Title: Respossessed

Author: A.M. Jenkins

Summary:  Kiriel is getting tired of his thankless job and is in desperate need of a little vacation.  Sound familiar?  The twist is that Kiriel is a fallen angel and his thankless job is reflecting back, rather like a mirror,  all the misery and guilt that tear up and torment souls in hell.  And, Kiriel’s idea of a vacation involves hijacking the body of Shaun, a human just seconds away from being crushed to death by an oncoming car.  Once in Shaun’s body, Kiriel gets a chance to experience what he has only been allowed to observe.  Ketchup, baths, writing utensils, and fruit loops are just a few experiences Kiriel relishes.  But human life is not just about experiencing materialistic pleasures: Kiriel must also deal with the people in Shaun’s life including his divorced mother, isolated and angry little brother, the school bully, and the girl who has secretly been nursing a crush on Shaun. 

Who will like this book?:  Those who appreciate a witty, thought-provoking, fast-paced book.  Through Kiriel’s thoughts and experiences, A.M. Jenkins has created a venue for considering not just human life but the concepts of good versus evil, and the afterlife. 

If you liked this, try this: Night Road by A.M. Jenkins. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. One Whole and Perfect Day by Judith Clarke

Recommended by: Jen, Branch Teen Librarian


A Northern Light


Title: A Northern Light

Author: Jennifer Donnelly

Summary: Unlike many girls in the Great North Woods at the turn of the century, Mattie Gokey is gifted: She is a writer so talented she has been offered a full scholarship to Barnard College. But how can she leave? Since her mamma died, it has been Mattie’s job to run the farmhouse and look after her sisters, neighbors and her gruff pa. To earn money for the family, Mattie goes to work at the Glenmore Hotel. One day she is handed a bundle of letters by a guest named Grace, who asks her to burn them. Hours later, Grace’s body is found in the lake, and the boyfriend who took her out rowing is nowhere to be found. As Mattie begins to read the letters and piece together the mystery, she also begins to answer the questions of her own life: Should she stay and marry her gorgeous neighbor Royal, who doesn’t understand her love of books and words, or take her chances in New York and chase her dream of becoming a writer?  

The book is based on a real murder case that was the basis for the classic novel An American Tragedy and the film A Place in the Sun. But it is the fictional Mattie’s struggle to define herself in an era where girls had so few choices and little say in their futures that will linger long after the final page has been turned.

Who will like this book?: People who like fiction based on true stories. Fans of authentic characters with a lot of depth and honesty.

If you like this, try this: An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser. For another unforgettable, beautifully written historical novel featuring a book-loving heroine, try The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Looking for Alaska


Title: Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Summary: Miles Halter is making a major change in his life: He is leaving his home in Florida to attend a boarding school in Alabama. When he arrives, skinny Miles is nicknamed ‘Pudge’ by his new roommate Chip (aka ‘the Colonel’), who also introduces him to the girl of his dreams. Her name is Alaska. She is smart, gorgeous, and just a little crazy. Miles falls right into their social circle, sneaking drinks, experimenting with girls and pulling pranks on the school’s strict headmaster and snobby students. He also falls hard for Alaska, even though she has a boyfriend away at college.

But finally falling in love doesn’t make life any less complicated, especially when the person you fall for is Alaska. As the book goes from counting the ‘days before’ to the ‘days after,’ you realize something big is going to happen. When it does, Miles has to deal with the devastating aftermath. This Printz Award-winning book will leave you wondering, as Miles does, about ‘The Great Perhaps’ of your own life.

Who will like this book?: Mature readers who like realistic fiction. It is a funny book, but it is also quite sophisticated in the way it describes growing up, being a guy, and falling in love.

If you like this, try this: Green’s second novel, An Abundance of Katherines. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. King Dork by Frank Portman.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Wednesday Wars


Title: The Wednesday Wars

Author: Gary D. Schmidt

Summary: Not since Stanley Yelnats has there been a more oddly-named character than seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood. That name isn’t the only tough break in Holling’s life – growing up on Long Island in 1967, he is the only kid in class that doesn’t get to leave school early for religion classes on Wednesdays at the Catholic church or Jewish synagogue. That means he gets to spend those afternoons – alone – with Mrs. Baker, his tough as nails, no-fun English teacher. And what torment does Mrs. Baker have in store for poor Holling…reading the works of William Shakespeare! As if life wasn’t complicated enough with the news reports from Vietnam and two escaped class pet rats lurking in the ceiling above his desk…

As the book moves from September to June, Holling discovers a lot about himself, Mrs. Baker, and his town – that you shouldn’t always trust your first impression of someone, that sometimes you have stand up for yourself even when it seems impossible, and that there are some pretty good curses in Shakespeare!  

Who will like this book?: If you have ever had a favorite teacher that you hated when you first met them, this is the book for you. This is a great book for someone looking for something funny but not silly, about friendship, school and family life, and for people who like stories with happy, not sappy, endings!

If you like this, try this: For another funny story about ordinary kids living in complicated times, featuring a guy with a terrible name, try Rex Zero and the End of the World by Tim Wynne-Jones.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian