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Great Young Adult titles from Williamsburg Regional Library
Updated: 40 min 51 sec ago

Sidekicked, by John David Anderson

Mon, 2014-04-07 01:01

Lizzy shares this review:

Drew, the voice of the book, is a seventh grade sidekick in training. Drew, aka “The Sensationalist”, goes through middle school while fighting crime. Or at least he would be if his “super” would do anything besides drink in a bar. But besides that, life is awesome for Drew. He also has to deal with his crush on his best friend, Jenna. After getting a kickball to the face a year ago, he finally confessed he likes her. Sadly though, all those plans must go on hold as soon as a super villain escapes from prison. Is the Dealer coming back? Between listening to bad advice and learning right from wrong, Drew carries quite a load on his shoulders. With hilarious characters and great descriptions, Sidekicked is truly an amazing book.

Check the WRL catalog for Sidekicked.

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Monument 14, by Emmy Laybourne

Fri, 2014-04-04 01:01

Jan shares this review:

High school junior Dean is starting a normal day in his Colorado suburb, riding his school bus in a future not too different from now, where every child has a minitab that keeps them continuously connected to the Network. Suddenly, strange hail filled with stones and sticks inundates them so terribly that his bus crashes, killing the driver and over half the students. The survivors of the crash are helped into a nearby superstore by the resourceful driver of the nearby elementary school bus. She goes looking for help and eight teenagers are left to look after six small children as the world goes crazy.

From an old fashioned TV they learn that a volcanic eruption in the far away Canary Islands have set off a chain of catastrophes such as the strange hail and earthquakes which have caused the release of chemical weapons. Things are looking very bleak. How will these eight teenagers survive? Will they able to care for the six small children who have unexpectedly become their responsibility?

Monument 14 only covers 12 days, but an amazing amount of action is squeezed into less than two weeks. Like Ashfall (about which I previously posted), Monument 14 starts with a natural disaster that is beyond the control of people, but unlike Ashfall it then delves into the man made disaster of the released chemical weapons.  Monument 14 focuses less on the action and more on the psychology of the previously carefree teenagers and the children who are now their responsibility. There are many characters to keep track of, but they are well drawn with some being likable and others distinctly less so. The teenagers already know each other from high school, but travel different social circles. The teenagers who were popular aren’t necessarily the ones best suited to the extremes of their new situation.

Monument 14 suggests that during an apocalyptic event a superstore is a great place to take shelter, as it has everything you might need–food, medicine, bedding, clothing, and camping supplies to start with. In reality, it may be a terrible place because everyone will want the same supplies and you may have to fight for them. In Monument 14, the store has strong, automatic “riot gates” that close and lock the children in. More importantly, it also locks everyone else out, but other people want to get in, adding to the tension and plot twists.

Monument 14 has enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat and enough post-apocalyptic problems and psychology to keep you thinking long after the last page. It ends in a cliffhanger and the story continues in the sequel, Monument 14: Sky on Fire.

Check the WRL catalog for Monument 14.

Check the WRL catalog for Monument 14: Sky on Fire.

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Amber House, by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed

Wed, 2014-04-02 01:01

Jennifer D. shares this review:

They were only supposed to stay long enough to bury her grandmother. Sarah’s mom had never talked much about her childhood and the visit back to her ancestral home was meant to be brief. Then, plans change, and suddenly they’ll be spending two weeks in Amber House.

When a house has been around as long as Amber House has, it is bound to have a lot of history hiding behind its walls. After all, three hundred years is a long time. Sarah decides to uses this opportunity to explore the estate, and perhaps unearth the treasure of diamonds rumored to be hidden on the grounds. But Sarah soon finds that Amber House hides many more secrets.

Being in Amber House brings out an interesting new ability in Sarah. She begins to see visions, a talent common to the women in her family line. Apparitions of her ancestors linger around every corner – but are they trying to help or harm her?

Check the WRL catalog for Amber House.

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Asylum, by Madeleine Roux

Mon, 2014-03-31 01:01

Lizzy shares this review:

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, the New Hampshire College Prep program is the chance of a lifetime. Except that when Dan arrives, he finds that the usual summer housing has been closed, forcing students to stay in the crumbling Brookline Dorm—formerly a psychiatric hospital. As Dan and his new friends Abby and Jordan start exploring Brookline’s twisty halls and hidden basement, they uncover disturbing secrets about what really went on here . . . secrets that link Dan and his friends to the asylum’s dark past. Because Brookline was no ordinary mental hospital, and there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried. –Book Summary from

Asylum is a thriller unlike anything else. The book draws you in with its real life photographs and plot. The setting, an old asylum turned into a dorm, is perfectly used. The characters change throughout the book, making your mind even more curious. The plot moves through visions to murder. The reader feels the emotions each character is feeling. Beware! This book is hard to put down.

Check the WRL catalog for Asylum.

