August 23, 2011
While many of you may be moaning and groaning, back-to-school is a great time at the library! All the kids who were too busy to visit over the summer suddenly start popping up again. I have parents come in asking for the books you were required to read over the summer, and lots of questions about what to read. You are in luck! There are fans of teen lit at every branch just dying to answer your reader's advisory questions.
Some of my top recommendations this August? (I admit, they are heavily influenced by "Required Reading" lists.)
Hate List by Jennifer Brown - It's a Gateway nominee by a local Kansas City author. It explores the community-wide devastation that occurs with school shootings, and the emotions held by those closest to the shooter. Highly recommended, but keep your tissue box close by.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner - It's a Truman nominee, and a great read for boys especially. Imagine waking up in an elevator, on its way up, and when it opens, you are surrounded by boys (all close to your age) poking fun at the new kid. In this new society, there are no women or girls, no adults. They take care of each other as best they can, and all are given specific jobs. The goal? To find a way out of the maze that surrounds their compound. The trick? The maze changes every night.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - I know, I know...I can hear your groans from over here, but give me a chance. This classic romance, set in Victorian England, follows the Bennet girls on their path to love, marriage, and (sometimes) scandal. Romance lovers will be enchanted, and those who are not may be surprised at how little actual romance is involved! Austen's wit and charm shine through every page.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - This tale, which takes place in the author's homeland of Afghanistan, follows the lives of two women. One grows up an illegitimate daughter, reliant on her resentful father who marries her off to an abusive man 30 years her senior. The other loses her love and family to war, only to be forced into an abusive marriage. The two are thrown together in a tumultuous time, as Afghanistan's civil war brings the rise of the Taliban, and even more difficult living conditions for women.
Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter - Taken away from her mother (who is poorly equipped to parent) at age three, Ashley and her brother are put into foster care. That starts a 9 year trek between 14 different foster homes. The treatment she receives runs the spectrum from cruel to crazy to kind, and readers will sympathize with her plight. This memoir (yes, that means based on a true story) takes a hard look at the foster care system, and at who we allow to watch our children. It's a wake up call, but it turns out well in the end.
Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan - Here's another Truman nominee! Blake has a problem: he has a girlfriend, and a friend who is a girl. He's not quite sure how to balance the two in his life. One wants him, and one needs him. When his friend Marissa's mom, a hopeless meth head, shows up in her life again, he wants to help...but he isn't sure how. When his girlfriend Shannon wants to know why he blew her off, he doesn't know how to tell her it was for Marissa. Infected with humor and heartfelt "why are girls so weird?" moments, this is a great recommendation for guys especially.
That should be enough to get you started. Welcome back! We missed you :)
South Independence Branch