Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Seraphina

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

On Savvy Book Reviews, I'll be showcasing books that we'll be adding soon to the library!

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Seraphina (Seraphina #1)
By: Rachel Hartman
Publication Date: 7/10/2012

From Goodreads:

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.

Book Review: Silence

Silence (The Queen of the Dead #1)
By: Michelle Sagara
 "'Eric, why is it important to you that I--that I stop seeing the dead?'
'Because,' he replied slowly, 'then I won't have to kill you.'"

Description from Goodreads:

"It began in the graveyard... " 

 Ever since her boyfriend Nathan had died in a tragic accident, Emma had been coming to the graveyard at night. During the day she went through the motions at her prep school, in class, with her friends, but that's all it was. For Emma, life had stopped with Nathan's death. But tonight was different. Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery. There were two others there--Eric, who had just started at her school, and an ancient woman who looked as though she were made of rags. And when they saw Emma there, the old woman reached out to her with a grip as chilling as death....

 Emma was not quite like others teenagers. It was true that other girls had experienced grief. Other girls had also lost their fathers, or had their boyfriends die in a senseless accident. But though she hadn't known it till that night in the graveyard, unlike those other girls, she could see, touch, and speak with the dead. In fact, Emma could draw upon the essence of the dead to work magic. That was what Necromancers did. But Emma had no desire to be a Necromancer. She just wanted to help the ghosts who walked the streets of Toronto, unable to escape from the land of the living. And that was just as well, because had she chosen the path of the Necromancer, Eric would have had to kill her.

 Instead, Eric and his fellow Necromancer hunter Chase found themselves violating every rule they were sworn to follow, becoming part of Emma's group, helping her to stand against those who preyed upon the dead. But whether Emma and her friends could survive such a battle was anyone's guess. And whether Emma could learn to use the magic of the dead against her enemies without herself falling victim to the lure of such power remained to be seen. Eric seemed to think she could, and her living friends would never abandon her. But only time would tell what Emma's true destiny was....

My review:

I'm a big fan of Michelle Sagara; her fantasy series, The Chronicles of Elantra, are some of my favorite books. So when I found out that she was writing a YA novel, I got super-excited and had that sucker ordered for our library. Unlike Elantra, this book takes place in the present-day real world. Or as real as you can get when the heroine sees dead people.

This is a cool story of a girl coming to grips with the impossible. Emma understands death and grief after losing her father at a young age and losing her boyfriend within the year. She finds peace and quiet walking her dog (an overweight rottweiler named Petal) in the local cemetary at night, where she just sits at her boyfriend's grave. That peace is forever altered when she meets a boy named Eric in the graveyard and an ancient woman with a strang lantern. I'm not entirely sure if she's given the "gift" of seeing the dead, or if it's just awakened at this point, but this ability immediately puts Emma in danger. It makes Emma a necromancer and it's Eric's job to hunt and kill them.

In this world, necromancer's are BAD. They steal energy from the dead to create their magic, and generally they use that power for evil. Emma, though, has no desire to turn evil or use others for her own means; instead, she wants to help the dead move on. Figuring out how to do that whilst hanging out with the guy who may have to kill her is not exactly easy thing, but she somehow manages to do so, leading to a cool ending and an intriguing cliff hanger.

I really enjoyed this book. Michelle writes heroines that have a great depth of conviction and desire to help her fellow man. The story rolls along at a good pace and the characters are interesting and relatable. There is some language in this book, and though the book isn't flooded with cursing, if that's something you don't like, please be aware that it's there. This is a great addition to the paranormal genre and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Teen Reviewer: Pretties

Pretties (Uglies #2)
By: Scott Westerfeld
Reviewer: Savannah Harris

“With everything so perfect, reality seemed somehow fragile, as if the slightest interruption could imperil her pretty future... all of it felt as tenuous as a soap bubble, shivering and empty.”

Description from Goodreads:

Gorgeous. Popular. Perfect. Perfectly wrong.

Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun -- the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom -- is a nagging sense that something's wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally's ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life -- because the authorities don't intend to let anyone with this information survive.

Savannah's Review:  (Some spoilers ahead.)

I thought that Pretties, the second book after Uglies, was a really good book, but I also had some not so “bubbly” thoughts.  I found that this book was a little more predictable than the last, but it was just as interesting.  The ending gave me a pretty big shock because it was very surprising that Shay became a special and then turned Tally into one also.  I was left guessing what will happen next in Tally’s adventures since she has already been an Uglie, a Pretty, and now a Special.  I think this book also had a little more trouble with romance as another person enters her life and she is forced to choose between them.  It kind of reminded me of the Twilight series because of two guys both liking her at the same time.  Overall I truly enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the final book in the series, Specials.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Teen Reviewer: Janie Johnson Books 1, 2, 3, and 4

The Face on the Milk Carton (Janie Johnson #1)
Whatever Happened to Janie (Janie Johnson #2)
The Voice on the Radio (Janie Johnson #3)
What Janie Found (Janie Johnson #4)
By: Caroline B. Cooney
Reviewer: Emily Marie Reeves

The Face on the Milk Carton Description from Goodreads:

No one ever really paid close attention to the faces of the missing children on the milk cartons. But as Janie Johnson glanced at the face of the ordinary little girl with her hair in tight pigtails, wearing a dress with a narrow white collar--a three-year-old who had been kidnapped twelve years before from a shopping mall in New Jersey--she felt overcome with shock. She recognized that little girl--it was she. How could it possibly be true?

Janie can't believe that her loving parents kidnapped her, but as she begins to piece things together, nothing makes sense. Something is terribly wrong. Are Mr. and Mrs. Johnson really Janie's parents? And if not, who is Janie Johnson, and what really happened?

Emily's Review:

The Face on the Milk Carton is the first in a soon to be five book series, and has made me absolutely speechless. The book ends way too abruptly. This is one of the best books that I have ever read, I recommend it for everyone. I’m even trying to convince my dad to read it. Do you think that if you came across a picture of yourself at the age of three that you would recognize it? Yes. How about if you did not know that was you? Probably not, but Janie Johnson was able to tell that she was the missing child on the back of her friend’s lunch milk carton. She feels like a bad daughter to the parents she left behind for an ice cream sundae, but does not want to leave the parents she grew up with and loves. If none of this happened to the three year old, Jeanie would have never met her boyfriend.

Whatever Happened to Janie Description from Goodreads:

No one ever paid attention to the faces of missing children on milk cartons. But as Janie Johnson glanced at the face of the little girl who had been taken twelve years ago, she recognized that little girl--it was herself.

The mystery of the kidnapping is unraveled, but the nightmare is not over. The Spring family wants justice, but who is to blame? It's difficult to figure out what's best for everyone.

Janie Johnson or Janie Spring? There's enough love for everyone, but how can the two separate families live happily ever after?

Emily's Review:

In Whatever Happened to Janie, Janie, also refered to as Jennie, goes to stay with her birth family. She does not try as hard as everyone else has been to make this new situation work. Towards the end she decides to go and live with the parents that raised her. Janie Johnson realizes that she truly is Jennie Spring, but does not want to hurt the people she calls Mommy and Daddy anymore than their real daughter did. Janie’s brother and sister, Stephen and Jodie, went to New York to try and find Hannah and make her pay for what she has done to their family. Hannah is the one who took Janie from the mall in New Jersey twelve tears ago and left the little girl with her own parents while she returned to the cult that attracted her back when she was a teenager. My favorite part is when Reeve came to visit Janie and asked her biological father if he could take Janie to his senior prom. My least part of the book is when Janie asks her biological mother if she could go back to the parents that raised her. I totally recommend this book.

The Voice on the Radio Description from Goodreads:

Janie's life finally seems to be settling down. But she really misses Reeve Shields, her boyfriend who is away at college. Reeve is overwhelmed by his new college life, and when he is asked to host a late-night radio show, he cannot turn it down. But he is stressed, and he finds himself spilling Janie's secrets on the air, certain that Janie will never find out. But will Janie have to pay for Reeve's lapse in judgement?

Emily's Review:

In The Voice on the Radio, Reeve becomes the biggest jerk when he finally gets a good spot on his college radio station. The jerk part comes in because he tells Janie’s story without her permission and then does not tell her about it himself. She finds out when she goes to Boston with Jodie and Brian and hears him doing one of his janies, or stories about her. My favorite part of The Voice on the Radio is the when Janie is actually able to call her birth parents mom and dad. She realizes that she can love both sets of parents without hurting anyone. When Janie found out what Reeve was doing on the radio is definitely my least favorite part of the book. The book doesn’t really get exciting until the end, but is still a very good read. I recommend this book to anyone who thinks that it is easy to trust someone because The Voice on the Radio proves that someone you thought that you could trust can still turn on you very easily. Just wait until you find out about Hannah.

What Janie Found Description from Goodreads:

Janie’s two families appear to have made peace. Life seems almost normal. She’s even decided to speak to her former boyfriend, Reeve, again. But then Janie’s Connecticut father suffers a sudden stroke, and this tragedy leaves her mother reeling. Janie must step in to manage family finances and to support her mother emotionally.

While handling her father’s business matters, Janie discovers the one undeniable fact that could destroy both of her beloved families. And she alone must decide what to do.

Emily's Review (spoilers ahead):

What Janie found is the most exciting book in the series so far; there is also an e-book available and still one book to come in January 2013. If I were Janie I would hate my kidnap[per] father even if he was in a hospital bed and about to die. I am so happy that Reeve and Janie get back together. My favorite part of the book is, definitely, when Janie is thinking about what she wants to do to Reeve to let him know that she wants him back. The worst part of What Janie Found is that Janie’s kidnap[per] father is in the hospital, because she can’t ask him any of her questions, and that makes her want to find Hannah and ask her all of her own questions. I cannot believe what Janie’s father did for his own daughter, the kidnapper. I recommend this entire series to everyone and anyone.

Teen Reviewer: Runner

By: Carl Deuker
Reviewer: Emily Marie Reeves

Description from Goodreads:

When a new job falls his way, Chance jumps at the opportunity, becoming a runner who picks up strange packages on a daily route and delivers them to a shady man at the marina. Chase knows how much he will earn—what he doesn’t know is how much he will pay.

Suspenseful, fast-paced, and timely, this novel avoids easy answers as it examines issues of terrorism and patriotism, fear and courage, and lives of privilege and poverty.

Emily's Review:

There are three parts to Runner and the first part is the slowest part to read; if you can power through that then this book is a good read. Part one is the worst part of the book, and part three is the best. There is some foul language. I think that the best part of the book is when Chance tells Melissa that he will tell her everything about what he has been doing once he gets out, but to stay away until he gets out so she does not get the two of them in trouble. There is a romance going on, but it is not the most important part of Runner. My least favorite part of the book is the ending, just because it is so typical. I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks their life is hard because I do not think anyone’s life could be as hard as Chance’s.

Teen Reviewer: Uglies

Uglies (Uglies #1)
By: Scott Westerfeld
Reviewer: Savannah Harris

“Perhaps the logical conclusion of everyone looking the same is everyone thinking the same.”

Description from Goodreads:

Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.
But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

Savannah's Review:

To start off, Uglies was probably one of the best books I have read in a very long time.  I rate it about 9.5 along with The Hunger Games.  I really enjoyed it because first of all, it makes you think of how the economy is today and how judged our generation is.  In the book, you were called by your nickname (your most noticeable flaw) and you were pretty much looked down upon until age 16 when they operated to make you a “pretty” or perfect.  Once a pretty, you lived a perfect life and partied every day and night non-stop.  What they didn’t tell you was that they also altered your brain to think everything was ok and nothing was bad or wrong with anything.  I could go on about this book for a while and I highly recommend it to EVERYONE.

