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Showing posts from January, 2015

The Carnival at Bray - Jessie Ann Foley

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It's 1993, and Generation X pulses to the beat of Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement. Sixteen-year-old Maggie Lynch is uprooted from big-city Chicago to a windswept town on the Irish Sea. Surviving on care packages of Spin magazine and Twizzlers from her rocker uncle Kevin, she wonders if she'll ever find her place in this new world. When first love and sudden death simultaneously strike, a naive but determined Maggie embarks on a forbidden pilgrimage that will take her to a seedy part of Dublin and on to a life- altering night in Rome to fulfill a dying wish. Through it all, Maggie discovers an untapped inner strength to do the most difficult but rewarding thing of all, live. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)
The carnival at Bray stood braced against the rain on the rocky coastline of the Irish Sea, the pink and green lights of the old-fashioned Ferris wheel winking and dissolving in the reflection of the waves. Maggie had already ridden the Takeoff, which made her feel like a…

Morris Award Prediction

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Well, it's that time of year. The ALA Youth Media Awards are happening soon! So much excitement! I know, it's a bit silly to some, but I'm super nerdy about these awards, knowing all the hard work that goes into making the decisions. In the spirit of this excitement, I am going to attempt a prediction of the Morris Award winner this year. As there is a shortlist, my ability to have an idea of the winner is a bit more concrete compared to, say, the Newbery, Caldecott, Scheider, or Printz. So, here goes:


Who I'm Not - Ted Staunton

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The cover is almost as unsettling as the concept. I didn't know much about this work, but when I went to the TD Book Awards gala last November, I couldn't help but pick the book up.
Danny has survived everything life has thrown at him: being abandoned at birth, multiple abusive foster homes, life as a con man in training. But when his latest "protector" dies suddenly, Danny has to think fast or he'll be back in foster care again. He decides to assume the identity of a boy who disappeared three years before. If nothing else, he figures it will buy him a little time. Much to his astonishment, his new "family" accepts him as their own--despite the fact that he looks nothing like their missing relative. But one old cop has his suspicions about Danny--and he's not about to declare the case closed. Inspired by a true story, "Who I'm Not" is a powerful portrait of a boy whose identity is as fluid as a river and as changeable as a chameleon'…

Heap House (Iremonger Book 1) - Edward Carey

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Clod is an Iremonger. He lives in the Heaps, a vast sea of lost and discarded items collected from all over London. At the centre is Heap House, a puzzle of houses, castles, homes and mysteries reclaimed from the city and built into a living maze of staircases and scurrying rats.

The Iremongers are a mean and cruel family, robust and hardworking, but Clod has an illness. He can hear the objects whispering. His birth object, a universal bath plug, says ‘James Henry’, Cousin Tummis’s tap is squeaking ‘Hilary Evelyn Ward-Jackson’ and something in the attic is shouting ‘Robert Burrington‘ and it sounds angry.

A storm is brewing over Heap House. The Iremongers are growing restless and the whispers are getting louder. When Clod meets Lucy Pennant, a girl newly arrived from the city, everything changes. The secrets that bind Heap House together begin to unravel to reveal a dark truth that threatens to destroy Clod’s world.


Full of odd names, strange images, and dreary individuals reminiscent of…

The Big Summer - Jamie B. Laurie

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Will is gay and struggling with it. Belittled, ridiculed, and beaten down by his so-called friends, he is pushed to his breaking point. He must make a change. With his quirky aunt Nellie by his side, Will moves to the sunny town of Seaside City, where he embarks on a journey to reinvent himself, discover first love, and maybe find a little bit of happiness along the way.

Hannah is Seaside City's resident extrovert-but behind her facade of confidence, she is riddled with insecurities. When she meets Will, Hannah decides to take him under her wing and become his guide. For a girl who desperately needs to be heard and understood, Will just may be exactly the friend she needs.

Daniel is Hannah's gorgeous twin brother-the perfect combination of funny, charming, and intelligent. Even though he should be off limits, Will cannot help but fall for him. But will a devious girlfriend and the confusion of sexual identity come between them?


Jamie Laurie's debut novel is a sweet story of…

The Infinite Sea - Rick Yancey

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So, you know how you watch TV shows and sometimes there's an episode that's totally full of action and thrills, and sometimes there's an episode that's more about the characters and the development of the intricacies of each backstory? Well, The Infinite Sea is the latter in the series, for sure, and that's not a bad thing!
How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

I've seen a num…

A Hero at the End of the World - Erin Claiborne

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Sixteen year-old Ewan Mao knows one thing for certain: according to prophecy, it's his destiny to kill the evil tyrant whose dark reign has terrorized Britain. Although he's just a normal boy, deep down Ewan is confident that he has exactly what it takes to be a hero. But when Ewan's big moment comes, he freezes. His best friend, the clever and talented Oliver Abrams, defeats the villain for him, and Ewan's bright future crumbles before his eyes.

Five years later, Oliver has a job as an Unusual in the government's Serious Magical Crimes Agency, the life he and Ewan always dreamed of. But a routine investigation leads him and his partner, Sophie Stuart, to uncover a dangerous and powerful cult... one that seems to have drawn his former best friend into a plot to end the world.
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)
This book is a lot of fun... even if the protagonists are less than likeable (at least until closer to the end.) This book is written in the style of fanfiction,…

Duncan the Story Dragon - Amanda Driscoll

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Duncan the Dragon loves to read. When he reads a story, his imagination catches fire! Unfortunately…so does his book.

Fire breath is great for roasting marshmallows, but it's not so great for reading. Duncan just wants to get to those two wonderful words, like the last sip of a chocolate milk shake: The End. Will he ever find out how the story ends?


Yeah, we've all been there. We want to read a fabulous book. We want to read those delicious words and have our imaginations kindled. But we've become distracted or had our attentions waver because of that important email or work priority.
Children will enjoy the colour, the adorable protagonist, and the delightful, (seemingly) simplistic story. Adults will (probably) understand a more metaphorical component of the story while reading this delightful book out loud. Either way, the images will entice, and the tale will entertain. You will find yourself trying to come up with ways for Duncan to keep from setting his stories on fire.…

The Martian - Andy Weir

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Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds ag…