A better race time, better grades for better college, a better heart?
Chloe’s plans shatter when she’s suddenly sidelined from cross-country running to wait for a heart transplant, missing so much of her senior year that she’ll have to attend summer school with the slackers so she can graduate.
The 17 year old’s new heart came from a young donor within 30 miles of her California home, that’s all the hospital can say. Now everyday life is lots of anti-rejection pills and checkups and nightmares she never had before and avoiding her classmates’ graduation celebrations.
On a sudden whim, she decides to take surfing lessons to get away from her parents’ constant hovering and her unusual boredom with school subjects that plan-everything Chloe used to enjoy.
Kai teaches more by example than words, but every week’s lessons with the cute teen guy give her a focus beyond the yawning boredom of summer school.
Her new pal Jane is fine with Chloe’s out-of-character ideas, like getting a tattoo and trying to find out about her heart donor despite the other family’s wish not to be contacted.
If she gets better at surfing, will Kai stop giving her lessons? Where did this sudden passion for music come from? Who had the motorcycle crash in her recurring nightmare?
As Chloe’s dreams unspool incidents related to the crash, she’s compelled to follow those clues around the Bay Area like her life now is a mystical puzzle.
When have you felt an unexplainable connection to someone? **kmm
Book info: Everything I Thought I Knew / Shannon Takaoka. Candlewick Press, 2020. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Yet the science experiment that burned down Father’s stable may be a blessing in disguise for Georgiana as the teen finds herself not in a reform school for rebellious girls, but a secret spy school!
Under the direction of Miss Stranje and Madame Cho, several young ladies with highly unusual talents are honing their skills in self-defense and espionage in the fight against Napoleon.
Georgie’s secret ink may give England the upper hand, if she can perfect its formula, if she can keep her heart safe from young Lord Wyatt, if they can keep French agents from stealing it!
Set in an alternate 1814 where Napoleon successfully returns from exile, this first book in the Stranje House series is followed by the equally adventurous and properly romantic Exile for Dreamers (centered on Tess), Refuge for Masterminds (Jane’s story), and Harbor for the Nightingale (Maya’s tale).
Where might your unusual talents take you? **kmm
Book info: A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House, book 1) / Kathleen Baldwin. Tor Teen, hardcover 2015, paperback 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Personal purchase; cover image courtesy of the publisher.
This graphic novel traces the shortened life of son, friend, musician, bicycle messenger, history scholar Alfonso and the stories of other African Americans killed by police brutality.
Robinson and Jennings’ black and white illustrations expand the #blacklivesmatter narrative written by Tony Medina, whose poems are recited at the Poetry Protest that Alfonso can see and hear as his ghost drifts from the train to his neighborhood and back…
Check out Medina’s article describing how he created this non-stereotypical Puerto Rican Black teen who loves his community’s history so deeply – why should a such a talented young man be dead?
Where is justice? How can everyday people stop the violence? **kmm
My Book Talk: Buying his first suit shouldn’t get him shot, shouldn’t keep him from seeing Dad finally home from prison with his name cleared, shouldn’t stop him from trying out for ‘Hip-Hop Hamlet’ at his arts high school in NYC, shouldn’t prevent him from telling bestie Danetta how he really feels about her…
On a subway train filled with ghosts of other African Americans wrongly killed, Alfonso learns more than his history studies revealed – about injustice, unfair treatment, deliberate abuse and prejudice – but dead is dead…
The Black-Puerto Rican young man’s family, friends, and community rally for justice and the prosecution of the police officer who shot Alfonso dead in this too-real #blacklivesmatter graphic novel.
Voices in his head.
Time losses that catch her eye.
It really is aliens this time!
It’s easy to identify with Dodger’s sense of never fitting in or with Haley’s alternating affection and annoyance with her family, but entire towns experiencing 16 minutes of missing time? People vanished from each place? Radio transmissions from a town not shown on any map?
Somehow, this is not the summer vacation that Dodger or Haley envisioned… and the extraterrestrials are trying to make them disappearance statistics, too!
Published in late February 2013, Kevin Emerson’s The Fellowship for Alien Detection is a bit more light-hearted than his Atlanteans series (see my review of The Lost Codehere), but the perils for Dodger and Haley are very real.
Any “missing time experiences” in your life?
My Recommendation: Awarded money for a short summer trip to investigate their theories of aliens on Earth, two young teens find more adventure than they anticipated and more danger than they could have imagined during their search for missing people and a vanished town.
Haley follows obscure news online that might lead to a reporting breakthrough; that’s how she uncovered “missing time episodes” experienced by people in several towns and knows each place has missing persons now. She’s going to interview folks in those missing-time towns – if she can just get Dad to stick to the travel plan instead of trying to see every oddball attraction on their route west from Connecticut.
The radio station that unpredictably plays in Dodger’s head is from Juliette, Arizona (which is not on any maps) and from a different day and year than now. He’s always felt different, unsettled – and it’s gotten worse as the radio broadcasts started this year. His dad looks at him like Dodger is a disappointment – the trip from Seattle to Roswell, New Mexico is going to be mighty long if Dad has as little to say to him as usual.
Debit cards from the Foundation in hand, the two families depart from opposite coasts on their fellowship journeys. But soon Haley’s investigations are noticed by United Consolidated Amalgamations which owns old mines near every missing-time town, and Dodger becomes a transmitting loudspeaker for the Juliette radio station during the gathering at Bend.
The two fellowship winners aren’t the only folks who have made the connection between UCA mines and missing-time or who have heard KJPR from Juliette, but they’re the only ones who are tracking down the clues step by step – the falling star dream in missing-time towns, the significance of the 16-minute time loss, the radio transmissions from one April day years ago. And the extraterrestrials are tracking down them and their families!
If Juliette is a real place, why isn’t it on the map?
Why does that same day play over and over on KJPR?
Can Dodger and Haley join forces before it’s too late?
This summer before starting high school may be the start of something big…or the end of Earth as we know it! (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Is it any wonder that Mr. Babcock used Uncle Tully’s money to rescue working families from the poorhouses and create a unique village to fill all the estate’s needs? Or that agents from enemy countries would try to steal Uncle Tully’s work to use against England? Or that Katharine might finally find love?
The author promises us a sequel in fall 2013, so visit Stranwyne Keep yourself soon – and watch out for Aunt Alice’s sharp tongue!
My Recommendation: It seems that Uncle is squandering away the family fortune, so it falls to Katharine to quietly visit the old man and gather enough evidence to have him declared insane. As “the poor relative”, the young lady has no choice but to make the long carriage journey to Stranwyne Keep, and a mysteriously strange place she finds it indeed.
A drowsy housekeeper, a mute young boy, a belligerent apprentice named Lane – that’s the entire staff for this huge English manor house? Mrs. Jeffries recognizes Katharine as Mr. Simon’s orphan daughter and avers that cousin Robert’s scheming mother must have sent her here to uproot Mr. Tully.
Where is all the money going if Uncle doesn’t throw lavish parties or buy fine horses? In his workshop across the moors, childlike genius Uncle Tully creates precise inventions in miniature with Lane’s assistance and keeps an unvarying personal timetable. Automatons, clockwork creations, part science, part magic, all Uncle Tully.
The family solicitor enlightens Katharine about how this estate is run – and how an entire village supports Uncle Tully’s projects as the estate supports its hundreds of workers rescued from London’s poorhouses! No wonder there is less money in the accounts than before… yet Mr. Babcock assures her that these projects will rebuild the fortune soon.
Katharine becomes convinced that some of her uncle’s entertaining inventions are very practical (others quite dangerous and alarming) as her fondness for this very special person grows, so she decides to support him in defiance of her aunt’s wishes, endangering her own chances of a safer financial future.
But all is not well in this idyllic setting, as strange noises taunt Katharine in the manor, Lane warns her about upsetting her uncle, a visiting student of mechanics begins to court her, people disappear from one location and reappear far away, and the villagers turn against her in defense of their dear Mr. Tully.
Who can she trust now – Lane? Mr. Babcock? Her maid and friend from the village?
What’s causing those eerie noises and her new nightmares?
Is someone really planning to steal inventions from Uncle Tully’s workshop?
A mystery and a Victorian family drama rolled into one, this Dark Unwinding twists and turns as Uncle Tully’s inventions tick-tock along, and a villain seeks to use them for nefarious purposes. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Violet’s aunt thinks her gift is unclean, her dad wonders if she’s talked to the ghost of her mom (but doesn’t dare ask), and the ghosts in the area just want to chat.
This debut novel won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for Young Adult Fiction in 2011, and Dutton Books’ editorial staff brought it out in hardback in 2012. Check it out at your local library or independent bookstore now, and see what the ghosts in Violet’s town are gossiping about!
Whose ghost would you like to have a conversation with?
My Recommendation: Vengeful spirits in the girls’ locker room, boring school uniforms, and strange rumors running ahead of her… Violet would much rather stay in the apartment above Dad’s funeral home with Buster the ghost, but unfortunately high school is still mandatory.
Ghosts always talk to her, just like they talked to her mom. It’s been ten years since Mom died during a paranormal investigation with her dad, but Violet has never seen her ghost. Some online sleuthing leads Violet to another researcher from her parents’ past expeditions, but the now-semi-respectable psychic tries to convince her to stay away from Mom’s last place on earth.
A dead football player is hanging around Palmetto High’s art room, there’s a possible hell-portal in the girls’ shower, and one of the goth kids claims he’s half-vampire. Senior citizen ghosts (Florida is full of them) help Violet stage a memorable Halloween séance in the cemetery to “scare straight” some kids who want to dabble in the dark arts, but even they warn her to stay far away from the creepy deserted estate where her mother died.
It’s up to Violet to use her psychic gifts to clear up all this, so her new not-so-goth friends help her get ready to visit the estate, and maybe hear from Mom one last time (surely she wouldn’t head to the Beyond without saying goodbye?), but things go bad in a heartbeat.
What can they do to placate the angry attacking poltergeist?
Can Violet ever reconnect with her mother’s ghost?
Are the friends going to make it out of there alive?
Spookygirl, scary fun, terrifying investigations! (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Welcome to the tradition-filled halls of Monroe Prep, Dad’s alma mater, where Mallory’s reputation precedes her – the knife, Brian’s blood on her kitchen floor, the self-defense verdict.
Are her nightmares just reaction to the trauma or something more sinister? Surely Reid believes that Brian’s mom’s car was parked outside the school gates, that someone keeps entering her room, that she’s not seeing things – they’ve known each other since they were kids because their dads were high school roommates up here.
The crazy things happening now at Monroe cannot just be Mallory’s imagination… can they?
The blood, the knife, the holes in her memory – Mallory knows she should be glad for the “self-defense” ruling, but the pulsating hum in her brain won’t stop. Neither will the nightmares or Brian’s mom stalking her, asking where her dead son is.
Maybe boarding school in the New Hampshire woods will be far enough from her seaside house where Brian died in a pool of his own bright-red blood. Dad pulled strings to get her admitted to his alma mater at the last minute; he couldn’t stop the rumors about Mallory from getting there first.
Being a new student at Monroe Prep is worse than being at a regular high school since the snooty rich kids have known each other forever. Well, Reid is nice to her, probably because their dads were roommates here and their families got together often over the years. Last time she saw him was his dad’s funeral, not a good memory on lots of levels.
Despite her sleeping pills, Mallory still has nightmares, hears the booming echoes of Brian’s heart, wakes up with a handprint-shaped bruise on her shoulder that she couldn’t have done to herself, window unlocked when she knows she locked it. No cellphone service in these mountains, so she can never get through to her best friend Colleen at home, the only person who understands what she’s enduring.
A green car glimpsed through the fog – is Brian’s mother stalking her again?
A red handprint on her door, vandalism in her dorm room, menacing whispers – is her presence threatening someone at Monroe?
A hidden ruin in the woods, tribute to a lost student – is she supposed to be next?
Once again Megan Miranda crafts a chilling story of the hazy boundary between death and life in this psychological thriller with traces of the paranormal. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My Recommendation: All flights cancelled due to multiple plane crashes with birds? After her dismal performance at the national tournament, now her debate partner David will be stuck with Reese even longer, as they drive from Phoenix to San Francisco – and it all goes crazy.
Speeding across the Nevada desert near Area 51, their rental car flips when a bird flies into it, and the teens wake up 27 days later in a secret military hospital. Confidentiality statements signed, they’re taken home to their very anxious parents, and Reese’s dreams (or nightmares) begin.
She sees doctors from the secret hospital in town – or does she? David doesn’t call her anymore – did he ever realize that Reese had a crush on him? These dreams of dripping yellow, of a red here, a red there – after-effects of the concussion?
Meeting Amber was a welcome change, with her punky pink hair and her see-it-all attitude for the city she’s visiting while she apartment-sits for her uncle. Reese is a bit mystified that Amber is attracted to such an average person as herself, but relishes the attention and affection.
Her best friend Julian helps Reese paint her bedroom to match the glossy reds and yellows of her dream-nightmare-dream, asks her more about Amber than she really knows, and answers the call for help when David finally contacts her to discuss his dreams, the same dreams, the same doctors seen where they shouldn’t be.
How could her scars heal so quickly?
Is Amber more than she seems? Has their relationship gone too far, too fast?
Why are those doctors following Reese and David?
The city is different without bird song, without any birds anywhere…
(One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
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