It's Monday, what are you reading?

It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from Book Journey.

I recently finished The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman. This was a really cool book, especially if you're into conspiracies, history, and/or mysteries. It has a definite Da Vinci Code feel to it. For more info, see my full review.

I'm reading The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry. It's a mix of Steampunk and old fairy tale creatures. It's interesting, but it's not holding my attention the way I'd like. We'll see how it finishes...

What I'm reading next? Who knows. My to-read pile is out of control. I may pick up my ARC of Born Wicked, or grab one of my newly purchased books, like Rot and Ruin or The Name of the Star. The best event in Indianapolis, the Half Priced Books Clearance sale, went on this weekend, and I am STOCKED UP! New books make me happy, and this haul has made me downright giddy :)

This is what I'm reading, but make sure to check out what our teens are reading, too! You'll find a ton of reviews by our library's teens and a great variety of books, including a number of Eliot Rosewater nominees!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow

The Book of Blood and Shadow 
By: Robin Wasserman

“I should probably start with the blood.”

From Goodreads:

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

From Me:

The Book of Blood and Shadow is like two books in one: first, you have Nora and her friends, their lives, how they deal with school and relationships. Then you have a mad dash through the streets of Prague searching for mysterious clues to an ancient puzzle, which once solved, can give a glimpse into the divine.

Nora's past involves a tragedy that she keeps to herself. Her parents are lost in themselves, leaving Nora as an afterthought. Nora, a bit of a Latin prodigy, was admitted to a prestigious school on the other side of town, disconnected enough from her world that no one knows about her past. There she becomes best friends with Chris and his girlfriend, Adriane. Fast forward to Nora's senior year, where she is interning at the local university where Chris is attending, and they both assist a professor in translating and transcribing 400 year old Latin texts, along with Chris's roommate, Max. They're attempting to break a code that has puzzled the best mathematicians and code breakers for four centuries. Nora finds the key to breaking the code, and the wrong people notice, leading to the death of her best friend. To avenge Chris's murder and clear Max's name, Nora and Adriane head to Prague, where the Latin texts were originally written. There, they stumble through clues that lead to an unexpected ending.

The first half of the book feels like a typical real-life-issues young adult novel. The characters struggle through evolving relationships, family issues, and the question of their future. You get to know them and connect to them, the whole time knowing that one of them will shortly die while another is blamed for that murder. The first page opens with these bombshells, quickly followed by a flash-back that leads up to this big moment. After that, we get to the mystery in Prague, where Nora and Adriane search for Max and hide from more than one secret society that wants to hinder or hurt them.

The mystery and historical portions of the story were fascinating. Wasserman does a great job of describing a scene and really getting you attached to the characters. The only thing I wasn't terribly fond of was the religion angle; at times it felt like Wasserman was getting a bit heavy handed with the atheism, while at other times she provided an interesting focus on historical and current Judaism and the mysticism tied to the ancient relic they were searching for in Prague. Like The Da Vinci Code and The Golden Compass, the religious aspect of the book could potentially turn off readers.

I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery or treasure hunt. Wasserman included a lot of real historical information about Prague, plus the impossible code they were trying to break is actually real - and still unbroken; this will appeal to historical fiction fans. It was great learning about a part of the world and a part of history that I wasn't familiar with, that of Prague during the Renaissance. The Book of Blood and Shadow is a very cool book and a great read.

Teen Reviewer: Pretty Things

Pretty Things
By: Sarra Manning
Reviewer: Lily Pollard

Description from Goodreads:

Brie is in love with Lancôme Juicy Tubes, Louis Vuitton accessories, and her gay best friend Charlie, who is in love with 1960s pop art, 1980s teen movies, and serial heartbreaker Walker, who has ever only been in love with his VW Bug, until he meets Daisy . . . who is too busy hating everyone to know what love is. Set in London, this girl-loves-boy-loves-boy-lovesgirl romp is set against a theatrical production of The Taming of the Shrew, and features enough on- and off-stage drama to satisfy teens looking for a beach read—or a read all year round.

