Posts tagged high school

julia karr - xvi

Everything Is Not What It Seems

XVI by Julia Karr (Book 1 XVI Series)

Every girl gets one. An XVI tattoo on the wrist—sixteen. They say they’re there for protection. Some girls can’t wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay. Then, with one brutal strike, Nina’s normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there’s one boy who can help—and he just may hold the key to her past. But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure…for Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet.

The year is 2150 and women’s rights and the freedoms we enjoy today (at the moment) are just a memory. The world that 15-year-old Nina Oberon lives in is frightening to me. Frightening because it’s all too plausible. The Governing Council controls the populace through the Media. Through the Media girls are “trained” to become a sex-teen when they turn sixteen. There’s even a guide for this transition. How to dress and act to attract guys. Girls become adults at sixteen, identified by a tattoo on the wrist – XVI. This becomes an invitation (unwanted or not) that girls are ready for sex. Girls don’t have many choices, they either marry above them or get accepted into the FeLS (Female Liaison Specialists) program. (more…)


“If you had one day left to live, what would you do?”

Fracture by Megan Miranda (Book 1 Fracture Series)

By the time Delaney Maxwell was pulled from a Maine lake’s icy waters by her friend, Decker Phillips, her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. But somehow Delaney survived—despite the brain scans that show irreparable damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be fine, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney now finds herself drawn to the dying, and when she meets Troy Varga, a boy who recently emerged from a coma with the same abilities, she is relieved to share this strange new existence. Unsure if her altered brain is predicting death or causing it, Delaney must figure out if their gift is a miracle, a freak of nature—or something else much more frightening….

The plot of this novel is very similar to The Body Finder Series by Kimberly Derting, but has thrilling psychological aspects that make it unique. The story is told from Delaney Maxwell’s POV as she tries to navigate the ups and downs of life after death, literally. Fracture is an apt title in many respects. Throughout the story we see the fracturing of Delaney’s home life, friendships, and her own sanity. (more…)

The Future of Us

Guest Review: Marin

The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

(This review based on Advanced Reader Copy.)

When former best friends Emma, 17, and Josh, 16, discover they can look into their futures via Emma’s computer, dealing with their findings will strengthen or sever their relationship forever.

If you could uncover facets of your life fifteen years in the future would you? Two high school students may have stumbled upon a way to do just that. It’s 1996 and thanks to the AOL CD-ROM Josh gave her, Emma’s internet connection mysteriously links her to her 2011 Facebook page. After exploring the future, she sets out to change her prospects, a cheating spouse and possible depression, while Josh welcomes the possibility of his future marriage to the high school “it girl”.

Small actions have big effects and anything is possible in this seamlessly co-written tale. The authors alternate points of view. Asher tells Josh’s story and Mackler Emma’s, but the narrative flows effortlessly. The characters and their ideas are relatable for teens today as well as those who lived through their adolescence before the digital age. While Josh and Emma explore who they are and what they really want, they question what friendship really means, and if destiny exists. Quirky characters and entertaining twists will keep the pages turning until the satisfactory ending.

The book will be released on November 21st, 2011.

Ages 13+

ISBN: 9781595144911

Also available as an eBook.

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A Modern-day Persephone

Abandon by Meg Cabot (Abandon Trilogy)

“He was a death deity. I was a senior in high school. This was never going to work.”

Life in a new high school can be hard, especially after you’ve died. Luckily for Pierce, she was resuscitated, but not before she makes it to the Underworld and unwittingly catches the eye of John Hayden, a dark and broodingly handsome guy who just happens to be the death lord in charge of the traveling souls of the deceased.

In a modern-day twist on the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades, Cabot has created a dark and interesting drama between a girl who is not quite the same since she drowned and a death deity who is unwilling to let her go, even in life. As Pierce finds herself in unwittingly dangerous situations, John follows her and protects her (often rather destructively), much to Pierce’s chagrin. Unsettled by his presence every time he’s near, she’s both afraid and captivated, unsure how to escape him for good and somewhat unwilling to do so. Avoiding John becomes especially difficult when Pierce and her divorced mom move to the equivalent of the Florida Keys to make a fresh start, which just happens to be a direct portal to the underworld. Oops. (more…)

Acting Up

Sometimes Maturity Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Acting Up by Ted Staunton

In this coming-of-age novel, Sam Foster is an eleventh-grade boy trying to face the ever-changing life in his small, Canadian hometown of Hope Springs. Maturity is the ever-important word as Sam tries to convince his parents that he can handle the responsibilities of a driver’s license and house-sitting, all the while trying to balance his spunky, anarchist girlfriend; his goofball buddies; school work; volunteer time at the library; and a coerced participation in the school play. At times funny (and can you say hilarious-but-awkward?), Staunton strikes a believable chord as the characters develop. The situations Sam finds himself in are realistic, hilarious, and embarrassing all at once, and even the adults in the book have are wacky enough keep the reader interested. Teenagers–guys especially!–will relate to Sam’s mishaps, crazy cohorts, and even crazier adult mentors as he struggles to find balance in the turmoil of becoming a so-called “grown up”.

Acting Up is the third in a trilogy focusing on Sam’s town and the people in it, a further development of Sam’s character as a growing teenager. Mostly comic with relate-able, embarrassing situations and a cast of characters trying to figure out what they want and how to communicate with one another, it also has a few deeper notes that lend some weight to the story. Though the theme of “maturity” is often overpowering and the outcomes of some plot points are a bit predictable, Staunton’s overall story and creative collection of teenage adventures and catastrophes makes it a good, solid read. Sam is every-guy in any-town (albeit Canadian), and his miscommunications, misunderstandings, and personal goals relate to the shared experience of teenage life. If you enjoy “real world” fiction, this will make a good summer read. (more…)


Psychologically Thrilling Version of Freaky Friday

Flip by Martyn Bedford

What would you do if you woke up in someone else’s body? This is what happens to 14-year-old Alex Gray. He wakes up and doesn’t recognize the room he’s in or the face in the mirror. He’s trapped inside the body of another boy, Philip “Flip” Garamond. Everyone sees him as Flip, all except the family dog, Beagle. While trying to navigate the world he now finds himself in, he tries to remember how he may have gotten there. With no memory of the past six months, he has nothing to guide him. Trying to reach his mum, he gets told by one of her coworkers not to call and that it’s a cruel joke to play. With this answer, Alex is afraid to find out what happened to him.

However difficult it may be, he tries to live Flip’s life in Flip’s body, with Flip’s family, friends, and girlfriends. All his reactions and thoughts are Alex’s though, and in the end, he wants his life back. When he finally does go back to his own house, he learns that he was the victim of a hit and run and has been in a coma for the past six months.

Not knowing how to get back into his own body, Alex scours the Web for answers. He finally gets a response from a group of people who are known as Psychic Evacuees.

Psychic evacuation is when a psyche or soul leaves its original body and transfers to another. In doing so, it replaces the psyche of its new body, or corporeal host.

Armed with this new information, Alex attempts to find answers on how to get his and Flip’s lives back in the proper place. (more…)


An Amazing Whirlwind of Emotions and History

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

(Review based on ARC of the book.)

You’ve got to respect a historical fiction novel for teens that has three pages of bibliography.

In this emotional whirlwind of a book, an American high school student–lost in despair over the death of her younger brother and the mental instability of her mother–finds herself through music and the history of the French revolution.

Andi is the equivalent of a musical prodigy, and when her brother dies, music is the only thing besides caring for her mother that keeps her going. (The anti-depressants help, but only just.) She’s flunking out of her private school, and she gets an ultimatum: complete a well-orchestrated senior thesis or don’t graduate.

Andi’s dad sweeps her off to Paris, hoping she can focus on graduation while he tests a 200-year-old heart for proof that it belonged to the dauphin, son of Marie-Antoinette. In the process, Andi discovers a hidden diary belonging to another 17-year-old girl, Alexandrine Paradis, the daughter of a puppeteer, who finds herself companion to the dauphin right before the start of the French revolution. Andi’s depression continues to rise and fall, and she gets pulled into Alexandrine’s story of pain, faith, and hope as Alex tries to survive the bloody massacres of her time and save the child prince. As Alex writes, “They are a truthful account of these bitter, bloody days.” Andi finds herself absorbed in the past, so much so that one night she finds herself thrown into the horror of Alexandrine’s world, unsure of what is dream and what is reality. (more…)

So Shelly

Byron, Keats, and Shelly Re-imagined

So Shelly by Ty Roth

Loosely based on the lives of George Gordon, Lord Byron, John Keats, Mary Shelly, and Percy Shelly, this re-imagining is set in a small town in Ohio, with the main characters in high school. Narrated by Keats, who is both the observer and the minimal participant in the lives of Byron and Shelly, this novel is told in alternating chapters between the present and the past.

In the present, Byron and Keats reminisce about the life of Shelly as they fulfill her last wishes, a “romantic adventure” that is So Shelly. As they both navigate their own memories of Shelly and piece together the reasons for Shelly’s tragic death, a tentative friendship is formed.

In the chapters about the past, we discover that both Byron and Shelly have very dysfunctional families. Byron grows into a pathological, egocentric, and sex-obsessed teen. Shelly (an amalgamation of Mary Shelly and her husband Percy) is more than Byron’s best friend with no limitations. As they both dabble in combined and separate endeavors, their relationship never turns romantic (despite Shelly wanting otherwise). Keats observes their mutually destructive friendship from the sidelines.

Keats has his own set of problems. He’s obsessed with death. As he narrates, he throws out statistics about death. His father and mother are dead, and his older brother Tom is also on his way to death’s door. Keats himself will also die young, this he knows. (more…)

The Candidates

An Average Girl with Super Powers

The Candidates by Inara Scott

Dancia Lewis has blending into crowds down to an art: straight B grades, so-so wardrobe, no real friends, no special hobbies. So when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy boarding school stop by her house, it doesn’t make any sense. Unless, that is, they know about her secret…

Ever since she was little, she found she could make things happen. Drop a tree branch on a bully’s head, knock over a threatening gunman at the ER, blow out the tires in a suspicious chase vehicle… whatever she thinks, it happens. By avoiding friends, she’s successfully avoided the need to defend anyone, thereby hiding her powers—until now.

As Dancia begins her freshman year at the academy, she finds her life changing rapidly as friends work their way into her life and the hot junior she meets seems to take an interest. And then there’s Jack, the moody, insubordinate guy who seems to be average too, unless he has a special gift of his own. Love triangle, anyone? (more…)

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