Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book Reviews by Young Adults

Book Reviews by Young Adults

McArthur Public Library, home of the Biddeford Book Ninjas, has enjoyed a lively teen book group since it was created in 2004 by librarians Sally Leahey, Vicky Smith, and Margaret McNamee. It was established to encourage outspoken, voracious teen readers to share their feedback with the Best Books for Young Adults committee and has continued on as a vibrant, opinionated, and thoughtful group. It has served for two terms as one of YALSA's YA galley groups and our teens are very excited to begin writing reviews for SLJTeen.-Brooke Faulkner, teen services librarian, McArthur Public Library
Hart, Alison. Whirlwind. Laurel Leaf. May 2010. ISBN: 978-0375860058. Gr 5-9.
This book is not just another classic story on the power of the bond between horses and humans. Although those themes are touching and amazing, the way this book intertwines Jas's personal story with her quest to find her horse, Whirlwind, gives the tale a refreshing twist. All of the characters are very real, including the background ones, which I feel are often left transparent. I would recommend this book to any horse lover who also desires a splash of down-to-earth human compassion, and, of course, a touch of sweet teen love. For me, this was a quick read, but I think it would be suitable for anywhere around a fifth-grade reading level or above.-Marissa H., age 13

Nomura, Mizuki. Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime. Yen Press. July 2010. ISBN: 978-0-316-07690-6. Gr 7-12.
Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime tells the story of second-year high school student Konoha Inoue, who just happens to be in a book club with Touko Amano, a self-proclaimed "book girl," though not for reasons you might think. In truth, Touko likes to eat books, the only thing ever to grace her esophagus walls. Repulsed by anything we call food, she employs Konoha to write short stories for her to snack on each day. However, a mysterious request from a fellow student who is in need of a little relationship help turns their book club into a detective's retreat when they start to discover details of their school's past that have gone undiscovered. At this point, Konoha's history somehow finds itself intertwined with the puzzling case. Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime isn't just a mystery. The second part of the title hints at some of the personal issues that are discovered about the characters as you read further. I'm guessing that Book Girl takes place in Japan. I usually dislike Japan-based books because of their wild and crazy plot lines. But I found this one to be a little mellower, which resulted in me loving it. If you're like me, definitely give this book a chance. If you're not, then you probably would have read Book Girl anyway! Also note the wonderful manga illustrated pictures that occasionally appear through the pages. This book has a mix of comedy and suspense that makes it one of my favorite books in a long time.-Elyse O., age 15

Williams, Carol Lynch. Glimpse. S & S. June 2010. ISBN: 978-1-416-99730-6. Gr 7-12.
Glimpse is about one girl's struggle to survive in her inadequate home and to find out what drove her sister to suicidal thoughts. The story is told in blank verse and it reads much like an Ellen Hopkins novel, although it's not nearly as startling. I liked the fact that it was not the narrator that was having the problems in her home but a secondary character. This fact made it different than most of the other books in blank verse that I've read. Although I liked Glimpse when it was compared to other books of its type, I still wish that it wasn't so much of a "teen problem" book. Young adult readers repeat: we do not all like reading about problems. It's depressing. Even though I still don't understand exactly why the book is entitled Glimpse, I would still recommend it. It's interesting to see teen problems from an outside source instead of directly within. It's a fast-paced story that will keep young adult readers engaged. The concept of Glimpse was so interesting that I had a difficult time putting it down.-Hilary L., age 17

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