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  • An Invisible Thread

    An-Invisible-Thread

    by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski
    272 pages
    Reviewed by Dr. Russ Yocum

     
    “‘An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet,regardless of time, place, and circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle. But it will never break.’ – Ancient Chinese Proverb” (Schroff & Tresniowski, Kindle loc 60 of 3327).

     
    An Invisible Thread is the true story of how the author, national periodical sales executive, Ms. Laura, connected with a troubled young boy of the streets, Maurice

     
    Ms. Laura conveys her own dysfunctional upbringing destined her to befriend and help Maurice, whose seemed to ever roam the streets of NYC to beg for money while his family was busy abusing and dealing drugs and constantly on the move from one welfare housing hotel to the next.

     
    Laura was on her way through the city, having even scheduled her leisure time to the minute when a hungry Maurice asked her for money for food.…

    Absent

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    by Katie Williams
    288 pages
    Reviewed by GBHS Student, Molly Kegley

     
    Forever is a long time to be stuck in high schoo. 17-year-old Paige is dead, the victim of a freak fall from the roof during Physics class. Now she’s a ghost permanently bound to the grounds of her high school. It isn’t all bad: she has the company in fellow ghosts Evan and Brooke who also died there. When Paige hears a rumor spread by a popular girl at school; that her death wasn’t an accident, and that she had jumped on purpose, she is desperate to stop the gossip.

     
    The book begins with a seemingly cliche teen drama that turns into an intense mystery. It is a beautiful and powerful story of true love, loss, and letting go. Paige herself, is an entertaining and engaging character that I followed to the end and missed when I closed the book.…

    Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

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    by Jonathan Auxier
    400 pages
    Reviewed by GBHS Student, Youssef Helmi

     
    Sounds goofy and childish at first, correct? Childish? Perhaps at times. Goofy? Yes, it has its moments. A bad read? Most definitely not. Teenager’s backpacks and lockers nowadays are just jammed with awful, cliché reads. Books that claim to be more than a carbon-copy than one that the same teen had previously read not two weeks ago. No, not this read. This book excels beyond any story that I’ve read in a long, long time. Starting off with a likeable character in a dismal condition that makes the reader unable to do anything but have sympathy and root for him in his seemingly hopeless endeavors.

     
    Soon after the novel takes a turn for the best, you find Peter Nimble, the book’s protagonist, with a group of colorful and likeable companions from Mr. Pound to Professor Cake, and last but not least, Sir Tode.…

    Looking for Alaska

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    by John Green
    275 pages
    Reviewed by Dr. Russ Yocum

     
    “That is the fear: I have lost something important, and I cannot find it, and I need it. It is fear like if someone lost his glasses and went to the glasses store and they told him that the world had run out of glasses and he would just have to do without” (Green, Kindle p.144 of 221).

     
    Looking for Alaska is the coming-of-age story of Pudge, the Colonel, and Alaska Young. These boarding school teens yearn to discover their sense of self, cigarettes, and sex against a back-drop of master-mind high school pranks. Miles Halter, humorously nicknamed “Pudge” due to his slim physique, has led a life that he feels has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him hunger for the “Great Perhaps” ( the words of François Rabelais, poet) even more.…

    The Edumacation of Jay Baker

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    by Jay Clark
    275 pages
    Reviewed by Dr. Russ Yocum

     
    “I care about being happy. And the people I love being happy. It’shard to ask for anything more than that.” (Clark, Kindle, p. 77-78 of 275)
     

    The Edumacation of Jay Baker is a laugh-a-minute read that manages todeal with serious subject-matter for teens with witticism and humor.

    Jay’s teenage shoulders are yoked with strained family dynamics,parental infidelity, separation, and divorce (while he’s already dealing with the social awkwardness and convoluted relationship struggles of a high school freshman) the night before his big debate for freshman class president against his once-best-friend-turned-arch-nemesis, Mike.

