Friday, March 27, 2009

The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

Eli was nine years old when the fallout occurred. The world was under nuclear attack, and his family is safe in the compound his father built. But his twin, Eddy, and his grandmother? They didn't quite make it...

The compound Eli's father built isn't your ordinary bomb shelter. It's extraordinary, filled with everything from a huge library and music collection, a workout gym complete with a basketball court, a gigantic storage room full of supplies, and a gourmet's kitchen. It helps that Eli's dad is a billionair. But everyday Eli wakes up, he realizes that life has changed...and the changes keep coming...

Eli is no longer nine, but fifteen. And the changes have come about slowly but surely. The last six years haven't been difficult, just different. All he had to do is wait nine more years, and the seal to the outside world will be opened. But can he, his parents, and his two sisters make it?

And then there is a beam of hope...with his dead brother's old laptop, Eli finds a wireless internet signal!! There is life outside!! He wants to tell his father, but during the time in the compound, Eli, his mothers and Terese his sister, realize that perhaps his father's can't be trusted. Something isn't's a feeling, but the feeling is strong...

Now the flour is contaminated, the animals have died, and the hydroponic lights for the vegetables are beginning to flicker. With the supplies drying up, his father has figured they'll run out of food a year before the door is opened. But Eli's father also has alternate plans and Supplements to rely on. But is what he doing moral? Ethical? Eli isn't sure, but he is scared...

What a gripping first novel for S.A. Bodeen. What I first thought was science fiction in nature quickly turned into realistic terror with a psychological twist. Readers of this book will have to wonder and think, "What lengths would I be willing to do to survive?" Although at times predictable, it was nonetheless a book that was a page turner. YA readers will keep this book checked out!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In the Small by Michael Hague

A blue light flashes…only for a second…and then things….change. What seems like an ordinary day is no longer ordinary. People’s lives have changed. Gone are the luxuries of living people are accustomed to. Gone is the support society relies on. Gone is the 21st century life built on concrete, gold, and transportation.

Mouse is a unique individual, who has the power see the future, although not completely. He and his father are in Manhattan when the blue light strikes, leaving all of humanity changed irrevocably. He knows where he’s supposed to go and also knows the challenges ahead.
His mother, his grandfather and sister Beatrix (Beat) are at home when chaos extends its fingers throughout the world. They have to alter everything they know, including the sudden loss of friends and family, and cling to survival. Their only hope clings around building a new life, one small tiny step at a time.
But change, although sudden, hasn’t quite stopped…there will be more change, but only a few know it…
I WANT THE SEQUEL NOW!!! Hague fills this graphic novel with eye-riveting scenes, depicting not only the struggle and shock of what happens to the main characters, but also the determination which fills many of them, but not all. As with all good graphic novels, the illustrations give the reader an insight into Armageddon as well as the emotions and situations that can be read on the faces of those facing it. Excellent graphic novel that should be shelved in libraries. This is definitely not your superhero or anime/manga book – it’s class graphic novel at its finest.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dirty Laundry by Daniel Ehrenhaft

