Waiting for God: The Complete Series Crowden, Graham
Top of the Lake
House of Cards Trilogy: The Original UK Series Remastered Ian Richardson
Good Neighbors: The Complete Series 1-3 Richard Briers
The Vicar of Dibley - The Immaculate Collection Dawn French
Only Fools and Horses: The Complete Collection
Thanks to a great revenue stream from our Amazon.com sales, we're adding the following four TV series as complete sets: The Rockford Files, Burn Notice, Columbo and Hill Street Blues. In fact, we're out of space for DVDs again, even after pulling almost everything that hadn't circulated since December of 2012. I was shocked at how few fit that category. In addition to over 5,000 upstairs, we have at least another 600 in storage. The same goes for our music collection which is creeping up on the 4,000 CD mark.
Book lovers don't despair, we are adding lots of them as well. Bill O'Reily's Killing Patton arrived today and I am adding a third copy of my sister's latest book, Death Dealer, a dandy true crime entry about a really scary killer in Miramichi, New Brunswick. Next month Kate's fourth Joe Burgess Mystery, And Grant You Peace, will be published and we'll have two copies as soon as it does. If you haven't checked recently, we've also added some neat titles to the nonfiction shelf which is right above the area by the desk where I put all the YA books I've read and liked.
Here's the book order that was submitted today:
1.) Addiction on Trial Kassels, Steven 9781491825327 Paperback $19.95 Net: 10/31/2013
2.) Behind the Gates of Gomorrah Seager, Stephen B., M.D. 9781476774497 Hardcover $26.00 Net:
3.) Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms Rundell, Katherine 9781442490611 Hardcover $16.99 Net:
4.) Deer Hunting in Paris Lee, Paula Young 9781609520809 Paperback $18.95 Net:
5.) For the Dead Hallinan, Timothy 9781616951146 Hardcover $25.00 Net: 11/04/2014
6.) Leaving Time Picoult, Jodi 9780345544926 Hardcover $28.00 Net: 10/14/2014
7.) Love Me Back Tierce, Merritt 9780385538077 Hardcover 09/16/2014
8.) Made for You Marr, Melissa 9780062011190 Hardcover $17.99 Net: 9/16/2014
9.) The Remedy for Love Roorbach, Bill 9781616203313 Hardcover $24.95 Net: 10/14/2014
10.) Tabula Rasa Lippert-Martin, Kristen 9781606845189 Hardcover $17.99 Net: 09/23/2014
11.) The Way of Serenity Morris, Jonathan 9780062119131 Hardcover $24.99 Net: 09/16/2014
12.) The Witch With No Name Harrison, Kim 9780061957956 Hardcover $26.99 Net: 09/09/2014
Reading this was like watching a pair of train wrecks in slow motion. I wanted to look away, but the action of the two groups of characters wouldn't let me, so I finished it in about three hours. Patrick and Mike exist, more than live. It was that way after their mother died and their dad drank himself into a stupor every night and it continued after he was sent away to prison when he hit and killed a small boy while drunk...Only it was even bleaker because the community pulled away or made the brothers feel even more shunned. They were faulted for waiting 19 hours before calling in to report what their father had done. Patrick quit working alongside his brother because he couldn't deal with the comments from co-workers. Now, he works in a convenience store on the graveyard shift. Mike has it a little better because he's got Caro, the girl he picked up in a bar one night who lives with them in the house where they grew up.
Not far away, Layla Elshere and her younger sister Verna are in their own invisible purgatory, created months before when Layla told her fundamentalist parents about having to sit through a condom use lesson at school. Unfortunately, her parents went viral with their protest and things got ugly, so ugly the teacher who was very popular, quit. Layla dealt with the backlash by going totally goth, leaving her little sister to take almost all the abuse. Things get so bad that Verna is attacked in a girl's bathroom and forced to perform simulated oral sex on a banana while her tormentors film it and post the video online. The sisters deal with the abuse and their parent's total clueless self-absorption by falling under the spell of a very sick young man whose mindset is somewhere between messianic and sociopathic.
The story alternates between these two groups who are connected by Layla's unhealthy fascination with Patrick and events begin to spiral out of control, leading to a dark and violent ending. There are no winners in this book, only scarred survivors, but it's one hell of a ride for readers who aren't put off by strong language, sex or violence.
ME: You are permitted ten questions, Grasshopper.
Is that cricket?
ME: Is that your first question? If so, be aware there are significant differences between grasshoppers and crickets.
Can we be serious here?
ME: If necessary.
Okay, question one. What in heck happened to the new book shelf. It went from stuffed to anorexic overnight.
ME: It was a bit ambitious, wasn't it. We looked at how crowded it was and noticed that a lot of new stuff wasn't going out and wasn't so new any more, so Sarah sorted everything and left just books added since last November. I realized it might be time to order stuff, so I did the biggest new book order in ages. Blew the budget all to hell, but people seem to be happy. We've also added a bunch more from swaps, donations and Amazon purchases, so it doesn't look so bare any more. Keep in mind that nothing got tossed, just moved to the regular stack area.
Speaking of the stacks, I see some bare shelves that weren't there a while ago.
ME: Yup, Briana and Deana have been working on a dual purpose task. We're putting the date we added an item inside the back cover to make weeding an easier process in the future. Part of that project has been to weed out nonfiction that hasn't been checked out since 2009. We check titles against what's in MaineCat and only get rid of titles we can borrow from at least two other libraries.
There seems to be a lot more music. I remember just a couple years ago there wasn't any music at all. Where did it come from and why?
ME: Libraries have been changing a lot in recent years. Take DVDs, for example. Five years ago we had, at most, one shelf of them and a bunch on VHS. Today we have over 5,000. Same with music CDs. we have over 2000 of those. People don't think of libraries as just books any more. In an area where money is really tight, people can't afford Netflix or internet at home. It's not like there are very many video rental places any more and the days when most people could hop in the car and drive to Newport or Pittsfield so they could shell out three bucks for one DVD rental are behind us. Same with music. In our area with the economy this bad, people can't justify paying for music downloads, so having access to a wide variety of music is cool. Don't forget, if we don't have it, chances are good we can borrow it from another library and have it delivered through the van service which stops here every Thursday. as for where all that stuff comes from, I buy and donate a lot of it, I swap for some and people donate other items. I can say that we have one of the best music and movie collections in Maine.
How come we have such a big young adult fiction collection?
ME: I read a lot of that stuff, so I buy books, read them, review them and donate most to the library. I also use an internet site called Paperbackswap to trade for other ones. That site is also a great place to get unabridged audio books on CD, another area where our collection is much bigger than most Maine libraries. There are two associated sites for music CDs and DVDS. I've been getting New Age music CDs (we have the largest collection in Maine in this genre) and some unique TV series that few, if any other Maine libraries have.
What's this about reviewing books?
ME: I've been a book reviewer for the past ten years, mostly on websites. It's a great way to connect with other writers as well as get interesting books for free. I've reviewed close to 500 books and now review DVDs and audio books for School Library Journal as well. Most of my reviews these days are of YA and juvenile fiction titles. I'm one of a group of librarians who review to help other Maine librarians decide what to buy. Our website is here: http://cmldbookreviews.com/
How many books have you read this year?
ME: 109 at the moment, but the TBR (to be read) pile hasn't shrunk a bit.
You still writing?
ME: Sure am, but now that gardening weather has hit, it's more challenging to find time. I'm close to finishing Finding Ginger and waiting to get feedback on Dubstep and Wheelie. They're both young adult, one urban fantasy, the other an edgy contemporary romance. I'm currently plotting two more in my head, a juvenile mystery set in a small Somerset County town that I'm calling Shear Pin Summer and another contemporary romance in what's being called New Adult Fiction which will take place in Washington County. I'm using When The Barrens Call as the working title for that.
With all that on your plate, I guess the rumor that you'll be retiring might have some substance.
ME: It does. I'm done on June 1, 2015, unless something happens to get me out the door quicker.
What about a replacement?
ME: We have that covered, but I can't say anything specific.
Anything happening this summer?
ME: Sure is. We're working with the 21st Century Program at RSU 19 to make sure we have four really cool programs to excite kids. Look for a schedule very soon. We're also working with them to provide lunch for kids 18 and under Tuesday through Friday after school gets out. This is part of a statewide effort to make sure children don't go hungry when school isn't in session. It means more trash and extra work, but we think it's worth the effort.
I heard there's a joint event with Pittsfield and Newport in August. What's the deal with that?
