Category Archives: First Novel

Thirteen Reasons Why – Review

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Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why is a fast-paced, tragic story of discovering the reasons behind Hannah Baker’s suicide. Before her death, she recorded her story on cassette tapes to get passed among the thirteen people who contributed to her suicide. Through the eyes of the main character Clay, we go through the journey of learning how each individual betrayed Hannah while Clay desperately clings to his last remaining memories of Hannah while simultaneously trying to figure out why he made the list.

Asher creates a life-changing story of heartache as he handles the dark subject of suicide. Not only is this book a good read, but it is deeply emotional and changed my outlook on life.

-Marisa, Grade 12

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Looking for Alaska – Review

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Title: Looking for Alaska

Author: John Greenlooking-for-alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green is a New York Times bestseller and Michael Printz Award-winning novel about the life of teenagers who attend Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama. The story follows Miles Halter as he tries to fit into his new lifestyle. At Culver Creek, Miles begins making friends and eventually meets Alaska Young, whom he instantaneously falls in love with. Throughout the course of the novel, Miles learns more about Alaska’s past, and realizes she may be more of a ticking time bomb than he suspected. After a night gone wrong, Miles and his friends team up to search for any sign that Alaska is the girl they always though she was.

Looking for Alaska is a great novel for any teenager who enjoys comedic writing with a hint of mystery and a lot of romance.

– Sabrina, grade 12

An Ember in the Ashes – Booktalk

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Title: An Ember in the Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahirember

An Ember in the Ashes is an epic story. It’s Game of Thrones set in the Roman Empire. The story is narrated in turn by Laia and Elias. Laia is a slave and Elias is a soldier, but no one is truly free in the Martial Empire.

When Laia’s brother was taken by soldiers, she went to the Resistance and offered her services in exchange for their help in freeing him. She risks her life daily as a slave, a spy, and a saboteur in Blackcliff Military Academy.

Elias is one of the elite. trained from an early age at the Academy. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce, but in the Empire, defiance means death.

An Ember in the Ashes is a first novel that is bold, thought-provoking, and pulse-pounding. Book two, A Torch Against the Night, comes out August 2016.

 

Where Things Come Back – Review

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Title: Where Things Come Back

Author: John Corey Whaley

This book got glowing reviews, but I didn’t buy it when it first came out because I didn’t think a first novel about a kid in small-town Arkansas had much to offer my patrons up here in Connecticut. Then it went and won some serious awards and I had to pay attention – and I’m so, so glad I did.

Where Things Come Back is difficult to describe but easy to read. Here’s the first sentence: “I was seventeen years old when I saw my first dead body.” Intriguing, right? But, that’s still not as eventful as what happens to Cullen Witter over the course of the summer before his senior year of high school. The writing is simple, but there are multiple plots and points of view, and it all adds up to a deceptively sophisticated novel.

-Lisa, Teen Librarian

Tokyo Heist – Review

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Title: Tokyo Heist

Author: Diana Renn

Violet’s lame summer has just taken a quick turn for the better. Her artist father has been commissioned to create a mural for a big company in Japan, and she gets to go along for the ride. Goodbye, Seattle; hello, Tokyo!

The same clients who hired her dad were recently robbed of some Van Gogh sketches, and rumor has it that the thieves were after an even bigger score – an actual Van Gogh painting.  Violet’s new plan for the summer is to explore Tokyo, work on the manga story she’s started writing and drawing, and maybe do a little searching for the mysterious painting on her own.

Fans of manga and all things Japanese will enjoy this, and so will mystery lovers, too. There’s even a teeny bit of romance mixed in, although the mystery is definitely the main attraction here.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

A Long, Long Sleep – Review

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Title: A Long, Long Sleep

Author: Anna Sheehan

Rosalinda Fitzroy has just been awakened by a kiss. It’s been 62 years since she went into stasis, and the world has changed around her. Her parents are long gone, as is the boy who was her best friend and her true love. Now Rose is the sole heir to an interplanetary empire, and the people around her think she’s either a freak or a threat. Trying to find her place in this strange new world, Rose is drawn to Bren, the boy who kissed her awake, and Otto, a blue-skinned alien hybrid “created” by her family’s company. Rose’s efforts to assimilate into her new surrounding are quickly complicated when she becomes the target of an assassin. Who wants her dead, and why are they so desperate to kill her?

I love when authors put their own spin on fairy tales, and this first novel is a science-fiction take on Sleeping Beauty.  (If you didn’t know, “Fitz” means “son of” or “child of,” and “roy” means “king,” so clearly Rosalinda Fitzroy is a princess!) There are so many neat things going on in the book, from what the future looks like, to Rose and her new relationships, to the mystery surrounding her parents and the killer who wants her dead. I haven’t seen anything about this being part of a series, but there are a few possible threads that could be picked up in future books, and I for one would love to read them.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

Hourglass – Review

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Title: Hourglass

Author: Myra McEntire

After Emerson’s parents died, she went a little crazy – mental hospital crazy. That was a few years ago. Now she’s living with her older brother and his wife, and she’s hopeful that her life can get back to normal – except for all the ghosts she sees.

Hourglass combines the paranormal with some science fiction/X-men stuff, and plenty of humor, action, and romance, too.  The sequel, Timepiece, just came out.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian