Mass W. (2005). A Mango-Shaped Space. NY: Little, Brown and Company.
Mia sees colours. Not just the normal colours that most people see, but colours every time she hears sounds. Colours in weird shapes and sizes that show up when she hears the meow of her cat, or the sound of a car. Each sound has their own unique colour and shape. This is synesthesia, but Mia doesn’t know it’s called that, because she’s never told anybody that she can see colours in this way, not even her best friend. But as school gets harder and harder, Mia finds it increasingly harder to keep up in math and Spanish, as her colours make it difficult for her to make those connections. Pressured from all sides about her school work, Mia finally cracks and tells her parents about what she sees. Skeptical at first, Mia’s parents take her to see all sorts of doctors, one even accusing Mia of making it up; however, they soon find out that Mia’s ability is named synesthesia.
A Mango-Shaped Space is a wonderful, heartfelt story, fantastically written and definitely worth the read.
Brown P. (2014). Red Rising. NY: Random House.
Darrow lives on Mars. He works with his fellow people, mining a substance known as helium-3 deep underground so that they can make the surface livable for future generations. He’s a Red, the lowest class in a future society where people are bred to do certain tasks. Reds are the slaves that toil away underground to supply helium-3, Obsidians are the seven foot tall warriors solely meant for war, and Golds are the top of society, intelligent, strong and bred to lead. For as long as anyone in Darrow’s mine can remember, they were the pioneers of Mars, working hard so that in the future, people may live on the surface of Mars; however, Darrow soon finds out that people have lived on the surface for over 200 years. Betrayed by the society, Darrow enlists into the Sons of Ares, a terrorist cell, trying to stop the slavery of the Reds. He is then sent on a mission to infiltrate the Institute, a deadly school for the Golds, where Continue reading
De Rosnay T. (2007). Sarah’s Key. NY: St. Martins Press.
This story takes place in France, Connecticut, New York, and a bit in Italy, switching from contemporary times (2002 – 2005) to World War II. One of the major themes revolves around love, notably the deep love between Sarah and her brother, who are separated.
The story starts in Paris in 1942 when people who were Jewish were being arrested in the middle of the night. Sarah needs to make sure her brother does not get caught so she makes an agonizing but necessary decision to hide him in their secret hiding spot, not knowing that it would be a while until she returns. On the flip side of the story in 2002, Julia is married and has lived in Paris for twenty-two years as a journalist. Currently, she is writing a story about Jewish families during War World II and she discovers a huge secret her father-in-law and his family have harboured, after which she is driven to find Sarah. Continue reading
Poston A. (2018) Heart of Iron. Balzer + Bray
Ana doesn’t know where she comes from. She was found as a child drifting through space with a metal sentient robot named D09, and was brought in and raised by a group of space pirates. Now years later, seventeen year old Ana is on the hunt for equipment that will fix D09’s terminal glitching, and she will do anything to get it. Ana has a lead, and it’s coordinates to a lost ship that could have the equipment needed. But Ana isn’t the only person looking for these coordinates. An Ironblood royalty, Robb, beats her to it and runs off with the coordinates. In a last ditch effort to save D09, Ana chases him, right into the heart of trouble. As the situation escalates, Ana and her family of space pirates are thrust into an swirling adventure that forces Ironblood and space pirate to Continue reading
Green J. (2017) Turtles all the Way Down. Dutton Books.
“The problem with happy endings is that they’re either not really happy, or not really endings, you know? In real life, some things get better and some things get worse. And eventually you die.”
Turtles all the way Down is the newest John Green young adult book. His story follows a girl in high school named Aza Holmes. Aza struggles from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The most enjoyable part of this novel was watching how Aza and her friend, Daisy’s relationship changes, varying from so bad they crashed a car, to great and hanging out with each other all the time. Eventually, Aza needs to decide between doing the right thing and keeping a friend. I have read many books about teens suffering from OCD, but every time I read another, I learn something new. This time could see how every different person has their own personal way of dealing with their troubles. My expectations were Continue reading
Chainani S. (2013). The School for Good and Evil. NY: HarperCollins.
What if all the fairy tale villains and heroes that we all love and hate come from one place? And what if that place was a school where the heroes and villains trained to be good or bad and where they learned chivalry and hexes. What if that place was called The School for Good and Evil? Sophie and Agatha are best friends. Sophie is the ‘princess,’ pretty, kind, energetic, and beautiful. Agatha is the hag, the witch’s daughter, ugly, and sour. They live in a village where every year two children are kidnapped. One is a good person that everybody loves and the other is the ugly, unlikeable person that nobody likes. And every year the village receives new fairy tale picture books that sometimes have characters inside that look uncannily similar to children kidnapped years ago. So when it’s Sophie’s and Agatha’s year to potentially be kidnapped, Sophie is sure that she’ll be put into the School for Good and Agatha will be put into the School for Evil. Sure enough, one dark night Sophie and Agatha get kidnapped. But somethings strange happens, Continue reading
Walters E. (2018). Fourth Dimension. NY: Penguin Teen.
Emma thinks that moving into a new city in a new condo is the worst of her problems. Her ex-marine mother has recently gone through a divorce and to make up for the move and the drama, she decides to bring Emma and her brother on a camping trip to one of the nearby islands just offshore. Emma, being the typical 15 year old she is, doesn’t want to go, but eventually relents. As Emma, her mom, and her brother are making their way down to the water with their canoe and supplies, a huge power outage hits the whole city. Emma’s mother decides that this won’t impede their camping trip and that they can wait it out on the island, away from civilization. This decision saves their lives. Because as the days pass with no sign of the power returning and cell phones, cars, and computers all around dead, Emma and her family watch from afar as the city descends into chaos. Emma’s mother has a very tough choice to make about what to do and this decision will decide whether Continue reading
Black H. (2018). The Cruel Prince. NY: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Jude has always been bitter about being a mortal. Perhaps it’s because she lives in the High Court of Faerie where everybody else around her has magic and power. Even one of Jude’s sisters, Vivi is a faerie and the reason they were kidnapped at a young age along with Jude’s twin sister, Taryn. Jude has always wanted more, always wanted power and magic, and growing up in a world where everybody else has it only adds more fuel to her ambition. So when somebody offers Jude an opportunity to gain power and immunity from any magic used against her, she dives head first into a forest of trouble. There is one catch however, Continue reading
Toten T. (2013). The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B. Doubleday Canada.
“I sweat terror, Robyn! I’m scared every single second about every single goddamned thing. I worry obsessively about being buried under an avalanche of fear. Jesus, Robyn, I’m scared like only the truly crazy can be.”
“But that, is the definition of courage: you go on despite the fear.”
Stress! Not only young adults who manage Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), as Adam, our protagonist, does are affected by it but also those who need to live through anything from a parent’s divorce, broken hearts, to blended families, as we see in the rest of the characters. Toten’s The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, winner of the Canadian Children’s Literature Award, is about an almost fifteen year-old boy who falls in love with a girl. Naturally, a few problems arise. Robyn is older and taller, and has OCD herself. Adam’s parents are divorced and have given him an annoying step-brother. Even though Adam struggles with a lot everyday, he still cares and worries about everyone else in his life. And even though Continue reading
Hill W. (2011). Department Nineteen. NY: RazorBill.
Jamie Carpenter is a teenager who lives a terrible life. His father was a terrorist and ever since the day Jamie saw him getting gunned down on their home’s driveway, Jamie and his mother have been moving from house to house around the county alway being shunned and hated by everybody. So when Jamie’s mother gets kidnapped by vampires, Jamie meets Frankenstein, and is told about an incredibly secret government organization that keeps the country safe from vampires, it’s just another horrific day in Jaimie’s life. In order to save his mother, Jamie must join Department 19, a government organization that was founded years ago by the people who found and killed Dracula. Luckily enough for Jamie, Department 19 is stacked with weapons and equipment designed for killing zombies and together with Frankenstein and their only lead being Continue reading