Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor

Abby and her younger sister Becky were born two years and one day apart. Like many sisters they argue nearly all the time about many small issues. But one night Becky disappears. The police investigate and the family forms search parties but there is no sign of Becky. With her mother in deep depression, her father trying everything possible to find Becky, and her old friends ignoring her, Abby is completely alone. She finds a new friend in Tommy, the grandson of her next door neighbor who has moved to her town with problems of his own. This is a realistic story of Abby's life and her family as they cope with the unknown about her sister.

Puppet by Eva Wiseman

Based on the true story of anti-Semitism in Hungary in 1883, Puppet is told by a teen named Julie. Julie and her friend Esther are both poor and must work to help their families. Esther has a job with a mean mistress who never gives her any time off and works her into the ground. While on an errand for her mistress one day Esther never comes home. People in town are sure she has been killed by the Jews who live there and most of the townspeople are more than happy to believe the rumors that are being spread. Morris, the son of one of the accused Jews, is tortured and coerced until he confesses to having seen the murder and agrees to testify against the men. Julie is one of the very few who believes that the Jews are innocent and her beliefs seem to be confirmed when Esther's body is found with none of the marks they are said to have made when she was killed. But even though the Jews have truth on their side, it might not be enough to save them from being found guilty.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

24 Girls in 7 Days by Alex Bradley

It's only two weeks until senior prom and Jack doesn't have a date. His best friends "help" him by running a personal ad saying that he will date anyone to find a date for prom. At first Jack is mortified but then he decides to give it a try since his friends say they have a list of girls who want to date him. Jack begins dating all the girls trying to find his love match while also corresponding with a mysterious e-mail pal who gives him advice. Even though he is dating lots of girls, Jack is having a hard time finding even one who really interests him so his prom date turns out to be a huge surprise!

Wings by Aprilynne Price

Laurel and her parents have moved from her lifelong home to a new city so her father can run a bookstore and for the first time in her life she is in public school. Laurel is a little different from all of her schoolmates - she is always warm even in their cold climate, she spends most of her time outside, and she only eats fruit. When she develops a small bump on her back at first she believes that she is just getting zits like everyone else her age. But when the bump grows bigger and bigger she becomes more concerned. Just when she is about to tell her parents to take her to the doctor, the bump opens and blooms into a winglike flower on her back. Laurel finds a way to hide the petals until she runs into a boy in the woods around her old house. He tells her that she's a changeling, a fairy who has been raised by humans. Just as Laurel is coming to grips who what she really is her father falls deathly ill and his sickness is tied to the fairy world and the other creatures who would like to destroy all fairies.

Somebody by Nancy Springer

The main character and her brother and father have just moved to a new town, one of dozens they have lived in during the past few years. In each town they all have different names and hair colors and she knows better than to ask her father for the reason behind all of their moves. Despite all the names she has had over the years she still remembers that her real name is Sherica and that her mother gave her that name in honor of her grandmother. Determined to finally find out the truth about her life Sherica does some investigating on the computer at the library and discovers what her father has been hiding from her all this time. Now that she knows who she actually is she'd not sure what her next step should be or how much time she has to make a decision before her father finds out.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Monks in Space by David Jones

Bart lives in a monastery that travels through space. He was put there by his parents years before when their planet was falling apart. Although he is living as a monk he is also training to be a pilot so that when the civilian captain of the ship leaves, Bart will be able to take over his duties. The monks in this Order are known throughout the universe for their amazing pottery. In addition to the amazing forms they can create they blend their own glazes that reflect the pure light of Sol, the sun and their god. Some of their pieces of pottery sell for millions of dollars, a fact that attracts two thieves to the ship. The abbey is on the last leg of six years in space and all the monks are looking forward to some time back on Earth when something goes wrong with the engines. The ship is in orbit around Sol but if they can't get the engines running everyone on board will die from the heat of the sun as they pass too close. Bart, the captain and one of the robbers have to work frantically to try to save as many people on board as possible.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Erin believes she is schizophrenic since all her life she has had black-out periods where she believes she is a vampire named Shevaun. Thanks to some serious medication Erin has not had any of these spells for quite a while and is finally able to attend public school. While there she agrees to join the fencing team with her friend Marissa. But on the second day of practice she witnesses Marissa changing into a tiger and is sure that her mental problems have returned. What she discovers, however, is that Shevaun is not a figment of her imagination and that they must work together to save both of their lives.

