Thursday, August 17, 2017
Lexile = 830
Loved this book and now I am worried about myself. You see, this is a book about death. And killing people. Scythe is set in a future where not only have all diseases been cured and erradicated, but any injury, no matter how devastating (think beheading), can also be patched up. Think about that. People never die. If a person gets really old, they COULD still be healthy, but now they also have the option of "turning".... really turning back the clock and having a younger body again. People never die. The society has figured out that the world can't sustain an infinite number of people, so they have selected scythes (grim reapers) to kill a certain number of people each year. That maintains the correct population balance.
The plot begins with the selection of two new apprentices for the scythedom. They must learn to kill in every way possible and they must also learn the rules for their new lives. There is a lot "backstabbing" here... meaning questionable loyalties and alliances. Yes, Shusterman's book is violent, but the questions raised by this novel about death, life, right and wrong make it a book I would recommend for students.
Just found out that it is the first in a series... so looking forward to the next one. Watch a rather dark book trailer HERE.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Lexile = 1040
I didn't know anything about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in 1911 until I read A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner. By the way, LOVED that book.... read my review HERE. The devastating fire that happened in the factory located in New York was the turning point in union organizing and laws concerning factory safety and child labor.
Factory Girls follows five girls that worked at the factory.... some lived and some died. I was interested mostly in the other characters in the tragedy: the greedy owners of the factories, the consumers, who (like us) demand cheap fashion and don't realize the cost, and the powerful, brave women that lobbied for change.
This really isn't a book I would pick up for fun reading, but it provides background and context for other things I am reading. I also have Flesh and Blood so Cheap here in the library which covers the same topic. See a great interview with a descendant of a victim of the fire HERE.
Friday, August 11, 2017
By Kasie West
Lexile = 520
I have "upped" our Kasie West offerings in the Ridgeline Library lately. West writes sweet, clean romances. So, if you are looking for sweet love, WEST is the direction you want to go. (super clever pun there....)
Lucky in Love is West's newest novel. I have seen a lot of buzz online about the romantic interest of the main character being Asian. Maddie meets Seth Nguyen at work. It isn't immediate romance, but they are friends. Maddie's family is struggling. Her older brother is aimless and it appears that her parents are always fighting. Then, Maddie's best friends kind of forget her birthday. She is alone and feeling very unlucky on her 18th birthday. On a whim, she buys a lottery ticket and.... well you can guess the rest.
Now that she is a millionaire, Maddie has to decide who her real friends are. And she keeps the truth from Seth ... at least she knows that when he is nice to her, it isn't about the money.
Lucky in Love is a simple, quick read. (Note Lexile level) You won't use this author as the basis for your college essays, but we all need a fun read every now and then.
Watch an author talk HERE for a quick synopsis of many of Kasie West's books!
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Lexile = 920
As you can tell by the photo of the cover at left, this book has won many awards. As much as I love non-fiction and World War II stories, this wasn't a book that I rushed to pick up. Then it was selected by my "old lady" book club as the book for September! So I'm all ready for that meeting. I already knew about the top secret lab as Los Alamos, New Mexico that created and tested the first atomic bombs that were eventually deployed over Japan, ending the war. Here is what I learned.
Even though the Soviet Empire was our ally in the war, there was a great race between the US and the Soviets to get the technology first. This is a great story of spies and infiltration done mostly by nerdy science types. I also learned about the commando raid on a German lab located in Norway intended to destroy the Axis' attempt to get the bomb.
The Bomb is intended for children perhaps a bit younger than my Ridgeline audience, but it is packed with facts that will interest you. It's just written for kiddos so it is easier to understand!
Watch a video of the author receiving the National Book Award HERE.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Lexile = 990
I've read online that the author of Alex & Eliza saw the musical "Hamilton" and was inspired to write this novel. So it isn't based on the musical, but no one wakes up and suddenly decides to write a romance with the first Secretary of the Treasury as the dashing lead. But it is based in fact. Eliza Schuyler is portrayed as the most pragmatic of the three Schuyler sisters; she avoids the frippery of fashion so common in the Revolutionary Period. She indeed wins the heart of the the young Alexander Hamilton, close associate of General George Washington. Was that a spoiler? Sorry. I figure historical fiction has few real spoilers.
De La Cruz is best known for a series of vampire romances, but she has created a sweet "Austenesque" story here. You will like this if you like historical fiction, Hamilton, or just a well-written romance!
And just for fun, HERE is a clip about the Schuylers from the musical.
Friday, July 14, 2017
Lexile = 750
Josh and Jordan are twins... sons of basketball legend "Da Man" and although they are only in middle school, they are basketball stars on their way up. But things are changing. Their Dad is having symptoms of heart problems and Jordan seems more interested in the new girl in school than in basketball some days.
The Crossover is told in verse, which I have said before seems like a lazy, albeit trendy way to tell a story. I think that the verse may turn readers off, especially readers that would most like this fast-paced sports novel. Just read the words and don't focus on the way they look on the page.
Loved the Mom and Dad in this. Interspersed throughout are the Father's "Basketball Rules". It's a family that really loves and cares for each other. And for Christmas, they give their boys BOOKS!
Watch the author read from his work HERE. An ad pops up first.... sorry.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Lexile = 720
What happens when you die? Lots of books have been written about this topic, both fantastical fiction and supposed "non-fiction". Elsewhere is where you end up after death, according to this author. It's a lot like earth, but just a little different. People that you knew on earth that have gone before you are there as well. Liz is killed unexpectedly and eventually arrives at this strange place. The Grandma that died before Liz was born greets her. Because her death was sudden and she is young, adjusting to elsewhere is difficult. Liz just wants to return home.
Now, this is about death. But it is funny! I gotta say I like this author's vision of heaven... and how everyone ends up returning to earth! Gabrielle Zevin is the author of two other novels I have read: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac and The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. Fikry is one of my all-time favorites. I liked Amnesiac as well. Both are in the Ridgeline Library.
Elsewhere would make a great movie. Until then, HERE is a link to a trailer created by a student.