The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Josh and Sophie never believed in the magical universe on planet earth. Nick, who is Josh’s boss, is an alchemyst that can live forever. Sophie and Josh are brother and sister while their parents are traveling for their job. Sophie and Josh saw too much of a magical fight over a book that has all the powers in the universe, so they have to go with Nick to hide from Dee. Their enemy wants the powerful book. They find themselves in big trouble throughout traveling America fighting Dee’s followers.

My reaction to this book was that it was exciting and energetic. The Alchemyst has surprising twists around every corner and this just scraped the surface of the book along with four more books with the series. It’s very hard to predict what would come in the book since there are surprising twists on every page.

MS

Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones

Told in alternate voices, Blink is the male perspective, while Caution tells the same story from the female point of view. Blink and Caution are runaways, both trying to survive on the streets. When Blink breaks into a hotel room, looking for a free meal, he finds himself in the middle of a kidnapping of a powerful businessman. The story is all over the news, and no one knows the truth except Blink. To tell, though, would expose his past, something he does not want to do. Caution is trying to escape her abusive drug-dealing boyfriend. When their paths collide on a train, both work to hide the past from one another, but find they are building a relationship, too. Eventually, Blink realizes he has to save the businessman and can only do it with Caution’s help and by telling the whole truth.

A story that  slowly uncovers  the background and history of each of the characters, while also moving present day events forward. A reminder that there is always more to a person than what meets the eye.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Lennie Walker is reeling from the death of her sister. Bailey was everything to Lennie, the racehorse to her companion pony self. She spends most of her time in The Sanctuary, the room they shared before her sister’s sudden death. Lennie, her grandma and Uncle Big are all struggling, and have been for a month.

When Lennie goes back to school, she finds a new boy has taken the school by storm. Everyone is talking about him, and when she finds him sitting in her seat in the band, she discovers why. All she can think is whoa…where did this guy come from? Soon, Joe starts showing up at her house in the morning with croissants and making coffee for her family. Why does he keep coming over? To complicate things further, Lennie and Troy, who was Bailey’s boyfriend, have begun to find comfort in each other.

This was exactly what I needed after reading a couple of post-apocalyptic books. It was deeply moving, where I could almost feel Lennie’s pain, but also funny and romantic. A great book–read it!

Shatter Me by Taherek Mafi

Juliette was placed in an institution for nearly killing her parents. Little did she know that her touch could cause so much damage and destruction. Growing up, she had been made fun of and humiliated. None of the other kids at her school would attempt to become friends with her. She’d learned to ignore the glances people had given her after she had accidentally killed a little boy at a grocery store. Juliette’s touch was like poison, but addicting to her recipients.

While she is faced with the emotional challenges of isolation, there is a Reestablishment going on. One night, a man is thrown into her cell. She recognizes his face, but isn’t sure if he recognizes her. He attempts to touch her, but she won’t let him, knowing what she’s capable of. Before she knows it, she’s falling in love with this new “friend” of hers. How will she be able to share her life with a man that she can cripple with just one touch?

When I first picked out this book, I didn’t really think that I would enjoy it as much as I did. It’s full of twists and turns that kept me glued into the book. The author, Tahereh Mafi, shares her emotions through Shatter Me. While I was reading Shatter Me, I felt as though I was right there with Juliette as she overcame and struggled with a life of isolation and adventure.

HM

Black Rabbit Summer by Kevin Brooks

In the heat of the summer, Pete Boland finds himself interested in very little. Content with passing the long days alone, he is surprised when Nicole, an old friend invites him to a get together with the “old gang”, a group of kids he rarely even thinks about anymore. Even more surprising, Pete decides that he really wants to go. Inviting his next door neighbor, Raymond, a long time friend who is socially awkward and emotionally fragile, Pete agrees to meet up in the “den”, their old fort from long ago. Once there, Pete realizes how much has changed between the one time friends, and soon the past is brought up and with it hurt, pain, and anger. The party is over almost before it begins, and the group splits off into the darkness to join the large chaos of the summer carnival. The group never meets up again throughout the night, but each catches glimpses of each other in the crowd.

The next morning it is realized that a local girl, a somewhat celebrity, has gone missing….in addition, Raymond is gone too. Immediately, the group of friends become suspects, as they were the last people to be in contact with Raymond. Pete works to put together the pieces and the true story of what really happened that night. As each piece is examined, Pete begins to realize that each person had their own opportunity and motive.  No one is assumed innocent.

