Kay Donovan & her friends are the most popular students at an elite private school. They run the place, they control the social atmosphere that is more important to most than grades.
One evening, after a party, they find a dead girl floating in a lake by the school. None of them claim to know her, she was a student at their school but she wasn't high up enough on the pecking order to be important to them.
However when Kay receives a coded scavenger hunt from the dead girl, her life becomes very complicated. She's plunged headfirst into a dangerous game where she must stab her friends in the back otherwise be framed for the murder. As the noose tightens, and the police begin to close in, Kay begins to unravel, and what is real and what is not becomes blurred.
I really enjoyed People Like Us, Kay is a great character, she has several flaws and can be very unlikeable but I never stopped rooting for her. She has a melancholic yet determined nature that keeps her chugging along in the face of obstacle after obstacle. At the Library that I manage, students can't get enough of school-based mysteries so I know this novel will be extremely popular.
I recommend it for ages 14 and up!
Paris is on the cusp of a Revolution, but all Camille cares about is putting food on the table so her and her sister Sophie don't starve to death.
Her parents deceased, Camille must try to survive famine, disease and her brother's drunken squandering of the little money they own.
However, Camille has a secret. She can turn worthless metal into coins, for a short period at least. This magic skill buys her and Sophie some time while she figures out a plan.
After delving into much darker magic, magic that her mother warned her about, Camille is able to disguise herself as nobility and enter the famed halls of Versailles, where she partakes in expensive and dangerous card games where the rewards are great.
It doesn't take long for Camille to discover that she might not be the only one at Versailles with a dark secret. Throw in the fact that she's fallen hopelessly in love with a daring young balloonist, Camille doesn't know if she can keep up her double life much longer. As the stakes become higher and the suspicions out of control, Camille finds herself in great danger, it doesn't help that Paris has turned completely upside down with violent anger at those who enter Versailles.
Enchantée is a great novel containing magic realism and historical facts about Paris, Versailles and the French Revolution. Camille's brother is a great villain, as are the other characters at Versailles although I don't want to spoil this as it's not clear who the real villain is right away.
I felt like the novel moved a long at an excellent pace and was really interesting from start to finish. I was genuinely concerned for Camille and Sophie and the sections of the novel where they were starving were really effective.
I don't think anyone who loves YA will want to miss Enchantée at all when it's released in 2019!
Two high school students take the same bus everyday but they've never actually met. Then one day, one of the teens, Richard, takes it upon himself to act recklessly and lights the other students' skirt on fire. Sasha suffers 3rd degree burns and has their life forever altered.
Richard is charged with hate crimes & faces a life behind bars. Both teens are forced to be in the spotlight as the press descends on them and their families.
The strangest part? It's all true. The 57 Bus is a fascinating look at two people who are brought together because of a horrible event. I could not put this book down, I needed to know what was going to happen to Richard & reading about Sasha's recovery was painful and heart breaking. It's an important book about tolerance, violence and recovery. I have organised it so that all of our Year 9 students (over 250 of them) will be reading The 57 Bus in the new year as I know it will generate a lot of discussion. Do not miss out on this amazing story. Recommended for ages 13 and up!
Kasia is a house-bound teen. Suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), she can't go down the stairs without feeling completely wiped out let alone go to school, meet friends and lead an average teenage life.
She spends her days in her room, listening to podcasts and audio books, doing homework and watching the world from her window.
Across the street and number 48, she swears she sees a figure in the window of a young girl. This seems strange to Kasia because she never sees her leave the house. Then one evening a car pulls up on her street, a man exits the vehicle and drags a screaming girl into it before stepping on the pedal and driving off.
Kasia is shocked and phones the police. Across the street, she sees the shadow of the girl in the window, watching everything unfold.
The police have nothing to go on. No one else has reported a missing person and there's no other witnesses. Kasia knows there is another witness but the police tell her that a young girl doesn't live across the street.
Is Kasia losing her mind? Has she been cooped up in her room for too long?
