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

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor comes from a home that is pretty much terrorized by her mother's second husband. When the story opens she has just returned "home" after being shipped out to one of her mother's "friends" for over a year. She shares a room with three others and guards her space and her belongings closely on the top bunk she occupies. She gets no relief on the bus or at school. Park comes from a loving home but he stands out for various reasons and while he is not subjected to the bullying Eleanor is he lives just under the radar. Park reluctantly offers Eleanor the space next to him on the bus one day and so begins an evolving friendship that eventually turns to love. The portrayal of the home life of these two characters is very real and in Eleanor's case very stark. The day to day obstacles that young people face are well drawn in this story. It has a hopeful ending too.

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.

Picture Me Gone

Author: Meg Rosoff

Mila notices and senses things other people seem to miss.  A trip with her father to visit his college friend Matthew is disrupted when Matthew disappears days before their arrival.  Mila and her father make the trip from London to upstate New York anyway, hoping to discover the answers behind Matthew’s disappearance.  Through the home, wife, infant son and dog Matthew has left behind, Mila slowly gains an understanding of him and his life.  Can Mila and her father find Matthew?  Why did he disappear?  Mila’s faith in those closest to her will be tested as she struggles to unravel the mystery.

Title: Sold
Author: Patricia McCormick

This story is sad.  There is not way around that fact.  The main character is Lakshmi, a 13 year old girl, who is sold by her family into prostitution.  I could almost feel the dirt and grime in Lakshmi's living quarters and the abuse made me want to cry.  I had to remind myself that although this was a book of fiction, these types of places do exist.  Heartbreaking.  The author based this story on interviews she had done with girls who were in the slave industry as well as aid workers who try to help them.  What Patricia McCormick created from these interviews is a story of resilience and hope.  Just when you think Lakshmi's life can't get worse, it does, but she doesn't give up hope.  

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: Trish Doller

Callie was kidnapped by her mom as a young child and lived a difficult life travelling around the country like a nomad. Now, at 17 years old, she has been found and returned to her father while her mother has been arrested for kidnapping her. The story is about her attempts to fit in with a new family and friends and adjust to a new town and way of life. She also has to struggle with her feelings towards her mom. As she learns that so much of what her mom told her was a lie and really begins to look at her mom's actions and behavior, she is both angry with her mom, but still loves her.

I really enjoyed this book. My heart really went out to Callie as she tried to adjust to her new world and do her best not to hurt anyone's feelings. I thought Trish Doller did a great job of setting up her life before she was returned to her father and gave a realistic picture of a teen going through such a dramatic life change.

Author: Robyn Schneider

I have read that originally the book was to be titled Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, but that was later changed to The Beginning of Everything. Both titles are fitting!

This was an interesting story about Ezra Faulkner, who was the "It" boy at his high school. In a split second he experiences his own "personal tragedy" and discovers everything and everyone he knew were not what it or whom they seemed.  As he recovers, he has to learn where he fits in with the other students and openly look at who he used to be and opinions that he held. Thanks to a new student and new love he learns to take a fresh look at his life and define what he is looking for in his future even when that includes heartbreak.

Author: Hazel Whitaker

This is a great introductory book to numerology if you want to dabble with some of the formulas for figuring out significant numbers for you!