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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: 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: Silas House Neela Vaswani

This book is charming. It is about pen pals Meena and River who are living parallel lives. First off, it is so lovely that they approach the pen pal project in the "old school" fashion. They write mostly via snail mail. Yippee! Second, the authors who co-wrote the book bring so much to bear on the characters. Neela Vaswani is the voice of Meena and Silas House is the voice of River. Meena is from India and living in New York City. River is living in Appalachia in Kentucky. One thing they have in common is loving mountains. Another is loving language. Another is their love of their elders. Another is learning to cope with family life and daily struggles. I enjoyed the back and forth between the two characters very much. The voices sounded authentic and there was so much to learn from both of the characters about kindness, being alike, and humanity. Very, very good!! Hurrah!!

Author: Iain Lawrence

I found this treasure of an audio in our collection at the library. The reader (Ed Sala) had such an interesting style of presentation with meaningful pauses and breaks in his narration. The story is about a mom, dad, son, and daughter living in isolation on an island off the Western coast of Canada. We are introduced to how they spend their days, ("Work first, play later."), their months, and their years. All four characters deal with the loneliness in different ways. Squid (the daughter) looks forward to leaving the island some day. Alistair (the son) keeps diaries and plays the flute in attempts to stay sane. Hannah (the mother) does her daily chores and works with the lessons for her children. And Murray (the patriarch and lighthouse keeper) lords over all. (To be fair, he was there first!).

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Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix

What would it be like to be a teenager in the aftermath of being a child TV star? What would it be like to have a hidden power where you could hear people who were talking about you? In this book, the protagonist Lindsay Scott is both an ex-child TV star and a person who can hear others talking about her. As the book goes on, she discovers that this ability may be within many others, too. What does this mean for Lindsay and her future? The book is set in motion when a "fan" kidnaps her. This was a strange but intriguing story that even taught a little about transcendentalism and the place it held in American history.

Author: Sarah Dessen

This was my first Sarah Dessen book and I really really liked it. The main character, Ruby, wears a necklace with a key on it that becomes symbolic of letting go of her past and embracing her future. Ruby is in high school and is abandoned by her mother. She ends up living with Cora, her older sister, who has a completely different lifestyle, a wonderful husband, and an interesting young male neighbor who befriends Ruby. I love characters and this book is studded with interesting ones. Among them are the boy who tutors Ruby in calculus, the woman who hires Ruby to work with her in the mall, the young woman who works at the movie theater and becomes her friend. Ruby is shedding her old life gradually and living fully in her new life. The book is very sweet and ties up very nicely at the end but is also very realistic. I love books about second chances. This was a super one! Terrific writing, too. This is an author to watch!