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

Fiction

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Author: Jerry Spinelli

I listened to this book on Playaway, fun, fun.

The title comes from a change to the Robert Frost line "Miles to go before I sleep", being "Smiles to go before I weep".

Jerry Spinelli never fails to tell a good story. Will Tuppence is the protagonist in this book. He has two close friends, Mi-Su and B.T. but things get awkward when both B.T. and Will are interested in having Mi-Su as a girlfriend. The other tension in the book is Will's little sister Tabby who is so darn annoying to him. Will is interested in the cosmos and atoms and science. He also likes chess. Ultimately,he is a typical teenager trying to figure it all out. This is a good "slice of life" book.

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Author: Andreas Portes

Anika is a young girl trying to make sense of the world. Her father lives in Romania and she lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her mother, stepdad and assorted siblings. Anika is the youngest.

Anika is trying to figure out the interrelationships at work and when to be courageous. She is trying to figure out interrelationships at school and when to be courageous. She is trying to figure out interrelationships at home and when to be courageous.

Two boys are vying for Anika's attention. One is named Logan who is a deeply poetic and artistic person. Unfortunately, his home life is violent. Logan is not considered a "cool" kid so Anika is very secretive about her relationship with him. Jared is a very cool kid and when he singles Anika out, it is astonishing to everyone. He respects Anika's independence but what is his real motive with her? Anika is trying to choose but her choice is made for her in an unexpected and sad way. The book is great in the way the plot takes off.

Becky is everyone's cruel nemesis and a strong bully at school. She is also deemed one of the "cool kids" so everyone feels uncomfortable crossing her. In the fabulous climax of the book, Anika finally tells Becky what everyone has been thinking. Much like when the witch in The Wizard of Oz has cold water thrown on her, Becky finally fades to nothing when the truth is told.

Written in first person, you see all through Anika's eyes. I really liked her relationship with her mom. She also has a lovely scene toward the end of the book with her stepdad.

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Author: Aline Sax

This is a sobering story of WWII Warsaw. Misha’s family has been relocated to the ghetto where Jews die daily from starvation and disease. He goes to extreme lengths to help provide for his family, even resorting to crawling through the sewers to get to the outside world to retrieve food. Eventually, the ghetto is emptied out as many Jews are relocated to concentration camps. Fear and anger are prominent emotions for Misha—and despite struggling to survive--he takes a stand in the Warsaw Uprising. Told through text and blue-and-white illustrations, this hybrid novel is a gut-wrenching, poignant tale of survival amidst oppression.

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Author: Laura Schaefer

  This book was wonderful. I mean if you like tea and friendship, because that's pretty much what this book is all about. You have Annie, who's only thirteen, but has decided to finally ask for a job at her grandmother's teashop, The Steeping Leaf, a place that she has always loved. The only thing is that The Steeping Leaf has a steeping pile of bills to pay and no money in which to pay them with. Annie takes it upon herself to keep The Steeping Leaf open along with her two friends, Genna and Zoe, they come up with some great plans, but in the end can the Teashop Girls keep the shop from closing? Read the book to find out. 

  One of my most favorite things about this book is that it has history and facts mixed into it, as well as beauty tips and yummy sounding recipes, almost all of which are relating to tea. I also love that the book focuses not only on tea, but also on how important friendship can be. Annie and her two bestfriends really make you want to just drop what you're doing at 4'o'clock in the afternoon and have teatime with a couple of cucumber sandwiches and some tasty tea. Another thing that really made me happy is that Laura Schaefer is a Wisconsin author, which I didn't even know when I picked up the book at the library. She lives right in Madison and loves English Breakfast tea just like her character Annie.. All in all, I gave this book 5/5 stars, because, in my opinion, it was perfectly balanced; just the right amount of fun and seriousness.

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Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell

This is a heart waming comming of age story.

The main charecter, Cath, is a fanfiction loving introvert. Cath and her twin sister Wren are starting freshmen year of collage and cath is a wreck. Wren already told Cath that she dosent want to be her room mate, so Cath is left to fend for herself. Cath sepnds every night in her room wrighting Simon Snow fanfictions. That is untill she befriends her room mates boyfriend Levi.

This is a fantastic read! Sweet and hilarious, Fangirl is an allround great story.

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Author: Kate Hattemer

Selwyn Academy is a school for the arts; for the prima ballerinas, the future stars of Broadway, the artists who's work is identical to real life. However, the elite school is being destroyed by a reality TV show, For Art's Sake, a sleazy production that manipulates the students and teachers at Selwyn. Or at least, that's what Luke, Ethan's best friend says. Ethan doesn't mind the show that much; it allows him to gawk at Mia, a contestant on the show, whom he has a huge crush on, without being a stalker. But Luke is determined to bring down For Art's Sake and restore Selwyn's honor. Following in the steps of Ezra Pound, Luke, Ethan, and two of their others friends, write a long poem, capturing the attention of their fellow students. However, the people who are behind For Art's Sake are craftier than they realized, and soon the four are surrounded by a web of lies and betrayal that runs deeper than they could have ever imagined. Hattemer's quirky novel, filled with humor, wit, and interesting characters, and a deeper lesson that will resonate will everyone who picks up this marvelous book.

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Author: James Patterson

Treasure hunters is about  four kids that are left alone on there ship called The Lost. The reason that there left alone is that there mom was kidnapped so they dont know if she is alive or dead, all they know is that she was kidnapped in cyprus. They were with there dad but he flew off the dech of the ship when they were going through a storm. So these four kids, tommy, bick, rebecca,and storm, have to follow there dads clues to get there mom back and find if there dad is dead or alive.

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Author: Wendy Mass

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Reynolds suffers from getting hit in the head by a dodgeball during gym class. She thinks that she has died and gone to heaven. Has she really gone to her heaven that looks like a mall. In her trip she meets a boy who has a drill bit in his head and she calls him nail boy. Nail boy takes to the mall's  lost and found and hands her a bag with stuff in it, then he disappers. No family, no friends, and  all of the stores in the mall. What would you do? What does Tessa do? What is in the bag? Does she live? Well you'll have to read the book to find.  

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Author: C.C. Payne

This book, about fifth grader Lulu Bell Bonner, is a great book. Lulu Bell wants to fit in with the mean popular girls and keeps ignoring her real friend, Alan. She tries hiding her brains and musical talent. When her Grandma Bernice dies, Lulu Bell realizes something important about friendship and "letting your light shine". This book would get four out of five stars.

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Author: Elizabeth Eulberg

This book really got my attention when Macallan showed Levi where the bubbler was! Even though the location of the story had not been revealed, that one word clearly places the story in Wisconsin.   I immediately had to look up the author and discovered she is from Portage, WI.  The book goes on to fly the proud Wisconsin flag even higher by referencing Culver's ButterBurgers and custard on a regular basis.  

In addition to all of the great Wisconsin references, the story is really sweet, frustrating at times, but sweet.  It switches back and forth between the Macallan and Levi's points of view. I appreciated the use of different fonts for the two voices.  I also enjoyed the extra "commentary" in conversation form from the two characters at the end of each chapter that was as if they were looking back on the development of the relationship.  I felt like all of the characters were written well. (It was so nice to see parents who were present and engaged in their kids lives and responsible!)  They were realistic and relateable. Even though the book covers a fairly large time frame, from 7th grade through senior year, I didn't see much change in the growth of the characters but the romance did grow well. 

 This was a 5 of 5 stars for me! If you are looking for a light, fun romance, I highly recommend this book!