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

friendship

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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.

Make Your Own Music

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Author: Eric Gansworth

Love this cover! .... school, bullying, family, friendship, dating, and one of the best parts..... links to classic rock music from the late 1970s!  Queen, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and Wings....  Smart 7th grader, Lewis Blake, is a Native American attending a public school that is filled with unrest.  HIs friend, George, has a mutual interest in music and the forge through middle school with all its bumps and growing pains.  This book kept me riveted through to the dramatic end.

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Author: Stephanie Kuehn

This heart breaker of a book is riveting. I read it in two days! I just could not put it down.

For the protagonist 'Drew/Win', growing into adulthood is ripping him apart both physically and mentally. The author slowly gives you all of these clues about why. At first I thought I might be reading a fantasy. I mean, exactly why is this poor kid vomiting all the time? Well, you find out it is with good reason.

The teen years are confusing enough without the baggage that this character is carrying. I loved how the characters of Lex & Jordan rallied and came to his aid. I also liked how the terms of atomic science were interwoven into this book.

This line was pure poetry and repeated twice in the book: "I don't feel the presence of God here".

Congrats on this debut!

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Author: Sarah Dessen

I loved this book. Dessen serves us another great story with rich character building. The main character is Auden and she is spending a summer with her dad, her young step mom and their newborn girl. (Auden's stepsister.) She becomes friends with a bicyclist named Eli and they start spending nights together talking and drinking coffee and adventuring. Soon we find out that Eli is getting over a loss in his life. Auden becomes frightened of her intimacy with Eli and breaks off their time together. She uses some of her excess energy to learn how to bike herself. (Biking becomes a metaphor for freedom and the relationship of Auden & Eli among other things.) Auden learns that her mother and her father and her stepmother and even Eli's mother are all adults fighting with their emotions and changes just as she is. As she heads to college we are happy and hopeful for her. (This was one I listened to, great for driving!).

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She was a good girl from a good family, with everything she could want or need. But below the surface, she felt like she could never be good enough. Like she could never live up to the expectations that surrounded her. Like she couldn’t do anything to make a change.But there was one thing she could control completely: how much she ate. The less she ate, the better—stronger—she felt. But it’s a dangerous game, and there is such a thing as going too far…

This is a really interesting read! It reminds me a lot of Go Ask Alice. 

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Author: John Green

Colin Singleton is a prodigy, not a genius…a prodigy. This is a fact that has gotten him down and to make matters worse, his girlfriend Katherine just dumped him. The thing about Colin is, he only dates girls named Katherine (“K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E”, not to be confused with “C-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E”)…and the most recent dumper has earned the moniker “K-19” –being the nineteenth Katherine to break Colin’s heart.

After graduation, Colin and his best friend Hassan, go on a road trip to get Colin’s mind off of Katherine XIX and along the way, they stop in Tennessee to visit the alleged resting place of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Enter Lindsey Lee Wells—paramedic-in-training and tour guide to the tomb of the Archduke. Colin, Hassan and Lindsey hit it off right away and the boys soon find themselves employed by Lindsey’s mother, Hollis, to interview the residents of Gutshot, Tennessee for an oral history of the town.

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Author: Ransom Riggs

Jacob Portman, 16, spent his childhood looking at strange old photos and listening to the stories of very peculiar children as told by his grandfather, Abe Portman. Abe tells of his escape from the Nazis (and other evils) to Wales, where he was taken in by Miss Peregrine—a bird-like woman—in her orphanage. His stories seemed like sheer works of fiction—tales of an invisible boy, a girl that can create fire in her hand, another girl who was so weightless she had to wear cement show in order to stay grounded, and other amazing entities that you’d only see in a “freak show.” After Abe’s mysterious death, Jacob sets out to find the truth about the orphanage, the bird-like woman, and the peculiar children, leading him to an epic battle and the task of making the most important decision of his life.

This story will keep you on the edge of your seat as you journey with Jacob to find truth, meaning, and a place to belong. Riggs includes many photos throughout this book to help facilitate the imagery. These photos help to add an eerie component to the book, giving it a spooky feel.

I recommend this book to anyone that loves old photos, adventures, and oddities. This book is appropriate for anyone in grade 6 and up.

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Author: Francisco Stork

Pancho has vowed to seek revenge on the man who killed his sister, Rosa. Since he cannot legal live alone, being only 17, he finds himself at St. Anthony’s orphanage in New Mexico. There, he meets D.Q., a young man suffering from cancer who is now wheelchair bound. D.Q. shares with Pancho some of his writing, called the Death Warriors’ Manifesto. These writings are about how a true “death warrior” recognizes that life is short and lives his/her life for the better.

Pancho proves himself a true friend by standing with D.Q. while he attempts to emancipate himself from his estranged mother. His mother comes out of the woodwork when she finds out about his condition and attempts to control his medical care. At first, Pancho’s support is only due to the possibility of getting closer to his sister’s killer, in Albuquerque, but as time goes on, the boys meet Marisol and though interactions with her, their lives change.

Grade 10-12; The main characters in this book are older teenagers and so, I think this book would be most suitable for that age group (16-18). Generally, I have found that readers are most engaged when the main character is around the same age as they are. Also, the philosophical depth in this book might be difficult for some younger readers. Finally, the parallels between this book and Cervante’sDon Quixote might be missed altogether by younger readers.

My reaction: This novel was very deep. It is very much a modern spin on Don Quixote, one of my favorite pieces of classic literature. I felt as though I could relate in a lot of ways to the main characters though, it did take me about 100 or more pages to warm up to Pancho’s character. This book would be good for reluctant teen readers or a young men’s book club—if you can get teenage boys to participate in a book club.

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Author: Wendy Mass

Breaking News! 32, 12 year olds from around the country were invited to create a brand new candy to enter on this highly respected hundred-year-old competition. 4 children: Philip, Miles, Daisy, and Logan the son of the owner of Life Is Sweet Candy Factory.None of them knew it yet, but that there lives were about to change forever.

“ It’s the annual candy making contest!!” says the owner of Life is Sweet Candy Factory. 4 kids. 1 girl & 3 boys. 1’s the candymakers son.Competing against 32 other kids. 4 days to make a new candy that the judges will love to death. In 4 days to learn all about candy making that you need to make your candy. If you don’t put all the ingredients down on the paper for the contest you are disqualified.The CandyMakers is a book full of suspense and kept me on the edge of my chair. What would you do if you had 4 days to create the world's next best candy? While learning about candy and the process of making it, readers may have a tough time figuring out the theme. Though I think the theme of this book is Trust and Friendship. While reading this book the main characters: Daisy, Logan, Miles , and yes sad but true Philip learn about trusting one another and making true friends.

Wendy Mass brought me on a exciting but very mysterious ride in her book The CandyMakers. Masses way of writing made the book IMPOSSIBLE to put down. This book is filled with twists, action, and lots and lots of facts about candy. This book was so good in made me hate to have to put it down. I recommend this book for kids ages 10- 14 or grades 5-7 if you enjoy action and mysteries. If you knew what was good for you, you would run to the store and get this book right now because this book earns............ a well earned CUPCAKE!!

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Author: Wendy Mass

I really like the book 11 birthdays. I think it funny and mysterious. I think that all girls maby boys would love it. its about a boy and a girl sharing a birthday since the day they were born. But they are stuck in their great great grandfathers curse.  Their names are leo and amanda. leo makes the big mistake by saying something at their birthday party. now amanda wont speak to him! thats when things start to get strange