ME: We always work well together. In fact we're the poster children when Cornerstones of Science wants to encourage other libraries to cooperate. Joanne Elwell, Lynn LaRochelle and I are working with Cornerstones of Science to have a really fun, science and reading event from 10-12:30 on Saturday, August 2nd at Hathorne Park in Pittsfield. We're going to have a main attraction and six to eight hands-on activities along with prizes for kids in the area. We're excited about this. We'll have publicity ready to go next month.
1.) The Barkeep Lashner, William
2.) Big Nate In the Zone Peirce, Lincoln
3.) Carnal Curiosity Woods, Stuart
4.) Cell Cook, Robin
5.) The Chase Evanovich, Janet
6.) Chestnut Street Binchy, Maeve
7.) Death on Blackheath Perry, Anne
8.) Destroyer Angel Barr, Nevada
9.) Doing Harm Parsons, Kelly
10.) Evening Stars Mallery, Susan
11.) The Finisher Baldacci, David
12.) Four Friends Carr, Robyn
13.) Hunting Shadows Todd, Charles
14.) In the Blood Unger, Lisa
15.) Insanity Vaught, Susan
16.) Killer Kellerman, Jonathan
17.) Kiss and Tell Michaels, Fern
18.) Live to See Tomorrow Johansen, Iris
19.) Miss Julia's Marvelous Makeover Ross, Ann B.
20.) Moving Target Jance, Judith A.
21.) The Museum of Extraordinary Things Hoffman, Alice
22.) The New England Gardener's Year Manley, Reeser
23.) Otherwise Engaged Quick, Amanda
24.) Power Play Steel, Danielle
25.) Ripper Allende, Isabel
26.) Robert B. Parker's Bull River Knott, Robert
27.) Runner Lee, Patrick
28.) Saints of the Shadow Bible Rankin, Ian
29.) The Secret of Raven Point Vanderbes, Jennifer
30.) Silver Wooding, Chris
31.) The Sixth Extinction Kolbert, Elizabeth
32.) A Star for Mrs. Blake Smith, April
33.) Stone Cold Box, C. J.
34.) That Old Black Magic Clark, Mary Jane
35.) To Sail a Darkling Sea Ringo, John
36.) Uncertain Glory Wait, Lea
37.) The Undead Pool Harrison, Kim
38.) Warriors Bell, Ted
39.) Worthy Brown's Daughter Margolin, Phillip
1. Winter People McMahon, Jennifer Random House Hardcover Pub date 2/11/2014
West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara's fate, she discovers that she's not the only person who's desperately looking for someone that they've lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.
2. This Dark Road to Mercy Cash, Wiley HarperCollins Hardcover Pub date 1/28/2014
The critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home—hailed as "a powerfully moving debut that reads as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird" (Richmond Times Dispatch)—returns with a resonant novel of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, set in western North Carolina, involving two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins.
After their mother's unexpected death, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are adjusting to life in foster care when their errant father, Wade, suddenly appears. Since Wade signed away his legal rights, the only way he can get his daughters back is to steal them away in the night.
Brady Weller, the girls' court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and he quickly turns up unsettling information linking Wade to a recent armored car heist, one with a whopping $14.5 million missing. But Brady Weller isn't the only one hunting the desperate father. Robert Pruitt, a shady and mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is also determined to find Wade and claim his due.
Narrated by a trio of alternating voices, This Dark Road to Mercy is a story about the indelible power of family and the primal desire to outrun a past that refuses to let go.
3. Cress Meyer, Marissa Feiwel & Friends Hardcover Pub date 2/4/2014
In this third book in Marissa Meyer's bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.
Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.
4. Free Vlautin, Willy HarperCollins Paperback Pub date 2/4/2014
Award-winning author of The Motel Life, Northline and Lean on Pete, Willy Vlautin demonstrates his extraordinary talent for confronting issues facing modern America, illuminated through the lives of three memorable characters who are looking for a way out of their financial, familial, and existential crises in The Free.
While serving in Iraq, veteran Leroy Kervin suffered a traumatic brain injury. Frustrated by the simplest daily routines, and unable to form new memories, he eventually attempts suicide. Lying in a coma, he retreats deep inside the memories locked in his mind. Freddie McCall works two jobs and still can't make ends meet. He's lost his wife and kids, and the house is next. Medical bills have buried him in debt, a situation that propels him to consider a lucrative—and dangerous—proposition. Pauline Hawkins is a nurse at the local hospital. Though she attends to others' needs with practical yet firm kindness, including her mentally ill elderly father, she remains emotionally removed. But a new patient, a young runaway, touches something deep and unexpected inside her.
