships. There are married parents and divorced parents and then there's Sherm's grandfather who has suddenly left his wife of 50 years and moved to New Jersey. There's also a mysterious character whose Valentine's Day is doled out in second-person snippets interspersed within the rest of the story. Love is serious, but Stead's writing isn't ponderous. It's filled with humor, delightful coincidences, and the sorts of things (salacious cell phone photos, lunchroom politics, talent show auditions) that escalate in ways that can seem life-shattering to a 13-year-old. The author keeps all her balls in the air until she catches them safely with ineffable grace. VERDICT An immensely satisfying addition for Stead's many fans.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

This series is almost indescribable...there are ley lines and sleeping kings and cars and forbidden love and some really amazing is weird and wonderful and I CAN.NOT.WAIT. for the fourth and last installment, I have a feeling I may cry a little (read:  me sobbing for days). 

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Having inhaled the first two installments in this thrilling series about four Virginia schoolboys on a quest to find a legendary Welsh king, teens will be anxious to see where Stiefvater next leads Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. The volume picks up directly after The Dream Thieves (Scholastic, 2013) and the quest takes some bizarre and dangerous twists. Blue Sargent and the psychically talented women of 300 Fox Way take center stage this time. Blue's mother Maura has disappeared, and it's not immediately clear if she wants to be found. Despite the fact that "time and space were bathtubs that Maura splashed in," Blue and Mr. Gray, Maura's ex-hitman boyfriend, begin to think she's underground and in trouble. Informed by several mystical and live sources that there are three ancient sleepers in the nearby mountain caves, one of which is not to be awakened, the young people are hurled toward a subterranean encounter of the weirdest kind. Throughout, the prose is crisp and dazzling and the dialogue positively crackles. The supernatural elements—magic, a mirrored lake, an evil curse, the appearance of Owen Glendower's 600-year-old daughter—are completely organic and suspension of disbelief is effortless due to the nuanced and affecting characterization. Blue and the Raven Boys come into their own over the course of the novel and realize their individual strengths and the power of their collective bonds, making them unstoppable. It's a good thing, because it seems as though all hell is about to break loose in the final volume.—Luann Toth, School Library Journal