Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Justice is an American pilot who is working with the ATA (a British organization) as World War II is coming to an end. D-day has already happened and the Allies are taking back France, but when Rose is ferrying a fighter plane from Paris back to England she does something maybe a little bit brave, but definitely a bit reckless that gets her caught by German forces. From there she is taken to Ravensbrück, a women's concentration camp. Here she faces horrors of death, brutality, and starvation; she meets first hand those who were operated and experimented on, also known as the Rabbits. However, these women find ways to get things they need (though never enough), hide prisoners whose numbers have been called, and come away with bits of hope in their rebellions (no matter how small) and camaraderie. While the reader knows that Rose makes it out alive her situation is no less bleak or tense and many of those she comes to think of as family do not make it to the allies liberation.

Rose Under Fire is a powerful book that shows the horrors that people can commit on one another, but also the resilience that people can have. At times it can be a difficult book to read, but still one that you don't want to put down.

Especially recommended for those who enjoyed Code Name Verity.

Other readalikes:
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Annexed by Sharon Dogar
The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Things are not going well for fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck and his family in Gary D. Schmidt’s novel Okay for Now. Doug and his parents have to move to a rundown house in upstate Marysville, New York, where his father has found a new job. Doug’s older brother Chris is a budding juvenile delinquent under suspicion of committing several robberies in town, and Doug’s oldest brother Lucas is in Vietnam. On top of all of this, Doug has a very big obstacle to overcome when it comes to his school work.

On the brighter side, Doug is a gifted artist who receives lessons on drawing birds from John James Audubon's Birds of America from a kindly librarian, and he quickly develops a crush on Lil Spicer, whose father owns the local deli and hires Doug to make Saturday deliveries. There is a lot going on in Okay for Now and Schmidt does a convincing job writing Doug’s narration of these events. Ultimately, too many events in the book come off as implausible. These include Lil being cast in a Broadway play even though she has no acting experience, and Doug’s dad doing something unimaginably cruel to him. Even worse, the implausibility often shifts between slapstick comedy and gritty realism. This could be a good book, but there is just too much crammed in.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Bartlett's Best Pizza 2014

Thank you to the four Bartlett Pizzerias that supplied pizzas for the event. Teens tasted samples of each and here are the results! 

Best Crust: Marco's Pizza
Best Sauce: Pasta Mia
Best Sausage: Taylor Street
Best Cheese: Taylor Street
Best Overall: Marco's Pizza

Special Thanks To: Nicodino's Pizza Co & Cafe, Pasta Mia, Taylor Street Pizza, and Marco's Pizza

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Charlotte is an Oracle, she gets visions of the future, but unlike ancient Oracles modern Oracles are told to fight their visions and by no means are they to do anything to change the future. Charlotte has not attempted to change the future since she was six and her actions lead to her father's death and her mother being wheelchair bound. But now people are being murdered in her small town of Coldwater and no matter how hard she tries she can't fight off the visions.Then a man, who goes by the name Smith, shows up, knowing far more than he should about Oracles and Charlotte. Smith urges Charlotte to explore her  powers and to try and save the killer's future victims. The more she tries the help though the closer she gets to the killer.

A supernatural murder mystery that leans more toward the murder mystery side of things. While Charlotte's Oracle powers are what gets her involved with the killer keeps the reader turning the pages (at least in the case of this reader) is the mystery of who the killer is what their motivation could be. Several events may seem over done or trite, but the supernatural atmosphere hints that things may not always be what they seem. Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike is a fast paced thriller.

You may also like:
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Sekret by Lindsay Smith


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Laurel's first high school English assignment is to write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain (lead singer of Nirvana) because Nirvana was her sister, May's, favorite band. May died in April. Instead of turning in her assignment though Laurel continues to write these letters to dead people, including Judy Garland, Amelia Earhart, and River Phoenix (but never the most important, May). Through these letters the reader sees Laurel's family, broken and reeling after May's death, experiences Laurel's insecurities about starting at a new school, making new friends, having her first drink, and developing a relationship (maybe?) with Sky (who occasionally reminds her of River Phoenix). As the letters continue Laurel also starts to reveal more about May, who she was in life, and the events of the night of her death.

Told entirely in letters to dead people Laurel uses their lives and demises to frame her thoughts and what is going on in her life. While these letters probably include more detail than anyone would in reality write to someone (or in a diary) they are interesting, thoughtful, and keep you wondering about what was really going on with May around the time of her death. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira is a good read if you're in the mood for realistic fiction that shows some harsh and heartbreaking realities, but is balanced (mostly) out with good friends and caring family members.

You may also like:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher


Saturday, August 2, 2014

New YA Books in the Library 07/27 - 08/02

The Last of Us: American Dreams by Neil Druckmann
Nineteen years after a parasitic fungal outbreak killed the majority of the world's population, thirteen-year-old Ellie, a ward of a military boarding school in one of the few remaining quarantine zones, makes her first trip into the outside world and soon encounters both a violent insurgent group called the Fireflies and the monstrous victims of the infection.

Naruto. Volume 66, The New Three by Masashi Kishimoto
Naruto will have to summon all of his Nine Tails power if he hopes to stand up against the devastating team of Obito and Madara. Luckily for the Allied Shinobi Forces, the greatest help they could ever wish for is on the way. And when Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura are finally reunited, the whole direction of the war may change dramatically!

Batman/Detective Comics. Volume 4 by John Layman
The Caped Crusader is challenged by the mystery of the 900. In this book, Batman faces two new foes: Emperor Penguin and the deadly vigilante known as The Wrath, a dark counterpart to the Dark Knight.

Voice Over! : Seiyu Academy. Volume 1 by Maki Minami
Hime Kino's dream is to one day do voice acting like her hero Sakura Aoyama from the Lovely Blazers anime, and getting accepted to the prestigious Holly Academy's voice actor department is the first step in the right direction! But Himes gruff voice has earned her the scorn of teachers and students alike. To make matters worse, Sakuras grouchy son, Senri, is in Hime's class, and he seems determined to stomp on her dreams.

The Young World by Chris Weitz
Welcome to New York, a city ruled by teens. After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind. The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.