The lives of these characters intersect as they look for meaning in desperate times. Heartbreaking and hopeful, The Free is a testament to the resiliency of the human heart. The Free also includes a P.S. Section (additional material in the back of the book) with interviews, insights, and more about the author. Vlautin is the founder of the alternative country band Richmond Fontaine and his debut novel, The Motel Life, has been made into a film starring Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota Fanning, and Kris Kristofferson.
5. Sun and Other Stars Pasulka, Brigid Simon & Schuster Hardcover Pub date 2/4/2014
Brigid Pasulka’s PEN/Hemingway award-winning debut novel was compared to the works of Jonathan Safran Foer by the New York Times and hailed by Elle as “storytelling that gets under your skin and forces you to press copies into your best friends’ hands.” Now The Sun and Other Stars, Pasulka’s extraordinary second novel, is all that and more: a profound, compelling, and big-hearted masterpiece that showcases an exquisite writer at the joyful height of her talents.
In the seaside village of San Benedetto, a resort town on the Italian Riviera, twenty-twoyear- old Etto finds himself adrift. Within the past year, Etto has not only lost both his twin brother and his mother, but in his grief has become estranged from his father, the local butcher. While his father passes the time with the men of the town in the fine tradition of Italian men everywhere—a reverential obsession with soccer—Etto retreats ever further from his day-to-day life, seeking solace in the hills above the town.
But then a Ukrainian soccer star, the great Yuri Fil, sweeps into San Benedetto, taking refuge himself from an international scandal. Soon Yuri and his captivating tomboy sister Zhuki invite Etto into their world of sport, celebrity, loyalty, and humor. Under their influence, Etto begins to reconstruct his relationship with his father and, slowly, open himself back up to the world. Who knows: perhaps the game of soccer isn’t just a waste of time, and perhaps San Benedetto, his father, love, and life itself might have more to offer him than he ever believed possible.
The Sun and Other Stars is a gorgeous, celebratory tale about families, compromise, and community, and about how losses can be transformed into hope. Irresistible and unforgettable, it is a shimmering miracle of a book.
6. Deepest Secret Buckley, Carla Random House Hardcover Pub date 2/4/2014
Eve Lattimore’s family is like every other on their suburban street, with one exception. Her son Tyler has a rare medical condition that makes him fatally sensitive to light, which means heavy curtains and deadlocked doors protect him during the day and he can never leave the house except at night. For Eve, only constant vigilance stands between an increasingly restless teenage son and the dangers of the outside world.
Until the night the unthinkable happens. When tragedy strikes, it becomes clear that this family is not the only one on the quiet cul-de-sac that is more complicated than it appears. And as Eve is forced to shield her family from harm, there are some crises she cannot control—and some secrets that not even love can conceal.
Deeply moving and stunningly suspenseful, The Deepest Secret is a novel of rare power—a story about hope and forgiveness, about the terrifying ways our lives can spin out of control and the unexpected sacrifices that may save us.
7. My Sweetest Escape Cameron, Chelsea Harlequin Books Paperback Pub date 1/28/2014
The past will always find you. Jos Archer was the girl with the perfect life—until the night it all came crashing down around her. Now, nine months later, she still hasn't begun to pick up the pieces. Even transferring to a new college and living under the watchful eye of her older sister, Renee, isn't enough to help her feel normal again.
And then she meets Dusty Sharp. For reasons Jos can't begin to fathom, the newly reformed campus bad boy seems determined to draw her out of her shell. And if she's not careful, his knowing green eyes and wicked smile will make her feel things she's no longer sure she deserves.
But even as Dusty coaxes Jos to open up about the past, he's hiding secrets of his own. Secrets about the night her old life fell apart. When the truth is finally revealed, will it bring them closer together—or tear them apart for good?
8. Ignite Me Mafi, Tahereh Harpercollins Hardcover Pub date 2/4/2014
The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”
With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.
The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.
9. In the Shadows Cope, Erica Createspace
Aria Watkins’s life was on the perfect path, or so she thought. She and Sean had big plans for their future together. They were going to go off to college, get married, and have 2.5 kids. But when tragedy strikes, it destroys the heart of Aria and she's afraid she'll never be the same. Heartbroken and confused, Aria starts college a completely different person. She hardly recognizes the broken girl she's become, but she can't seem to find the strength to put back together the pieces either. Enter Holden Whitmore. He's charming, considerate, and he's making it his mission to make her smile. At first, she isn’t impressed with him, but he’s persistent and soon she discovers there’s more to him than just a charming smile. Aria was sure she'd never be able to move on with her life, but there's just something about Holden that makes her want to try. When her tragedy comes full circle, she’s left with a choice: Keep holding on to the past, or move on and find her future.
1. Shovel Ready Sternbergh, Adam. Hardcover
Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, and before the city became a blown-out shell of its former self. Now he’s a hitman.
In a near-future New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to “tap in” to a sophisticated virtual reality, and those who are left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets. His new job is not that different from his old one: waste disposal is waste disposal. He doesn’t ask questions, he works quickly, and he’s handy with a box cutter. But when his latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist, his unadorned life is upended: his mark has a shocking secret and his client has a sordid agenda far beyond a simple kill. Spademan must navigate between these two worlds—the wasteland reality and the slick fantasy—to finish his job, clear his conscience, and make sure he’s not the one who winds up in the ground.
2. Criminal McVoy, Terra Hardcover
Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing.
So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime—a crime that ends in murder—Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him. But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about? Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional…but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers.
3. Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking: A 14 Day Mystery Dionne, Erin Hardcover (YA Edgar nominee)
For fans of The Westing Game and From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler comes a clever, treasure-hunt mystery based on a real-life art heist. Moxie Fleece knows the rules and follows them--that is, until the day she opens her front door to a mysterious stranger. Suddenly Moxie is involved in Boston's biggest unsolved mystery: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist. Moxie has two weeks to find the art, otherwise she and the people she loves will be in big-time danger.
Her tools? Her best friend, Ollie, a geocaching addict who loves to find stuff; her Alzheimer's suffering grandfather, Grumps, who knows lots more than he lets on; and a geometry proof that she sets up to sort out the clues. It's a race against the clock through downtown Boston as Moxie and Ollie break every rule she's ever lived by to find the art and save her family.
4. Missing You Coben, Harlan Hardcover Publication date: 3/18/2014
It's a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.
Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.
As the body count mounts and Kat's hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancé, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.
5. Uninvited Jordan, Sophie Hardcover Publication date: 1/28/2014
From New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan, Uninvited is a chilling and suspenseful story about a girl whose DNA brands her as a killer, perfect for fans of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Confessions of a Murder Suspect. Davy had everything—a terrific boyfriend, the homecoming crown, a bright future at Juilliard—but when her genetic tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome, she loses it all. Uninvited from her prestigious school and avoided by her friends and family, she is placed in a special class with other "carriers" who are treated like the murderers they someday might become.
Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life and tells her that she alone controls her actions—not the code embedded in her DNA. But even if she can learn to trust him, can Davy trust herself?
6. One Tiny Lie : A Novel Tucker, K. A. Paperback
Livie Cleary has always been Miss Perfect—but she soon learns that perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and finding out who she really is might mean making some mistakes along the way. “Make me proud.” These were the last words Livie’s father ever spoke to her. In the seven years since her parents’ tragic death, Livie has done her best to live up to this standard through her every choice, word, and action, while looking after her sister with strength and maturity. But with college right around the corner, unexpected challenges will test her resilience—and her heart.
Livie walks into Princeton with a solid plan, and she’s dead set on delivering on it: Rock her classes; set herself up for medical school; and meet a good, respectable guy to someday marry. Her plan definitely does not include Jell-O shots; a lovable, party animal roommate she can’t say “no” to; or Ashton, the arrogant—and extremely attractive—captain of the men’s rowing team who makes Livie’s usually nonexistent temper flare. Worse, he’s best friends and roommates with Connor, who happens to fit Livie’s criteria perfectly. So why does she keep thinking about Ashton?
As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father, and, with it, the only identity she’s ever known.
7. Ten Tiny Breaths Tucker, K. A. Paperback
Four years ago, Kacey Cleary’s life imploded when her car was hit by a drunk driver, killing her parents, boyfriend, and best friend. Still haunted by memories of being trapped inside, listening to her mother take her last breath, Kacey wants to leave her past behind. Armed with two bus tickets, Kacey and her fifteen-year-old sister, Livie, escape Grand Rapids, Michigan, to start over in Miami. They’re struggling to make ends meet at first, but Kacey’s not worried. She can handle anything—anything but her mysterious neighbor in apartment 1D.
