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.
Title: The Girl with the Wrong Name
Author: Barnabas Miller
Ever since the Night in Question, Theo has been hiding behind a curtain of hair. Something happened on the Night in Question. Something Theo can’t remember, but something that left her with a 4-inch scar along her jaw. Now Theo hides behind her hair and her video camera, making documentary movies. She becomes fascinated with a young man who comes and waits at her local coffee shop. He waits every day for someone who doesn’t show up. Theo films him, and then approaches him to find out his story. Soon she’s helping Andy look for his mystery girl, and soon Theo’s fascination is turning into an unhealthy obsession.
With all sorts of twists and turns, The Girl with the Wrong Name is a darkly entertaining thriller that will have you thoroughly confused about what is real and what is not.
Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Finding Audrey is Sophie Kinsella’s first YA novel.
Something happened to Audrey. We’re never sure exactly what, but it was bullying, it was bad, and it led to a breakdown and a stay in a mental hospital. All that happens before the book opens. We join the story several months later. Audrey is homeschooled, she sees a therapist for her anxiety and panic attacks, and she’s surrounded by her loving, confused family. There’s little Felix, who finds joy in everything from ketchup to Star Wars; older brother Frank, who is obsessed with computer games; and Audrey’s mum and dad, who lurch from one parenting fad to the next. And then there’s Linus, Frank’s friend and gaming partner, whose arrival gently upsets Audrey’s daily routine.
It’s a serious situation, but it’s handled deftly, with Sophie Kinsella’s signature wit and warmth.
Author: Michael Buckley
Three years ago, Lyric Walker’s life changed forever when she witnessed the Alpha, or First Men, walk out of the ocean and onto the beaches of Coney Island. Now, Coney Island is a military zone, the Alpha live in containment camps on the beach, and an uneasy truce is barely holding up.
When the school year starts, six of the Alpha youth are integrated into Lyric’s high school amid violent protests from the locals. Lyric is unwillingly recruited to help their prince, Fathom, adjust to life as an American teenager. The thing is, Lyric has secrets of her own, and she’s afraid the unwanted attention will expose them.
Turns out, though, that while the world sees the Alpha as an invading army, Lyric discovers that they may be humanity’s only hope of survival because there is something much more terrifying than the Alpha out there, and it’s on its way…
Undertow by Michael Buckley is the first in a trilogy.
–Lisa, Teen Librarian
Title: Fallout: Lois Lane
Author: Gwenda Bond
Headline: Teen Reporter Busts Cyber-bullying Ring at Local High School, details to follow.
Lois Lane is an army brat. Her family has recently moved to Metropolis and is looking to stay for a while this time. Lois is determined to fit in and not get into trouble, but keeping a low profile is just not in her nature – not when she sees kids being victimized.
In an effort to make new friends, Lois joins The Daily Scoop, a teen subsidiary of the regular newspaper, The Daily Planet. Soon she and her new buddies are investigating The Warheads, an online gaming group that is based in the school and getting creepier by the minute.
And, the only person she feels safe discussing all this with is her online buddy, Smallville Guy.
As Entertainment Weekly said, “Lois Lane meets Veronica Mars and it’s all kinds of awesome.”
–Lisa, Teen Librarian
Title: The Notorious Pagan Jones
Author: Nina Berry
Pagan was a child star who’s grown into a beautiful Hollywood starlet. But a few years ago, Pagan’s mother committed suicide and Pagan started drinking to cope. One horrible night, she crashes her car while driving drunk and kills her father and little sister. Pagan has spent the last year in reform school until she’s offered a shot at redemption – she’s offered a job as a last-minute replacement on a movie shooting in Europe. But what Pagan doesn’t know is that she’s a pawn in a much bigger scheme. Pagan’s no fool, though. She’s clever and resourceful. It’s the summer of 1961 in Berlin. Pagan knows something is going on, and she’s determined to find out.
You’ll find action, adventure, history, and romance all wrapped up in The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry.
–Lisa, Teen Librarian
Last weekend I had a lot of fun (and a little stress, let’s be honest) being part of a presentation at the annual conference for NELA (New England Library Association). Four of us talked in general about the process of booktalking and then took turns presenting one-minute booktalks.
People in the audience asked if we had our booktalks online somewhere, and I figured maybe I should take another stab at this blog. I mean, I type up my booktalks for myself, so I might as well put them up here, too.
Booktalks are different from reviews. They’re not evaluations, they’re sales tools. You’re trying to sell these books to your audience, whether one-on-one in the stacks, in a classroom, while doing outreach, or at a library program. They’re meant to be heard, not read, so they’re written differently. I use repetition a lot, and the style is much more conversational. Occasionally I’ll do comparisons to other books/movies/TV, but that gets old quickly so use it sparingly.
I don’t talk about how much I love a book because presumably I’m not going to be booktalking/recommending a book I didn’t like. I will admit to booktalking books I haven’t finished reading, but I’ve read enough of the book and about the book to have a really good handle on it and be confident talking about it.
I work hard on polishing booktalks for an official presentation. The nice thing is that the echoes are still floating around in my head when I’m doing random readers advisory in the stacks, so there are always residual benefits to putting together booktalks.
–Lisa, Teen Librarian