Thursday, June 22, 2017

All the Feels by Danika Stone - OPTIONAL

Stone, Danika All the Feels, 295 pgs. Swoon Reads (Feiwel and Friends), 2016. $9.99 Language – R (95 swears, 7 “f”), Mature Content – PG13; Violence – PG; 

Life is built by where you invest your passion. But what happens when the object of that passion dies—or, at least, ends without warning? Liv breathes the Starveil movies and is deep in the fandom that orbits them; when the fifth movie surprises its viewers with the announcement that it is the last one, Liv’s world comes unhinged. Without Starveil, Liv doesn’t know who she is. To right herself from this gross interruption of the world as she knows it, Liv heeds the wise counsel of a fortune cookie: It’s up to you to make your happy ending.

The bittersweet taste of this book comes from how contemporary it is. Bitter because of the uncommon jargon that I had to search the urban dictionary to understand or else lose out on key details of the story; sweet because of the utter uniqueness of the circumstances. I loved reading about the influence we the people have on the media in a way that has never before been possible, and I loved how the unprecedented circumstances of our day helped Liv discover herself and her future. While the vulgar language caused me to flinch as it popped up, Liv’s modern adventure was one worth reading.

HS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

You Don’t Know My Name by Kristen Orlando - OPTIONAL

Orlando, Kristen You Don’t Know My Name, 285 pgs. Swoon Reads (Feiwel and Friends), 2017. $16.99 Language – R (107 swears in both Spanish and English, 8 “f”), Mature Content – PG; Violence – PG13; 

As the daughter of two secret agents, Reagan has been trained and prepared to become an agent herself when she turns eighteen. Her training and the constant moves that her family makes is Reagan’s “normal” life, but this last move has been life altering for Reagan—here, Reagan has found friends and maybe even love. Leaving everything behind is getting harder than it used to be, but when an enemy of her parents comes looking for Reagan, all her training kicks in when she needs it most and lives are depending on her.

Reagan’s story is one that kept me on the edge of my seat and left me wanting more. As the number of pages dwindled, I found myself getting progressively more worried that Orlando would not be able to resolve everything in the pages left—there was no way. Reagan is a strong woman, so it was hard to see her brought so low by the challenges she faces. I look forward to her adventures and growth in the sequel. 

HS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Rise of the Isle of the Lost by Melissa Delacruz - ADVISABLE

Delacruz, Melissa Rise of the Isle of the Lost (Descendants #3), 289 pages.  Disney, 2017.  $18.  Content: G.

Arabella, the daughter of Ariel and Eric, made a huge mistake and stole King Triton’s trident, whipping up a huge storm and losing the trident right near the barrier enclosing the Isle of the Lost.  When the barrier spell went down ever so briefly, the trident drifter over and now the residents of the Isle are on the hunt – because whoever owns the trident has unimaginable power.  Arabella recruits Mal and the other Isle residents who are at Auradon Prep to help her search. Meanwhile, Uma, the daughter to Ursula, and the other teens who were not chosen to go to Auradon are also hot on the trail of the trident.  Uma has never forgiven Mal for her betrayal and will whatever she has to in order to win this race against time.

I have to admit it – I was rooting for Uma over Mal.  Mal used to be interesting, but not any more.  That’s the risk you run when you set up a series where evil characters are the leads.  But I also don’t understand why more Isle students haven’t been brought to Auradon Prep for classes also – leaving the scene ripe for jealousy and misunderstandings. I still haven’t watched any of the Descendants shows – has anyone else?

EL, MS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Internet Famous by Daniel Stone - OPTIONAL

Stone, Danika Internet Famous, 336 pages.  Swoon Reads (Macmillan), 2017.  $11.  Language: R (89 swears, 0 ‘f’), Mature Content: G; Violence: G. 

Madison’s blog has really taken off.  Her  #rewatch #funemployment has been doing double duty as her final project for her online Language Arts final project and connected her with a wide fan base all over the world.  Online school has been god-sent, allowing Madi to help her parents navigate the peculiarities of her younger, autistic sister.  Madi’s life starts to implode, however under a confluence of events:  her mother leaves for a teaching stint at Oxford without letting Sarah know until the night before; a new assistant principal has decided that Madi’s blog, because she earns money from followers clicking on links, violates the rules of her class contract and is not admissible for credit; she starts messaging a new MadLibs follower, Laurnet, and agrees to come to New York City for a live MadLibs rewatch – kind of falling for  Laurent and exposing her to MadLibs followers in person for the first time ever; an internet troll starts flaming and trollingcontroversy on her site, including trying to hijack the blog.

Had Stone eliminated the whole love-interest part of the story, I would much more enthusiastically endorsed this.  I see how it kind of helped with a part of the plot, and romance is a big seller for some types of readers, but it was one more issue in a book brimming with plot points.  At times I was rolling my eyes at Madi’s egocentric behavior – enough that I almost wanted the troll to take her down.  But, Stone does a pretty good job of showing the “look at me” attitudes of people who are internet famous.

HS – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

A Mysterious Egg by Stacy McAnulty -- ADVISABLE

McAnulty, Stacy A Mysterious Egg (The Dino Files #1), illustrated by Mike Boldt. Random House, 2016. $4.99. Content: G.

This chapter book introduces Frank and Sam, cousins staying with their grandparents for the summer. Gram and PopPop run a dinosaur museum and orchestrate digs on a ranch in Wyoming, which means plenty of paleontological fun for Frank and Sam. But all that fun becomes hard work when Gram discovers a dinosaur egg which actually hatches, and Frank and Sam must team up to protect the baby dino.

This is an amusing start to a new series. While the hatching dinosaur baby is, of course, far-fetched, the unusual setting feels authentic, and the paleontological tidbits are likely to interest many dinosaur-loving girls and boys.

EL (K-3) -- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

14 Hollow Road by Jenn Bishop - ADVISABLE

Bishop, Jenn 14 Hollow Road, 280 pages.  Knopf (Random), 2017.  $17.  Language: PG (5 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

One minute Maddie is worrying about her best friend/crush, Avery dancing with one of her friends at the sixth grade dance,  The next she has to worry about a hurricane ripping through her small town.  When the winds stop, the problems have only begun, because both her house and Avery’s have been destroyed.  A kind neighbor has offered to let both families stay at their house for the summer – until they can figure things out.  Now Maddie has to LIVE with Avery?  He might hear her in the bathroom?  See her with bedhead?  This is a recipe for disaster!

Bishop has an uncanny ability to get right into the head of a pre-teen girl and show how the angst of growing up can intersect and interact with crises big and small, feeling overwhelming at times.  The title doesn’t really help convey the plot or action of the book, so you might to handsel it a few times first.  But for girls who are looking for a realistic book with a protagonist who sounds like them, this is pitch perfect.

EL, MS - ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher