Friday, February 16, 2018

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

In a society that proclaims to have eradicated poverty, war, disease and all other problems that plague mankind, everything should be perfect.  But, to keep these things in check, there must be a group that takes care of population control. This is where the elite group of scythes come in.  They must "glean" people.  This group is highly revered and feared and have been performing this task for many years.  One day, Scythe Faraday decides to take two apprentices, Citra and Rowan, who are just 16 years old.  In just one year, they must learn how to kill people efficiently and humanely.  Is that even possible for a 16 year old to do?  Scythe Faraday assures them that he has chosen them both for a reason and that he will teach them himself.  Until, in an unexpected turn of events, he is no longer able to mentor them.  They are both given to other scythes that may not have the same beliefs as Scythe Faraday.  Will they survive to become scythes?  Do they want to survive the training?  What kind of society would ask this of some of the citizens? 

Find out in this gripping first in a series novel by Neal Shusterman.

I have read many books by Shusterman, and he does not disappoint in this new series.  In fact, I came away thinking about the many lessons to be learned from it.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call a good read. 


Monday, February 12, 2018

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany.  His family found a ship to board to leave Germany, and they got onto it. 

Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994.  Castro said that Cuban citizens could leave if they chose, and her family chose to go to America in the hopes and dreams of finding a better life.

Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015.  His family must leave their home country to survive.

All 3 of these young people are refugees from their respective countries.  They MUST flee to survive.  Will they make it to their chosen destination? 

Gratz does a masterful job of telling these three stories independent of each other, but he ties them together in the end showing how much one's actions can affect others. 

This book is one that I would recommend to everyone because it gives a perspective that puts a human face to the refugee issue in our world.  Pick up this great read and learn from these 3 young voices. 

Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler

Calliope and Eliot meet in town under odd circumstances.  Both are fifteen; both have parents with interesting jobs; both are sure that their parents are weird; both are ready for a relationship; both do not tell the other at first. 

This is one of my favorite romance stories in the library.  I love it for several reasons including that it is told in multiple perspectives.  You hear from both Calliope and Eliot.  I think it is very important to remember that there are AT LEAST 2 sides to a story.  Most of the time we do not get to hear the other side, and we as humans do a poor job of guessing what the other person is thinking.  If we took the time to find out the real motivations behind others' actions, we would understand and empathize more with what is going on in the lives of others.  For me, that definitely makes for a good story.  Please take the time read this touching story.

Cover image for Scrambled eggs at midnight

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Bryce and Juli are in 8th grade now, but to really understand their story, you have to look back to 2nd grade when Bryce moved in across the street.  Juli was so excited to have someone her age that she went straight over to help out.  She just knew that they would be best friends.  Bryce had other ideas that did not include Juli AT ALL.  Now that they are in 8th grade, things may just have flipped.  Find out in this wonderfully written story about friendship, love and family.  This is an Oldie But A Goodie--and I do mean a goodie.


Monday, January 29, 2018

The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff

Winnie has a wonderful treehouse which turns out to be her safe place since her parents are always fighting over their time with her.  Winnie's parents are divorced, and they want to spend an equal amount of time with her.  Precisely--equal.  She spends 3 days with one parent, 3 days with the other parent, and on Wednesdays she gets to spend in the treehouse alone.  This sounds great to her parents, but when they continue to fight even though they never see each other Winnie is affected. 
She decides to revolt and stay in the treehouse.  Then, her friends decide to join her in a stand off against parents and parent rules.  Soon, the media gets wind of the plan, and the ten children are in the treehouse for not hours but days.  What will bring them down?  Find out in The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff.

The Great Treehouse War

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Extra by Kathryn Lasky

Lilo is a young Sinti girl in Nazi Germany.  One night she along with her mother and father are snatched from their home and sent to a camp where other gypsies were sent.  Lilo and her mother were separated from her father immediately, but Lilo made quick friends with Django who could arrange things such as food and information.  Lilo and her mother were chosen for a medical procedure, but Lilo is able to hide and escape from it.  After her mother endures the surgery, Lilo knows that she has to do something or her mother is not going to survive.  Django finds out that the filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl, needs extras for her film.  Since the inhabitants of this camp have darker skin, they fit the roles of the film nicely.  Django tells Lilo about it, and she secures a spot for her and her mother to go on site for the movie.  This saves them for a time, but more atrocities occur throughout the making of the film.  Leni Riefenstahl is no savior--she is out for herself and the Third Reich.  Who will survive in this story?  Find out in The Extra by Kathryn Lasky.

It is not the best Holocaust novel that I have read, but this novel tells a part of the Holocaust that is not generally discussed. For that reason, I recommend reading it if for no other reason than to remember the history.

Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner by Tim Tingle

Danny is a Navajo teenage boy when he watches soldiers burn down his home, kill his beloved sheep and capture his family to join in the Long Walk of 1864.  Danny decides to fight back, but he is labeled as a troublemaker.  He is then sent to a Civil War prison at Fort Davis where he is targeted for terrible treatment.  Danny has to battle bad men, but he does not forget his Navajo heritage along the way.  How will Danny survive and live out his destiny?  Find out in this quick read.

Again, this is a piece of history that is not talked about much which is why reading this type of novel is so important.  #weneeddiversebooks