Unwind – Neal Shusterman

In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would “unwind” them.

Connor’s parents want to be rid of him because he’s a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev’s unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family’s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until theireighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed — but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

This book gave me chills.  The idea that your parents could just “return” you!!!  Wow.  The characters in this book were also very compelling.  Connor is a real survivor.  Read this!  Highly recommended.  – Jessica, Teen Librarian

The Schwa Was Here – Neal Shusterman

When Anthony “Antsy” Bonano and his friends meet Calvin Schwa, they are impressed and puzzled by his ability to appear and disappear before their very eyes. Antsy concocts a moneymaking scheme based on the Schwa’s invisibility that seems promising until he and his friends overreach and are caught by the town’s legendary mean millionaire, Mr. Crawley. Their resulting community service project–walking the 7 virtues and 7 vices (Crawley’s 14 afghan hounds) and going out with Crawley’s granddaughter Lexie–cements and ultimately challenges friendships.

My heart went out to the schwa…it’s hard to be unnoticeable.  He makes some great friends, though, and becomes famous in an underground way that is totally satisfying by the end.  Good read!  – Jessica, Teen Librarian

Everwild – Neal Shusterman

The Skinjacker Trilogy: Book 2

There was teh rumor of a beautiful sky witch, who soared across the heavens in a great silver balloon.  And there were whispers of a terrible ogre made entirely of chocolate, who lured unsuspecting souls with that rich promising smell, only to cast them down a bottomless pit from which there was no return.

Everlost, the limbo land of dead children, is at war.  Nich the “Chocolate Ogre” wants to help the children of Everlost reach the light at the end of the tunnel.  Mary Hightower, self-proclaimed queen of lost children and dangerous fanatic, is determined to keep Everlost’s children trapped within its limbo for all eternity.  Traveling in the memory of the Hindenburg, Mary is spreading her propaganda and attracting Afterlights to her cause at a frightening speed.

Meanwhile, Allie the Outcast travels home to seek out her parents, along with Mikey, who was once the terrifying monster the McGill.  Allie is tempted by the seductive thrill of skinjacking the living, until she learns a shocking secret: Those who skinjack are not actually dead.

Excellent!  There are a lot of themes in this book to keep track of, but it is very good.  Thought provoking and exciting!  If you haven’t read Everlost in a while, you may want to go back and refresh yourself because there isn’t any recap at the beginning of this book, but now I can’t wait for the third book!  Highly recommended, as long as you’ve read the first book.  Do not start with this one!   – Jessica, Teen Librarian

Everlost – Neal Shusterman

Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident…

…but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to get either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no onger exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.

When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he he’s found a home, but allie isn’t satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the “Criminal Art” of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

This was a really interesting new take on what might happen after you die.  I liked the way that all of the teens had to kind of fend for themselves.  Mary is a very interesting character, and I’d like to see the sequel that involves her character.  Try this if you liked Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin.     – Jessica, Teen Librarian

The Pilot’s Wife – Anita Shreve

Imagine hearing knocking in the middle of the night. You think it’s a dream, but it’s not. You think it’s your child. Your husband. Your neighbor. A car accident.

Suddenly you wake up and realize your worst fear. Your child is in bed. Your husband is flying in from London, due home in a few hours. That knocking is at your door. It’s not your neighbor, and to a pilot’s wife it can only mean one thing.

I found it really difficult to keep reading this book.  The subject matter is both serious and depressing and there were some plot twists that were hard to believe.  If you are in the mood for light reading, I would choose something else.  ~Leila, Teen Clerk

The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

When we first meet 14-year-old Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. This was before milk carton photos and public service announcements, she tells us; back in 1973, when Susie mysteriously disappeared, people still believed these things didn’t happen. In the sweet, untroubled voice of a precocious teenage girl, Susie relates the awful events of her death, and her own adjustment to the strange new place she finds herself. (It looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing-set.) With love, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie watches her family as they cope with their grief her father embarks on a search for the killer, her sister undertakes a feat of amazing daring, her little brother builds a fort in her honor and begin the difficult process of healing.

This is a compelling and heartbreaking story.  There is just nothing like it…Susie is already dead when the book starts, but you just want to catch her killer and bring her back to life!  I cried a lot reading this book, but it was fantastic.  Chilling.  Highly recommended for high school readers.   – Jessica, Teen Librarian

The Magician: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel – Michael Scott

Twins Sophie and Josh take summer jobs in San Francisco across the street from one another: she at a coffee shop, he at a bookstore owned by Nick and Perry Fleming. In the vey first chapter, armed goons storm the bookshop, take Perry hostage and swipe the rare book, The Codex. They discover that Nick Fleming is really Nicholas Flamel, the 14th-century alchemist.  Sophie and Josh also learn that they are mentioned in the Codex’s prophecies: “The two that are one will come either to save or to destroy the world.”

I really enjoyed this fast paced fantasy.  It was amazing how Scott managed to blend real life with elements like golems, goddesses, and immortality.  This is an exciting and educational (but in a good way! – mythology, etc.) book.   – Jessica, Teen Librarian

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