Must Read Books

Behemoth
Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth, the sequel to Leviathan, continues the story of Deryn/Dylan Sharp and Prince Alek.  They journey to Constantipole/Istanbul where they find both enemies and allies.  An exciting continuance of the alternate history of World War I.  Can't wait for the third book to come out -- September 13, 2011 is the release date for Goliath.

Jan 19, 2011
Susan
Uglies
Uglies
Scott Westerfeld

Uglies takes place in a future world where everyone gets a special operation when they are sixteen to be made pretty.  After the operation, Pretties get to party and have fun all the time on the other side of their contained city.  Tally Youngblood is an Ugly whose 16th birthday is nearing, but her various tricks and antics have gotten her in trouble with the department of Special Circumstances.  They tell her that if she ever wants to be made into a Pretty like everyone else she must go out into the wilderness and find her friend Shay who ran away with a group of Ugly rebels who are resisting the required Pretty surgery.  Three more books follow in this series and they are all great reads!

Dec 21, 2010
Kristy
Leviathan
Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan takes the backdrop of the beginning of World War I and adds futuristic creatures and machinery to create a classic steampunk story.  The Darwinists (the British) have created genetically mutated species such as the Leviathan, which is a living ecosystem acting as a zeppelin.  The Clankers (the Germans and Austro-Hungarians) use transformer-like weapons.  Alek is the heir of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and along with his mentors, is escaping to Switzerland after the assassination of his parents.  Deryn Sharp is disguising herself as Dylan Sharp, midshipman in the British Air Service serving on the Leviathan.  When the Leviathan is shot down by the enemy can the two groups work together and escape certain danger.  A fast-paced thriller that captures the reader's interest and imagination, Leviathan is followed by Behemoth.

Nov 27, 2010
Susan
It's Kind of a Funny Story
Ned Vizzini

Ever since he got into an elite prep school, Craig Gilner has been overwhelmed with depression. He can't eat, he can't sleep, and one day he decides to kill himself by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. At the last minute, he decides to live and finds himself in the psychiatric ward of Argenon Hospital. This is where he meets Noelle, another patient of Argenon's, and begins to reassemble his life, hoping for the Shift that'll bring him back to normal.  Good for ages 16+.

Nov 18, 2010
Liz
Sorta Like a Rock Star
Matthew Quick

Amber Appleton and her mom are homeless: they live in Hello Yellow, the school bus her mom drives for a living (yes, sorta like rock stars live on buses). But this doesn't shake Amber's positive outlook on life. She still has her dog, Billy Big Boy, and her gigantic list of afterschool activities- she teaches ESL, befriends a Vietnam veteran named Private Jackson, and spreads her optimism among the elderly at a nursing home. Then Amber's unchanging attitude takes a huge blow when her mother suffers a violent tragedy. Can Amber overcome what's happened to her family?

 

 

Nov 4, 2010
Liz
Criss Cross
Lynn Rae Perkins

Lynne Rae Perkins' Criss Cross was the Newbery Award winner for 2006.  Told in alternating voices, it's the stories of small town young teens and their wishes and dreams for their futures.  The setting and time period is indistinguishable (you get the impression that it's the 1970s) so it's more of a story for all times.

Oct 23, 2010
Susan
Speak
Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda enters her freshman year of high school with everyone hating her including her former best friend Rachel.  At an end of the summer party, Melinda called the police resulting in several of her classmates getting arrested for underage drinking.  It isn't until later that we learn Melinda's real reason for calling the police.  We watch as she endures the horror of adolescent shunning and see her withdraw further into herself and become mute as a result.  As the narrative unfolds we begin to see glimpses into what happened that awful night at the party and the teacher who helps Melinda recognize what happened to her and regain her voice. 

Oct 20, 2010
Kristy
Looking for Alaska
John Green

Sixteen-year-old Miles' search for a "great perhaps" at the Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama grants him more than he bargained for. While quoting the last words of famous people, Miles explores his friendships and pulls pranks under the command of the Colonel (his roommate) and Alaska (his attractive yet somewhat unstable love interest).  

The book is separated into "Before" and "After" sequences. Before and after what, you ask? You'll be shocked when you find out.

Looking for Alaska confronts its readers with some big questions; it'll really make you think. Recommended for ages 15+.

Oct 6, 2010
Liz
Inside Out
Maria V. Snyder

Trella is a scrub and a loner.  When her only friend asks her to help the latest "prophet" she is reluctant to get involved.  Her unwillingness to let a challenge go by gets her involved anyway and inadvertently begins a minor revolution with the Uppers.  As they search for the possibility of the Gateway Trella is joined by a variety of people in her quest.  Fans of the City of Ember and the Hunger Games trilogy should give this a try.  The sequel will be released in March 2011.

Oct 2, 2010
Susan
Feed
M.T. Anderson

Titus lives in a futuristic world where tv and the internet are "fed" directly into people's brains. They call it the feed, and it's implanted into your brain at birth. While on a trip to the moon with his friends, Titus meets Violet, who is rather unconventional. Her feed was implanted late in life, and rather than succomb to the never-ending advertisements, Violet chooses instead to fight the feed, wanting Titus to join her.

Feed is written from Titus' perspective and uses the vernicular of his future world...unfamiliar words like "null" and "mal." Don't let this bother you, though, because Anderson's book is worth reading. Titus' apathetic, vapid nature makes you think about your own reliance on technology and the lasting effects consumerism will have on society.

Sep 30, 2010
Liz

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