Irises by Francisco X. Stork. Arthur A. Levine, 2012. (FIC Stork)
Kate and Mary are sisters. Their mother has been in a vegetative state ever since the car accident their father still blames himself for. When he dies suddenly, the girls are forced to make some hard decisions. The deacons of the church where their father was the minister give them a deadline to leave the parsonage and their father’s life insurance claim is denied. How will the girls survive?
Should Kate marry her boyfriend, Simon, and let him “take care” of them all? Or should she hold on to her dream of going to StanfordUniversity? Who will take care of Mary, who is still underage? As the girls struggle with grief, they must decide what choices are best for both of them. In the end, will this trial bring them closer together – or tear them apart?
Divergent by Veronica Roth. Katherine Tegan, 2011. (FIC Roth)
Beatrice has grown up in the Abnegation faction. Now she is about to turn 16 and it’s time to choose whether to stay in her faction for life or choose one of the others (Amity, Dauntless, Erudite or Candor). Usually, the aptitude tests administered by the government show a clear preference for one of the five factions, but Beatrice’s test is inconclusive: she is Divergent.
With the choice entirely up to her, Beatrice chooses Dauntless and begins her training for initiation into the faction. Only ten candidates can join the faction; the rest will be cast out to live factionless in the slums of the city. Not only does Tris (her new name, to fit her new faction) have to make it through the physical and mental challenges of the training, she has to watch her step. Some of her fellow initiates will stop at nothing to climb to the top of the rankings … and she has been warned to keep her Divergence a secret.
When Tris and her trainer, Four, uncover a terrible secret about the faction leaders, will it be too late to stop the war that has been simmering underneath the calm façade of the city?
A grown-up kind of pretty by Joshilyn Jackson. Grand Central, 2012. (FIC Jackson)
When Ginny was 15, she gave birth to Liza. When Liza was 15, she gave birth to Mosey. Now Mosey is about to turn 15 and Ginny is sure some calamity is about to strike the family again. Liza recently had a devastating stroke and when Ginny decides to take out the old willow tree in the backyard in order to put in a pool to help her with her physical therapy, a secret is uncovered. As Mosey tries to figure out what’s going on, Liza struggles to communicate what she knows and Ginny does her best to hold things together for her fragile little family.
What was buried in the jewelry box under the willow tree? Was Liza’s stroke the result of her drug-addicted past, or is there a more sinister cause? Is Mosey doomed to follow her mother and grandmother down the path of teenage motherhood?
Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Feiwel and Friends, 2012. (FIC Meyer)
Cinder lives with her stepmother and two stepsisters in New Beijing. Her best friend is her android Iko, and she works as a mechanic to earn money to support the family. Cinder is a great mechanic because she has an affinity for machines; after all, she’s part machine herself.
When Cinder’s mechanic skills attract the interest of handsome Prince Kai, it looks like a great opportunity. But then Cinder’s favorite stepsister falls ill with the deadly plague that has been spreading across the planet and, blaming Cinder for it, her stepmother “volunteers” her for plague research. No cyborg has survived the research – until Cinder comes along.
Suddenly, Cinder has attracted the attention of not only the Prince and the head research scientist but the evil Lunar Queen Levana. What secrets does Cinder’s cyborg body hold?
This futuristic twist on the “Cinderella” story is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles quartet. The next book, Scarlet, comes out early next year.
- Interview with Marissa Meyer (allisonsbookbag.wordpress.com)
The future of us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler. Razor Bill, 2011. (FIC Asher)
It’s 1996 and Emma has just gotten a new computer. Her neighbor, Josh, who used to be her best friend, brings her an AOL CD so she can get on the Internet. But something strange happens when she installs the software: something called “Facebook” pops up on her screen … and it shows her glimpses of what her life will be like 15 years in the future. Soon, she discovers that changes she makes in the present cause her future to change. Can Emma force herself into a happy future, or will knowing what’s going to happen spoil the present?
This novel from the authors of Thirteen Reasons Why and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things raises some interesting questions about how what we do today affects the future. If you could see what your day to day choices meant for your future, would you do things differently? More importantly, would you really want to know the future?
Room by Emma Donoghue. Back Bay, 2010. (FIC Donoghue)
Five year old Jack has lived in Room his whole life. He and Ma are the only people who live in this tiny world; Old Nick comes to visit at night but Jack is always safe in Wardrobe when he comes. To Jack, Room is the entire world, so when Ma tells him that the things he sees on TV are not from other planets but are part of the real world, he doesn’t believe her. When she convinces him to take part in a plan to escape the confines of Room, Jack is scared but wants to help his Ma. And so he sets off on a journey that will take him far outside the walls of Room, into a world bigger than he ever imagined.
