Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What Ever Happened to Goodbye

What Happened to Goodbye Cover


Following her parents' bitter divorce as she and her father move from town to town, seventeen-year-old Mclean reinvents herself at each school she attends until she is no longer sure she knows who she is or where she belongs.

Mclean’s parents divorced two years ago after her mother’s extra-marital affair. She now travels from town to town with her father as he takes on manager positions at different restaurants. In each town, Mclean not only changes her name, but transforms herself into an entirely different personality. She’s been a drama queen, an over-achieving honors student, and a varsity jock. Finally in Lakeview, after meeting Dave, she suddenly starts using her real name, putting down roots, making friends, and tries to be someone she’s never been before: herself.

“The strangest thing about all of that was that, before, in my old life, I hadn’t been any of these things; not a student leader or an actress or an athlete. There, I was just average, normal, unremarkable. Just Mclean.”

But who is she now?

Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker Cover


Would you sell a stranger's arm for a chance to live or just to eat? In the future, natural resources and fossil fuels are depleted, water levels have risen and a popular currency is body parts. Nailer, a young teen, lives with his drug-addicted and dangerous father who would easily sell off his son in pieces for the right offer. To make even starvation wages, Nailer must work strenuous hours stripping old oil tankers of precious copper, steel and any leftover oil deposits. He’s a ship breaker.

 One day, a “city killer“ storm blows in and a clipper ship is beached on the nearby shore. This isn’t just any shipwreck, it’s a valuable shipwreck, a “Lucky Strike” and Nailer and his friend Pima are the first to discover it. Nailer and Pima know that just a handful of what’s on the ship can help them start brand new lives, they’ll never had to break a ship again. However, silver, gold and china aren’t the only valuable thing on the ship. They also find, Nita, a young and beautiful survivor. She promises them a privileged life if they help her. Nailer must now decide whether to help Nita or help himself. Should Nailer trust her? Or should he do as his father would do, which is slit her throat and sell off her body parts?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Code Talker


"Strong words outlast the paper they are written upon."

Six-year-old Ned Begay leaves his Navajo home for boarding school, where he learns the English language and American ways. At 16, he enlists in the U.S. Marines during World War II and is trained as a code talker, using his native language to radio battlefield information and commands in a code that was kept secret until 1969. Rooted in his Navajo consciousness and traditions even in dealing with fear, loneliness, and the horrors of the battlefield, Ned tells of his experiences in Hawaii, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. 

Check out the official website of the Navajo Code Talkers by clicking here.

The Smile

In the Florentine countryside, Monna Elisabetta struggles to become the noblewoman she's destined to be. Although her father is challenged to keep his silk business thriving during difficult economic times, Monna's mother is planning to give her an elaborate 13th birthday party in order to meet a suitable husband. But upon Mamma's sudden death, the event is canceled, and Monna turns her grief into preparing meals and working alongside her father. His friend Leonardo da Vinci has introduced her to Giuliano de' Medici, who becomes smitten with her smile. When her father remarries into nobility, Monna is forced into an arranged marriage, despite the fact that she has given her heart to Giuliano. 

(Summary from School Library Journal)

Never Fall Down


“I see all this, smell the blood . . . But I don’t feel anything. If you feel, you go crazy.”

When soldiers arrive at his hometown in Cambodia, Arn is just a kid, dancing to rock 'n' roll, hustling for spare change, and selling ice cream with his brother. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever. Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children, weak from hunger, malaria, or sheer exhaustion, dying before his eyes. He sees prisoners marched to a nearby mango grove, never to return. And he learns to be invisible to the sadistic Khmer Rouge, who can give or take away life on a whim.

One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers. In order to survive, he must quickly master the strange revolutionary songs the soldiers demand—and steal food to keep the other kids alive. This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated from the Khmer Rouge, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier. He lives by the simple credo: Over and over I tell myself one thing: never fall down.
Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is an achingly raw and powerful novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace, from National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick.
country is about to be liberated from the Khmer Rouge, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier. He lives by the simple credo: Over and over I tell myself one thing: never fall down.
Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is an achingly raw and powerful novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace, from National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick.

