May 1, 2009
The Diary of Pelly D by L.J. Adlington
Toni V knows that he should turn it over, that’s what the Rules and Regulations state. He doesn’t even want to think about the trouble he could get in for taking something from the Demo Site. But his curiosity gets the better of him, and he smuggles it back to his room in the block and hiding it under his pillow where no one else can see it. Reading snippets when no one else is looking.
The Diary of Pelly D
At first, Toni V thinks Pelly D seems a bit shallow and petty (but, he decides, most likely gorgeous). She’s more concerned with her popularity, dating the hot new guy and hanging out at the new Waterworld Park than with anything else going on in City Five.
Soon though, her diary entries begin to allude to a growing unrest between the cities. People are becoming obsessed with which gene pool others belong to, after all, everyone knows the Atsumisi have the all important epigene and Galrezi don’t.
Pelly D’s world takes a drastic turn when the Atsumisi government in City One pass a law declaring everyone must be tested and gene identifying hand stamps become mandatory. As Toni V reads more, he begins to connects events of the past with the current post-war state of City Five.
Adlington has created a post apocalyptic story of a futuristic Holocaust, intentionally reminiscent of events in World War 2. She causes the reader to wonder if mankind ever really changes, or if they are doomed to repeat the same mistakes, regardless of time and place.
April 25, 2009
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
Marcelo, diagnosed as having Asperger’s syndrome is happy in his comfortable life, guided by his organized and familiar routine. He hears music in his mind that noone else can hear, he has a deep desire to learn about religion and he loves his school, Paterson, where he works as a stable hand tending to the ponies. However Marcelo’s father Arturo does not believe that anything is really wrong with his son. He feels that Marcelo ‘s mother and doctors are being over indulgent and protective and that Marcelo needs to grow up, attend the public high school in Oak Hills and learn to get along in the “real world”.
In order to prove that he is right about his son, Arturo makes a deal…instead of spending his summer working at Paterson with the ponies, Marcelo will come to work in the mailroom of his lawfirm, where if he learns to interact with “normal” people and completes his tasks satisfactorily, then he will be allowed to choose which school he will attend in the fall. If he fails, he will automatically have to go to Oak Hills High School. After careful consideration, Marcelo realizes that if he wants to stay at his beloved school, then he must accept his father’s deal. Besides, three months isn’t that long, is it?
And so begins Marcelo’s journey into the “real world”. He befriends his beautiful mail room co-worker Jasmine and learns more than he cares to know about life from Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He learns not only about anger, jealousy and beauty, but also that life is not always black and white, that it is full of moral ambiguities of which not even his father is immune.
Stork has created a wonderful story for older teens, told from a unique perspective it shows the different ways of interpreting what what the “real world” is really like and it means to grow up.
March 26, 2009
Bonechiller by Graham Mcnamee
I don’t scare easily; I enjoy everything about zombies, monsters and other things that go bump in the night. I find very few things scary (except, perhaps the movie The Descent). So imagine my surprise when I realized that while reading Graham Mcnamee’s new book, Bonechiller, I was holding my breath a bit, every so often glancing up wide eyed and stealthily checking out my very quiet house.
Bonechiller takes place in the far north of Canada, in the sparsely populated town of Harvest Cove, where the days are short and the nights are long and cold. Danny and his father are relatively new to the town, trying to escape the memory of his recently deceased mother. One night after hanging out with friends, while on his way home, Danny is attacked by…something. He’s unable to get a good look, but he knows it’s bigger than any dog, wolf or bear he’s ever seen. It sticks to the shadows, slowly toying with him—stalking him like prey—until it corners him and bites or stabs him (Danny’s not really sure) and then runs off into the night.
The next day, he’s pretty sure he may have imagined the whole thing; until he noticed a small blue mark on his hand and finds animal type footprints at the spot where he was attacked. As strange things beginning happening, Danny realizes that there is something out there in the darkness, and that he and his friends must stop it before they just disappear into the Arctic night.
Combining monsters and aspects of Inuit folklore, Mcnamee’s Bonechiller is a riveting read, perfect for those who enjoyed Darren Shan’s books and are now looking for another creepy title.
March 20, 2009
The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen
I finally just finished Envy, the latest book in this series…and I was a little disappointed. All the elements were there: the tragic taled Holland sisters, the vapidly horrible Penelope, conflicted Henry and the rest of high society of 1900’s Manhattan. It just fell a bit flat for me.
It kind of felt like the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie–enjoyable and good, yet mostly a set up for the next one (which I have to admit, I can’t wait to read). Besides, who can resist the gorgeous dresses on the covers?
March 6, 2009
Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught
Being fat isn’t easy. Clothes don’t fit you. People stare at you or pretend that you are not there; they feel uncomfortable around you. They whisper, wondering if you know how big you are and, if so, why don’t you just do something about it?
Jamie Carcaterra knows how it feels first hand how it feels to be fat, and frankly she is sick of how people act around her. She knows she is overweight. She is fat. In fact, she is Fat Girl, author of the Fat Girl features in her school newspaper, The Wire. Started as a way to win a journalism scholarship, she uses her column to explore what it’s like to be fat in such a weight obsessed, skinny world, as well as to dispel myths such as “Poor Fat Girl needs to be educated about her problem” and “All Poor Fat Girl wants to do is lose weight”.
However, column and her life take an unforeseeable turn when her boyfriend Burke decided to undergo a risky gastric bypass surgery. Now Jamie is forced to think about the questions that really matter. Will Burke still love her when he’s thin? Is being fat all she is? Is she really committed to being the “fat girl activist spokesperson”? And why does it seem like Heath, her co-editor on the paper, might like her as more than just a friend? Doesn’t he know she’s fat?
Although at times a bit predictable and preachy, Vaught has written a funny yet thoughtful look at what it’s like to be a Fat Girl in today’s world.
February 5, 2009
Darkside by Tom Becker
“The darkening son, I can feel the darkening…”
Jonathan Starling is used to being on his own, going unnoticed by almost everyone around him. His mother disappeared before he was old enough to remember her and his father, Alain, spends the majority of his time locked away in his study, suffering periodic episodes, claiming he can feel “the darkening” that is coming. With only his neighbor Mrs. Elwood to keep an eye on him, London is Jonathan’s playground.
One night, while alone in his house after another one of his father’s breakdowns, Jonathan hears an intruder downstairs. He runs hiding in his father’s study barricading the door while something scratches violently trying to get in. The next day at the library he is almost kidnapped by a strange woman and two sinister looking men.
When Alain hears of these events sends his son to seek out Carnegie, the only one who would be able to protect him. However, Carnegie lives in a part of London that most people have never noticed…and are better off for it. Called Darkside, it is home to the city’s most dangerous and undesirable people and creatures, none of whom should ever be trusted. With people who will stop at nothing to capture him, will Jonathan be able to find safety a place like Darkside? And more importantly, exactly who is after him?
This is a great book for fans of Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak series. Becker has created a spine chilling world, filled with things that go bump in the night. Originally published in England, Darkside is the first in a series; the sequel Lifeblood is also currently available.