Trent Emerson has smoldering blue eyes and deep dimples, and perfectly skates that irresistible line between nice guy and bad boy. Hardened by her tragic past, Kacey is determined to keep everyone at a distance, but their mutual attraction is undeniable, and Trent is desperate to find a way into Kacey’s guarded heart—even if it means revealing an explosive secret that could shatter both their worlds.
8. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out Kuklin, Susan Publication date: 2/11/2014
Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.
9. Boy on the Edge Erlings, Fridrick Publication date: 2/25/2014
Henry has a clubfoot and he is the target of relentless bullying. One day, in a violent fit of anger, Henry lashes out at the only family he has — his mother. Sent to live with other troubled boys at the Home of Lesser Brethren, an isolated farm perched in the craggy lava fields along the unforgiving Icelandic coast, Henry finds a precarious contentment among the cows. But it is the people, including the manic preacher who runs the home, who fuel Henry’s frustration and sometimes rage as he yearns for a life and a home. Author Fridrik Erlings offers a young adult novel that explores cruelty and desperation, tenderness and remorse, but most importantly, kindness and friendship.
10. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender Walton, Leslye Publication date: 3/25/2014
Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava — in all other ways a normal girl — is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naive to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the summer solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.
Transparent by Natalie Whipple. Harper Teen 2013. ISBN 9780062120168
Fiona lives in a version of the world where an anti-radiation drug altered the makeup of most people, but it didn't stop there. Children born after it was created have unusual powers, many of which are desirable for adults eager to do criminal acts. Fiona was born invisible. Her father, a ruthless crime lord, has exploited that difference by having her steal and spy on rival gangsters. When he orders her to kill the daughters of a rival crime lord, that's too much for her. She and her mom take off to hide.
They land in a small AZ town where Fiona starts going to school for the first time ever. High school is rough, but when you've never attended and you're invisible, it's overwhelming. She meets brothers Seth and Brady, plus Bea and her three brothers. They make Fiona feel welcome and, more importantly, almost normal. Each of her new friends has a power, but Seth's is the one Fiona discovers is most important to her. When her father comes after her and Mom, the new friends make all the difference in the world.
Neat plot theme, very likable characters, plenty of action and a nice amount of romance make this a fun and memorable read.
Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. Scholastic, 2012. ISBN 9780545439824
Emme has an amazing talent for writing songs, but no self-confidence. She's lived in the shadow of her singer friend Chloe since they met at a talent show when they were eight years old. Ever since, Emme's been writing the songs that make Chloe so good. They're now seniors at New York City High School For the Performing Arts and starting to stress about the senior presentation, something that will have a huge impact on where they go to college. Two other students, Ethan and Carter, are key players in this story. Carter was a child star in a lucrative movie series and stars in a weekly TV soap opera. He's really hoping for some sort of normal life, but his mother has been hell-bent on keeping his movie career going, or so he believes. Ethan is an amazing musician, but the darkness in his head leads him to self-destruct every time things start looking promising, especially in terms of relationships.
I was amazed at how good this book was. I expected fluff and got a real solid story instead. The way this story develops Emme's growing awareness of her own worth and talent, the gradual exposure of Chloe's faults and self-centeredness, the exposure of Ethan's frailty and humanity and Carter's flat-out likability and discovery of his real passion, make for a terrific read that teens struggling with the 'what do I do with my life' dilemma will really like.
The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine Balzer& Bray, 2013. ISBN 9780062279484
Wren Caswell sees herself as average, and quiet. She's cool with quiet, but hurt because it's one of the things that kept her from being selected for the National Honor Society. Her best friends, Jade and Maddie got in. They keep telling her she'll make it next time, but that isn't as comforting as she might like. Grayson Barrett was on the fast track for success until he got busted for pimping term papers at the privates school he attended He's now going to a public school and dealing with the realization that most of the things he looked forward to went south when he was caught.
Wren's family owns the Camelot, an old inn/banquet place where Wren works to help her mother when events are demanding. It's a place she sometimes imagines herself running after she grows up. When she acts on instinct to save Grayson with the Heimlich maneuver, not even the fact that he barfs on her shoes can stop things from moving inexorably toward the two of them having an amazing, painful and goofy romance.
It's anything but easy for things to go right. The Camelot is losing money, Grayson has plenty of things from his past with hooks in his present, Wren has self-esteem issues and nasty girls intent on stealing Grayson and both of their families have plenty of baggage and issues themselves. No matter. This is a nearly flawless love story, a terrific first book by an author who got everything right. Yes, there are a few F-bombs, but they don't detract from the plot at all and shouldn't deter high school and public libraries from adding the book.
Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff. Putnam & Sons, 2013. ISBN 9780399257650
Mila is one of those kids who's much older intellectually than chronologically, a perfect combination for a juvenile detective. She lives in England with her artistic parents who she calls by their first names. While able to experience emotions, Mila very much lives in her head and this allows her to understand complicated and mysterious events better than the adults in her life. In fact, one of the best aspects of this book is her silent analysis of what's happened and, more importantly, what may not have happened yet.
Mila and her father are off to New York to visit his best friend, Matthew. When they arrive, Matthew has vanished, leaving his wife and infant son behind. Mila and her dad, Gil, agree to find Matthew. Mila notices subtle signs that another man has spent time at the house after Matthew disappeared. She realizes that Suzanne, Matthew's wife, has really mixed emotions whenever Matthew is mentioned. She begins to wonder whether Matthew is still alive. If not, was it murder or suicide? One complicating fact, more of a mystery actually is the circumstances surrounding the accident that killed their older son Owen. Was Matthew drunk that night? If so, has the building guilt led to his disappearance?
This is one of those juvenile mysteries that are great food for smart tween/YA readers who love a book that leaves them pondering well after the cover is closed. I expect it will get an Edgar nomination.
Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon, Harper Collins, 2013. ISBN 9780062102911
First in a trilogy. When foster teen, Noa, wakes up on an operating table in a giant warehouse, she's lost three weeks and has a large surgical incision on her chest. Fortunately, she's been living pretty much off the grid for years, ever since she realized the foster care system was broken and she was really good at computing. After escaping in a really pulse-pounding chase from the warehouse, she discovers that the Persiphone Project, the mysterious group that grabbed her and did the operation, is a hell of a lot more powerful than anything she's ever encountered. They're able to track her, hound her and keep her away from any access to the money she's accumulated under a fake name as a computer whiz.
Enter Peter Gregory, rich teen and founder of ALLIANCE, an underground network of hackers who go after child porn scum, abusers and others who do bad stuff to kids. While his parents were away, he made the mistake of snooping through his father's files and all hell broke loose. After he's kicked out and loses his girlfriend, he and Noe form a prickly alliance to figure out what/who is after them. There's a ton of action, some really ugly events that might turn off younger or squeamish readers, but this is a really good book for readers who like conspiracies, nonstop action and stories where technology plays a big part. I can't wait to read the second installment which I just ordered on interlibrary loan.
Wishful Thinking by Alexandra Bullen. Point, 2011. ISBN 9780545139076.
This story starts with somewhat the same premise as the author's book Wish. In each, a likable girl who is full of sadness takes a dress to a little shop in San Francisco to get it repaired. Each one gets three new dresses instead, with an admonition that there is a wish attached to each dress. They must be used wisely, can't be global and the same wish can't be used twice. I'm amazed that the same plot element can morph into two very different books that are warm, intriguing and endearing.
Eighteen year old Hazel Snow was given up for adoption at birth. The woman who adopted her died in a fire at the restaurant she owned when Hazel was less than a year old. Lonely and wanting a mother or some sort of family, she's lived with her adoptive step dad who's tried to be there for her, but has never quite recovered from his wife's death. When Hazel receives her birth certificate, she starts searching for the woman named as her mother. Surprise, the woman is wealthy and lives in San Francisco. When Hazel learns she's doing an art show in town, she takes a dress in for repairs so she can attend. She arrives, wearing the first of the magic dresses, only to discover the woman just died of cancer. Her first wish, made on the ferry she takes to return home, is that she can get to know her mom.
Hazel wakes up eighteen years earlier on a different ferry, as it pulls into Martha's Vineyard. The first two people she meets are teens her age, the guy, warm and friendly, the girl, pretty prickly. They tell her how to find the estate of the woman she believes is her real mother. What follows is part love story, part coming of age and a lot of learning to love and let go even when it really hurts. Hazel has to use her other two wishes in ways that benefit others, but in the end she's the real winner. This is a great book to offer teens who come from foster care, were adopted or have a sense of loss.