Winchester School of the Arts, in the beautiful and pampered East Coast, is home to students whose parents want the most for them academically and socially. It caters specifically to them in the arts, academics and extra-curricular activities. Oh…and it has the nickname “The Laudromat” because it’s the last place students, aka dirty laundry, have left when they get kicked out of the most prestigious schools. The headmaster’s speeches can be quoted verbatim by most seniors, the drama teacher lets his small kids run rampant while he breathes his garlic breath into a stale room, and you never know what they’ll serve in the cafeteria.
But this year is different – Darcy Novak, budding theatrical star and senior dorm supervisor has been missing. No one knows what happened to her, why she was taken or she’s still alive. There are some suspects, but nothing definitive.
And then school starts, and so do the students. There’s Fun (aka Fellini Udall Newport, also the resident tagger), his roommate Hilton James (aka Nails, who’s worn the same James Brown Sex Machine t-shirt for the past two or three weeks), Kirk Bishop (who has Headmaster Stanton on a leash, thanks to his dad’s cash, despite his acne-ridden face), and newcomers Carli Gemz (pronounced “games” and was made famous for her child acting in commercials) and her roommate Miranda (who’s never met the mysterious Darcy, but feels like she knows her through one phone conversation).
Carli is there on assignment to get in character for an upcoming television series, as well as being Fun’s one-way ticket back into a private school. It should be all Fun and Gemz (get it?) but things aren’t adding up…and both of them want to get down with what really happened to Darcy and who can they trust?
Part mystery, part hilarity, Ehrenhaft comes to the forefront with another comedic look at oddballs and loafers, wannabes, and lovers. He has the perfect combination of mystery and laugh out loud moments that make this another great book for any teen reader. Ehrenhaft’s stylistic writing continues to shine in this one as it has his others (including 10 Things to Do Before I Die and Drawing a Blank) and should be paired with other sharp and witty books, like Spanking Shakespeare and Son of the Mob. Just when you think there’s too much supernaturalism and gritty realism in YA lit, along comes Ehrenhaft!! THANK YOU!!!!

Far From You by Lisa Schroeder

Alice is living in a world she really doesn’t want to be a part of. Two years ago, after losing her mother to cancer, Alice’s father has remarried, and Victoria and Alice just don’t get along.
To add insult to injury, Victoria and her father have a new baby, Ivy. The world revolves around this happy family, but Alice knows in her heart that she isn’t a part of it. Her father has replaced her mother’s art studio for a baby’s room and everything that was her mother is relegated to the attic. The only comfort Alice gets at home is with Cobain, her Labrador.
Outside of the house, Alice has Blaze and her best friend Claire. Both of them are into music, but different spectrums. Claire and Alice play for their church, while Blaze is a renegade who won’t mix music and religion. But Alice is happy with the balance, and her boyfriend and best friend complete her.
But plans change. Or maybe it’s attitudes? Claire confronts Alice about changing her musical style and Alice blows her off. Blaze wants to go further in their relationship, and Alice isn’t sure that’s what she wants. And to top it off, her entire family, including herself are going to visit step-grandparents. Oh yea – Alice is NOT jumping for joy.
With her relationships on hold or disintegrating, Alice becomes numb, uncommunicative – living the past more than the present. But something happens…something that wrenches into her soul…that will either make or break Alice.
Lisa Schroeder’s next free verse YA book makes another mark on the board of YA fiction for her. Dealing completely with relationships on many levels, the reader gets to see the main character with all of her hats – from friend to lover to daughter to outcast – and ultimately will see the only thing that will change her from self-centered to being centered. Well-written and a fast read for teens!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Big List of Spring Break Books

Here’s a personal list of spring break of vacation books students may want to check out before their own break. I based this on traveling, trips, vacations and spring breaks. I’ve already got my digital picture frame loaded and am going to glog this and embed it into my library webpage. If you can add to this list, please share!

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Anything But Ordinary by Valerie Hobbs
Are We There Yet by David Levithan
Bass Ackwards and Belly Up by Elizabeth Craft
Becoming Chloe by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Black Sheep by Yvonne Collins
Captive by Tom Pow
Car Trouble by Jeanne Du Prau
The Chaos Code by Justin Richards
Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence
Feathered by Laura Kasischke
Finding Lubchenko by Michael Simmons
Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn
Going Nowhere Faster by Sean Beaudoin
Guyaholic by Carolyn Mackler
Here There Be Dragons by James Owens
Heyday by Kurt Anderson
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
I’ll Ask you Three Times by Naomi Shihab Nye
Lucky T by Kate Brian
Magic or Madness by Justine Larbelestier
Night Road by A.M. Jenkins
Paper Towns by John Green
Pirates by Celia Rees
Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham
Shift by Jennifer Bradbury
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Anne Brashares
Society of S by Susan Hubbard
Sofi Mendoza’s Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico by Alegria Malin
Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman
Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott
They Came by Below by Blake Nelson
The Watcher by James Howe
Waves by Sharon Dogar
Wish You Were Here by Catherine Clark
Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman
Zigzag by Ellen Wittlinger