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“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
― B.B. King

by Julie Hooper

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Article posted April 25, 2016 at 05:49 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 213

From the Midnight Book Girl:

Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum. When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes.

Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

Article posted April 25, 2016 at 05:49 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 213



Article posted April 11, 2016 at 02:40 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 350

From Common Sense Media: Parents need to know that author Aaron Hartzler's What We Saw is a serious issue book inspired by real events (the Steubenville High School rape case) that follows the story not from the perspective of the victim but from another young woman who left a party before the sexual assaults began. Protagonist Kate Weston asks the tough questions and is willing to stand up for the victim when no one else will -- even if the ugly truths compromise people she loves and indeed her entire hometown. The book will make readers think and hopefully discuss issues it raises about rape culture, such as the idea that "boys will be boys," that "some girls" are "asking for it," that covering up a crime is as bad as committing one, and that there are consequences for standing by and doing nothing to help or stop sexual violence. In addition to descriptions of the violence, there's a scene of romantic sex, some strong language (including "f--k," "s--t," "whore," and "slut"), and a subplot about a character's mother who has OCD tendencies with shopping, couponing, and working out. Despite the difficult subject matter, What We Saw is a powerful conversation starter that would make a good parent-teen read.

Article posted April 11, 2016 at 02:40 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 350



Article posted April 11, 2016 at 02:35 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 11



Nora reluctantly goes to a hen (bachelorette) weekend at an eerie glass house in a remote area of England for a childhood friend she has not seen in ten years. Less than two days later she wakes up in the hospital, bloody and bruised, unable to remember what happened. As she says, “Who can I trust, if I can’t even trust myself?” As her memory slowly returns, Nora struggles to solve the mystery of what happened at the glass house and why. I couldn’t put it down.

Article posted April 11, 2016 at 02:35 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 11



Article posted March 18, 2016 at 05:01 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 219


17 year old Andrew Brawley’s family was killed in a car crash, and after that night, Drew never left the hospital. He is not a patient; he has gone off the grid and is hiding out in an abandoned section of the hospital. He sleeps on a pile of sheets from the laundry, works in the cafeteria, hangs out in the ER and pediatrics, draws his graphic novel, and tries, tries, tries to avoid Death. Because she missed him the night she took his family, and he knows she is still after him. Still he cannot leave the hospital, because it was the last place he saw his family alive.

Rusty is brought into the ER after being horribly burned. Drew is there, terrified by Rusty’s screams of agony, but unable to leave. A ghoulish story is told of Rusty being set on fire intentionally at a party. Now Drew worries that Death will come for Rusty too and feels he must protect him.

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley gutted me. The author puts all of Drew’s pain on the page and never lets you look away. Even the lighter moments are tinged with pain, death, suffering, guilt, and loss. Drew’s story is hard enough to imagine, but it was Rusty’s story that tore at me. When he tells Drew of his years of being bullied by his classmates, he says, “People always guessed I was gay… Not like I’m flaming or anything—or that it’d be bad if I were. It was just the worst-kept secret at my school. I never dated girls, Nina was always my bestie, and I sucked at sports.” Drew laughs and says, “Sucking as sports doesn’t make you gay.” “No,” replies Rusty, “but it makes you a target.” He explains that he was on a hit list. There were points for assaulting him. By the time he got to telling Drew about what happened when he was lit on fire, I had to set the book down. All I could think was, please don’t ever let that be my kid—the one brutalized for being different or the one cruelly bullying his classmates. I wanted to look away, but Hutchinson makes sure you can’t—look closer, his writing urges, as he describes in painful detail the humiliation and hatred. ~ Amber McGregor in School Library Journal

Article posted March 18, 2016 at 05:01 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 219



Article posted March 18, 2016 at 02:34 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 11

Challenger Deep can be a little confusing at first, but it is worth it to keep reading, because at a certain point, you can NOT put this book down until you finish. The reader is immersed in story of Caden, a brilliant high school boy having a mental breakdown. Inspired by the author’s son, Brendan, the book is illustrated with drawings he made during his battle with mental illness. Caden goes back and forth between reality and an increasingly hallucinatory life on a strange ship headed for the deepest trench in the ocean to search for a treasure. As the book continues, characters from real life begin turning up on the ship and the reader is given a glimpse of what Caden is experiencing.

