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

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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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Title: Asylum
Author: Madeleine Roux

16-year-old Dan Crawford spends his summer at New Hampshire College Prep. The dormitory he is assigned to is none other than the infamous—converted and newly renovated--Brookline Sanitarium. Soon after his arrival at the college, Dan makes friends with Abby and Jordan, who soon find themselves exploring the abandoned, eerie hidden recesses of the Brookline. Soon after their first midnight escapade, the trio begins experiencing the supernatural. Dan receives mysterious notes and visions, Abby’s mood takes a turn for the disgruntled, and Jordan begins losing sleep over frightening nightmares. The events that unfold beg the question, did these teens choose Brookline, or did Brookline choose them?

Asylum is a great book for those that read and enjoyed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Roux employs some really creepy found-photographs to help the reader feel a part of the story. It is a bit of a scary read, but not too scary so fans of the thriller genre may like this one as well as the horror fans and adrenaline junkies.

My Reaction: I liked this book. Ever since Rigg’s book (referenced above), I have taken an interest in books that use “found photography.” I think it is a really neat way to get a better picture of what the characters are experiencing. I also enjoyed that this book was creepy without ever crossing the line which makes it appropriate for a range of audiences. On the negative side, I thought the characters were a little bit flat and could have been better developed and there were some loose ends (i.e. strange “coincidences”) that never get fully explained. Maybe you can chalk this up to it being the first in a series, but I doubt it. The overall plot was well-done and the setting was fabulous. I might re-read this one just in case I missed something. Grades 7 and up.

Themes: Ghosts, Haunted, Insane Asylum, Sanitarium, Summer School, Prep School, Mystery, History, Friends 

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Title: Frozen
Author: Melissa De La Cruz

Imagine you were born into a world that wasn't your own.  Everything is frozen, a wasteland that life barely clings to survive within on a daily basis.  Nat doesn't belong and she knows that she is not in the right place.

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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: Lish McBride

What would you do if you discovered that the unimaginable is true and you are part of things that you don't believe exist?  Sam is forced to discover his true nature and history despite his mother's attempt to protect and hide him from the world of unbelieveable.

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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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Title: Never Fade
Author: Alexandra Bracken

Never Fade does not disappoint.  My heart breaks with Ruby.  I soar with hope for the possibility of what may happen in the third book.  

Ruby continues on her journey to make things right.  But with everything that she tries to fix, it only seems to get worse.  After the first book we are left heartbroken that she has erased herself from Liam's memories.  However Ruby must now find him in order to change the way things are in the League, if only he knew the intel that he accidentally is carrying on himself.