Posts tagged with "realistic fiction"
Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in...with a bunch more reading recommendations! Here are some teen book suggestions from library staff outside of teen services, since you're all probably sick of us yelling at you to read books. Shannon, Carol, and Amy have written reviews of three unique but excellent. As always, you can find many more Intralibrary Teen Book Alliance recommendations here.
Could you live in a world where love was outlawed?
Lauren Oliver’s novel describes a futuristic Garden of Eden where teens are matched with a “life-mate” and then undergo a procedure to remove their capacity to love. Teens that flee or resist the procedure are known as “invalids” and are believed to “live like animals…filthy, hungry, desperate.”
When Lena and Alex must choose between the law and each other, they know that they are making an impossible decision. If they run away, they will lose their families. If they stay and undergo the procedure, they will lose the feelings that they have for their families – and each other.
The dramatic conclusion will leave you wondering… What would you risk for love?
Review by: Carol E.
Shai is a strong, independent girl who is very talented at what she does for a living. She is a forger. She doesn’t just copy things, however. She uses her magical skills to enhance the very essence of the item she is copying, consequently mirroring not just its appearance, but its entire history. She is so good at her job that she attracts the attention of the Emperor’s entourage. When the Emperor suddenly loses consciousness after an assassination attempt, they see Shai as their only hope against what they fear the most; the loss of their powerful positions in the Empire. In order to prevent a revolution, the Emperor’s highest ranking officials capture Shai in the midst of a forgery, and force her to choose between being sentenced to death, or accepting a job they believe she will not pass up. They challenge her to forge their Emperor’s soul.
This is a cleverly written fantasy with a unique storyline, and character development that usually needs at least twice as many pages to pull off. Shai’s personality draws you in so rapidly that before you know what is happening you are immersed in her world, and rooting for her to pull off the impossible. Not only are you pleasantly surprised by the ending, but you get there so quickly that you are almost sorry to see that it is over. Sanderson is well known for his epic fantasies, and more recently for completing the Wheel of Time saga, but this first attempt at a novella was undeniably a success, as well as a Hugo award winner. Marketed for both adults as well as teens, it is absolutely worth reading.
Review by: Shannon M.
Weetzie Bat, a high school girl in Los Angeles, is best friends with Dirk. Weetzie and Dirk have adventures after high school when they find a genie in a magic lamp who grants them three wishes. Weetzie and Dirk both find love and have many adventures together with their significant others. This book is a quick read and is fun with its whimsical tone and some bits of magic mixed in with the reality of life. If you are looking for a book that will take you on an adventure, then this is the book for you.
Review by: Amy H.
"I start to run, start to turn into air, the blue careening off the sky, careening after me, as I sink into green, shades and shades of it, blending and spinning into yellow, freaking yellow, then head-on colliding in the punk-hair purple of lupine: everywhere. I vacuum it in, all of it, in, in – (SELF-PORTRAIT: Boy Detonates Grenade of Awesome) – getting happy now, the gulpy, out-of-breath kind that makes you feel you have a thousand lives crammed inside your measly one…"
I absolutely adored this book! It’s beautifully written and had me laughing, crying, and completely giddy. I raced through it like light speeding through the universe.
(SELF-PORTRAIT: Teen Librarian Squealing with Delight)
Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun is about twins Noah and Jude. Like most twins, they are incredibly close; they have an uncanny ability to know what the other is thinking and can finish each other’s sentences. Noah is an eccentric artist. He’s constantly drawing or painting, sometimes just in his head. Jude is a gregarious daredevil. She loves surfing and makes friends easily. The story begins when the twins are thirteen, a time when they’re experiencing change and exploring life. It continues through sixteen when they’ve seemingly switched roles. They’re coming to terms with the heartbreak they’ve felt due to tragedy and loss, tentatively living their lives and trying to rebuild.
The novel shifts between Noah’s and Jude’s perspectives alternating from early to later years. The voices and viewpoints juxtaposed plainly shows that neither character has the whole story. Throughout Noah’s narration, his artist mind is evident: he’s constantly imagining his surroundings in colors and relays how he’d describe the moment on canvas or paper and what he’d name it. Jude’s are filled with quirky wives’ tales and superstition.
Nelson’s writing is lyrical and expressive. The characters and imagery jump off the page. The characters’ confusion, heartache, and elation are felt through description. Nelson weaves a vivid tale of life, loss, and love intertwined with a message about self-identity and being true to yourself.
This is a must-read for romantics, artists, inspiration seekers, and lovers of words!
Eleanor is a smart but shy outcast, struggling with enough personal and family problems to fill three after-school specials, the least of which is starting a new school. Park’s issues are less dramatic, but he still struggles with fitting in and getting along with his parents. The two are forced to sit together on the bus, and end up bonding over comics, music, and a dislike for the idiots who also ride their bus. Soon they form an unlikely friendship, and eventually a romantic relationship blossoms, though not without ever-growing complications.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is a romance for people who don’t like romances. (It’s still really good if you like romances, too.) The novel boasts funny-but-realistic dialog and incredibly likeable characters. The two narrators are so three-dimensional that you feel you’ve known them for years; it’s less like reading a romance and closer to simply watching two good friends discover how cool and amazing you already know they each are. On top of that, it features some of the steamiest hand-holding scenes put to paper. Seriously, it’s like the Fifty Shades of Grey of holding hands. (If you really think about it, though, holding hands is pretty steamy if you really like the hand you’re holding.)