In an interview with Horn Book, the author explains his son’s artwork:

The works of art that inspired everything that happened on the ship were created when he was in the depths of an episode, when the only way he could communicate the things in his head was through these stream-of-consciousness drawings. I wanted to find light within the darkness of what he had been through, and turn it around. I wanted him — and readers — to see that there is value even in our worst experiences, and we can use those experiences to bring about positive change in the world, and our own lives.

Article posted March 18, 2016 at 02:34 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 11



Article posted February 26, 2016 at 03:16 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 407

I'm Valkyrie White.



I'm fifteen.



Your government killed my family.



"A chilling exploration of the life, motivations and strategies of a young American suicide bomber." ~Kirkus (starred)

Article posted February 26, 2016 at 03:16 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 407



Article posted February 16, 2016 at 06:54 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 330



Fifteen year old Phaet (pronounced Fate) lives on the moon in a dystopian society created after humans ruined the Earth. She works in the greenhouses with her best friend and maybe more, Umbriel. She makes good grades in school and plans to be a scientist, stay under the radar, and not draw the attention of the rulers of this society, the all-powerful Committee. Her plans change abruptly when her mother is forcibly removed from their apartment by the militia. Now she must somehow earn enough money to keep her family out of Shelter, the disgusting part of the city where the poor are kept. Her only choice is to join militia and excel, even though she is the youngest person ever to enlist. Her chances don’t seem too great, until the mysterious Wes starts helping her train. If Divergent and Ender’s Game had a baby, it would be Dove Arising, with a bit of 1984 thrown in for good measure. The first book in a trilogy, Dove Arising was begun when Karen Bao, the author, was only seventeen. She is now a student at Columbia College and the second in this series should be released this year.

Article posted February 16, 2016 at 06:54 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 330



Article posted January 14, 2016 at 08:11 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 576



For those of you waiting and waiting and waiting for George R. R. Martin to finish the last book of the Song of Ice and Fire, here is a prequel set hundreds of years before The Game of Thrones. This beautifully illustrated book follows the escapades of Dunk (Sir Duncan the Tall) and Egg (Aegon Targaryn, Daenery’s great grandfather). Dunk was born in Flea Bottom in Kings Landing, never knowing his mother or father. He became a squire for a lesser knight and traveled with him around the Seven Kingdoms. Now Dunk is the Knight and Egg is his squire. A kinder, gentler story than any of the Song of Ice and Fire books, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms fills in some of the backstory in that series, while being intriguing enough to stand on its own. The lovely illustrations by Gary Gianni add much to the book.

Article posted January 14, 2016 at 08:11 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 576



Article posted January 5, 2016 at 07:37 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 397


Families are supposed to shield children from the horrors of the world, but one Sunday nine-year-old Jess Hall watches as his autistic brother is called into a little church in the mountains of North Carolina. What happens next forces Jess to question everything he once believed. Clem Barefield, the local sheriff, arrives to find a group of charismatic believers who are unwilling to utter a word about the things Jess has seen. At the center of the mystery is Carson Chambliss, a snake handling ex-convict turned preacher whose past is just as mysterious as the power he claims to possess.

Told by three resonant and evocative characters—Jess; Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife and moral conscience; and Clem Barefield, A Land More Kind than Home is a literary thriller, thick with characters connected by faith, infidelity, addiction, and a sense of hope that is as tragic as it is unforgettable. These are masterful portrayals, written with assurance and truth, and they show us the extraordinary promise of this remarkable first novel. ~ from the publisher

Southern gothic at its finest. I devoured this disturbing and beautiful novel. ~ Ms. Hooper

Article posted January 5, 2016 at 07:37 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 397



Article posted January 5, 2016 at 06:48 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 85


This book … is the tale of an American astronaut stranded on Mars. He has to use his wits, plus a lot of duct tape and back-of-the-envelope calculations, to stay alive in an extremely hostile environment. It’s Robinson Crusoe in a space suit. ~ Joel Achenbach in this Washington Post article  

I loved The Martian . This book is the ultimate comeback to the question, “Why do I need to learn math and science?” ~ Ms. Hooper

Article posted January 5, 2016 at 06:48 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 85



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