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

The Trap


Title: The Trap

Author: John Smelcer

Summary: Albert Least-Weasel has been running his trap line for decades. But even a seasoned Native Alaskan knows that if you lose focus for a moment disaster can strike. In a single instance of carelessness he gets his leg caught in his own trap. He is uninjured, but he cannot reach his supplies and the Alaskan winter is rapidly approaching.

Back in the village, Johnny Least-Weasel is beginning to worry that his grandfather has not returned, even if no one else is concerned. He doesn’t want to embarrass the old man or set him up for ridicule by going out and looking for him. As precious time ticks by, Albert struggles to survive and Johnny struggles to make the right decision.

Told in the alternating voices of Albert and Johnny, this beautifully written novel, like all great adventure stories, ratchets up the tension page by page. You will find yourself unable to put this short book down until you reach the harrowing climax. The Trap is a terrific book for readers of all ages to share with their families.

Who will like this book?: Fans of adventure stories like the Hatchet books by Gary Paulsen. People with an interest in Native Alaskans.

If you like this, try this: For other incredible stories of survival, try Life as We Knew It and The Dead and The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. For older teens interested in the Alaskan way of life, read Looking for Alaska by Peter Jenkins.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian