Friday, December 9, 2011


McCafferty, Megan. Bumped. New York: Balzer+Bray: 2011.

Annotation: Melody was raised to be a teen surrogate to infertile adults trading a life for money, cars, and tuition, her twin Harmony was raised as a Christian against getting bumped. These two lives change as they reunite and discover that they’re not as different as they believed.

Book Talk:
What if being a pregnant teen came with tons of perks including an increased social status rather than hardship and snickers? In Melody’s world it does. After 18 people are infertile and that means when you’re a teenager pregging is the thing to do and adults pay you to have their babies.

Why not? I won’t be using my uterus for anything else during those nine months! So that’s how I was the first girl in my class to go pro and sign on to be a surrogate. About a dozen girls at my school followed my lead so far, with more trying to land contracts every day.”

But Melody can’t bump with anyone, she has to get matched, feelings don’t matter- or do they? Maybe it’s different for her twin sister, Harmony, who grew up in a God loving society. With no concern of getting bumped for someone else she is engaged. Harmony found her sister with the hope of introducing her to God, but what happens when these two reunite? Who converts who? Find out in Bumped.

Image credit:

Look for the sequel Thumped in April 2012!

What does Megan McCafferty have to say about Bumped?

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Westerfeld, Scott. UGLIES. New York: Simon Pulse, 2005.

Annotation: Right before her surgery to become a pretty, Tally meets Shay who opens her eyes to the ugly side of the pretty world. Tally now faces a tough decision of staying ugly forever or acting like a spy for the authorities against the Smoke, where her friend Shay escaped to avoid her surgery.

Book Talk:
Your 16th birthday is a big deal and Tally can’t wait for hers. Tally is an Ugly who will receive her birthday surgery to become a Pretty. Before her surgery she meets Shay who plans on running away to avoid the surgery to become Pretty. Tally has been looking forward to becoming a New Pretty, but she can’t get Shay’s ideas out of her head. Being a Pretty might not be all it’s cut out to be, but will she risk being forever one of the UGLIES?

Garden State Book Award (Teen Fiction Grades 6-8), 2008
VA Readers Choice Book, 2008
Abraham Lincoln Award Winner, 2007
Golden Duck, Hal Clement Award for Young Adult, 2006
ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 2006
ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (2006.04|Books That Don’t Make You Blush), 2006
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, 2005

Image credit:


The City of Ember

DuPrau, Jeanne. The City of Ember. New York: Yearling, 2003.

Annotation: The builders of the City of Ember designed it to sustain life for 200 years until it was safe to return to the outside world. The builders left instructions that were eventually lost, no one knew of their existence, but when Lina finds them torn as they were she knows she has something important and decides to figure them out.

Book Talk:
Lina finds a box that holds an important message for the City of Ember. Their city was always losing power and fear was settling in that the lights may one day go out and never return. Even though she doesn’t know it, with her friend Doon they decipher its meaning to find a way out of their deteriorating city. Will the others believe they’ve found a way to the outside world, will they understand they’ve been living underground, and can they do it before the lights go out forever in The City of Ember?

Mark Twain Award, 2006
William Allen White Children's Book Award, 2006
Child Magazine's Best Children's Book, 2003
Kirkus Editor's Choice, 2003

Check out The books of Ember:
The City of Ember, The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood, The Diamond of Darkhold


Anderson, M.T. Feed. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2002.

Annotation: Titus and his friends are connected to the constant feed in their brains, which keeps them wirelessly connected. After meeting Violet whose feed has gone wrong Titus begins to question his feelings about the feed.

Book Talk:
What if your brain could receive your Facebook newsfeed directly and silent chat with your friends? What if you could be online without using any technology, pretty cool right? But what if in this feed you receive all the spam and advertisement out on the web too? That’s the world Titus lives in, and it’s not a big deal. Until a hacker messes with the Feed causing some problems. You see for Titus and his friends the feed is a rooted in their everyday lives…

“The whole brain is tied in to the feed. The whole brain, like the memory and the part that makes you move and the part for your emotions.”

So when he meets Violet, whose feed has been damaged by the hacker, he realizes things aren’t as great as they seem.

ALA Outstanding Books for the College Bound (2009.4|Science & Technology), 2009
ALA Outstanding Books for the College Bound (2004.3|Literature & Language Arts), 2004
ALA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults, 2003
Book Sense Summer Pick Teen Readers, 2003
National Book Award Nominee for Young People's Literature, 2002
Los Angeles Times Book Prize, 2002

Image credit:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Hunger Games

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008.

