Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B Book Review

Title: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
Author: Teresa Toten
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0553507867

304 pp.

ARC provided by publisher

If this gem of a book slipped your notice when it first came out, go ahead and put it on your TBR pile. It's one of those sad, funny, honest, and ultimately optimistic contemporary YA novels that remind you why you love YA.

Adam starts group therapy for his OCD and is instantly captivated by fellow OCD sufferer, Robyn. As the group bonds over superheroes as a way to express themselves, Adam becomes Batman to Robyn's Robin (I see what you've done there).

But as much as Adam wants to get better - for the group, for his mom, for his little brother, for himself, and especially for Robyn - he's not. He's getting worse and there's no way he can save Robyn when he can't even save himself.

You can tell that Teresa Toten loves her characters and has done the research to bring their problems and their personalities to life. My one quibble is that some of the support group members never get to shine and don't get past spear carrier status. But the main characters shine like stadium lights at a night game. So, like I said, put it on your TBR pile.

I'd recommend The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B to readers who enjoyed Wildlife by Fiona Wood or Reality Boy by A.S. King

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Good Morning, 2017

Now that the shitstorm that was 2016 is over, it's time to greet the New Year with some hope. I have sorely neglected this blog, but I hope to do better this year. In fact, that's pretty much my resolution for the year. To do better. Not perfect. But better. Better will do.

2016 isn't something to put behind me, but something to learn from.

So here's a bit of optimism for 2017:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Eden West Book Review

Title: Eden West 
Author: Pete Hautman
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0763674182

 320 pp.

ARC provided by publisher

This is a book that could be confused for dystopia at first glance. Jacob lives in the community of Nodd, home to the people known as the Grace. Their prophet, who has a penchant for young wives, says that the Grace will be spared when the rest of the world is destroyed. The fences and guns are there to protect the Grace from the impending evil outside.

But Jacob actually lives on a ranch in Montana and life within a cult is the only life he remembers. When Tobias and his family join the Grace, very much against Tobias' will, Jacob begins to question their strict rules and the punishments that follow if they're broken.

Jacob also meets Lynna, a Worldly girl who lives on the ranch nearby. Lynna wants to know about Jacob and the Grace and Jacob finds her simple questions more and more difficult to answer.

There's also a wolf loose, a wolf that is a less-than-subtle metaphor for Jacob's doubts. But Peter Hautman does an excellent job of presenting Jacob as a real person, one that slowly comes to the realization that he must think for himself.

I would recommend Eden West to readers who enjoyed Blankets by Craig Thompson or The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman.

Eden West by Pete Hautman Book Trailer:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

2016 Teens' Top Ten Nominees

Hey everyone!

Summertime is the perfect opportunity to catch up on the Teens' Top Ten nominees.

Check out the video below for the 2016 nominees.

Happy reading!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Secret Coders Book Review

Title: Secret Coders
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Illustrator: Mike Holmes
Publisher: First Second
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1626720756

96 pp.

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley

Secret Coders is exactly the kind of book I love to booktalk, especially when promoting Summer Reading Club. It has a mystery, it has a diverse cast, it has basketball, it has a friendship theme, and it has STEM. And best of all, it's a graphic novel.

Graphic novels are my go-to booktalk because they appeal to kids who say they don't like to read. These kids may have reading difficulties, they may be English learners, or maybe they just haven't found the right book yet. But a graphic novel, especially one like Secret Coders, has the visual appeal to grab their interest and keep them turning pages. Mike Holmes delivers a lively and cartoony style. His artwork during the coding explanations are clear and accessible.

Secret Coders is the first in a series about Hopper, a new kid at school who wants to join the basketball team and who notices weird things going on at Stately Academy. After a bad start at making friends, she joins forces with Eni to figure out what's going at the school.

Tons of fun here and I'd recommend Secret Coders to readers who liked Cece Bell's El Deafo or Raina Telgemeier's Sisters.

Secret Coders Bonus Video:


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