Thursday, November 13, 2014

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank

Chess would like to think of herself as a normal girl, but lately her body is not behaving in a normal manner. She’s been ill frequently but doesn’t know why and her undiagnosed condition even caused her to have a humiliating incident with a guy she has a crush on. It turns out that she has Crohn’s disease. She ends up in the hospital depressed and trying to come to terms with the diagnosis. One of her roommates, Shannon, has been in and out of the hospital with Crohn’s for a number of years. To put it mildly, Shannon is sassy with the doctors and nurses. She also isn’t one to throw a pity party for herself. Much of the book centers on Shannon and Chess trying to learn to deal with each other and Crohn’s disease.

Written in an unusual manner, Lucy Frank’s Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling takes an honest and realistic look at the subject of young people suffering from a chronic illness. Plenty of books have focused on terminally ill adolescents. (The Fault in Our Stars and Jenny Downham’s Before I Die come to mind.) It’s good to see an author exploring chronic illness as so many young people suffer from these health problems.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What the Librarians Are Reading

YS &Teen Staffer Andrea:

Girl in Reverse by Barbara Stuber  
Lillian Firestone’s Chinese mother gave her up for adoption upon arriving to the United States.  She is adopted by a family in Kansas City, Missouri and is brought up as an upstanding student with typical American ideals.  When America goes to war with Korea right after being at war with the Japanese, Lillian begins to face racial prejudice from her schoolmates.  She decides to investigate her birth mother and finds the strength to face prejudice.

27:  A history of the 27 Club through the lives ofBrian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and AmyWinehouse by Howard Sounes The 27 Club is the name used for the connection between the musical artists known as the “Big Six” who died at the age of 27.   The biographer looks at their backgrounds and the historic musical careers that made these six artists legends and ultimately led them to their tragic deaths.

Librarian Katie:

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg   Rafe is tired of being known as “the gay kid” in high school, and decides to enter an elite Massachusetts prep-school where he can start fresh. However, denying part of his identity complicates matters and opens his eyes to what it really means to be a true friend.

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
Sophia Amoruso shares what it takes to go from a troubled childhood and teen life to being known as one of the most current and successful business women having founded Nasty Gal, a fashion e-tailer, without even a college degree. Amoruso has used her passion, energy and wits to become  a success, and reveals her thoughts and tips in this rather entertaining memoir.

Librarian Lisa B:

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King
Glory's mother put her head in an oven when Glory was four and she has felt like she has spent much of her life on the outside. However, then a few nights before graduation her and Ellie (her sort of best friend) drink the remains of a petrified bat and  wake up with the ability to see into the future; and Glory sees the coming of a second civil war. King expertly weaves together realistic fiction, magical realism, and hints of a dystopia.

Branded by the Pink Triangle by Ken Setterington
In Holocaust concentration camps different patches on prisoners clothes stood for different things. The pink triangle was for homosexual (generally male) prisoners. This is the story of the horrors they endured at the hands of the Nazis and how they were treated after the war.

Librarian Lisa S:

Say What YouWill by Cammie McGovern Amy has cerebral palsy, and she speaks with the help of a computer.  For her senior year of high school, she has requested peer assistants instead of adults.   Amy is brilliant and plans to attend an Ivy League college in the fall.   Matt, one of her assistants, is battling his own illness, OCD.  He has no plans for the future.  Together, they help each other overcome obstacles, physical and mental, while they find out what they mean to each other.  

Popular:  A Memoir: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya VanWagenen Can Curlers, girdles, Vaseline and a strand of pearls help a shy girl become popular?  Maya Van Wagenen is about to find out.  Stuck near the bottom of the social ladder at “pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here,” Maya has never been popular.  But before starting eighth grade, she decides to begin a unique social experiment: Spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell.  The real-life results are hilarious, painful and filled with unexpected surprises. 

Librarian Mary Beth:

Bomb: the race tobuild—and steal—the world’s most dangerous weapon by Steve Sheinkin
In late December 1938, German chemist Otto Hahn discovered that uranium atoms could be split, and just a few months later the race to build an atomic bomb was on. The story unfolds in three parts, covering American attempts to build the bomb, how the Soviets tried to steal American designs and how the Americans tried to keep the Germans from building a bomb.

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen An unlikely grouping of robot-builders and cheerleaders rally together for a common cause. Charlie and Nate have been friends forever, and even though Charlie is a quiet jock and Nate is the president of the robotics club, they remain friends against the high school grain.

Librarian Petra:

Out of Eden by Peter Johnson Stony and his family are headed for a quiet vacation. They plan to watch movies, hike, and visit the local caves. On the way Stony’s father gets into an argument with a creepy-looking skinny guy and his huge friend at a rest stop. After everything calms down Stony, his mom, dad, and sister drive away.  Little do they know that these two guys are stalking them; waiting for their chance to attack the family. This is a story of how one family comes face-to-face with real evil.
Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific by Mary Cronk Farrell  
As WWII began, nearly 100 Navy and Army nurses were stationed in the Philippines.  Once a desirable duty station, the Philippines quickly became one of the most dangerous places these young women could be.  The many nurses who stayed behind to care for the wounded after the US was forced to retreat from the Philippines quickly find themselves prisoners of war.  Includes primary source material.

Librarian Phyllis:

Michael Vey: Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans
Michael Vey, a fourteen-year old who has Tourette’s syndrome and special electric powers, finds there are others like him, and must rely on his powers to save himself and the others from a diabolical group seeking to control them.

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson The author brings together the recollections of the survivors and witnesses to the disaster and includes historical photographs and illustrations.

YS &Teen Staffer Rozanne:

A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier The year is 1918, and seventeen-year-old Cleo Barry is restless. While living in the dormitory of her Portland boarding school, she longs for excitement, independence, and adventure in ways that are uncommon for young women of this era.  She soon gets her wish, but in ways that are unwanted and unexpected. The Spanish influenza pandemic has hit the Western United States, and a terrible fate awaits those unlucky enough to contract the deadly virus. While tempted to take measures to protect herself from illness, a devastating childhood memory propels her to volunteer for the Red Cross in order to take care of those who are gravely ill. As death begins to strike closer to home, Cleo wonders which one of her loved ones will be next. Will it be the handsome young doctor, her close friend, Katie – or will she be next? For lovers of historical fiction and suspense, Lucier’s novel will not disappoint.

Ghosts by Stuart Webb
Part of the Paranormal Files series, this factual account focuses on the various type of ghostly encounters, including ancient and medieval apparitions, early ghosthunters, communications with the dead, possession, and haunted houses. 

Librarian Ruth Anne:  

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman Seven-league boots, Snow White’s Step-Mother’s sinister mirror, and a golden key are a sampling of unique items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales now locked away in the Grimm Collection, housed in the New York Circulating Material Repository. Not your typical lending library, high school student Elizabeth is pleasantly surprised when she encounters these magical items, until she and her fellow workers discover things are not what they should be. They follow a dangerous journey to try to reclaim these priceless items, but someone is waiting to fight them, and the big mystery is could it be someone from the library staff?

Hidden Like Anne Frank: Fourteen True Stories of Survival by Marcel Prins
Holocaust survivors relate their childhood memories of escaping the Nazis in the Netherlands.

Librarian Sandra:

The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his. Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence?

Sunrise by Mike Mullin (Ashfall Trilogy Book 3)
The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors' constant companions.