In Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You, Peter Cameron superbly captures the disconnected feelings and wry observations of a young man.  James is an 18-year-old New Yorker who doesn’t connect with anyone in his life.  The novel focuses on a few days in the summer of his 18th year as he struggles with his future – college at Brown and the life his parents expect of him or an escape to the Midwest where he would buy a house in a small town and live a quiet, sheltered life. James’ great fear is of an existence that doesn’t “touch or overlap with anyoneRead More →

Over tea this morning I came across an interesting article in the Sunday NY Times Week in Review section entitled “A Good Mystery: Why We Read” by Motoko Rich. The article examines the current state of reading today and in interesting interviews with authors such as National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie explores how and why some people become life-long readers.  I was particularly struck by 2 things in the story: the fact that reading is, ultimately, a personal, private activity (it certainly is for me, although I love a good discussion about books) and that often it is one remarkable book that comes to aRead More →

Before I Die by Jenny Downham is sharp, poignant, sometimes funny and sometimes heartbreaking story about 16-year old Tessa, a young woman living in London under the heavy veil of terminal lukemia. With just months left to live she makes a list on the wall behind her bed of the things she must experience before her life ends.  Sex, drugs, learning to drive and falling in love are just some of the things she must do to really live life.  While she’s free of the constraints of normal life to pursue her list, she is also constantly dogged by pain, exhaustion, sickness and her deteriorating condition. While the premise has theRead More →

 Wake 17-year-old Janie has a secret. She enters people’s dreams. She doesn’t want to, but she can’t stop it.  And it’s really annoying when it happens when she is at school, or work, and especially when it is a nightmare.  Things get complicated when she befriends Cabel. Some of his dreams are about her.  And some of his dreams are frightening.  When they end up in a dream together, they learn each other’s secrets.  Can they help each other? This was a quick, enjoyable read.   Due to some language and mature situations it is recommended for older teens and adults. Posted by MichelleRead More →

This is the third book in the Grey Griffins series and they just keep getting better! Max, Ernie, Harley and Natalia are the Grey Griffins, four kids in the small town of Avalon, Minnesota who enjoy playing a card game called Round Table. In the first book, The Revenge of the Shadow King, the exciting adventures begin when the kids discover that the fantastic creatures and characters on their Round Table cards actually exist!  Max finds a magical book in his grandmother’s attic and is tricked into releasing an evil creature from it. Max becomes the new guardian of this important book, called the Codex.Read More →

The Other Half of Me by Emily Franklin.  Jenny is a teenager with some typical teenage problems.  She is struggling to fit in with her athletic family.  She wants them to be more supportive of her interests.  She is jealous of her twin sisters’ close relationship and also feels that nobody understands her.  In her family of 6, she feels lonely. Jenny loves to paint.  The big art show is coming up and she wants to paint something good enough to get into the show. She has a crush on Tate, and now he seems to like her too.  Jenny also has some problems that are far from typical.   Her dadRead More →

The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1 is a fantastic sci-fi book for all ages.  Excellent for reluctant readers! Johnny Turnbull, aka JT, and his little sister Ketheria never knew their parents.  Years before they were born, their parents agreed to leave Earth to make a long trip through space to work on the far-off rings of Orbis.  After a malfunction killed all of the adults on the ship, the computer raised the embryos that the adults had brought on board.  When these children, no older than twelve, arrive on Orbis they discover that they must work off their parent’s debts by being virtual slaves for theRead More →

Spanking Shakespeare is one of the funniest books I have ever read.  The main character, Shakespeare, is a senior in high school and writing his senior project.  It’s hilarious!!!  Clever!!! Intelligent!!!  When you start reading it you won’t be able to stop. Not appropriate for young readers, but enjoyable for older teens and adults. Posted by MichelleRead More →

Harmless, a book that is anything but, raises some eyebrows. Do you buy it for your child? Do you put it on the shelf as a librarian? Can it be used in the classroom? As an 8th grade Language Arts teacher I saw many heart-wrenching situations that my students wound up in, many situations that I think we as educators don’t always catch or know how to deal with. I grew up in a pretty stable environment, a fact I am thankful for, but a stable environment is not always par for the course. What I love about Harmless is that it is told fromRead More →