Kasia makes a new friend when a boy named Nav and his mum move in on the street to make amends with Nav's grandmother. Nav is sympathetic to Kasia and her medical condition, when many teens her age are not. Together, Nav and Kasia try to piece together the mystery of the shadowy girl in the window next door and the abduction that Kasia swore she saw. I won't spoil the novel any further, you'll have to read it!
Peny Joelson's writing is fast paced and concise which is what I love in a YA novel. It's also informative without delving into the info-dump that many authors fall victim to. I learned a lot about ME reading this book and I never once felt like i was being dictated to. I've only met one person in my life with ME and only briefly so I was interested in learning more. The frustration that Kasia feels when people in her school don't really believe her that she suffers from a real medical condition and is just trying to get out of school is tough and I can't imagine how that feels.
Girl in the Window covers some tough issues but I wouldn't hesitate to give this to a twelve year old student at Glenthorne. I really loved it, fans of mystery thrillers and even books like Everything, Everything will be wanting to read more from Penny!
Brynn Haper only has one consistent thing in her life: Television presenter Rachel Maddow. Other than that, she's dealing with a recent breakup, an abusive stepfather and a preppy jerk destroying the democratic political process in her high school.
As a homework assignment, she writes a few emails to Rachel Maddow and is thrilled when she receives a response.
As a way to catalogue her struggles, fears and determination, Brynn writes dozens of unsent emails to Rachel Maddow, all describing a life in turmoil and pain but full of hope and grit and spirit.
When Brynn's ex and the aforementioned preppy jerk get involved in a game of high school rigged elections, Brynn takes matters into her own hands to not only expose them for what they are but to get politically involved herself.
Dear Rachel Maddow is one of the sharpest YA novels out there today. Hilarious, infuriating and lightning quick, Kisner captures the excruciating pain that the high school experience can be and that there's still plenty of hope to be found in the youth of today. I recommend it for ages 15 and up!
Jane Mckeene is born into a world of terror. Zombies, known as shamblers, have risen from the Civil War battlefields and torn the nation apart even further.
Jane is sent to special combat schools based on a government law known as the Native and Negro Reeducation Act, In the school she learns to dispose of the undead in an efficient manner.
Her and the other students are told that the area around Baltimore is shamble free, but when this turns out to be a lie, Jane and her friend Katherine are plunged into a conspiracy that will take them out west where shamblers aren't the only thing that's rotten.
I only gave this book two stars on Goodreads simply because I felt it was around 100 pages too long. I had such high hopes for it but nothing happens, it seems to be a string of mildly entertaining zombie attacks that are wedged into a huge amount of info dumps that go on for pages. It had a lot of promise in the beginning, but I have to say that the book is really boring which should have been near impossible when writing a book about zombies during the American Civil War.
After Moss Jeffries' father was murdered by the Oakland police department and the crime went unpunished, he suffers anxiety and severe panic attacks.
Six years later, in high school, Moss and his friends discover that an armed policeman roams their halls and subjects them to random locker checks. When metal detectors are installed, Moss and a few of his friends decide to organise a peaceful protest in order to let the faculty know their concerns.
The protest goes horribly wrong and Moss and his new boyfriend Javier find themselves in a hellish situation with no apparent way out. In the aftermath, Moss must confront his fears and stand up for himself and those around him, putting everything he knows at risk.
This novel could very well read like a dystopian thriller to those who don't live in the shadow of a corrupt and
totalitarian system. It's a truly frightening novel with memorable characters and storyline that keeps you hooked from page one. The relationship between Moss and his mother is touching, Moss and Javier are excellent together and playoff each other nicely. As does Moss and his other friends, one of whom has a more privileged background, making her a source of occasional irritation for Moss as he navigates a world of racism and hate.
I can imagine that fans of The Hate U Give will be devouring this powerful story, can't wait to bring it to them at school!
I recommend it for ages 15 and up!
Zélie lives in constant fear. In a land where magic users, or maji, are hunted and disposed of, she knows all too well the dangers that surround her.
Majis have been driven to extinction under the authority of a tyrannical king.
The king's daughter Amari, however, decides that her father's ways are wrong and sets out on her own. This angers the king who puts a price on her head.
In a chance meeting, Amari and Zélie meet as Amari is on the run. Together they flee with Zélie's brother.
Chased by Amari's brother, Inan, the three go from one nail-biting adventure to the next as Zélie discovers that she may be the key to bringing magic back to the land.
Filled with thrills, Indiana Jones-style adventure and truly original characters, I can't recommend this book enough.
If you're looking for strong female characters with complex histories and troubled pasts with tons of great fight scenes, a strong fantasy plot and a ton of grit, this is the book for you.
I will be buying quite a few copies of this to keep our teens happy. Highly recommended!
When angels start falling from the sky around the world, people start preparing for the end. Religious institutions see a massive rise in attendance, flights are cancelled and cults spring up everywhere - some to praise the fallen ones and some to denounce them as devils.
Jaya's father leaves his job and decides to devote his life to tracking the angels, dubbed Beings.
He maps where they have fallen, what their characteristics are like and spends countless hours hunched over his laptop discussing how to anticipate where the next one will fall.
Jaya and her sister feel abandoned, their mother passed away tragically only ten days before the first Being fell to the ground. When their dad bundles them in the car and whisks them to Edinburgh to try and catch a Being fall, Jaya is annoyed and depressed. Not only is she grieving her lost mother, her girlfriend Leah has seemingly vanished from the face of the earth.
As things begin to spiral out of control, a two things happen that change Jaya's life forever. First, she meets Allie, a girl who seems to understand that the Beings aren't commodities to be studied, cut open and have their feathers sold on eBay. She feels an instant connection with her and her heartbreak starts to lessen the more she's around her.
The second thing that happens is that a Being falls to Earth right at Jaya's feet. The difference between this one and all of the others around the world?
It's still alive.
Jaya decides to hide the Being from her father and recruit the help of Allie and her reluctant brother, Callum. The Being can't speak English, and one of its wings is broken. With the help of her new friends, Jaya is determined to keep the Being (nicknamed Teacake) hidden from the strange Angel Cults roaming Edinburgh and her own father, who has descended into A Beautiful Mind-esque mania.
This is a great story about loss, grief and how people process it differently. Jaya has some major issues to work through, things that she hasn't properly spoken to her father and sister about regarding the loss of their mother. Allie is equally complicated, fiery and stubborn but harbouring a secret that affects her ability to carry through with Jaya's dream of freeing Teacake once and for all. There's also a dark undercurrent with the cults and Jaya's ex-girlfriend Leah. All of their stories will combine in an exciting action sequence.
I have students who come to the Library looking for books exactly like this, books with sadness and grief and uplifting aspects all rolled into one. Don't miss this! I recommend it to ages 14 and up.
Petula is struggling. She's developed OCD after a tragedy in her family. She doesn't ride elevators, she doesn't eat ground beef, she doesn't take public transport. She also doesn't speak to her former best friend anymore.
She sees the school counsellor, but feels herself falling further and further from what everyone else calls "normal" teenage life.
Her parents aren't much help. Her mother appears to be collecting cats for a living and her father buries himself in work to try and numb the pain from their loss.
The only break in Petula's day is taking an art therapy class with other teens equally or more confused, sad or angry as she is. Then she meets Jacob, he has a prosthetic hand and a mysterious life story that Petula can't seem to crack no matter how close they get.
Jacob helps Petula open up see many of her fears as irrational, but Jacob won't open up about his past, and that bothers her. Jacob's story is one that might damage Petula more than she can bear.
Optimists Die Firs tis full of heart and humour, with some relatable awkward and touching moments. I think our students will really gravitate towards it as I think a lot of them will see themselves in Petula, great stuff!