Thursday, July 2, 2015

Up and Coming: This Broken Wondrous World by Jon Skovron

This Broken Wondrous World by Jon Skovron

Release Date: August 4, 2015

When we left Boy at the end of Man Made Boy he had left the theater of monsters where he grew up behind. With the help of his girlfriend(s) Sophie and Claire, who happen to be the granddaughters of a Mister Jeckyll and Doctor Hyde, Boy stopped a computer program he created from wreaking havoc on the world's technology and went on a killer road trip across the country. You'd think after all of that, Boy would be able to attend college in peace and quiet?

Not when word gets out a scientist, Mr. Moreau, would like Boy to consider joining his campaign for the rights of monsters. But when boy suspects that siding with Moreau would mean agreeing to destroy humanity, he is not so excited to join up. But will he be willing to go against the friends and family he's known his whole life if it means saving the world?

It was so awesome to return to the world of Man Made Boy in this sequel. A world just like ours except for the monsters and mythological beasts lurking in the shadows. This book takes all that world building and runs with it. It's action packed from start to finish and you won't want to miss a moment of it. Plus we get to go to South America and Switzerland and meet all sorts of new creatures. This series is so much fun to read and we can only hope that there will be more books to come!

More to read

Jon Skovron Week: Man Made Boy

Jon Skovron Week: Top 5 Books Where the Monsters Don't Stay Under the Bed

Jon Skovron Week: Back to the Debut!

Jon Skovron Week: You Need to Meet Misfit

Jon Skovron Talks to us about World-Building, Monsters and Hearing from Teens

Jon Skovron Lets us in on Some Writing Secrets as Well as How to Make a Good Mix Tape


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Top 5 Books to Read by the Pool Over the Long Weekend

It's true, the library will be closed Friday and Saturday (July 3 and 4), so the time to stack up on books is now! As you sit by the pool, or wait for fireworks, we wanted to give you some excellent reading material (and remind you to wear sunscreen). Here are five quick picks to entertain you while you soak up the sun.

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry (see our full review here)
This is a big budget summer action movie full of car chases and epic love packed in between the pages of this book. You will get totally sucked into Emily's summer hanging out in a biker gang's territory. Fast moving and totally fun, this is a perfect summer time read.

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (see our full review here)
If you prefer your summer reads to be filled with Califorina sun, this is the book for you. When Emmy's elementary school best friend returns home after spending years on the run with his dad, Emmy wants to help Oliver anyway she can. It turns out that what she can offer him is something fun and normal in the midst of all the emotional intensity that Oliver's going through with his mom. That means a lot of surfing and beach food. Warning though: you are going to feel the need to get out on the waves by the time you finish this book.

Panic by Lauren Oliver (see more posts here)
Maybe you like a thriller for your by-the-pool time? This high stakes summer novel will keep you on the edge of your seat. In the small town where Heather and Dodge live, every teenager pays dues into a contest called 'The Panic.' All the money is collected and one senior will win it by participating in a series of high and then higher stakes dares. Winning the pot could change your life and let you escape small town life forever. But winning also means risking everything....

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler (see our full review here)
Jude's sisters may not agree on many things, but they do believe in one guiding lesson: never, ever, ever date a Vargas boy.

Of course, the youngest son of the Vargas family happens to be handsome, funny and one of the only people who can make her ailing father forget he's sick for a few minutes.

Jude and Emilio spend the summer working together on restoring Jude's dad's classic motorcycle. Clearly your summer reading needs a summer love story or two and this one is one of our absolute favorites.

Way to Go by Tom Ryan (see our full review here)
Many summers also include a summer job, making money alongside folks who are older or younger than you. That is the case for Danny who is sent to work for a family friend as she opens up a new restaurant.

Danny spends the summer learning the fine arts of food service, including fighting with the industrial dish washer and how to properly peel a potato. But, he also learns more about himself through the friendships he makes and the mixtapes he listens to.