The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb

Calder is a Fetch - a soul who guides the dead into heaven. Although he lived only 19 years on Earth he has been working as a Fetch for several hundred years. Fetches live by their vows and seldom see anyone other than the newly dead they are escorting who don't remember them once they have passed into heaven and Calder has been feeling lonely. At one death scene he is drawn to a woman crying over a baby. Calder feels certain that he is meant to reach out to this woman and make her into his squire, especially when he ends up at another death scene where she is present. Calder decides to forsake his vows and contact this woman so when he next is summoned he convinces that soul to put off his time in heaven for a time and let Calder use his body on Earth. But Calder's decision disrupts life on Earth and heaven and makes him responsible for two children who are in grave danger. He must make everything right again to save both worlds and win his own chance to enter heaven.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer

Angela's parents are fed up with her and send her to Hidden Oak, a reform school for girls who have gotten into all sorts of trouble. Angela and all the other new students arrive several weeks before the rest of the girls and soon discover that the school has some very different ideas on how to educate the students. Everyone is filmed at all times and the girls are subjected to a series of tests to see how they react. Over the course of the weeks some of the girls disappear while the worst of them are left behind. The more they discover about what is happening at Hidden Oak, Angela and her friends decide that their only hope is to find a way to escape and shut down the school.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Looks by Madeleine George

Meghan's life at school is miserable. She is very overweight and the constant target for abuse by the jocks at school. Meghan has found that although she is very visible in one sense, she is nearly invisible at her school because no one bothers to talk with her or even notice her. She was best friends with Cara growing up but when the girls hit middle school Cara rudely dropped Meghan in order to become more popular herself. Meghan is so overlooked that she's able to get passes to sign herself out of class from a desk in the front office whenever she wants. One of her favorite hiding places is in the nurse's office and it is there where she first encounters Aimee, an anorexic girl. Aimee is also almost invisible but she is a gifted poet and takes a chance to join the school literary magazine staff which is run by Cara. Knowing how hurtful Cara can be, Meghan tries to warn Aimee and together they plot revenge on everyone who has hurt both of them.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

In the Empire of the Celestial Dragons power is held by the 12 men who control powerful dragons. A different dragon and Dragoneye come into power each year. During the year prior to taking power 12 boys are trained to serve the dragon and then the dragon chooses which of the boys he likes to work with him. Eon is one of the boys training to serve the Rat Dragon but everyone believes he is at a disadvantage because he is lame in one leg. But Eon and his master know that Eon has the power to see all of the dragons, something that no one else can do. Eon and his master hold another secret as well - Eon is really a girl named Eona and they have been hiding her identity for several years. Since girls are forbidden to work with the dragons, if their secret is discovered they will both be killed. At the choosing ceremony Eona's friend Dillon is chosen by the Rat Dragon but as Eona is about to leave the stadium in disgrace suddenly the Mirror Dragon - the largest and most powerful dragon who has not been seen in 400 years - appears and chooses Eona as his new apprentice. She is suddenly put in the middle of a power struggle between the most evil Dragoneye and the emperor of the country without the ability to call on her dragon for help.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen

Ambrose and his mother have moved around a lot. Currently they are living in a basement apartment owned by an older Greek couple. Ambrose likes to wear a knit had made by his grandmother and his purple corduroy pants to school and, not surprisingly, he is picked on quite a bit. When his three biggest bullies almost kill him by putting a peanut into his sandwich just to see if he actually is allergic to them, his overprotective mom decides to homeschool him. While his mom is at work Ambrose gets to know the landlord's son Cosmo who has just recently been released from prison. When Ambrose discovers that Cosmo likes Scrabble too he convinces Cosmo to start going to a Scrabble Club with him. Cosmo also teaches Ambrose to defend himself while Ambrose helps Cosmo find a girlfriend and stay sober. For the first time in his life Ambrose has friends but he knows he can't tell his mom because she does not approve of Cosmo and would likely start packing them up to move to yet another new home.

Mercy on These Teenage Chimps by Gary Soto

Ronnie and Joey are best friends who have turned 13. Suddenly they seem to have acquired all sorts of odd characteristics such as big ears, long arms and body odor. They decide that like many other boys their age they are turning into chimps and even seem to be acting like apes in class and especially around girls. While helping the coach set up for an assembly Joey climbs into the gym rafters in order to impress a girl he likes and is yelled at by the coach - in front of the girl. Totally humiliated he runs home and climbs into a tree in his yard and refuses to come down. It's up to Ronnie to get the girl to come talk him down while steering clear of the neighborhood bullies as well as many other hazards.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Kyra lives with her father, three mothers and sixteen siblings on a compound for The Chosen Ones, a very conservative religious group. Everything the group does is dictated by Prophet Childs, the leader of the group who says he receives visions from God about what should be done. In The Chosen Ones obediance is very important and women are expected to do whatever they can to serve the men in the group. In addition, all books other than the Bible are banned but Kyra has been secretly checking out novels from the bookmobile that runs nearby their compound. As the book begins the family is excited because the Prophet is coming to reveal something and they are hoping that Father is going to be named a new apostle. But when Prophet Childs arrives he says instead that his vision was of 13 year old Kyra marrying her uncle Hyrum, a man who is 60 years old and already has six wives. Kyra can't stand the thought of marrying Hyrum but doesn't see any way out of the situation, especially with the Prophet's God Squad of armed enforcers backing him up.