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 lbarefield@bartlettlibrary.org

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

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here opens with Meg's suicide email (that she sent on time delay to her family and best friend), I regret to inform you.... . The reader never really gets to meet Meg, all that's shown of Meg is through the memories of Cody, her best friend. Cody is shocked and devastated by her friend's death, but she is also hurt that she was caught off guard (Meg was her best friend, shouldn't she have seen some sort of sign?). When she finds an encrypted file on Meg's computer she becomes embroiled in Meg's seemingly sudden decision to end her own life.

Forman has created a work that tackles a difficult and emotionally wrought topic in an authentic way. Cody is grieving and angry and says hurtful things and makes rash (and in the light of day ridiculous potentially dangerous) decisions as she struggles to figure out life without her other half. 

Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld gives readers two stories. The first is the of Darcy Patel; an 18 year old who completed a 60,000 word novel (also titled Afterworlds) in a month and found herself a publisher who gave her an impressive advance ($300,000). With those in hand Darcy decides to put off college to move to New York and try her hand at being a real adult writer. The other story is Darcy's novel Afterworlds, which opens with Lizzie in a Dallas airport finding herself in the middle of a terrorist attack. In order to survive she plays dead; a bit too well. Lizzie crosses over (still alive) to the otherside, where she meets Yamaraj, whose life began hundreds of years ago, but he has spent so much time on the otherside, referred to as the flipside, that he still resembles a teenager. Once she returns to the world of the living she is the lone survivor of the terrorist attack and now she is left to deal not only with the ramifications of that fact, but she has left the flipside with the ability to see ghosts.

Other than Afterworlds being Darcy's novel the two stories remain rather separate. The Afterworlds novel that the reader gets though is Darcy's finished draft, and it is intriguing to read about Darcy going through the editing process and hearing about scenes and endings that will never be seen. While interesting to hear about Lizzie's development within the larger novel I'm not sure I would have gotten through Darcy's novel (featuring Lizzie's story) on its own. For me Darcy's real life story, and the people she came in contact with, were far more compelling than Lizzie's (even with a terrorist attack and a several centuries old death god). Overall though it read for quickly for a book that is nearly 600 pages long.


If you like Darcy's story you may want to checkout:
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

If you like Lizzie's story you may want to checkout:
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Fracture by Megan Miranda