Whether you're spending your summer by the pool or in the lifegaurd chair, this is a great, funny coming-of-age story to devour.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Middle School Monday: "Ms. Marvel #2, Generation Why" writer, G. Willow Wilson ; artists, Jacob Wyatt (#6-7) & Adrian Alphona (#8-11)

Ms. Marvel #2, Generation Why writer, G. Willow Wilson ; artists, Jacob Wyatt (#6-7) & Adrian Alphona (#8-11)

Kamala Khan is back, still getting through high school while battling any monsters who arrive in her New Jersey city. That's a lot for one person to handle, especially when trying to keep her super hero activities a secret from her friends and family.

What she needs is a mentor, and who better to give a young super hero advice than Logan Howlett (better known as the XMen's Wolverine)? Obviously, Kamala got the selfie to prove they really met. 

However, Ms. Marvel is not willing to let anyone else fight her battles for her. When "The Inventor" starts kidnapping local teens and wrecking the city with robots, she is on the case. A little help from a giant, teleporting dog is all she needs.

If you are looking for something fun, action packed and awesome to read this summer (and who isn't) get your hands on this comic series, the library has three volumes so far and more are coming!

More to Read:

Ms. Marvel (vol. 1) by: G. Willow Wilson ; artist, Adrian Alphona

The Shadow Hero by Gene Leun Yang and Sonny Liew

Middle School Monday: Sisters by Raina Telgemeier





Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Elyse d'Abreau spent her whole life singing with her twin sister. As one of six daughters, their beautiful singing voices was what set them apart. In fact, everyone in their hometown on the coast of  Tabago thinks that she and her sister are destined for greatness. But, that was all before the accident that left Elyse without a voice and desperate to get away from everything that reminds her of what she's lost, including her sister.

Oregon is pretty far away from the Caribbean. Elyse is spending the summer with a family friend, taking it easy and recovering. She works for her family's friend, Lemon and pals around with Summer's daughter Kirby and Kirby's best friend.The last thing she wants is the added stress of a relationship. Especially one with Christian Kane, the biggest heartbreaker on the cove.

Since Elyse isn't interested in dating Christian, she sees no problem in helping him win the local regatta. Christian is in a tight place after his father bet a local land developer that he'd take first place. Since Elyse grew up sailing, she steps up when Christian needs a first mate. But, as she helps him with the regatta, she begins to see the boy behind the reputation. And that boy is a lot harder to resist...

This is the summer book you've been waiting for. Elyse's voicebox might have been damaged, but her voice shines through this novel. Her love for music has led her to a love of poetry that she writes with the same sharpies she keeps around to communicate with her friends and Christian. Her poetry, combined with her really strong point-of-view leads to a wonderful novel that is definitely in competition as my favorite Ockler book.  I also completely loved Christian's mermaid-seeking younger brother, so much that I'd love to read a book about his teenage years as well. 

If you love contemporary YA and haven't read a Sarah Ockler book yet, add her to your summer reading list STAT! Her main characters are girls working towards happiness despite the problems life throws at them. Also, there are some of the dreamiest boys in YA... if you go for that sort of thing. Her books are perfect for fans of Jennifer Echols and Trish Doller!

More to Read:

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Up and Coming: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Up and Coming: UnBreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

Up and Coming: Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Trish Doller Week: Where the Stars Still Shine

Top 5 Beach Reads for 2012



Monday, June 22, 2015

Anything Could Happen by Will Walton

Anything Could Happen by Will Walton

Trech is the kind of guy who all the old folks in his town nod at as they walk by. His parents are active in their church and community, plus they are the type to bring a casserole around to people who've recently been in the hospital. They're nice people and he loves them a lot, which makes it even worse that he's hiding a huge secret from them.

Every time he rides to Target with his mom or helps his dad with a project, Trech wants to tell them, but he doesn't. Instead, he goes on dates and hangs out with his best friend and keeps his secret to himself.

