The Miseducation of Cameron Post- A Teen Reader Review

Cover image for The miseducation of Cameron Post

Title:  The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Author: Emily Danworth

Summary:  It’s Montana in the 1990’s.  Cameron Post is 12 years old, spending the day with her best friend.  She’s the classic protagonist, a little too quirky and a little too special for her own good, having an amazing afternoon.  That very day, her parents die, and all she can feel is relief.  Relief that the news wasn’t what she feared, and relieved that her parents would never know that she was kissing a girl hours before their untimely death.

Cameron Post is, to be completely candid, not the particularly special character.  She’s the carbon copy of every girl in a lesbian romance.  How many girls could she honestly get with in Montana at age 14?  This doesn’t make her bad per say, but it just means she’s not the new and exciting character you may have wanted.  I found much more realism and excitement in her love interest for the first half of the book, Coley Taylor; the cowgirl with a kind heart and a confused soul, whose motivations and mystery made her one of the most incredible love interests in a f/f book in a long time.  If only the book had more of her, and less drama with Cameron’s aunt.

Of course, since this is a book about young lesbians there has to be the drama of everyone finding out, and the second half of the book is set at a de-gaying camp.  We spend a bit too long here, but I still applaud the slightly different approach Emily Danworth took going here.  Again, the characters Cameron interacts with are far more interesting then Cameron herself, particularly her roommate, a girl with a interesting new personality and mysterious motivations.  The novel checks out every trope of a f/f novel, and while it is beautifully written and a very enjoyable ride, this book isn’t anything too special.  I still recommend this to anyone who wants a exciting journey through the life of Cameron Post, and whose already checked out every other f/f book in the library.

If you like this, try readingAnnie on my Mind by Nancy Garden, Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli , and Keeping you a Secret by Julie Anne Peters

Reviewer Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Where can I find a copy?:  Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Pequot Library

Recommended by: Josie, a teen reader

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Unwind- A Teen Reader Review

Cover image for Unwind

Title: Unwind

Author: Neal Shusterman

Summary: The Second Civil War is over.  The Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies finally came to an agreement.  All children are safe until age 13.  Then, until age 18 their parents have a choice.  They can unwind their children; take apart their bodies and use 100% of their parts as transplants to aid other living humans, so the children never truly die.  This twisted dystopia chills you to the bone, the circumstances far too realistic, and the world’s reaction way too real.  Unwind by Neal Shusterman leaves you with the chilling question, what if?

The novel follows Connor Lassiner, a problem child with an unwind warrant signed who is desperate to survive.  Risa Ward, a girl who is unwound as a budget cut, who has the smarts to escape her fate.  And Lev Calder, a boy born to be unwound, who is in love with his fate and will do anything to complete the deed.  These three unlikely allies create a tentative alliance, and have to go to drastic measures to survive, as the world goes more and more insane around them.

This novel leaves you with so many questions, and an impossible moral debate.  Luckily there’s more in this incredible series, but the chilling realism of this book stays with you long after turning the final page.  Everyone should read this novel, if as nothing else a warning of the future.  You may say that there’s no chance that we can ever do something like this, but read on and look to today and how we’re already tumbling towards it.  This book stays with you forever, and this series should be a classic, and is a must read for all, teen or adult.

If you like this, try readingHunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Reviewer Rating: 5/5 Stars

Where can I find a copy?:  Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Fairfield Woods Branch Library, Digital copy downloadable from Overdrive through Fairfield Public Library, and audio copy downloadable from RBdigital through Fairfield Public Library.

Recommended by-Josie, a teen reader

Six of Crows- A Teen Reader Review

Cover image for Six of crows

Title: Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Summary:  A thief that can outsmart anyone and is always one step ahead of his enemies.  The Wraith, a mysterious spy with a painful past who never slips up. A powerful Heartrender who uses her powers to survive, and has used her status to betray. A convict with a moral code, and a deep hatred for one of their own.  A mysterious runaway whose status on the team is uncertain.  A sharpshooter with a secret, and who can never walk away from a bet.  Six unlikely friends stuck together by even more unlikely circumstances, and whose adventures have even more unlikely conclusions.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo by is a spectacular fantasy novel set in an intriguing new universe.  Kaz, a mysterious thief who always knows more than he lets on, brings together six individuals for the biggest most dangerous job in the world, which is dwarfed by the even larger reward.  The job?  Breaking into the fabled Ice Courts to free a man who may already be dead.  An impossible task.  A job that holds the fate of the world in its hands.

We follow the heroes through a multi-perspective 480 page novel that constantly leaves you wanting for more, and always delivers.  The novel is rewarding and exiting, the adventures leaving your heart racing, and the twists leaving you reeling.  This found family novel both melts your heart and breaks your heart; but never fear, there’s a second book that you’re going to want to check out immediately after finishing.  My only criticism is that it isn’t longer.

If you like this, try reading- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Shwab,  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, and The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

Reviewer Rating: 5/5

Where can I find a copy?:  Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Fairfield Woods Branch Library and Digital copy downloadable from Overdrive through Fairfield Public Library.

Recommended by: Josie, a Teen Reader

Back Before Dark – A Teen Reader Review

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Title: Back Before Dark

Author: Tim Shoemaker

Summary: Gordy, Cooper, Hiro and Lunk rode their bikes to Walmart and promised to be back before dark.  They take a break at Kimball Hill Park, and notice that riding bikes to Walmart was not a very good idea and very tiring.  A mini van passes by with a book bag on the roof.  Being boys, Cooper and Gordy make a bet.  If Gordy caught up to the van before it reached the docks, Cooper would have to buy him Chicago style hot dogs at Frank’n Steins. Gordy got on his bike and flew across the sidewalk.  The van stopped at the stop sign and Hiro noticed something strange. The book bag didn’t  move.  Was it taped on?  Was it velcroed on?  Was this a trap?  Instantly terror filled Hiro, he yelled out Gordy’s name telling him to stop.  Cooper and Lunk noticed it too.  They tried warning their friend, but all he did was look back and grin.  When he reached the van he went to get the book bag and it wouldn’t get down. He tried again. A man came out of the van and zapped Gordy with a taser.  He threw Gordy in the van and sped down the road.

Cooper, Hiro and Lunk become desperate. Days pass and Gordy is nowhere to be found. Cooper thinks the worse for his cousin and comes up with an outrageous and reckless plan.  Now the one who was set out to rescue his friend needs to be rescued himself. Sometimes rescuing a friend from darkness means going in after them.

Who will like this book?:  Teens who enjoy crime series or mystery, and also thrill seekers

Where can I find a copy?: Paper copy available at Pequot Library.  Digital copy downloadable from Hoopla through Fairfield Public Library.

Recommended by: Sophia, Middle School Teen Reader

Code of Silence- A Teen Reader Review!

Image result for code of silence book

Title: Code of Silence

Author: Tim Shoemaker

Summary:  Gordy, Cooper, and Hiro, are a trio that are never apart. They were together the night of the attempted murder and robbery of Frank’n Steins Diner. In fact, they were together inside the diner. That robbery left the owner (Frank) in a coma.  Cooper noticed that the guys were wearing cop pants, and one was wearing leather boots. Hiding behind that counter was one of the scariest moments of their lives. Somehow escaping and taking the surveillance hard drive, they ran for their lives. One of the men caught up to Cooper. The man took Cooper’s house keys, threatened him that if he told anyone anything he would find his house and kill his family. When people approached, the man convinced them that he was a police and sent Cooper home.

Now the trio had problems. They couldn’t go to the police because the guys were wearing cop pants, they had Cooper’s house keys. Telling the truth could kill them. But remaining silent could kill an innocent man. Is there ever a time to lie? And what happens when the truth is dangerous? The trio now has to make a choice. But both choices have their price.  So right there, in Coopers backyard, they made a code of silence. They wouldn’t tell anyone about anything that happened that night. But living a lie, comes with a price.

