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Welcome to the book blog, featuring reviews for teens from InfoSoup librarians and users!

Reviews by Elizabeth: (Seymour) Muehl Public Library

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Author: Scott O'Dell

This amazing fictional account of Karana, a young woman who was abandoned for 18 years on an island off of the coast of California, describes what daily life must have been like for her. We also question, how would it feel to be so isolated? She actually loved nature so much that isolation was not such a big deal for her. This book makes you reflect!!

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Author: Suzanne Fisher Staples

This was a very sad but educational book about Afghanistan under the Taliban. Our two main characters are female--one born and raised in Afghanistan and one born and raised in New York who chooses to become Muslim. First, the book tracks both females individually. Eventually, their paths cross and they learn from one another. We learn about the violence, the fear, the oppression. At the end of the book, we are introduced to a measure of hope. Good YA title.

Elsewhere

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Title: Elsewhere
Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Loved this although the premise challenged my brain! Liz is killed in a hit and run accident at the age of 15. She lands in "Elsewhere", a place where you arrive after death. In this place each day you grow a day younger. Eventually you become a baby where in a nod to reincarnation, you return to the earth. It is a fascinating tale about how Liz mourns the fact that she will never do many things since she died so young. She is also very concerned about what is happening on earth and discovers ways to track that. Along the way she falls in love. Really terrific story. It's not much different to grow younger each day than to grow older each day. Interesting!

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Author: Carolyn Meyer

The author imagines what it was like for Agnes Hathaway falling in love with Will Shakespeare in their small village while she was 8 years his senior. It was an interesting story. Shakespeare’s eventual long absences from his children and Agnes while he was being creative in London are very sad. The book ends abruptly with Shakespeare’s impending, permanent return and Agnes/Anne musing about what that will be like.

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Author: Leslie Connor

 Addie is the protagonist in this Young Adult book. Her father is dead and she is being raised by her mother. Her mother had a relationship with Dwight and had two girls with him (they are Addie’s stepsisters). Dwight has full custody of the girls. As the story unfolds we discover the neglectful habits of Addie’s mother--the things that Addie does to cope--and the support networks that are in place for her. It is tough to know that some mothers just can’t handle parenting. We cheer for Addie as she shows creativity and smarts to deal with her situation. She is definitely more mature than her mom. And we are happy that she does find "normal" by the end of the book. A good book to understand what some of us are up against.

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Author: Betty Smith

I just finished listening to this--I had such fond memories of it from high school. I loved it all over again. Sweet, deceptively simple writing makes for a profound story about coming of age. The protagonist, Francie, grows up in poverty but is smart, ambitious, observant, and good at finding her way in the world. She is as strong and stubborn as the tree growing behind her apartment building. The characters are very well written and the reader learns so much about life in New York just prior to World War II. Wonderful! 

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Author: Joan Kaywell

This book shows us the power that authors have to change people’s lives. We read letters that were written to authors and the authors’ responses. These encounters are enlightening and heartwarming. As a librarian, this book is a tool for me because it includes the best Young Adult authors in the U. S. If I use this book as a guide for my reading in the Young Adult genre, I will have exposed myself to some of the most important YA books of our time!

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Author: Gary Soto

This is a great book for April--poetry month--upcoming. The first half of the book are poems from the point of view of a teenage girl. The second half of the book are poems are from the point of view of a teenage boy. You can almost match up some of the poems from the first section with the second section! The poems are all about love--first love, first heart ache, how they feel in the presence of the opposite sex, how they try to show they care! Very sweet poems--an enjoyable fast read.