The Gospel of Winter

Title: The Gospel of Winter

Author: Brendan Kiely

Summary:  This dramatic tale takes place just months after 9/11, but unfortunately it is a storyline that could be ripped from the headlines at any time.  We enter the story at Christmas time right at the start of Aidan Donovan’s mother’s annual Christmas Eve party, a party that is anything but joyous for Aidan.  It’s been a dark time for Aidan with his parents separating and Aidan seeking solace in his Dad’s wet bar and a bottle of Adderall.   Earlier in the year, Aidan turned to the one adult who would listen to him- a person he placed his trust in, the charismatic priest, Father Greg.  Gradually, however Aidan allows himself to recognize the inappropriate and dark nature of Father Greg’s attentions.  Attention that makes him doubt those remaining adults around him and the few friends he is letting get close to him.  And, things become even more complicated when Aidan realizes he isn’t Father Greg’s only victim, nor is Father Greg’s behavior as much of a secret as he thought.

Who will like this book:  This is a story for mature readers. While Aidan is a fictional character, the 2002 sexual abuse scandal that took place in the Catholic Archdiocese was very real.   The subject matter is disturbing,  but I think it’s an important story that needs to be told.  The author, Brendan Kiely, draws the reader into the lives of Aidan and his family and friends in a way that helps readers understand the conflicting emotions that this type of abuse creates. He also gives us some insight into the very deliberate way abusers pick and groom their victims.

If you like this, try this: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher, Boy Toy by Barry Lyga, Exposed by Kimberly Marcus and Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Recommended by:  Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian




Title: Zom-B

Author: Darren Shan

Summary: It begins in a remote village in Ireland.   Footage of vicious zombie attacks and brutal military responses goes viral.  B’s London-based gang of friends and family see the clips, but everyone seems to think it is some kind of hoax.  Some think it is a promo for an upcoming film, others theorize that it is a terrorist plot, or even the ultimate practical joke.  Life goes on for everyone in the rest of the world.

And, life for B means dealing with an abusive and racist father, protecting a battered mother, hanging tough in front of friends, and going to school.   Potential zombies aside, the biggest issue in B’s life is dealing with the urge to go against Dad’s bigotry.  Sometimes it is just easier to agree with him because an unhappy Dad is a violent one.  Unfortunately, it’s becoming evident that  B’s decision to just pretend to go along with Dad’s views is beginning to influence how B behaves towards kids from other racial backgrounds.  Even at school, B is receiving mixed messages about tolerance and B’s finding it hard to separate right from wrong.

However, that internal struggle is momentarily sidelined the day B’s school is attacked by zombies.  The attack is sudden, and B and a group of diverse students  must get over their shock and disbelief immediately if they are to escape the carnage.

Who will like this book?:  This incredibly fast-paced book is great for fans of action and, of course, zombies.  There are some graphic novel-type illustrations that further enhance Darren Shan’s creepy vision of the zombie apocalypse.   This addictive first of a proposed 12 book series already has the next three books in print and subsequent ones are scheduled to be released approximately three months apart.

If you like this, try this:  Of course continue on with the series!  But while you wait, get hooked on Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin series, Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel series The Walking Dead, and Charlie Higson’s The Dead.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian