Codes for Reviews

First Initial (Overall Rating):
E = Exceptional
VG = Very Good
G = Good
F = Fair
NR = Not Recommended

Second Initital (Reading Level):
A = Average Reading Level
E = Easy
M = Mature

“The views expressed are of individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective institutions.”

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Downside of Being Up

General YA Fiction

G/A. Sitomer, Alan Lawrence. The Downside of Being Up. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011. 224 p. 9780399254987. $16.99

Bobby Connor is a normal thirteen-year-old boy with a normal boy problem: erections at awkward moments. After an unwanted erection causes his math teacher to have a serious fall, he is being threatened with expulsion. His father strikes a deal with the school, no expulsion but Bobby has to complete “correctional erectional therapy” Between therapy, falling for the new math teacher’s daughter, and dealing with his gross friend and even grosser Grandpa, will Bobby ever feel like a normal kid again?

Recommended for anyone who loves bathroom humor, this book is overflowing with it.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Under the Mesquite

General YA Novel in Verse

VG/A. McCall, Guadalupe Garcia. Under the Mesquite. Lee & Low books, 2011. 240 p. 9781600604294. $17.95

Lupita is the oldest of eight children living in a Texas border town. As she begins her freshman year of high school, she knows something is wrong. Her mother is keeping a secret, she has cancer. While her parents travel for treatments, Lupita balances her budding interest in being a writer with running the household. Written in verse, Lupita tells her story simply and clearly.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gathering Storm

General Young Adult Fiction

G/A Bridges, Robin. The Gathering Storm (The Katerina Trilogy #1). Delacorte Press, 2012. 400p. 978-0-385-74022-7. 17.99.

Katerina Alexandrovna is a 16-year-old Russian princess with a dark secret; she is a necromancer. While Katerina is embarrassed by her “curse,” others who become aware of her abilities have darker motives that involve her “gift.” The safety of the Russian throne is in her hands. The nineteenth century, St. Petersburg, Russia setting adds a fresh twist to the current paranormal trend. Even though there are too many characters to keep track of in this first book of a new trilogy, it will still enthrall paranormal fans and possibly attract fans of historical fiction too. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How To Save A Life

General Young Adult Fiction

VG/A Zarr, Sara. How To Save A Life. Little, Brown, 2011. 352p. 978-0316036061. 17.99.

When Jill’s dad dies in a car accident, her life is changed forever. Not only does she distance herself from her friends and boyfriend, but now her mom wants to adopt a baby. Her mom meets pregnant teen Mandy online and agrees to privately adopt her baby. Mandy isn’t completely honest about the details and insists on staying with them for the final month of her pregnancy. It’s not that Mandy is a bad person, but she’s trying to escape her life too. Jill is obviously suspicious of Mandy when she arrives. Told in the alternating viewpoints of Jill and Mandy, this book tells the story of two girls looking for and finding the meaning of family and starting over. Although a bit of a departure from Sara Zarr’s other books, her fans will not be disappointed and she is sure to gain some new ones too. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve


High School Fiction

VG/M Smith, Andrew. Stick. Feiwel & Friends, 2011. 304p. 978-0312613419. 17.99.

Stick McClellan is often bullied at school because he was born with only one ear. His older brother, Bosten, has always protected Stick even if it meant he would get in trouble. Both boys though are victims of their abusive parents. Things go from bad to worse when their parents find out that Bosten is gay. Bosten leaves home and Stick goes soon after to look for him. This moving, well-written story is about the relationship between the brothers and their struggle to survive. Gritty realistic fiction at it’s best. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve