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The Pricesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

The Princesses of Iowa

by M. Molly Backes

Paige Sheridan had it all.  She was beautiful, popular, and in line for Homecoming Princess.  Her friends and boyfriend were perfect, and she thought her life was perfect.  Paige’s world fell apart, though.  At the end of her junior year, Paige is in a drunk driving accident.  Only her friend Lacey is seriously hurt, but Lacey is able to heal.  The relationship between Lacey and Paige, however, seems like it will never heal.  Not only is there blame about the accident but Lacey is mad at Paige for abandoning her after the accident.   Paige’s mom sent her to Paris for the summer after the accident.  Paige was miserable there, having to babysit for a dysfunctional family, but all her friends thought she was off on the perfect summer vacation in Paris.

The Princesses of Iowa is about how Paige recovers and heals after a life changing event.  Paige’s friends and boyfriend treat her differently when she returns from Paris.  Nothing is the same and Paige is no longer sure what she wants out of life.  Paige starts to heal, however, through writing.  She is enrolled in Creative Writing and her new teacher, Mr. Tremont, is able to guide Paige into unlocking a talent for writing that she never knew she had.  The Princesses of Iowa is a great read for someone who is looking for a good realistic fiction book with not a lot of drama.  Basically, this is a story of a girl trying to figure out who she is.  Paige’s transformation from shallow and boring to thoughtful and interesting is a great one to read.  This is also a great book for anyone who is interested in writing and how it can be used as a creative outlet.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on September 11, 2012 Categories: Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Staff Pics

Enclave by Ann Aguirre


by Ann Aguirre

War and a plague have destroyed New York City.  Many generations ago, people went underground in order to survive and escape the Freaks (flesh eating monsters).  However, the Freaks have been growing down below and the people underground are in trouble.  Deuce lives in one of the last safe enclaves.  At the beginning of the novel, we meet Deuce as she gets her new name and is given her role as one of the huntresses in her enclave.  Unfortunately, Deuce’s hunting partner turns out to be Fade, a guy who came from topside but who has proven to be valuable to the enclave as a hunter.  Since he was not born in the enclave, not many people trust Fade.  When Deuce first hunts with Fade she learns why.  Fade doesn’t like to follow the rules.

Deuce, however, has trained and worked hard all her life to be a huntress and always follows the rules.  As Deuce continues to hunt with Fade outside the enclave she soon learns how desperate their situation is.  Freaks are everywhere and they are getting smarter.  After Deuce and Fade disobey direct orders, they are sentenced to a mission to travel to the nearest enclave.  When they arrive and find it decimated and overrun by Freaks, they return with warnings to their leaders.  But they are ignored and Deuce begins to see the flaw in her enclave’s leadership.  As Deuce begins to challenge authority, her home in the enclave is threatened.  When she and Fade are both accused of hoarding (an illegal practice) they are banished to the topside.

Without giving away too much more, the plot of Enclave really starts to unfold as Deuce and Fade go topside.  Their fight to survive in the post apocalyptic New York City is a hard one.  They encounter Freaks, gangs of savages who call themselves wolves, the sun (which Deuce has never seen before), injury, and finding safe food and water.  This is a survival story as much as it is an action and adventure read.  Be sure to check out Enclave if you want a fast paced, exciting read!

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on September 6, 2012 Categories: Action/Adventure, Dystopian, Fiction, Science Fiction, Staff Pics

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races

by Maggie Stiefvater

On the island of Thisby, deadly water horses rise from the sea every year.  These carnivorous beasts have claimed the lives of many–some have been taken while too close to the water and some have been taken during the Scorpio Races.  The Scorpio Races are held every year and draw in tons of tourists from the mainland.  During the races, men try to tame water horses to race down the beach.  It is a deadly spectacle, but one that is tradition on Thisby.

For Sean, his father was lost when competing in the races when he was a young boy.  Since then, Sean has dedicated his life to the races and to his tamed water horse, Corr.  Corr is the only family Sean has left, but for Sean there is always a threat that he will lose Corr.  Sean is only allowed to race Corr because he works for the Malverns, and the Malverns own Corr.  Sean is the water horse whisperer of Thisby.  He seems to hold some magical secret of how to tame the wild beasts.  These abilities have helped in the races, where he has won for the last four years in a row.  But for Sean, winning freedom for himself and for Corr is his ultimate goal.

For Puck, both her parents were taken by the water horses while on the beach.  That left her with her two brothers, one older and one younger.  Puck’s older brother is leaving Thisby and without him they will lose their parents’ house.  The only way Puck can think to keep her house and her brother is to compete in the Scorpio Races.  Winning the races will provide Puck with the money to insure that she can take care of herself and her younger brother, as well as keep the house.  It will also keep Puck’s brother on the island until the races are over.  Due to a loop hole in the rules of the Scorpio Races, Puck is not only the first female to race but she is also the first to race a normal horse, her beloved horse Dove.

The Scorpio Races is told in alternating chapters from Sean and Puck’s point of views and it is a captivating read.  At first you get to know Puck and Sean as individuals and the hardships that life has thrust upon them.  Then, as they become connected from participating in the Scorpio Races, you see their relationship develop.  Maggie Stiefvater weaves a wonderful tale that incorporates action and adventure, monstrous beasts, and the love that blossoms between two warriors.  Definitely pick this up if you want a good fantasy read.  It is fast paced, interesting, and very well-written.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on August 30, 2012 Categories: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Staff Pics

Curveball: the Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

Curveball: the Year I Lost My Grip

by Jordan Sonnenblick

The summer before Peter’s Freshmen year, he suffers a serious arm injury while pitching in his little league championship game.  The game was a critical one, because it would have shown his soon to be high school baseball coaches that he was a gifted pitcher that could easily make the JV team.  Now, however, Peter’s pitching days are over.  The injury to his arm required surgery and Peter seems to has lost any idea of what to do with himself now that he can’t play baseball.

Peter’s only other passion in life has been photography.  His interest has been cultivated through years of spending time with his grandfather, who is a professional photographer.  Peter has learned all the ins and outs of a camera, both old school and digital.  When he walks into his first day of Introducton to Photography, he is clearly ahead of the class.  Both Peter and another student, Angelika, are sent to the Advanced Photogtraphy class.  Being the only two Freshmen in a class of upperclassmen instantly creates a friendship between Peter and Angelika. 

Peter and Angelika’s friendship becomes something more, however, when they begin working together taking photos for the yearbook.  Things seem to be changing for Peter as he begins to find out who he is when he can no longer be the star pitcher.  However, as Peter begins to find himself, his grandfather seems to be losing himself.  Can Peter get his family to recognize that their grandfather needs help before it is too late?

Curveball has a lot going on in its pages.  At first this novel seems pretty simple: a guy has to figure out who he is when he can no longer be a sports star.  However, with the addition of a possible new girlfriend, a best friend who truly believes Peter will pitch again, and a grandfather whose mind is slipping, Peter’s life is complicated.  When you’re reading Curveball, though, you never feel like you are overwhelmed with Peter’s problems.  It is a really good read that never feels like there is too much drama.  I also really liked Peter.  He was relatable and is a character who had flaws that he was able to overcome. 

You should definitely pick this book up if you are looking for a good, realistic read that has a cast of characters that feel like your own friends and family.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on August 20, 2012 Categories: Fiction, Guys Reads, High School, Realistic Fiction, Staff Pics

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Graffiti Moon

by Cath Crowley

A lot can happen in one night.  On the night of their high school graduation Lucy, Ed, and Leo set out on a night of adventure with their friends.  Lucy and her friends Jazz and Daisy want to spend the whole night in search of  Shadow and Poet, a couple of graffiti artists that are making their mark in their Australian city.  Lucy, who spends her free time as an apprentice to a glass blower, is obsessed with Shadow’s artwork and knows that he is the guy for her.  All she has to do is find him, which she has been trying to do for months now.  Her friends Jazz and Daisy assure Lucy that before the night is over they will find Shadow.

Ed and Leo are Shadow and Poet, but no one knows this.  Only their good mate Dylan knows their secret identities.  The three guys are in a bad place, though.  Ed has dropped out of school because of his dyslexia, lost his job, and his girlfriend.  Leo is in debt to a thug for $500 and is also dealing with a hard breakup.  Dylan is having problems with his girlfriend Daisy, who he is sure is about to dump him.  To try and fix things with Daisy, Dylan tells the girls that he knows Shadow and Poet.  The girls recruit Dylan, and his two friends Ed and Leo to help them track down the artists.  The guys lead the girls through the city on a search that cannot succeed.  Along the way, Ed and Lucy grow closer, even though they are convinced they hate each other after a bad date.  Leo and Jazz decide they were meant to be with each other, and Daisy and Dylan continue their fight.  However, with such a big secret can Ed and Lucy and Leo and Jazz really find love this night?  Also, what will the guys do when it gets to be 2 a.m. and they have to take part in a robbery to fix Leo’s debt?

Graffiti Moon is told in alternating chapters in the voices of Lucy, Ed, and Leo.  Each voice is so distinct and you really get to know these characters.  This is definitely a character driven novel.  It’s also great that this whole story unfolds in just one night.  There is adventure, comedy, romance, and art all rolled up into one novel.  This is a great read for anyone looking for a fun, fast paced read that has a little bit of everything.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on August 7, 2012 Categories: Art, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Staff Pics

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy

by Robin LaFevers

Ismae Rienne is born with a horrible scar running down her body, that marks her as the daughter of Death. She is feared and ridiculed by the local villagers and abused by her father. When her cruel father sells her to an even crueler husband, Ismae must escape or be killed.  She finds refuge at the convent of St. Mortain, where she is trained to be an assassin. The sisters of St. Mortain have long trained to assist the god of death in his pursuits. During her convent training, Ismae finds that she has many special gifts that help her excel as a handmaiden of death. The abbess assigns Ismae to the court of the Duchess of Brittany to protect the young Duchess and discover the traitors within the court. Of course, this means killing anyone with the the mark of Mortain. Trapped within the social confines of court life, Ismae must determine who she can trust and who she cannot. The smallest mistake, will lead to death. To make matters worse, Ismae has fallen for Duval, a man who may be marked by Mortain.

Grave Mercy is set in 15th Century France where danger, mystery, and death lurk around every corner. There is plenty of court intrigue, along with several memorable characters. The relationship between Ismae and Duval is intense and filled with many difficult choices for both characters. This is a great read for anyone who likes either historical fiction, fantasy, or mystery mixed with a good romance.

Watch and enjoy the book trailer.

By Barbara, Teen Outreach Librarian on July 31, 2012 Categories: Book Trailer, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Staff Pics

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Little Brother

by Cory Doctorow

Marcus is an expert with a computer, and he has to be.  In his school computers rule.  They are not only for doing schoolwork, but technology is being used to keep track of and spy on the students.  In Marcus’ near-future world, technology is slightly more advanced than it is today.  In order to have some sort of  freedom and control while being online, Marcus has figured out how to maintain his privacy online while staying under the radar, mostly through hacking. 

This all changes one afternoon when Marcus and his friends skip class to join in a scavenger hunt as part of one of their favorite online games.  San Francisco comes under attack from terrorists and Marcus and his friends finds themselves close to the attack.  So close, in fact, the he and his friends are taken in by the Department of Homeland Security as possible threats.  Even though they had nothing to do with the attacks on San Francisco, Marcus and his friends are interrogated for days in an unknown prison about their involvement.  When they are finally set free, their lives are changed forever.  Marcus is scarred by the interrogation and to make matters worse his best friend Darryl was never released.

Marcus takes to the net determined to fight against all the new restrictions, curfews, and increased DHS presence in San Francisco as a result of the terrorist attacks.   Marcus feels that his story must be told and that people must fight back against Big Brother.  However, by fighting back, he risks everything… even his life. 

Little Brother is a great book for any reader.  There is a lot of action in this book and a good mystery.  Little Brother also makes you question if this could really be our future.  It is really believable that this world could one day be ours, and if it is, we all need to be better informed about how to maintain our privacy online.  This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and also give you a lot to think about.

Click here to find Little Brother in the Library!

