Reviewed Be First Booksby Shanleigh K - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 12:54pm
Here is the listing of our past Be First Reading Club books our teens have reviewed. These are now available at a McNally's near you!
If you are interested reading more soon-to-be books, check out the Two Thumbs Up program.
Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves (Discussed March 16, 2017)
Though Anna Arden's family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren and unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s native Hungary. There, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, not the society she’s known all her life, and not her lack of magic. As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani, Anna must choose: deny her unique power, or embrace her ability and change the world forever.
"A wonderful tie-in of magic and Hungarian history. Beautiful world-building. Strong lack of puns." -Ola
"Luminate your way to the truth in this misshapen society of a misshapen girl." -Emma
"Interesting world and plot. Main character, not so much." -Maddy
"The author keeps you in the circle of the story.' -Shaylyn
"Not too shabby. A lot of interesting aspects, but it didn't blow my mind or anything. I will read the next book to see where it goes." -Chloé
"An interesting retelling with many love interests and monsters." -Lauren
"Anna may have been dull, but the setting was enticing." -Sabrina
"While the character development leaves something to be desired, Blood Rose Rebellion is set in an unconventional time and location. The journey of the main character from Victorian England to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was interesting. I was not a fan of the bland main character, but the author somewhat makes up for it with a richly depicted, lush world and fascinating political structures. Think Marxism with magic, told through the eyes of a very boring lady and you've got it." -Emily
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (Discussed February 16, 2017)
When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family's property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past... and the present.
Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what's right the night Tulsa burns.
"An awesome commentary on historical and present day racial bias', with a mystery to boot." -Katie
"You have a voice, use it." -Alexandra
"This novel will help you realize that our reality may not be the 'Dreamland' you think it is." -Lauren
"A very well-written books which shows the parallels of institutionalized racism form the 1920s to current time." -Shaylyn
"A great book to learn about lesser known historical event that more people should know about." -Callie
"A mystery set through time that will keep you guessing." -Emma
"An amazing read comparing racism from 100 years ago to today." -Maddy
"A unique murder mystery that also brings forth the truth of the past and present when it comes to the history of the United States." -Stephanie
"The duel POV guides the story along to show the cruel reality of today." -Sabrina
"This books is well-structured and well-written, and maybe most importantly, relevant, especially in lieu of America's political climate and the effect it's had on the rest of the world." -Chloé
"A fascinating novel that links the past to the future. Dreamland Burning centres on the racism of the past and connects it with modern events in Southern USA. Latham not only offers an exciting story with interesting themes, but also teaches valuable lessons about racism and prejudice in a unique and effective way." -Emilly
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (Discussed January 19, 2017)
It's been a shattering year for Zoe, who's still reeling from her father's death in a caving accident and her neighbors' mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a subzero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in the woods - only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X. X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe's evil attacker and others like him. X is forbidden from revealing himself to anyone other than his prey, but he casts aside the rules for Zoe. As they learn more about their colliding worlds, each begin to question the past, their fate, and their future.
"The Edge of Everything will keep you on the edge of your seats." -Maddy
"Very interesting 'set up' of the story in the first chapter. Overall, the book is very X-citing." -Shaylyn
"A very fast-paced love story with just a bit of the supernatural." -Callie
"With badass characters and an original plot, it's a good one-time read. Warning: Contains insta-love." -Lauren
"A fantastic dark fantasy love story without a triangle." -Katie
"I liked this book overall, but it felt too focused on the romantic plot, and didn't talk enough about the weird supernatural stuff (which I wanted to know more about). So, if you enjoy intense stories about teen romances with a supernatural/fantasy subplot and great comedic moments, I'd recommend this to you." -Chloé
Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly (Discussed November 24, 2016)
Now that the infuriating Philip Digby has left town for a lead on his sister who disappeared years ago, Zoe Webster is looking forward to a quiet spring semester. She's dating a cute quarterback, hanging out with new friends, and enjoying being "a normal." Which is of course when Digby comes back. Zoe can either choose to stay on her current path toward popularity, perfect SAT scores, and Princeton, or she can take a major detour with Digby, and maybe find out what that kiss he stole from her really meant. Digby and his over-the-top schemes always lead somewhere unexpected and Zoe's beginning to learn she might just like jumping into the unknown. When it comes to Digby, the choice might already be made.