Telling his parents that he's gay would probably not change how much they love him. But it would change how the small town they're from sees his family. It might even change what church they go to. Trech doesn't want to change what's normal for his family, but it's also hurting him to keep lying to them.

This is a quiet and real debut. Trech has a lot of worries and they all feel very true for a teen who has to think about not only what he wants to do for college, but also how to let his family in on what he wishes they knew about him. Trech is someone you'll be glad you met. His story is a perfect crisp book to read on your hot summer day.

More to Read:
Becky Albertalli Talks to Us about Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Read This, Watch That: Spot Light Edition

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Way to Go by Tom Ryan

Friday, June 19, 2015

Teen Review: The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

Sarah, a fabulous teen volunteer at Westover, shares her review of a Wendy Mass favorite:

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

Many people dream of being a singer or an artist or an astronaut, but I doubt you've dreamt about growing up to be an inventor of the world's most popular candy. One of the main characters in Wendy Mass's The Candymakers, however, does have this dream. The Candymakers follows four kids, Logan, Miles, Daisy, and Philip, who enter a candy-making contest at the "Life is Sweet" candy factory. As the story progresses, you learn that the four kids' stories are more connected than you might think

I'll admit that that summary sounded cheesy, but this is an incredible book. The book is well written, well thought out, and it has an intriguing plot. The first interesting thing about this book is the way it is written. As mentioned above, it follows four kids who enter a candy contest. The number of main characters would lead one to expect that the book would be written in third person omniscient, but it is written in third person limited, switching characters each section of the book. Each new section follows a different contestant, and each one starts back at the beginning of the story, then proceeds to move ahead of the last account by a very small amount of time. This style of writing both builds suspense and causes the reader to get to know all of the characters quite well.

The plot to this book is also well thought out and very interesting. The writing makes candy-making a very exciting affair, and creates the environment of a colorful and cheerful candy factory. The book makes its readers feel surprisingly happy to be reading about the process of candy-making.

Finally, the plot twists in the book are superb. Of course, I would not give away the plot of a book in a review, but I think it's worth mentioning that the plot turns in an unexpected direction. And it's not the kind of plot twist that you can predict now that you're aware of its existence. The plot really changes and it takes you on an intriguing journey of revealing connections between characters and events.
In conclusion, The Candymakers is an excellent book to read if you are looking for an interesting story or a well written novel. I can definitely say that reading it gave me great pleasure.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Emily never missed having her father around. Why miss someone who didn't want her in the first place? Also, her stepfather cares about her about a million times more than her biological father, Eli ever could hope to anyway. So, when she receives word that Eli would like her to attend her grandmother's funeral, she is not at all interested. But, it soon becomes clear that her mother is not going to take no for an answer.

Oz cares about two things, his family and the motorcycle club that he hopes to join now that he's of age. Since everyone he's related to is part of the club, these two things are really one and the same. Anyone else is not worth his time, especially not the to-good-everyone Emily who he's immediately assigned with watching over. She's just another assignment to prove he's worthy of being patched-in to the gang.

Since this is a Katie McGarry book, you know that these two teenagers are on a crash course to romance. Oz and Emily have the kind of chemistry that can only lead to an explosion, whether it's going to be hate or love is anyone's guess. Emily can't believe that the Oz's whole world revolves around the club and Oz can't understand why Emily's mother took her out of the life and never looked back.

This is my pick for summer blockbuster book this year. There are car chases and big twists, motorcycles and tire-swings, robberies and barbecues, everything you need for a big summer movie. Instead of heading to the theater, McGarry paints this picture for you in such a vivid way you'll swear you hear motorcycle engines.

This is the beginning of a new series for McGarry and you'll definitely spend some time guessing who of the characters you meet in Nowhere But Here will star in the next book... I already can't wait!

Take Me On by Katie McGarry

Up and Coming: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

Up and Coming: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits by Kate McGarry

Read This, Watch That: Fast Cars Edition