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

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Flunked

FlunkedTitle: Flunked

Author: Jen Calonita

Summary:  Twelve-year old Gilly isn’t a bad kid, she’s just done some bad things.  Or, at least the rest of the Enchantasia thinks Gilly’s thieving ways are signs of a tween heading in the wrong direction.  What they don’t take into account is that Gilly steals to keep her siblings fed and provide them with the occasional extra treat or gift.  Unfortunately for Gilly, since motives don’t matter, when she is caught stealing for the third time she is immediately sentenced to the latest development for transforming wayward kids into upstanding citizens- Fairy Tale Reform School (“FTRS”).

FTRS was founded by Flora, the fairly-recently reformed and formerly wicked step-mother of Cinderella, upon realizing the error of her ways and wishing to make amends by helping mischievous youth.  And, FTRS doesn’t just offer troubled youths a second chance, it’s also staffed by former villains like the Sea Witch and Big Bad Wolf.   But with Pegasus riding, big prepared meals, new friends, and only having to share a spacious tower room with one roommate, Gilly is finding reform school really isn’t much of a punishment.  In fact, if she didn’t have a family to worry about it’s the kind of place a kid could get used to.  Then mysterious and dangerous events start to occur, and Gilly and her friends are beginning to wonder if all of their teachers have truly left their villainous ways in the past.

Who will like this?:  This light, quick read is a great selection for middle grade readers who enjoy fairy tale retellings.

If you like this, try reading: The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer, Ever After High series by Shannon Hale, and Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski.

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

There’s Someone Inside Your House

there's someone insdie your house

Title: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Summary:  Known for her YA romances, Stephanie Perkins steps out of her comfort zone with this horror/thriller.  Fans of hers don’t despair though, there is still some romance, it just takes a backseat to a serial killer on the loose.  Perkins gives her audience two mysteries to keep them flipping those pages as fast as their brains can process the words.  The first centers around our main character Makani Young.  Raised in Hawaii, she’s a recent transplant to Nebraska.  She was sent to live with her grandmother under the guise of taking care of her, but there’ a story behind her banishment from paradise.  What could she have done to warrant losing all her friends and having her parents turn their backs on her?

Now if worrying about Makani and her secret past weren’t enough, readers will be riveted by the fast-paced death count racked up by a mysterious serial killer.  The murders are grisly and the motivation is unknown.  The killer appears to be unstoppable and on a mission.  Makani seems to be his list, but in order to fight a killer she just might need to make peace with her past.

Who will like this?:  Obviously fans of thrillers and horror will tear through this one.  It’s a good starter book for those new to the genre because there is also a romance and friendship subplot.

If you like this, try reading: One of Us is Lying by Karin McManus or Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Where can I find a copy?: A paper copy can be found Fairfield Public Library and a digital copy is downloadable from Overdrive through Fairfield Public Library.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

 

One of Us Is Lying

One of us is lying

Title: One of Us Is Lying

Author: Karen M McManus

Summary:  The set-up for this book is Breakfast Club meets Locked-Room Mystery.  Five high school students walk into detention: Brownyn- the Brain, Addy- the Princess,  Nate-the Criminal, Cooper- the Athlete, and Simon- the Outcast and creator of the school’s notorious gossip app.  Unfortunately, only four students walk out of detention.  It’s no spoiler to tell you, that before the end of detention Simon is dead and it doesn’t look like it was an accident.  When the school gossip dies everyone seems to have a motive- especially the four students in the room when it happens.  Because, as it just so happens the latest gossip Simon was set to post would have revealed each of their darkest secrets.

While the mystery is good, what truly sets this book apart are the author’s character development and her exploration of the dark secrets with which each character is struggling.

Who will like this?:  Fans of mystery and suspense will fly through this one.

