Friday, July 28, 2017

The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz

In the time of the Inquisition, it is dangerous to make many claims at all. Priests, commoners, and kings alike are on the watch for heresy in any form. So that would make it a bad time to, say, begin worshipping a dog, claim she's come back to life, or to have visions of the future that you can't control.

But, that is just what happens to a peasant girl named Jeanne. It's also a bad time to be so strong you break benches to pieces with one blow like William or to be a Jew who can heal with the power of prayer like Jacob.

Brought together by fear and bad luck, kept together by a strong sense of duty and love for the people around them, these three children brave the fanaticism of the Inquisition with bravery, honesty, and virtue--but is that enough to save them from a king who commands a hundred knights?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie

Based on the YouTube videos of the same name, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl details the horrors of Sunshine Griffith, who has just moved into an undeniably haunted house.

The evidence: someone is running around upstairs, but no one else is in the house. Sunshine keeps hearing the laughter and whispers of a little girl, but Sunshine is an only child. Plus, the stuff in her nauseatingly pink bedroom is being moved around every time she closes the door.

The problem: Sunshine's mother doesn't see any of it. She's all about science and she doesn't believe in ghosts or spirits or anything paranormal. So, Sunshine picks up her camera and sets out on a journey to prove without a shadow of a doubt that this ghost is real.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Five Teen Alternatives to Game of Thrones

I love Game of Thrones. Series, show, you name it. There's a whole lot to like. Strong characters, compelling drama, love, adventure, the triumph and sorrows of characters--death, mayhem, betrayal, ferocious battles, the rise of the undead! What's not to love?

However, it is DEFINITELY not something I would EVER recommend to any of my middle school students. Even the ones who are wise beyond their years--the ones who read at voracious levels. I'm not saying they can't read it--that's up to their parents--I'm saying it's got far too much inappropriate content for me to recommend. Heck, I'm somewhat disturbed by many of the scenes, and I didn't read it until my mid-20's.

There are a lot of great YA books out there, and they're very popular. Still, I think many amazing works slip through the cracks as they get older. In light of that and in the interest of highlighting great storytelling, I've made a list of recommendations for people (especially students) who love to read but are not ready for Game of Thrones.

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

In the world of Norta, citizens are divided by the color of their blood. The Silvers: elite and gifted with unthinkable powers. The Reds: poor, futures uncertain, valued only for what they are able to give the Silvers.

Mare knows exactly who she is and what it means. She is not skilled like her sister--Mare picks pockets to make money. She is not gifted like the Silvers, and without a job, she is doomed to fight in a war she cares little about. Mare knows what her life will be like. She knows the life that all Reds are doomed to live.

At least, she thought she did.

Brought to the palace by happenstance, Mare stumbles into the truth of her blood. In the presence of hundreds, she makes a shocking discovery. Somehow, she is swept into the world of the Silvers she hates. She must play pretend, say the right words, and learn their customs. Her life and the lives of the people she loves depend on how well she can guard her mind and hide her heart.

Friday, July 14, 2017

I Was Nominated for the Liebster Award!

I am so grateful to the Saowbia at Ever The Reader for nominating me for the Liebster Award. The award is designed to bring attention to small blogs with less than 200 subscribers. (And that definitely fits this particular little blog). I'm honored to participate!

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

"Let me tell you a story."

That's how Kyra always begins speaking when she has something to share. She loves myths, legends, folklore, and even just the mundane, everyday tales of people's lives. They fascinate her and fill her with purpose, but they also provide her with an escape from her manic highs and the intensity of her lows.

Corey is Kyra's best friend, and she has always tried to help and support Kyra through her struggles with mental health, but Corey's mother took a job in Canada. Corey had to leave Kyra behind, but it wasn't as if they'd never see each other again. Corey would come back to visit and she and Kyra would be together again, just like they used to be.

That was the plan, anyway. Just before the end of her first semester at her new school, Corey gets a call from her mother. Kyra has drowned herself in the river--the ice should have been too thick for her to fall in, but it seems she found a weak spot.

In order to mourn her friend, Corey returns to the town where she grew up to find that things have changed. People keep talking about hope, blessings, and belonging. But buried below the surface, Corey senses something sinister. She begins to ask questions in a town that prefers to keep its silence. They don't trust outsiders and Corey, although she once lived in this tiny Alaskan community, finds herself with a label and a deep sense of dread.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

young adult, teen pregnancy, teen reads, teen fiction, young adult novel, young adult book, book, book reviewCONTENT WARNING: While categorized as a YA title, this book and its review may not be suitable for children of all ages. Parental discretion is recommended.