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

orphans

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Author: Holly Sloan

This book reminded me of Out of My Mind and Wonder (both books I loved by the way) being that it is about a 12-year old girl who is a genius, but feels detached from her peers.  Suffering the loss of her parents in a tragic accident sets this story on a hopeful mission to find Willow Chance a new family.  But what does it take to be a family?  Readers will have a lot to talk about after reading this book.  What is strange?  Are we all strange or at varying levels of strangeness?  Is it fair to group like strangers?  Hmmm.

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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: Trenton Lee Stewart

I found this book in the middle school section, but the difficulty of the writing and vocabulary would make it more appropriate for an upper middle schooler or teen. I generally avoid teen books because they all seem to be about mean girls, eating disorders or vampires. Any suggestions to the contrary would be very welcome! Nicholas Benedict is maybe a little to smart for his own good. Of course having a photographic memory helps. The problem for this young orphan is his narcolepsy, which causes him to fall asleep in the oddest places and at the worst possible times, like when he's sneaking around the orphanage director's office looking for clues to a hidden treasure! In this story, Nicholas not only solves the mystery of a hidden treasure, but learns what it means to be a true friend. From what I understand this is actually a prequel to a trilogy of stories about Ncholas Benedict (as an adult, maybe?) I'm looking forward to reading more about his life.

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Author: Jennifer Nielsen

I was swept away by the current this book provided.  The characters have a dynamic feel that keeps you involved from the beginning to the end of the book.  We are swept into a story where orphan boys are being collected and groomed to replace a long lost prince.  Who will be the replacement prince and what will happen to those that are not selected as the new prince all becomes evident as the story proceeds.  The author successfully leaves you satisfied with the book, and craving the release of the next book in the trilogy.

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Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano

I read Wither by Lauren DeStefano. I give it 5 stars out of 5 cause the main character is such a strong female. It's not a pretty story but it's intense and makes you use that gray matter between your ears.

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Title: Milkweed
Author: Jerry Spinelli

Milkweed is a historical fiction book that is set in Poland during World War II. The characters are orphaned Jewish boys who run around stealing food and supplies to survive during the war. The main character is a little boy who has been orphaned so long, he can’t remember who his family is. He doesn’t even know his name…he thinks that his name is “Stop Thief”, because that is what people shout at him all the time. Uri, a teenaged orphan, decides to befriend him and give Stop Thief a new identity: Mischa

This book is by my favorite author, Jerry Spinelli, and he does a fantastic job of describing the hardships of Jewish people during Hitler’s reign, but he does it through a child’s eyes. Oftentimes, Spinelli use sarcastic humor to bring the characters and their problems to life. There are some parts throughout the book that could upset you or that use strong language, but I think it’s worth it. I recommend this book to people who like learning about history. I give it 5 stars.

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Author: Justina Headley

Terra has been trying to get away from her father, just like her brothers did, and when she's accepted to college early, with a great arts program she finally thinks this is her chance, until her father tells her no. Terra was born with a port-wine stain and that's all her mother seems to care for anymore, fixing Terra's face, but when Terra almost hits Jacob on the way home from her latest laser surgery he changes everything. Her mother finally changes for the better after talking with Norah, Jacob's mother. They head off to China to visit Terra's brother Merc and Norah and Jacob decide to come along to visit the orphanage where Norah adopted him. Terra discovers true beauty isn't about perfection but about flaws and what's natural.

I gave this book 4/5 stars, mostly because I really hated the Dad character and how nobody would stand up to him. He only hurt them with words but I mean enough is enough is enough. I really liked reading about the geocaching game. It sounds like so much fun.

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Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano

In Rhine's world, females die at 20 and males die at 25. Rhine and her twin brother, Rowan, are trying to make end's meat after the sudden death of their parents. But soon Rhine is captured by a group of peopel called the Gatherers who sells women to men so that they can be brides. Rhine is sold to Linden, a fancy and rich man who wants 3 wives after the death of is beloved Rose. Jenna, another wive of Linden's, just wants to die happy and keep the memory of her sisters. Cecily, the second wife, wants children and love from Linden. But only Rhine, the third wife, plans to escape from the house after she finds that Linden's father is experimenting on dead people to find a cure to the second generation's short life span. And not only that, but Linden's father also knows that Rhine and Gabriel, a servant boy, are secretly in love... Rhine must escape with Gabriel before it's too late for both of them. "Wither" is the first book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy. It kept me up all night, reading, because I was in love with it so much. This is one of my favorite books.

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Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver

In Lena's world, love is a disease. Scientists have found a cure for love, since it had been proven to be deadly. In a few days, a procedure will happen where Lena will receive the cure to love. She'll be safe from deliria, and happy. Lena won't ever be hurt. Until Lena's life takes a turn. Just before the procedure, Lena Haloway falls in love. Press Association says, "The transformation of Lena's character from start to finish is amazing, and Oliver's words really tug at your heartstrings. Highly recommended."

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Author: Neil Gaiman

This is a story about a boy named Nobody Owens--mostly called Bod by friends. When bod was just a toddler a man named Jack murdered his parents and older sister. The killer left the front door open and bod wandered off and he ended up at a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agreed to raise him and keep him safe from Jack. There are many dangers and adventures in the graveyard but if Bod leaves the graveyard jack will attack him. This is a great adventure. Read this book to learn how Bod prepares himself for the future.