Saturday, March 21, 2015

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Rudy and his family live on a remote, sparsely populated island so that his younger brother Dylan, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, can eat a rare fish called the Enki. The Enki are said to have magical powers, particularly in terms of improving one’s health. Rudy and his family are not the only people who have come to the island for this reason. Many other severely ill people have come with the hope of becoming better from the fish’s restorative powers.

An island inhabited mostly by old, sick people is not exactly what Rudy was hoping for in his teenage years, but he knows that the fish are important for his brother’s health. Rudy eventually meets a girl his age named Diana who spends most of her time sitting inside and reading. Rudy finds her odd as most everything she knows seems to come from reading and not from interacting with people. Even odder is Teeth who is a merman, or fishboy as Rudy likes to call him. Rudy ends up forming a sort of friendship with this half fish/half boy and even spends some time hanging out in the ocean with the creature. Yes, this is not one of those books where I spent my time thinking “I’ve read something like this dozens of times before.” I also wondered if some of the strange things in Teeth were even real.

Rudy’s conflicted loyalties between his family, Diana, and Teeth turn the book into not just a quirky read but a book with substance. Teeth also brings up some good points about the needs of people versus their impact on the environment. If the originality in Teeth is any indication, Hannah Moskowitz is an author to keep an eye on.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the Sun is the story of twins Noah and Jude. Half of the story is told from Noah's perspective when the twins are 13 and the other half is told from Jude's perspective at 16. In alternating sections the reader learns how Noah and Jude went from inseparable to not speaking. The book opens with Noah's story, and he is 13 and artistically gifted, but socially awkward and falling in love with the boy next door (while trying not to let anyone know he is). Jude on the other hand is able to talk enough for both of them and seems to be the girl all the boys are interested in. However, when Jude's story starts at 16 she has become socially closed off and is on a self prescribed boy boycott and Noah  has transformed into a jock. While each of their stories are interesting it is the mystery of what happened to cause such a shift, the lies that were told to both hurt and protect each other, is what really kept me turning the pages (especially as the boiling point nears). Full of artistic imagery ("Jude bars bright blue fluorescent barf all over the table, but I'm the only who notices"(p13)), Nelson tells a thoughtful story about family, secrets and lies, betrayal, and love.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Recovery Road by Blake Nelson

Before she arrived at the Spring Meadows rehab center Madeline’s high school classmates referred to her as “Mad Dog” Maddie. She not only had a severe drinking problem but she became angry and violent when she drank. Now she is trying to straighten herself out. Spring Meadows is not glamorous and is hard for Maddie, whose family is well off, to adjust to. Things get better when she meets Stewart on her halfway house’s weekly movie night. He’s slightly older and from another halfway house just down the road. She immediately has a crush on him. Things start to get serious between them once they are out of rehab.

Maddie returns to high school and hides out in the library during lunch. She’s afraid of associating with her old, hard partying friends. At the library she meets Martin, a socially awkward, honors student and develops a friendship with him after a somewhat rocky beginning. She also starts hanging out with Trish, a train wreck of a girl from her halfway house. Since they’ve both been to rehabe, Maddie finds that she can relate better to Trish than to most of the people at her high school.

Maddie’s encounters with some of her fellow recovering substance abusers are gut-wrenching. I wanted her to make sensible decisions and not get pulled back into the life of an addict. Even though I rooted for her to stay on the straight and narrow, Recovery Road made it easy to see why sobriety is not as simple as deciding to say no. Particularly challenging for Maddie is making a completely new set of friends late in high school and trying to cope with being very lonely. Blake Nelson’s Recovery Road neither glamorizes nor goes into some kind of fear-seeking hysteria regarding substance abuse. Despite how realistic the book is, or perhaps because of it, Recovery Road still manages not to be boring at all.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Alex Awards

2015 Alex Award* Winners are:

All the  Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer

Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

Bingo's Run by James A Levine

Confessions by Kanae Minato

Lock In by John Scalzi

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice by Zak Ebrahim with Jeff Giles

Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta


Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

*Top ten adult books for teens

Thursday, February 5, 2015

2015 Abraham Lincoln Award Voting - Now Open

You can now vote for your favorite Abe Lincoln Nominee! You can use the online form below or submit a paper ballot at the library.
You can vote through March 15th. We will announce statewide winners as well as BPLD winners.

Email Lisa at

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

2015 Printz Award Winner

The Michael L. Printz* Award Winner for 2015 is...
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

2015 Honors are...
And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

*For excellence in Young Adult Literature