Sunday, November 25, 2012

REVIEW: Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Fairy
Audience: Adult/High School

Summary: When her sister is murdered in Dublin, Ireland MacKayla Lane travels there in order to bring the murderer to justice.  Little does she know that there she will discover a world of Fae, Druids, and other realms. Along her journey MacKayla will learn dark family secrets as well as discovering untapped supernatural talents. She will find she has strength and resources that she never thought she possessed as she fights for her very soul and even the fate of the world.

Lucinda's Views:  A departure from her Highlander novel series, the Fever series is pure urban fantasy.  In MacKayla's quest to find the fiend who murdered her sister she is caught up in a world she never dreamed that she was a part of, let alone responsible for saving.

Abounding with Celtic and Irish lore, this series pulls in legends, bardic tales, and modern fairy tales and ties them together into a cohesive whole that will entertain but at the same time make you wonder....What if?  The Fae of MacKayla's world are nothing like the Tinkerbell of modern ideology.  These Fae are dangerous, frightening and out to satiate hungers that have been harnessed for millennium. 

MacKayla's journey from Southern socialite to a strong, independent woman will keep you interested as well as the myriad of characters that MacKayla encounters. The dark, sexy Jericho Barrons, the Seelie Prince V'Lane, and the irrepressible Dani O'Malley, who is not what she seems, are all well-developed and mysterious.  If you like Urban Fantasy and want to read a well-written original series I encourage you to check this series out!      

Sunday, November 18, 2012

GUEST REVIEW: My Kind of Christmas by Robyn Carr

We have a new guest review! Christie—wife, mom, musician, and BCPL employee—is a first time reviewer here at Book News and Reviews. She is an avid reader and especially loves books with happy endings.

Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Fiction
Audience: Adult
Series: Virgin River #20

Christie's Summary & Guest Review: It is always nice to visit Virgin River. This time Robyn Carr took us on a journey with Jack’s niece, Angie, and the youngest Riordan boy, Paddy. Now that Ms. Carr has introduced us to so many characters I almost feel like she has to skim the surface on each character. Each time she mentions someone that has been in a previous story she has to give a small back story. For someone who has already read the series this is not always necessary and for someone just starting with this book, they wouldn’t know anyway. I felt like some of the back stories took away from Angie and Paddy’s story. 

I found Angie and Paddy to be very likeable, but their story seemed very similar to Luke and Shelby's: A younger girl, who just went through a traumatic experience, falling in love with someone emotionally unavailable and a man, struggling with a life decision and not really knowing what he wants, then they both realize it is each other they want. A lot of Paddy’s thoughts were the same thoughts his brothers had already experienced. I found Shelby to be stronger than a lot of heroines, but still young and naive.

With all that being said, it is still nice to visit the city and see that things have not changed; in fact they just keep getting better. The people of Virgin River still band together to get all things needed done and still put their armed forces up on the highest pedestal. It would be so neat to walk into Jack’s Bar, eat one of Preacher’s meals, and just listen and observe all things happening in that small, quaint town that holds everyone together.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

BCPL's Ultimate Teen Booklist, Part 4 (K–P)

Here's the 4th installment of our Ultimate Teen Booklist! Just one more post before the list is complete!

74. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002) 
When his family’s ship sinks in the middle of the Pacific, sixteen-year-old Pi is trapped on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, an injured zebra, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Using his unusual outlook on life and encyclopedic knowledge of the animal world, Pi must find a way to outwit the hungry Bengal tiger and survive. High School (mature).

75. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2008) 
This is a seriously scary book—in a very real way. It takes place in a not-too-distant future where school security systems use gait recognition software to keep intruders out—and students in—and where every keystroke on a school laptop is monitored. Then there is a suspected terrorist attack in San Francisco and things get really crazy. Seventeen-year-old Marcus thinks the Department of Homeland Security is out of control, so he uses his tech savvy to start an underground rebellion against the current government. This book is socially and politically charged, featuring super-smart teen characters who are willing to take risks for what they believe in. High School (mature).

