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While Nick Gardner’s family is falling apart, his best friend, Scooter, is dying from a freak disease. The Scoot’s final wish is that Nick and their quirky classmate, Jaycee Amato, deliver a prized first-edition copy of Of Mice and Men to the Scoot’s father. There’s just one problem: the Scoot’s father walked out years ago and hasn’t been heard from since. So, guided by Steinbeck’s life lessons, and with only the vaguest of plans, Nick and Jaycee set off to find him. Characters you’ll want to become friends with and a narrative voice that sparkles with wit make this a truly original coming-of-age story.
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner
The Pull of Gravity will definitely pull you into the MC Nick Gardner’s life and take you along on a journey this freshman wasn’t quite prepared for but will definitely change him forever. Scooter, his friend and neighbor, has Hutchinson-Giford progeria syndrome, a disease that’s killing him, Nick’s father is obese and decides to walk to NYC to get his life in order, and then Jaycee, a girl who’s own life has been pretty messed up, pops in and complicates everything for Nick by becoming obsessed with finding Scooter’s father who left Scooter early on in his life. There are lots of interesting twists and turns with references to Star Wars and the novel, Of Mice and Men. It all interconnects with lots of tender moments, raw emotion, and humor too. The Pull of Gravity is a journey you will definitely want to take in – I recommend that you read this book with a can of cherry cola – you may suddenly find yourself craving one! Lovely and touching novel about loss, friendship, family, and romance.
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Can an atheist be saved? The New York Times bestselling author of Crank and Tricks explores the highly charged landscapes of faith and forgiveness with brilliant sensitivity and emotional resonance.“There is no God, no benevolent ruler of the earth, no omnipotent grand poobah of countless universes. Because if there was…my little brother would still be fishing or playing basketball instead of fertilizing cemetery vegetation.”Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything.Not in family—his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough. Not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen. And certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question
Thanks to Heidi at YA Bibliophile, who received the ARC from Simon Teen and passed it on to me, knowing that I am a huge Ellen Hopkins fan. Thanks, Heidi! Another powerful, impactful novel by the brilliant Ellen Hopkins. RUMBLE opens your eyes to religion,it’s influenceon dating, sex,homosexuality.Family broken.Love a token.What if Dadfelt trappedto marry? Notfor love. Guess why? Would you protect,support, defend,your gaybrother?Would you standagainst bigots?Religious zealotsdetermined to shutyou up? Slapyou down?Twist your beliefsinto evil? Banningbooks for content?Could it be truelove? Premarital sex beautiful? Orfor sluts?Affairs. Hate.Prejudice.Guns. Doyou have faith?No hidingfrom toughsubjects whenbrilliantEllen Hopkinsshakes up the soul,makes you think,and creates quite the RUMBLE!
THE REAL THING on Goodreads
In this electrifying novel from Cassie Mae, two close friends surprise themselves by shifting from platonic love to sexual attraction.
Eric Matua has one friend—his best friend and childhood sweetheart, who needs a place to stay for the summer. Mia Johnson has thousands of friends—who live in her computer. Along with her email chats and Facebook notifications, Mia also devours romance novels, spending countless hours with fictional characters, dreaming of her own Romeo to sweep her off her feet. When she starts receiving supersweet messages from a stranger who thinks she’s someone else, Mia begins to believe that real love is possible outside her virtual world.
When the two friends become roommates, Mia finds herself falling harder than she ever thought she could. But Eric keeps his desires locked away, unsure of himself and his ability to give his best friend what she deserves in a boyfriend. As her advances are continually spurned, Mia splits her time between Eric and her computer. But she soon realizes she’s about to lose the only real thing she’s ever had.
Cover – Isn’t what I would have imagined the character Eric to look like. Doesn’t seem to reflect his character. He’s from Samoa. (But, set that aside!!!) This book is AWESOME!
THE REAL THING is a different type of NA romance novel. There were many things that I found deeply compelling and meaningful. Emilia Johnson is Eric Matua’s best friend. They haven’t seen each other for years, but when Eric offers Emmy a place to stay for the summer – his Mom’s beach condo in Florida – she jumps at the opportunity. She’s always had a secret crush on him. He didn’t seem to notice.
CAUTION: THIS PART has a few SPOILERS – - -
Eric was always heavy and very conscious of his weight. His ex-girlfriend made him feel horrible about his body and it caused a great deal of anxiety for him, so much so that he developed an anxiety disorder. He’s lost the weight, but the history of how his ex treated him impacts his self image. I commend Cassie Mae for creating a male character, who struggled with his weight!