     
    Jay attempts to deal with his family’s pain, his confusing love triangle with Cameo and Caroline, while enduring constant insults from Mike and also navigating his way through the normal trials of a high school freshman. In trying to find happiness amidst all this, he deals with things in his own way – - with a keen intellect and a side-splitting sense of sarcasm-laced humor.…

    My Book of Life by Angel

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    My Book of Life by Angel by Martin Leavitt
    256 pages
    Reviewed by Jordan Lamar of Gulf Breeze High School

     
    My Book of Life by Angel is a novel written in free verse that depicts the gritty tale of a teen prostitute and her courageous pursuit towards a better life. Leavitt’s use of free verse in the novel allows the raw emotion of the terrible tribulations faced by a female prostitute to shine through, without allowing the graphic subject material to become unbearable for the reader.

     
    This novel is a compassionate story that not only puts the search for ones’ self on display, but also makes the reader consider the humanity of society as a whole. It strips away all of the safety of the reader by exposing them to the harsh realities of life.

     
    Ultimately, the reader will become more aware and sensitive towards the plight of so many teens that live this tumultuous lifestyle.…

    Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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    by Ransom Riggs
    352 pages

     
    Reviewed by Dr. Russ Yocum

     
    “To have endured all the horrors he did, to have seen the worst of humanity and have your life made unrecognizable by it, to come out of all that the honorable and good and brave person I knew him to be–that was magical.” (Riggs, Kindle p. 88 of 348)

    Jacob Portman’s quest to learn answers about his grandpa, Abe Portman,leads him from Florida to the Isle of Cairnholm. Jacob is hounded onhis journey by flesh-eating monsters and finally discovers the answers among the “peculiar” inhabitants of Cairnholm who were his grandpa’s childhood friends.

     

    A fantastic tale populated by monsters and “peculiar” time manipulators, shape-shifters, and children who are endowed with super-strength, are invisible, or who can create and control fire will leave readers asking themselves what their own life’s journeys are about. What monsters are hounding us? How can we find the strength to defeat those monsters?…

    Whale Talk

    304 pages by Chris Crutcher

     

    Reviewed by Dr. Russ Yocum

     

    Absent the element of hate, a person’s skin color is only an indication of his or her geographical ancestry. But with that element, it is a soul stealer.” (Crutcher, Kindle p. 102 of 289)

     

    Whale Talk is an excellent exploration of pain and prejudice from the perspectives of victims and abusers.

    T.J. Jones is an athletic high school student of mixed ethnicity who (Japanese, African American, and Caucasian) eschews the typical fraternity of jocks and the racist behavior they display at his school. Although he has learned to deal with a life of constant ridicule due to his differences, T.J. is infuriated when football star Mike Barbour bullies brain-damaged Chris Coughlin for wearing his dead brother’s letter jacket. T.J. hatches aplan for revenge when he recruits a band of social outcasts to populate the school’s new swim team.…

    The Deepest Cut

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    306 pages

     

    Reviewed by Dr. Russ Yocum

     

    The Deepest Cut, by J.A. Templeton, is a paranormal romance, and the first book in The MacKinnon Curse series. Riley, her brother Shane,
    and their dad move from Portland to Scotland. Riley blames herself for her mother’s death and resorts to cutting to deal with her grief… and she’s been able to see spirits since the car accident that took her mother.

     

    Riley and her brother deal with the loss of their mother, and with the stresses related to moving to a new country and being new in school. Riley finds herself falling in love with a ghost who’s been cursed to roam the earth for more than 200 years and is forced to confront the evil spirit that cursed him! This book is interesting and fast-paced!

     

     

     

     

    Notes to Teachers: . (MATURE YA)
    Due to strong language, mention of cutting, alcohol and drug use, and sexual situations, THE DEEPEST CUT is not intended for younger teens.

    A Long Walk to Water

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    128 pages

     

    Reviewed by Margie Pitts

     

    Nya and Salva must walk to survive. Nya walks approximately eight hours a day to provide water for her family. Salva walks to escape the civil war that has ravaged his country. Rather than be captured to be a child warrior in the Sudanese Civil War, he and hundreds of thousands of “Lost Boys” escape as refugees.

     

    This novel is based on true events in Salva’s life and comes full circle when his non-profit organization, Water for Sudan, drills a water well in Nya’s Village.

     

    Both characters are prime examples of endurance and perseverance. Their determination to surmount harsh conditions, natural and man made, proves that hope is the key to survival and a promising future.

     
    “I overcame all the difficult situations of my past because of the hope and perseverance that I had. I would have not made it without these two things.…

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