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  • Secondary Book Reviews



    by Lauren Oliver
    373 pages


    Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver picks up right where the first book in the series, Delirium, left off. Lena, having escaped Portland and the government forcing her to “cure” herself from love, is struggling to survive in a dangerous, harsh, and alien world of The Wilds without Alex, the boy she loves, to give her strength. In the Wilds Lena is reborn and comes to rely on herself more than ever. Through this journey, Lena becomes part of the Resistance, learning more about her past and her future.


    One of the things Lauren Oliver does exceptionally well is craft living, breathing characters. Living in the Wilds, the new people Lena finds are hard without room for excuses, laziness or error. While there is freedom, there is still a sense of entrapment, as they never know when the next attack is going to come. Raven, the leader of the group, is one of the strongest in terms of development.…



    by Jessica Anthony and illustrated by Rodrigo Corral
    272 pages


    Chopsticks Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral told a story of beauty, fear, love, and madness all framed through photographs, images, and objects with the text being there to simply add another layer. A visual feast, the reader is drawn in so deep you’ll feel as if you lived in the book.


    The story is emotionally charged. It is the characters that make the plot evolve. Glory is a piano prodigy. Starting at a young age, she plays for hundreds, and is the next “wiz kid” of the classical world. But after the death of her mother, Glory starts to break down, dissolving further and further until all she can play is “Chopsticks.” During this time, a young artist named Frank moves in next door with his family. Glory and Frank find each other, connecting in a way that transcends the ordinary, working to balance the madness that threatens to consume Glory.…

    Before I Fall


    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    240 pages
    Reviewed by THE BOOK DEALER

    Samantha “Sam” Kingston and her friends, Lindsey, Ally, and Elody are several of the most popular girls in school. Sam’s life drastically changes on Cupid Day, the day that reinforces who is “in” and who is “out,” based on roses received from peers.

    That night after attending an unsupervised teen party with her friends, Samantha gets in the car with a drunk driver, crashes, and dies. For seven days, Sam is forced to relive the day of her death. This gives her a lot of time to think about how she and her friends have treated others, as well as to fully grasp what it means to love. Through this week, which is reminiscent of the movie Groundhog Day, Sam is given the opportunity to make changes to her life and the lives of others.
    This is a thought-provoking novel that young adults and adults will ponder long after the last page.…



    Period.8 by Chris Crutcher


    Hardcover, COMING SOON!


    Chris Crutcher has done it again. With his latest novel, Period.8, the “King of the Boy Books” (a title not meant to gender his work but to represent his mass appeal to the male young adult audience) has “turned it up a notch,” going well beyond the type of Crutcher story that we have come to expect and love. As a reading specialist and English teacher for 17 years (working mostly with struggling secondary readers), I use Chris Crutcher as my “go to” author when I am trying to find a book that will “hook” a reluctant reader. Crutcher’s work has it all: believable characters we love, a storyline that keeps us enthralled, and a message that resounds loudly with important life lessons. Period.8 offers all of these elements and more, entrenching readers in a mystery that takes reading the entire book to solve.…

    The Raft


    The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
    240 pages

    S.A. Bodeen’s third young adult novel, The Raft, opens with Robie, the protagonist, visiting her aunt in Hawaii during one of her many breaks from the small island where Robie lives. Hanging out in Honolulu with her aunt is a far cry from Midway Atoll where her scientist parents work. Naturally, Robie wants to do the normal things (go shopping, tan at the beach, get a piercing, dabble in Henna), and when her aunt has to leave early for work on the mainland, Robie takes advantage. However, after a frightening encounter with a stranger, Robie hops on an earlier supply flight without telling anyone, trying to get back to Midway as fast as possible. Little did she know that this would lead her to an even more frightening experience.


    There is significant growth in Robie by the end of her journey. She has to overcome extreme obstacles without any real knowledge on how.…

    Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

    Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

    Hardcover, 307 pages

    Publication: September 13, 2011.2
    St. Martin’s Griffin
    This high-paced novel is the first in Amy Kathleen Ryan’s series, Glow, is the first of a series. Written from the point of view of two protagonists, this is the story of Waverly and Kieran, now ages 16 and 17, who are born and raised on the Empyrean, a space ship. The mission of the crew is to populate the new Earth. Conflict ensues as the females of the ship are captured, and Kieran must uncover the truth about the kidnapping. With lots of action and plenty of talk of relationships, this book will truly enthrall young readers.
    This book touches on many topics that are often not talked about in today’s society, one being a lack of parental supervision. Although set on a spaceship, Ryan’s writing is realistic in terms of teens dealing with relationships and the idea of what makes for a great leader.…

    Smashed by Lisa Luedeke

    Smashed by Lisa Luedeke

    Hardcover, 336 pages

    Expected publication: August 21st 2012

    Margaret K. McElderry Books


    Nothing better than to be handed an advanced copy of a great young adult book from a rising young adult author!  Lisa Luedeke’s debut novel, Smashed, hits the mark on so many levels.  The main character, Katie Martin, is a star field hockey player who is dealing with the stress of not knowing why her father, a known alcoholic, has left without a forwarding address or any contact.  In addition, Katie is left to fend for herself and her young brother, Will, while her mother works in another city as a nurse.  Her mother conveniently uses her late hours and distance to justify staying with her doctor boyfriend, thus leaving the kids alone.  Although Katie has two very good friends (one male/one female), she stays pretty much on her own, hoping with all her heart to score a scholarship and leave her hometown. …