Must Read Books

The Skin I'm In
Sharon Flake

Maleeka Madison is sick of being teased about how dark her skin color is so she joins the toughest, most intimidating group of girls in the school to help protect her. The only problem is Charlene and the twins tease and bully her, too (but at least she’s not hearing it from everyone else). Along comes a new teacher, Miss Saunders, who gets Maleeka to write stories which Maleeka enjoys, but still it is very hard for her to leave Charlene’s group. When Charlene wants to get revenge on Miss Saunders for failing her, see if Maleeka will stand up to Char or succumb to Char’s bullying ways.

Sep 25, 2010
Exit Strategy
Ryan Potter

Zach Ramsey has it tough. He's already decided that he needs a Blaine Exit Strategy during the summer before his senior year, but he's fallen in love with Sarah. Adding to the problem is Sarah happens to be the twin sister of Zach's over-protective, muscle-bound best friend, Tank. And Tank is having a few issues with his anger and being reckless. When they get in trouble for some of Tank's recklessness, Zach has to get a job at the local party shop and starts sniffing around "Blaine" (a thinly-veiled Wayne, MI) for secrets regarding his friend and family and Blaine High School athletics. Part of the draw of reading this book has to do with the action all taking place 5 miles from here- so we can really put ourselves in Zach's shoes. An exciting page-turner with plenty of heart.

Sep 24, 2010
How I Live Now
Meg Rosoff

Set sometime in the near future, How I Live Now tells the story of Daisy, a 15-year-old Manhattan native who is sent to live with her cousins on a farm in England.  After arriving, she feels a forbidden attraction to her cousin Edmond. The two grow even closer when England is invaded and a devastating war breaks out, leaving Daisy and her  cousins stranded on the farm without any adults. Will they survive on their own? And how long can they last before the "invaders" find them?

This book reads in a "stream of consciousness" fashion, with Daisy reiterating everything that's happened to her up until this particular point in her life. It's a quick read, and if you enjoy believable "what if?" stories about the future, you'll very much enjoy How I Live Now. It's a realistically bleak, heartbreaking story of war, love, and family.

Sep 21, 2010
Sara Zarr

Don't be fooled by the seemingly cliched brief summary: chubby girl meets boy, they part ways, she loses weight, he returns--will it be happily-ever-after? It's so much more than that!

I was first attracted to the book by the sugar cookie on the cover; I couldn't pass up something that looked so tasty. But inside is a truly absorbing and worthwhile story. Jennifer and Cameron were best friends in elementary school, but their friendship was put on hold when Cameron disappeared. Cameron returns to find that Jennifer has transformed from a social outcast into Jenna, a pretty, popular teen dating the high school heartthrob.

The plot is merely a chance to glimpse the lives, feelings, and struggles of these two during a time when the decisions they make are informing the rest of their lives. By the time the book is over, you realize that you've kind of become friends with Jenna and Cameron--Zarr has done a fine job of creating characters that are real without being boring or utterly annoying (except in all the right places).

Sep 16, 2010
Life As We Knew It
Life As We Knew It
Susan Beth Pfeffer

In Life As We Knew It, Miranda has much more to deal with than the usual teenage fare. A meteorite has collided with the moon pushing its orbit closer to the earth and creating all sorts of catastrophic weather events including earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes. Miranda records events in her diary as things get more and more dire. Utilities stop working, the super markets run out of food and they lose their connection with the world outside their Pennsylvania town. Soon the schools shut down and disease spreads. Those who are left must decide whether to head south or try to make it through the coldest winter they have ever experienced without heat, running water and only a small canned good food supply. If you like a good apocalyptic scare, then this book is for you.

Sep 14, 2010