Tag Archives: Teen Fiction

The Book Jumper

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser is a novel translated from the author’s native German, and while it is a teen novel most book lovers would love it. Amy Lennox grew up not knowing anything about her mother’s family or anything about their unique ability. Amy has always been a bookworm so to her reading is an escape, a way to visit new worlds without leaving home. But when she and her mother return to Scotland for the summer Amy discovers that her family reads books differently from other people; they are book jumpers.

As a book jumper Amy discovers that books can indeed take you to new worlds, in the sense that you can end up in the middle of the story. The books come alive around you. But you don’t become part of the story, you can’t, because the first rule that Amy learns is that a book jumper must protect the stories. Don’t do anything to change the story. It cannot change its path.

But Amy discovers that someone or something is trying to change the stories. At first everyone wants to blame her because she’s new to the island. The only one who believes her is fellow book jumper Will. Will agrees to help her get to the bottom of the mystery. But in the process the two end up on an adventure neither saw coming.

The book starts out slow but once Amy and her mom go to Scotland the story picks up and becomes a page turner from then on.

   Formats Available: Book

Reviewed by CarissaMain Library

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Middle school is hard. Add the facts that your twin brother now has a girlfriend and ignores you, your mom is your assistant school principal and knows everything, and oh yeah your dad died of heart disease and you’ll understand why middle school is especially tough for Josh.

thecrossover

Written in verse, The Crossover by Kwame Alexander explores the world of two 14 year old twins who excel at basketball just like their father but find themselves going in opposite directions. They have new emotions and feelings they can’t quite express or understand and aggression they can’t quite control. Full of highs and lows that normal students go through, this book expresses clearly what it feels like to grow up, having the comfort of people near you always to suddenly feeling alone. I often find that books written in verse are especially powerful in the succinct ways words are phrased, this book was exactly that.

The Crossover is part of this year’s Kentucky Bluegrass Award nominations. I highly recommend this title to any upper elementary or middle school student. The KBA book award is a reader choice award. This list of nominations can be found at http://kba.nku.edu/ and is open to any Kentucky student in grades K-12.

Formats Available: Book, eBook, Audiobook

 Reviewed by Lindsay, Southwest Branch

Road Trip Essentials: Audiobooks

Summer is the season of family vacations and this means often long road trips accompanied by restless travelers of all ages. Regardless of your reading preference or road trip companions, the absolute best way to pass the time on a long road trip is by listening to an audiobook. Sharing an engaging story with your vacation companions can stave off the repetition of, “are we there yet?” and turn even the most reluctant reader into backseat book critic.

Below you’ll find a few of my favorites from a variety of genres and talented narrators. In most cases I have a personal preference for authors as narrators, but some very talented voice actors are noted below. Most genres listed feature children’s (C), teen (T), and adult (A) titles. Although the adult titles may not be appropriate for children/teens, adults should not restrict themselves to only adult titles. A well-executed audiobook, although geared toward a younger audience, can easily be enjoyed by all ages. No matter the variety of personal tastes filling your vehicle there is an audiobook (or two, or three) that will meet your needs.

Science Fiction/Fantasy

The graveyard book

Realistic/Historical Fiction

Code name Verity

Mystery

The Secret of the Old Clock

Memoir/Biography/Non-Fiction

The ultimate David Sedaris box set

Format: Audiobook

Reviewed by Magen, Highlands-Shelby Park Branch 

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

findingaudrey

Sophie Kinsella, best known for her Shopaholic series for adults, takes a stab at teen fiction with Finding Audrey, the story of a 14 year old who suffers from a severe social anxiety disorder.  Throughout the book the reader is aware that Audrey wasn’t always the socially avoidant person she has become, something happened at school the previous year that has made her unable to even look another person in the eyes.  She wears dark glasses, doesn’t leave the house, and the very thought of many social situations leaves her in bed for days.

The reader joins Audrey at an important moment in her life; she is stuck with what is left of her after ‘”an incident” involving several other classmates.  Audrey is slowly progressing towards feeling better with the help of her chaotic and hilarious family and Dr. Sarah.  Then Linus enters Audrey’s life.  A friend of her brother’s, Linus is able to help Audrey talk through her feels and offers support in a way she felt safe and comfortable.  As her personal health improves a sweet romance blooms between Linus and Audrey that makes you feel all warm inside.

This is a great summer read, newly published, and sure to make you feel great.  It’s warm and gooey with hilarious family moments.  Laptops of chucked from windows, video game tournaments are lost, and at the heart of it all a serious message of teenage bullying and learning to overcome fears.  We never learn exactly what happened to Audrey – though we get small glimpses.  I think the not knowing makes the title more accessible to readers who might come to the book with a variety of issues in their own life.

There have been many teen books on the market that specifically detail the type of trauma their character has endured and while I find those helpful I think the flexibility of ambiguity.  It also ensures the book remains overall upbeat and light – we get the PSA without feeling low at the end.  I laughed so many times with this book, I hope you will too.  Enjoy!

