Back Before Dark – A Teen Reader Review

Image result for back before dark tim shoemaker

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

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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

Renegades

renegadesTitle: Renegades

Author: Marissa Meyer

Summary:  In Renegades, Marissa Meyer envisions a world where prodigies, persons  either born with or who attain later in life superhero type attributes, are relatively plentiful.  From being able to transform into a swarm of butterflies to the ability to create bombs out of thin air, the talents of prodigies are varied and unique.  Once they were persecuted and hated, but then a group of prodigies called Anarchists rose up and challenged the status quo, fighting against prodigy persecution and all forms of government and institutions of order and control.  For a time with the Anarchists in control, chaos reigned and those without powers suffered and starved.  Then the Renegades, five mighty prodigies intent on bringing back order and saving the world from itself, battled the Anarchists killing all but a handful.  Now the Renegades are a huge organization and symbol of justice and hope.  They also basically run the world and people without powers seem to be completely dependent on them.

Enter into the scene, Nova, aka Nightmare.  She was only a child when the Anarchists and Renegades fought- a child born with the ability to put a person to sleep by simply a touch.  She’s  a gifted inventor, has some serious fighting skills, and is bent on the destroying the Renegades.  Nova has a reason for hating the Renegades and plotting their demise.  But, some of her venom is tempered when she gets to know a young Renegade name Adrian.  Adrian truly believes in justice and doing the right thing.  But will being Nova’s burgeoning friendship (and possibly a little more) with Adrian be enough to throw her off her mission to destroy the Renegade organization?

Who will like this?:  Meyer’s writing is a hybrid of fantasy and sci-fi.  If you enjoy strong female protagonist, she is the author for you.   She carefully crafts her worlds and characters so readers must be willing to make a commitment to reading the whole story.  Trust me it is worth it…I would read the back of a cereal box if Marissa Meyer wrote it.

If you like this, try reading:  Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series is a must.  For a little more light-hearted and humorous superhero take try Perry Moore’s  Hero.  And,  for a serious, epic tale of good against evil with strong female characters try An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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: 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

All We Have Left

Cover image for All we have left

Title: All We Have Left

Author: Wendy Mills

Summary: Alia and Jesse both have trouble understanding their parents and why they act the way they do. Alia wants to be a comic book artist, but her parents insist that she study for a more ‘respectable’ profession. Jesse knows why her parents are heartbroken: Her brother Travis died inside the World Trade center on 9/11, and they have never gotten over it. Both girls break the rules and have to face the consequences of their actions: Alia loses her chance to study at a prestigious art camp after being caught with someone smoking in the school bathroom and Jesse is ordered to volunteer at a local community center after she and her friends are caught vandalizing a local business. These young women have never met, but they are connected to each other, though neither of them knows it: One of them is living in the past, and the other in the future. Alia will be a firsthand witness to devastation, and Jesse will live through the long wake of its aftermath.

This book is thought-provoking and gut-wrenching. As the stories of Alia, Jesse and Travis  weave together, you will find yourself turning the pages faster and faster to see how it works out, hoping things will be different than you already know are in the end. Serious, surprising and deeply moving, this is a fantastic book to share with the adults in your life: You’ll want to understand more about what they experienced on that terrible and tragic day.

Who will like this book: People who like to cry. Anyone interested in what life was like before and during the attacks on September 11, 2001. Readers who like stories where characters are strangers who are secretly somehow connected to each other.

If you like this, try this: The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan.  For mature readers: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Some Kind of Happiness

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Title: Some Kind of Happiness

Author: Claire Legrand

Summary: Finley can hardly believe that her parents are sending her to stay with her dad’s family – whom she has never even met – for the summer so they can work out their issues with each other. After all, it’s hard enough for her to recover from her crushing bouts of sadness which leave her unable to leave her bed sometimes. At least Finley has the Everwood: a fantastic world she has been crafting and refining her whole life about an enchanted forest filled with secrets and adventure. Carrying her notebook of stories with her, she has no idea what to expect. What she finds is a family brightly bursting with life – sweet-natured cousins, loving aunts and perfectly poised grandparents – and more: a house built on the edge of a wild forest that Finley knows in her heart is the true Everwood she’s been dreaming about. As the summer goes on, it is in this place that she discovers that it’s not just the characters in her stories hiding a devastating secret.

This gorgeous and dramatic book is a must-read for anyone who likes realistic fiction. Finley’s struggle with the reality of her parent’s difficult relationship, the new realization that big families come with expectations, and the unpredictable feelings that threaten to destroy her might break your heart, but you won’t want to put this down until you know how it all turns out. Lyrical and unrelenting, this is a book to share with friends and the adult readers in your life so you can all talk about it together. Finley and her family are unforgettable.

Who will like this book: People who like stories about big families, especially families with secrets. Readers who like books about storytelling and characters with wild imaginations. Aspiring writers. Fans of books featuring mysteries from the past.

If you like this, try this: See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian