Sunday, January 31, 2010

Donut Days by Lara Zielin

Krispy Dream donuts is opening a new store in Emma's hometown and she plans to camp out for two days before the opening. Emma needs to get a great story for the local newspaper in order to win a scholarship for the college of her choice. Although her parents have a college fund for her they will only let her use it to attend a Christian college. To add to Emma's stress, her best friend isn't talking to her anymore and her other good friend, Jake, has been absent since he told her he loves her a few months before. Emma's parents are both ministers at their church but they are fighting a battle with the church board to allow Emma's mom to continue to preach. A rich church member had a prophecy that it is against God's will for women to be ministers. Although Emma wants to help her family she feels that she is being left out of the loop by her parents. Now she has to find a story worthy of a scholarship, make up with her good friends, and prove that the "prophecy" was motivated by something other than the will of God.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Buddha Boy by Kathe Koja

When Jinsen comes to school he becomes an obvious target for the biggest bully in the class. Jinsen shaves his head, wears large t-shirts with dragons on them and begs for change during lunchtime just like a Buddhist monk. When Justin is forced to work with him for a class project he is determined to get the work done as quickly as possible and then distance himself from Jinsen to keep his own reputation intact. But Justin discovers that Jinsen is an amazing artist and finds himself fascinated by Jinsen's reactions to the bullies at school. He even starts to call Jinsen a friend and stands up for him. But the nonviolent approach isn't working and the attacks on Jinsen escalate until Justin can't remain silent anymore.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor

Toby is looking for a summer job and is thinking about being a chef. When he gets a job at Killer Pizza he thinks he has found the perfect place, even more so when he finds out that he will be working with Anabel who is one of the hottest girls in school. But just a few weeks after starting their jobs, Toby, Anabel and co-worker Strobe find out that Killer Pizza is just a front for a real life monster hunting organization. The owner wants his three newest employees to join his force of monster killers and help him take out a local infestation of Guttata before the next Gathering. Meek Toby is worried about his ability to help but joins up anyway and is soon learning how to shoot a crossbow and take out a monster from 30 yards away!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Stitches by David Small

Illustrator David Small tells about his childhood in graphic novel form. His father was a doctor who performed unnecessary medical tests including many x-rays. When David found a "growth" on his neck at age 10 his parents ignored it for four years because they didn't want to spend the money on a surgery to remove it. When he finally had the surgery the doctors discovered the growth was cancer and David woke up to find that half of his vocal cords were gone leaving him mute. What's more, his parents didn't tell him he'd had cancer until he found it out for himself. This book is a dark memoir of Small's life and his ability to recover from a horrible upbringing.

The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

Holling is the only student in his class who doesn't go to church on Wednesday afternoons so he has to stay with his teacher, Mrs. Baker. At first Mrs. Baker has him clean the classroom but after a month of that Holling begins to study Shakespeare. He finds Shakespeare interesting, especially when he learns how to swear at people without them knowing that he's doing that. He even gets free cream puffs from the local bakery for agreeing to act in a play by Shakespeare. Things are looking good for Holling until he sees his costume - yellow tights with white feathers on the butt.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Full Spectrum

People under 23 were asked to write their own stories of being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered and send them into a website. The best of these writings were selected and published in this book. The work in this book includes poetry, prose and even a few pictures to capture what it is like to not be straight in a heterosexual world. Some stories are funny while others are heartbreaking.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Newsgirl by Liza Ketchum

Amelia travels to San Francisco with her mother and her mother's friend Estelle at the beginning of the California gold rush. They have dreams of opening a dress shop but find that the town is mostly full of men and that everything is so expensive they are nearly broke as soon as they arrive. Amelia notices newsboys selling the papers from back East for a profit but when she tries to join them they reject her since she is a girl. Determined to help her mother and Estelle she cuts off her hair and dresses as a boy to join their ranks. She has another plan to make some money writing about a hot air balloon launch for the newspaper. But on the day of the flight she finds herself on board the balloon with a young boy when it is accidentally cut loose. Amelia crashes far from home with no way to contact her mother and no way to pay for a ticket back home.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wild River by P.J. Petersen

Ryan likes to spend all of his time playing video games but his older brother Tanner prefers outdoor adventures. Tanner pulls Ryan off the couch for a two day kayak trip down a nearby river, just the two of them. Ryan is nervous and unhappy at first but soon finds himself having a good time with his brother until their kayak hits a log in some rapids and Tanner is thrown out of the boat. With Tanner unconscious it is up to Ryan to find a way to save both of them. Not only is he facing danger from the weather and bears, but he is also up against a time limit since he is sure Tanner only has a few hours until he dies from his injuries.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Riot by Walter Dean Myers

In 1863 the worst race riots in United States history took place in New York City. The Civil War was raging and President Lincoln had just called for a draft to build the army. Draftees who had the money could pay $300 to get out of service but poor Irish immigrants in the city were barely surviving and didn't have the money to pay for the waiver. They began to riot, sweeping through town and beating blacks and rich people. This book tells the story of Claire who is half Irish, half black and finds herself torn between the two sides.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Forest Born by Shannon Hale

Rin is the only girl in a family of many boys and her mother's favorite child. She has always felt unsure of herself so to compensate she tries to mirror the behaviors of people around her that she admires. She has also always felt a special connection to the trees in the forest around her house but after she convinces a boy to kiss her she feels like the trees have shut her out. When her brother Razo returns home from the castle she decides to go to the city with him to find herself. Rin finds herself befriending queen Isi and taking care of her son Tusken. When the king and his army are attacked by fire starters Isi, Rin and two other girls set off to find the fire-speakers and stop the attacks. Rin knows that the other three girls all have special powers but she begins to learn that she might have some abilities as well in addition to her kinship with the trees.