Annotation: Peeta and Katniss are tributes of the Capitol of Panem’s yearly Hunger Games. They fight each other and 22 others to the death as it plays out on TV as entertainment.

Book Talk:
Katniss has been taking care of her family since her dad died, sneaking out of District 12 with her friend Gale to hunt for food. At 16 she’s managed to stay out of the Hunger Games set by the Capitol of Panem, but when her sister Primrose is picked as the tribute Katniss volunteers in her place. She joins Peeta as the tribute to District 12 to fight to death against 22 others, all while the Capitol and other districts watch for sport. With greater survival skills than others can Katniss avoid being killed and can she find it in herself to kill others? Can she be a pawn in this twisted game? Read this first book of an increasingly popular trilogy to find out if Katniss’ rebellious spirit helps her win the Hunger Games or if it leads to her demise.

Amelia Bloomer List, 2009
ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 2009
ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2009
Cybils Award (Fantasy and Science Fiction - Young Adult), 2008
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, 2008
Locus Recommended Reading - Young Adult, 2008
A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book, 2008

Trilogy Order: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay

This book’s popularity led to the making of a movie. The book is ALWAYS better than the movie, but take a look at the movie trailer to see what all the hype is about!

The Declaration

Malley, Gemma. The Declaration. New York: Bloomsbury, 2007.

Annotation: In a world where people chose Longetivity medication to make them live forever new life is illegal, The Declaration bounds people to not having children, those born are Surplus bred to serve Legals. Anna and new Surplus, Peter, decide to escape to the pro-children Underground Movement.

Book Talk:
Anna hates her parents for breaking The Declaration, they knew they weren’t supposed to have children and now she is a burden on society learning how to be an efficient servant to the Legals. She is Surplus Anna living amongst other illegal surplus children hoping to be deemed a Valuable Asset, good enough to work for a Legal until death. Anna wants nothing more than to be a Valuable Asset, until Peter, a new Surplus is brought to Grange Halls. Peter claims to know Anna’s parents. He says they love her and have been searching for her since the Catcher took her from them. Ideas like that are unnatural, but Anna can’t help but believe Peter. If they escape Grange Hall together she can be reunited with her parents and live her life in the Underground Movement as Anna Covey rather than an illegal Surplus Anna, but does she dare do it?

Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire, 2009

If you liked The Declaration check out the sequel The Resistance!

Watch this video to find out what Gemma Malley thinks about whether or not this can really happen in our the future of our world.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Pearson, Mary. The Adoration of Jenna Fox. New York: Henry Holt, 2008.

Annotation: After waking up from a coma Jenna tries to figure out why her life seems so strange and uncover the secrets of her identity.

Book Talk:
Losing a year of her life Jenna wakes up from a coma after an accident she had at 16. But she has no memory of who she is. Disoriented Jenna watches home videos of her life trying to regain a sense of identity.

“I see Jenna, smiling, laughing, and chattering. And falling. When you are perfect, is there anywhere else to go? I ache for her like she is someone else. She is. I am not the perfect Jenna Fox anymore.”

When Jenna sneaks into a locked closet and gets a cut on her hand, she discovers the awful truth about her amnesia. Something her family has been keeping from her- all for their Adoration of Jenna Fox.

California Young Reader Medal nominee, 2010-2011
International Reading Association Young Adult Choice Book, 2010
Heartland Award Honor Award for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, 2010
ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 2009
Winner Distinguished Work of Fiction CLCSC, 2009
NYPL Best Books, 2009
Golden Kite Honor Award, 2008
Capitol Choices for Teens, 2009


Oliver, Lauren. Delirium. New York: Harper, 2011.

Annotation: Magdalena finds herself counting down the days for her procedure to cure her from contracting the disease, love, until she meets Alex who opens her eyes an entirely different life she never knew existed.

Book Talk:
Lena is nearing her 18th birthday and is waiting to receive the cure that will prevent her from contracting amor deliria nervosa, love. Soon she’ll be paired with a husband the scientists see fit for her and assigned a life to live free of pain. Until she meets Alex and discovers what amor deliria nervosa really is.

“It’s not until I’ve been lying in bed for a long time, shivering, aching, missing him already, that I realize my aunt and teachers and the scientists are right about the deliria. As I lie there with the hurt driving through my chest and the sick, anxious feeling churning through me and the desire for Alex is so strong inside of me it’s like a razor blade edging its way through my organs, shredding me, all I can think is: It will me, it will kill me, it will kill me, And I don’t care.”

