The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman
 When five of the king's men are brutally slaughtered, in a way that no one can explain, the townsfolk do what they normally do: they blame it on the wolves. Just before this, Fiona Eira comes to town with her stepfather and stepmother. Rowan  immediately makes a connection to this girl, even before knowing of their blood bond (she learns later they are cousins). For her best friend Tom, it is love at first sight. When he sees Fiona, he wants nothing more than to meet her. Rowan's father, however, has forbidden her from spending time with Fiona. Defiantly, she arranges for them to meet.

It is Tom who witnesses...what? He isn't sure he can even explain it. Something engulfed Fiona, and hollowed her out. A monster? A demon? What could have done that kind of damage? He isn't himself after the incident.

The villagers again turn a blind eye saying she brought it on herself venturing into the woods. Then the killings begin again. Rowan has always been raised to believe in knowledge and science...but these sinister dealings are reminiscent of the beasts of tales meant to keep children from wandering too far from home at night. Have they unleashed some great and terrible magic?

A great dark fairy tale for those who like being a little bit scared before they go to bed. Well-written and not too cookie cutter, it doesn't follow the Rose Red/Snow White myth too closely. I enjoyed the strong female protagonist, the unpredictable dynamic characters, the realistic emotions exhibited by the characters. I enjoyed the author's use of mob mentality and the way faith/tradition play into our actions. Very though provoking, and I always love a good scary book! Recommended for high school.

*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Grisha Trilogy, Book 1)
Splintered by A.G. Howard

Templeman, McCormick. (2014). The Glass Casket. New York, NY: Delacorte Press.

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Mackenzie is a Keeper. She is a Keeper of one of the keys to the Archive. The Archive is where our histories (our vessels) are stored after we die. Sometimes our histories wake up, and someone needs to keep watch. Watch to keep the living - and the dead - safe from each other. Histories aren't like people, they're more like angry ghosts. The longer they are awake, the more confused they get. If they escape, it's usually into the Narrows, a place in between the real world and the Archive...and that is where Mackenzie is hunting.

She got her key from Da, and no one else knows about her life on the side. Not mom and dad, not her best friend. After her brother died, they all moved to this new place. Mom thinks they can start over, but it feels like running away to Mackenzie.

Something happens in the Narrows one day...there is someone else there, and it isn't a history. Who is this goth-punk kid on her turf? She's never met another Keeper. It feels so good not to have to lie. Maybe she can trust him...but there's something he's hiding too.

There's something else going on that's more important. Someone is killing histories. It has to be one of them: a Keeper or even Crew. No one else has access to them. Who could it be? Who hates the Archive so much as to destroy it? Can Mackenzie figure it out before they destroys her too?
“Lying is easy. But it's lonely."
"What do you mean?"
"When you lie to everyone about everything, what's left? What's true?"
"Nothing," I say.
"Exactly,”(Schwab, 2013).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Unbound by Victoria Schwab (Archived, Book 2)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Cycle, Book 1)
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (5th Wave, Book 1)

Schwab, V. (2013). The Archived. New York: Hyperion.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
Alex Woods has always been different. When he was 11, he was hit in the head with a meteorite. It went right through the roof of his house, and bashed him in the head. Obviously he survived, but he did begin to suffer seizures as a result. As you can imagine, having seizures does not make you popular.

His mother (he doesn't even know who his father is) runs a local shop that carries charms, talismans, ingredients for spells, books on wicca, candles for covens, sage for get the idea. This, also, does not make you popular.

When he meets Mr. Peterson, through a series of unfortunate events, and is introduced to the wonderful author Kurt Vonnegut, and prefers reading on the bus to other types of social activities...well you get the picture. Mr. Peterson is a widower in his 60s, and soon becomes Alex's best friend.

All this is well and good until Mr. Peterson contracts a fatal illness. It's clear that the end will not be pleasant, and he will die trapped in his own body. The two hatch a scheme that takes them through Germany, into Switzerland, and may involve hydroponics. What do you do when the universe is against you? You make your own rules. That is exactly what Alex intends to do.

Excellently written, thoughtful, insightful, and of course - who doesn't love the Vonnegut references!! I recommend this for older teens, or 11 year-olds who are older than their years.
“When I read these books, I no longer felt like I was confined to a very tiny world. I no longer felt housebound or bedbound. Really, I told myself, I was just brainbound, and this was not such a sorry state of affairs. My brain, with a little help from other peoples brains, could take me to some pretty interesting places, and create all kinds of wonderful things. Despite its faults, my brain, I decided, was not the worst place in the world to be,” (Extence, 2013).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin
Winger by Andrew Smith
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Extence, Gavin. (2013). The Universe Versus Alex Woods. New York, NY: Redhook.

Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross

Viv is at her wit's end. She knows any day could be the day her stepmother poisons her, or Henley turns on her and becomes the Huntsman. Her Snow White curse is inevitable, and she isn't sure if she will survive. How could things between she and Henley have gotten so out of control? They love each other...don't they? He has always been her best friend, since they were kids, and when they were old enough he was more. This stupid curse ruined everything! She can't trust him anymore.

Henley is going crazy. Viv is treating him like a yo-yo, and he doesn't know how much more he can take. Doesn't she remember that he promised to always protect her? Doesn't she believe that he would defy anything and anyone to keep that promise? Doesn't she know that he would do anything for her? Why does she keep pushing him away?

When Viv's prince invites her to the Underworld, she accepts without hesitation. When he invites her to stay, she isn't as quick, but after an attack from her stepmother and the entrance of another Huntsman...what choice does she have? Once she's there, it's more like unhappily ever after. Her future father-in-law is a monster. She has to defeat his curse to ever have a chance of escaping or seeing her friends again. Will she find the key to her own prison before it's locked forever?

This is the second novel that takes place in Beau Rivage, and I think I like this one better. The world building is exciting, and the Underworld is a lot of fun. I enjoyed the play with fairy tales once again, but this time it wasn't being shoved down my throat. Viv wasn't my favorite character, and at times really got on my nerves...her treatment of Henley is pretty reprehensible at times. I thought Cross captured the multitude of feelings that can occur simultaneously very well, especially in the stepmother. This book is intense. There were several times I couldn't put it down. If you have a fan of fairy tales, this should do the trick.