Told entirely from Jack’s point of view, this novel is an interesting twist on the “ripped from the headlines” story of a woman kidnapped and held prisoner by years by her abductor. Jack doesn’t quite understand what’s going on around him, but he gives the reader a unique perspective.
Tempest by Julie Cross. Thomas Dunne, 2011. (FIC Cross)
The year is 2009. Jackson Meyer can travel through time. It’s fun – he can’t change the past, no one remembers anything he’s done, and he can always jump back to his “home base” (aka the present). No harm done – until the day some strangers burst into his girlfriend Holly’s dorm room and she is fatally shot. Panicking, Jackson jumps into the past – and this time he can’t jump back. Stuck in 2007, Jackson must figure out why this time jump is different from the others and figure out a way to save Holly, all while eluding the mysterious Enemies of Time and trying to understand his own past.
This is an exciting mystery with twists and turns that will make your head spin.
Check out this review from the Los Angeles Times:
And a huge SHOUT OUT to author Julie Cross, for donating two copies of this book to the MoHi Library! THANK YOU!!!
When she woke by Hillary Jordan. Algonquin, 2011. 344 p. (FIC Jordan)
In the future, prisons are only for the most dangerous offenders. Most criminals undergo a process called melachroming: their skin is turned a bright color corresponding to the type of crime they committed. Murders are turned red … and abortion is considered murder.
Hannah Payne had an affair with her pastor, a famous man of God who has just been named the new Secretary of Faith by the president. In order to save his reputation, she aborts the baby they had conceived … and pays the price. Her skin turned scarlet red, Hannah is looked down on by everyone, even her own mother.
As she struggles to survive as a Chrome, Hannah faces a crisis of faith … in God, in humanity, in herself. Will Hannah be crushed by her fate or will she come to find her true self and her place in the world?
Just like The scarlet letter, this novel explores the hypocrisy of a society that claims to be pious but allows prejudice to run rampant. Hannah is judged by the color of her skin, not by the content of her heart. This book raises important questions about the relationship between church and state, abortion, organized religion and finding one’s personal beliefs.
Outlaw by Stephen Davies. Clarion, 2011. 289 p.
Jake Knight longs for adventure, but he’s stuck at a stuffy English boarding school. When he is suspended for being caught off campus while playing a geocaching game, Jake joins his parents and sister at the British Embassy in Burkina Faso, where his father is the ambassador. Things are definitely looking up … or so he thinks.
At a fancy diplomatic party, Jake and his sister Kas are kidnapped by terrorists. The culprit is the infamous Yakuuba Sor, the most wanted outlaw in the Sahara. As Jake and Kas try to escape, they find that things are not entirely what they seem. Is is possible that Yakuuba Sor is the good guy? Who is really behind their kidnapping? Can Jake and Kas return to their parents safe and sound?
Jake wanted adventure and he certainly gets it in this thriller!
The fault in our stars by John Green. Dutton, 2012. 318 p. (FIC Green)
Hazel has cancer. She nearly died a few years ago, but a miracle drug shrank the tumors in her lungs and is keeping them from growing any larger … for now. Tethered to an oxygen tank, Hazel attends classes at community college (although she’s only 17, she already has her GED) and the weekly Support Group meeting at a local church. People come and go from Support Group … and those who go are never coming back.
It’s at Support Group that Hazel meets Augustus, a hot boy with an artificial leg (he had bone cancer that required an amputation) and a wicked sense of humor much like her own. Although Hazel is reluctant to subject anyone to the inevitable loss they will feel when she dies, she can’t help but forge a relationship with Augustus, especially after she introduces him to her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction by the reclusive author Peter Van Houten.
When Augustus uses his Wish to take Hazel and her mom to Amsterdam to meet Van Houten (she had squandered hers on a trip to Disney World before her “miracle”), Hazel realizes that despite herself she’s fallen in love with Augustus. Is love enough to make up for the pain that will certainly come? And which of them will have to bear the pain of saying goodbye first?
This is a book about dying kids, but it’s also quirky, funny and not at all maudlin or sappy. John Green has a talent for telling deep stories with a sense of humor, full of intelligent teenagers who don’t quite fit the typical stereotype but nevertheless ring true.