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  • Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

    Posted by Naomi Bates at 10/27/2010 10:30:00 AM

    brainIt's the future of the United States. A place where black-market and side alley deals are made for video games...a place where computers and their peripherals are high commodities. There is no Las Vegas, and Sam knows he's the one responsible for the downfall of the United States....

    It started out harmlessly. A little hack to get some free neuro headsets for him and his best friend Fargas. Sam knew the hack was easy, but he still couldn't shake the feeling someone was watching. And then the invitation arrived. Neoh@ck would invite him to the elite of the elite if he could find their con. What did he have to do? Crack the firewall of the White House and find the virtual con. Sam did, and now the feds are knocking on his door.

    But there is more to it than meets the virtual eye. Sam runs into Dodge while incarcerated and makes a daring plan to escape. And his escape turns into the a proposition he can't refuse, working on what he does best. One that means life or death, protection of countries and their resources and governments, and a battle against Ursula, a virtual being that wants to take control of not only the what Sam and the crew are trying to protect, but of people as well, using the only means available to her...neuro headsets.

    WOWOW!!! Okay, this isn't quite a word you'd use for a review, but from the beginning I was hooked. Brian Falkner writes a YA thriller that does exactly what he set out to do - thrill the reader. A dystopian novel in a very futuristic, realistic way, Falkner writes about the dangers of the future involving technology, and one that could quite conceivably happen. Sam is one of those teens we all know...an extremely bright and talented person who walks, talks and lives for technology. He is vibrant, intuitive, and leaps off the pages as well as the other characters in this novel. The prologue will capture and the book will follow suit.
    I requested a guy read on the floor of ALA...the next best novel that will capture this audience. The rep at Random House handed me this...Brian Falkner's book will too with the guys.

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  • Something Like Fate by Susane Colisante

    Posted by Naomi Bates at 10/27/2010 10:00:00 AM

    slfJunior year is upon Lani. She's been looking at the stars and tracking her horoscope and knows this year will be the best ever. She has her friends Erin and Blake beside her, and although she's not part of the Golden Circle, she is still likeable by her classmates.

    Erin, her best friend, is also ready for high school, especially when she sees Jason, the guy she's been crushing on. Erin usually gets what she wants, and Lani is there cheering her on. Blake is hoping to get through his last year without any bumps in the road, and Lani is keeping his secret. Life couldn't get any better.

    But then summer arrives, and as with all summers, life unexpectedly changes. Lani faces some major challenges before her senior year ever starts. And the biggest obstacle? How to tell her best friend that Jason and her are seeing each other. And Blake's secret? Oops.... Senior year isn't what Lani is hoping or wishing for, and the fates are definitely working against her.

    Need some light and fun reading? This is one to pick up. It's a definite magnet for girls to want to read. What can be more taboo that dating someone's ex when the ex won't let go? Colasanti has weaved together two episodes in one life about love, friendship, betrayals, and healing. This will be one handed from one girl to another!

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  • Dark Song by Gail Giles

    Posted by Naomi Bates at 10/27/2010 10:00:00 AM

    dark songAmes lives a more than comfortable life....large house, private school, expensive vacations and clothes. She has her circle of friends, with Em at the center. Ames is known as the "good girl," one who never challenges the rules and does well in school. But Em has given her a taste of what it feels like to bend rules, and Ames likes that feeling.

    And then her world crashes. Her way of life is completely shattered, thanks to her father and she learns the hard and fast way of what life will be like. Her circle of friends have abandoned her, her way of life given away at garage sales, and what little they have left is swept away in a tide of embarrassment to Houston, where she now lives in the projects, mucking away discarded drug needles and animal droppings in her new home. She hates her life, her parents...everyone except her little sister. And that's where she meets Marc.

    Marc takes him time when it comes to approaching Ames. His attraction to her began the first time he saw her. He knows the dangers and the unfamiliar territory Ames has moved into and he sees something in her that others don't - he tests her dark song, that feeling of living on the edge, the thrill of breaking rules without attracting attention, and finds hers without ever letting her know his own dark song he plays so well...

