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


Title: Lockdown
Author: Walter Dean Myers

Reese Anderson is given an opportunity to spend time helping in a nursing home as a break from an institution he has been housed in for two years. He is being punished for a crime involving drugs. He is only 14. At the nursing home, he meets a resident named Mr. Hooft. Although their relationship is contentious at the start, they eventually get to know one another. It turns out that Reese grows to understand some lessons about life from Mr. Hooft. By the end of the book, the reader feels very hopeful that Reese will be able to get his life on track. This book is truthful because you never know who you are going to meet who might help you on YOUR life's journey. The only thing I wished for from this book was more conversations between Reese and Mr. Hooft. Although, I must admit, what was portrayed was probably realistic because they would have not had that much time to spend together/talk.

Author: John Green

Miles “Pudge” Halter is obsessed with famous last words; his favorite being that of poet Francois Rabelais who said, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.”  The idea of finding his personal “Great Perhaps” inspires Miles to attend the Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama. During his time at Culver Creek, Miles become friends with the beautiful, wild, and self-destructive Alaska Young, Chip “The Colonel” Martin, Takumi Hikohito and Lara Buterskaya. The group is thick-as-thieves and experiment with smoking, drinking, and drugs. The different cliques in school quarrel through pranks, with each prank being more extreme than the last. Alaska is determined to pull the best prank of all. That’s all I’m going to say…I can’t seem to find a great way to conclude a summary for this book without giving away all the “feels,” so I’m going to leave it at that for those that haven’t read it. 

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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!).


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. 

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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