"A well-written comedic and mysterious novel with an intriguing, apathetic undertone." -Shaylyn
"Well-paced, funny, and entertaining. It's like Sherlock and Watson, but as hormonal teenagers." -Chloé
"Trouble makes a comeback, and there is lots of trouble." -Callie
"Think Sherlock Holmes, but with typical high school drama." -Maddy
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith (Discussed October 27, 2016)
No one knows how to handle Reiko. She is full of hatred; all she can think about is how to best hurt herself and those people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko's parents send her to spend the summer with family in Japan, hoping she will learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping backward in time into the nineteenth-century life of Miyu, a young woman even more vengeful than Reiko herself. Reiko loves escaping into Miyu's life... until she discovers Kuramagi's dark secret and must face down Miyu's demons as well as her own.
"Edo era Japan mixed with modern day crazy." -Ola
"A haunting story of revenge." -Katie
"Filled with hatred and revenge, A Darkly Beating Heart makes you consider how far you'll go to seek vengeance and get what you want." -Lauren
"A rocky time travel experience through modern and old time Japan." -Shaylyn
"It was good." -Emma
"A very creative way to showcase two different, but similar people's lives." -Callie
"A Darkly Beating Heart will take you through a twist in time." -Alex
"A different book with a twisted ending." -Maddy
Replica by Lauren Oliver (Discussed September 22, 2016)
Lyra’s story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida. Behind the locked doors and military guards, Haven is actually a research facility where thousands of replicas are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape.
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. After she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven Institute. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.
"No other HUMAN could REPLICATE this book." -Shaylyn
"This is a great book that you will want to read every way you can." -Callie
"This book will keep you guessing." -Emma
"Replica is full of unique, beautiful, sharp-edged characters. Just reading about them tosses you into another world." -Bethel
"A great book filled with twists and turns." -Maddy
"You just can't replicate a book like this." -Ola
The Graces by Laure Eve (Discussed August 25, 2016)
Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. But what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident. After all, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it... no matter who has to pay.
"Sometimes the villain isn't always who you think it is..." -Stephanie
"2 spooky 4 me." -Ola
"With each new revelation, you begin to question just how thin the line between normal and supernatural is."
"'You killed my love!' Dramatic much?" -Bethel
"The Graces will leave you questioning until the very end." -Maddy
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye (Discussed May 19, 2016)
With the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening the Russian border, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side. And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death. Raised on the tiny Ovchinin Island, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.
"The crown jewel of Russian fairytales." -Ola
"The perfect combination of magic, history, romance, and tragedy." -Lauren
"Such a magical read... it's quite enchanting." -Shaylyn
"Evelyn Skye did a wonderful job creating a magical world." -Callie
"The Crown's Game is a captivating yet quick read thats' magic pulls you in and won't let you escape." -Stephanie
"This book was creative and unexpected." -Emily
"My love burns deep for this book." -Alexandra
And from the entire club:
"Not your average Cinderella retelling." -Be First Book Club
This Is the Story of You by Beth Kephart (Discussed April 14, 2016)
On Haven, a six-mile long, half-mile-wide stretch of barrier island, Mira Banul and her Year-Rounder friends have proudly risen to every challenge. But then a superstorm defies all predictions and devastates the island, upending all logic and stranding Mira's mother and brother on the mainland. Nothing will ever be the same. A stranger appears in the wreck of Mira's home. A friend obsessed with vanishing disappears. As the mysteries deepen, Mira must find the strength to carry on-to somehow hold her memories in place while learning to trust a radically reinvented future.
"This book was like a hurricane." - Emma
"Though slow moving at first, This is the Story of You tells a suspenseful and moving story that will make you think of family in a whole new light." - Maddy
"You'll SEA how good this is. It goes so fast, it's like sand blowing in the wind." - Shaylyn
Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke (Discussed March 17, 2016)
Every story needs a hero. Every story needs a villain. Every story needs a secret.
Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.
What really happened? Someone knows. Someone is lying.
"This book will make you feel like you're losing your marble." -Stephanie
"A book that will have you questioning the morality of all the characters." -Roshan
"With each new plot twist, you begin to reconsider the motives of each character." -Lauren
"This book was so confusing, it made me want to up and leaf it." -Chelsea
Riders by Veronica Rossi (Discussed February 18, 2016)
For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can't remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse. Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen - Conquest, Famine, and Death - are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence. When they fail, Gideon must somehow convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.
