The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater

book cover

Summary:
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition – the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

If you like reading about vampires and werewolves, then you will enjoy the beautiful, but deadly water horses in The Scorpio Races. The water horses are difficult to tame, mystical creatures that have the power to mesmerize  riders and carry them back into the sea to their death. Sean Kendrick is the four-time race champion, while Puck enters the races to keep her brother Gabe from moving off the island. Throughout the book readers will see that there is more to what motivates each character to ride in the races.  It was nice to see a strong female main character in Puck and readers will relate to her struggles to fit in with the other race competitors in what has always been a “boys race”. Overall, a great read!  – Kathy, Teen Librarian

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Summary: When Clay Jenson plays the cassette tapes he received in a mysterious package, he’s surprised to hear the voice of dead classmate Hannah Baker. He’s one of 13 people who receive Hannah’s story, which details the circumstances that led to her suicide. Clay spends the rest of the day and long into the night listening to Hannah’s voice and going to the locations she wants him to visit. The text alternates, sometimes quickly, between Hannah’s voice (italicized) and Clay’s thoughts as he listens to her words, which illuminate betrayals and secrets that demonstrate the consequences of even small actions. Hannah, herself, is not free from guilt, her own inaction having played    a part in   an accidental auto death and a rape.

This books grabs a hold of you from beginning to end. The way Hannah tells her story constantly leaves you wanting more. I especially like how it’s not just her blaming everyone else for her death, but also shows how she herself betrayed who she once was. – Brittany, Teen Clerk

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

I thought this book’s cover was intriguing then I started reading and fell in love even more. The book is fast paced throughout the whole story. This is a plus for readers like me who tend to lose interest when a book loses its steam. And I really enjoyed all the interesting and somewhat disturbing photographs that were included. It makes the reader all the more attached to the story, almost as if you’re living it.   – Brittany , Teen Clerk 

The Thirteenth Princess – Diane Zahler

Summary:  When she is nearly twelve, kitchen servant, Zita, learns that she is really the thirteenth and youngest Princess of the kingdom.  Her father banished her from her royal life after her birth killed the Queen.  Befriending her sisters, Zita realizes that they are under an enchantment that is slowly wearing them down and may soon even kill them!  Determined to help, Zita, along with her friends Breckin, Milek, and Babette, sets out to follow the Princesses and destroy the magic that is slowly taking away their lives.  *Based on the Twelve Dancing Princesses*

Recommended?  I really enjoyed this rewrite of an old fairy tale.  Having Zita be a thirteenth princess, raised as a servant, gives her access to both parts of her world.  The reader gets to see the glamour of the Princesses’ lives, as well as what goes on behind the scenes in the castle.  Zita is spunky and resourceful and loyal to her family.  She is a talented baker, good at magic, and a good friend.  The author gives a new spin to the enchantment by having the Princesses’ nurse turn out to be an evil enchantress trying to bewitch the King.  Well done, entertaining, and with only kissing, not too old for the intended audience.  -Jessica

Girl’s Best Friend – Leslie Margolis

Summary: Dogs are disappearing in her neighborhood, and Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair knows all about it.  After all, she has a semi-secret after-school gig as a professional (ok, amateur) dog-walker.  Maggie hates to see a pup in trouble, so she’s even willing to help her ex-best friend Ivy recover her rescue-dog, Kermit.  Kermit’s being held for ransom, and Maggie has noticed some suspicious behavior lately.  But she never suspected her crush Milo could be involved . . .

A great tween mystery.  Maggie is a fun, modern Nancy Drew-ish character and is very relatable.  The dog centered mystery will draw in all types of pet lovers.  There is a little romance, but a lot more exploration of friendships and there’s a great family relationship.  Maggie is smart and savvy.  I definitely hope more books come out in this series!  – Jessica, Teen Librarian

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac – Gabrielle Zevin

 

After high-school junior Naomi conks her head, she can’t remember anything that happened since sixth grade.  She is by turns mystified and startled by evidence of her present life, from the birth-control pills in her bedside table to her parents’ astonishing, rancorous split.  Eventually, the memories return, leaving Naomi questioning the basis of a new, intense romance, and wondering which of her two lives, present or former, represents her most authentic self.

 

Very interesting read.  I kept asking myself things like, if I had no recollection of my past, would I continue to be the same person, or would I reinvent my life?  Food for thought!    – Jessica, Teen Librarian

Elsewhere – Gabrielle Zevin

 

Is it possible to grow up while getting younger?

Welcome to Elsewhere.  It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous.  It’s quiet and peaceful.  You can’t get sick or any older.  Curious to see new paintings by Picasso?  Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums.  Need to talk to someone about your problems?  Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died.  It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different.  Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth.  But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again.  She wants to get her driver’s license.  She wants  to graduate from high school and go to college.  And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met.  And it is not going well.  How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one?  Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

 

What a new way to think about what happens after death.  What if you did live again…but in reverse?  Liz can’t quite wrap her head around it (surprise, could you?!) and has to deal with all new concepts of the ever after and her place in the universe.  Very good and thought provoking.  Recommended.    -Jessica, Teen Librarian.

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