76. Looking for Alaska by John Green (2005) 
Inspired by the dying words of the poet Francois Rabelais, sixteen-year-old Miles chucks his boring existence in Florida to seek his “Great Perhaps” at an Alabama boarding school. There, he is quickly absorbed into a band of brainy pranksters led by his roommate and a maddening, beautiful girl named Alaska. Miles quickly develops as intense crush on Alaska and pranks and other rebellious behavior abound, but the reader is always aware that a Great Catastrophe looms ahead, as the first chapter is ominously labeled “one hundred thirty-six days before.” Sure enough, tragedy strikes, and midway through the book, we reach the “after” section. What could have devolved into sentimentality and melodrama becomes a rich novel full of bittersweet humor, complex characters and deep meaning. High School (mature).

 77. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954) 
A group of English schoolboys marooned on an island they believe to be haunted by a terrifying monster is divided in a power struggle between two groups in this classic tale of survival, morality, and society. Middle School/High School.

78. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (series)  by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954–1955) 
With the fate of the world in his hands, Frodo Baggins and his companions must journey to Mordor to destroy the One Ring of Power before the evil Sauron conquers all of Middle Earth. This is an epic good vs. evil story set in a richly developed world. The trilogy takes place approximately sixty years after the events in The Hobbit. Available as a one-volume set or individual volumes. Middle School/High School.  
Individual titles include: 
1. The Fellowship of the Ring
2. The Two Towers
3. The Return of the King

79. “The Lottery” (short story; included in the collection The Lottery) by Shirley Jackson (1948) 
The title story of this collection has been described as a “chilling tale of conformity gone mad.” First published in the New Yorker in 1948, it was hugely controversial but has become one of the most beloved classics of American literature. Middle School (mature)/High School.

 80. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2002)
 Fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon was raped and murdered. Now in an “interim” heaven till she lets go of earthly concerns, she grapples with her own death and observes the different reactions of friends and family members over the years. While the subject matter is grimly haunting, The Lovely Bones still manages to convey both humor and hope. High School (mature). 

81. Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff (1993)
No one in LaVaughn’s neighborhood goes to college, but fourteen-year-old LaVaughn is determined to escape the poverty and hopelessness she sees every day. To earn money for her college fund, LaVaughn agrees to babysit for Jolly, an overwhelmed 17-year-old mother of two. Quickly, LaVaughn becomes enmeshed in the lives of Jolly and her children, perhaps to the detriment of her own goals. This novel in verse is a quick, engaging read and an authentic look at the crushing poverty that defines the characters’ lives. Middle School/High School.   

82. Maximum Ride (series)  by James Patterson  (2005–2012)
The “birdkids” were bred in a laboratory as part of a genetic experiment to be part human, part bird. When one of their group is abducted, they embark on a rescue mission that will change their lives as they struggle to understand their own origins and purpose. Middle School/High School. 
Titles include:
1. The Angel Experiment
2. School’s Out—Forever
3. Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports
4. The Final Warning
5. Max
6. Fang
7. Angel
8. Nevermore

83. Monster by Walter Dean Myers (1999) 
Steve Harmon is on trial for the murder of a Harlem drugstore owner. He is in jail, maybe for decades. And he is only sixteen years old. As his trial goes on, Steve records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken. This is an excellent book for reluctant readers, and it keeps readers wondering: just how involved was Steve in robbery and killing of the drugstore owner? Does he have any responsibility for the crime, or is he as innocent as he claims? Middle School (mature)/High School.

84. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (2011)
Emotionally gripping and intense from start to finish, A Monster Calls is the story of a 13-year-old coping with fear and loneliness as his mother battles cancer. Conor is plagued by a recurring nightmare, but when a real monster appears in his room one night, he isn’t afraid—until the monster demands to know the secrets of Conor’s dream. This is a powerful, timeless book full of sharp humor, insight, and a dark eeriness that is echoed perfectly in nightmarish pen and ink drawings. Middle School/High School.

85. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (2009) 
Dark, suspenseful, and unabashedly gory, this morbidly delicious Victorian tale is not for the faint of heart (or stomach). Twelve-year-old orphan Will Henry has nothing in the world but a too-small cap given to him by his father and Dr. Pellinore Walthrop, an eccentric “doctor” who studies and dissects real-life monsters. Will is his apprentice, and when a pod of hulking, headless, people-devouring Anthropophagi is discovered in a nearby cemetery, it is up to Will and the doctor to keep their sleepy New England town safe. But this stunning gothic adventure is more than pulp horror. It is filled with fully-fleshed, fascinating characters, from Will and the single-minded doctor, to a mysterious monster hunter who may be as dangerous as the creatures he hunts. Yancey’s writing is vividly descriptive and totally absorbing, and the story recalls the best of the classic horror writers—Stevenson, Poe, Shelley, Lovecraft—yet emerges as a unique addition to the horror collection. High School.

86. The Mortal Instruments (series)  by Cassandra Clare (2007–Ongoing) 
Paranormal romance fans who want a bit more action in their story often enjoy The Mortal Instruments series. Book one begins when Clary is suddenly exposed to a world of demon hunters and dangerous supernatural beings she never dreamed were real. For years, her mother has shielded her from the hidden world of Shadowhunters, but now Clary must learn quickly as her mother has disappeared and Clary is being targeted by demons. This is a fast-paced urban fantasy series complete with tragic secrets, forbidden love, gut-wrenching betrayals, and witty verbal sparring, set primarily in an alternate present-day Manhattan. High School.
Titles include: 
1. City of Bones
2. City of Ashes
3. City of Glass
4. City of Fallen Angels
5. City of Lost Souls
6. City of Heavenly Fire (Sept. 2014)

87. My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr (2002) 
Fourteen-year-old Ellen is just starting high school at an elite prep school and is happy to be considered average. Her older brother Link—an acknowledged math genius—and his super cute friend James, both incoming seniors with bright futures, are her best friends.  Her only real friends, actually. Together, the threesome have a unique and easy friendship—or so Ellen believes—until she begins to question the true relationship between the two boys. Are Link and James a couple? Are they in love? With Ellen’s questions, the relationship between the once inseparable threesome changes forever and in ways Ellen could never predict. This is a spare (barely 150 pages) and touching novel about growing up and the complexity of relationships of all types. High School.

88. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (2004) 
Anna’s older sister Kate has leukemia. Conceived as a bone marrow match to (hopefully) cure her sister, Anna has endured countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots all her life—even though she isn’t sick. But when Kate needs a kidney transplant, Anna decides to sue her parents for medical emancipation so that she can make her own choices. It’s a decision that tears her family apart and one which could have fatal consequences for the sister she loves. High School (mature).

89. Nation by Terry Pratchett (2008) 
After a devastating tsunami strikes, Mau is the only survivor of his people. But soon, other survivors from the storm make their way to his tropical island, including an aristocratic English girl with a wide knowledge of 19th century science. Serving as the de facto leader, Mau forms a community from the survivors and learns about himself, the role of the gods, people from other cultures, books, science, religion, and how to win a battle against an overwhelming number of cannibals. But this is no heavy-handed tome; with his trademark wit and humor, Terry Pratchett provides insights into our culture and foibles while managing to spin a highly entertaining tale. Middle School/High School.

90. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (2006) 
High school student Nick O'Leary, high school rock band member and music enthusiast, meets college-bound Norah Silverberg and asks her to be his girlfriend for five minutes—just so he can elude his ex-girlfriend. What follows is a wild, fast-paced, rollercoaster of a night as the two opposites get to know one another and come to terms with past heartbreak. High School (mature).

91. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (2011) 
The Cirque des Rêves arrives in the night without warning and captivates its audience from dusk till dawn. What the audience—and most of the performers—do not know is that the circus is merely the arena for a deadly magical battle. This gorgeously imaginative, genre-blending novel is all about atmosphere and tone, creating a feeling of suspended enchantment for the reader. High School.

92. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (2006) 
This award-winning young adult novel combines a true historical murder mystery with a vivid coming of age story. In 1906, 16-year-old Mattie is determined to become a writer but her father has forbidden her to accept the college scholarship she has been offered. Then, while working a summer job at a nearby hotel, Mattie is entrusted with a packet of secret letters just before the letters’ owner dies under suspicious circumstances. High School (mature).

93. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (1913) 
In this classic American tale set during the turn of the 19th century, a strong and determined woman named Alexandra Bergson struggles to make a success of the family’s Nebraska farm after her father’s death. Over several decades, she and her younger brother find love and face the tribulations of life and the harsh land they are determined to call home. Despite the epic nature of this story and the years spanned, O Pioneers! is a surprisingly quick read. High School.

94. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937) 
Set during the Great Depression, Of Mice and Men is the moving and ultimately tragic tale of the friendship between George, a quick-witted itinerant farm worker, and George, his physically strong but developmentally disabled companion. Frequently controversial, this slim novel is simply told and completely absorbing. Middle School (mature)/High School.

95. Old Kingdom Trilogy (series) by Garth Nix (1995–2003)
The country of Ancelstierre has cars and electricity, but on the other side of the northern border—in the Old Kingdom—magic is real and the dead don’t always stay dead. Not all the soldiers who guard the Perimeter know why they must carry swords as well as rifles, until electricity fails and the Dead begin to walk. Then it becomes clear that things are different on the other side of the crenelated stone Wall at the border—and that things in the Old Kingdom are only getting worse. Middle School/High School. 
Titles include:
1. Sabriel
2. Lirael
3. Abhorsen
 96. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (1967)Ponyboy is fourteen, tough, and confused. Since his parents' death, his loyalties have been to his brothers and his Greaser gang, rough boys from the wrong side of the tracks fighting to make a place for themselves in the world. But when his best friend Johnny kills a member of  a gang from the wealthier part of town, a nightmare of violence begins and Ponyboy's life is turned upside down. S.E. Hinton was just 16 years old when she wrote this timeless novel about teens getting caught up in class struggles and gang violence. Middle School/High School.

97. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
Fifteen-year-old high school freshman Charlie is anxious about starting high school, especially after his only friend committed suicide last year. So he chooses an unnamed stranger as his confidante. Over the course of a year, he sends anonymous letters describing his triumphs and tribulations as he befriends two seniors who welcome him into their eccentric group of friends and show him how engage with the world. Excellent characterizations and a truly authentic voice highlight this well-crafted story full of hilarity, heartbreak, and inspiration. High School (mature).

98. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2000)
This stunning graphic-format memoir tells the story of Satrapi's life in Tehran from the age of six to fourteen, through the turbulent period that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The art work is simple yet  irresistibly charming, and the story is equally charming: insightful, powerful, and surprisingly relatable. Middle School/High School.

99. The Pigman by Paul Zindel (1968)
High school sophomores John and Lorraine are best friends. They're nothing alike—at least not on the surface—and yet, with their troubled home lives, they understand one another perfectly. One afternoon while making prank phone calls with a couple of troublemakers from school, Lorraine calls Mr. Pignati and the teens pose as representatives of a charity. But when they go to collect a "charity" donation from the lonely, elderly man, he insists they linger to chat. The three quickly forge a special if somewhat bizarre relationship, until a betrayal brings terrible consequences. This slim novel, told alternately from John and Lorraine's perspectives, was once considered extremely controversial. Middle School/High School.

100. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
Witty and independent Elizabeth Bennett is determined to dislike the aristocratically aloof Mr. Darcy, whose pride and apparent coldness infuriates her. Darcy is equally disapproving of the somewhat unconventional Bennett family. And yet, as Darcy and Elizabeth are continually thrown into contact, unfavorable first impressions give way to genuine feelings. This is a charming comedy of manners, full of family foibles and clever repartee.

101. The Princess Bride by William Goldman (1973)
A former farm boy in disguise must rescue his true love from a handsome (but evil) prince in this timeless twist on the traditional fairy tale. Along the way, he acquires the help of two unlikely allies, a drunken swordsman and a gentle giant. Brilliantly combining adventure, fantasy, romance, and humor, The Princess Bride is a swashbuckling fable for all ages. Middle School/High School.

So... just one more installment to go. How are we doing so far?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

REVIEW: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Rating: 4/5 Stars
Audience: Adult
Genre: Psychological Suspense

Summary: Everyone thinks the Dunnes' marriage is perfect, until the beautiful and clever Amy Dunne disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary under suspicious circumstances. Nick claims to know nothing about his wife's disappearance, but as the police look Nick's way, he is caught out in lie after lie. Juxtaposed with Nick's story and the investigation are excerpts from Amy's diary, which further contradict Nick's story and present a disturbing tale of a marriage gone wrong.