"The feels in this book will burn you to ashes." -Shaylyn
"The four horsemen of the apocalypse bring about a new story." -Aleksandra
"A book that combines supernatural and action elements to make it a must-read." -Roshan
"An interesting twist on the apocalypse story." -Katie
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Discussed January 21, 2016)
In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
"This book is the bomb. It's so quick, you'll sail right through it." -Shaylyn
"A wide range of character and emotion that keeps you inside the book, reading page after page." -Colin
"A novel that makes you question how much you know about the struggle many went through during World War II."
"Told through four different narratives, Salt to the Sea tells the harsh reality for many victims of World War II."
"A book that will make you question what it means to have morals in wartime." -Roshan
Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom (Discussed November 26, 2015)
Parker Grant doesn't need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart. When Scott suddenly reappears in her life, Parker knows there's only one way to react—shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that's right, her eyes don't work but her legs still do), doling out advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death three months ago. But the more Parker learns about what really happened—both with Scott, and her dad—the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.
"A book that delves into complicated high school relationships." -Roshan
"The characters were interesting." -Emma
"Good for a B.B." -Shaylyn
"Good potential for a first-time author." -Thora
The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones (Discussed October 15, 2015)
When Evan’s father dies suddenly, Evan finds a hand-bound yellow book on his desk—a book his dad had been reading when he passed away. The book is the diary of a Japanese soldier stranded on a small Pacific island in WWII. Why was his father reading it? What is in this account that Evan’s grandfather, whom Evan has never met before, fears so much that he will do anything to prevent its being seen? And what could this possibly mean for Evan?
"When you start it, it comes off a bit flat. Once you get into it though, it gets really interesting." -Shaylyn
"An intriguing combination of fantasy and reality." -Katie
"A book that will leave you questioning what is real and what is not." -Roshan
"A mindtwisting read that will leave you pondering the impossible." -Emma
The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett (Discussed September 17, 2015)
The two Earths are identical in almost every way. Two copies of every city, every building, even every person. But the people from the second Earth know something their duplicates do not—two versions of the same thing cannot exist. They—and their whole planet—are slowly disappearing. Lira has been trained mercilessly since childhood to learn everything she can about her duplicate, to be a ruthless sleeper-assassin who kills that other Lirael and steps seamlessly into her life.
"Doctor Who fans will love it." -Grace
"Great character growth." -Maddie
"Good change of pace. If you're tired of dystopians, try this." -Emma
"Definitely not what I was expecting." -Roshan
"Good page-turner." -Callie
All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder
What do you do with your last day on earth? There are 27 hours and fifteen minutes left until a meteor strikes North America, and, for Emerson and everyone else who didn't leave, the world will end. The city's quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and her friend Vince meet Carl, who tells them that he has been granting people's wishes. He gave his car away so a woman could take her son to see the ocean for the first time, and he gives Emerson and Vince all the money he has in his wallet. Suddenly this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in 27 hours — maybe even their own.
"Pay it forward just like Emerson and Vince, and give someone this book to read." -Sam
"What would you do with your last days? This story asks you think about this and to consider your own life." -Sarah
"If I had only a couple of days left to live, I hope I would make choices like Vince. I would live in the moment and hopefully be a beacon for others." -Colin
Forever Julia by Jodi Carmichael
Six months ago, Julia's life was perfect. Then her dad died. Now she lives with her grieving mother and sick grandmother in a puny apartment above their bookstore. After a dark bout of depression, Julia is fragile and mourns both her father and her old life. But she has one thing to be happy about: Jeremy, the most popular boy at school, has chosen her. Jeremy's love for Julia is passionate, even obsessive. As she grows closer to Jeremy, Julia pushes her disapproving friends and family away. But Jeremy only becomes more controlling and Julia has to decide what lines cannot be crossed.
"I enjoyed this book because I was able to invest in the characters. You are able to sympathize with them." -Colin
"This is an important book for anyone who has ever had a bad relationship. It let you believe that you can stand up for yourself." -Sarah
"This was a great story about teenagers trying to figure out high school and all the hard things to deal with." -Grace
"I really enjoyed that this was a local story. I could picture exactly what was going on in the book. I also enjoyed the great writing." -Ana
Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy
Darren hasn’t had an easy year. There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing. Then one Thursday morning Darren’s dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out. Barely twenty-four hours, everything is much better or much worse—Darren has no idea. It might somehow be both. All he knows for sure is that in addition to trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere but then totally disappeared.
