Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Teagan's parents decide to take in Finn, a distant cousin by marriage. Teagan and Finn immediately feel sparks between them but Teagan decides to keep her distance in order to stay focused on her plans for the future. But shortly after Finn arrives Teagan starts seeing some strange creatures and Finn tells her they are goblins who have been following him. According to Irish legend he is the Mac Cumhill, a lineage of men who have fought and defeated powerful goblins throughout history. Finn decides to leave in order to lead the goblins away from the family but before he goes Teagan's younger brother Aiden sees a shadow man touch their mother when then dies a few days later. Dealing with their grief several months later the siblings discover that their father has been taken by some goblins into Mag Mell, another realm where many different types of sidhe live. With the help of Finn and their grandmother Mameio, Teagan and Aiden decide to enter Mag Mell to save their father. What they find there changes their world as they discover just how closely related they are to the goblins and creatures they meet. This book has lots of action as well as a fated - perhaps doomed? - romance.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Hayaat lives with her mother, father, sister, brother, and grandmother in a small apartment in Bethlehem. Her parents and grandmother remember their land and homes in what is now Israel and mourn for their lives before they had to leave. Hayaat doesn't remember living anywhere else but she is angry at the Israelis who now guard their land and control things such as when she can and can't leave her home. After her grandmother is taken to the hospital Hayaat is convinced that she can help by bringing her grandmother some soil from her old home. The problem is that although the home is only a few miles away, it is controlled by the Israelis and it is illegal for her to go there. With the help of her friend Samy she believes she can sneak over the wall into Jerusalem and bring the dirt back. This book shows the perspective of a Palestinian which is not common in literature but it comes across as biased in its presentation of who is to blame for the problems in this part of the world. Also, if you are not familiar with the background of this region it could be confusing to try to figure out where Hayaat is going and why it is so difficult to get there.

Grounded by Kate Klise

Daralynn is alive because she was grounded by her mother. When her father and two siblings crashed in a plane she was forced to stay at home. Now Daralynn's mother seems more stern than ever and doesn't show any signs of mourning for her lost family. She is especially harsh to Daralynn's fun-loving aunt who is getting involved with a new man in town - the owner of a crematorium. Daralynn and her mother both begin working at the funeral parlor and at their own beauty parlor styling hair to get by. But the more time Daralynn spends with her family the more mystified she is. Does her mother feel any sadness about their tragedy? Does she like Daralynn at all? And is her aunt's new boyfriend as wonderful as he seems to be? This is a small slice of life with some really charming characters and a satisfying payoff.

Karma by Cathy Ostlere

After her mother's tragic death Maya and her father are on their way to India to return her mother's ashes to her homeland. They arrive right when the Indian prime minister is assassinated and the country is torn apart by riots. The Indian people are divided by religious differences and in the pandemonium Maya and her father are separated. Maya witnesses some horrible events and ends up far from the city being cared for by Sandeep and his family. Due to what she has experienced Maya refuses to talk and eventually she and Sandeep have to rely on each other to survive as they each learn about their pasts. Told in free verse this novel reads fairly quickly.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O'Connor

Owen has a long summer stretching before him. He has had to move in with his grandfather and his grandfather's housekeeper seems to hate him. Viola, the girl next door, is always sticking her nose into Owen's business and being a know it all. And the bullfrog he caught, Tooley, doesn't seem to be feeling well. With the help of his two friends Owen decides to build Tooley a great new cage in the pond. But when he hears something fall off a passing train his plans are sidetracked. When Owen finally finds the missing cargo it is something beyond his wildest dreams and it will take everyone's help to make it usable.

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Tory lives on a small island in South Carolina with her father who is a scientist conducting research on an even smaller nearby island. Tory and her three friends Hiram, Shelton and Ben spend a good deal of the research island even though it is off limits. While exploring one day they find an old set of dogtags from the Vietnam war. Curious about how they could have possibly gotten there the friends uncover a decades old mystery and murder. But they have also attracted the attention of the killer who wants to keep the crime a secret. After breaking into one of the secret labs Tory and the boys find that they have become infected with a new disease. Will their virus kill them or make them stronger than ever?

Trash by Andy Mulligan

Raphael is a dumpsite boy. He spends his days sifting through trash hoping to find something worth selling. One day he finds a bag with a wallet, map, money, and key in it. He knows he has found something valuable - and dangerous - when the police come to the dump offering a reward for the bag. With the help of his friends Gardo and Rat he works to find out what the secret messages in the bag mean and locate a fortune in stolen money that could change their lives forever.