Archive for October, 2008

Good Enough by Paula Yoo

Good Enough by Paula Yoo
High school senior Patti Yoon is so busy juggling 7 AP classes, being concertmistress of the all-state orchestra and taking practice SAT exams every night, that she doesn’t really have time to figure out what she wants for herself. Her immigrant parents fully expect her to be accepted into Harvard/Princeton/Yale, but Patti also considers pursuing her music, until her parents explain this career path is “too risky” . Patti soon develops a serious, unrequited crush on Cute Trumpet Guy, who introduces Patti to the world of punk and rock concerts and challenges Patti’s knee-jerk reaction to do just what her parents expect by applying to Julliard without their knowledge. The book is told with a very light tough, with plenty of humor about growing up in a Korean-American household . Amusing chapter titles like How to Please Your Korean-American Parents Part 4 and recipes for Korean food are sprinkled throughout. Who knew that Koreans were big fans of Spam! Yoo thankfully resists the impulse to make Patti’s parents villians and Patti embraces much of her Korean heritage in this affectionate story.
Grade 7 and up Bettyjane Surabian – Rye
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October 15, 2008 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

Jerk California by Jonathan Friesen

Although this book feels a bit scattered and slightly confusing in the very beginning, bouncing around in time periods of the protagonists life, it quickly falls into a nice groove as you are invited into the life of an 18 year old boy with Tourrette’s syndrome living in a “middle of nowhere” kind of country town. Sam has always blamed his problems on his Tourrette’s and, in turn, on his father who died wrecklessly, abandoning him and his mother when he was 2 years old and passing to him this “freak” disease. However, as the book progresses we learn along with Sam that everything that his “new father” has told him about his “real father” is a lie – and we can only see just how bad this “new father” is as Sam discovers this for himself. Sam’s emotional journey is prodded along by a carefully planned road trip mapped out by a very good friend of his “real father” that he ends up taking with a mesmorizingly beautiful girl with problems of her own. This is a very well written book about self discovery that feels a little bit more complex and dense than your average YA book. I would recommend this mostly to high schoolers, but it is certainly not inappropriate for advanced 7th or 8th grade readers.
(Review by Amy Kaplan)

October 3, 2008 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

Dough: A Memoir by Mort Zachter

What would you do if you discovered that your two work-a-holic uncles who you thought were poorer than dirt turned out to have stashed millions away in various money market accounts, in fruit cake boxes and the stock market? You’d scream then get really angry – especially if it happened to you later in life. Especially if it happened when it was almost too late and the government took most of it in taxes. Especially if it was a true story – it is – you must read this slim award winning memoir about dough, the kind you eat and the kind you wish you had lots of. Published as an adult book this wry tale of a dysfunctional family, without any scissors or knives in the closet, delightfully relates the impressions of a teen boy growing up in a Jewish household on the lower east side and working hard to get an education to escape working poverty. One of the other store owners on the block happen on the idea of selling fruit teas – Snapple anyone?  Non-Fiction, 13+ (AWP Award Series in Creative Non-Ficiton). (Review by Kate Colquitt, Greenburgh)

October 3, 2008 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

The Adoration Of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson

Jenna can touch her fingers together but can not make them criss-cross. Her feet drag on the floor as she tries to walk and her memory is full of nothing except enormous encyclopedic information. Nothing feels real about who seventeen year-old Jenna Fox should be. Her family tells her it is because of the accident she had over a year ago. She has just awoken from a coma with perfect skin, a brilliant mind void of any knowledge of her past and living as far away as possible from her original home. She is without a prince to help her awaken from her surreal world until she meets him at her new school. Slowly she begins to unravel the truth behind why she is not disfigured, why she is two inches shorter and why everyone hates her. Jenna doesn’t remember much of her former life and wonders if the faint voices she hears in her memories belong to her or someone else. Fiction, 12 – 16 (Science Fiction). (Review by Kate Colquitt, Greenburgh)

October 3, 2008 at 1:50 pm Leave a comment

How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt

Harper’s life as she knew and loved it is completely turned upside down when her dad divorces the only mom she’s ever known. Not only that, but her efforts to keep her sexual relationship with her best friend as “casual” as he seems to be able to do is proving nearly impossible and taking a real emotion toll on her. In Harper’s efforts to escape it all, and do some good in the meanwhile, she signs up for a teen summer program out in Tennessee to build a house for a family in need. The summer that she thought would help her escape and be completely alone ends up bringing her into close relationships that could change her life. This is another winner by Dana Reinhardt, proving again that “chick lit” can be fun, light and easy to read while dealing with heavy themes and thought provoking issues at the same time. (Review by Amy Kaplan, Briarcliff Manor Library)

October 2, 2008 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Chiggers by Hope Larson

Its just another Summer at camp. Old friends return changed, new friends reveal themselves slowly and painfuly while Abby tries to discover where she best fits. Meanwhile she is falling in love with one of the nerds, a dragon master, of all things. In a style as desultory as a summer day, Hope Larson, takes us into the top bunk in the cabin, which is not always as promising a place to be as it might seem. A graphic novel that will appeal to Middle Grade girls and anyone who has been to Summer Camp. (Reviewed by John Sexton, WLS))

October 1, 2008 at 5:38 pm Leave a comment


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