If you like this, read thisWe Were Liars by E Lockhart, The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, and Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Recommended by: Jen, Teen Librarian

Here We Are

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Title: Here We Are: 44 Voices Write, Draw and Speak About Feminism

Editor: Kelly Jensen

Summary: “There’s no right way and no wrong way. There are no dead ends. The journey is always changing, always shifting, and influenced by our own experiences and perspectives.” This diverse collection of superbly-written essays, sharply-drawn comics, fun lists and engrossing interviews is a fantastic compendium of contemporary thought on the history, evolution, and current state of feminism for every reader. Organized into topics including body image, gender, sexuality, pop culture, relationships, confidence, and independence, these pieces will introduce you to the concept of intersectionality (the idea that social categorizations are overlapping and interdependent) and encourage you to find your own definition of what it means to be a feminist.Because it’s a collection, you can read just on topics that interest you, pick the pieces by writers you love, or take on the whole thing and discover new voices who will challenge you to see the world in a new way.

Heartfelt stories from beloved writers and artists including Laurie Halse Anderson, Mindy Kaling, Malinda Lo, Liz Prince, Laverne Cox and Daniel Jose Older, as well as pieces from some extraordinary ‘ordinary’ women who have made a difference through their lives and work make this a terrific collection for anyone interested learning more about the many ways one can approach the challenges of what it means to be a woman.  Sure to start some amazing conversations, Here We Are is a great book to read and talk about during Women’s History Month, and that should be shared amongst family and friends.

Who will like this book?: Anyone interested in learning about what it means to be a feminist today. Readers who are sure they are not feminist: You might be surprised to learn that maybe…you are!

If you like this, read this: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Bossypants by Tina Fey. For mature readers: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

 

The Emotionary

emotion

Title: The Emotionary: A Dictionary of Words That Don’t Exist for Feelings that Do

Author: Eden Sher

Illustrator: Julia Wertz

Summary: Are you a ‘big-time feeler?’ Actress (best known for her stellar comedic work as Sue Heck on The Middle) Eden Sher is – to the point where she sometimes would have a hard time expressing her emotions through words. In order to overcome this, she began creating her own portmanteaus (a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others – think ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’ becoming brunch) to try and describe her the times when her feelings couldn’t be described by any existing definition. The result is this hilarious and charming collection of new words for the times that you just…can’t.

eden

Featuring delightful illustrations by Julia Wertz, often depicting her friendship with Sher and the construction of the book itself, this collection is a fast-paced and wickedly funny dive into the world of conflicting emotions. You’ll laugh, but you’ll also find yourself nodding your head in wonder as you discover that other people have the same feelings as you, and you may be relieved to finally find a way to define those tricky, complicated emotions you’ve had to deal with.

Who will like this book?: This is a great choice for any reader. Those afflicted with all the feels. Fans of Sher from her television work. Anyone feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed who needs a book that isn’t too silly but will still make them laugh.

If you like this, try this: For a classic spin on the clever redefining of words, try The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. Another wildly imaginative use of language – in this case, the alphabet – to shape a story, Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Terrible Typhoid Mary

typhoid

Title: Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America

Author: Susan Bartoletti Campbell

Summary: In turn-of-the-century America, typhoid was a serious and deadly illness. It was spread through unsanitary behaviors such as not properly washing hands or living in close contact with sick people in cramped environments. However, this was before people understood ‘germ theory’ – the idea that microscopic things, invisible to they eye – cause disease. For many people, this was not science, but silliness. Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant with an impeccable record as a servant and cook employed by rich families in New York City, was a medical marvel: While she carried the typhoid bacteria, she was not herself, visibly ill or suffering from the symptoms of the disease. After several outbreaks in homes she worked in, including some that were fatal, Ms. Mallon was identified as the cause and her life and reputation would never be the same.

This engaging story brings up many interesting questions: Did ‘Typhoid Mary’ understand what she was doing? Was she a villain or a victim? Did she deserve the treatment she received at the hands of authorities? Can science always be trusted? How should we treat people who are ill in our society? Should they share the same rights as healthy people? A true story that echoes through our society to this day, this book will give you chills and make you want to wash your hands, right away.

Who will like this book?: Younger readers who like true stories of science, medicine and illness. People interested in history, especially medical history of the history of New York City. Anyone who likes a story with a secretive main character.

If you like this, try this: Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow. The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz. Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian