Monday, September 29, 2008

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Fake ID

Just finished Walter Sorrells' Fake ID. If you're looking for a good action-packed mystery, I just might have the book for you. This one is about a teenage girl, who has spent her entire life moving from place to place with her mom, taking on a new identity everywhere they go. She doesn't know what her real name is, but at this latest stop, she's going by Chass. When Chass' mom suddenly disappears, she not only has to deal with the local sheriff, who considers her and her mom trash, and wants to quickly get Chass turned over to juvenile authorities and out of town, but several big men with guns who want something that they won't even identify. In the course of trying to find out what happened to her mom and stay a few steps ahead of the guys with the guns, she also opens up a 20 year old can of worms in the form of an old local unsolved disappearance that sounds like it was probably a murder. Like I said earlier, plenty of action and plot twists, and no content that would be inappropriate for middle-schoolers. All in all a darn good book and a pretty quick read to boot.
Enjoy! And if you do, you might want to also check out the sequel, Club Dread.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Fly on the Wall

Just finished e. lockhart's Fly on the Wall. It's a quick read - the story of Gretchen Yee, a student at an arts magnet high school in New York City. Her best friend Katya seems to be blowing her off lately, her parents just told her that they're getting a divorce, her drawing teacher is hypercritical of anything not done in the particular style she prefers, and she just can't figure boys out at all. In a discussion about boys, Gretchen comments to Katya that she'd love to be a fly on the wall in the boys' locker room. Sure enough, the next morning she wakes up as a fly on the wall in the boys locker room. Over the course of several days Gretchen goes from being a voyeur to starting to see beyond the surface of several of her classmates. I'd recommend this one to high school students, due purely to some of her observations in the locker room. Considering what she's describing, I thought it was remarkably non-graphic, but it is what it is. There's also some salty language, but if you ride the bus, you've probably heard it all. Hopefully reading this book will encourage you to look beneath the surface of some of the people you think you know. What you find there may surprise you.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What Mrs N's Been Reading - My Swordhand is Singing

Just finished Marcus Sedgwick's My Swordhand is Singing. Sometimes a title is just so off-the-wall that it makes you pick the book up for a second look. This was one of those books. The creepy eyeball looking at you on the front cover helped, too. That, and the fact that I've liked other Sedgwick books. Anyway, this book is based on the very early folklore about vampires and the undead. Yes, it has undead vampires, multiple murders, chase scenes, and a gothic horror story setting, but if you're looking for a really creepy, blood and guts, vampire story, this ain't it. What it is, is a very well-written story about a teenage boy learning about life, death, love and the truth about his drunk, seemingly irresponsible father. It's a story of true heroism in the face of extreme adversity. It's a story about coming to terms with who you really are and what you're meant to do. It takes place at an nonspecific time several hundred years ago, in an unnamed eastern European country. It's a quick read, that doesn't fit any specific genre. There's plenty of tension, both from the action and the setting, but nothing graphic. I recommend it for both middle school and high school students. Enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Book Discussions to Continue

I've decided to continue the Teen Book Discussions, since there have been folks willing to moderate. (Thank you Allison for doing the one last week on, like, no notice!) We're going to continue with Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series (see Upcoming Programs, to the right, for dates and times) then after the first of the year, I think we'll do Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. Watch for details on those. I'll post dates as soon as I have 'em.

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Little Brother

Just finished Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. Excellent book! From the start it made me think of the movie, Enemy of the State, with Will Smith and Gene Hackman. I kept thinking that if you weren't a bit paranoid when you started, you would be afterwards. Little Brother takes place in the near future. Surveillance of the general public is more intense than it is now. When terrorists attack the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, the Department of Homeland Security basically goes nuts and puts massive restrictions on everyone, and monitors every move everyone makes. A teenager, who was falsely imprisoned immediately after the attack, starts to mount an electronic attack on the DHS to try to make people realize how much they have given up in a misguided attempt to increase security, and to let them know what happened to him and his friends, one of whom hasn't been seen since their imprisonment and is presumed dead. In addition to it being a darned good story with plenty of action, it also gives you a real education about encryption, surveillance etc., but does it in a way that doesn't feel like a lesson - more like a good, geeky friend explaining something to you naturally in the course of a conversation. A good one to read with someone so you can talk about it afterwards. There's a little bit of mature content, but it's not graphic or gratuitous. I'd highly recommend it for older middle school students as well as high school students (adults, too now that I think about it.)