I got this as an ARC from Net Galley, but you can look forward to its' release January 2015.

*Library Link*
"That was the Huntsman's role: One day Regina would order Henley to kill Viv. And he could do it - kill her, carve the heart from her chest, and bring it to Regina as proof - or he could spare her life, and lose her forever.
Viv didn't know what Henley would choose. She didn't know which loss he'd rather live with.
I would never hurt you, he'd said, never - but was it true? Every promise became something she had to doubt," (Cross, 2015). 
If you liked this, check out:

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Cross, Sarah. (2015). Tear You Apart. New York: Egmont USA.

A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil, Book 2)

***SPOILER ALERT: This is the second book in a series!***

After they had their Happy Ever After, and returned to their village, everything was great...for a while. Eventually, people lost interest in their tale, and (unable to stop thinking about him) Sophie secretly wishes she had chosen a different ending.

Both girls are taken back to the land of the Storian. When they arrive, however, they find things have changed dramatically! Agatha and Sophie so inspired the rest of the girls to be their own heroes, they no longer need princes. The once evenly split school is now integrated: evil and good attend classes together. The Evil School now houses all the boys, who - it must be said - are without supervision, and taking atrocious care of themselves.

Can Agatha ever hope to find her happy ending with her prince now? He hates her for what she has done to him, and all the rest of the princes. It seems there is no answer but another battle. As both sides prepare for all-out war, there is one person in particular that seems to be at the heart of the conflict. A new teacher has appeared, and Sophie and Agatha aren't sure if she's really on their side.

Can they break through all the chaos and reunite everyone? Can they find a way for everyone to coexist again? Is it really so bad for kids to choose their own destinies?

Another success from Chainani, he again explores the fairy tale genre in a refreshing way. It is so nice to see strong, female characters not limited by gender roles (feminine or masculine), but choosing their own paths, saving themselves, and inspiring others. It also introduces the idea of chaos as a force that can be used for manipulation: using our ideals against us. Getting what we want is not always in our best interest, and I know some children (and teens, and adults) that could stand to hear that sentiment. Well-written and paced, can't wait for the next installment!

*Library Link*

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (Inkheart Trilogy, Book 1)
Half Upon a Time by James Riley (Half Upon a Time, Book 1)
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy (Hero's Guide, Book 1)
Storybound by Marissa Burt (Storybound, Book 1)

Chainani, S., & Bruno, I. (2014). A World Without Princes. New York, NY : Harper.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Book 2)

*SPOILER ALERT: This is the second book in a series!*

When we last left our peculiar friends, they were in quite the predicament: their home had burned down, their protector was stuck in bird form, and the hollows were hot on their trail. Luckily, Jacob has agreed to accompany them into the past. His particular peculiarity is especially helpful, as he can track the hollows and see them. Without him, they would have been dead in the water - or just dead - long before now!

Their plan involves finding another loop and another ymbryne to heal Miss Peregrine. Without all of them, the hollows cannot complete their heinous task. Along the way, they encounter other peculiars including peculiar animals! (Some can even talk!) Even a peculiar Gypsy child, but will they ever be able to save Miss Peregrine?

With the wights and hollows tracking them at every turn, and seemingly able to now get into the loops, they are running out of time and options. Things are finally looking up when they hear news of another ymbryne who has not been captured, and may be headed to London to help her sisters. The peculiar children have their work cut out for them, and Jacob fears he may never see his family again. If they cannot change Miss Peregrine back into her human form, she will be stuck as a bird forever!

The haunting images, painstakingly collected by Mr. Riggs, truly complete the story. The second installment keeps you reading, and doesn't make the all to common mistake of wrapping things up in a nice, neat package. There are moments where their escapes are too convenient, but in the end I was satisfied with how it played out. The eerie tone of the first book remains, but I admit I got really into the story right before it ended. I wanted to hear more about the wights and the other side they are facing. Hopefully, that will come in the third installment.
“There was romance in the unknown, but once a place had been discovered and cataloged and mapped, it was diminished, just another dusty fact in a book, sapped of mystery. So maybe it was better to leave a few spots on the map blank. To let the world keep a little of its magic, rather than forcing it to divulge every last secret. Maybe it was better, now and then, to wonder," (Riggs, Hollow City).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan and Jonathan Farmer

Riggs, R. (2014). Hollow City. Philadelphia, PA: Quirk Books.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

So I'm finally writing a review about this book...I know, I know. I'm at least two years behind everyone else, but it bears repeating. This kid is a wonder after all.

Auggie was born with mandibulofacial dysostosis...and a bunch of other very unfortunate genetic mutations which result in some serious facial abnormalities. As he puts it, "Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse," (Palacio pg. 3). He's endured countless surgeries to overcome the very real possibility of never living to see tomorrow, and now, at 10 years old he's finally going to go to a real school.

Let's be clear, he doesn't want to go. Well, mostly. He knows the kids are going to stare and make fun of him. They won't be able to see past his face and treat him like the really cool, funny, mostly normal kid who rides his bike, eats ice cream, loves his dog, and plays XBox.

His sister Via has lived in the shadow of Auggie and been his biggest protector her whole life, but this year she's starting high school. She's ashamed to admit that it's a relief to be somewhere she isn't known as "the freak's sister." She's cast in the school play, and she hasn't told her family about it...what kind of a sister is she...what kind of a person does that make her?

Jack hasn't told August this, but the principal asked him to hang out with Auggie and help him out. I mean, that's how it started out, but he really likes Auggie now. He would pretty much consider him his best friend. He just feels pressured by everyone else. They ask him why he would be friends with a freak. And that horrible game everyone is playing, The Plague...he doesn't know what comes over him that day.

All of these reactions and emotions all over a sweet 10-year old boy with a birth defect. Can this boy really enact some change in this school? Or will he decide it's all too much, and retreat from the bullying and whispers. This is a story of bravery in the face of cowardice, and it will break your heart before it puts it back together again.
"'It was bad how we did that,' she said. 'Just getting up like that, like we'd just seen the devil. I was scared for what Jamie was going to say, you know? I didn't want him to say anything that would hurt that little boy's feelings. But it was very bad, us leaving like that. The momma knew what was going on.'
'But we didn't mean it,' I answered.
'Jack, sometimes you don't have to mean to hurt someone to hurt someone. You understand?'" (Palacio pg. 137, 2012).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts by R.J. Palacio
Firegirl by Tony Abbott
Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Palacio, R. J. (2012). Wonder. New York : Alfred A. Knopf.

