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Great Young Adult titles from Williamsburg Regional Library
Updated: 57 min 3 sec ago

Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

Wed, 2014-08-20 00:01

Lily shares this review:

In this futuristic, dystopian world, humans, androids, and cyborgs live together in New Beijing. Many citizens are ill with an incurable plague. On top of that, a ruthless lunar people wait in the sky, watching for an opportune moment to strike.

Cinder is an adopted cyborg who pays her way by being a mechanic.She lives with her adoptive (step)mother and two (step)sisters in an almost nonexistence. Life is pretty consistent.

Everything all changes when Prince Kai comes to her, asking her to repair his android. Suddenly, it all goes haywire from there and Cinder realizes she is part of a much bigger picture than she thought.

I love this book and recommend it to those who love sci-fi, action, and a little  romance.

Check the WRL catalog for Cinder


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Eragon, by Christopher Paolini

Mon, 2014-08-18 00:01

Isaiah shares this review:

“When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.”

I like Eragon because the idea of one ordinary farm boy going up against an entire empire with just a dragon, an old storyteller, a little magic, and a sword just seems so impossible that  it becomes irresistible to read. I become enveloped in the story that Christopher Paolini created; it is just amazing to read and enjoy over and over again (which I have).

Check the WRL catalog for Eragon


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The Maze Runner, by James Dashner

Fri, 2014-08-15 00:01

Lily shares this review:

“When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.”

 

The Maze Runner is an action packed book that will leave you yearning to read the sequel. There wasn’t a moment reading it that I was bored or skipped ahead. Every page kept me sucked in.There were some parts that were dark and depressing, but for a story like this it’s necessary. I enjoyed the fact that is is written in a boy’s perspective and that most of the characters are boys (with one exception:  the girl that shows up after Thomas). The plot is unlike any story I’ve read, which is most likely a reason why it’s so interesting. A lot of books today are unoriginal and dull. The Maze Runner is by no means anywhere close to unoriginal or dull.

I recommend this book to those seeking a late-nighter and who want to be sucked in completely by a tale of suspense and adventure.

Check the WRL catalog for The Maze Runner


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Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein

Wed, 2014-08-13 00:01

Charlotte shares this review:

This hard-hitting historical novel is a “companion book” to the Edgar award-winning Code Name Verity, with which it shares a World War II setting and a handful of characters.

Rose Justice is an 18-year-old American pilot with England’s civilian Air Transport Auxiliary. Only recently arrived in England, she’s chirpy and excited about her work and a little naïve. She dismisses rumors of terrible things happening in German prison camps as propaganda. And one day, returning from a flight over France, she flies off course—while tipping a bomb out of the airmay I add—and suddenly two Luftwaffe jets are escorting her into Germany. Mis-classified with a group of French political prisoners, Rose is sent to the women’s concentration camp at Ravensbrück.

She has entered a different world. In six months, from September 1944 to March 1945, Rose has any remaining naïveté starved and frozen and beaten out of her, until the appalling becomes ordinary. She is taken under the protection of the Rabbits (we would say “guinea pigs”): Polish prisoners, mostly students, on whom the camp doctors have run unconscionable medical experiments. The Rabbits know that they will all be executed eventually, but various means of evasion may keep them hidden away for another week, or day… in perpetual hope that the war will end and someone will survive to let the world know what happened in this place.

Rose’s narrative is written after she escapes Ravensbrück. A survivor in a sort of post-war limbo, Rose is also concerned with how to return to “real life.” Having sworn to herself and others to “tell the world” about the atrocities at the camp, she isn’t even able to describe the experience to her family. The Doctors’ Trial at Nuremberg suggests one path to closure by way of judgment and retribution, but Rose is looking for other ways to redeem her experience.

