Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Top 5 in 2015... So Far: Maria's Picks

Every June, we celebrate the year being half over by checking in with our reviewers and seeing what they've loved, so far. 

Today our Librarian, Ms. Maria, takes the stage:

1.      All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (see our full review here)
Violet and Finch meet at the top of the school’s clock tower- both thinking about committing suicide.  Violet has recently lost her sister and Finch is tired of being bullied.  Finch is a much darker character than Violet, he is smart and good looking, a musician whom the reader will diagnose as a victim of depression.  Violet is also smart and had been a happy girl until her sister’s death.  Which character will you root for?  A complex debut novel.
2.      The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds (see our full review here)
Beautiful novel by Reynolds about a boy working at a funeral home.  A funeral home?  Yes.  And believe me you will enjoy every page.  Matt is a wonderful teen that I would love to get to know.  Lovey, Matt’s romantic interest is equally likable.  But then so are the adult characters too.  A different kind of book that you will read and savor all the way through
3.      None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Kristin Lattimer is your all-American girl.  She is a track star, has a cute boyfriend and has just been elected homecoming queen to boot.  All is going smoothly for her until her first sexual experience leaves her devastated.  It was something she had looked forward to but it was horribly painful.  She visits her gynecologist who reveals to her that she is intersex (she has some male components she was unaware of).  This throws her for a loop, especially after the whole school finds out.  Kirstin has to decide how to move forward which she does with the help of her father and others.  Another excellent debut novel dealing with a serious topic in a realistic manner, without sensationalism and with heart.
4.      The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Ada has grown up her whole life locked up in a small flat in London.  Why?  She was born with a club foot and her mother has kept her out of sight.  Her little brother Jamie leads a normal life, with school, outings, etc.  World War II is under way and  her mother sends Jamie to the countryside for his safety.  Ada makes a bold decision and escapes to the countryside with Jamie.  In the country they are taken in by Susan Smith, a recluse of a woman living on a farm.  A heart wrenching story about fear, anger, hope and survival is unforgettable.
5.      We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen-Fernlund
Told in two voices:  Stewart, 13, smart, nerdy, compassionate, brave and Ashley, 14, beautiful, stuck-up, selfish, smarmy,  tell this story.  When Stewart and his father move in with Ashley and her mother the difficulties of blended families arise.  Stewart’s mother had died of cancer the year before and Ashley’s father had come out as gay at about the same time.  Entertaining all the way through and worthwhile reading for the characters grow and tackle issues relevant to today’s teens.

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