Now Lena must face the choice of living her assigned life or trying to escape her world, something punishable by death, but is living a life free of love or pain really living at all?

Amazon’s Best YA Novel, 2011
Amazon’s Best Teen Book of the Month, February 2011 Book of the Month, March 2011
New Atlantic Independent
Delirium is the 1st book in the trilogy. Keep an eye out for Pandemonium (out in 2012) and Requiem (out in 2013). 

Take a look at this book trailer for Delirium.

Brave New World

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper & Row, 1989.

Annotation: In the brave new world people are controlled through the World State in an attempt to keep them content.

Book Talk:
People often say that you’ll find your lives path. Well in the World State people’s paths get determined from the time they are embryos. Your life depends on what caste the World State chooses to put your embryo in, forget choosing a career you were bred to fit into a certain type of work by making each caste slightly less intelligent. After traveling to the Savage Reservation Lenina and Bernard bring back John who doesn’t understand this world without emotions or relationships. Life is easier when someone else controls it and taking a dose of soma makes it possible to not feel. Would you pop a soma pill to avoid feeling or throw out the Soma and rebel? Find out what happens in this Brave New World.

American Academy of Arts and Letters Award of Merit, 1959
ALA Notable Books

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Wrinkle in Time

L’Engle, Madeline. A Wrinkle in Time. New York: Dell Publishing, 1962.

Annotation: Meg, her brother Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin find out their peculiar differences make them a part of a world beyond their understanding with time travel and indescribable evil.

Book Talk:
Meg and her younger brother Charles Wallace are looked at by others like there is something not quite right about them. In fact, there is- Charles Wallace understands his gift more than Meg and together with their new friend Calvin they embark on a journey guided by Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatist to defeat the Black Thing and find their father, a scientist who’s been on a secret mission. This is how they encounter IT- a powerful force that holds all the people on the planet of Camazotz in ITS control and pushes to do the same to them…

“As she cried out the words she felt a mind moving in on her own, felt IT seizing, squeezing her brain. Then she realized that Charles Wallace was speaking, or being spoken through by IT…she felt her stubborn control slip. Red fog glazed her eyes…”

What kind of “gift” does it take to travel through time, encountering planets with odd creatures and most dreadfully IT- and why do Mrs. Which and Company think a few kids can defeat such powerful evil. More importantly what happens if they can’t? Find out in A Wrinkle in Time.

Newbery Medal Book, 1963
American Library Association Notable Children's Books
Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List  

Image credit:

The Time Series has a total of 5 books!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: the story of a childhood. New York: Pantheon, 2003.

Annotation: This autobiography follows Satrapi through childhood and beginning adolescence growing up in Iran during times or revolutions and wars.

Book Talk:
Ever wonder why some women wear a veil to cover their hair? What’s it like to grow up in a different country…especially during war time? Satrapi gives you a glimpse into her world through creative comic strip images.

This isn’t your average autobiography, in graphic novel form-
follow Satrapi as she lives through the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Struggling to hide her true lifestyle under the regime, Satrapi’s thoughts on family, God, and forgiveness are depicted through her simple yet powerful images. 
This autobiography is intertwined with humor and history giving an insight to what life might have been like if you lived in Iran with Satrapi- wouldn’t you like to know?

Angouleme Coup de Coeur Award for Persepolis, 2001
Alex Award, 2004
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
New York Times Notable Book
Time Magazine "Best Comix of the Year"
Los Angeles Times, Best-seller

Book cover image credit:
Book images copyright: Marjane Satrapi, 2000

Take a look at Persepolis 2 and other works by Marjane Satrapi.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The House on Mango Street

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.

Annotation: In vignettes Esperanza describes her life as Hispanic girl growing up on Mango Street. She discusses her triumphs and struggles with culture, family, friends, neighbors, dreams, and goals.

Book Talk:
“I have begun my own quiet war. Simple. Sure. I am one who leaves the table like a man, without putting back the chair or picking up the plate.”

Is it wrong to sometimes feel ashamed of your home, your culture, and sometimes your family? Do you ever feel that as soon as you get the chance you’re going to own your life and make it something totally different than what your parents have given you? Esperanza does. She holds a love hate relationship with the homes she’s lived in, the neighborhood she’s a part of, and the culture she was brought up in. Even her name bothers her. She dreams of having a “real” home and swears that her life will be different from the one she knows with limited opportunity and male dominance …but in the end can you really shed these parts of your life if they made you who you are?