"3 Things I loved about Me Being Me...
1) The unique and creative writing style
2) Complex yet realistic characters
3) Darren - the relatable protagonist you can't help but fall in love with" - Sam
"Refreshing coming-of-age story that deals with real teen issues in a unique way through a range of outrageous yet strangely relatable characters." - Sam
"8 Words to Describe this Book:
8) A downright good read!" - Sam
"Darren's life just leaves you wanting one more list." - Colin
"The style was very unique as it was written in lists and I really enjoyed that because I’ve never read anything like it. I really liked the main characters, Darren and Zoe. Though I really enjoyed the book, I think it could have been shorter." - Ana
The Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton
The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor. As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world. And she'll be with the boy she loves--who's also her best friend. But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes. Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought. And now it's too late to walk away.
"Seeker is a unique mixture of medieval fantasy and science fiction. The characters are torn between a past world bound by honour and today's ruthless modern world." - Rooshan
"The characters in Seeker are intricate and complex. You don't know whether to cheer for them or hate them. Definitely, a clever plot and good action." - Sam
"This book will make a great movie with its interesting characters and non-stop action." - Grace
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
"All The Bright Places was very well done. By getting to know Finch the way we did helped us to understand him. If we hadn't, we would have been angry at him. I loved the two alternating voices of Violet and Finch." - Callie
"This book takes you to the edge and back again. With every page I cared more and more about the characters within the pages. I saw what they were thinking and I felt what they were feeling. It wasn't long before I felt emotionally connected." - Grace
"A tale that takes you from the depths of the blue hole to the peak of the bell tower." - Rooshan
"Jennifer Niven was able to allow us to feel and connect with Finch. Often authors are unable to make us feel for their characters. Not this time. Niven has done this brilliantly." - Sam
Earth and Sky by Megan Crewe
Seventeen-year-old Skylar has always been haunted by fleeting yet powerful feelings that something around her has gone wrong. Those impressions have never seemed to reflect anything real, and have only earned her stares and whispers behind her back. But after she meets a mysterious boy named Win, she learns an unsettling truth: we are not alone on Earth. In fact, visitors from beyond the stars are manipulating our planet and the essential fabric of our world; life as we know it is starting to unravel. And Skylar—and her heightened awareness—just may be the key to our salvation.
"'Whovians' will love it." - Sam
"This was a great sci-fi story with an amazing plot twist." - Rooshan
"Have you ever felt that your world was just an experiment?" - Grace
"This book will change foreverhow you feel about our world and our past." - Margaret
"The time travel storyline was fascinating and well developed."
The Death of Us by Alice Kuipers
A recovered friendship, a dark secret, and a love triangle with a deadly angle... Callie is shocked when her friend Ivy reappears after an unexplained three-year absence, but the girls pick up where they left off, and suddenly Callie's summer is full of parties, boys and fun. Beneath the surface, things aren't what they seem, however, and when a handsome boy with a dark past gets tangled up with Ivy, the girls' history threatens to destroy their future.
"The book showed both the good and bad of two different lives, it showed the love, fear, and pain, it showed the impact miscommunication can have and the consequences it can result in at an extreme. All in all I am very impressed with this book and have recommended it to all my friends. Thanks for the great read!" - Paris
Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant
Mara wakes in a field of dead grass, a heavy mist pressing down on her. She is terrified, afraid that she is dead. There is a boy in that mist, a beautiful young man dressed in black and able to move effortlessly through space and time. He is the Messenger of Fear. The Messenger sees the darkness in human hearts. He sees the evils done: the destructive lies, the cruelty, the bullying, the violence. And if the world does not bring justice to those who do evil, the Messenger will. He offers the wicked a game. If they win, they go free. If they lose, they will live their greatest fear. Either way, their sanity will be challenged.
"Get over your fears before reading this book. It was fantastic." -Grace
"This book will reveal your morals and blurs the lines between right and wrong." -Keeshan
"Messenger of Fear reminds you that balance in your life is hard to find and even harder to keep." -Sarah
"A beautifully, eerie story that holds your attention." - Marissa
Your Constant Star by Brenda Hasiuk
When Faye's long-lost childhood neighbor, Bev, turns up out of the blue, wanting something from her old friend, Faye goes along with Bev's plan. But Mannie, the joyriding daddy of Bev's baby, has a half-crazed romantic agenda of his own. As one cold, miserable prairie spring inches toward summer, a series of unexpected and sometimes explosive decisions sends the trio hurtling toward disaster. A darkly funny portrayal of three unforgettable teenagers feeling their way into adulthood in an imperfect world.
"A novel that will take you inside the minds we always think are wandering." -Sarah
"You will be introduced to different characters that you have never met, will never meet but can't stop thinking about." -Sam
"A book that will make you listen to those without a voice." -Sarah
"This gritty, truthful story explores the painful consequences these three characters face following the decisions they make." -Margaret
"A book with three personalities that will leave you 'Faye-zed'."
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
This is literary science fiction with a feminist twist, exploring themes of choice, agency, rebellion, and family. Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean. What choices will she make? How will she build a future on an earth ravaged by climate change? A thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.
"Salvage is a story that shows how our experiences sculpt our personality and sometimes push us to our limit."
This is a compelling sci-fi story about how people can rise above circumstances and change themselves . You will "fall" for Salvage." -John
"Salvage is a great read for science fiction lovers, set in the not too distant future. A bleak future, but hopeful at the same time. So many different and clever settings for the heroine, keeping the reader intrigued." -Margaret
Busted Out by Marjorie DeLuca
On her morning run, seventeen year old Katie discovers a frozen body lying on the snowy forest trail. The story goes back three months to trace the events leading up to the tragedy. Who is the victim? Is it Mike, the import car fanatic who worships his poker addicted older brother? Is it Jay - the budding musician whose father wants him to be an NHL player even though he hates hockey? Is it Kim, the math whiz and talented artist whose mother recently died and left her with a cold and abusive father? Is it Nick? Forced to be a parent to his two young sisters while his mom goes off for days at a time and drowns herself in booze. Events spiral out of control and in the final showdown, one of them will find love, one will be a hero, one will be the victim of a near-fatal accident and somebody will die on the snowy forest track.
"This book is a winning gamble!" -Grace
"It is a Royal Flush!" -Keeshan
"I love the characters. I could relate to them and their struggles in high school." -Sam
"Well-developed story with realistic characters. The images and conversations about high school were right on." -Margaret
"I'll "bet" you will like it." -John
The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher
Ashlee Parker is dead, and Emily Shepherd's dad is accused of the crime. An ex-soldier suffering from PTSD, he emerges from the woods carrying the girl's body. "Gone," he says, then retreats into silence. But what really happened that night? Emily knows in her bones that her father is innocent -- isn't he? Before he's convicted, she's got to find out the truth. Does Damon Hilary, Ashlee's charismatic boyfriend, have the answers? Or is he only playing games with her -- the kind of games that can kill?
"This is a great mystery read. It is not what you expect, especially the ending." -Rooshan
"This story has strong characters and a very exciting climax." -John
"The Killing Woods is a mysterious story of conflict that strains old relationships and creates new ones. The Darkwood is full of possibilities." -Sarah
"Read the book -- play the Game." -Sarah
"It was fabulous, dark and mysterious right until the end." -Grace
Full Ride by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Becca's claim to fame is one she's been hiding from for the past three years: Her father is a notorious embezzler, and when he was caught, his excuse was, "How else am I supposed to put his kid through college?" Three years after his trial and imprisonment, she and her mother have started over again and are living in a town where no one knows their secret. A local scholarship opportunity seems like the answer to all her problems, but as the application process commences, Becca uncovers a chain of secrets that could destroy everything she's worked so hard to build. But the truth could also lead her toward the future she's always dreamed of...
"This book had great characters with realistic thoughts and actions. Keeps you intrigued until the end." -Grace
"After reading this book you will reevaluate how you view your own world and how you are perceived by others." -Sarah
"Becca learns the true meaning of forgiveness and how to change herself." -Sarah
The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it's addictive. Basically, anyone with enough money can experience fantastical worlds, and the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. But some technology is too dangerous to fool with and recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he's holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they've been watching Michael...
"The Eye of Minds is a very good, suspenseful read." -Domenic
"I liked this book because it leaves the reader wanting more." -Kodi
"It was a bit confusing. I couldn't tell the difference between the real world or the VirtNet." -Naomi
"Awesome book! I never thought it would have ended like that, but when I look back, I realize that there are a lot of hints! Two thumbs up!" -Jenna
Asylum by Madeleine Roux
For Dan Crawford, a summer program for gifted students is the chance of a lifetime. Only Dan arrives to find that the usual summer housing has been closed, forcing students to stay in the crumbling Brookline dorm - formerly a psychiatric hospital. As Dan and his new friends start exploring Brookline's twisty halls and hidden basement, they discover that once you get in, there's no getting out.
"A bone chilling story that leaves you questioning if the characters are really who they say they are." -Keeshan
"Thrilling story that makes you quiver." -Rooshan
"You'll watch the puzzle break apart, only to put it back together again." -Grace
"This dark setting will make you question where the shadows lie." -Sarah
The Lake and the Library by S.M. Beiko
Wishing for something more than her adventureless life, Ash eagerly awaits the move she and her mother are taking from their dull, drab life in the prairie town of Treade. But as Ash counts the days, she finds her way into a mysterious, condemned building on the outskirts of town. What she finds inside is an untouched library, inhabited by an enchanting mute named Li. Brightened by Li's charm, Ash becomes locked in a world of dusty books and dying memories, with Li becoming the attachment to Treade she never wanted. As the summer vanishes underneath her, Ash must choose between the road ahead or the dream she's living.
"This book makes you question the blurred line between reality and imagination." -John
"How do you believe in the real world when you don't even know your own reality?" -Keeshan
"This is a beautifully descriptive novel obviously written by an author who loves the physical book as well as the magic of the story." -Margaret
The Program by Suzanne Young
Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program. the only proven course of treatment. But she also knows that everyone who's been through it returns as a blank slate. Their depression may be gone, but so are their memories.The only person Sloane can be herself with is James and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But it's getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.
"The Program takes a unique twist on teen suicide, full of anticipation, romance, and action, keeping you glued to every page until the very end." -Thalia
"Sad, depressing and suicidal - it's Dystopian, you'll love it!" -Rooshan
"You'll find yourself feeling the raw emotions of the characters rather than just imagining them." -Grace
"A book that clearly defines emotions through writing that changes with the changes in the characters." -John
The Fall by Colleen Nelson
Before Luke came into his life, all Ben cared about was skateboarding, and whether his father would ever remember that he was alive. Then there was Luke, and it felt like he was being carried along on some sort of wave. But then Luke died, and everyone at school thinks it's his fault. Maybe it is. The Fall charts the lives of three boys as they deal with the death of their friend and brother. One turns to alcohol to escape his guilt. Another looks to a gang to replace what he's lost. Ben needs to find a way to reconcile his role in Luke's death and prove that he was not to blame. He must also learn that the man he will become is his to define.
"This book was a very in-depth look at grief, taking you on a tough ride with these boys." -Keeshan
"Deep and realistic, this book will pull you in." -Rooshan
"The Fall is an uncompromising view of how individuals deal with grief." -John
"This story gives you the sensation that you are falling along with the characters." -Grace
The Gypsy King by Maureen Fergus
A runaway slave with a shadowy past, sixteen-year-old Persephone has spent four long years toiling beneath the leering gaze of her despised owner and dreaming of a life where she is free to shape her own destiny. Then a chance encounter with a handsome chicken thief named Azriel changes her life forever. Sold to him for a small bag of gold coins, Persephone soon discovers what she already suspected: namely, that Azriel is not what he seems. Torn between her longing for freedom and her undeniable feelings for the handsome thief, Persephone faces the hardest choice she will ever have to make. And no one--least of all her--could have imagined the shocking truth her decision will reveal.
"I was into this book right from the beginning. I could have read it in one sitting, but I had to stop to study!" -Thalia
"The author nailed it! I loved the action and although it was gruesome in parts, she left some things up to the imagination." -Keeshan
"This book was an adventure that makes you question what it is to be loyal and what it takes to change your allegiances" -Sarah
"Although Persephone breaks her promises, this is a promising read. It is not so much a cliffhanger, as an exciting introduction to the much anticipated sequel." -Grace
Splintered by A.G. Howard
Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers - precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. But when her mother's mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based on terrifying reality.
"Alice in Wonderland and shoved it in a dark closet with shadow demons and the masterpiece, Splintered, has emerged." -Gracehas taken an innocent story like
"Splintered is a vividly descriptive story that leaves you in disbelief and makes you re-examine your memories of Alice in Wonderland." -Sarah
"This colourful,breathtaking book puts a new spin on an old classic like Alice in Wonderland. This dark re- imagining of Alice in Wonderland is intriguing and satisfying. Great read." -Margaret
Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
In the beginning, there was an apple - And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker's head clears, a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother's research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal. Just when Eve thinks she will die - not from her injuries, but from boredom - her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy. Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect . . . won't he?
"This intriguing book forces you to question the morals of our society. A fascinating read." -John
"Eve and Adam causes your imagination to blur the line between morally right and morally questionable." -Grace
"A biblical tale with evil twists and turns that transforms into a more futuristic story." -Anonymous
"A book that shows how far we are willing to go to help people, and when helping one begins to harm another." -Sarah
The Turning by Francine Prose
Jack is babysitting for the summer on an isolated island with no Wi-Fi, no cell service, and no one else around but a housekeeper and two very peculiar children. He immediately senses something sinister-and it's not just the creepy black house he's living in. Soon he is feeling terribly isolated and alone, but then he discovers there are others. The problem is, he's the only who can see them. As secrets are revealed and darker truths surface, Jack desperately struggles to maintain a grip on reality. He knows what he sees, and he isn't crazy... Or is he?
"This book left me hanging - grasping for whatever facts you can. Very suspenseful." -Grace
"An intricate tale that causes you to question reality." -John
"This book is an adventurous journey that will lead you through a labyrinth of doubt and ambiguity." -Sarah
"There were elements of this story that were captivating although it did leave me wanting more exploration of Jack's character." -Kayla
"A tale that shines a light on the fine line between reality and fiction." -Shawn
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else - two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren't they settling? Why isn't one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn't...
"Eva and Addie are perfect analogies for our own individuality and the secrets we all keep." -Sarah
"An intentionally claustrophobic dystopia that explores the boundaries of oneself." -John
"What's Left of Me gives us a completely new perspective on the idea of 'soul mates'." -Grace
"This gripping book is a secondary look at how society wants us to conform." -Sarah
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 harbors 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
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
"Ridiculously convincing" - John
"Legend collides with reality in this story. In a time of tragedy and anxiety, how do you find happiness?" - Grace
"This is a dark and otherworldly story made up of mature and complex characters. A wonderful fantasy blended with reality." - Kayla
"Great book that explores how to get over the hardest tragedies by fighting and persevering for what you love" - Sarah
"The best discoveries are sometimes found during the toughest times" - Sarah
"The Scorpio Races looks at life challenges through the eyes of two convincing characters" - Puck and Sean
"This book is full of adventure, but also examines the lives of these complex teenagers, and what they love and are prepared to fight for" - Anonymous
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares - with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night's experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . . What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?
"Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and - ultimately - immortality."'s
Divergent by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, 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.
According to Margaret, the first thing the club said when sitting down was that Roth had better write another one.
"There was never a slow moment in this book. Makes you question your own reality. It was amazing."
"This book shows the struggles a teenager faces to find themselves"
"A completely different world in a familiar place on earth. What would do if you knew you were different than everyone else?"
"It reassures you that you're not the only one who doesn't know what path to follow in life."
"If you liked The Hunger Games, you will love this book. Shows us what our society could become."
"Puts you on an 'after book high.' Couldn't stop thinking about it."
"Even in this frightening view of the future, teens still have the same basic problems."
Flip by Martyn Bedford
Friday, December 14th. Fourteen-year-old Alex rushes home that night to beat his curfew. The next morning, he wakes up in an unfamiliar house, in a different part of the country, and it's the middle of June. Six months seem to have disappeared overnight. The family at the breakfast table? Total strangers. And when Alex looks in the mirror, another boy - called Philip, or Flip - stares back. The race against the clock is on, and unless Alex finds out what's happened and how to get back to his own life, he'll be forever trapped in someone else's body and life.
"Well-developed characters" - John
"Makes you think about who you are and how you live" - Arielle
"Makes you aware of other peoples' lives. I'm getting my friends to read this!" - Sarah
"This was a page turner! Every chapter leaves you in suspense" - Keeshan
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Lina 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.
"A raw and powerful story about a hidden struggle" - Grace
"Profound story of human strength" - John
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