Must Read Books

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs

Growing up, Jacob Portman was captivated by stories of his grandfather's childhood at the Home for Peculiar Children. Grandpa Portman would tell tales of levitating girls, girls who could make fire, invisible boys, and children with mouths on the backs of their heads. And he would back-up his stories with haunting old images of these same children.

When Grandpa Portman is murdered, Jacob travels to Cairnholm with his ornothologist father to investigate Grandpa Portman's bizarre childhood. Together, the pair seek to calm Jacob's nightmares about his grandfather's death. Were Grandpa Portman's stories true, or is everything in Jacob's disturbed mind? And who, or what, is responsible for Abe Portman's death?

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a coming-of-age story with an eeriness that is amplified by old-fashioned photographs of these peculiar children with their unique "talents." The photographs are actually from Ransom Riggs' own collection that he has gathered over several years at flea markets.

Aug 22, 2011
The Replacement
Brenna Yovanoff

In small town Gentry, Mackie is starting to feel ill.  He's different from everyone else.  As a Replacement, he was swapped for a human baby 16 years ago.  The family raises him as if he is a normal child even though they know he is not.  He has allergies that cause him to become gravely sick when he gets near iron, blood or consecrated ground.

Now the time has come when another human baby is snatched from its crib.  Mackie learns what the fate of the baby will be if he doesn't step in to take on the creatures that make up Gentry's creepy underworld.  The Replacement pulls together just the right mix of the supernatural, darkness, horror, fantasy and even a touch of love.  The cover is pretty chilling, too!

Aug 12, 2011
Recovery Road
Blake Nelson

Maddie has drinking and anger issues that cause her to be sent to rehab.  While in there, she meets and instantly bonds with the only other teen there, Stewart.  When Maddie gets out, she is determined to stay clean and waits for Stewart to also be released.  When he joins her in the outside world, they no longer can sustain the connection they once had.  They drift apart as Maddie continues to get better and Stewart backslides.  Recovery Road gives a heart-felt portrayal of first love at the worst time.

Aug 10, 2011
Veronica Roth

In a future Chicago, 16 year-olds make the biggest decisions of their lives -which faction they will belong to for the rest of their lives.  Beatrice is a member of the Abnegation (selfless) faction which is also the ruling party.  When it's time to choose her future what will she pick?  Her family?  A different faction?  New friends, new enemies and a very interesting mentor come into her life.  Can she also stop a brewing conflict that threatens to kill her family and friends?  A sure hit for anyone who loved The Hunger Games.  First book in a to be-published trilogy.

Aug 5, 2011
Lauren Myracle

When Patrick is discovered almost dead after a brutal gay-bashing, Cat, his old best friend sets out to find who committed the assault.  Living in a small Southern town, she puts herself in danger as she digs up secrets within the close community.  The tension increases as she continues to get closer and closer to solving the crime, overcoming her own insecurities.  By the end of the novel, Shine shows us how complicated people are - nobody is all good or all bad.

Aug 2, 2011
Anya's Ghost
Vera Brosgol

Anya is a first generation Russian immigrant trying to assimilate with her fellow students at a New England private school.  She feels like she doesn't have the right looks or the right friends until she falls into a well one day and gains a new best friend who happens to be a teenage ghost named Emily.  Emily just happens to have been dead for a century.

She thinks all her troubles can be fixed with the help of her new friend.  Anya begins to go to parties and get better grades in school, but soon discovers Emily isn't the friendly ghost she pretended to be.  Anya's Ghost is a fun, creepy and endearing graphic novel about what it is like to be a teenage girl.

Jul 26, 2011
Beauty Queens
Libba Bray

Take equal parts Lord of the Flies, LOST, Miss Congeniality, James Bond, Pirates of Penzance, Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctine, and Susan Faludi's Backlash, mix them all together, and you've got Libba Bray's newest novel, Beauty Queens. While en route to the Miss Teen Dream Beauty Pageant a plane load of teen contestants crashes on a supposedly deserted island.  Only a handful survive and try to keep up the beauty queen spirit until they are rescued.  After realizing that they may not get rescued and away from the stresses of striving for perfection, they learn who they really are.  All this while they take on The Corporation, who has a secret compound on the island and is planning on selling arms to an enemy dictator.  At times, Ms. Bray's strong feminist message can come off as heavy-handed and preachy, but the jokes make it easy to swallow. 

Jul 25, 2011
Please Ignore Vera Dietz
A.S. King

Vera and Charlie have been best friends forever.  That is, until Charlie betrays Vera by telling a family secret after being misled that Vera has betrayed him.  Charlie is now dead and Vera has a tough time forgiving him before she can clear his name of a final act.  Also, the story tells of the relationship between Vera and her father.  A Printz honor award winner for excellence in young adult literature.

Jul 25, 2011
The Knife of Never Letting Go
Patrick Ness

Todd grew up in Prentisstown, a town without women, where everyone hears everyone else's thoughts in the "Noise." Todd has always been told that the town's women died from the Noise disease that the indigenous Spackle used as germ warfare during the Spackle War, and that Prentisstown is the only settlement on New World. When Todd comes across a mysterious silence in the swamp, his caretakers Ben and Cillian make him run away, and his life changes forever. As Todd and his dog Manchee flee Prentisstown, Todd learns to question everything he has been taught and everyone he always trusted.

This is the first book in Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy, and is followed by The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men.

Jul 22, 2011
Paul Zindel

Luke and Zaidee travel to Loch Ness in Scotland with their marine biologist father to investigate killings at the lake. What they discover is that not only does the Loch Ness Monster exist, but the creatures need protection from the leader of their father's expedition, Cavenger. Luke and Zaidee befriend one young Pleisiosaur and fight to protect him and his clan.   

Paul Zindel also authored The Pigman and My Darling, My Hamburger.

Jul 20, 2011