    Ames feels the dark song too and the music is getting louder and stronger the more she follows Marc into his world. And she likes it...but will what she likes destroy her and her family or rescue her from a world she knows nothing about?

    Gail Giles is a master of YA fiction on the edge. She's crafted a book where readers are drawn to Ames's privileged life and the deliberately crafted downhill ride she finds herself in. Picture perfect on the outside, the dysfunctional family side is revealed to the reader in perfect literary accompaniment. Fans of her body of work will not be disappointed!

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  • Surviving the Angel of Death

    Posted by Naomi Bates at 5/13/2010 10:00:00 AM

    angel of deathBy Eva Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri

     

    Eva grew up in Romania in a family that had a true community outreach.  Her mother was there to help anyone in need.  Her father was a hardworking farmer, known for his reputation of honesty.  Her sisters did well in school.  And Miriam, her twin, would eventually be the one to save her life. 

     

    In the early 10940s Eva and Miriams parents began hearing about the trouble between the Germans and Jews, but didnt think it would ever reach their small rural farming community.  But it did, and on her 10th birthday, they were marched to the rail station and taken to Auschwitz, where both tragedy and miracles worked and lived together. 

     

    Josef Mengele was waiting when the trains arrived and with a twitch of his cane, he made choices that killed thousands at people at a time.  But his eye was trained on Eva and Miriam because they were twins.  And he needed them for his experiments

     

    This is the memoir of a woman who tells her story of survival and torture and ultimate redemption through the eyes of her 10 year old self.  Thousands of children were called Mengeles twins, but not many survived the excruciating experiments he performed on them.  She and her sister were some of those few.

     

    What a powerful read for young adults.  Teens know about the Holocaust, but this is a book that will take them inside a different part of Auschwitz and a story that hardly gets told.  The voice in this book carries the lilt of an woman re-living those years and how it changed her life completely.  Filled with haunting photographs, her story mixes well with them to bring the reader into the horror of the barracks and living conditions children  were forced to live in from the moment they were separated from their family and lives.   The appealing aspect of this non-fiction book is that the reader sees the suffering of concentration camp life through the filter of a childs eyes, not that of an adult, which can be much more graphic in de

     

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  • Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan

    Posted by Naomi Bates at 2/15/2010 3:25:00 PM

    AccompliceFinn and Chloe have been best friends since fourth grade.  They live next door to each other, stay at each others homes one would even say theyre like sisters, finely tuned into each others families and lifestyles.  Chloe is the beautiful one, the one who everyone revolves around.  Finn is more down-to-earth; a local girl who befriended the city girls when she moved in.

     

    Now theyre juniors in high school and fast approaching what itll take to get into an ivy-league school and all the pressures that come with it.  It doesnt leave the girls a lot of time, but enough time for Chloe to flirt with Dean and Finn to help her.  They had enough time for them to still watch television and the drama that unfolded on the L.A. Price show when Margaret Cook came home after being abducted.  The girls had enough time to plan

     

    Applying to get into a prestigious university is one thing; getting in is another completely different beast, and Chloe and Finn know that.  After hearing their counselor reiterate the fact that what theyre doing now in the small town of Colt River has no bearing on them actually getting in, and hearing as well the statistics of how many students across the nation apply and how many actually get in leaves the girls, but Chloe especially, in a spiral of desperation.  And with enough time on their hands and a seed of inspiration, the girls create a scenario that will definitely make them stand out.  Months of meticulous planning, and the show is about to begin

     

    What Finn doesnt realize is that eleven days will take its toll on her.  While Chloes abduction goes into full swing, Finn sees the brunt of it and the impact its taking not only on her hometown, but on individuals themselves.  But how far is too far?  When does it stop being a game and start being real? 

