Pitch Perfect Readalikes

Do you love the Pitch Perfect movies? Then you might like these books!

rockonRock on : a story of guitars, gigs, girls, and a brother (not necessarily in that order) by Denise Vega.

Available in Print.

High school sophomore Ori Taylor, lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter in a nameless rock band, has always been known as the easily-overlooked younger brother of Del, a high school sports star, but when Del suddenly returns home from college just as Ori is starting to gain some confidence in himself, Del expects everything to return to the way it used to be.


djDJ rising by Love Maia.

Available in Print.

Sixteen-year-old Marley Diego-Dylan’s career as “DJ Ice” is skyrocketing, but his mother’s heroin addiction keeps dragging him back to earth.





virtuVirtuosity by Jessica Martinez.

Available in Print.

Just before the most important violin competition of her career, seventeen-year-old prodigy Carmen faces critical decisions about her anti-anxiety drug addiction, her controlling mother, and a potential romance with her most talented rival.




rivalRival by Sara Bennett-Wealer.

Available in Print.

Two high school rivals compete in a prestigious singing competition while reflecting on the events that turned them from close friends to enemies the year before.




thunderThunderbowl by Lesley Choyce.

Available in Print and Spanish.

Jeremy wants to make it in the music business. Does he have what it takes? Jeremy is spending most nights in a rowdy club, trying to keep the band together and while his life is falling apart, he is forced to make some tough choices.


brightAll the Bright Places

By: Jennifer Niven

Publication: January 6th, 2015

Genre(s): Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Available in Print, E-book, and Downloadable Audiobook.

My rating: 5 stars


The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning! 

Thedore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.   Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself–a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

If you read any book this month, this year, in your life, make sure you read All the Bright Places.

It is beautiful. Heart-wrenching. Nitty gritty. Masterful. A pure must-read.

The topics All the Bright Places explores are heavy, hard, and thought-provoking. Teens and adults alike reading this novel will face the issues of mental illness, suicide, and grief inside the pages with the two main characters, Theodore Finch and Violet Markey.

I’m cutting to the chase, folks: I stayed up past midnight, crying myself to sleep while flipping through the last few pages of this book. It’s inevitable that you’ll cry. I can only count on one hand the books that have made my cry: In third grade, Marley and Me had the tears coming. If I StaySecond Chance Summer, and The Book Thief brought on the crying. All the Bright Places has the fifth spot on the list; the last book matched with my pinky when I count the small number of books that have made me cry.

I even saw a letter smudged with ink, and thought it was a stray tear (I held the book far away from my face that night so that no salty tears reached the bottom of the pages), but, after a few wipes and scratches, I realized that the book had come like that. From the tears that came from me, I think it’s fair of me to assume that was probably an editor or publisher crying over the book as they bound my version of the book. Sure, it’s probably most likely that the printer splotched some ink, but I’m going with the fun version of the story here.

To get to the point: I am so proud of Jennifer Niven for writing what she wrote. My first instinct after finishing ATBP was to send her an email that would only be able to convey a slice of my emotions, of how proud I was of her, about how grateful I am that she wrote the story she did. You go, Jennifer!

All the Bright Places tackles suicide and depression through the battles of both of our protagonists, Theodore and Violet. Theodore has always had a rough life, from abusive parents to his bipolar disorder. He has a habit of memorizing suicide facts and constantly thinking about death.

Check out the first line of All the Bright Places in Theodore Finch’s perspective:

“Is today a good day to die?

This is something I ask myself in the morning when I wake up. In third period when I’m trying to keep my eyes open while Mr. Schroeder drones on and on. At the supper table as I’m passing the green beans. At night when I’m lying awake because my brain won’t shut off due to all there is to think about.

Is today the day?

If not today—when?”

Violet Markey is drowning in her own grief over her sister’s tragic death, refusing to pick herself up and even attempt to be the girl she once was, feeling bad for being the only survivor in the car crash that left Eleanor, her sister dead.

“I wasn’t acting out. That wasn’t what it was. It’s just—I don’t cheer anymore. I quit student council. I suck at orchestra. I don’t have any friends or a boyfriend, because it’s not like the rest of the world stops, you know?” My voice is getting louder, and I can’t seem to do anything about it.

“Everyone goes on with their lives, and maybe I can’t keep up. Maybe I don’t want to.”

Pretty bleak quotes/feelings from those two, huh?

Well, the darkness inside both of these hurt people collides and burns into something bright and beautiful: a relationship.

Finch and Violet are paired up for a project where they have to “wander” Indiana. Besides being an educational experiences, during these “wanderings,” Violet and Finch find each other in the process, first becoming friends and then falling in love.

What I loved so much about this novel was that the characters: they were so flawed, funny, and endearing. Teenagers alike will fall in love with Finch, Violet and their story. Our society needs more books like this, books that highlight real problems of today and present them in a true light to readers. There’s not much else I can say, because All the Bright Places has so many beautiful moments, thoughts, and ideas expressed in every sentence, that I can’t even pinpoint anything, whether it’s a quote or moment that stands out in particular; everything made me cry, laugh, smile, and deeply examine my life. And, as a side note, being from the Midwest, I actually am only a few hours or even sometimes minutes away from some of the places explored in this book, and it taught me many things about my state. I might have to do some of my own wandering!

To sum up, All the Bright Places has earned a bright place in my heart. And it will earn one in yours.

Review by Mary Claire, Indy PL Teen

Real Rad Reads

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Review of Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

coverLies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Available in Print and E-book.

I have great respect and admiration for those who participated in the Civil Rights Movement. I am awed by their courage to stand up and say “No more” to laws and people and attitudes so ingrained in society and everyday life. I cannot imagine what it was like for those who marched and boycotted; those who sat at lunch counters and at the front of buses; those who protested peacefully and practiced non-violence; those who fought in the courts and in the streets to obtain the basic rights and dignity that we all deserve.

This story follows the first African American students to attend an all white high school in a small Virginia town. Ten students are finally allowed to go years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of it. The governor and parents fought it. The school closed down for months to prevent it from happening – better for no one to go to school than to let ‘them’ go.

Sarah Dunbar and her sister are among the ten. Through Sarah’s voice, we experience her life. We hear the racist chants by students and adults. We feel the spit on her clothes. We see teachers acting indifferent to the bullying if not expressing their own distaste of her presence in their classroom. We feel the ugliness of racism.  Sarah is a senior and one of the top students at the all black school. Her parents moved to Virginia to be part of the movement, but it is Sarah and Ruth who must face daily onslaught and threats.

Had we just had Sarah’s voice, the story might have become overwhelming and desensitizing but we also hear from Linda Harrison whose father runs a newspaper and is one of the most vocal opponents to integration. She spouts the same hateful things her father has been saying her whole life about black people. She tries to defend segregation as Southern tradition. She believes it is unnatural for races to mix and be together in the same places. She knows God never meant for that to happen. Linda also blames the ten for messing up her senior year – if they had not riled things up, she could go to prom.

It is only when Sarah and Linda are put together for a school project that Linda begins to see Sarah differently and Sarah gets the opportunity to tell a white person how she truly feels.

This story takes the reader right into the minds of these brave students. We see all they see and hear all they hear. We know the excruciating reality they face every day. It is unpleasant and shameful. The story did go in a direction I was not initially expecting. If the author was trying to draw parallels with today’s issues, I don’t believe it was necessary. Nonetheless, this is a compelling read.

~Review by Will Smither, Indy PL Librarian and Teen Services Committee. You Know You Wanna Read It Blog.

Review for John Green’s Paper Towns

paper*Paper Towns* by John Green. Speak (Penguin Books), 2008.

Available in Print, CD Audiobook, Downloadable Audiobook, and E-book.

Another excellent and thoughtful teen novel from author of the best-selling *The Fault in Our Stars.* It was also a winner of the Edgar Award for best young adult mystery novel.

Quentin is a high school senior in Orlando, Florida. His next door neighbor is the dynamic, charismatic Margo. They were good friends when they were 10 but by the time they got to high school, he was in NerdLand and she was a school leader. He is still fixated on her. A few weeks before graduation, she climbs into his second story window and drags him off for a night of adventures, getting revenge on her cheating boyfriend and other people, and breaking into SeaWorld, just to say they did. She complains how she hates living in this paper town with all the paper people. Quentin is hoping this will be the start of something between them; but the next day Margo does not show up for school. She has left a cryptic, depressed note and a lot of clues. Quentin fears she may have been contemplating suicide, and he talks several friends into helping him track through the clues. As he does, he begins to realize that he has kept this idealized image of Margo in his head for years; but he has no idea what she is really like. To track her down, he will have to learn who she really is – and to discover a lot more about himself.

Excellent dialogue and characters, with some hilarious scenes, will keep teen readers galloping along; but the philosophy and wisdom is what will stick with them. Walt Whitman’s *Leaves of Grass* provides a lot of the clues and subtext for the story (and gave me a better understanding of the work, too). A challenging book in a lot of ways, not necessarily as a hard read, but as a book which challenges the reader to move toward adulthood.

*The Fault in our Stars* is probably more universal in its appeal to both teen and adult readers; but anyone who likes books for this age group will like this, too. A film version of *Paper Towns* will be released this summer.

Reviewer ~ Steve Bridge, retired children’s librarian

Librarian Beth Pintal Reviews Half Bad by Sally Green

half badHalf Bad by Sally Green

Available in Print and E-book.

The world is divided in so many ways in this book – witch and human (or Fain as the witches call them), black witches and white witches….but what happens to someone who is half black witch and half white witch?  Nathan is the only one so divided, and his father is the most hated black witch in the world.  Which side of him is more powerful?  Is Nathan destined to be evil, or, because the so-called “good” white witches presume he is already evil, will he be turned that way due to their abominable treatment of him?  And what of the prophesy that he will kill his father?  Does he even want to?  After being held captive by the White Council, Nathan escapes, but now what?  Where do you go when the world is against you?
The second book in this trilogy, Half Wild, comes out in March 2015.