Who Will like this book?:  Teens who enjoy crime series or mystery, and also thrill seekers

If you like this, try reading?: Back Before Dark by Tim Shoemaker

Where can I find a copy?: Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Fairfield Woods Branch Library.  Digital copy downloadable from Hoopla through Fairfield Public Library.

Recommended by: Sophia, Middle School Teen Reader

What Girls Are Made of

 

TitleWhat Girls Are Made Of

Author: Elana K. Arnold

Summary:  This National Book Award for Young People’s Literature finalist examines the life and choices of an every day teen girl.  One day while fourteen-year old Nina Faye was helping her mother fold a sheet, she was “gifted” with the following advice from her mother, “There is no such thing as unconditional love.”  That simple premise was to shape how Nina perceived her relationship with her mother, how she interacted with friends, and what kind of treatment she deemed acceptable from a romantic partner for years to come.   You see, if love is not unconditional you will do anything to get the boy you love to notice you.   And, you will do anything to keep that boy once you have him.  And, when you lose that boy to another, it will crush you and you will wonder how you can get by in life.

Arnold’s writing is stunningly honest and the issues of body image, sexuality, family dynamics, and friendship will be relatable to many.  That being said, it is definitely written for a mature young adult audience as the handling of the above issues is fairly graphic.  It’s also a very sad story and Nina’s choices may be difficult for some readers to appreciate or understand.    As an aside, I highly recommend reading the author’s note.  It will make you view the story you just read in a whole new light.

Who will like this book?  Mature YA readers who like books that deal with gritty, real life situations with all the drama, sadness and loneliness teens sometimes feel.

If you like this, try readingSpeak, Winter Girls, or The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, any book by Ellen Hopkins,  and Whale Talk or Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher.

Where can I find a copy: Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Fairfield Woods Branch Library, Digital copy downloadable from Overdrive through Fairfield Public Library, and audio copy downloadable from Hoopla through Fairfield Public Library.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Teen Librarian

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

a wrinkle in time, graphic novel

Title: A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

Author: Madeleine L’Engle’s classic book adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson

Summary:  If you’re as excited as I am about the upcoming movie A Wrinkle in Time, then you need to pick up this book.  Illustrator, cartoonist and two-time Eisner Award winner (think the comic book industry’s equivalent of the Oscars) Hope Larson inks this fast-paced graphic adaptation of the Madeleine L’engle classic.  Using a palette of blue, black, and white Larson captures the angst filled Meg, the inconceivable genius that is Charles Wallace, and sheer goodness of Calvin in every pane.

The story opens with the introduction of Meg, a thirteen-year old misfit, struggling to deal with the disappearance of her beloved father.  Her scientist mother and her equally misunderstand and underestimated  five-year-old child prodigy brother, Charles Wallace, seem to be the only ones that understand her.  On a stormy night, a new and eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Whatsit, stops in for a visit with Charles Wallace, Meg, and Mrs. Murry.  The next day while exploring, Charles Wallace and Meg run across Calvin, a popular upperclassman from Meg’s school.  Calvin seems to immediately bond with the two because deep down he too has always felt like a misfit.  The trio then go to the home of Mrs. Whatsit and meet up with her equally eccentric/otherworldly companions- Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which.  Shortly thereafter, adventure ensues when the three otherworldly entities enlist the help of the children to find Mr. Murry and quite possibly save the world from ultimate evil.

Who will like this?: Fans of the original book will want to check out this inventive retelling.  If you’ve never tried reading a graphic novel, but love fantasy with a splash of sci-fi this is a great book to start with.

If you like this, try reading:  Some other graphic novel classic retellings such as: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation by Tim Hamilton; Romeo & Juliet, graphic novel adaptation by Garth Hinds; and The Conte of Monte Cristo Manga Classics by Alexandre Dumas (Author),‎ Nokman Poon (Artist),‎ Crystal Chan (Artist)

Where can I find a copy?:  Paper copies can be found at Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, and the Pequot Library.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Teen Librarian