Columbus Foundation's American Book Award, 1985
George G. Stone Center for Children’s Books Recognition of Merit Award, 1994

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Volponi, Paul. Rooftop. New York: Viking, 2006.

Annotation: Clay reconnects with his cousin Addison when they both find themselves in a rehab center for teens only to be separated by death when one of them dies at the hands of the police.

Book Talk:
“ I walked up to the coffin and made myself look at him…The suit that Spiers got for Addison covered the bullet hole in his chest. But I didn’t think anything in this whole world would cover up what was missing from inside of me.” 

What’s left for a Black teenager living in the projects other than smoking weed and dealing? For Addison nothing was left after being shot and killed by the police. Clay having witnessed the death of his cousin realizes there are other ways to live your life, like staying clean and getting a GED. Join Clay as he discovers bravery in overcoming addiction, loss, and the pressure of taking your future in your own hands.

ALA Best Book Young Adult
ALA Quick Pick
New York City Library Book for the Teen Age
Tayshas List

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gossip Girl

Von Ziegesar, Cecily. Gossip girl. New York: Little Brown and Company, 2002.

Annotation: Gossip girl tracks the lives of a group of wealthy high schoolers relationships with love, sex, and most of all drama.

Book Talk:
I heard she had a baby in France. She has STDs. She’s addicted to all kinds of drugs. I heard she’s even selling them. She’s only popular because she’s slept with everybody.

The gossip runs rampant at school when envied it girl, Serena van der Woodsen comes back from boarding school. Ready to hit the party scene Serena soon realizes things aren’t going to be the same now that her best friend turned frenemy, Blair, is dating the guy she lost the big V to, Nate. Love, sex, drugs, jealousy, and alcohol are as common with these high schoolers as the gossip that surrounds their relationships. Find out what these characters really think about each other in Gossip Girl. 

Image credit: 

If you liked this book, read the whole series!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Giver

Lowry, Lois. The Giver. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.

Annotation: Living in an ideal community Jonas’ beliefs are shattered when he receives his life’s assignment and is exposed to another way of life.

Book Talk:
You can’t miss what you’ve never known. Jonas had no idea his life was missing anything until given the responsibility of receiver for his ideal community, a community filled with sameness and lives governed by rules. He was assigned to receive all memories of those that came before him. With these memories Jonas experiences pain but also love, colors, and music, things unknown to the rest of the community.

“Our people made that choice, the choice to go to Sameness. Before my time, before the previous time, back and back and back and back. We relinquished color when we relinquished sunshine and did away with differences…we gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.”

Could you deny others the joy of memories, of choice, of differences? After realizing another way of life exists, imperfect as it may be, can Jonas live denying others the feelings he now knows?

Newbery Medal, 1994
Regina Medal, 1994
William Allen White Award, 1996

Image credit:

Read the rest of the trilogy!

The Silver Kiss

Klause, Annette Curtis. The Silver Kiss. New York: Delacorte Press, 1990.

Annotation: Zoë finds herself in an unusual relationship with Simon after they bond over mutual feelings about loneliness and death. Simon, a member of the undead, helps Zoë accept her mother's illness. 

Book Talk:
How do you let go? For Zoë letting go seems to be the theme of her life lately- her mother is dying, her best friend is moving, and her father is distant consumed by her mother’s cancer. In an almost unbelievable encounter Zoë finds an odd comfort in being needed by Simon. Together they find a twisted yet beautiful comfort in each other’s pain and loneliness. Sharing his secrets Simon takes Zoë into a world of the undead revealing his identity as a vampire. Finding solace in Simon’s company, how does she let go when he too needs to leave her side?

Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award, 1992
Oklahoma Sequoyah Young Adult Book Award, 1993
South Carolina Children's Book Award, 1993
California Young Reader Medal, 1993

Image credit:

Want to know more? Watch this trailer!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Keeping You a Secret

Peters, Julie Ann. Keeping You a Secret. New York: Little Brown and Company, 2003.

Annotation: Holland Jaeger discovers her true identity after she meets and falls in love with an out and proud lesbian transfer student.

Book Talk:
Holland is balancing homework, work, college applications, friends, and a boyfriend as a senior in high school when she first spots Cece an openly gay transfer student. When she realizes that her thoughts about Cece sound more like a girl crush she begins to question her sexuality.

After admitting to herself she is a lesbian, Holland and Cece begin a relationship of liberating love, but how liberating can it be if no one can know about it? In an effort to avoid cruelty from others at school and keep her to herself Cece convinces Holland to keep their relationship secret. Find out if keeping your relationship a secret is really Keeping You a Secret.

