Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2012 in 5: Maria Takes the Stage

Maria is like the Meryl Streep of librarians. She's been on LOTS of awards committees over the years, but she's still reading and reading- keeping on top of what's good out there. We're excited to share her top five with you today:

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
Wahoo Cray has his hands full. His father Mickey is a professional animal wrangler. His back yard is literally crawling with gators, turtles, raccoons, etc. His mother has left for China to teach Mandarin to American businessmen. When Derek Badger, Expedition Survival! reality show host and his crew hire Mickey and Wahoo to provide animals for the show trouble starts. It's good money, which Mickey needs to pay for the mortgage and his truck but Derek Badger is just not a nice guy.  Wahoo also has made friends with Tuna Gordon, a girl with a black eye courtesy of her drunken father, and Tuna who is a fan of the Expedition Survival! joins Wahoo and his father out in the Everglades. When Derek goes missing in a thunderstorm and Tuna's father comes looking after her with a gun, well excitement abounds. As with other Hiaasen novels, Chomp has plenty of action and humor, strong teen characters who are smart and self-sufficient and is a fun summer read.

Curveball by Jordan Sonnenblick
To say that Peter Friedman loves baseball is an understatement. He is looking forward to becoming his high school's star pitcher along with best friend A. J. But then a pitching injury during the summer ruins his arm. Will he ever be able to play again? This story is much more than a baseball story, it is the touching story of the relationship of one generation with another that is done with care and with heart. Peter is a typical teenage boy, immature at times and also clueless as far as girls are concerned. His girlfriend Angelika is the perfect foil, strong and real.

When Jasper Jones comes knocking on Charlie Bucktin’s window in the middle of the night begging for help Charlie decides, against his better judgment, to go with him.  Jasper takes Charlie to his hangout in the Australian bush where they come upon the hanging body of Laura Wishart, Charlie’s girlfriend.  Someone has killed her, but who?  Jasper knows he will be the prime suspect, after all, he is the town’s outcast.  Jasper loved Laura, they were planning to run away together.  Now they both have to seek the killer.  If you are a fan another Australian young adult author Zuzak you will like Silvey too.  Both make Australia a strong character in their novels.

Ok. So this is a cancer book, but like none other.  Both of our protagonists, Hazel and August, are suffering from the disease. The insights into the lives of two smart teens who are battling a disease and are trying to live what’s left of their lives on their own terms is masterfully well written by a sensitive and caring author.  I guarantee that you will cry and be glad that you read this one of a kind book.

Wonder  by R. J Palacio
Ten year old AuggiePullman  was born with a uncommon facial birth defect.  Up to now he has been home schooled, but now his parents believe that it’s time to join the crowd, to attend fifth grade at a private school in Manhattan.  The ups and downs of this decision are superbly portrayed in this novel.
We get to know Auggie, his hopes and fears.  This is a book that should be required reading and dare I say a Newbery contender?


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