Title: You Know Me Well
Author: Nina LaCour & David Levithan
Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for the entire year, yet they have never spoken to each other outside of school. One night the two happen to meet up in the city for a wild night at a gay club. Through their sexuality, the two become fast friends, the two become fast friends and get to know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more. They encourage each other to be bold in their other relationships and grow from one another.
This is a great book. I read it fast, and I think it’s one of those awesome books where anyone would like it when they read it.
-Kassidy, grade 12
Title: Highly Illogical Behavior
Author: John Corey Whaley
Lisa Praytor has a plan to escape her dull suburban life: win a full scholarship to the second-best psychology program in the country (second-best because why not be the biggest fish in the slightly smaller pond?). Her plan to win the scholarship involves tracking down and befriending the boy who took off his clothes, jumped into the school fountain years ago, and then disappeared.
Solomon Reed has already escaped. After the fountain incident, Solomon figured out how to cope with his massive anxiety issues: by never leaving the house again. Enabled by homeschooling, wifi, and two very concerned but supportive parents, Solomon hasn’t been outside in three years. Within the narrow confines of his world, and with some wisdom gleaned from Star Trek: the Next Generation, Solomon can almost manage his mental illness. And then Lisa comes barreling into his life. Followed quickly by her boyfriend, Clark, who shares Solomon’s obsession with Star Trek and all things Nerd. And soon Solomon finds he just might have a reason to go outside again.
Lisa is aware that her plan is rather cold and calculating, but she figures why not kill two birds with one stone: help Solomon and herself at the same time. As it happens, she finds herself truly enjoying Solomon’s company and becoming friends. Clark was not in favor of the plan, yet he winds up finding a kindred spirit in Solomon, and their friendship blossoms as well, although Solomon finds himself wishing for something more. Shockingly (!) Lisa’s plan does not go exactly as she hopes….
Since the author is John Corey Whaley, it goes without saying that this is terrific. The story switches back and forth between Lisa and Solomon’s points of view, so we see both sides of the situation. There is plenty of humor in the story, although I didn’t find it quite as uproariously funny as some other reviewers. Whaley is respectful and never downplays the seriousness of Solomon’s condition, but I still felt a little too anxious on his behalf to really let go and laugh out loud. All in all, though, an excellent book.
-Lisa, Teen Librarian
Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
In 2013, Rainbow Rowell published Fangirl, a book about Cath, a young woman who is deeply immersed in the Simon Snow book series she’s grown up with. In fact, Cath is famous for the vast quantities of fan fiction she has written about her 2 favorite characters, Simon and Baz. Simon, by the way, shares many similarities with Harry Potter, and Baz might remind many people of Draco Malfoy.
Anyhow, Fangirl was about a girl writing about a book series that didn’t really exist, but Rowell kept thinking about that fictional world within her fictional world, and about all the Chosen One stories – from Lord of the Rings to Star Wars and Harry Potter – and she decided to write her own. Carry On is the result, and it’s about Simon Snow, the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.
Title: We Are All Made of Molecules
Author: Susin Nielsen
Stewart and his father are moving in with Ashley and her mother. He’s 87% excited; she’s 110% horrified.
Thirteen-year-old Stewart is gifted intellectually but not so great at the social/emotional stuff. He’s also getting over the death of his mother a couple years ago. Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the queen bee at her school, and she works hard to maintain her status. It’s difficult enough having to hide the fact that her parents split up because her father is gay. Adding Stewart – or Spewart – into the mix will not help.
The book goes back and forth from sweet and touching to laugh-out-funny as Stewart and Ashley take turns narrating their story of bullying, bigotry, tolerance, friendship, and family.