19 March 2013

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

This novel opens up with a quote from Death Cab for Cutie: Love is watching someone die. But while you should probably prepare yourself for a tearjerker, there are also a number of layers to this story that might surprise you.

Taylor Edwards and her family used to always spend summers at the lake in Pennsylvania, at least until after the summer she was twelve. The summer of the botched romance, the fallout with her best friend, and the inability to confront any of her fears. But this year, they are going back to spend one last season all together at their summerhouse. With the news of late stage cancer, this will likely be her dad's last summer ever.

There are certainly a lot of "issues" packed into this thick novel, but the story manages to be touching and frustrating at all the right times, and even if it doesn't resonate with every reader, there is value in the message that lives are meant to be lived, not avoided. Morgan Matson also wrote the beloved Amy & Roger's Epic Detour.

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

UnWholly by Neal Shusterman

I don't typically used this blog to mention books that are part of a series (unless it's the first book), but this sequel to the cult favorite, Unwind, is certainly worthy of that mention, especially since there are five years between the two publications.

UnWholly picks up right where Unwind left off, with Connor running the AWOL Graveyard, where Risa is serving as the primary medic. Lev is under house arrest, allowed out only under the supervision of his brother Marcus or Pastor Dan. Readers also become acquainted with Starkey, as stork with a major chip on his shoulder who is brought to the Graveyard, and with Cam, the culmination of parts pieced together from a total 99 unwinds.

A network of twists, turns, and uncovered mysteries are revealed in this bridge from the original Unwind to the forthcoming and much anticipated Book Three, UnSold, due out in October 2013. In the meantime, take a peak at Lev's untold story, UnStrung, available digitally. Buy it for Kindle, Nook, and Apple.

07 March 2013

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan

As his best friend Ariel once told him, Evan understands that you can't ever know everything. He knew Ariel, but Ariel was someone else when she wasn't with him. Sometimes she was someone else even when she was with him. And he was someone else when he wasn't with her. But now that she's gone, he struggles to understand if he ever knew her at all.

Ariel has gone away and Even is struck with tremendous guilt over whether or not it was his fault that she's no longer here. And his anxiety becomes even more overwhelming and troublesome when he begins to receive photographs of Ariel. He knows that she can't be delivering them herself . . . but what if she is?

This novel is extraordinarily unique in its storytelling, and it is worth fumbling through every page and every struggle to uncover the answers as only David Levithan would reveal them. Recommended to high school readers. Reviewed by kate the librarian.

06 March 2013

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Sixteen-year-old Rhine knows that she only has four more years left to her life. What was once thought of as the miracle of modern science took a dangerous turn with new generations, and now males only live to age 25, and females to age 20, no exceptions. To keep the population from dying out, young women are forced into polygamous marriages. Rhine and her twin brother Rowan vigilantly kept an eye out for Gatherers, but Rhine was kidnapped anyway and forced to live in matrimony with the wealthy Linden Ashby, in a mansion where even just stepping outside is a restricted privilege. The gate surrounding the home keeps everyone under lock and key.

Over the next year, Rhine's main focus is that of escape and ultimate freedom. But over the course of time, she also can't help but develop relationships with those around her: her nineteen- and fourteen-year-old sister-wives; the help, including the handsome Gabriel; her powerful and horrifying father-in-law; and even her husband, who shows her kindness and genuine affection.

This is the first in the Chemical Garden Trilogy, and it is a mixed bag of terror, uncertainty, and enchantment. Recommended to all high school readers. Reviewed by kate the librarian.