The novel deals with issues of bullying and difficult family circumstances in very honest and direct ways, with all of the tough language and mature situations that those entail. Because of this frankness, the book and its author garnered some extra attention last month, facing challenges in a Minnesota school district which ironically enough became news during Banned Books Week. It’s this honesty that makes the book so refreshing, though. It’s the ability of Eleanor & Park (both the book and characters) to find happiness and connection in the midst of all the ugliness that life can throw at us that lifts the book above standard romantic cliché and become something simultaneously funny, honest, and beautifully life-affirming.
Clay Jannon is an unemployed marketer and web designer. His days are spent surfing the web unsuccessfully obtaining employment. That is until he comes across Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore a narrow, vertigo-inspiring bookstore packed with books on its skyscraper shelves. Mr. Penumbra hires the new night clerk on the spot. Clay didn’t know that the course of his life would change that afternoon. It only takes him a couple of days to notice peculiarities with the business and its clientele. Clay and his new love interest Kat delve into the world of a 500 year old secret society called the Unbroken Spine.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore explores the tension between new technology and old, digital versus print, working out a problem longhand instead of relying on computer assistance. Clay, his friends, and Google through employee Kat try to help Mr. Penumbra solve an age-old mystery using modern technology. Robin Sloan cleverly weaves fantasy and reality to construct an adventure tale that engages readers and makes them cheer for the ragtag bunch of codebreakers. Throughout the novel, Clay calls upon his friends, actual and virtual, to help him uncover the treasure coveted by the Unbroken Spine for centuries. This is a quick read, definitely worth checking out…AND the cover glows in the dark!
Okay, we have less than two weeks to turn a robot that picks things up into a robot that kills other robots.
Chainsaws, people, we need chainsaws!
The graphic novel Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong follows a ragtag group of high schoolers on their journey to a robot rumble. Charlie is the captain of the basketball team. Nate is his best friend and the president of the school’s robotics team. Holly is head cheerleader and Charlie’s ex-girlfriend. When school funding comes up short, student council must choose whether the robotics team will attend the national robotics competition or if the cheerleaders will get new uniforms for the national cheerleading championship. Naturally, Charlie is pulled into the drama in the midst of dealing with his own problems. Eventually, the characters must set aside their differences and work together to battle in a Thanksgiving robotics competition that will get both the robotics team and cheerleading squad to nationals.
Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks present a funny, heartwarming, and realistic story about dealing with high school cliques, camaraderie, competition, and friendship. Shen’s writing is an authentic portrayal of interactions between the teenage characters. The story is quick-paced and engaging. Hicks’ illustrations capture the characters’ personalities and sense of movement throughout the book. The humor of the novel comes from characters expressions and robot demolition conveyed by the artwork.
This is a great read for anyone – it’s a perfect Thanksgiving story to pass the time while you digest your turkey dinner!
Laura Lee Gulledge’s graphic novel Will & Whit is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. At first glance, I assumed it was a teen romance. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with teen romance. I checked it out and turned out to be wrong about the book’s plot.
The story is about a teenager trying to face her fears and deal with tragedy as well as friendship, her supporting cast. It’s about summer adventures and creativity. “Problems just force us to be more creative, right?” As far as creativity, Gulledge’s illustrations are fantastic. Black and white drawing that seems to radiate off the page, creepy shadows cast that enrich the story. “You know, in the dark, people see what they want to see.” It’s a great graphic novel for someone that likes realistic fiction and coming-of-age stories. It kind of reminded me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
As a bonus, Gulledge includes a few extras, like the soundtrack she envisions for the book (included below, less one song), her inspiration and a recipe for the Blue Crush Cookies referenced. Who’s going to bake the cookies and bring ‘em to the Hub? Any takers (or bakers)?
Ho hey! (Good song! But I definitely prefer the Chickeneers version!)
Have you watched the new The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie? It’s the one starring Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Nina Dobrev, and Emma Watson. It came out on DVD and Blu-Ray recently, and I just had the opportunity to watch it over the weekend. This may not sound like a big deal, but it was a big deal.
Like many movies that come out lately, this one is based on a book. The book is called (whaddyaknow) The Perks of Being a Wallflower written by Stephen Chbosky. Now why was it such a big deal to watch this movie based on this book? Well… it’s because I love this book. You know the feeling, right? If not, see below.
You love a book when:
1. You instantly click with the main character in the first few chapters.
2. You feel like you really know the people in the story by the middle.
3. You wonder what happens to them after you read the last page.
I love this book like that. And, I didn’t want questionable acting or crazy amounts of added action to ruin the story as it was. But since the film was written and directed by the author of the novel, I knew that there was a possibility that it would be ok. Just… maybe.
Verdict? The film did the book justice. Some scenes were changed, some scenes were taken out, and some scenes were exactly as I imagined them. If you go to high school in the suburbs, I think you’ll find certain sets like the football game and the cafeteria eerily accurate. And if your high school experience is like mine was, you'll definitely feel for Charlie as he tries to dance awkwardly at homecoming. All in all, the spirit of the film was spot-on with the spirit of the book. More than that, you could tell that making the film was a labor of love. And, as one would say here on the internet, “It gave me all the feels!”
So yeah, it's kind of a relief. I can live happily knowing that one of my favorite books has a great movie counterpart. Now I'll just have to worry about the The Fault in Our Stars movie!