Formats Available: Book (Regular Print)

Reviewed by Lindsay, Southwest Branch

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

earthgirl

It’s the year 2788.  Through space exploration and terraforming, other worlds now have become home for many humans.  Freedom to travel (“portal”) from one world to another within a cluster of settled planets, each with its own culture and distinctive life styles, have caused prejudices that are hard to overcome.  For those living on Earth, it has become a world that exists for only two reasons.  One is to study our past history in search of knowledge lost during wars, the Exodus, and solar storms that wiped out thousands of databases.  The second is as home to those who are handicapped.

Jarra’s eighteenth year is coming up, she has just completed school and is looking forward to entering college to become an archeologist studying pre-history.   Jarra, an Earthling, is one of the handicapped.  She is what off-worlders call an “ape,” a throw-back.  Because of her faulty immune system, leaving Earth would be a death sentence.  Over the years, vids have been a window into other worlds and their inhabitants.  She has learned the hard way that many “exos,” those who exited Earth for other worlds, see the handicapped as lesser beings.  In turn  Jarra has set up defensive walls and has difficulty overcoming her  hard feelings towards the off-worlders when she has to interact with them.

Since she was eleven Jarra has worked on excavation digs, crumbling ruins of cities left behind hundreds of years ago.  She has gained much knowledge and skills needed to excavate artifacts of old Earth, its history, environment , the ruins left behind.  It will be sorely needed in the months to come.  Jarra is tough, smart and wants to prove that she, an “ape”, is just as good as those who can move freely from one planet to another.  Living and working side by side with a group of “exos” shows Jarra that seeing only one side of a person doesn’t tell the whole story.  This dystopian world has friendship, romance, interplanetary exploration, action and adventure all wrapped up in a burlap sack of tolerance towards others.

Earth Girl gives us some background for this dystopian world and a smattering of what it might be like to search out and live on other worlds.  It’s a coming of age sci-fi tale with characters that can get under your skin and make you wonder what you would do in a particular situation.  It is an older teen book with some sexual content, not graphic, and verbal abuse, name calling mostly.  Conflicts don’t just completely go away but you can see how changes might take place. There is some repetitiveness in the story but it captures teen viewpoints well and points out adults can learn, too, if they take time to talk with teens.  All in all a good read for older teens and some adults.

This is the first in a trilogy, followed up by Earth Star and Earth Flight.

The author, Janet Edwards, has written several short stories about the characters in the books that you might also want to read. They are all free at her website.

Formats Available:  Book (Regular Type), eBook

Reviewed by Katy, Shawnee Branch

Girly Girl: My Late-in-Life Love of the Super Girly

Ask anyone I went to school with, and they will tell you that Lynette Ruby was not a girly girl – that is to say if I am even remembered by my name, and not “that angry short girl with the pixie haircut.”  I thought giving in and having fun with something girly like a movie, book, or pop song would ultimately undo whatever tough personae I’d worked to cultivate.   There were certain things I would not allow myself to enjoy…well, not publicly at least.  There were pop bands I’d deny enjoying, movies I’d claim I didn’t want to see, books I wouldn’t read, and more feminine looks I would refuse to wear.

In school, I ran with other kids on the fringes of society; the wanna-be hackers, skateboarders, goths, punks – the tougher you looked, and more piercings you had, the cooler I thought you were.  I thought we were the non-conformists.  I tried so hard to not conform that in the end…I was conforming.  I would deny liking certain things to keep up the image…well, whatever image it was I had.

Cut to college – wait…cut to after college – and you’ll find me to be a bit…a bit more…girly.  Becoming the awesome Lynette you may know and love today was no easy journey – and it certainly wasn’t without loads of awkwardness.  You know that MTV show, Awkward.?  Yeah, it had nothing on me.  They don’t know what real awkward is.  Let me give you a quick sampling of my awkward “becoming a butterfly” stage in life:

  • Accidentally getting a Mr. Spock haircut while trying to grow out from a pixie cut – ladies it takes more patience than you will even know to grow out a pixie.
  • Having to consult YouTube videos on how to do a proper pony tail – yeah, it was that bad.

There’s loads more stories – loads –  but I have to keep a shred of your respect.  I was almost like an alien trying to figure out how to be an Earthling girl.  There were sad and funny moments in this transformation.  I just wanted to finally do what I wanted to do – whether or not my peers agreed.  If I wanted to do something outrageously girly, I was finally giving myself permission.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not that girly, but compared to what I was?  Uh…yeah!

People from high school come in to my library all the time, and hardly anyone recognizes me. So, what is my point of this post?  Be as weird and as awkward as you want – really!  But, please, make sure it’s what you want to do.  If you want to be a punk who loves Gossip Girl – you go right ahead.  You want to read Batman comics, skateboard, have pink hair, and dress like Audrey HepburnDo it!

Don’t feel like a beautiful butterfly yet?  Start with figuring out what you actually like, not just what you’re friends and everyone expects you to like.  You’ll be more beautiful the moment you act like your true self.  Your metamorphosis won’t happen overnight, and is doubtful to be without its awkwardness – but just remember I decided to get girly at 25 years old. It’s never too soon to be the person you really want to be.

Here are a few titles that might spark your interest: Creagh, Kelly.  Nevermore.  2010

Lyga, Barry.  The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl.  2007

Reger, Rob.  Emily the strange. 2012.

Satrapi, Marjane.  Persepolis.  2007.

Article by Lynette, Newburg Branch