Title: Can You Keep a Secret?
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella is both uplifting and hilarious. Kinsella is an author who is able to create light-hearted stories without making them predictable and cliche. While she has written many fabulous books, including Twenties Girl and Remember Me?, Can You keep a Secret stands out as having very relatable situations and characters, which makes them even more laugh-worthy. The story is about a girl named Emma, a terrified flyer on a bumpy plane ride. She is a flawed bundle of nerves, but that is exactly what makes her understandable and realistic to the reader. On her trip, she gets so nervous that she just starts talking…and talking…and talking…to the random stranger sitting next to her. She tells him literally everything, such as the fact that she waters her irritating co-worker’s plant with orange juice just to annoy her. Once the flight lands, Emma is terribly embarrassed, but at least knows that she will never have to see this man again. Think again! It turns out that the man is the CEO of Emma’s company! This man now knows EVERYTHING about Emma. and will see her every day. Just reading it makes me cringe!
I don’t laugh with books very often, but Sophie Kinsella is so funny, and all of her books are just as laughable and irresistible. Can You Keep a Secret? is a hilarious and embarrassing story that brings tears to your eyes. It is realistic, but not at all boring. It is the kind of story for a cozy day in bed because of its fast-paced, cause-and-effect-style plot. The best thing about Kinsella’s books is that you know exactly what you are getting: witty, sarcastic humor and lovable main characters. After reading this book, you can only hope that something like this never happens to you!
-Emily, grade 12
Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
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
Title: The Night She Disappeared
Author: April Henry
Gabie is a good girl. She’s quiet, gets excellent grades, drives a cute little Mini Cooper, and works at a pizza place mostly to get out of her big, empty house. When bright, bubbly Kayla asks to switch shifts one night, Gabie agrees. Then Kayla disappears, and Gabie finds out that the guy who called in the pizza delivery asked for the girl in the Mini Cooper. Was Gabie actually the intended victim? Is Kayla already dead?
Gabie becomes obsessed with Kayla’s disappearance and enlists the help of Drew, the co-worker who took the phone order that sent Kayla out that night. Gabie’s convinced that Kayla is still alive, but that time is running out.
Different characters take turns narrating the story, so we get to know what’s going on with Gabie, Drew, Kayla, and even the kidnapper. The chapters are also connected by newspaper clippings, phone transcripts, and other ephemera, which is a neat touch. The one thing that threw me off a bit was the little hints of psychic connection between Gabie and Kayla. It’s a bit too woo-woo for a straight mystery, but not enough to qualify as a seriously paranormal story. That’s a minor quibble, though, and by and large I really enjoyed this short, intense book.
–Lisa, Teen Librarian
Author: Jon Skovron
As a shallow and superficial person, I had noticed and disregarded this book on many occasions because of the not-so-exciting cover. Sadly, I am all about judging books by their covers. It often comes back to haunt me, but have I learned from my many mistakes? No. Anyhow, I saw yet another rave review of Misfit online, and decided I really should give it a go – lucky me!
Hiding underneath this cover is an amazing story. Jael is the daughter of a demon and an ex-priest – although she never knew her mother, who died when she was a baby. Because she’s a half-breed, demons consider her an abomination and want to destroy her, so her father has kept the two of them on the run and under the radar for years. As Jael turns 16, her powers begin to manifest, and the world may never be the same.
Between the mythology and the action, Misfit should easily appeal to older fans of the Percy Jackson books. The story wraps up nicely, but the world-building and backstory are so rich that there’s plenty of room for a sequel (or two?). It doesn’t look as though Jon Skovron has any plans to continue the story in a full-length book (there are a couple short stories out there), but we can hope….
-Lisa, Teen Librarian
Title: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
Author: Lish McBride
Nineteen-year-old Sam is stuck in a dead-end job flipping burgers and hanging out watching old movies with his slacker friends in Seattle. A late-night prank brings some uncomfortable attention from Douglas, a powerful and malicious necromancer, and then Sam and his friends are violently attacked. Turns out Sam has the makings of an equally powerful necromancer, which his mother has been suppressing for years in order to protect him. It’s too late to hide, though, and Douglas has plans for Sam that alternate between slavery and death. Good thing Seattle is full of weird creatures, because Sam needs all the supernatural help he can get to unleash his powers and escape a very unpleasant, very short future.
This is a debut novel, but you’d never know it. The book is well-written, fast-paced, and switches back and forth from seriously scary to laugh-out-loud funny at the drop of a hat. A great book for older teens.
–Lisa, Teen Librarian
Title: Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick
Author: Joe Schreiber
How bummed would you be if your mom made you take your family’s dumpy, frumpy Lithuanian exchange student to the prom – especially if your band has a gig the same night? And how freaked out would you be if she turned out to be a super-hot assassin on a mission to kill?
Perry Stormaire’s prom night turns into a nonstop ride through New York City with car chases, angry hitmen, explosions, and even a bear fight. There’s lots of humor, and some serious moments, too. This book is the definition of action-packed! The ending hints at a sequel, and I hope we get one sooner than later.
eta: As it happens, Perry’s Killer Playlist comes out November, 2012.
–Lisa, Teen Librarian
Author: Mike Mullin
Did you know that the hot springs and geysers at Yellowstone are caused by a dormant supervolcano? I sure didn’t, but it’s really there, and apparently it’s due for an eruption any day now (give or take 10,000 years).
InAshfall, Alex has convinced his parents that he’s old enough to stay home alone while they go on a weekend visit to see some relatives. So, he’s all by himself when the massive volcano erupts, sending him (and most of the United States) into a nightmare of darkness and violence.
Determined to meet up with his parents and little sister, Alex sets out on a treacherous journey over 150 miles and finds horror, death, and destruction – but also a measure of kindness and strength.
The book is long, but it’s a real page-turner. If you like apocalyptic, action-adventure, or survival stories, you’ll find much to enjoy inAshfall.
–Lisa, Teen Librarian
P.S. This book is not for the faint-hearted.
P.P.S. Ashen Winter arrives October 2012.