Tuesday, April 19, 2011

This Librarian's Quick Picks: High School Edition

book cover of The Queen of Water by Laura Resau
The Queen of Water
by Laura Resau
Genre: Fiction


Living in a village in Ecuador, a Quechua Indian girl is sent to work as an indentured servant for an upper class "mestizo" family. 

Why you'll love it:
  • Rooted in Farinango’s true story, the honest, first-person, present-tense narrative is occasionally detailed and repetitive, but it dramatizes the classic search for home with rare complexity and no sentimentality or easy resolutions. 
  •  Bright spots of humor and warmth are woven throughout, and readers will agonize for Virginia while seething at her tormentors. 
  • The complexities of class and ethnicity within Ecuadorian society are explained seamlessly within the context of the first-person narrative, and a glossary and pronunciation guide further help to plunge readers into the novel's world. 

book cover of The Darlings are Forever by Melissa Kantor
The Darlings Are Forever
by Melissa Kantor
Genre: Fiction


Best friends Jane, Victoria, and Natalya, who call themselves the Darlings, find their relationship tested when they start their freshman year at three very different high schools. 

Why You'll Love It:
  • The girls are easy to care about, and the message-that true friendships can change and grow and still be maintained-will appeal to fans of Ann Brashares's "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series (Delacorte).
  • The problems and crises that arise are credible and not always predictable, the dialogue rings true, and the girls are well-developed characters that avoid stereotype.
  • The third-person narration shifts from girl to girl as it sensitively explores their experiences.

book cover of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Between Shades of Gray
by Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Historical Fiction


In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author's family, includes a historical note.

Why You'll Love It:
  • A tender and moving story filled with details that make the places and events described come to life.
  • Ruta Sepetys drew inspiration for the book, her first novel, from interviews with Lithuanian refugees and her own family’s experiences. Not surprisingly, then, the characters, with all their foibles, dreams, and flaws, are incredibly realistic and sympathetic.
  • Though the book has heavy themes, readers will race through it, desperate to know what happens next.

book cover of Consumed by Kate Cann
by Kate Cann
Genre: Supernatural Fiction


A new manager brings many changes to Morton's Keep, capitalizing on its gothic atmosphere and history, but Rayne sees ominous signs indicating that the one thing that has not changed is the evil presence she had thought was destroyed.

Why You'll Love It:
  • Kate Cann is a top-notch suspense writer, weaving together a murder mystery with pagan folklore to build to a thrilling climactic confrontation of good versus evil.
  • Rayne’s spot-on teenage uncertainties, her complex romance with Ethan, and the small details of life at Morton’s Keep create a convincing reality, making the story’s supernatural elements even more striking.
  • Readers of Possessed, the previous book, will be uneasy as the mysterious new manager, Miss Skelton, gradually takes control of Morton’s Keep. (Those new to the series may want to start with Possessed to enhance their experience.) 

book cover of Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones
Blink and Caution
by Tim Wynne-Jones
Genre: Fiction


Blink, hoping to steal some breakfast, is forced to go on the run after stumbling upon the fake kidnapping of a CEO and recovering the man's cell phone, and he meets up with Caution, a girl trying to ditch her drug-dealing boyfriend, who identifies Blink as a mark until he tugs at her heart strings.

Why You'll Love It:
  • The crime-drama element of the novel, involving a dispute over corporate uranium mining on Indian-owned land, has enough suspense and action to keep readers interested while they forge a connection with the main characters.
  • Separate narratives-with spot-on dialogue and an effective use of a second-person point of view-come together to unite the two characters in a breathtaking thriller as they search for the kidnapped businessman and maybe make a fair sum of money in the process.
  • Wynne-Jones does an excellent job of portraying the pair's budding relationship as they learn to trust one another in highly charged circumstances.


Ms. Yingling said...

Possessed and Consumed sound good; I'll have to track down copies. You're reading a lot of the same things I am!

Kate said...

I'm going to have to track down copies of a few of these. I'm not normally a huge "YA" fan, but The Queen of Water and Blink and Caution both look very interesting.

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