Written by British author, Kevin Brooks, his scattered and abrupt style adds to the intensity of the novel’s mood. The reader feels that he/she is never really getting the true story of what happened from the characters. The tone is tense and adds to the overall mystery. The plot kept me guessing until the very end.

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

Steven thought his life was fairly simple. He played drums for the high school band when he was only in eighth grade. He had no idea how to talk to girls, but that was ok, his love since third grade is Renne Albert. He has a best friend is Annette. He had no idea the twist his life was about to take. It is safe to say Steven will go through the hardest part of his life in a few short months. He grows as a person to be selfless and to love his little brother Jeffrey and help him through his struggles.

This is the best book I have ever read and is my all time favorite. This book is for anyone who wants to find themselves as a person. I truly believe I grew as a person while reading this book. This is a must read and once it’s started it won’t be put down until it’s finished.

JS

Deadline by Chris Crutcher

Ben Wolf is going to die. In the summer before his senior year of high school, Ben is told by his doctor that he has a rare blood disease and will probably not survive longer than a year. Against his doctor’s wishes, Ben chooses to not tell his parents and skips any sort of treatment. Instead, Ben decides that he will live his last year of his life to the fullest. In fact, he chooses to live an entire lifetime in one year and make a true mark on the world. Trading in his running shoes, Ben goes out for the football team; no small feat, given that he is about 120 pounds. On the football field he is able to deepen a bond with his brother, Cody, and gain the respect of his coach. He also finally gets the courage to go after his crush, Dallas.  By leaving all his fears behind and living like he has nothing left to lose, Ben finds that the world is a place he does not want to leave.

Crutcher writes in his usual voice: sarcastic, witty, realistic.  The subject is honest, sad, and thought-provoking. One of his absolute best! Through realistic characters and incorporating his love of sports, Crutcher’s writing is easy to connect with. If this is your first book of Crutcher’s,  try some of his other best works including: Chinese Handcuffs, Ironman, and Whale Talk.

Two Way Street By Lauren Barnholdt

Courtney and Jordan were the couple that didn’t seem to make sense to anyone else, but they made it work. They were so in love, everything seemed right. Courtney and Jordan even planned a road trip together to go to orientation for college. Then Jordan broke up with Courtney for some other girl. To top it all off, Courtney found out she was dumped and replaced by some girl Jordan met on the internet. Courtney is doesn’t know what to think and  it’s too late to cancel the road trip so they still go.

There are two sides to every story.  Courtney is pretending to not care. Jordan secretly cares a lot. There are secrets that Jordan is keeping from Courtney. What could these secrets be? Could these secrets have anything to why they broke up? Will this road trip go over well, or will it be a disaster?

I really enjoyed this book. I had a hard time setting it down. Having the book told in two perspectives, one from Courtney, and the other from Jordan, keeps the book interesting and moving quickly. Two Way Street is a great and entertaining read.

BK

The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

In  Book One: A Great a Terrible Beauty, we are introduced to Gemma Doyle, a seventeen year old girl who lives in India with her English parents. When a terrible accident kills her mother, an accident she was witness to, Gemma and her father move back to England, where Gemma is placed in a finishing school: Spencer. While at Spencer, Gemma starts to wonder more about her mother’s death and begins having visions. She discovers that she holds a special power to enter the realms, an other-world. Here, along with her three friends, Gemma is able to find clues about her mother’s death and her special powers. She eventually finds that her mother was part of a terrible crime at Spencer and now an evil spirit is looking to revenge her mother’s choices and take Gemma’s power by killing Gemma. Book Two: Rebel Angels and Book Three: The Far Sweet Thing complete the story. The trilogy is fast paced and keeps you guessing until the end.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The Chicago that Beatrice lives in is divided into factions. Each faction has a trait, and each year, every 16 year old much choose which faction they will belong to. They choose from: Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peaceful), Erudite (intelligence). Beatrice has to make the decision of whether to stay in the faction she grew up in, with her family, or to the faction she feels strangely linked to.

Once she has chosen, she finds herself part of initiation. This is a competition with the highest ranked getting the best jobs.  Will she be able to prove herself and become part of her chose faction, or will she end up faction-less, one of those living on the outskirts of society? And, what will she do with the secret she carries with her?

I loved this book. It is not often that I am able to read a book that is close to 500 pages in just two days, but I couldn’t put this one down. I am quite upset with myself now because I didn’t grab the sequel, which is sitting on the shelf in the library. Even though I have read quite a few dystopian books in the last few months, this one felt fresh to me. I enjoyed Beatrice as the main character, and felt that most of the characters were well developed. I am looking forward to Monday morning so I can read on!