Nick and Kenny are brothers, and they're also best friends. Their mum isn't around and their dad is doing his best to make up for being a pretty sloppy father.
When the boys find an injured rook, Kenny is determined to nurse it back to health. Meanwhile, Nick has bigger problems to worry about.
He's being bullied by a boy at school and to make matters worse, Nick's in love with the bully's sister.
Desperate to find some courage to ask her out on a date or even speak to her in the hall, Nick decides to stand up to her brother once and for all. This is a decision that will change Nick's life drastically.
Rook is a fast-paced and powerful read about family, willpower and standing up for yourself. I am really excited to find some students in the Library who tell me they "hate reading" because this is one that will change their minds. Don't miss it! I recommend it for ages 14 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!
Jess is a juvenile delinquent with a penchant for shoplifting. Her home life is the stuff of nightmares. Her step father beats her mother and forces Jess to record the incidents. Jess' brother Liam fled the home a year ago and her mother has seemingly resigned herself to her fate.
After being caught shoplifting, Jess is given a community service sentence, primarily picking up rubbish with other youths in a nearby park.
It is there that she meets Nicu, a Romanian immigrant who has problems of his own. Nicu is scheduled to be in an arranged marriage and only has a few weeks before he must return to Romania for the ceremony.
Both teens feel trapped, lost and hopeless. Together they try to eek out some semblance of normalcy.
It doesn't come without a cost, through. Once Nicu is enrolled in Jess' high school, he is at the hands of merciless, racist teens who target him on a daily basis. Jess is at first able to turn a blind eye but soon stands up for Nicu. These actions will have disastrous consequences for both of them.
As the clock ticks for Nicu with his impending marriage and for Jess with her stepfather's actions becoming more and more brutal, both teens will find themselves backed against a wall that neither of them should have to endure.
A really harrowing and sad read, once again Crossan has created a beautiful story through prose. I loved Briand Conaghan's When Mr. Dog Bites and he does not disappoint here either. I recommend this novel to ages 14 and up!
Wing has always lived under the radar. Her brother Marcus is always the one in the limelight. He's charming, funny and a high school football star with a promising professional sports career looming on the horizon.
Wing seems resigned to the fact that she's always going to be on the side lines, never quite fitting in and secretly harbouring a crush on Marcus' best friend Aaron.
Then a tragedy strikes the family (I won't spoil it here) and Wing is forced to find something inside of herself that can take her mind off the psychological torment her family is going through.
She finds her strength in running. To everyone's surprise, even her own, she's really, really fast. Wing focuses on running to ease her pain, but it's not enough.
On top of the tragedy, her mother can no longer pay the bills, meaning the bank is threatening to take the home away. Desperate, Wing decides to use her new found running skills to good use: a nationwide competition looking for a spokesperson for a brand of awesome running shoes.
As the clock ticks towards the competition, Wing is unsure if she can handle the pressure surrounding her and her family.
Wing Jones is an emotional glimpse into family tragedy and the guilt that can accompany it. I really enjoyed watching Wing's confidence grow through her running and how it helped her cope with the tragedy and her overall social skills.
I think people need to find something, at least one thing in life that they can latch onto to help them through tough times or just times of insecurity. Wing Jones is about finding that thing and going all in, never giving in and not letting the bastards get you down as they say.
I highly recommend this book for ages 13 and up!
When aliens called the vuvv land on Earth, everyone is initially terrified. Then the vuvv announce that they are here to help -- their technology is superior, their medicine can cure any illness in seconds. They bring knowledge from the farthest depths of space to us humans.
Nobody realised how much of a curse it would be. With everything now automated using vuvv technology, people lose their jobs by the droves. Sure, their medicine is amazing but the vuvv run a private practice. If you can't pay their currency, which is a lot, then you don't get treatment. Those who can afford the vuvv's high cost of living can really experience life to its fullest. The rest are pretty much left in the dark to scrabble and starve.
Adam is an aspiring artist, but his family has no money to survive. He decides to get creative with his girlfriend Chloe. Together they create a 1950s style romance that the vuvv subscribe to and watch via their version of The Cloud. Turns out the vuvv are obsessed with American 1950s music and culture. However, when his relationship with Chloe goes south and his Merrick's Disease flares up dangerously high, Adam has to decide if he's going to stand up for what he believes in or cave and go along with vuvv rule like everyone else.
This novel is sharp as a razor with some really biting commentary on class, consumerism, pop culture and teen apathy. Hilarious, sad and disturbing, it's a must read. I recommend it for ages 15 and up!
Blade Morrison has a lot to live up to, and a lot to escape from.
The son of a fallen-from-grace rock star, Blade is the poster boy for "money doesn't buy you happiness." Nestled in the Hollywood Hills with maids, butlers and wads of cash doesn't mean much when everyone around you is falling apart.
Then, after a disastrous late night party, Blade learns a shocking secret about his family. Inconsolable, he sets out on a trip around the world to uncover the truth, leaving his drug-addled father behind.
Written in verse, Solo is a fast-paced examination of family trauma, redemption and setting out on your own. Alexander has a real skill in making regular conversations between people flow like poetry. It touches on a subject that a lot of teens can identify with. Alexander's characters are deep and real and full of life, each one's desires pour off the page like music. Highly recommended, can't wait to get this in the hands of our students!
This is a guest review from Dulcie, student at Glenthorne High School:
This thrilling sequel to Lady Midnight is a barely possible to put down. It continues to delight readers with its mix of danger, fear and forbidden romance. It shows how friends can be torn apart by unrequited love and how deeply you can betray someone you love, without meaning to. Introducing new character, Kit Rook, ‘the lost herondale’ and the deep friendship he forms with Tiberius and Livia. It also shows how the shadowhunters fight against the discrimination of downworlders when some of their closest friends have to flee to stay alive
Rating (out of 5 stars): 5 stars
It's the early 1900's in the UK and women still can't vote.
That's the reality that I hope teens take away from this novel right away. It's something I constantly stress in the library when I teach responsible researching skills to students using WWI as a backdrop.
Speaking of research, Nicholls has done hers and in the process created a thrilling and engaging tale about a topic I've never before come across in a YA novel: the plight of the Suffragettes and women's rights in general during World War One in the UK.
Seventeen year old Evelyn comes from a wealthy family but is filled with frustration at the fact that she can't go to university. Women were expected to stay at home and raise families, and although she could apply to go to Oxford, her father forbids it. Evelyn decides to join the Suffragettes and is immediately plunged into a dangerous and exciting world filled with police brutality, hunger strikes, protests and serious jail time.
Fifteen year old May comes from a Quaker background, already part of the Suffragette cause, she rallies against violent protests that some parts of the movement get involved in. When May meets Nell, a girl who has known nothing but hardship her entire life, something awakens in May that she never knew was there before.
Nell has always known she was different, she dressed, looked and acted unlike any of the other girls she grew up with. Her life is taking care of her siblings in their tiny flat in London. Starvation and extreme poverty is always on the horizon. With May, Nell finds a temporary release from the misery.
Set against real-life events that changed the lives of women everywhere, Things a Bright Girl Can Do will anger you, bring you to tears and enlighten you to the extreme hardship brought to the UK because of the foolhardy decision to engage in a ridiculous war that nobody won.
Nicholls also brings to life the effects of PTSD on soldiers that returned home and the pain, confusion and frustration felt by those left at home to pick up the pieces.
I can't wait to talk about this book to teens at the library, it's an important topic that has been handled with grace, wit and a razor sharp insight into history.
Zoe needs a change, and a change she is going to get.
She's seventeen & had a very rough year. Her father died while exploring a cave and her neighbours have vanished from their home.
When the mother of all blizzards hits her hometown and her mother is trapped in a grocery store, she sets off on her own to find her brother Jonah and their two dogs who've gotten lost in the woods.
After finding Jonah, things somehow get worse when a creep called Stan the Man appears, attacks Zoe & Jonah and attempts to kill their dogs.
They are saved by what Zoe thinks is an angel. A shirtless teenage boy who appears out of the blue and with a click of his fingers sends a river of fear flowing through Stand and in turn changes the colour of the snow around them.
The boy is called X. Well, that's what Zoe calls him at least, and he's no angel. In fact, he's from Hell. Except it's not called Hell, it's called the Lowlands and it turns out X is a bounty hunter, sent to capture evil souls that roam above ground. The rules of the Lowlands are strict, and although Zoe finds herself falling for X, she knows it's not meant to be.
Soon, she's swept up in X's world and the dangers that inhabit it. And it's not just her that's in danger, it's her entire family. The Edge of Everything is a great modern-fantasy romance with a twist that will be gobbled up with glee by both boys and girls and the high school I work at, and that's a great thing!
I recommend it to ages 14 and up!
After an unspeakable tragedy, Alice is left with a brain injury.
Unable to express herself vocally, she uses her art (making beautiful fishing lures) and her writing to express how she feels.
Alice lives with her gram, who is suffering from respiratory troubles and requires constant care. Alice's brother Joe lives with them as well and is trying his best to keep everything running. They have no mother or father in the picture. Together they all hang on in quiet desperation as to what the future holds.
When a boy named Manny comes to their town, he is instantly taken by the beautiful and mysterious Alice who stands on the roof of her house and throws her poems out to the world. Manny has a dark past and many secrets that keep him from being who he really wants to be.
In the meantime, Joey starts to see a girl named Tilda. However, there are people in their town that don't want Joey and Tilda together. Dangerous people.
Written from Alice and Manny's perspective, The Stars at Oktober Bend is a sad, funny and thrilling read about a girl who is old beyond her years but can't express herself the way she wants to. It's about love and friendship and standing up for what you believe in. I really loved it. I recommend it to ages 12 and up!