Friday, June 6, 2014

2014's Best Books: Pat's Top Five

 Pat has a list of books that you're going to want to put on hold, pronto:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
This book is showing up on many "best of" lists already and there was lots of buzz around its release.  My advice?  The best way to read this book is just to read it.  Don't talk to anyone about it or read reviews like this one. I loved it.

The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson
With the help of the C.I.A., fifteen-year-old Laila and her family escape to the D.C. area after her father is murdered in a political coup in an unnamed, war-torn Middle East country. Brilliantly written by a former undercover C.I.A. officer, the story catapults you along with Laila, as she adapts to life in an American high school, and ultimately to a new understanding of the interplay between family, politics, and history.   A riveting book and the audio version is excellent, too.

Grasshopper Jungle: A History by Andrew Smith
I'll pretty much follow Andrew Smith wherever he decides to go--even if that means the world may end because of an invasion of sexually-insatiable six-foot tall killer praying mantises.  Because beneath all the craziness, is a story about 15-year-old Austin, a boy who is in love with his girlfriend Shann and maybe his best friend, Robby, too.  It's honest, real, hilarious, and pretty weird--but in the very best way.

The Port Chicago 50: Diaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
We all know the big names in the fight for civil rights, but it's ridiculous that I had never heard of the Port Chicago 50 before reading this book. Why aren't we taught about this event in school?  Sheikein once again brings history to life in a way that reads like the best fiction.  I can't wait for whatever he's working on next.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Hayley's father Andy, a veteran of both the Iraq & Afghanistan wars, suffers from debilitating PTSD. After years on the road, Hayley and her dad are moving back home to upstate NY.  Hayley dreams of a normal teenage life and even starts living that life when she starts hanging out with the hot guy, Finn.  But memories are powerful and it's not clear if Hayley's dad can overcome his war-time experiences and whether Hayley can move forward in her own life.  A powerful look at how the aftermath of war impacts soldiers and their families. 

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