Archive for March, 2010

In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth

This fast paced, gripping YA, is told by 2 teens—Eagan and Amelia. 16-year-old Eagan a superstar figure skater has just tragically hit her head in as she skated and died. 14-year-old Amelia has been waiting for a heart transplant and now is finally headed to the hospital to receive a heart. (Yes, you guess it—Amelia’s) Eagan is trapped in limbo and relives some painful memories before she can move on to the hereafter. Meanwhile Amelia, is taking on some of Eagan’s characteristic traits—a love of purple, dreams of ice skating, and a quest to find out who her donor was. Ellsworth weaves an interlocking story of grief, hope and closure. Tee Cotter, Port Chester


March 24, 2010 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

Anastasia’s Secret by Susanne Dunlap

The mystery surrounding the Romanov family continues with this YA. (Although the author takes a lot of liberties with Anastasia’s romance with one of her guards) The author does a great job with describing life both as a royal family member and life outside royalty. However, the story gets confusing at times when the reader is trying to keep track of who is who and who is on what side. Readers familiar with the tragic demise of the Romanov family will find the doomed romance between Anastasia and her guard appealing. The cover is certain to attract readers. YA–Recommend. Tee Cotter, Port Chester

March 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

After by Kristin Hamel

Lacey wonders “what if” as she and her brothers and mother struggle to deal with her father’s tragic death in a car accident.  As she deals with her grief, she decides to start a support group at school for other classmates who have a parent who has died.  Along the way, she becomes involved with a new student–Sam Stone, whose father has “died.”  (Sam’s father is in a coma and ultimately wakes up even thought the doctors gave up on him)  Harmel depicts the guilt, grief, loneliness and depression that the characters face.  While the story is sometimes sad, it is realistic and brings forth closure and hope to the reader.  YA—Recommend.  Tee Cotter, Port Chester

March 22, 2010 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

Leigh Ann’s Civil War by Ann Rinaldi

In this fast paced historical fiction, Rinaldi describes and captures life during the Civil War.  Leigh Ann’s dysfunctional family—her mother has taken up with other men, her father is losing his mind and her older brothers are trying to raising her while her brothers are off fighting in the war.  When the mill her family owns is burned to the ground, Leigh Ann and her sisters-in-law are arrested as traitors and forced to go North with Union Soldiers.  Leigh Ann disguises herself as a boy and is able to help her sisters-in-law amid the chaos and dangers of war.  Rinaldi does a great job of creating such a strong and courageous character.  Readers will enjoy this YA.
Tee Cotter, Port Chester

March 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

Claim to Fame by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Tobey, a star-struck young boy, is determined to save Lindsay Scott, a former child star, from her dictatorial father, who keeps her housebound. He kidnaps her and suddenly finds she resents his “saving” her and accuses him of being a kidnapper. Tobey is totally confused. Lindsay has a very special “talent” and she has secrets she is desperate to keep. She must stay housebound or she is overwhelmed by her talent. With the help of Tobey and his friends Lindsay is forced to face her secrets and even learns that the town she lives in has its own secrets. The story is face-paced and never lets up. Highly recommended for readers of mystery and adventure, and for reluctant readers. 6th grade  & up.   Pat Humphries, Katonah

March 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm Leave a comment

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Snarky, shallow and self-absorbed, Samantha Kingston has such a perfect life that she really doesn’t care about much outside her own tight circle of best friends.  February 12 would be just another Friday of preening at school if it weren’t for the promise she’d made with her boyfriend that tonight they would have sex.   At a party that night, however, things go don’t go according to plan and the night ends with a horrific and deadly crash.

Samantha is dead.

Yet she wakes up as if from a dream to realize its again February 12th and she is again going to be late for school if she doesn’t hurry.  Totally freaking out from the dream, she begins to realize that the day is unfolding just as it did in  her dream.  Recognizing that if she were to change a few things maybe the crash could be avoided, Samantha makes some different choices, but again winds up waking on February 12 from the dream that ends in a fatal car crash.

It takes seven days of  waking from that dream before Samantha figures out how to save her life in a different way.  It may seem like Gossip Girls goes Ground Hog Day, but Lauren Oliver skillfully creates a mix of humor,  insight and tenderness in this, her first novel.   Samantha gradually evolves toward her self-awareness on a journey where simple choices have unforseen consequences.  It makes for a compelling page-turner that will have you guessing right up to the end just what is going to happen for Samantha and her friends.

John Sexton.  WLS

March 2, 2010 at 4:51 pm 1 comment

March 2010
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