Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Skink by Carl Hiasson

Richard (14) has just found out that his cousin ran away from home with a guy she met online. Richard cannot wait for the police to hunt Malley down. He decides to team up with a crazy ex-governor "Skink" to use the clues of Malley's emails and phone calls to find her. Searching for Malley in the Florida swamp provides more of an adventure than Richard could ever imagine. I recommend this book to fans of Scat and Chomp, also by Carl Hiaasen.  J.A.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper. She is tall, blond, and has an enviable body, but she also has one major flaw. She was born with what they call a port-wine stain - a very large birthmark on her right cheek. Teased by other students and stared at by adults, Terra plans to leave her small town and escape her dysfunctional family as soon as she graduates from high school. An East Coast college and a renowned art school would do just fine.

An unexpected car collision with a wealthy family introduces Terra to Jacob, a handsome but quirky Goth boy. Jacob begins to challenge Terra on her feelings about herself and her life and through a series of events Terra is forced to confront the obstacles in her life. Jacob has issues of his own, but is the first person to open Terra's mind to what she can become and to help her love herself as she is. This book doesn't move quickly, nor is it an absolute page-turner like much of the dystopian fiction. However, if you have patience for the story to develop, you will find a powerful, moving novel about a troubled family, falling in love, persevering, and finding the true meaning of beauty.

Friday, February 6, 2015

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

I loved this book! If you are a fan of mysteries, this may just be your next read. From the author of the Gallagher Girls series, (I'd Tell You I Love You but then I'd Have to Kill You) comes All Fall Down, book one in the Embassy series.

Grace is the granddaughter of a world-famous ambassador to the country of Adria and has just become a full time resident of what is known as Embassy Row. Unfortunately, Grace doesn't exactly fit into the rich tradition of Embassy Row - with its formal balls and wealthy, famous dignitaries. For most of her life she has been an Army brat, a daredevil, and a rebel.

At 13, Grace saw her mother murdered. She also saw the man who shot her mother. Why won't anyone believe her? Shortly after moving into Embassy Row, Grace again sees the man who killed her mother. She is sure it is him, and still no one will listen. In the process of trying to solve the mystery of her mother's death, Grace uncovers an international conspiracy and struggles to distinguish between who her friends and enemies really are. This story contains some twists you do not see coming!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson writes about her family's life growing up in Ohio, South Carolina, and New York City in verse form. She was born in the time of change (1960s) and depicts how it helped shape her into the person she is today. The reader becomes connected with Woodson and begins to understand the struggles she went through to become a writer. Reading was difficult for Jacqueline, and she sometimes read a story several times in order to comprehend. She was a natural-born storyteller so she continued to work on her writing with encouragement from her 5th grade teacher. Compelling read, and a great Newbery Honor book!  JA

Click here to hear the author read an excerpt.