Account Login Canada Toll-Free: 1.800.561.1833 SK Toll-Free: 1.877.506.7456 Contact & Locations

The Be First Reading Club

by Alexandra Kroeger - Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 2:59pm

This last year we've been trying something new with our teen book clubs: instead of reading and discussing books that have been out for a while, we've decided to read and discuss books that haven't even been published yet. Upon signing up (it's free!), every teen gets an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of a book, and at the appointed date they come to the store and discuss what they've just read with our friendly neighborhood bookseller Margaret. Thus far, the response has been fantastic!

The next session will be in the fall. Keep checking back for dates!

Here is a listing of the books the Be First club has read so far, as well as our teen readers' reactions to them. These are now available at a McNally's near you!

If you're interested in taking a look at more books that haven't been released yet, check out our Two Thumbs Up review program.

Grim by Anna Waggener

When Shawn sneaks out of the house to liberate his sister Rebecca and her car from impound, he never dreams he'll come home to find that his mother has died. He's never thought about having to shoulder the responsibility of caring for his young sister, Megan, and his reckless older sister. And he never imagined that the three of them would find themselves in a haunted wood, sometimes chased, sometimes assisted, never sure where they're headed.

"A richly imagined world that leaves you wanting more and makes you question your own mortality." - John

"What would you do to bring back the ones you love?" - Sarah

"This book harbours the unique idea of souls existing between life and death." - Grace

"The book explores the meaning of true family bonds and sacrifice for them." - Marissa

"An atmospheric novel that brings forth a new spin on death." - Sarah

Kill Switch by Chris Lynch

All Daniel wants to do is spend one last summer with his grandfather before he moves away for college and his grandfather's dementia pulls them apart. But when his dear old Da starts to let things slip about the job he used to hold - people he's killed, countries he's overthrown - old work "friends" show up to make sure he stays quiet. Was his grandfather really involved in a world of assassinations and coups, or are the stories just delusions of a crumbling mind?

"Very surprising! This book leads you in a direction you don't expect" - Shayna

"This book had good character development for the story of a boy and his grandfather" - Sarah

"This book makes you question reality over and over until the shocking ending" - Grace

"An odd spin on situations we face everyday" - Sarah

Rachel's Secret by Shelly Sanders

Rachel is a Jew living in Kishinev, Russia. At fourteen, she has dreams of being a writer. But everything is put on hold when a young Christian man is murdered and Rachel is forced to keep the murderer's identity a secret.

"Shocking truth about a period of untold history. A must read!" - Grace

"I enjoyed the historical fiction weaved in with a great storyline" - Sarah

"Shocking realism that makes you face the issue of the violence against Jews" - Keeshan

"An eye opener to the past. A story that places you back in history" Sarah

Ripper by Stefan Petrucha

Adopted by famous Pinkerton Agency Detective Hawking in 1895 New York, 14-year-old Carver Young hopes to find his birth father, but when he becomes involved in the pursuit of notorious killer Jack the Ripper, Carver discovers that finding the truth can be worse than ignorance.

"This book took Jack the Ripper to a whole new level. It sheds new light on a horrific story we all know." - Maddie

"A clever twist on a well- known story. Meet this version of Jack the Ripper! I loved it!" - Sarah

"This was a gripping adventure filled with Steampunk gadgets." - John

"Re-vamps true historical facts into a fresh and exciting murder mystery." - Kayla

"Ripper was a well-developed story that successfully incorporated different genres like Steampunk, mystery and horror." - Sarah

There you have it! Keep checking back for information on our next meeting.