     

    A great novel from a great YA author, Corrigan puts her signature on this book.  The reader is hooked on page one and the pages continue to flip until the final moment on the last page.  The hook happens not only with the fullness of the character, but with the situation as well.  What the main characters find fascinating, the reader sees the nightmare behind it from a classmates to a parents perspective.  This is a fast paced white-knuckle book where the reader gets to live through the perpetrators actions and watch the victims emotional and mental breakdowns.  Recommended.  Available August 2010: Scholastic

     

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  • Witch and Wizard by James Patterson

    Posted by Naomi Bates at 1/21/2010 10:00:00 AM

    witchWhit and Wisty...typical big brother and little sister. They live with their parents and life is the way it's always been - school, home, friends...until the New Order takes place. And their lives are impacted when the police come to Whit's and Wisty's house to imprison them for not following directives. The only thing they take with them? Something their parents shove into their hands - an old drum stick and a blank book. They don't understand, but these are the only things linking them to home.

    Whit and Wisty are imprisoned and found guilty. Whit will be the first one put to death, and when Wisty reaches eighteen, her time will be up...if she can survive the terror they both are going through now. But before things get worse, they both discover something unique about them. The names of witch and wizard imposed on them begin to come to fruition, and both brother and sister are slowly beginning to harness this power. But is it too late?

    James Patterson has dived in head-first in YA fiction, starting with his Maximum Ride series and following up with his Daniel X series, and now this (which will have a sequel if not a series behind it). A talented adult author, the resonance of his storytelling doesn't transfer across lines as clearly. Although this book had moments of jaw-clenching tension and the dystopic future of the United States is intriguing, it still lacked the punch found in dynamically written YA novels such as Ryan's Forest of Hands and Teeth or Shusterman's Unwind. But Patterson does know how to cross YA lines - this could easily be put in a middle school library as well as a senior high library.

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  • Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

    Posted by Naomi Bates at 1/21/2010 10:00:00 AM

    badAlexis lives in the oldest and more unique house in town. But she can't say that about her dyfunctional family. She has a workaholic mother, a father who won't treat her like a grown-up, and a 13-year-old sister who loves and collects dolls. The only thing working for her right now is her love of photography. And that's what starts it all.

    One night, while taking photos of her house at night, Lexie thinks she sees an odd light that seems to follow her and her sister, Kasey. But was it a trick of the eye? Lexie shrugs it off and continues with her non-existent high school life, until things change from "normal" to weird.

    For the first time in her life, Lexie thinks she may be falling for Carter, the student council vice-president and polar extreme of who and what she is. And the most popular girls in school? They are actually talking to her...but the most strange? Her sister Kasey. Why do her eyes change from blue to green? And when they do, her whole personality changes from little sister to evil incarnate. Pair that with cold rooms when the A/C is off, strange stories and memories Lexie doesn't understand but "remembers", and accidents that are far from accidental, and Lexie knows there must be more going on than meets the eye.

    Slowly, she begins to realize what is happening to her sister. From an accident that happened long ago in her house, a restless spirit is intent on revenge. And Lexie has to prevent the possession of her little sister before she's gone for good. But can she?

    Katie Alender captures the essence of a fast-paced ghostly read for YA by creating characters that counterbalance each other socially written within the genre of high-interest supernatural that seems to be prominent in YA fiction today. From enemies to romance, possession to a dysfunctional family, from revenge to love, Alender weaves a great tale that encompasses it all without bogging down the plot. This will be a book that will be read over and over - keep plenty on the shelves! Recommended.

     

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  • Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine

    Posted by Naomi Bates at 1/21/2010 10:00:00 AM

    Rowan looks back at her life and realizes how great it was. Mum was happy, Dad was home, Jack glued the family together, and Stroma, her little sister, was...well, just Stroma. But that all changed when Jack died.

    Rowan looks at her life now and realizes how impossibly hard it's getting. Mum doesn't talk, eat or even recognize she has other children. Dad moved about a few months ago, Jack...well, he's dead and Rowan can't think about that because now she has to care for her six-year old precocious little sister Stroma in everything.

    But one day, that all changes when a stranger with a lop-sided grin gives her a negative that he believes belongs to her. And that one act of kindess begins a chain reaction of lives intersecting, all through chance, and how one lost life impacts so many.

    brokenRowan looks at her days and doesn't see breakfast, a beautiful concoction of lovely flowers, hot toast, oatmeal, and orange juice in a clean glass cup, but rather she sees everything floating together, mashed up, messed up, mixed up...broken soup...