Lily's Review:

Pretty Things is about four people-Brie, Charlie, Walker, and Daisy-who are going to be in a play together. These four people alternate who is talking every chapter, and they show that there is always more “under the skin” than just the exterior of a person. This book shows that four totally different people can learn to get to like each other, and also it shows that love and friendship can come when you least expect it.

I liked this book overall. Some of it wasn’t so great, and I didn’t agree with some things, but I did enjoy it. Pretty Things was a quick and easy read and pretty simple to follow. I thought that it kept my attention at most times, and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened. All in all, I did enjoy this book and would recommend it to other people.

Teen Reviewer: Hangman's Curse

Hangman's Curse
By: Frank Peretti
Reviewer: Savannah Harris

Description from Goodreads:

The first in a new format of books targeted to tweens and teens, The Veritas Project: Hangman's Curse will keep readers enthralled. Frank Peretti introduces Nate Springfield, his wife Sarah, and their twin children Elijah and Elisha, who are part of the Veritas Project team. This group travels the country aiding the FBI and other organizations in breaking drug rings and solving mysteries. In Hangman's Curse, the family goes undercover at a small town high school - where a mysterious curse has turned several of the star football players into raving lunatics who can only be tied to their hospital beds while doctors are baffled by their symptoms. Elijah and Elisha must befriend the various cliques at school, and help their parents solve the mystery of Abel Frye (a name the sick kids mutter in their delirium).

This story could have come straight from the headlines about many schools around the country and will lead kids and young adults to an understanding of peer pressure and the pain that comes from being different. It is a riveting message on the wounded spirit that teens will never forget.

Savannah's Review:

Hello, my name is Savannah Harris and I am going to be writing a review for a book called The Hangman’s Curse by Frank Peretti.  In this review I will explain my thoughts about the book and why.  First of all, I want to clearly state that I fell in love with this book from the moment I started the first chapter.  I started reading at 1:32 pm and finished it at 6:00 pm that same evening.  When I started I blocked out every other noise and sound in my house and fell into a sort of “trance” that nobody could break me out of until I had finished.  I also noticed that this book was Christian-based which made me like it even more.  I felt like the author did a good job with a balance of Christian theme and a mix of mystery, adventure, and otherworldly beings.  I found that I could relate to the female character Elisha because she is very brave, strong in her beliefs, and if she thinks that something is wrong she will do her best to make it right. Overall it was a great book that I highly recommend and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Teen Book Review: Boy Proof

Boy Proof
By: Cecil Castellucci
Reviewer: Emily Marie Reeves

“Is there any other way to be? I mean, this is it. This is my body, my soul; I gotta live with it. I'd better get comfortable. I plan on taking it for a long ride.” 

Description from Goodreads:

What happens when an antisocial cinephile meets up with the worldly new guy at school — a quick-witted artist who's savvy enough to see through her sci-fi disguise?

Meet Egg. Her real name is Victoria Jurgen, but she's renamed herself after the kick-ass heroine of her favorite sci-fi movie, Terminal Earth. Like her namesake, Egg dresses all in white, colors her eyebrows, and shaves her head. She always knows the right answers, she's always in control, and she's far too busy — taking photos for the school paper, meeting with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Club, and hanging out at the creature shop with her dad, the special-effects makeup wizard — to be bothered with friends, much less members of the opposite sex. As far as Egg is concerned, she's boy proof, and she likes it that way. But then Egg meets a boy named Max, a boy who's smart and funny and creative and cool...and happens to like Egg. Could this be the end of the world — at least as Egg knows it?

Emily's Review:

If you think that you are boy proof you should read Boy Proof. It proves that you’re not boy proof, but just that you haven’t found the right person yet. I say this because I feel like I am boy proof. If you’re not that into love stories don’t worry, it’s there but it is not the most important part of the book. The story takes place in Hollywood and follows a high school senior through a journey of making friends. There is some foul language in the book. I can’t think of my favorite part of the book. My least favorite part of Boy Proof is the ending. The way that the book ends, it makes you think that there should be a second one. Boy Proof is a very good and quick read. I read it in about a day. I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you are feeling lonely.

Teaser Tuesday: Fair Coin

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's Teaser comes from a book that just arrived at our library:

"That doesn't matter. The coin rearranges things when I make a wish." He squeezed his fingers around the cards, the plastic edges digging into his hand. "It changes things...and people. I know I can't prove any of it--"

Fair Coin, by E. C. Myers 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Teen Reviewer: Five Flavors of Dumb

Five Flavors of Dumb
By: Antony John
Reviewer: Joanna Upton  *****

“Don’t worry about wanting to change; start worrying when you don’t feel like changing anymore. And in the meantime, enjoy every version of yourself you ever meet, because not everybody who discovers their true identity likes what they find.” 

Description from Goodreads:

The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.

The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band's manager and get her share of the profits.

The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she's deaf?

Piper can't hear Dumb's music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.

Joanna's Review: (Contains mild spoilers)

Piper is my favorite person in the book, because she is just like me in different ways. Her personality, her attitude. I would read it again, because it was a great book. I wish there were more like it in the Eliot Rosewater books. My favorite part of the book is when they play the gig and the audience loved it. All the teens should read Five Flavors of Dumb; if you have a hidden talent, read it. I recommend it. Teens will love this book if they like emotionally great books. My least favorite part of the book is when Josh and Kallie broke up and started to fight and Kallie left. Read this book if you like raw, fresh, funny, and authentic books. I love this book so much I want to read it again. I think this book was awesome. If you read this book, I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as I did. I give this book 5 stars.

Teen Reviewer: What Can't Wait

What Can't Wait
By: Ashley Hope Perez
Reviewer: Virginia Upton  *****

Description from Goodreads:

"Another day finished, gracias a Dios."

Seventeen-year-old Marisa's mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. And they expect her to marry a boy from the neighborhood, to settle down, and to have grandbabies. If she wants a job, she could always be an assistant manager at the local grocery store.

At school, it's another story. Marisa's calc teacher expects her to ace the AP test and to get into an engineering program in Austin—a city that seems unimaginably far away. When her home life becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere—and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn't sure what she wants—other than a life where she doesn't end each day thanking God it's over.
What Can't Wait—the gripping debut novel from Ashley Hope Pérez—tells the story of one girl's survival in a world in which family needs trump individual success, and self-reliance the only key that can unlock the door to the future.

Virginia's Review: (Mild spoilers ahead)

What Can't Wait was a wonderful book. Very uplifting, romantic, and sad at times. My favorite part of the whole book is when Alan forgives his girlfriend for being so rude to him. This book touched my heart. It's a book every teen should read if they are having a relationship problem. It's a book that helps you through rough times. When you're sad it will cheer you up. What Can't Wait is my favorite book out of all the Eliot Rosewater books I have read. I read it in three days! When I finished it I was so sad, I wanted it to keep going. I would recommend all teens read this book. Teens will love this book if they are into romantic novels. I [give] this book 5 stars. TEENS PLEASE READ THIS BOOK! This is an amazing book!!

Teen Reviewer: Speak

By: Laurie Halse Anderson
Reviewer: Lily Pollard

“You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against.”
Description from Goodreads:
Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth.

Lily's Review:
Speak is a novel about a girl that has something terrible happen to her at a party, and she is afraid to speak up about it. In one night, she loses her best friend and everyone begins to hate her. When she enters high school in the fall, no one likes her and she is an outcast. People make fun of her and are very mean to her.

Overall, I liked this book. It teaches you that you should speak up if something happens. You shouldn’t just hold it in yourself. If something happens that changes your outlook on things and could scar you for life, you should definitely tell someone about it, whether it is a parent/guardian or another trusted adult.

All in all, I like this book. It teaches you not to hold things in if you should tell about them, and that you aren’t the only person that it has happened to.