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The Gathering, by Kelley Armstrong

Fri, 2014-03-28 01:01

Melissa shares this review:

This is the first in Kelley Armstrong’s Darkness Rising trilogy.  It’s a compelling story about a teenager who seems to be developing some special abilities.

Maya lives in Salmon Creek.  The town was built by a medical research facility to house the employees and their families.  There are less than 70 students in her entire school.

For her sixteenth birthday, her parents agree to let Maya get her paw-shaped birthmark inked in as a tattoo.  Instead of being a happy occasion, Maya has a strange encounter with an old woman at the tattoo parlor who calls her a witch.

With the exception of the tragic swimming accident that killed her best friend, growing up in the small community has been pretty normal for Maya.  All that is about to change — and I don’t want to give too much of the plot away.

As Maya searches for answers about what the old woman said she experiences a stronger than normal connection to animals: dreaming about running with cougars, feeling the memories of a wounded animal she’s nursing back to health, experiencing heightened senses.  Her friend Rafe offers her an answer that seems too impossible to believe.  But when she sees the impossible with her own eyes, how can she doubt the truth?

The Gathering has a very exciting ending that leaves you breathless for the next story – The Calling

I listened to this on audiobook and enjoyed the reading by Jennifer Ikeda.  Her voice fit perfectly with what I thought Maya would sound like.  And that’s what I liked most about the book — Maya.  She is smart and likeable.  Her relationships  seem like real relationships — from her overprotective best friend to the girl she doesn’t get along with so well.  This is definitely a book setting up a paranormal situation, but none of the characters’ decisions or plot twists made me roll my eyes in disbelief.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops through the next two books.

Check the WRL catalog for the audiobook of The Gathering

Check the WRL catalog for The Gathering

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The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau

Wed, 2014-03-26 01:01

Jennifer D. shares this review:

There’s always room for another Hunger Games read-alike, right? Particularly these days when that series can be hard to come by at the library. And especially if, like The Testing, it’s excellent in its own right.

Author Joelle Charbonneau has created a dystopian version of the United States as it might look after years of bombardment by both human warfare and natural disasters. As the country attempts to recover from the Seven Stages War, Cia Vale is anxious to use her innate mechanical talent to help rebuild. She desperately wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and go to the University. The only way to do that is to successfully complete The Testing. Competition is cut-throat, and Cia soon learns that one wrong move could mean not just failing at her dream, but losing her life.

Another aspect of this series that I love is its expedited release schedule. Book two, Independent Study came out a mere six months after The Testing, and Graduation Day comes out this June. Waiting six months between installments is much preferred to the usual year-long wait for a sequel. Once you read The Testing, you’ll be glad you don’t have so long to wait either.

Check the WRL catalog for The Testing.

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The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Louise Halse Anderson

Mon, 2014-03-24 01:01

Michelle B. shares this review:

Hayley Kincain spent the formative years of her life cross-country traveling with her veteran father who upon returning from Iraq became a truck driver. Hayley’s father’s experiences in Iraq left him with severe PTSD and as a result Hayley has to take care of him more than he takes care of her.

One day Mr. Kincain decides that for her senior year of high school Hayley should attend a “real” school so they stop traveling and settle down. Hayley hates school, in part because she is afraid of what will happen to her father without her constant presence at home. While she is very hesitant to trust anyone, she finds friendship in Finn, and for the first time, a person she can confide in.

Written in first person, The Impossible Knife of Memory impressively captures the ascerbic wit of a memorable teenager while also handling sensitive topics such as PTSD, abuse, neglect, and addiction remarkably. Anderson includes the harsh realities of these problems in the context of fully fleshed out characters which allows me to empathize more with the characters and see them as people who could be just like me, rather than people with “problems.” Simultaneously hilarious and tragic, The Impossible Knife of Memory is recommended to all lovers of romance and realistic fiction, particularly to those who loved The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Check the WRL catalog for The Impossible Knife of Memory.

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, by April Genevieve Tucholke

Fri, 2014-03-21 01:01

Jennifer D. shares this review:

Violet is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Not in the idiomatic sense – she’s not torn between two equally unpleasant options – but in a more literal sense. Violet and her brother live in a dilapidated cliff-side mansion, abandoned by their art aficionado parents to fend for themselves in their sleepy Maine town. The devil has just moved into their guesthouse. Ok, maybe not the actual devil. But River West is definitely not good for Violet.

Echo, Maine is a town that seems frozen in the past. People want to get out, not move in. When River comes to town, Violet is instantly drawn to him. He’s cultured, mysterious, and attractive. His arrival also seems to herald a string of strange occurrences in Echo. Strange might be an understatement. Echo quickly becomes a place that could fit in among Stephen King’s Derry, Jerusalem’s Lot, and Castle Rock.

The timing of River’s arrival in Echo and the town’s sudden turn to the dark can’t be just a coincidence. River is almost certainly tied to recent events, but as the horror amps up, so too does Violet’s relationship with River. Is River doing the devil’s work, or is this devil not so black as he is painted?

Check the WRL catalog for Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

Categories: Read This