(Book Description from

The Boy Who Dared


In October, 1942 when 16-year-old Helmut Hubner listens to the BBC news on an illegal short-wave radio, he quickly discovers Germany is lying to the people. But when he tries to expose the truth with leaflets, he's tried for treason. Sentenced to death and waiting in a jail cell, Helmut's story emerges in a series of flashbacks that show his growth from a naive child caught up in the patriotism of the times, to a sensitive and mature young man who thinks for himself.

(Book description from

The official book trailer, including author Susan Campbell Bartoletti discussing her novel:

Picture the Dead


On the home front near Boston in 1864, Jennie feels her twin’s presence like “a wave crashing over me” moments after he dies in a Union field hospital. Over the next year, she senses his presence and, more strongly, that of her fiancĂ©, their cousin Will, who also died in the war. Will’s brother Quinn arrives home wounded, gaunt, and haunted by his experiences. When his painful revelations change the way she thinks about Will, Jennie faces hard choices and tries to contact the dead for guidance in discovering the truth. Brown’s evocative black-and-white drawings of photographs, letters, and other documents such as newspaper clippings appear between chapters in four-page, black-paper sections representing Jennie’s scrapbooks and, equally, possible evidence in the mystery.

(Review from Booklist)

The Books of Fell



If things seem too good to be true, they probably are.

A fateful car accident with a mysterious stranger sets a young man on a startling new path, tangled with promise, mystery, and danger. Presented with an offer too good to refuse, working-class John Fell gives up his name to run with the rich kids at a fancy prep school. It's a place ruled by an elite association of young men, whose members pledge to watch out for their own -- for life. Soon, like it or not, Fell is drawn into a complicated world. And even when the last thing he wants to do is get involved, it seems that somehow, he already is...and getting deeper by the minute.

(Book Description from

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin


Being a hefty, deaf newcomer almost makes Will Halpin the least popular guy at Coaler High. But when he befriends the only guy less popular than him, the dork-namic duo has the smarts and guts to figure out who knocked off the star quarterback. Will can’t hear what’s going on, but he’s a great observer. So, who did it? And why does that guy talk to his fingers? And will the beautiful girl ever notice him? (Okay, so Will’s interested in more than just murder . . .)

(Book Description from

Little Brother

Little Brother Cover


Chaos ensues when the San Francesco Bridge is destroyed by a terrorist attack. The only ones found at the scene by the Department of Home Land Security are:

Marcus Yellow - a 17 year-old tech junkie who enjoys cutting school to play alternate reality games as the leader of his foursome of friends.

Darryl Glover - the best friend of Marcus who handles all the details of the group’s gaming plans.

Vanessa Park - a North Korean techy who attends an all-girls Catholic school and comes up with all the ideas.

Jois Torrez - The vain, tech savvy, genius who handles all the technical aspects of the group.

Together do they make 4 average, game playing, high-school students, just ditching school to play the latest round of Harajuku Fun Madness? Or are they really a threat to national security?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

If I Stay



Slam Cover


15 year old Sam’s life has been pretty on track for him lately. His teachers finally think he has college potential, his mom has dumped her loser boyfriend, he’s mastered some new, more difficult skateboarding tricks (with the help of his idol, Tony Hawke, whose poster talks back to Sam: ok so it's actually quotes from Tony Hawke's autobiography), and he’s even started dating Alicia, a girl who he thought was way out of his league. Live is perfect until Alicia tells Sam that she’s pregnant and going to keep the baby. SLAM!

“It took years for everything to come together like that, and it took two seconds to screw it all up. One mistake and my life would never be the same.”

Friday, July 6, 2012

Jellicoe Road


Everything starts on Jellico Road. A tragic accident 20 years ago that has forever interwoven the life of 5 young people. Taylor Markham being abandoned by her mother at the age of 11.  A territory war at the Jellico School between the townies, the cadets and the school houses, led by Taylor who is now a senior. The disappearance of a dear friend who may have the story of Taylor’s past locked away in a secret manuscript. The appearance of a dark stranger with the key to unlocking it. And Taylor’s emotional journey to discovering both her past and future path down Jellico Road ....

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Cover


Have you ever felt that if you were someone else, even just part-time, your life would be better? You'd be better? That what Arnold "Junior" Spirit thought when he asked to transfer to a high school off of the Spokane Indian Reservation. Perhaps, just perhaps, he'd found the chance to escape from the poverty, his alcoholic relatives, his chronic illnesses, and the feeling that he'll never deserve anything better. Faced with the challenges of racial stereotypes by people at his new school and his entire tribe thinking he is a traitor. Junior will learn that the journey he needs to take to find out who he truly is meant to be (full-time), is a lot longer than the 22 mile drive off the reservation.

