I Hunt Killers

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Title: I Hunt Killers

Author: Barry Lyga

Summary: Most fathers share favorite pastimes with their sons. Using time on the ball field or fixing things around the house as a way to build a relationship and pass on important life skills. But when your Dad is one of the world’s most infamous serial killers, father-son bonding takes on a gruesome aspect. For Jasper (Jazz) Dent childhood was a time spent learning how to become the perfect serial killer. Ever since Jazz can remember, his father groomed him to take over the family business of killing. He has witnessed crimes that would turn the stomachs of experienced cops and understands a crime scene the way a cop never will- from the eyes of criminal.

When Jazz’s father is caught and put away for life, Jazz thinks that way of life is over. He wants nothing more than to sink into normalcy. But when a killer strikes in his sleepy hometown of Lobo’s Nod, Jazz realizes he may hold the key to ending the rampage. Who better to catch a killer than someone who has been trained to think like one? The only problem is Jazz is beginning to wonder if he may truly become his father’s son and take up where dear old dad left off.

Who will like this book?: Fans of horror and fast-paced thrillers will love seeing the world through the eye’s of a complex character like Jazz. Despite the creepy premise, this book is written with humor and overarching themes of friendship and even romance. Fans of the show Dexter will also enjoy the storyline of a young boy being taught how to get away with murder and the demons with which he wrestles to properly channel those urges.

If you like this, try this: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride or Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.  For a more serious, historical story about teens trained as assassins try Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin by Robin La Fevers.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

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The Age of Miracles

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Title: The Age of Miracles

Author: Karen Thompson Walker

Summary: Julia is an ordinary girl about to embark on an ordinary summer day: Breakfast with her parents, a soccer game, a sleepover with her best friend. She doesn’t know that in every possible way, this is the last ordinary day she will ever have. For some reason, the Earth’s rotation is slowing down. As scientists try to discover why this is happening and people do their best to carry on, the days get longer: 25 hours. 30 hours. 40 hours of sun. Society begins to change as some people stick to clock time: keeping a 24 hour day even if it means sleeping through the bright sunshine; while others attempt to live within the new rhythms of light and dark.

As this slow apocalypse continues, Julia lives her life: friendships that end and begin, growing suspicions about how much the adults in her life really understand about themselves and what is going on around them and planning for an uncertain and maybe even non-existent future. This is a stunningly good book for readers who like science fiction that tells the story of regular people dealing with incredible circumstances. If you like books that make you think about what you would do if you were a character in the story, this one is for you.

Who will like this book?: This is a great book for sophisticated readers who like science fiction that tells the story of regular people dealing with incredible circumstances. If dystopian stories (like The Hunger Games, Matched and Divergent) are your thing, give this book a try.

If you like this, try this: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Ashfall by Mike Mullin. Trapped by Michael Northrop.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Chopsticks

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Title: Chopsticks

Author: Jessica Anthony

Designer: Rodrigo Corral

Summary: Glory is a piano prodigy who lost her mother when she was young. Her father, a music teacher, has raised her to be the next big thing in classical music and she becomes famous for reinterpreting the classics by weaving in rock and roll and other whimsical songs, like her favorite, the famous Chopsticks waltz. When Frank Mendoza, an Argentinian boy with a talent for drawing, moves in next door he and Glory begin to fall in love  but things deteriorate rapidly when Glory’s father takes her on a world tour. Soon she is unable to perform anything but Chopsticks. Upon returning home Glory disappears…or does she?

This unique story – a sort-of graphic novel told entirely through pictures, IMs, newspaper clippings, letters, and other items – forces you to piece together the truth as you read. You learn about Glory’s childhood and Frank’s rebellious streak and as soon as you think you know where it is all heading, Chopsticks shifts direction. Even though the evidence is right in front of you, the ending will be a shock to your system. In fact, you’ll probably want to read it all over again from the beginning (just like I did!) to pick apart the clues you didn’t even know where there. Chopsticks, a collaboration between author Anthony and legendary book cover-and-graphic designer Corral, is a haunting puzzle that will stick with you for a long time.

Who will like this book?: People who like strange and quirky books. Anyone who likes a good mystery where the clues seem to be right in front of you the whole time. Romantic-types looking for a unique love story.

If you like this, try this: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

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Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Summary: When Mara Dyer wakes up in a hospital she has no idea how she got there.  She doesn’t remember what she was doing in the building that collapsed and left her trapped until rescuers pulled her free.  And, she doesn’t remember that the three friends who accompanied her into the building weren’t so lucky.  All Mara knows is that she seems to have a very loose grasp on her sanity and that she can’t continue to live in the same town and go to the same school without her now dead best friend.