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on July 30, 2012 Categories: Dystopian, Fiction, Guys Reads, Mystery, Science Fiction, Staff Pics

Fated by Alyson Noël


by Alyson Noël

Fated is the first book in Noël’s new Soul Seekers series.  If you are a fan of Alyson Noël’s Immortals series, then you should definitely pick up her new book Fated.  It is similar to the Immortals series because it has some supernatural elements to it, it has a mystery, and it has a really interesting main character with a unique ability.  If you like supernatural books, then this is definitely a good one to pick up, because this novel has a heavy basis in Native American mythology.  Daire, like Ever, has supernatural powers that allow her to be in the living world and also in the world of the dead–Daire is a soul seeker.  Her powers as a soul seeker give her visions and the ability to help souls in the living world and the after world.  She also has a spirit animal that guides her in her quests and gives her soul the ability to travel to the different worlds and in different forms.

Daire first experiences her abilities as a soul seeker through devastating visions that have her sent to a mental institution.  However, her grandmother reaches out to her and moves her to a small town in New Mexico so she can teach Daire to hone her new powers.  Daire comes from a long line of soul seekers on her father’s side.  However, in this small town called Enchantment, there exists another family of soul seekers.  This other family has set out to use their powers for evil.  In this family exists a set of twins, one that Daire knows to be evil and one that she feels an instant connection to.  As her powers as a soul seeker grow stronger, Daire must stop one brother from carrying out an evil act and figure out her connection to the other brother–a connection that she cannot even begin to understand.

Click here to find Fated in the Library today!

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on July 20, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Staff Pics, Supernatural/Paranormal

Deadly Pink by Vivian Vande Velde

Deadly Pink

by Vivian Vande Velde

Fourteen year old Grace has been asked to rescue her sister, but she wonders if she is up to the task. Grace is the second sister, the average sister who depends on Emily for help. Her older sister is the special one. She is in college, mega smart, super popular, and better looking than Grace. While Grace is an avid gamer, Emily works as an intern for the Rasmussem Corporation, the creators of the world’s best virtual reality games. These games are not the average virtual reality game, but total immersion games where the player becomes part of the gaming world. Once in the game, players can taste, smell, feel, and move just like the real world. While their bodies remain lying on a couch, hooked to a computer, and safe. Emily has hidden herself in one of the games she helped create and altered the codes so she cannot be pulled out. The problem is, there is a time limit to how long gamers can stay in virtual form before dangerously injuring their real bodies. Grace must enter the game, find her sister, and rescue her before time runs out and her sister faces not just a virtual death. 

Reading this book feels like playing a game. Grace has to use her gaming knowledge (and sarcastic wit) to win coins, battle enemies, and save her sister. All this makes for a fast-paced and funny journey, with a little danger thrown in. Along the way, Grace learns that all is not as it seems and that nobody is as perfect as they appear. If you like gaming or have a sister, check this book out.

Other books by Vivian Vande Velde that include the Rasmussem Corporation:

By Barbara, Teen Outreach Librarian on July 12, 2012 Categories: Fiction, Science Fiction, Staff Pics

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Friends With Boys

by Faith Erin Hicks

If you like quirky graphic novels with a touch of supernatural, then you’ll love Friends With Boys.  Not only is the artwork of Friends With Boys really well done, the story is also really interesting and quietly captivating.  It centers on Maggie who is about to enter high school after being home-schooled by her mother.  She is the youngest in her family with three older brothers, and their mother has just left.  Maggie has always relied on her brothers, to be her friends and to do stuff with. However, now that she is in high school, her brothers cannot be there for her, and Maggie has to make new friends to survive.  Maggie is doing her best in trying to deal with her mom leaving, even with the huge adjustment of attending a public high school, and the ghost that has followed her throughout her life is not helping things… 

According to her website, Faith Erin Hicks says that she wrote this graphic novel with a little basis in her own life experiences.  I always find it cool when an author uses their own experiences to influence their work.  Read more about what real life experiences Faith Erin Hicks used in this graphic novel by clicking here.  This book is not all drama, though, it is also hilarious!  Especially the relationship between Maggie’s twin brothers Lloyd and Zander.   Check out some of the artwork from Friends With Boys below:

It is simple black and white drawings, but I really like the style.  The characters are realistic portrayals, and I love the styling of all the characters–I feel like I can picture what these characters would look like in real life and I also love that each character has a distinct style that stays consistent through the whole book.  Finally, I really love the drama that Faith Erin Hicks can create with simple black and white drawings, check out this example (one of my favorites):











Click here to find Friends With Boys at the Library!

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on July 11, 2012 Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel, High School, Staff Pics