    What a great read!! Valentine's characters float off the pages and into your heart. Bee, Sonny, Carl; Stroma, Harper and Rowan; even Jack are enormously full characters that will grab at your heart strings and have you hoping against hope for good things to happen. This is a fast read but one that will continue to shape characters into their true selves to the very end. Highly recommended
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  • Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

    Posted by Naomi Bates at 1/21/2010 10:00:00 AM

    coffeeNeed a book to read during the coldest part of the year? Something to add to your winter fiction? Here's one to display, read and booktalk!

    Katrina lives in a part of Washington state known for its Scandinavian heritage, quaint shops, and people who still eat traditional Scandinavian dishes that one doesn't see just anywhere. But amidst all this quaintness, lies a girl who doesn't really know what to do with herself and has no direction but to work beside her grandmother toting old-world coffee to even older men. And what really gets her worked up is the updated, modern Starbucks-esque coffeeshop right next door, where everyone goes for the latest macchiatto, latte, and cappuccino, as well as free wi-fi.

    But Katrina has loyal friends, especially Vincent, the star swimmer at school. They've been friends forever, but things are beginning to change...

    One night Katrina helps a street bum out with some hot coffee and old danish, and the next day the bum (aka Malcolm, a hot guy in a kilt!) shows up at school embarrassing Katrina with his duty to grant her deepest desire in the middle of a pep rally. And then the fun begins....

    What does a person desire most? Fame? Wealth? Love? Katrina has to make some tough choices, and three little coffee beans are the only thing that can give her what she desires most. Is it revenge against the mega coffee-opolis next door? How about breaking up Vincent and his barbie girlfriend, Heather? What about Grandma's health or her rising debt?

    Selfours has written a light, frothy, foamy, cup of chick lit that has some substance beneath the froth. Selfours combines elements of modern-day romance that girls crave with some fairy-tale (think Jack and the Beanstalk) mixed in, all centering around relationships and entrepreneurship. Angels, best friends, huge rats, and competition make for an enjoyable read. The message is simple: Follow the golden rule and you never know...there may be angels among us...

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  • Sleepless by Thomas Fahy

    Posted by Naomi Bates at 1/21/2010 10:00:00 AM

    sleeplessSomething is happening to the students at Saint Opportuna High in the small town of Sea Cliff. But they don't know it yet....

    Emma has just moved to the small town of Sea Cliff after her mother died. After ten months, she has adjusted to life there, tutoring a cheerleader, crushing on the local mechanic guy, Jake, living next door to spooky Mrs. Dupre, a fortuneteller, and trying hard to understand why she sleepwalks. She and Jake also hold a terrible secret with Lily, Duncan, Caitlin and their teacher, Dr. Beecher. It happened when they went to New Orleans for a Habitat service project, and it's a secret they've sworn to keep. Each week they meet at Dr. Beecher's house to discuss art and its messages, but everyone still has their own personal nightmares they harbor.

    Their nightmares soon take second seat to what is happening in front of them to the students at their high school. One dies in a fatal car wreck, then not long afterward, two more die...and a lot of students confess they can't sleep as well. But when one of their friends in Emma and Jake's inner circle dies, the feeling of horror and nightmare come full force right in front of them. Questions they keep asking are what is causing this? Did something from New Orleans follow them home? Can any of what's happening be fully and rationally explained? But the closer they come to those questions, the more dangerous they put their lives on the line...and for one, it may be too late.

    Thomas Fahy has easily transitioned himself from adult to young adult author without "dummying down" his work. Like his first YA novel, Unspoken, Fahy's style never loses its suspense, but keeps the reader turning the pages until the finale. What readers may see when they open an adult horror suspense is still found within the pages of Fahy's YA novels, but not as openly graphic as an adult novel. But the essence is still there.... Teens who enjoy reading horror and losing themselves to the gripping nature of suspense will find this novel perfect for them.

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