Saving Francesca

Saving Francesca Cover

Francesca is working to save everyone but herself: Her mom Mia, is in a deep depression and doesn’t leave the bedroom, her father can’t seem to get a grip on the fact that the family is falling apart, her younger brother Luca, who needs help with homework and meals on the dinner table, oh yes, and all the girls at St. Sebastian’s school, where up until this year has been a boys only school. But add one toilet and 30 girls and presto you have a co-ed school where the boys are intolerable, the teachers are unsympathetic, and girls who are ready for a revolution. Normally Francesca has the unwavering support of her mother, but not this time.
“And I want to tell her everything. About Thomas Mackee the slob and Tara Finke the fanatic and Justine Kalinsky the loser and Siobhan Sullivan the slut. And I want to tell her about William Trombal and how my heart beat fast when he looked at me, but more than anything, I want to say to her that I’ve forgotten my name and the sound of my voice and that she can’t spend out whole lives being so vocal and then shut down this way. If I had to work out the person I speak to the most in a day, it’s Mia, and that’s what I’m missing”
Alone, scared and lost in a mounting sea of pressure, just who’s going to be the one saving Francesca?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty Cover


Look at the two following images: 

The image on the left is from the graphic novel, “Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
The image on the right is from an article in Time Magazine in 1994.

Both are images of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer. Yummy was real; he was a little boy who hung around with a gang stealing cars and shoplifting, all while still keeping a teddy bear hidden in his room, he was a little boy who mistakenly shot and murdered a young neighborhood girl instead of  a gang rival, and he was a little boy who at the age of eleven was then shot and killed a week later by the gang he killed for.

8th Grade Super Zero

8th Grade Super Zero Cover
Image Credit:


Reggie “Pukey” McKnight has been trying to live down the time he threw up on the principal’s shoes, in front of the entire school! Eight grade’s going to be different, he’s going to stay invisible! But when he gets involved with his church youth group and becomes a “big-brother” to a first-grader and starts helping at a homeless shelter, he starts to become anything but an 8th Grade Super Zero” he might just become an 8th grade super hero!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Speak Cover


A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.

Livvie Owen Lived Here

Livvie Owen Lived Here Cover


Fourteen-year-old Livvie Owen, who has autism, and her family have been forced to move frequently because of her outbursts, but when they face eviction again, Livvie is convinced she has a way to get back to a house where they were all happy, once.

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson) Cover


Angus: My mixed-breed cat, half domestic tabby, half Scottish wildcat
Thongs: Stupid underwear worn by odl Swotty Knickers, Lindsay. What's the point of them anything? They just go up your bum as far as I can tell. Full-Frontal Snogging: Kissing with all the trimming, lip to lip, open mouth, tongues . . everything (apart from dribble which is never acceptable). As taught to me by a professional snogger.

Follow along more in the journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicholson, as she navigates a year of school, snotty girls, bra sizes, and of course, Angus, thongs and full-frontal snogging!

Zen and the art of Faking It

Zen and the Art of Faking It Cover


San Lee, just moved to yet another new town and yet another school that goes with it. He is "sort of" an innocent teenager, who "soft of" invents an entirely new past for himself, which "sort of" makes him finally popular in a new school. When he "sort of" gives the entire school the idea that he is was a reincarnated Zen master, they "sort of" start to worship him!

When this made up past starts to make his present fall apart can he make things right with his family, prevent the school from killing him, and possibly get the girl of his dreams? "sort of" . .

The Lonely Hearts Club

The Lonely Hearts Club Cover


“I, Penny Lane Bloom, do solemnly swear to never date another boy for as long as I shall live . . . Sure there are some that seem nice, but the second they get what they want they’ll dump you and move on to their next target. So I’m done. No more dating. The end.”

Heart-broken by her first love Nate, Penny Lane Bloom is sick of boys and sick of dating. She starts the new school year vowing to never date again. She forms the Lonely Hearts Club, where the most important rule is very simple: No Dating! A few close friends are the first to join, but soon the club begins taking over the entire school. Is this really the end of dating at McKinley High or just the beginning of a dating revolution lead by Penny, who just may be the first to leave the club after finding a boy who just might be worth breaking the rules for.