As Eric and Em discover how much they care for each other, they have a lot of issues to work out. Em is addicted to the internet, so much so that it interferes with their relationship. She spends more time with her “online” friends, than with the man who loves her, the guy who is right in front of her. This really pisses Eric off – as it should. She also texts and drives and is on Facebook etc while she drives. This scares Eric, as it should.
Eric has his anxiety/relationship issues to overcome.
When a meaningless online relationship suddenly seems like it might lead somewhere for Em, it threatens their love and could very well destroy it FOREVER.
Second chances aren’t easy to come by when you break trust.
——-END OF SPOILERS!
I LOVED!! that Cassie Mae showed a completely vulnerable guy dealing with his fear and anxiety, unsure of himself, coping with body image issues and being head-over-heals in love with his best friend!
Cassie Mae does an excellent job bringing to the forefront addictions to the internet and social media, anxiety disorders, relationships, trust, fear, and sex. There are some wonderful romantic scenes! The writing is terrific—descriptive, emotional. The characters comes to life and are relatable. Cassie Mae will make you laugh. You’re heartstrings will be tugged. You will swoon. You will really enjoy this novel! If you’re a fan of NA romance novels and want a story that has some meat to it, then THE REAL THING will definitely do it for you!
Cassie Mae is a full-time writer and mother from Utah. She loves being glued to the computer, thinking up new stories, and writing the day away while the kids run wild at her feet. When she finished her first novel, she started a blog that now gets more than five thousand hits a month. Her group blog is also dedicated to reaching out to aspiring authors by providing critiques and other marketing tools to help them succeed in the industry. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate.
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After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he’s secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park…and discovers truths they could never have imagined.
Incredible window into humanity. Post-apocalyptic story after adults and children die from a virus with only teens left.
THE YOUNG WORLD contains a lot of violence and brutality, which is balanced well with humor and romance so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming. The post-apocalyptic New York City is described in full detail. Anyone who has been to NYC will recognize these places and be able to envision how it is now and what it’s like in Chris Weitz’s imagination. He took iconic places and really changed the environment to give it an after-the-world-is-nearly-destroyed feel.
The actions of many of the characters are not much different than what we see in society today. People lust for power and those are not the kind of people who make the best leaders. We see sexism, racism, homophobia. Depending on the group of YA, the role of young women varies. In one group, teen girls are forced into prostitution, in another they’re respected leaders. Intellectualism is respected, but can also be a major character flaw, depending on the situation.
Key insights I pulled from this novel that are applicable to today:
1. Treat people how you want to be treated. The Golden Rule. This doesn’t always work. Being kind doesn’t mean others will be kind back. “The Golden Rule” does brings a sense of humanity to a brutal world.
2. What do we value? Life? Liberty? Power? Friendship? Money? What we value says a lot about who we are.
3. Dwelling on the past doesn’t get you anywhere. Focus on the now. Have hope for a future, even if it seems futile.
4. Love is important. It shines light on darkness. It provides hope, comfort. Human beings need love, even when there is a good chance it will end.
5. In order to have a civilized society a person’s basic needs of food, shelter, water, clothes must be taken care of first.
6. There are people who thirst for power, and will do anything to obtain it.
7. If used to help people, intelligence is something to be valued. If valued above humanity, it becomes meaningless.
8. We NEED LIBRARIES!
9. Violence begets violence. When will understand this?
10. Society naturally breaks off into groups.
11. Some myths are true, or a variation of the truth. What do we learn from it?
12. Know your true friends. Who can you rely on?
13. Some risks are worth taking. We have to determine which ones are worth the potential consequences.
14. What can we learn from history? And are we destined to keep repeating it? It sure seems like it.
Overall impression: Although THE YOUNG WORLD is a post-apocalyptic novel, it is an insightful, unapologetic, brutal view into our society today. Readers can get a ton out of this novel if they read it with those eyes. Chris Weitz nailed the -isms and lust for power, the despair, the threads of hope. But there can’t be hope until someone is willing to take a stand. THAT may very well be the ultimate lesson. What are you willing to stand up for?
I definitely recommend this novel and am looking forward to the next book.
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Georgia Peach Book Award Nominee (0), ABA Indie Next Book for Children’s Spring (2010), Rhode Island Teen Book Award Nominee (2011), Parents’ Choice Silver Award, International Reading Association Award for Young Adult Fiction (2011)
A riveting portrait of life after abuse from an award-winning novelist.Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret.He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret.At least so far.Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. Award-winning novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again? Readers won’t be able to put this intense page-turner down.
