Must Read Books

The Big Crunch
Pete Hautman

Teen love often seem to not last long, quickly changing with the seasons.  In Pete Hautman's The Big Crunch, Wes and June's romance isn't a storybook romance.  They do not fall in love at first sight.  After bumping into each other,  their friendship slowly morphs into love.  June's father's job is constantly changing and she is constantly moving as a result.  This puts a crimp in her relationship with Wes and they deal with it.  Nothing out of the ordinary happens in this book.  These are typical teens with typical issues.  But that doesn't make the book boring.  On the contrary, this is a sweet and sincere story all teens can relate to.  As a bonus, it is quite funny.

May 6, 2012
Cynthia Leitich Smith

If you love Twilight or the Sookie Stackhouse books, you'll enjoy Tantalize. Quincie lives in Austin, Texas, where vampires and werewolves are quite common. In fact, her best friend and secret crush, Kieran, is half werewolf. To Quincie's dismay, Kieran's leaving town to perform an ancient rite-of-passage. Will his leaving tear them apart forever? Also on Quincie's plate: She and her Uncle Davidson are about to re-open her parents' Italian restaurant with a new vampire theme. Sanguini's, they're calling it. Just before Sanguini's opens, the chef is brutally murdered, and Kieran is now the prime suspect. This is the first book in the Tantalize series by Cynthia Leitich Smith.

Apr 26, 2012
Sister Mischief
Laura Goode

Set in Christian-conservative Holyhill, a Minneapolis suburb, Esme is a Jewish lesbian rapper.  So she sticks out just a bit along with her crew of other females looking to start a queer hip-hop movement at her school. Some drama ensues for Esme, both romantically and with school administration.  Sister Mischief is a witty, sweet, fun and empowering novel championing love and diversity.

Apr 26, 2012
Article 5
Kristen Simmons

In a post-war America, life is governed by the Moral Statutes.  Seventeen-year-old Ember and her mother are separated based on Article 5.  Ember is sent to a rehabilitation center but is determined to be reunited with her mother.  Chase, her old neighbor, comes to her rescue.  A thrilling story of two people fighting the odds and keeping one step ahead of the law and death.

Apr 23, 2012
Keesha's House
Helen Frost

Told in alternating voices through poetic forms, Keesha's House tells the interrelated stories of seven teenagers who are trying to find their ways in life.  A powerful story about young people just trying to find safe, loving homes.

Apr 4, 2012
Down the Mysterly River
Bill Willingham

If you're a fan of more whimsical fantasies like The Wizard of Oz or The Wind in the Willows, you'll like Down the Mysterly River. Max the Wolf is an expert boy scout and solver of mysteries, and his most current case is his most troubling to date. He just arrived in a dangerous forest with no recollection of how, and he's being hunted by Cutters, who will strip you of your identity and erase your memory. His only friends are a badger, a moody barn cat, and a bear that was once a sheriff. Their journey down the Mysterly River is frought with danger and will make you wonder if Max can make it back home alive.

Apr 2, 2012
The Plain Janes
The Plain Janes
Cecil Castellucci

This graphic novel follows Jane after she survives a terrorist bombing in Metro City. She moves with her parents to the suburbs where she happens to befriend other Janes. The Janes form a group, P.L.A.I.N. (People Loving Art in Neighborhoods) and regularly stage “art attacks” around the neighborhood at night. Follow Jane as she comes to terms with her experience during the Metro City bombing and bonds with the other Janes through artistic acts of defiance, which prove to be quite controversial in her new town.

Mar 22, 2012
Marie Lu

The Hunger Games is still all the rage in teen dystopian fiction, but there's a new trilogy starting that may be arguably better.  Legend is the first book in Marie Lu's new series set in the future western United States which are no longer the United States, but is now the Republic.  Told from the viewpoints of June, a talented and intelligent teen bred to go far in the Republic's military, and Day, the country's most wanted criminal.  Yes, this is another fast-paced chase story that is hard to put down, but the characters are more drawn out.  It will especially appeal to readers who are just not that into The Hunger Games.

Feb 17, 2012
The Fault in Our Stars
John Green

John Green continues to get better and better with each new book he comes out with.  From Looking for Alaska all the way up to the newest title, The Fault in Our Stars, it seems like he can do no wrong.  The basic premise is Hazel has terminal cancer.  She meets Augustus at a Cancer Kids Support Group and they fall in love.  It's the story of two kids with cancer finding love.  Pretty basic.  But we know before even beginning to read this book that there will be no happy ending.  Yet, John Green squeezes in humor, tragedy and hope with his familiar beautifully written sentences.  The Fault in Our Stars will undoubtedly make it on numerous year end best of lists.

Feb 11, 2012
Daniel Kraus

Grave robbing is a dying profession.  Pun intended.  When Joey's mother dies, he is sent to live with his father, whom he has never known.  At first, neither father nor son want to embrace their new found family life.  Once Joey discovers his dad's secret life as a grave robber, a strange bond is formed.  Strong characters and icky details grab the reader's attention and don't let go.  If you liked Rick Yancey's The Monstrumologist, don't miss out on Rotters.

Feb 8, 2012