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani and Iacopo Bruno (School for Good and Evil, Book 1)

Sophie knows that this is the year. The School Master will come and take her away to her destiny. She will become the princess she was always meant to be. Of course, her best friend Agatha will be taken too, and she will become a witch. The two of them will enter the School for Good and Evil together, and live forever in a fairy tale. It's a dream come true! Anything is better than living her days out in this miserable town. Anything is better than being ordinary...

When the School Master comes, however, he makes a huge mistake. He puts Agatha in Good (Evers), and Sophie in Evil (Nevers)! This has to be a joke, right? Both girls are miserable, and no one will let them near the School Master's tower. Agatha wants nothing more than to go home, but Sophie wants her storybook ending. Sophie keeps accidentally winning challenges causing the Nevers to start to think maybe she's not as bad as they thought. Agatha, on the other hand, is in danger of failing if she loses any more challenges!

The school itself is full of mysterious history. The other students all come from storybook families. They call Agatha and Sophie "Readers," and mock their lack of knowledge. Each story is written by the Storian, a magic pen. Each student will be assigned a role in a larger tale when they graduate: hero, princess, villain, witch, henchman, or mogrif. A mogrif could be anything from a cat to a tree to a gargoyle...and neither want to end up as a piece of scenery.

How are they ever going to survive such a strange place! When Sophie sees Tedros, she knows she has found her prince. This is the answer to her Happily Ever After... but how will she ever convince him her Never status is undeserved? And how will she tell Agatha that she wants to stay?
"'You belong here with us,' Hester said, as she, Anadil, and Dot crowded around Agatha, whose head swung nervously between this villainous threesome. Did they really want to be her friend? Was Sophie right? Could being a villain make her...happy?
   Agatha's stomach churned. She didn't want to be Evil! Not when Sophie was Good! They had to get out of this place before it tore them apart!
   'I'm not leaving you!' she cried to Sophie, breaking away.
   'No one's asking you to leave me, Agatha,' Sophie said tightly. 'We're just asking you to leave your clothes,'" (Chainani, 2014).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
The School for Good and Evil #2: A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani
Storybound by Marissa Burt
Doll Bones by Holly Black

Chainani, Soman, & Bruno, Iacopo. (2013). The School for Good and Evil. New York, NY : Harper.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Laurel started writing to Kurt Cobain, Janice Joplin, Judy Garland, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse as a way to be closer to her sister. It started as an English assignment: write to a famous dead person. They all died too young, and that's what happened to her sister. Everyone wants to know what happened that night on the bridge, but she can't tell them. She hardly knows herself. What would she say anyway...that she couldn't save her own sister?

High school is a wasteland without May. Everything is dimmer, lackluster, washed out. Laurel is lucky enough to find a few friends that help her get through the days. She knows that she has to maintain a certain semblance of normalcy or her dad and her aunt will flip. Her mom has taken off for an undisclosed amount of time to "find herself" - whatever that means. Doesn't she know that Laurel needs her?

So she talks to dead people, and they help her deal with the fact that her world is upside down. Going to a new school was supposed to help. She wouldn't be the girl who's sister died. She even manages to attract the attention of a boy. He knows who she is, or at least he knows who her sister is...was...

Sky is her lifeline, and it seems like he could be the one to pull her out of the tailspin she's in, but is that really fair? Can she put that on him, and does she want to? He keeps asking what's wrong just like everyone else, and she can't tell him. At some point, it's too much for him. Just like her friends: Natalie and Hannah. Natalie only has eyes for Hannah, but Hannah can't seem to handle their relationship in public. She flaunts her string of boyfriends in front of Natalie to a point where is seems they can't go on.

Can Laurel find a way to let go of the past before it destroys all of her relationships? Can she find a way to forgive her sister and move forward?

*Library Link*
"When we were walking to the parking lot, Natalie said to Hannah, 'I made the tulip that way, I made it a painting, because now you'll always have it. It can't wilt or die.' Natalie had taken what's ephemeral and turned it into something that Hannah can keep. Hannah looked at Natalie like she was trying to make herself understand what it means to have someone love you like that.
  At least that's what I imagined, because I know that it can be hard to believe that someone loves you if you are afraid of being yourself, or if you are not exactly sure who you are. It can be hard to believe that someone won't leave," (Dellaira pg. 145, 2014).
If you liked this, check out:
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Dellaira, Ava. (2014). Love Letters to the Dead: A novel. New York : Farrar Straus Giroux. 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Mara Dyer Trilogy, Book 1)

Mara wakes up in a hospital bed, and the first thing she can really focus on is the yellow roses. No matter what is going on, at least the roses mean her best friend Rachel must be here. Even that is empty, though, they are from Rachel's parents and Rachel is gone...forever. She can't remember what happened or why they were even visiting the asylum that night, but everyone is looking to her for answers.

Instead of answers, all she has is nightmares and hallucinations. PTSD the doctors say, and they want to commit her. She convinces her mother that a move will be enough; moving away from the ghosts of her friends and all the questions she can't answer.

Florida is almost like another punishment. Private school is another circle of hell, and the first thing she does is have an episode and pass out in class. She manages to invoke the ire of one of the most popular girls in school. Luckily, she also manages to make a friend. Jaime shows her the ropes a little, and tries to warn her off the hot British guy, Noah, who keeps teasing her. He couldn't really be flirting...

Besides, she has enough to deal with: she's seeing AND hearing dead people. No matter what happens to you, she knows that is crazy. Even weirder things happen around her: an abusive dog owner drops dead the exact way she pictures it in her mind. And that Noah guy won't leave her alone. She finally agrees to go out with him...and he kind of wins her over. The weird stuff doesn't stop though, and soon it seems like it may be bigger than she ever imagined.
"Things were changing. Sweat pebbled my skin, even though I knew it wasn't possible. It wasn't possible. I was in class at nine this morning, when that bastard died. He had to have died earlier. The coroner, or whoever he was, was wrong. Even he'd said he was just guessing.
  That was it. I imagined my conversation with him. I'd thought he snuck up on me too quietly, but he didn't sneak up on me at all. He was already dead. The whole thing was just another hallucination - par for the course, really, considering my PTSD.
  But still. Today felt...different. Confirmation that I was now crazier than I'd known it was possible for me to be. My mother worked with only the mildly disturbed. I was full on delusional. Abnormal. Psychotic," (Hodkin pg. 103, 2011).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Mara Dyer Trilogy, Book 2)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me, Book 1)
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone, Book 1)

Hodkin, Mara. (2011). The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. New York: Simon & Schuster BFYR.