My review posted in June, 2011:
Split is an extremely important YA novel about child abuse and spousal abuse told from the point-of-view of the MC Jace. There is no doubt that Swati’s has been placed in the elite category of brilliant authors such as Laurie Halse Anderson, Cheryl Rainfield, and Jay Asher. It is more than well-deserved and so are the awards Split received. Jace is one of the most unforgettable male YA characters I have ever read. The story he narrates is raw, honest, heartbreaking, revealing. I will be haunted by his experiences. ****spoiler*****One of the most troubling scenes was a flashback of Jace beating his girlfriend, but the way he recognizes his mistake and takes responsibility shows tremendous growth and insight. The hardest part for me was lumping Jace in the “category” of abuser when he had been victimized, but Swati does a phenomenal job of showing the reader how easy that line can be crossed.*****end of spoiler*****Ultimately, this is a novel about hope. One of breaking free – making the split – from the past and moving on to building a future. The title reveals many “key” moments, plot points in the the book that readers should ponder the meaning of the word and the different scenes that it represents.Split is a do-not-miss-YA novel! I will be recommending it over and over and over again.
(Waiting on Wednesday was started by BREAKING THE SPINE)
“NOT your average teenage witch! Jennifer Murgia’s FOREST OF WHISPERS is a dark, brooding mystery/thriller that captures the paranoid, plague-driven frenzy of 17th Century Europe with the speed and power of a galloping stallion. Rune, a 16-year old with formidable abilities that she herself can barely understand, must fight her own inner demons as well as what seems to be a whole world gone awry with bloodlust for her kind. This is a thrilling read.”
~ Molly Cochran, author of LEGACY & POISON
“An interesting and compelling love story, with plenty of mystery and intrigue — I devoured FOREST OF WHISPERS and will be first in line to read anything else from Jennifer Murgia!”
~ Cyn Balog, author of FAIRY TALE, SLEEPLESS, STARSTRUCK, TOUCHED & DEAD RIVER
A historical fiction novel with witches? I’m intrigued by the legacy and what secrets the forest holds!
Received an e-book copy through Little Brown (Poppy!) Thanks!
It’s romantic, mysterious, and a fast read!
One girl. Two boys. All great friends. Girl dates boy 1 and loves him. Feels a connection with boy 2, who seems to avoid her at every turn . . . .
Meet Ed. He’s an awesome guy. Kind, thoughtful, sympathetic, sensitive, and madly in love August.
Meet August. She loves Ed, but wants some space. Her need for space, her need to go out on her own and not be at the same college with Ed, creates a rift between them.
Meet Noah. He’s the best friend, who has been in love with August for a long time. He stepped aside, though, because Ed is much better for her than he is.
Meet Maggie, August’s sister. She needs August. Their mom is dead, their father is absent a lot.
Together these four get on a small plane that will take them college hopping.
Until . . . CRASH!!!!
Noah saves August, dragging her to an island. Ed and Maggie are nowhere to be found. This is when the magic begins. Noah has some pretty powerful healing skills. Readers will learn a lot about the power of love, the power of friendship, and the power of second chances. What purpose do we have in life? What is your role? LOCKED will open up some new channels and get readers thinking about where they fit in. Who, if anyone, would you give up your life for? Readers will be intrigued by the island. The island is definitely its own “character” in this novella.
LOCKED is romantic, mysterious, and a fast read. I am so intrigued by this story and can’t wait to get more from this author!
For those of you who love a romantic novella that will suck you in and have you wondering, what next? Definitely pick this one up!
Twelve-year-old CeeCee is in trouble. For years she’s been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille— the crown-wearing, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town. Though it’s 1967 and they live in Ohio, Camille believes it’s 1951 and she’s just been crowned the Vidalia Onion Queen of Georgia.The day CeeCee discovers Camille in the front yard wearing a tattered prom dress and tiara as she blows kisses to passing motorists, she knows her mother has completely flipped. When tragedy strikes, Tootie Caldwell, a previously unknown great-aunt comes to CeeCee’s rescue and whisks her away to Savannah. Within hours of her arrival, CeeCee is catapulted into a perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricities—a world that appears to be run entirely by women.While Tootie is busy saving Savannah’s endangered historic homes from the wrecking ball, CeeCee encounters a cast of unforgettable, eccentric characters. From the mysterious Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in an outdoor tub under the watchful eyes of a voyeuristic peacock, to Oletta Jones, the all-knowing household cook, to Violene Hobbs, the loud-mouthed widow who entertains a local police officer in her yellow see-through peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.
