Friday, November 6, 2015

a re-telling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth

A Song for Ella Gray by David Almond
If you're not familiar with the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, it goes something like this: Musician Orpheus falls in love with the beautiful Eurydice and they marry. On the day of their wedding Eurydice dies in a tragic accident. Orpheus is heartbroken and resolves to reclaim her from the land of Death, using the haunting music of his lyre to gain access to the underworld and bargain for her return. David Almond has kept all of the concepts, darkness, and deep feeling of the original mythical tragedy and translated the story to modern day Britain in what can only be described as a modern literary myth. This story will suck you right in just as Orpheus' music has sucked in a group of high school friends one night on the beaches of Northumberland, England.  The entire group is enchanted by this mysterious and beautiful stranger, but when Ella Grey hears the music she falls in love immediately, with tragic consequences.  Almond's writing is strange and lyrical, and his storytelling is flawless.  It's a very quick read at only 268 pages, so curl up for a couple of hours to devour this one whole!  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sleepers-Really good books that aren't "trendy"

A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan DowdA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Conor wakes in the middle of the night to find an ancient monster outside his window. This creature demands something that Conor finds extremely difficult to give: the truth.  Based on an idea by award winning author Siobhan Dowd, Ness wrote this book after Dowd died at a young age of cancer.

North of Beautiful (A Justina Chen Novel) 
North of Beautiful by Justine Chen Headley
The traditional idea of beauty is challenged in this moving novel about Terra, a high school senior who was born with a port wine stain that covers half of her face. 

Sabriel (Old Kingdom) 

The Abhorsen series by Garth Nix
Begin this wonderful fantasy series with Sabriel. Then go on to Lireal and finally Abhorsen. Originally a trilogy which ended over ten years ago, Nix recently wrote and published a fourth book to continue the story: Clariel. Devour these one right after the other.

Why We Broke Up  Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
Min and Ed are breaking up, so Min writes a letter to Ed and gives him a box containing, among other things, two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, and a pair of ugly earrings.  There is a story behind each item that tells why the breakup happens.  Handler (Lemony Snickett to younger readers) tell a wry tale of a doomed relationship.

Between Shades of GrayBetween Shades of Gray  by Ruth Sepetys
A very personal story for the writer as it is based on the history of her own family, this is a historical fiction book about a little known occurrence in the late 1930s when Lithuanian citizens were forcibly relocated to work camps in Siberia after being invaded by Russia. The author estimates that a full one third of the population of the Baltic states  was lost during this genocide.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Bunker Diary-a very dark and disturbing story

Image result for the bunker diaryThis psychological stunner by Kevin Brooks (Being, Lucas) won the Carnegie Medal in 2014 for teen literature. Linus Weems is a teenage runaway who was living on the streets before he is kidnapped and wakes up in a strange underground bunker. At first he is alone, but not for long. Soon he is joined by 9 year old Jenny, 20 something Anja (beautiful, wealthy, very spoiled), middle aged Bird, the overweight businessman, Fred the heroin addict and finally Russell, a 70 year old physicist with a terminal illness.  Six people who have nothing in common, but who have to try to survive and hopefully escape. Linus tells the story through a diary he keeps while in the bunker. Their captor is unknown, there is no communication at all.  Every room has a camera and a microphone so they know they are being watched, but have no idea why.  An elevator comes down each morning sometimes delivering food and necessities, sometimes nothing and every once in a while something very bad.  This story is powerfully disturbing, and if you are looking for a light happy ending, look elsewhere.  I would recommend this book for older teens who love  Daniel Krauss and Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers series.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Coming soon in audiobook (Playaways)

Image result for dumplin murphyDumplin by Julie Murphy
Willowdean (Will for short) is a self-proclaimed fat girl. Nicknamed Dumplin by her former beauty queen mom, she is comfortable in her own skin and self-confident.  Until she meets former jock Bo at her new part time fast food joint job. Then she starts to doubt herself. Her plan to restore her previous confidence is to enter a local beauty pageant just the way she is, to prove to herself and others that she has as much right to be up there as any skinny girl! 

Image result for challenger deep shusterman 
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
This one's on the "long list" for the National Book Award. Caden is a high school student who lives in two worlds, the real one and the one that's "real" to him. This is a highly praised chronicle of the development of schizophrenia in a young man, captivating and deep.

Image result for endgame frey 

Endgame by James Frey
An exciting sci-fi thriller about gaming, meteors and the end of the world as we know it.

Image result for I'll give you the sun 
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
This is a beautiful and inspiring story (see my review of the book in a previous post). Now we have it in audio form!  It's an important story about family, betrayal, and secrets. Noah and Jude are twins, inseparable for most of their formative years. Noah tells the early stories, Jude the present.  Ideal for fans of John Green.  Winner of the 2015 Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature.

Product Details 

None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio
I also reviewed this book previously. Important topic, in the news a lot now, this story handles the issue of intersex in a sensitive and heartwarming manner. I loved this book.