Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.
“Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits–smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try”– Provided by publisher.
Oh, how I love a misfit love story! Both Eleanor and Park are well-drawn characters that very cautiously begin their relationship in spite of their social groups and manage to “find love in a hopeless place.”
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys.
Josie, the seventeen-year-old daughter of a French Quarter prostitute, is striving to escape 1950 New Orleans and enroll at prestigious Smith College when she becomes entangled in a murder investigation.
Josie is a character to root for. Against all odds, she wants to attend college up north and get away from the life she’s been born into. Her mother is a truly horrible person but she is so weak-willed and damaged that you manage to feel (a little) bad for her too at times. I love New Orleans as a setting for a novel, and it does not disappoint in this book.
These next 2 books caught my eye because of their similar titles, but they are very different: Revenge of a not-so-pretty girl by Carolita Blythe and Revenge of the girl with the great personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
(Also, books with interesting/similar titles are the focus of a booklist that I am working on – it’s crazy how many YA books sound alike or fit together!)
Revenge of a not-so-pretty girl by Carolita Blythe.
Fourteen-year-old Faye, an African American living in 1984 Brooklyn, New York, copes with her mother’s abuse by stealing with her friends, but when robbing an elderly woman almost turns to murder, she gains an opportunity to learn new truths about life.
Faye is a piece of work. She has intelligence and great potential, but chooses to waste it getting “revenge” on the pretty girls and committing petty crimes. I really didn’t like her character AT ALL at first, but there is some redemption for her in the end.
Revenge of the girl with the great personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
Sick of living in the shadow of her seven-year-old pageant queen sister who is praised for her looks, Lexi resolves to get a makeover when she determines her personality just isn’t enough to garner the attentions of boys.
This one is a light and fluffy read. Comparisons can be drawn to the TLC tv show “Toddlers and Tiaras” only told from the viewpoint of the “ugly duckling” older sister.
The yawning rabbit river chronicle by J.L Kimmel, David Ceccarelli ; illustrated by David Ceccarelli.
“Old enemies once again threaten the existence of the Yawning Rabbit River and the safety of the animals and humans dependent upon its survival.”
Epic. Along the lines of the Hobbit, Tuck Everlasting and the great fables and legends, this story told in 3 parts, brings a forest and it’s inhabitants to life in the most delightful way. It definitely is geared for younger teens (age range 10-14), but all teens and adults will enjoy it as well. Good and evil animals and humans fighting for survival, friendship and love. All the good stuff, unlike anything I’ve read in a long time.
War brothers: the graphic novel by Sharon E. McKay, Daniel Lafrance; art by Daniel Lafrance.
Jacob is a 14-year-old Ugandan who is sent away to a boys’ school. Once there, he assures his friend Tony that they need not be afraid — they will be safe. But not long after, in the shadow of the night, the boys are abducted. Marched into the jungle, they are brought to an encampment of the feared rebel soldiers. They are told they must kill or be killed, and their world turns into a terrifying struggle to endure and survive.
And completely unlike anything else on this list, was the harrowing and chilling true story of Ugandan child soldiers under the horrific rule of Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). What left the greatest impression for me was how innocence was wiped away in a single night for these children, left to fight and kill for their own survival. Definitely not an easy read, but worthy of discussion and a world issue we should all be aware of.
Stop by and pick up something new to read this Memorial Day Weekend!
Teen Services Librarian