Monday, May 11, 2015

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

I found this book when the Scholastics Book Fair was at our school. To be honest, I am not sure why I picked it up, since it isn't my typical book. But I am glad I did, I can think of a few girls in my class who love scary, spooky books and this one fits the bill perfectly. Bad Girls Don't Die is about a 15 year old girl who is an outcast at school and doesn't feel really welcome at home either. Alexis's parents are distant and her 13 year old sister has changed a lot in the last little while. As Alexis tries to figure out what is going on with her sister, strange things start happening in her house. Weird noises, doors opening and closing, and her sister losing track of time. It takes some convincing but Alexis starts to realize that her sister is a danger to everyone around her. Alexis turns to her once time enemy in order to find not only support, but also to keep everyone safe. At times I found this book a bit hard to follow, but I really enjoyed the story. Alexis is a neat character who tries to push people away, but is a really great person underneath all of her anger. There are two more books in the series, which I may pick up next time I'm at Chapters. You can check out the book trailer here.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

I read this book a few weeks ago and am only just now getting around to blogging about it. I LOVED this book! It is such a neat concept for a book. Nearly Boswell lives in a trailer park just outside Washington, D.C., her mother is an exotic dancer which makes her a target for the people she goes to school with, so she tries to keep mostly to herself. The other thing she keeps to herself is that fact that when she touches someone, she can taste the emotions of that person. All Nearly wants to do is to win the scholarship from her school so she can go to college. Nearly works very hard at school, her only guilty pleasure is reading the personal ads in the weekly newspaper. One day, she reads an ad that seems very curious and when one of her classmates is injured, it seems that the ad predicted the event. Nearly starts finding these ads and more and more of her classmates are injured or murdered and they all have a connection to her. It seems that someone is setting it up to look like she is a mass murderer. This is a fascinating mystery novel with a science and math twist to it. I thought this book was really well written and very exciting to read. It may be a bit of a challenge for Intermediate students to read, and while there is a bit of mature content- I wouldn't hesitate to give this book to any of my grade 7's.

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Knowing I was going in for knee surgery and that I would have a lot of time to read, I ordered several books from Chapters a few weeks ago. Side Effects May Vary is one of those books. One of the blogs I follow had a list of best YA books and this one caught my eye. Side Effects May Vary is about sixteen year old Alice who is diagnosed with leukaemia and is given a very short time to live. Alice decides to use the time she has left to right some wrongs that she feels are necessary. In order to accomplish this, she asks her childhood friend, and the boy she knows is in love with her to help her with her tasks. Harvey is reluctant to go along with Alice, but he is has never been able to say no to her, and he ends up going along with her. Once Alice has set things straight and is prepared to die, she is given the good news that she is in remission and is expected to live. This ends up confusing Alice- she knew how to die, but she had no idea how to live. One of the things I loved about this story was that it was told not only through two voices: Harvey and Alice, but also in two different times. The story flipped between the present and the past and so the reader has to be very aware of not only who is talking, but when it is happening. I really enjoyed the challenge of reading this book. To be honest, I felt very sorry for Harvey and found Alice to be quite cruel at times to the people who loved her. As much as I loved this story, it is too mature for my grade 7's. I might give it to some mature grade 8's, but I would suggest reading it first if you are concerned about the content.

The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams

I read about The Haven online, it had been getting lots of talk on Twitter, so I picked it up last week at Chapters. The Haven is a dystopian novel set in 2020. It is the story of Shiloh who lives with other teens at Haven Hospital. In this hospital, the teens every movement is controlled and monitored. What they eat, wear, exercise and when they sleep. They have been taught to listen to the adults and to follow all the rules. They know that as Terminals, they are kept at Haven Hospital in order to stop the Disease from spreading. But there are times when one of the teens must leave because the disease is in them. All the teens live in fear of being taken away. Shiloh knows she is different from the rest because she remembers things that others don't remember, and when she mets Gideon, who also remembers things he forces her to learn the truth about the hospital and why they are kept inside. I read this book in one sitting today, I enjoyed it and was curious as to what was going to happen. But I felt that the ending wrapped up too quickly and I had trouble following what happened. I am assuming there will be a sequel (because don't all dystopian novels come in groups of three?) I am just not sure I will read the next one.