Categories: Reviews, Site News

More articles from teens

See:

Grim

- Young adult hardcover

by Anna Waggener - $19.99 - Add to Cart

A fantastic debut from the winner of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards novel contest When Shawn sneaks out of the house to liberate his sister Rebecca and her car from impound, he never dreams he'll come home to find that his mother has died. He's never thought about having to shoulder the responsibility of caring for his young sister, Megan, and his reckless older sister. And he never imagined that the three of them would find themselves in a haunted wood, sometimes chased, sometimes assisted, never sure where they're headed. When Erika wakes up after a horrific car crash, she finds herself somewhere between earth and heaven, between life and death. She doesn't want to accept help from Jeremiah, who she's not sure she can trust, even as she follows him into a grim city of souls. She's not sure who wants to help her and who wants to hurt her. And she's desperate to get back to her children.

Rachel's Secret

- Trade paperback

by Shelly Sanders - The Rachel Trilogy # 1 (series) - $12.95 - Add to Cart

Rachel is a Jew living in Kishinev, Russia. At fourteen, she has dreams of being a writer. But everything is put on hold when a young Christian man is murdered and Rachel is forced to keep the murderer's identity a secret. Tensions mount and Rachel watches as lies and anti-Jewish propaganda leap off the pages of the local newspaper, inciting Christians to riot against the Jews. Violence breaks out on Easter Sunday, 1903, and when it finally ends, Rachel finds that the person she loves most is dead and that her home has been destroyed. Her main support comes surprisingly from a young Christian named Sergei. With everything against them, the two young people find comfort in their growing bond, one of the few signs of goodness and hope in a time of chaos and violence.

The Scorpio Races

- Young adult hardcover

by Maggie Stiefvater - $19.99 - Add to Cart

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater comes a brand-new heart-stopping novel. With her trademark lyricism, Maggie Stiefvater turns to a new world, where a pair are swept up in a daring, dangerous race across a cliff - with more than just their lives at stake should they lose.

Divergent

- Young adult hardcover

by Veronica Roth - $21.99 - Add to Cart

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.1st Printing 200,000

Between Shades of Gray

- Hardcover

by Ruta Sepetys - $19.99 - Add to Cart

"Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both." --The Washington PostLina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously-and at great risk-documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.Praise for BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY:"A superlative first novel. A hefty emotional punch."--The New York Times Book Review "A brilliant story of love and survival."--Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Speak and Wintergirls * "Beautifully written and deeply felt...an important book that deserves the widest possible readership."--Booklist, Starred ReviewA New York Times BestsellerAn International BestsellerA New York Times Notable Book of 2011A Wall Street Journal Best Children's Book of 2011A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2011The iTunes 2011 Rewind Best Teen NovelThe #1 Book on the Spring 2011 IndieNext ListA School Library Journal Best Book of 2011A Booklist Best Book of 2011A Kirkus Best Book of 20112012 IRA Children's and Young Adults Book Award for Young Adult Fiction2012 Indies Choice Young Adult Book of the YearA Carnegie Medal FinalistA William C. Morris Finalist

Winter Shadows

- Hardcover

by Margaret Buffie - $21.99 - Add to Cart

Cass feels the long winter shadows on her heart. Her mother died of cancer and her father has remarried a woman who has moved into their old Manitoba house with her nasty, babyish daughter and an attitude that's very hard to take. Christmas promises to be a miserable time.More than a century earlier, Christmas is proving to be difficult for Beatrice, too, for she has shadows of her own. Some are cast by her circumstances. She sees the growing prejudice against people like her who are of mixed Cree and Scottish backgrounds. And like Cass, she has a stepmother. Her father's new wife is threatened by Beatrice and is driving a wedge into the family. Beatrice can only be sure of her beloved Cree grandmother, relegated to a room upstairs. When a way of escape presents itself to Beatrice by way of an eligible bachelor, she is torn by the choice it offers her. Should she settle for a man she doesn't love or address the problems at home? Through her journal, she explores the answer and, at the same time, inspires Cass to find the strength she needs to face her own situation. Margaret Buffie's great skill as a storyteller creates a splendid, engaging novel that offers readers a rich combination of fine history, suspenseful shifts in time, and unforgettable characters.