A poet as well as a pilot, she creates a pilot’s metaphor—lift and weight, thrust and drag—to describe the forces that fueled her survival during and after the prison camp. Obviously, Rose Under Fire is a story carrying a lot of weight. It’s the strong relationships between very different women—women from the French resistance, Night and Fog agents, Girl Scout saboteurs and Soviet bomber pilots—that give the novel lift as well.

Check the WRL catalog for Rose Under Fire


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Towering, by Alex Flinn

Mon, 2014-08-11 00:01

Lily shares this review:

Wyatt goes to live with a lady he barely knows, in order to escape his messed up life. He finds the diary of the lady’s dead daughter. A mystery starts to unfold before him. Then, he begins to hear strange singing noises that no one else notices. Something bizarre is happening in this small town.

Rachel lives in a tower in the woods, in order to be safe from the people who had killed her mother. She is cared for by another woman, whom she calls Mama, even though she knows she is not. Rachel starts to sense a change coming. Something is about to happen.

When I noticed that this book was written my Alex Flinn, I was skeptical. I enjoyed the last book of hers I read (Beastly), but it wasn’t AMAZING and the movie adaption kind of sucked.

My expectation for Towering from reading the back: “This is going to be a sappy love story.”

“Today, I woke knowing something would happen. Something would be different. I opened my window. I was a long way down. Still, I wanted to leave the window open, to smell the world outside. I would play my harp and sing my songs, and the animals, at least, would hear me.

I sang the saddest song I knew, about a girl in love with a poor boy but unable to marry him.

I know where I’m going;

And I know who’s going with me.

I know who I love;

But the dear knows who I’ll marry.

As I sang, I had once again that strange feeling, the feeling of being listened to, not by birds or squirrels or even deer. I rushed to the window to look. I saw something, or someone, moving. It was walking closer to me, struggling where there was no path, holding on to trees to keep its balance, but still coming closer. Perhaps it was the man I had dreamed of.”

Halfway through the book I began to wonder why they had put that especially lovey part on the back cover. Then, it finally started getting sappy. I don’t like it when there’s some strange, magical connection between a couple, and then all of a sudden they’re deeply in love and feel like they’d die without each other. It’s unreal.

I mean, sure, love can be magical, but I think it’s necessary for a relationship to have a foundation other than “I knew he was the one”.

Overall I liked the beginning of the book, but the ending was predictable and the romance dripped with sticky, unrealistic love.

Check the WRL catalog for Towering


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My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, by Annabel Pitcher

Fri, 2014-08-08 00:01

Melissa shares this review:

I listened to this award-winning debut novel by Annabel Pitcher and was quickly drawn into 10-year-old Jamie’s world.

The story starts five years after Jamie’s sister Rose was killed in a terrorist attack in Trafalgar Square.  His dad promises they are making a new start – but it’s a new start without their mother who has stayed in London to live with a man from her support group.  Jamie and his big sister, Jas (Rose’s twin), have hopes that maybe it will be different in this new town.  But then their dad puts the gold urn with Rose’s remains on the mantel, and they realize nothing has really changed.

Jamie has quite a few typical – and not so typical – challenges to overcome as a newcomer to this small town.  He has to start a new school and while it is a relief not to be identified as “poor Rose’s brother” it’s still difficult to make new friends.  He doesn’t seem to fit in with anyone, except a Muslim girl named Sunya.  But being friends with Sunya would make his dad mad because his dad blames all Muslims for the terrorist attack.

Jamie would also have you believe he didn’t care that he hadn’t seen his mother, yet he can quickly count off how many days it had been since she walked out.  And he faithfully wears the Spiderman t-shirt she gave him for his birthday every day in case she visits so she’ll see how much he loves it.

You may need to have some tissues handy, but the story isn’t told in an overly sentimental manner.  Coming from Jamie’s perspective you understand why losing his sister when he was five-years-old isn’t as real to him as making friends at school or making the winning goal of a soccer match.  And it’s heartbreaking when Jamie finally understands the grief his parents must feel after losing Rose.

I would recommend this book for all ages.  While Jamie sees things in a very kid-like fashion, the issues he deals with – abandonment, loss, grief, friendship, racism, bullying – can be understood from all ages.  As an adult I ached as well as rooted for him and his sister, two decent kids trying to make it without the solid support of either parent.  And at the end they do seem to be in a better place.

The printed book was checked out when I selected it but I absolutely loved hearing the audiobook read by Scottish actor David Tennant of Dr. Who and Harry Potter fame.  Tennant did a superb job making me believe I was listening to Jamie.

I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

Check the WRL catalog for My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

Check the WRL catalog for the audiobook My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece


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Altered, by Jennifer Rush

Wed, 2014-08-06 00:01

Jessica shares this review:

Altered is a thrill ride from the beginning to the last page. We immediately meet Anna, who lives with her father in a rather isolated farmhouse. Anna and her father share some weekly traditions, like fresh lemonade and homemade cookies. She is also home schooled  and learns not only the academic side of things but some tough hand-to-hand combat courses as well. However, the best part of Anna’s routine is her work, which she also shares with her father. Together they administer treatments and monitor the four teen boys who inhabit their basement. The boys have each been “altered” in some way, but the details are unknown.

Anna and her father work for “The Branch,” a completely secretive organization that they themselves know very little about. As readers, we demand answers. But the author seems skilled at giving little away, especially upfront. This incredible amount of “holding back” will keep readers flying through the pages on a search to know “why, who and how.” Each boy has a distinct personality; there’s Nick, resentful and angry, Cas, fun and playful, Trev, soft-hearted and exceedingly intelligent and Sam, the quintessential silent and strong leader who has Anna’s heart from the start.

When The Branch comes to retrieve the boys, Sam creates an escape and Anna’s father demands that she go with them, making Anna question everything she knows. As the boys hunt for clues to their pasts (which proves difficult as they cannot remember anything before the lab), Anna is searching for answers of her own. What the boys discover will shatter not only their own worlds, but Anna’s as well. The first in a series, Altered promises an exciting ride to readers who are desperate to find out the truth behind The Branch and the lives of everyone involved.

Check the WRL catalog for Altered.


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Purple Heart, by Patricia McCormick

Mon, 2014-08-04 00:01

Jan shares this review:

Matt wakes up in a hospital bed in Iraq.  He remembers being on patrol, and he remembers an explosion, but he is blurry about what befell Ali, an orphaned Iraqi boy who had befriended him.  In the hospital he can’t remember what day of the week it is, forgets words like “trash,” and gets headaches that are a “bolt of pain.”  The medical staff tell him he has TBI (a Traumatic Brain Injury).  Usually mild cases get better on their own, and he’ll be back with his patrol in a few days. Matt struggles to remember what happened, but at the same time is terrified to recall, in case he remembers the unthinkable – that he purposely shot a child.

Purple Heart is marketed and classified as a teen book as Matt is only eighteen and enlisted straight from high school.  His hometown girlfriend writes him letters about school football games and pop quizzes.  She even says she is “sooo scared” of a bio pop quiz.  This highlights the divergence of their experiences and the disconnect between Matt’s old life and his new life.  Purple Heart is not a comfortable book and asks profound questions about war, as one of Matt’s buddies says, “We came over here to help these people and instead we’re killing them.”  And Matt thinks, “This is what war is all about.  It wasn’t about fighting the enemy.  It wasn’t about politics or oil or even about terrorists.  It was about your buddies; it was about fighting for the guy next to you.  And knowing he was fighting for you.”

Patricia McCormick says, “It isn’t an anti-war book. It isn’t a pro-war book. It’s an attempt to portray how three children ─ two eighteen-year-old Americans and a ten-year-old Iraqi boy ─ have been affected by war.”

Purple Heart asks (perhaps unanswerable) questions about the morality of war and how it changes people. I recommend it for readers of other Young Adult books about war, such as Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers.

Check the WRL catalog for Purple Heart.


Categories: Read This