Coming Soon to a Library Near You (13)

Coming Soon to a Library Near You is a weekly feature inspired by Jill at Breaking the Spine that looks at upcoming books.

This weeks book: Dark Life

Author: Kat Falls

Release Date:  May 2010


Set in an apocalyptic future where rising oceans have swallowed up entire regions and people live packed like sardines on the dry land left, DARK LIFE is the harrowing tale of underwater pioneers who have carved out a life for themselves in the harsh deep-sea environment, farming the seafloor in exchange for the land deed.

The story follows Ty, who has lived his whole life on his family’s homestead and has dreams of claiming his own stake when he turns eighteen. But when outlaws’ attacks on government supply ships and settlements…

… threaten to destroy the underwater territory, Ty finds himself in a fight to stop the outlaws and save the only home he has ever known.

Joined by a girl from the Topside who has come subsea to look for her prospector brother, Ty ventures into the frontier’s rough underworld and begins to discover some dark secrets to Dark Life.

As Ty gets closer to the truth, he discovers that the outlaws may not be the bloodthirsty criminals the government has portrayed them as. And that the government abandoning the territory might be the best thing for everyone, especially for someone like Ty, someone with a Dark Gift.


Non-fiction Addiction (2)

Non-fiction for teens sure does have a bad rep. This monthly feature will introduce non-fiction titles that are fun and informative and hopefully bring to life the wealth of relevant and amazing titles that are out there. 

This month’s book: Slavery Today by Kevin C Bales


Slavery Today introduces teens to the issue of modern day slavery. In fact, as they point out in Slavery Today, slavery is tragically alive in our modern world, with some 27 million people globally enslaved as factory workers, miners, farmers, and prostitutes. The book, part of Groundwood’s series of guides on current events topics, gives a crash course on slavery’s history and how it operates in our contemporary world. It’s a lot of ground to cover, and the book’s short chapters should give young readers plenty to talk about.

Bales and Cornell employ clear, jargon-free language that should pose no problem for a younger audience but doesn’t shy away from the seriousness and horror of modern-day slavery. The authors also include profiles of individual slaves – many the same age as the book’s intended readers – that humanize a global problem often overshadowed by other tragedies. – Quill and Quire

Thoughts: I came across this book at the library the other day while I was searching for books for an assignment and I was instantly taken aback. Those of you who know me know that slavery is an important issue to me. I majored in American history with a specialization in African American slavery and I’m a total groupie to the organization International Justice Mission. I was surprised that such a resource was available for teens. It’s actually a really amazing resource that informs teens who might not have been aware of the issue, but it also gives really helpful information for those that want to do more to help. The writing style and the way it is compiled make it really accessible and appealing. I’m thrilled!

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

“I mostly just wonder what it would be like to do high school things. To go out on the weekends, and not just to work or the grocery store with my mother. To kiss a guy. To have a normal life. A real one.”

Hannah’s parents are the epitome of embarrassment; her mother is a once famous TV star who now runs her own website, and her father is a playboy reality television star. Hannah has spent most of her life trying to be invisible, avoiding anything that has to do with her parents. But being invisible doesn’t help you get noticed by your soul mate.  Hannah is desperately in love with the gorgeous and sensitive Josh, and even though she has started to have mixed up feelings for her friend Fin, Hannah is determined to have her perfect normal happy ever after.

Something, Maybe is my favourite Scott novel thus far. I enjoyed the ridiculous parents combined with the completely regular aspects of teenage life:  jobs, school and boys. Hannah is a relatable character as she tries to navigate her feelings for the two boys and make sense of her parents’ lifestyle.  Readers will be drawn into the love triangle and no doubt begin rooting for Fin, as he is one of the most adorable male characters I’ve read in a while. The dialogue was quick and witty, and the story had a sense of light-heartedness to it. Scott does a great job at describing the awkward frustration of being a teen in love.  Readers of real life fiction and romance will love this.  

You might enjoy Something, Maybe if you like books with: romance, a love triangle, real life fiction, funny and witty dialogue, easy and light storylines.

Other books by Elizabeth Scott: Love You Hate You Miss You, Perfect You, Bloom, The Unwritten Rule, Living Dead Girl, Stealing Heaven.

If you liked Something, Maybe you might also enjoy: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, Paper Towns by John Green,  What Would Emma Do by Eileen Cook, The Boyfriend Game by Stephie Davis, Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen,

Author’s website found here.

Rating: W3.5/4   C4/4   P3.5/4   O2.5/5   PP3/4   CR2/4 (it doesn’t really look like Hannah is described)

Grade: MJS

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Kira, an orphan in a dystopian society, is deemed pretty much useless because of her twisted leg. So when her mother dies, it doesn’t take long for the others in the community to want to get rid of her. However, the council of Guardians have other plans as they have come to realize her gift at weaving. They want her to restore and design the singer’s robe, the one that contains the village’s history. Working on the robe, Kira is given all the food and luxuries she could ever want, but things aren’t what they seem. Kira senses there is something wrong with the society, and her thoughts are proven true when a stranger comes from the woods.

Gathering Blue is  a companion to Lois Lowry’s famous book The Giver. Both books are based in dystopian societies – one primal and basic, the other artificially perfect. Despite the praise that comes from The Giver, I actually enjoyed Kira’s story better. While the world building is a little less detailed in this story, I felt that the characters and concept were rather beautiful. I especially liked the muddy and playful Matt who brought such love and freshness to the story. And while the ending of The Giver left me a little frustrated (which I think was the point), the ending of Gathering Blue was hopeful and left me wanting more. Overall, this was a very quick and enjoyable read, one that perhaps gets overlooked.

You might enjoy Gathering Blue if you like books with: quick storylines, younger characters, dystopian societies, less of a focus on being able to identify with the characters and more of a focus on storytelling

Other books by Lois Lowry: The Giver, Number the Stars, The WilloughbysMessenger, The Silent Boy, Anastasia at This Address, and Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye

If you liked Gathering Blue you might also enjoy:  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau, The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem, Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, The Giver or Messenger by Lois Lowry.

Non-fiction connection: Weaving Made Easy: 18 Projects Using a Simple Loom by Liz Gipson, Spinning, Dyeing & Weaving: Self-Sufficiency by Penny Walsh.

Author’s website found here.

Rating: W4/4   C3/4   P3.5/4   O3/4   PP3/4   3/4CR

Grade: MJS


Coming Soon to a Library Near You (12)

Coming Soon to a Library Near You is a weekly feature inspired by Jill at Breaking the Spine that looks at upcoming books.

Title: Queen’s Daughter

Author: Susan Coventry

Release Date: June 8 2010


Joan’s mother is Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, the most beautiful woman in the world. Her father is Henry II, the king of England. She loves them both—so what can she do when she’s forced to choose between them? As her parents’ arguments grow ever more vicious, Joan begins to feel like a political pawn.

When her parents marry her off to the king of Sicily, Joan finds herself with a man ten years her senior. She doesn’t love him, and she can’t quite forget her childhood crush, the handsome Lord Raymond.

As Joan grows up, she begins to understand that her parents’ worldview is warped by their political ambitions, and hers, in turn, has been warped by theirs. Is it too late to figure out whom to trust? And, more important, whom to love?

Not Just For Your Parents (2)

While I primarily read YA fiction these days I do enjoy some adult fiction every once in a while. This monthly feature will look at some of the adult fiction I am reading and examine its appeal for those who prefer Young Adult literature.

The Pactby Jodi Picoult

Popular high-school swimming star Chris Harte and talented artist Em Gold bonded as infants; their parents have been next-door neighbours and best friends for 18 years. When they fall in love, everyone is ecstatic. Everyone, it turns out, except for Em, who finds that sex with Chris feels almost incestuous. Her emotional turmoil, compounded by pregnancy, which she keeps secret, leads to depression, despair and a desire for suicide, and she insists that Chris prove his love by pulling the trigger. The gun is fired in the first paragraph, and so the book opens with a jolt of adrenaline.

This is a good fit for those who enjoy YA novels that deal with heavy topics. The split narrative between Chris, Emily and their parents gives a well rounded look at how people are affected by suicide. The plot is compelling and engaging, but readers will most likely be drawn into the characters and the relationship between Chris and Emily, as it is ultimately a love story.  The Pact shares many common elements with YA fiction (including YA protagonists), and while told in third person, readers should still be able to engage with the story.  

YA Connection: Hate List by Jennifer Brown and Thirteen Reason’s Why by Jay Asher

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

“His smile wasn’t friendly. It was a smile that spelled trouble. With a promise.”

Nora has never really been interested in the guys at her school; that is until she gets partnered with the new dark and mysterious student, Patch. But things aren’t what they seem with Patch and strange things start happening to Nora she can’t explain.  She gets in a car accident but there is no damage, she falls off a rollercoaster but the next minute she’s sitting in the cart like nothing happened. She also feels like someone is following her. Even though it appears that Patch is somehow connected, Nora can’t keep away and trusting him might become a matter of life and death.

Hush, Hush was an intriguing read. It was my first fallen angel novel and I thought the concept was amazing. Being familiar with the book of Enoch and Nephilims, I was glad that Fitzpatrick thought to include these bits of history/myth. The story is very fast paced and the plot took off right from the beginning. And while I think this was at the cost of much needed character development, one can’t argue that it’s an exciting read. I thought Nora was an interesting main character, but I had a really hard time connecting to her. There were other elements that were problematic for me, but overall I really enjoyed the reading experience. The author does a great job at harnessing some of the themes and plot lines that are popular these days and put in her own twist. As a side note, I also appreciated Fitzpatrick including a best friend character that was relevant to the storyline. So often these characters disappear when the love interest shows up.  

You might like Hush, Hush if you enjoy books with: a strong focus on plot with fast pacing, suspense, not too much romance, fantasy elements mixed with every day life.

This is Becca Fitzpatrick’s debut novel

If you enjoyed Hush, Hush, you might also like:  Fallen by Lauren Kate, Shadowland : The Immortals by Alyson Noel,  Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Meridian by Amber Kizer

Additional Info:  The sequel to Hush, Hush called Crescendo, is set to be released fall 2010.

Author website found here.

 Becca Fitzpatrick will be at Indigo  in Toronto March 3rd at 7pm (see her website for more detail)

Rating: W 2/4   C2/4   P2/4   O4/4   PP4/4   CR4/4

Grade: JS