2004 Stonewall Honor Book
Best of 2003 Young-Adult Books, Borders Books and Music
2003 Lambda Literary Award Finalist


Myers, Walter Dean. Monster. New York: HarperTempest, 1999.

Annotation: Charged with murder Steve Harmon’s trial and fears play out like a movie, ending in his verdict.  

Book Talk:
 Is this real life or a movie? Steve Harmon a regular teenager who liked making films in school finds himself on trial for murder. Trying to grasp how he ended up behind bars he imagines the courtroom proceedings as though he is watching a movie. With close ups, voice overs, and flashbacks we see life through Steve’s eyes. Read like a screenplay with occasional diary entries Steve’s fight for freedom unfolds.

Reading through the scenes in this life turned movie you feel the fear and anguish of a young man trying to define his role in the death of a store clerk. When the rest of his life depends on the decision of the jury the question persist, Is this real life or a movie?

2000 ALA Best Books for Young Adults
2000 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Literature for Young Adults
1999 New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age

Image credit:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Amos Fortune free man

Yates, Elizabeth. Amos Fortune free man. New York: Puffin Books, 1950.

Annotation: Amos Fortune went from being a king in his African village to a slave in the United States eventually buying his freedom and gaining respect from all in his town through a life of honesty and good deeds.

Book Review:
At-mun was ripped from everything he knew his family, his village, and his people as a young king in Africa only to be sold as a slave in America. His will power to not succumb to despair in the painful voyage is admirable but pails only to the gracefulness with which he chose to carry the rest of his life. Being given the name Amos Fortune due to his incredible luck that began as he was bought by a Quaker who taught him to read and write, Amos dedicated his life to others. In this simply written biography we see a young man grow from king, slave, servant, to a free man that never ceases to be riddled with positivity and giving regardless of his situation. Amos’ spirit is one that transcends ideas of race and money teaching us all that freedom comes from living a good life regardless of the circumstances.

Newberry Medal, 1951
William Allen White Children’s Book Award, 1953

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Spinelli, Jerry. Milkweed. New York: Random House, 2003. 

Annotation: A Jewish orphan without a name finds himself unsure of his identity as he grows up during World War II. Making and losing different make shift families he lives on creating his own identity as a survivor.

Book Review:
With names varying from Stop Thief, Misha, Jack, and Poppynoodle this first person fiction narrative follows a kid growing up without a true identity during World War II. Nameless he is given the name Misha by Uri, a make shift big brother who finds him stealing and makes him a part of a group of orphaned thieves trying to survive during the war. Not knowing he was Jewish, Misha takes on the identity of what he is told from gypsy, Jew, to nobody. Struggling to find meaning to his identity and his beliefs this story of triumph in the face of all adversity and loss of family and friends is relatable to all. Jerry Spinelli successfully introduces the historical and personal elements of the Holocaust through Misha, a kid turned adult on a quest to not let others define him but define himself.

Golden Kite Award, 2003
ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 2004
Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading List, 2004

The Outsiders

Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. New York: Puffin Books, 1997, c1967.

Annotation: Ponyboy Curtis and the rest of the Greaser gang discover the tribulations of friendship, loss, and growing up after a fight with a rival gang leads to murder.

Book Review:
Clothes, money, social status, attitude, hair and stereotypes often define which gang or clique you are a part of in high school. As for Ponyboy and his friends they’re known as Greasers and they take pride in their style especially their signature greasy hair. Pulled together from different backgrounds the Greasers friendship stems from acceptance and knows no boundaries. When a seemingly normal night turns into a fight with their rival the Socs, both gangs are changed forever. With one Soc dead and one Greaser a murderer individuals from each begin to discover that appearances are deceiving. S.E. Hinton’s timeless story explores real emotions felt by everyone regardless of their clique. Issues with absent parents, identity, death, fear, vulnerability, and a need to fit in consume these teenagers and friendships help push them through. Not your average happy ending The Outsiders reminds you that everybody has a story and like one of the Socs said, “Things are rough all over.”

New York Herald Tribune Best Teenage Books List, 1967
Chicago Tribune Book World Spring Book Festival Honor Book, 1967
Media and Methods Maxi Award, 1975
ALA Best Young Adult Books, 1975
Massachusetts Children’s Book Award, 1979

Image credit:

Check out this book trailer with audio clips from the author, S.E. Hinton!