Tracy's Thoughts:
From the start, this book reminded me of a Dateline episode about a husband killing his wife to escape a bad marriage. But as this novel was written by Gillian Flynn—author of the dark and twisty novels Sharp Objects and Dark Places—things are not quite as straightforward as they initially seem.There are enough twists and turns here to satisfy even the most gung-ho rollercoaster fanatic, but—unfortunately—I saw them all coming. I
blame it on one too many M. Night Shayamalan movies. But then, I knew Bruce Willis was dead all along, so maybe not...

Anyway, while the book didn't have the same tense, edge-of-your-seat mystery for me that was shared by many other reviewers, I was still riveted. Flynn's writing is stellar, and her characters are complex and scarily believable. What really got me about this book was the rawly honest look at individuals' darkest thoughts, their secret desires and beliefs about relationships. Seriously... If I had commitment issues before, now I'm terrified. (Just kidding. Mostly.)

To illustrate what I mean, check out these passages:

No relationship is perfect, they say—they who make due with dutiful sex and gassy bedtime rituals, who settle for TV as conversation, who believe that husbandly capitulation—yes, honey, okay, honey—is the same as concord. He's doing what you tell him to because he doesn't care enough to argue, I think. Your petty demands actually make him feel superior, or resentful, and someday he will fuck his pretty young coworker and you will actually be shocked. Give me a man with a little fight in him, a man who will call me on his bullshit. (But who also kind of likes my bullshit.)  (Page 29)

I speak specifically of the Amy of today, who was only remotely like the woman I fell in love with. It had been an awful fairy-tale reverse transformation. Over just a few years, the old Amy, the girl of the big laugh and the easy ways, literally shed herself, a pile of skin and soul on the floor, and out stepped this new, brittle, bitter Amy. My wife was no longer my wife but a razor-wire knot daring me to unloop her, and I was not up to the job with my thick, numb, nervous fingers. Country fingers. Flyover fingers untrained in the intricate, dangerous work of solving Amy. When I'd hold up the bloody stumps, she'd sigh and turn to her secret mental notebook on which she tallied all my deficiencies, forever noting disappointments, frailties, shortcomings. My old Amy, damn she was fun. She was funny. She made me laugh. I'd forgotten that. And she laughed...

She was not the thing she became, the thing I feared most: an angry woman. I was not good with angry women. They brought something out in me that was unsavory. (Page 49)

I have never been a nag. I have always been rather proud of my un-nagginess. So it pisses me off, that Nick is forcing me to nag. I am willing to live with a certain amount of sloppiness, or laziness, of the lackadaisical life. I realize that I am more type-A than Nick, and I try to be careful not to inflict my neat-freaky, to-do-list nature on him. Nick is not the kind of guy who is going to think to vacuum or clean out the fridge. He truly doesn't see that kind of stuff. Fine. Really. But I do like a certain standard of living—I think it's fair to say the garbage shouldn't literally overflow, and the plates shouldn't sit in the sink for a week with smears of bean burrito dried on them. That's just being a good grown-up roommate. And Nick's not doing anything anymore, so I have to nag, and it pisses me off... (Page 85)

Gillian Flynn blows me away with her ability to zero in on the little flaws and secret resentments that are common to human nature, but then to twist them just a bit into something incredibly disturbing. I would read anything she writes just for her slightly skewed insights into human psychology.

Here is yet another of my favorite passages from Gone Girl:

For several years, I had been bored. Not a whining, restless child's boredom (although I was not above that) but a dense, blanketing malaise. It seemed to me that there was nothing new to be discovered ever again....Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can't recall a single amazing thing I've seen firsthand that I didn't immediately reference to a movie or TV show....You know the awful singsong of the blasé: Seeeen it. I've literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can't anymore. I don't know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.

It's a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an Automat of characters....

It had gotten to the point where it seemed like nothing matters, because I'm not a real person and neither is anyone else.

I would have done anything to feel real again. (Pages 72–73)

So while I was a bit disappointed with the plotting of this novel, the characters—their individual voices—are still living in my head. For me it was not the unpredictable tour de force that had other reviewers exclaiming and handing out 5-star reviews left and right (even Kirkus Reviews, which is notoriously stingy with that coveted 5th star), but it is memorable without question. And the ending? Chilling, disturbing, and absolutely perfect.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

BCPL's Ultimate Teen Booklist, Part 3 (H–J)

As promised, here is the next installment of BCPL's Ultimate Teen Booklist:

51. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
In a future world where the birth rate has drastically declined, fertile women are rounded up, trained as “housemaids,” and expected to bear the children of prominent men. Offred can remember the days before the Republic of Gilead, when she was a happily married wife and mother; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But now everything is different... High School.
52. The Harper Hall Trilogy (series)
by Anne McCaffrey (1976–1979)

This trilogy is part of McCaffrey’s larger Dragonriders of Pern series but easily stands on its own. All three books feature Menolly, who challenges traditions and her father’s expectations in her quest to become a Harper, with the aid of nine fire dragons. Although Menolly appears throughout the series, the final book focuses on the adventures of Piemur, a boy soprano. Middle School/High School.
Titles include:
1. Dragonsong
2. Dragonsinger
3. Dragondrums

53. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling (1998–2007)
After discovering on his 11th birthday that he is a wizard, Harry attends Hogwarts School for Wizarding and Witchcraft. There he discovers that he is famous for a childhood encounter with Voldemort, a dark wizard who is determined to gain power. As Harry and his friends age, the novels become progressively darker and more complex. Middle School/High School.
Titles include:
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
6. Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

  54. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (1987)
Thirteen-year-old Brian survives a plane crash only to be stranded in the Canadian wilderness—alone. There he must survive for months with only a hatchet to aid him while also coming to grips with his parents’ divorce. Middle School/High School.

55. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (1984)
Although she is the daughter of the king, Aerin has never been accepted as full royalty. Both in and out of Damar’s royal court, people whisper the story of her mother, the witchwoman from the demon-haunted North who was said to have ensorcelled the king into marrying her and died after giving birth to Aerin. But with the guidance of the wizard Luthe and the help of the blue sword, Aerin will do what she must to win her birthright. Middle School/High School.

56. His Dark Materials Trilogy (series) by Phillip Pullman (1996–2000)
Lyra Belacqua’s life changes forever after she saves her uncle from an assassination attempt and learns of a mysterious substance called Dust. Children, including Lyra’s friend Roger, start to go missing and Lyra sets off on a rescue mission to the North. This is just the beginning of Lyra’s adventures through multiple universes as she and her friends try to solve the mystery of the Dust. Middle School/High School.

57. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979)
Arthur Dent, the last survivor on Earth, embarks on an offbeat, galaxy-hopping tour of the universe under the guidance of a galaxy tour-guide writer. Middle School/High School.

58. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein (1937)
Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit lives happily in quiet comfort until the day the wizard Gandalf and his band of homeless dwarves choose him to join their quest. Prequel to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Middle School/High School.

59. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (1984)
This poetic coming-of-age story centers on Esperanza, a young girl who longs to escape the low expectations and endless landscape of concrete and run-down tenements that come with growing up in her poor Hispanic neighborhood. Middle School (mature)/High School.


60. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (1986)
Sophie Hatter is living a humdrum life as a hat shop apprentice when a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself in the castle the fearsome wizard Howl, who is rumored to eat souls. Middle School/High School.

61. The Hunger Games Trilogy (series) by Suzanne Collins (2008–2010)
Set in a post-apocalyptic world overseen by a selfish, pleasure-loving Capitol that rules with harshness and terror, this in an absorbing dystopian thriller series. In book one, Katniss and Peeta must compete in the Hunger Games, a televised competition where the teens must kill to survive. Balancing a fast pace with well-developed characters, the story blends gritty action scenes with a backdrop of social commentary. Middle School (mature)/High School.

Titles include:
1. The Hunger Games
2. Catching Fire
3. Mockingjay
62. I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier (1977)
As Adam bicycles from Massachusetts to Vermont, he retraces memories of his past and his family's history in the witness protection program. Alternating chapters insert psychological examinations that attempt to uncover Adam's buried memories. A curious mix of fantasy and reality, this is an unforgettable psychological mystery. Middle School (mature)/High School.

63. I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak (2005)
After capturing a bank robber, nineteen-year-old cab driver Ed Kennedy begins receiving mysterious messages that direct him to addresses where people need help. High School (mature).

64. If I Stay + Where She Went (companion novels) by Gayle Forman (2009, 2011)
IF I STAY: One minute Mia is on a happy, spontaneous family drive; the next, she is standing over her own mangled body as paramedics work to revive her. Mia follows her body to the hospital and over the following hours, she contemplates her life, worries about her little brother, and yearns for her boyfriend. The people and relationships are vividly described, and Mia’s dilemma—to stay or to let go—and the actions of her loved ones are poignant but not overwrought. This is a powerful, lyrical novel that will stay with you. High School.

WHERE SHE WENT: Love, heartache, betrayal, and music intertwine in this emotional sequel to If I Stay told from Adam’s perspective. Pouring his bitterness into his lyrics has made Adam a worldwide music sensation, but fame hasn’t healed what was damaged and broken. Now, stranded in New York in between flights, Adam decides it is time to confront his past with the girl he can’t get over. Raw and lyrical, Adam’s story is gripping in the tradition of Before Sunrise. The majority of the story takes place in a single day, and readers experience each moment right along with Adam, unsure how it will end until the very last page. High School.

65. I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan (2011)
Intertwining a gripping survival story with a sweet tale of first love, this is a heartfelt story that will stick with you. Seventeen-year-old Sam and his 12-year-old brother Riddle—kidnapped a decade ago by their mentally unstable father—have never known a normal life. Then Sam meets Emily, who finally “sees” him and, eventually, introduces the boys to her family. For the first time, the two boys feel connected to the real world, but what will happen when their father discovers their secret? This is a vividly cinematic novel, with a bit of something for everyone. Middle School/High School.

66. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966)
In this pioneer work of the true crime genre, Truman Capote paints a chilling portrait of the grisly 1959 murder of a family in rural Kansas, reconstructing the savage murder and ensuing investigation. High School (mature).

67. In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason (1985)
A recent high school graduate in a small Kentucky town tries to make sense of her family and the war that killed her father before she was born. In Country is emotionally gripping and subtly humorous as it addresses the challenges of growing up and the lingering consequences of a war long over. High School.

68. Into the Wild by John Krakauer (1996)
In 1992, a young man named Christopher McCandless hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness. His body was discovered four months later. In this true story, Krakauer reconstructs the story of McCandless’s adventure and eventual death, in the process exploring the American fascination with the wilderness. High School.

69. Into Thin Air by John Krakauer (1997)
The author describes his spring 1996 trek to Mt. Everest, a disastrous expedition that claimed the lives of eight climbers, and explains how he survived the rogue storm that left him stranded. High School.

70. It by Stephen King (1986)
Horror master Stephen King spins a story about a group if seven misfit kids who stumbled upon an unimaginable terror in their hometown, something they tried to forget. But now that they are adults, the "Losers Club" find themselves drawn back to Derry, Maine, where they must again face their childhood nightmare and a very real, unnamed evil. High School (mature).

71. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847)
This unconventional love story is made unforgettable by the intimate narration and sharp, clever dialog. (Some of Jane and Rochester’s conversations are simply riveting.) But it’s much more than a love story between a governess and her employer: it is the tale of a passionate and intelligent orphan’s path to adulthood and her determination to maintain her dignity and find her place in the world. High School.

72. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (1989)
In this ultimate book about mother/daughter relationships, four Chinese immigrant mothers and their Chinese American daughters struggle to understand each other. The Joy Luck Club is a poignant and relatable novel about generational and cultural divisions, told in vignettes by seven different characters. High School.

73. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (2006)
Sixteen-year-old Annabel Greene’s life is far from perfect. Her “picture perfect” family is keeping secrets, and a recent split with her best friend has left her a social outcast. But Annabel finds an unexpected ally in Owen Armstrong, a music-obsessed, broody loner whose honesty and passion for music help her to finally be honest about what happened at the party that changed everything. Middle School (mature)/High School.

As always, feel free to comment! We'd love to know what books would be on your ultimate teen booklist...

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