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer

They have to take a stand. This co-opting of their school by the reality show "For Art's Sake" has gotten way out of hand. At least, that's what Luke thinks. He's kind of the leader of their motley foursome. He always has been, almost since forever. So even though Ethan's desperate crush of 100 years Maura Heldsman is a contestant on the show, he gets behind Luke's cause.

What you have to know first is that Selwyn is an arts academy. It isn't your run-of-the-mill public high school. Every morning they each spend an hour and a half practicing whatever discipline they want to perfect. Jackson is a nerdy cyber super genius, Elizabeth is an art goddess in day glow, Ethan is a less than stellar artist and an okay musician, and Luke is a wordsmith (and of course, their mascot, Baconnaise the gerbil). Maura is a dancer, Miki Frigging Reagler is a drama kid, and so on. That's the best part of Selwyn: the diversity and the art.

When the vice principal and the plastic blonde co-host, Trisha, came swooping in with the reality TV show, at first it seemed like it could be a decent idea: good press for the school, a scholarship for the winner, and fame never hurts either! The longer the season goes on, however, the more obvious it seems that everything is scripted and edited using "frankenbiting" tactics (selective splicing of footage to create a desired storyline that may not fit with reality).

They learn about the Cantos in BradLee's English class, how Ezra Pound used it as a way to fight back against tyranny and speak out against oppression, and to challenge the established language. BradLee gets what they are fighting against. It's this that inspires Luke to create the Contracantos. What is the Contracantos? A subversive newsletter aimed at the money making machine of For Art's Sake and all those involved, calling for a return to the true purpose of the school: creating art. How is that going to go over with Vice Principal (Serpent Vice) Coluber, Trisha, and their cronies?
"Selwyn? Sell-outs! That's who we are.
We're orbiting an ersatz star.
We used to spend our time creating
But now we walk the halls awaiting
The latest, greatest Nielsen rating.
-THE CONTRACANTOS," (Hattemer pg. 76, 2014).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

Hattemer, Kate. (2014). The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy. New York : Alfred A. Knopf.

Emerald Green by Kersten Gier (Ruby Red, Book 3)


Gwen is sick of all this time travel nonsense. She just wants to be heartbroken like any other teenage girl and mope around all the time. How could she have been so stupid. Of course Gideon was under St. Germain's thumb, of course he was using her...I mean, the guy can read minds, right? There's no way someone that good looking would fall for someone like her. She just wants to curl up and die, preferably under her bed, with ice cream delivery service. Is that too much to ask?

Unfortunately, being a time traveler makes that impossible. Not only does she have to keep going to school, but she is forced to spend time with Gideon alone! The only thing that makes it bearable is being able to go back and see her grandfather. He is the only one she can really trust. The two of them begin to suspect that St. Germain may have a bigger scheme at hand.

The breakthrough in their plot against St. Germain comes with the discovery of the second chronometer, allowing Gwen to time travel outside of the Order's strict watch. Can they discover St. Germain's plot? Can she work with Gideon after he stomped on her heart? Will her grandfather come through for them before it's too late?

The final twist may prove too much for Gwen, and it may be at the expense of her life.

A fitting end to this enjoyable time traveling trilogy (see what I did there?), Gier manages to balance the romance with adventure rather well. Even I could stomach it! You won't want to miss this thrilling conclusion.
“You mean he's not afraid of me because I'm a woman? He ought to see Tomb Raider sometime. For all he knows, I could have a nuclear bomb under my dress and a hand grenade in each cup of my bra. I call it antifeminist!” (Gier, 2013).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Starbound, Book 1)
The Archived by Victoria Schwab (The Archived, Book 1)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book 1)

Gier, Kerstin, & Bell, A. (2013). Emerald Green. New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2013.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Austin is just a typical Iowa boy. He has a banging hot girlfriend, and a pretty cool best friend, who is also gay. So, okay that isn't so typical Iowa. And he also has some kind of ambiguous feelings about Austin, but that's normal for a teenage boy, right? Being confused about your sexuality is just part of growing up... totally typical. In their typical Iowa town, there is also a factory (now defunct) famous for its typical toothbrushes. Their inventor was his girlfriend's stepdad's (now dead) brother. Apparently, that guy wasn't so typical. He had some serious issues.

Austin and his best friend Robby couldn't have known any of that, or that his girlfriend Shann's stepdad kept a bunch of his wacko brother's weird experiments. When the two of them (after a particularly confusing situation) decide to break into Shann's stepdad's store, and unwittingly aid some dumb punks in stealing - and breaking - one of said experiments, they have no idea of the consequences. Like, end-of-the-world giant hungry, horny mantises consequences.

Now the two boys have to decide what to do; both about the confusing situation, and the whole end-of-the-world thing. In the midst of all this, Austin is recording history as he knows it, because that is what Austin does. That is how he deals with the world, and that is how he is dealing with the multiple traumas of this situation. So in addition to these two major events, we learn so much more about Austin's life and history and family. This is a book about everything, like all good books should be.

Smith said he "wrote things that I believed nobody would ever see" in this book, and it shows. It isn't written for an editor or publisher, it isn't "classy," and I wouldn't be surprised to see it on the banned books list in the next few years. What it does have is originality, a sincere voice that I can hear in my head, and a plot within a genre that many consider to be overdone that manages to still hold surprises. I love how Smith writes, and I love this book.
"But even though we dutifully archived elaborate records of everything we've ever done, we've also managed to keep on doing dumber and dumber shit.
This is my history.
There are things in here: babies with two heads, insects as big as refrigerators, God, the devil, limbless warriors, rocket ships, sex, diving bells, theft, wars, monsters, internal combustions engines, love, cigarettes, joy, bomb shelters, pizza, and cruelty.
Just like it's always been," (Smith pg. 8, 2014).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith (Marbury, Book 1)
I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells (John Cleaver, Book 1)
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride (Necromancer, Book 1)

Smith, Andrew. (2014). Grasshopper Jungle: a history. New York: Dutton Books (Penguin Group).

Winger by Andrew Smith

Ryan Dean, or Winger as he is better known, is just a kid. That's what everyone tells him. He skipped two grades, and ended up at a prestigious boarding school for rich kids. Naturally, he's younger than every other kid in his grade, and tragically younger than his best friend - and object of affection - Annie, who thinks of him as (you guessed it) just a kid.

It helps his rep a little that he's on the Varsity Rugby team, and that he's dorming in the punishment dorm (for hacking a cell phone to wish Annie "Happy Birthday!"). He still doesn't cuss (well, not out loud). He's afraid his new roommate, Chas, will kill him by the end of the semester (there are a lot of ways that one could go). He is also pretty sure the resident girls' counselor is a witch who has it in for him. Sophomore year is shaping up great!

He has one really great thing going for him: he has a great friend in Joey. He's the gay kid on the rugby team, but he's not like trying to make a big thing about it. What's the big deal anyway? Joey is cool, and you stick up for your teammates. Things are actually looking up between he and Annie, and something weird is going on between Ryan Dean and Chas's girlfriend...which can only end in tears and fists and...other bad things.

Why is it so hard to be 14? I mean, he knows he likes Annie, and what the right thing to do is...but knowing and doing are two different things. When Annie invites him to come home with her for the weekend to stay and meet her parents, he's over the moon. This is finally it...isn't it?

Smith does such a masterful job of highlighting the treacherous path we walk during adolescence: everything is such a big deal because we are doing it for the first time. Sometimes making the choice you know is right isn't easy, and life doesn't make it any easier. Hormones on top of all that make slights and joys into betrayals and jubilations. Peppered with authentic dialogue and insight, along with delightful comics and illustrations by Sam Bosma, this is a great coming-of-age novel. I laughed out loud several times.
"'And here's Ryan Dean West. Well, at least, it's the one tiny part of Ryan Dean West that makes him stand out as being so different, the only thing that everyone notices about him. The number fourteen. And you think that makes me so different, like I'm a little kid. But the thing is, everyone has that little part that's outside the overlap of everyone else. And a lot of people zero in on that one little thing they can't get over. Like for Joey, 'cause he's gay, I guess. Some people are better than others about not getting that outside-the-overlap part so noticed, but not me. So that was my wish,'" (Smith pg. 133, 2013).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Stick by Andrew Smith
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Smith, Andrew. (2013). Winger. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The first wave was lights out. An EMP takes out all the technology on the planet. The second wave was worse: massive tsunamis across the entire world's coastlines killing millions. The third wave was the worst of all. It had a 97% kill rate. They used the birds to spread an incurable disease. At this point, Cassie isn't sure if there are any humans left out there. The fourth wave is diabolical: the silencers look like people. Humanity doesn't have a chance.

The Others, as Cassie has dubbed them, have taken out nearly seven billion people in about three months. Her family is all gone, dead or taken. She put her brother on a bus hoping to send him to safety, but there's little chance of that. All she has left are her M-16 and her wits. The latter seem less sharp lately, as food is getting more scarce, and the Silencers have the dual purpose of causing paranoia as well as death. She has one goal: if her brother is out there, she's going to find him.

Her brother has been taken to a secret military base and trained to be a soldier. He's not Sammy anymore. Now he's Nugget. He can shoot, he can fight, he can kill...things no seven-year old should know how to do. His Squad may have graduated without him, but that doesn't change the fact that Nugget is a different person. They all are, here underground in Camp Haven. This is the military's answer to the alien threat: they've infiltrated a piece of their technology, and have used it to calculate the effectiveness of each of the soldiers chosen. Will humanity's last chance stand a chance?

Cassie's had her fair share of trouble on the way, but she's coming for way or another.

Yancey does an amazing job with this one. Well-paced, engrossing, well written, great story, and great details add up to a book you don't want to miss. It captures the terror of invasion followed by the desperation of retaliation. This is going to light a spark under the growing alien trend. I can't wait for the sequel!
"We couldn't take them head-on, but we could fight a guerrilla war. We could go all asymmetrical on their alien asses. We had enough guns and ammo and even some transport that survived the 1st Wave. Our militaries had been decimated, but there were still functional units on every continent. There were bunkers and caves and underground bases where we could hide for years. You be America, alien invaders, and we'll be Vietnam. 
And the Others go, Yeah, okay, right. 
We thought they had thrown everything at us-or at least the worst, because it was hard to imagine anything worse than the Red Death. Those of us who survived the 3rd Wave-the ones with a natural immunity to the disease-hunkered down and stocked up and waited for the People in Charge to tell us what to do. We knew somebody had to be in charge, because occasionally a fighter jet would scream across the sky and we heard what sounded like gun battles in the distance and the rumble of troop carriers just over the horizon," (Yancey pg. 47, 2013).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey (5th Wave, Book 2) Release date: Sept. 16, 2014
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Partials by Dan Wells
Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

Yancey, Rick. (2013). The 5th Wave. New York, NY : G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

In a land far away, there are three kingdoms: Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia. They live side by side in a fragile peace. Sounis desires the hand of Eddis in order to fortify his own kingdom against the aggressive Attolia. The Queen of Attolia wishes to take over all three lands. Eddis remains the impartial in-between, desiring not only her own freedom, but the neutrality of her own throne and lands. In the middle of this political turmoil, there is a thief: Eugenides (or Gen).

Gen's mouth has landed him in a bigger batch of trouble than he anticipated: he's landed in the King of Sounis' jail after bragging that he could steal the royal seal. The Magus, the King's most trusted advisor, offers him a deal. If he wants out of jail, he must help them steal the legendary Hamiathes's Gift. The stone is reputed to hold the power to claim the throne of neighboring Eddis. In return, Gen is promised fame...and his life...not really a deal he can turn down.

The party consists of the Magus, himself, two young people Gen has nicknamed Useless the Younger and Useless the Elder, and Pol. Pol, we learn, is the head of a Duke's guard, and tasked to train and guard Useless the Younger (Sophos). On their path, they encounter various trials, but it is the legendary temple where the stone is reported to be held that proves most difficult.

To reach it, they must pass, not only through neutral Eddis, but into aggressive Attolia, risking not only their lives, but war between their countries. All this for a stone that many believe to be a myth. Can Eugenides (Gen) live up to his namesake, the god of thieves?

This is a Newbery Honor book from a while back, and I mistakenly read the fourth book in the series first. I fell in love with it, but was worried I had spoiled it for myself. I waited a year to read this one, and was so enchanted. Turner does a fantastic job with the dialog and the mythology. Spot on, and highly recommended for middle grade readers, or anyone interested in knights, fantasy, and politics.
“'I want you to steal something.'
I smiled. 'Do you want the king's seal? I can get it for you.'
'If I were you,' said the magus, 'I'd stop bragging about that.' His voice grated.
My smile grew. The gold ring with the engraved ruby had been in his safekeeping when I had stolen it away," (Turner, 1996). 
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (The Queen's Thief, Book 2)
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (The Ascendance Trilogy, Book 1)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson 

Turner, Megan Whalen. (1996). The Thief. New York: Greenwillow Books.

More Than This by Patrick Ness

Death is the end. That's what Seth thought when he drown himself. Waking up in this new place that isn't really new is therefore more than a little disorienting. Why is he back in England, in his boyhood home? Why is he seemingly the only human around? All the questions he asks himself seem to come back to: why?

Dust covers everything, and he is covered in tape...but not in the places that he wants to be covered. His first conclusion is that he can only be in hell. Where else could he be? He starts to wander around this wasteland looking for supplies, as regardless of the futility of it, he is hungry and thirsty. The nearby grocery store has more than he needs as far as canned goods go, and the sporting goods place fulfills his need for clothing. Returning to his home, he sees footprints. He can only determine they are his, even if he can't remember his descent down the stairs. Gathering his courage, he ascends and finds what seems to be a coffin.

Eventually, he is joined by two other kids. One is a young French boy, Tomasz. The other is a girl his age, Regine. They rescue him from "the Driver." There is no longer solitude in this place, and his relief is overwhelming. The doubt that tugs at the back of his mind saying, How did they find you at the exact right time? won't quite go away, but this is hell right?

Regine and Tommy aren't of the same opinion, and they don't really like his attitude, but they are so excited to see someone else, they are letting it slide. The most important thing is staying away from the Driver. They know what happens if you don't: he'll kill you. Did I mention all three died before they woke up here? No one fancies dying twice.

Can these three unlikely allies get to the root of this strange new world? Will they discover what the mystery surrounding them truly is? Will Seth come to grips with what led him here in the first place? With this thought-provoking, and suspenseful mystery, Ness just keeps getting better. Existentialism never looked so much like home before. This was short-listed for the Printz award this year, and (even though it didn't win) I think it was well deserved.
"But it didn't make him free.
      He woke up here.
      Here where there is nothing.
      Nothing but a loneliness more awful than what he'd left.
      One that is no longer bearable -- 
He is nearly there. One last turn. One more long street, and he'll reach the base of the hill.
      He turns a corner-- 
And in the distance, far down the road in front of him, he sees a black van.
      And it's moving," (Ness pg. 162, 2013). 
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking, Book 1)
Genesis by Bernard Beckett
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedwick

Ness, Patrick. (2013). More than this. Somerville, Mass: Candlewick Press.

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

When a series of unfortunate events related to the Cold War force Janie and her family to move to London, the last thing she expects to find is adventure at the pharmacy. Of course, it's London, so they call it the apothecary shop. (One must admit, that does sound a little better.) Her first day of school does not go well, until of course, it does. She meets Benjamin who dreams of being a spy, and he turns out to be the son of the apothecary.

They make plans to spend the day together, and what she assumes will be a date quickly turns into a stake out. There's something fishy going on in the park with the Russian who passes messages out by the chess tables. Benjamin is determined to put a stop to his plan.

Things get dangerous quickly as the two are thrown into a plot much more dangerous than they could have imagined. Soon Benjamin's father has disappeared, they are being threatened, and mysterious people are telling them that Benjamin's father - known as the Apothecary - is actually a powerful alchemist using secrets passed down in an ancient book known as the Pharmacopoeia! Could this really be true?

A group of alchemists have been working to oppose the nuclear threat, but going public with their plan would only put them at greater risk. They had all planned to meet at a test site to see if their preparations could be used to stop such an attack, but with key members of the group missing, the plan may be ruined!

Can Benjamin and Janie manage to bring together the scattered group before it's too late? Do the alchemists have what it takes to prevent nuclear war? Does the Pharmacopoeia really hold such amazing secrets?

Whimsical and flawlessly written, I couldn't put it down. Very inventive and fun to read middle grade fiction. Recommended for 4-6th grade readers. This could fall into several categories: historical fantasy, alternative history, magical realism. I love a good story that captures me and makes me forget the outside world, and this did exactly that. I read it in one sitting, and am looking forward to reading the sequel! The pictures, too, are delightful.
"'Why does my father have a book of phony magic spells?' Benjamin asked.
'They aren't spells,' the gardner said. 'It's the Pharmacopoeia, a book of medicines, or it was originally. Many of the processes in the book began as methods of healing, many generations ago: How to close a wound? How to combat sickness in the human body? Those were the original questions, but in certain minds they took unexpected directions, having to do with the fundamentals of matter. Just as cave drawings led to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, early medicine led to the Pharmacopoeia. The world is made up of atoms, which can be influenced and masked and even rearranged, by someone with the necessary skills,'" (Meloy pg. 72, 2011). 
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Apprentices by Maile Meloy (Apothecary, Book 2)
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore

Meloy, Maile. (2011). The Apothecary. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shephard

If you are familiar with the story of Dr. Moreau, then that saves us some trouble. He was accused of heinous crimes of butchery in the medical community when his experiments went past the limits of decorum and modern societal standards. Run out of London, he left behind a wife and daughter. Left to bear the brunt of his shame, there were few options left to them, and soon the daughter was alone.