Some of the most memorable characters you’ll ever read are found in Saving CeeCee Honeycutt! Perfect for bright MGers to adults, this novel is an adult New York Times Best Seller! And it should be! Read it and love it and never forget these characters. This will be on my ’14 top-read list!
Here’s what impressed me about this novel:
1. Mrs. O’Dell is one of my heroes. What she does to help CeeCee when she suffers until her mother’s mental illness is remarkable. She provides love, a safe haven, and nurtures her through difficult times.
2. CeeCee suffers so much because of her mother’s mental illness. Her father abandons them and CeeCee ends up holding the heavy burden of dealing with her mother’s crazy antics – dressing up in prom dresses, which help her to recall the moment when she was a beauty queen. The way Beth Hoffman portrayed CeeCee’s mom will tear at your heart. It’s so raw and revealing and emotional.
3. SPOILER: When CeeCee’s mom is struck and killed by a truck, her aunt Tootie comes and takes her away to Savannah, Georgia. Aunt Tootie is one of the kindest, most loving women one could ever encounter. She gives CeeCee the life that she deserves and helps her cope with loss.
4. The cast of characters in Savannah. Real Southern belles, who are wild and eccentric. Who wouldn’t want to grow up around these crazy, fun ladies?
5. OLETTA! Wow, I fell in love with Oletta. She had me drooling for cinnamon buns and everything else. I absolutely adored her relationship with CeeCee. Aunt Tootie was her family and vise versa. The portrayal of this family was one of the most important, beautiful portrayals of racial relations. This reminded me so much of our own family. My grandma was a Southerner. We had Barbara McCray. Love knows no color!
6. Beth Hoffman takes the reader to Savannah. You will live it, breathe it, taste it. The setting jumps off the page.
7. Addressing racism in an honest, powerful, emotional way. The huge divide between our people. Here are some of the accurate portrayals addressed: financial, educational, health care, place of residence.
8. Definition of family is a key theme of this novel. Beth Hoffman nailed it by showing that LOVE is the ultimate.
9. This is a novel with a huge range of appeal. I could see a bright middle grader read this. High school students for sure. Even though Pamela Dorman Books is an adult publisher, this novel is the perfect crossover novel! Smart young adults, this is a must read!
While I read this novel, I ACHED for my grandma. I miss her calling me ‘darlin’. I missed her “tomata, potata.” I miss Barbara McCray’s “Bless her heart.” I felt wrapped up in her love. And readers, you will feel wrapped in love by this novel!
I WANT A SEQUEL! Where is CeeCee now?
A must read!
PS. There’s a “cat” fight that is so hysterical, you don’t want to miss it. Karma’s a bitch. It really is!!!
The spider and the slugs are awesome too!
West is a high school senior who has everything going for him until an accident leaves him paralyzed. Strapped down in his hospital bed, slipping in and out of consciousness, West is terrified and alone. Until he meets Olivia. She’s the girl next door-sort of. A patient in the room next to his, only Olivia can tell what West is thinking, and only Olivia seems to know that the terrible dreams he’s been having are not just a result of his medication. Yet as West comes to rely on Olivia-to love her, even-certain questions pull at him: Why has Olivia been in the hospital for so long? And what does it mean that she is at the center of his nightmares? But the biggest question of all comes when West begins to recover and learns that the mysterious girl he’s fallen in love with has a secret he could never have seen coming.
Cylin Busby’s Blink Once is an engrossing, mysterious novel that will keep you guessing. In many ways, it reminded me of Megan Miranda’s outstanding novel Fracture. The reader learns quickly that West has been in a biking accident and is now paralyzed and unable to speak because of a breathing tube. The description of his hospital experience is at times heart breaking and touching. As the story unfolds, we are introduced to Olivia, a sick girl who’s room is next to West’s. Olivia, a vivacious, sad, bold girl who helps bring West out of his shell. She devises a plan of communication. Blink once means yes, blink twice means no. Her visits provide friendship and courage and hope. And in time, West and Olivia fall in love. With every page, the reader is pulled deeper and deeper into the mystery of West and his paralysis. Will he recover? What will happen between Olivia and him?I loved this novel and I think it is perfect for reluctant readers. Guaranteed to draw them in. Definitely a winner, put it on your must-read list!