The Road by Jay McLean (Also known as Where the Road Takes Me)
Release Date: February 10th 2015

Chloe

For four years I watched him roaming the halls of high school, always quiet, without a single clue of his A-list status. Then one night he ran into me, literally.  He thought he saved me, but he had no idea how impossible that was. Now he wants to talk. Now he wants to get to know me. Now he thinks he's in love with me.
Stupid, stupid boy.  

Blake

I wish I'd found her earlier, but she chose to stay invisible. I watched her take in the world one breath at a time, while living her life alone. I told her that I saved her that night, but I lied. I think she saved me. She wants to push me away and tell me I'm wrong, but it's too late. Now she's been noticed. Now she's a part of me. Now I'm in love with her.
Beautiful, beautiful girl.

Inspire by Cora Carmack
Release Date: December 15th 2014

Kalliope lives with one purpose.

To inspire.

As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.

Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.

Her presence may inspire genius.

But it breeds madness, too.

The Darkest Part of The Forest by Holly Black
Release Date: January 13th 2015

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…


As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?



T
itle: All These Things I've Done
Author:  Gabrielle Zevin
  Pages: 384
 PublisherSquare Fish
               Published: May 8, 2012                      Ranking: 4/5    
     
In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.
Marilyn was wrong. It isn't diamonds that are a girl's best friend- it's chocolate. Late night study session? Chocolate. Bad break up? Chocolate.

Daughter of a mafia family with a new boyfriend who's the DA's son and people are inexplicably ending up dead?

Chocolate.

All These Things I've Done stands out in the YA world, even with the multitude of books on worlds-gone-wrong. Turns out when you take a crime-ridden city and add in a corrupt government, your setting doesn't seem that far off. The fact that the world is so believable is one of the books strong selling points. It's too terrifyingly real to be ignored.

Then there's Anya. You have to strike a balance with characters; neither so sweet that they're saccharin nor so angry that they're hated nor too self-sacrificing that they're intolerable and obviously false. Anya walks that line perfectly becoming a person for whom you not only cheer but fall completely and totally in love. Her struggles are sympathetic, her actions make sense, and her choices break your heart continually even if you agree with them. She, like her world, feels real.

Ultimately the book is a wonderful read with few drawbacks, combining romance, mystery, and action without sacrificing plotting for characterization or vice versa. It's an excellent starting point for the series and one you won't just find yourself rereading continuosly, but one you'll find yourself thinking might actually happen.

Happy reading guys,

Sarah  


The Ghosts of Heaven by  Marcus Sedgwick
Release Date: January 6, 2015

They are there in prehistory, when a girl picks up a charred stick and makes the first written signs; there tens of centuries later, hiding in the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who people call a witch; there in the halls of a Long Island hospital at the beginning of the 20th century, where a mad poet watches the oceans and knows the horrors it hides; and there in the far future, as an astronaut faces his destiny on the first spaceship sent from earth to colonize another world. Each of the characters in these mysterious linked stories embarks on a journey of discovery and survival; carried forward through the spiral of time, none will return to the same place.






Save Me by  Jenny Elliott

Release Date: January 6, 2015


Something strange is going on in the tiny coastal town of Liberty, Oregon. Cara has never seen a whale swim close enough for her to touch it—let alone knock her into the freezing water. Fortunately, cute newcomer David is there to save her, and the rescue leads to a bond deeper than Cara ever imagined.

But then she learns something about David that changes everything, and Cara is devastated. She turns to her best friend for support, but Rachel has changed. She’s suddenly into witchcraft, and is becoming dangerously obsessed with her new boyfriend….

Cara has lost her best friend, discovered that her soul mate is off limits, and has attracted the attention of a stalker. But she’s not completely alone. Her mysterious, gorgeous new friend Garren is there to support her. But is Garren possibly too perfect?


There Will Be Lies by  Nick Lake

Release Date: January 6, 2015


In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car.

Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon.

All Shelby knows is that they're running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past-and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what's real, what isn't, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.








Happy reading!
Sarah




Both the synopsis of the book and the picture of its cover come from Amazon. I mean absolutely no copyright infringement and use both, with proper credit given, under fair use policies.  




T
itle: Butter
Author:  Erin Jade Lange
  Pages: 294
 PublisherBloomsbury
               Published: September 4, 2012             Ranking: 3/5    
     
A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans?

With a deft hand, E.J. Lange allows readers to identify with both the bullies and the bullied in this all-consuming look at one teen's battle with himself.

            In reading today’s book, I got a bit queasy, and a lot upset, but what else can you feel, when a teenager decides to eat himself to death? Butter is both a look into the reasons and preconceptions of obesity, and the problems with “popularity” as a whole, wrapped into a story of a kid with no one else that can help him but himself.
            Butter, as our protagonist is called by everyone in the novel (save his parents, but one of them doesn’t even talk to him), is a 420-pound senior, known at school only for his weight and his saxophone, with only two friends, and one of them doesn’t know what he looks like. After one day in which he embarrasses himself utterly in front of both his crush and every student in the cafeteria, he decides that no one really cares enough, and makes a website detailing how he’ll create a final meal that’ll kill himself for students to comment on. And suddenly, he’s the big guy on campus, with everyone willing to egg him on to his death, and he doesn’t know whether he should go through with the suicide. While it seems that every athletic senior male has to be a complete jerk, enough students are sympathetic such that the school doesn’t feel hopeless. And the blame isn’t even put all on his surroundings- Butter is shown to be incredibly pessimistic, which is noted to be as big a factor to his obesity and planned suicide as his interactions at school. The month between the beginning of the book and the end is paced out very well, letting every event have weight and repercussions within the novel itself, instead of implied afterwards. The biggest problem is the ending, unfortunately, which becomes extremely hokey and clichéd, and kind of lightens whatever Butter went through, which as we know is being driven into publicized suicide. While the portions within the book are well-paced and influence the story, the ending could use a healthy dose of consequences.

            If you care more for the journey than the destination, then you can delve into Butter expecting to be satisfied, but if a bad ending will ruin it, I suggest you take a moment before you leap in. See you all on Friday and Monday!

--Lucy

Both the synopsis of the book and the picture of its cover come from Amazon. I mean absolutely no copyright infringement and use both, with proper credit given, under fair use policies.  


T
itle: Pandemic
Author:  Yvonne Ventresca
  Pages: 352
 PublisherSky Pony Press
               PublishedMay 6, 2014                   Ranking: 4/5    
     
Even under the most normal circumstances, high school can be a painful and confusing time. Unfortunately, Lilianna’s circumstances are anything but normal. Only a few people know what caused her sudden change from model student to the withdrawn pessimist she has become, but her situation isn’t about to get any better. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Lil’s worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak—her father in Delaware covering the early stages of the disease and her mother in Hong Kong and unable to get a flight back to New Jersey—Lil’s town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread illness and fatal disaster. Now, she’s more alone than she’s been since the “incident” at her school months ago.

With friends and neighbors dying all around her, Lil does everything she can just to survive. But as the disease rages on, so does an unexpected tension as Lil is torn between an old ex and a new romantic interest. Just when it all seems too much, the cause of her original trauma shows up at her door. In this thrilling debut from author Yvonne Ventresca, Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.

What happens when you take a aspiring public health major and mix in a love of all things young adult literature? You get posts like this.  Last Thursday, I listed my all-time favorite books that involved some kind of epidemic, just so that all of you people preparing to never leave the house again once we get more ebola patients in the US would have something to read (or maybe you're like me and just have an odd fascination with diseases.) Whatever the reason, this book topped the list, so I figured I'd post some more of my thoughts on it.

Pandemic does an excellent job of setting up a world both on the brink of disaster and fully enmeshed in it. No detail is spared: the chaos, the fate of the dead, the sheer terror and panic, all of it is there. Ventresca's careful craft here allows any reader to be sucked head-first into the plot. I don;t often get this level of immersion with a book, but when it comes, it makes it entirely impossible to do anything but read until you manage to turn the very last page.

Unfortunately, while the world is amazing, the characters with in it are less than so. Lil's secret is painfully obvious and as the suspense around it suffers, so does the secret itself. No one in the book was intolerable but I certainly didn't feel emotionally invested in any of them. No one really had any depth so it made it really hard to feel overly devastated when anyone died.

Ultimately, this won;t rank as my favorite book about a virus that ends the world (what, you mean you don't have one?) but it is a fairly good read. For people who want to block out everything else for the next few hours, this is the perfect read. For those who might want to actually remember the names of the characters after a few hours, you might want to look elsewhere.




We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, A True Story by Josh Sundquist
Release Date: December 23, 2014
A bright, poignant, and deeply funny autobiographical account of coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor, from Josh Sundquist: Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker.


Josh Sundquist only ever had one girlfriend.
For twenty-three hours.
In eighth grade.



Why was Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date and asked them straight up: What went wrong?



The results of Josh's semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation are captured here. From a disastrous Putt-Putt date involving a backward prosthetic foot, to his introduction to CFD (Close Fast Dancing), to a misguided "grand gesture" at a Miss America pageant, this story is about looking for love--or at least a girlfriend--in all the wrong places.


I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Release Date: January 27, 2015

Cody and Meg were inseparable.

Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.


A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Release Date: February 24, 2015
From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic.


Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.



There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London...but no one speaks of that now.



Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, who first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.



But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.
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