Friday, January 31, 2014

The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson

I loved The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson, from the very first page. The novel opens:
“It  started in detention. No surprise there, right? Detention was invented by the same idiots who dreamed up the time-out corner. Does being forced to sit in time-out ever make little kids stop putting cats in the dishwasher or drawing on white walls with purple marker? Of course not. It teaches them to be sneaky and guarantees that when they get to high school they’ll love detention because it’s a great place to sleep.”

Halse Anderson is just so adept at capturing the teenage psyche and perpetuating it in the voice of her characters. I loved this about her last books and she lived up to my expectation in this one!

The Impossible Knife of Memory is about Hayley Kincain, whose mother is dead and whose father has recently returned from deployment. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Hayley’s dad has a hard time settling down and keeping a job; for this reason, they set out on cross-country trucking jobs, and Hayley is very loosely homeschooled. However, during her senior year, her dad decides it’s time for her to have a normal life and go to a real high school. So, they move back to the town where her dad grew up, into his mother’s old house, and Hayley begins her “normal” life. But, there’s nothing normal about having a dad who is fired more than he works, screams from nightmares in the middle of the night, and wavers between euphoria and depression. Hayley can’t focus on her schoolwork because she’s so worried about her dad. While attempting to avoid making friends, Haley eventually finds someone who can help her deal with her dad's situation. Will she be able to cope before her dad gets even worse?

This was an awesome book, but there were some sex scenes and inappropriate language, so I'd only recommend it for mature readers.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

We Were Liars, by e. lockart

After reading e. lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks during my student teaching and witnessing several class periods of girls completely a-twitter about the novel's plot, I was really looking forward to this new release from her.

We Were Liars unfortunately disappointed me. The novel is about Cadence Sinclair, member of a filthy-rich family who vacations together each summer on their own private island. Things are in a state of turmoil for Cady after her parents have divorced and she's experienced a tragic accident that is often alluded to but never quite defined. The novel progresses like it wants to be a psychological thriller, slowly revealing the truth of Cady's unraveling, but it just didn't do very well. The novel as a whole just sort of plodded along, and I had quite a hard time finishing it.

Publication Date: May 13, 2014

Thursday, January 9, 2014

See Jane Run, by Hannah Jayne

See Jane Run took a while for me to get into, but once I got into it I was hooked! The beginning of the novel just seemed a little contrived to me and I almost gave up on it, but I'm glad I didn't. 

See Jane Run is about a girl named Riley Spencer who has overprotective parents - way overprotective. They won't let her go anywhere without them; she even has to bribe them to go on a school-sponsored college tour. One day, Riley and her friend Shelby find a mysterious birth certificate that belongs to someone named Jane Elizabeth O'Leary. Riley has no idea who this person is, or why her parents would have her birth certificate. This makes Riley begin to question everything she's ever known - she doesn't even know if she can trust her parents. 

Riley vows to find out the truth about Jane O'Leary, and encounters some serious trouble and even a kidnapping along the way. She finally finds out the truth - but will she like what she finds?

Also Try: How to Save a Life, by Sara Zarr; Girl, Stolen, The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die, by April Henry 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Black Out, by Robison Wells

In Black Out, the United States (and the world) are under attack by a mastermind group of terrorists. However, these aren't your ordinary terrorists - they're teenagers, and they're citizens of the U.S. They've become infected with a virus called Erebus, which gives them superhuman strength and ability in a limited area. Band them together, and the things they can accomplish are overwhelming. Unfortunately, some innocent teens are infected with Erebus as well, and the U.S. military begins a mass inspection and quarantine of teens nationwide in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

Aubrey Parsons is one of the innocent infected - her ability is that she can disappear. Up until now, it's seemed cool because she can steal anything she wants from local stores, but when it lands her a military captive, being trained for active duty, its repercussions become daunting.

Aubrey and her childhood friend soon find themselves caught up with a group of "Lambdas" - that's what they call those infected - who may or may not have the nation's best interests at heart. Will they be able to stop them?

I really liked how the two different facets of the plot were so woven together. There were the "good" Lambdas (Aubrey, Jack) and then the "bad" Lambdas (Laura, Alec, Dan). Their stories intersected in a really interesting way. There was one aspect of the novel that frustrated me, though. There were random posts, they looked like something from a blog or wiki, throughout the novel. They were (seemingly) totally disconnected to the plot and didn't make any sense to me - it really bothered me. But, when I finally figured out what they actually were it made perfect sense and was an awesome idea!! I do feel kind of dumb that I didn't figure it out sooner...maybe I wasn't paying enough attention.

Also Try: Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi; Witch and Wizard, by James Patterson; Inhuman, by Kat Falls