One misfortune led to another, until Juliet Moreau, only daughter of a supposed madman, is out on the street. No job, no where to go, and in fear of her next action. It is then that a figure from her past seems to come to save her: Montgomery, the boy she grew up with, and always cherished. He is in London on her father's business, and she begs to be taken with him.

Reluctantly, he concedes and they set out for the island. On their sea voyage, they encounter a shipwrecked man barely clinging to life. Juliet again convinces Montgomery to let him join them. To this, Montgomery takes a stronger stance to the contrary, but eventually relents. None are sure how the Doctor will take all this, but Juliet hopes for the best. She has not seen her father for years, never received a letter, nothing. How will he take her sudden appearance?

Arriving on the island she is struck by the queerness of the islanders. Each has something not quite right about them, even if she can't quite point out what it may be. Her father is ever the same, and spends most of his time in his lab. She is unable to bring herself to admit what may or may not be happening in his lab, and fears what it means that his blood runs through her veins.

This is compounded by the confusion she feels whenever she spends any amount of time in close proximity to either Edward or Montgomery. The former throws her off guard, and unsettles her, but she is drawn to him in a way that both scares and excites her. There is a darkness in him that calls to her own. Montgomery is the boy she has always wanted, but is he still that person? Does he even want her?

An interesting take on the traditional tale of Dr. Moreau, and planned to be a series, I always enjoy strong female characters. Juliet was raised with medical knowledge. Despite her hard knock life, she has found a way to survive. She rejects out of hand her father's idea that a man will come along and save her. (Admittedly, this is due in part to her own insecurity.) When faced with something she finds to be wrong, she does what she can to make it right. She is far from an Amazon, but there is a quiet strength that I enjoyed. Fans of romance will enjoy that aspect in this title as well.
“I rested my forehead against the wall and closed my eyes. It wasn't just my curiosity, or my fascination with anatomy, or how I could unhesitatingly chop a rabbit’s head off with an ax when a roomful of boys couldn’t. Those things were all symptoms of the same sickness - a kind of madness inherited from my father. It was a dangerous pull in my gut drawing me toward the dark possibilities of science, toward the thin line between life and death, toward the animal impulses hidden behind a corset and a smile,” (Shephard, 2013).
*Library Link*

If you liked these, check out:
Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shephard (Madman's Daughter, Book 2)
Control by Lydia Kang
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

Shepherd, M. (2013). The madman's daughter. New York: Balzer + Bray.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

2073: Eric has come to Blessed Island to research the rumor that the inhabitants seem to be living for an excessively long time. There is no evidence to support this claim, and yet, the rumor persists. It is believed to have something to do with the Dragon Orchids that grow exclusively on the island.

Upon his arrival, it seems clear this is not a normal place. No cars, no internet, no hotel even! The inhabitants of the small island are very hospitable, and even provide him with a place to stay, and food to eat, free of charge. The youngest person he meets, Merle, looks to be around his age. There are no children whatsoever. He also can't seem to find any sign of the orchids he has heard so much about. Strangest of all, he seems unconcerned about it. His mind grows foggy at times, and he forgets what he has come to the island to do entirely. The charger for his device (containing all his notes for work) has disappeared. Something isn't right.

Time continues to roll backwards through the book. Our next vignette is from 2011. Same island, different characters..but there seems to be something familiar.

We go back once more to 1944: the war is on - while the island itself remains neutral - no one is safe form the violence. A lost pilot is rescued by a reluctant family. Again there is familiarity, in a name, in an action.

1902: The turn of the century brings us to the home of a young girl and her mother, known for her skill in preparing medicines and potions from herbs. Primarily she used the dragon orchid. One day while gathering them, her daughter strays to an enormous house. She is warned to stay away, but that only makes her want to go more. Inside is a famous painter, and his final masterpiece. It depicts the sacrifice for which the island is named: blessed by blood. A king sacrificed himself for the good of his people. Again there is familiarity.

As we continue to follow these characters through time, we begin to see patterns emerging. The writing is compelling, but also hauntingly beautiful. The story is complex, but not to the point of confusion. The mystery unfolds slowly giving you time to draw your own conclusions, and I admit, it sparked my curiosity to do further research into the culture and mythology. When I finished the last page, I wanted to start it again. I don't know of higher praise. It was announced (yesterday) that this book won the 2014 Prinz for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, and I couldn't agree more.
"'The theme is old, but not outdated,' he explained, feeling bewildered. 'And it refers to the island, this island, whose very name is written in blood!'
'Really?' said one of the men.
'Indeed. People think the name of this island means "blessed," and so it does, but "blessed" does not mean what people think it does. In the old tongue it was bletsian and before that blotsian, and before that, just blod. It means sacrifice.
'To bless means to sacrifice, and in blood,'" (Sedgwick pg 164, 2013).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick (April 2014)
Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick
More Than This by Patrick Ness
The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

Sedgwick, M. (2013). Midwinter blood. New York: Roaring Brook Press.

A Corner of White by Jacqueline Moriarty

Madeleine's life is far from where it once was: no longer is she the jet-set daughter of a big shot with a passport full of stamps on every continent. She had a bad habit of running away when she was younger, and one night, her mother decided to come along. Now it's just the two of them living hand-to-mouth in Cambridge, and she homeschools with Jack and Belle. The only colours in her life anymore are the vibrant ones she adorns herself with, and of course, her umbrella.

In the kingdom of Cello (say chello), Colors are something else entirely. There are some (the Reds, Grays, Violets, and Yellows) that can even kill you. In fact, it was a Purple attack that killed Elliot's uncle, and (what he believes) took his father. It's been a year since he spent any real time in Cello. He's been out looking, searching for a solution to the unsolvable problem. He refuses to believe the rumors, or that his father is dead. Upon his latest return, his mother convinces him to stay for a while.

The worlds may have remained as they were, but for a corner of white. Madeleine retrieves a note from a parking meter. It's odd to say the least, but she has a lot of free time. She writes back, what's the harm? Rethinking her decision, she goes to retrieve it...but in its place is a response...from Elliot. He speaks of a place that sounds like something out of a fairy tale, and she dismisses him as a boy who plays too many video games. But she writes him back. He, in turn, continues the correspondence, informing her of what he knows of the previous connection between their two worlds. All traces have since been destroyed, and he faces great personal risk by continuing their communication...but isn't that part of the fun? Plus, he's pretty annoyed that she doesn't believe he exists!

Can these two from such very different worlds really be friends? Can Elliot help Madeleine come to grips with the reality of her life as it is now? Can Madeleine help Elliot face the Colors that may have killed his father?

So very beautifully written, many believe this is on a short list for this year's Prinz. It's the first in a series, and I warn you now: it takes a while to get going. If you can get through the slow beginning, it's worth it. The language, the character development, and the world building are very high quality. I'm looking forward to more colours of Madeline.
"'Madeleine doesn't exist",' he repeated now. 'What I sometimes think is, I sometimes think you haven't got a clue what you are talking about.'
'Nah, it's just that you can't follow the complicated pathways of my brain. It's like a labyrinth, my brain, and as beautiful as a brain can get. What I mean is, there's too much going on with Madeleine. It's like when you get every paint colour and mix them up, you end up with not a proper colour at all. Madeleine's lived in so many bloody places and she wears so many different bloody colours. You know what I mean? So she's not a proper person anymore, she's just a mess. Like she doesn't exist," (Moriarty pg. 127, 2013).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jacqueline Moriarty (The Colours of Madeline, Book 2) March 2014
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle, Book 2)
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Moriarty, Jacqueline. (2013). A corner of white. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Mirabelle has grown up in what feels like a box. A loving, beautiful box...but a box nonetheless. Her godmothers are so over protective, they won't even let her visit her parents' graves! She can't shave with a razor, or use scissors, or drive a car, or... So, for her 16th birthday, she's got a plan. She's going on an adventure, and this time, no one is going to tell her she can't. By the time they figure out where she is (visiting her parents in Beau Rivage), it will be too late to stop her.

Setting out is easy enough, but arriving in a strange town with no idea where to start is less encouraging. The first person she meets is a horrible  boy with blue hair who threatens to throw her out of the cafe she was planning on staying in all night (like she has money for a hotel!). Luckily, a very handsome boy comes to her rescue, and offers her a place to stay. He even says he'll help her look for her parents! Oh, did I mention, he's the blue-haired boy's older brother? Beau Rivage is a strange place...

The longer she stays, the stranger it becomes. Blue (duh, blue-haired boy) introduces her to his friends: all of whom seem a little off. One is afraid of apples; one keeps spitting up what looks like petals and pearls; one keeps getting followed around by woodland creatures...not your average teenagers. It isn't until she sees a mark on one of their backs when they are swimming that she really starts to put it together. It looks surprisingly like her own - could she be involved in this whole business too?

The mystery surrounding the brothers is strangest of all, and they both refuse to tell her what is going on. In fact, they insist that they cannot tell her. She is drawn to both of them in different ways, although Blue actively pushes her away, and discourages her relationship with his brother Felix. At first she thinks it's jealousy, but could it be more? Mira is getting closer to discovering the truth, but it may be at the risk of her own safety.

It was an interesting take on the fairy tale genre, and it made the Teens' Top 10 list this year. Admittedly, the character tropes are pretty obvious, but the author doesn't try very hard to make them difficult. (Some people may disagree with me on that...) Overall I enjoyed the story, and liked the concept of a fairy tale curse through the generations. I wasn't a huge fan of the main character. She frequently made me yell out loud at her...interesting choices. Recommended for teen audiences.

*Library Link*
“It was hard to be honest, to open up, and reveal something that sounded crazy. Because once you told someone the truth, that person had a piece of you—and they could belittle it, destroy it. They could turn your confession into a wound that never healed,” (Cross, 2012). 
If you liked this, check out:
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Entwined by Heather Dixon

Cross, Sarah. (2012). Kill me softly. New York: Egmont USA.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Amy didn't know what to expect when she agreed to be cryo-frozen for 300 years, only to wake up when the ship she and her parents are traveling on arrives on a new planet. Certainly, it wasn't to be woken up violently 50 years early...but that is unfortunately what happens. She is greeted by an unfamiliar group of people who are shocked by her appearance, and unsympathetic to her plight. They tell her they can't refreeze her; she's stuck in this place without her parents, without the hope of a new world, Centauri-Earth. Her only ally is Elder.

Elder is in training to take over command of the ship. Someday he will be Eldest, and will lead the people of Godspeed. He knows that one of the sources of discord that leads to war is lack of a strong leader, and with Centauri-Earth so near, he can't let the ship down. He is fascinated by Amy and what she means to their future. What other secrets has Eldest kept from him? He never even knew about this level of the ship! An entire crew of people meant to repopulate Centauri-Earth...

After Amy is accidentally unfrozen, another body is found, but this time they are too late. The unfreezing process is botched, and the person dies. Who could be doing something like this? Elder doesn't want to suspect Eldest, but who else could it be? Who else even knows about this level?

Together, he and Amy begin to discover other secrets about the ship. Amy learns the history of the ship: all the generations born never having seen the outside world, only hearing stories of what they call "Sol-Earth." Eldest doesn't like her, or the threat she seems to pose to him, and he intentionally sets the people against her. There are other things about the ship that aren't right. Elder thinks Hitler was a good leader...and that Lincoln deported all the slaves to Africa... How can Amy explain the truth? The history has all been rewritten, even the Gettysburg Address!

In the meantime, Amy is sent to live in the hospital with the other "crazy people." She can't quite understand this, as none of them seem to be crazy at all. In fact, they seem to be more normal than most of the people she's met outside.

Something fishy is going on, and Amy is afraid that her parents could be the next frozens killed. They have to figure out who is behind it, and why! What is going on with this crazy ship!?

Revis raises some interesting questions about the dangers of space travel, how fragile written history truly is, and how easily human behavior can be manipulated. The romance is bearable. I admit I wasn't a huge fan of this. It was pretty predictable, but it is popular with my teens. It made the YALSA Top 10 last year as well.

*Library Link*
“The first cause of discord is difference. There is no religion on Godspeed. We all speak the same language. We're all monoethnic. And because we are not different, we don't fight. Remember the Crusades I taught you? The genocides? We will never have to worry about those types of horrific events on Godspeed,” (Revis, 2011). 
If you liked this, check out:
A Million Suns by Beth Revis (Across the Universe, Book 2)
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Revis, Beth. (2011). Across the Universe. New York: Razorbill., & Penguin Group.