To help her deal with her post-traumatic stress disorder, Mara’s family packs up and moves to Florida where Mara and her older brother enroll at a prep school.  The only problem is Mara’s mental illness appears to be progressing to the point where she is now seeing things and people who no one else can see.  It’s definitely not the right time to get involved with the school heartbreaker, but he might be just what Mara needs in her life.  Because, he may hold the key to understanding Mara’s visions/hallucinations and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the deadly accident that brought them together.

Who will like this book?: Fans of paranormal mysteries with a healthy dose of Twilight-like romance will fly through this page-turner.  The only part you won’t like is waiting for the sequel to come out in the fall.

If you like this, try this: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Fallen by Lauren Kate, or City of Bones by Cassandra Clare,

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

A Monster Calls

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Title: A Monster Calls

Author: Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd

Illustrator: Jim Kay

Summary: When the giant yew tree from Conor’s backyard comes to life it doesn’t really scare  him. Because it’s not the monster he’d been expecting. Not the one from the nightmares he’s been having ever since his mom got sick. This monster is different: He is ancient, wise and a little snarky. As we follow Conor through his days being picked on at school, reuniting with his visiting Dad who has moved to America to start a new family and battling with his grandmother who insists he start planning for a future without his mom, the monster visits at night and tells Conor three stories. They are not what Conor expects them to be, but they force him to confront both the demonic monster of his nightmares and the reasons for its existence.

Like the monster’s stories themselves, this book is not what you expect it to be. It might sound like a typical kid-with-sick-mom story with a monster thrown in for good measure. But just when you think you know how the story will go, it will take another surprising turn. Patrick Ness, author of the terrific Chaos Walking trilogy and talented illustrator Jim Kay, who provides dynamic and just-plain-creepy images throughout, completed this book after Siobhan Dowd’s untimely death. Like her stories, this tale is so much more than the sum of its parts. This short book tells a story about growing up that you will never forget.

Who will like this book?: Readers of all ages who like a lot of heart and soul with their thrills and chills. Fans of fractured fairy tales and illustrated novels.

If you like this, try this: M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman. Harvey: How I Became Invisible by Herve Bouchard.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

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Title: This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

Author:  Kenneth Oppel

Summary:  Written as a prequel to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this story introduces us to a young Victor Frankenstein and his twin brother, Konrad. They are as close as two people can be, yet in some ways their personalities are in direct odds with each other.  Konrad is the one everyone loves and respects.  He is smarter, more athletic, and kinder and it all seems to come so easily for him. Victor knows Konrad is the better of the pair and deep in his heart he is starting to resent his brother’s goodness.   

Then Konrad becomes deathly ill. Doctors can’t seem to cure him, but Victor believes he has found a way. Hidden in a secret underground dark library Victor finds a book on potions that contains an entry for the forbidden Elixir of Life. Victor enlists the help of his cousin Elizabeth and friend Henry to embark on a dangerous mission to collect the ingredients for this lifesaving draught.  Victor knows he can save his brother if only he is willing to go against everything he was raised to believe, forgo the love of which he dreams, and sacrifice a part of himself.    

Who will like this?: Oppel’s tale of gothic horror holds appeal to fans of adventure, alchemy, heart-wrenching emotions, love, and mystery.

If you like this, try this: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey.

Recommended by: Jen, Branch Teen Librarian

Find this book at the Fairfield Public Library or Fairfield Woods Branch Library.

Divergent

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Title: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Summary:  In this dystopian thriller society is divided into five factions.  Each faction is devoted to the cultivation of a particular virtue Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (brave), Amity (peaceful), and Erudite (intelligence.)  Every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select a faction.  Up to this point, the teen has been raised in the faction of their parents. If a teen elects to switch factions they will be separated from family and friends and thrust into a new and unknown life.

This year Beatrice Prior and her brother, Caleb, will make their selections.   Beatrice can elect to stay at home with her family and become a member of Abnegation or she can be true to who she really is. What Beatrice decides surprises everyone, including herself. 

But, before Beatrice can become a member of the faction of her choice she must compete in a merciless initiation.  If she fails she will become factionless, for some a fate worse than death.  While struggling through initiation, she makes new friends, finds a boy she may like, and discovers a hidden conflict that could destroy entire factions.  She also guards a secret about herself that could mean her death if it became known to faction leaders. 

Who will like this?  Fans of The Hunger Games trilogy will enjoy this futuristic thriller and its strong-willed main character.

If you like this, try this: Matched by Ally Condie. Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian