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.
Also available as an eBook.
Image from www.goodreads.com
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. Continue reading A Modern-day Persephone
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. Continue reading Sometimes Maturity Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be
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. Continue reading An Amazing Whirlwind of Emotions and History
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? Continue reading An Average Girl with Super Powers