Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This Librarian's Quick Picks: High School Edition

Cloaked by alex Flinn book cover
by Alex Flinn


Seventeen-year-old Johnny is approached at his family's struggling shoe repair shop in a Miami, Florida, hotel by Alorian Princess Victoriana, who asks him to find her brother who was turned into a frog.

Why You'll Love It:
  • Because it's the sequel to Beastly! Haven't read it yet? Go read it now.
  • Instead of a well-known classic, several lesser-known tales combine here to give the book a nice blend of the familiar (the frog who needs a kiss to transform) and the novel (how will a puny kid best two giants?).
  • Rapid action and amusing situations make it a quick read that will easily entice even reluctant readers.

The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone book cover
The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Doll's History and Her Impact on Us
by Tanya Lee Stone
Genre: Nonfiction


Explores how Barbie has influenced generations of girls, discussing criticisms of the doll, her role in fashion, and her surprising popularity during her first fifty years.

Why You'll Love It:
  • Direct quotes from women and girls showcase the variety of feelings that Barbie engenders.
  • Stone discusses Barbie's cultural relevance at length, from her numerous careers and the many races and nationalities she's represented to debates about her effect on girls' body image and even her resonance in the art world.
  • There's a whole chapter on how kids sometimes destroy their Barbies!

I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison book cover
I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend: A Secret Diary
by Cora Harrison
Genre: Historical Fiction


In a series of journal entries, Jenny Cooper describes her stay with cousin Jane Austen in the 1790s, and her entrance into Jane's world of beautiful dresses, dances, secrets, gossip, and romance.

Why You'll Love It:

•A novel reminiscent of Jane Austen’s own works, with sharp analyses of the British class system and societal expectations, as well as misunderstandings that hamper romances.
•Cora Harrison strives to create a balanced picture of the Austens—while they are a warm-hearted, fun-loving family for the most part, they also left Jane’s mentally disabled brother to be raised by neighbors. Harrison doesn’t demonize them for this but neither does she gloss over it.
•Provides a detailed portrait of life during the Georgian period. The extensive author’s note offers greater insight into Jenny’s story and Austen family history.
•Numerous drawings and copied bits of correspondence lend an air of authenticity to this fictional diary.

Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart book cover
Real Live Boyfriends
by E. Lockhart


As a senior at her Seattle prep school, Ruby continues her angst-filled days and copes with the dilemmas of boyfriends, college applications, and her parents' squabbling, but comes to realize that her "deranged" persona may no longer apply.

Why You'll Love It:

•Real Live Boyfriends maintains the unique charm of the previous Ruby Oliver novels while taking Ruby and her parents, friends, and goats into new emotional territory.
•A spot-on portrayal of the loving gestures, calamitous miscommunications, and nerve-racking uncertainties of a serious relationship. Ruby and Noel make an especially believable, endearing couple.
•The book’s themes of love and self-image come to life in candid documentary transcripts, revealing footnotes, and Ruby’s ruthlessly honest voice.
•E. Lockhart has written a gratifying, moving finale to an outstanding series.

A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux book cover
A Time of Miracles
by Anne-Laure Bondoux


In the early 1990s, a boy with a mysterious past and the woman who cares for him endure a five-year journey across the war-torn Caucasus and Europe, weathering hardships and welcoming unforgettable encounters with other refugees searching for a better life.

Why You'll Love It:

•An enchanting novel that mixes grand storytelling with an unflinching look at the harsh realities of poverty.
•Kouma├»l is endearingly earnest and has a great eye for detail. His winning voice comes through clearly in Y. Maudet’s translation of Anne-Laure Bondoux’s novel, originally published in French.
•Set in the Republic of Georgia, the Caucasus, and Europe around the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse in the early 1990s, the book offers glimpses of a dramatic time in history and fascinating locales that will be new to many readers.


Zibilee said...

A lot of these look like they'd be great reads for my daughter, but that Barbie book looks like something for me! Thanks for sharing all this with us!

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

Even though not a teenager, myy daughter grabbed the Barbie book from the library a couple of weeks ago and won't let it go. I finally told her yesterday, it's time to return it!

Mystica said...

I like the Cora Harrison and Bondoux books!

Ladytink_534 said...

I still have to read Beastly but I really want to! Cloaked sounds great too. Oh a Barbie book! I always find books like that interesting. All kinds of interesting reads here.

Ann Summerville said...

Thanks for the reviews.

Alyce said...

In high school one of my more eccentric friends took a lighter to a barbie doll just to see what would happen. It was disturbing how quickly that doll melted.

ivanova said...

I just read lockhart's Real Live Boyfriends, and I agree!

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