Book reviews of YA lit and more

As a middle school librarian and hopeful reader of Missouri's high school award books (Gateway nominees), I am reading and reviewing as many young adult and middle grade novels as I can while working on my own writing for this age group.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Everlost- Neal Shusterman

OK, I have no idea how this trilogy escaped my notice when I have been a big fan of Neal Shusterman for years.  Too many authors/books, too little time I guess.  So, the first in this trilogy is not new, but it is fantastic.  It opens with Allie and Nick getting into a car accident and dying.  On their way to the light at the end of the tunnel, they bump each other and end up in Everlost.  A world that is between life and death where other children and even buildings have ended up.  They quickly befriend a young boy they name Leif and the three of them set off to explore Everlost and find answers to their many questions.  They meet many legendary Everlost characters, including some "monsters" and find that Allie has the power to "skinjack" living humans.  She is able to go into living people's bodies and control them.  The first book ends with the characters going their separate ways and possibly becoming "monsters" themselves.  I cannot wait to get a hold of the second and third one in this trilogy.  Shusterman has done another fantastic job with this series!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands- Susan Carol McCarthy

This wonderful little book reminded me so much of one of my all time favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird.  Reesa is a young girl growing up in Florida during the 1950's.  Her father owns and operates a large citrus farm with the help of some black people that are also their good friends.  The book begins with the murder of Marvin Cully, a black teenage boy that is the son of Reesa's parents good friends and best help on the farm.  The Ku Klux Klan is very active in this part of Florida at this time, and Marvin's murder is just the beginning of crimes the KKK is responsible for.  Reesa's father gets involved with trying to get the FBI to put a stop to the KKK, but it is tricky because unless it involves a federal crime, the FBI  is unable to help.  Of course, the local and state law inforcement are card carrying KKK members themselves.  I loved Reesa's character, and her father and grandmother make me proud that at least there were some people back then that knew the poor treatment of blacks was wrong and weren't afraid to do something about it.  This book is somewhat of a memoir, in that the author truly did grow up on a citrus farm in Florida during this time period.  She admits to altering some of the details, but the basic story is true, which  makes this story all the better to me.  I would recommend this to high school students (great companion to To Kill a Mockingbird) or adults.

Dust & Decay

OK, I first have to say that I loved the first book in this series (at least I'm hoping it's not finished with two books), so I was so excited to finally get Dust & Decay.  I was not disappointed.  This book picks up 6 months after the first one was finished leaving our main characters to a calm life in town learning from Tom how to be "warrior smart" when fighting zombies.  They are planning to leave town soon though to go looking for where the jet they saw may have come from.  The moment they enter the Rot & Ruin things go bad.  They have a run in with a rhino and Preacher Jack that leaves them getting separated and hurting.  The entire book is following Chong, Lyla, Nix & Benny, and Tom as they fight for their lives alone and eventually together attempting to take down Gameland forever.  The book ends with them still wanting to travel east to where they saw the jet go, which is why I'm thinking (hoping) that a sequel will be following.

Bumped- Megan McCafferty

This book has one of the most interesting premises of a book I have read in a long time.  There has been a fertility virus that has struck all adults and the only members of society that can conceive are teenagers.  If that isn't a scary thought, then I don't know what is!  :-)  Enter into the scene Harmony and Melody, identical twins that were separated at birth.  One was rasied in the "Church" where girls are raised to be married at 13 and submit to God's (or the Elders') will for their lives.  The other girls was raised with two parents that have spend her whole life prepping her for a "bump" that will bring them money and fame.  The girls come together and life is turned upside down for both of them in a major way.  The end of the book leaves you hanging, so there is not surprise that the sequel (Thumped) will be coming out in April 2012.  I for one, can't wait to read the conclusion this spring!  Here is a video where the author explain the book even further.

Megan McCafferty video