The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak (2 reviews)

Our first review is by your fellow teen Sara: I DON’T WANT TO SPOIL THE BOOK FOR ANYONE. SO I WILL JUST SAY THAT IT WAS AN AMAZING. FILLED WITH AMAZING DETAILS AND AMAZING CHARACTERS. YOU HAVE GOT TO READ THAT BOOK.

And now a review from librarian Michael Perry:

The Book Thief
“Here’s a small fact: You’re going to die.”
Sometimes a story gets written that endures past the “flash in a pan” stage. There have been some great series that have lasted for a decade or more. Remember “The Princess Diaries”? the whole “Gossip Girl” series? Sure they were fun to read, but if you are thinking of really great books, you probably would be talking about Scott Westerfield’s “the Uglies” series or Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” series or just about anything by John Green.

Keeping that in mind, here’s a book from 2006 that you really have to read. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Told with Death (Yup, Death itself!) as the narrator, this book takes place during World War II in Nazi Germany and explores the life of Liesel, a young girl who ends up in a foster home. At her brother’s funeral, she steals a gravedigger’s handbook. Here’s the twist. Liesel can’t read! Her foster father finds the title and then teaches her to read. Later, during a book burning in the center of town, the mayor is the only one who sees Liesel snatch a book from the pile. He takes a chance with her and shows her his dead son’s library. And there’s more.
The book is fantastic, one of the few that really put you in the place and time of the plot. Liesel comes alive through the pages and you will find yourself staying up into the late hours of the night as you turn pages, following her life.

Get this one. You’ll be glad you did.

The Book Thief on e-book
In addition to the book (on paper) we have this title as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook and an audiobook on CD. It came out as a movie in late 2013 and was released this spring on DVD and Blu-ray.

Crash Courses with the Green Brothers

crashUnless you are (wait for it) THE MONGOLS then you will be interested in Crash Course by the Vlog Brothers John and Hank Green. Learn about History and Biology in the best possible way with these DVDs. Great animation, lots of humor and facts galore. Kids, teens and even adults can catch up on their history and biology while preparing for the test.

Crash Course Biology: The Complete Course

 

 

Crash Course Biology: The Complete Course

 

What test? Well, our local hero John Green puts it best: “The test will last your entire life, and it will be comprised of the millions of decisions that, when taken together, make your life yours. And everything – everything – will be on it. I know, right? So pay attention.”

 
Crash Course World History: The Complete Course
Crash Course World History: The Complete Course

 

You may be thinking: How did lessons dated January 11th and January 13th, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Ronald Reagan and the global carbon cycle, make it onto these DVD’s?

feline2You’ve caught us. These pictures aren’t from the DVD’s. They’re from the Tumbler, which you can reach by clickiing here.  http://thecrashcourse.tumblr.com/

The Tumbler has lessons for a half-dozen crash courses, and other valuable links, such as Feline Fans.

So tumble aboard. Click on the pictures of the Greens to request the on-order DVD’s, click on the cat and we’ll send you a cat.

–from Selector Amy Dalton

Orleans, by Sherri L. Smith

OrleansIf you’ve had enough of flesh-eating zombies, but still enjoy novels with post-apocalyptic themes, try Orleans, by Sherri L Smith. The author of Flygirl (a fictionalized account of a “lighter-skinned” African American female who passes for white in order to join WASP [Women Airforce Service Pilots]), stretches her story-telling skills by penning a dystopian novel of post-Katrina New Orleans where a virus has killed most of the Gulf Coast residents. Only those without tainted blood survive. Survivors find food, family, shelter, and protection by aligning themselves tribally by blood type, rather than by race/ethnicity.

Hardscrabble Fern de la Guerre must deliver a newborn baby girl to the Outer States before her blood is contaminated by the Delta Fever virus. Aided by Daniel, a scientist from outside Orleans, Fern embarks on a dangerous journey to ensure the baby girl is given an opportunity for a virus-free life.

Recommended by Rhonda Oliver, Brightwood Library

Reboot

RebootToday, we present Reboot for your reading pleasure. This first novel by Amy Tintera has this blurb on the front cover: “5 years ago, I died. 178 minutes later, I woke up”. If that doesn’t catch your interest, the back cover starts off with “Le Femme Nikita meets Maximum Ride.”

That’s a lot to live up to, so here’s our review of the book.

First off, ZOMBIES!! And it gets better. The first line of the book is “They always screamed.”
The USA was hit with a virus called KDH that killed millions. But a few reanimated and are called “Reboots”. Wren Connolly is one such Reboot. Shot in the chest three times, she reanimated as a Reboot. She’s stronger, faster and has fewer emotions. Think zombie, but more like a soldier. The longer a Reboot is dead, the less human they are when they return. And, after 178 minutes, Wren is now one very effective Reboot.

Part of Wren’s job with HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation) is to train new Reboots. But one new Reboot, Callum Reyes, is proving to be difficult. He SMILES. He THINKS. He’s hardly a Reboot at all. He’s definitely going to be a problem for her.

Great writing by the author. The humans’ fear of Reboots, the world around Wren, the social class struggle (rich vs. poor) and more are all very believable. Filled with great action, awesome characters, and an unforgettable romance, this plot was unique and very captivating. Here’s a hint of the writing style, it’s one of our favorite quotes from the book:
“You shouldn’t let the fact that you’re a badass go to waste.”

This one is a real page turner. Everything gets wrapped up nicely in the end, yet clearly this is the first in a series from Ms. Tintera. We are very much looking forward to the next title.

–Michael Perry

Dying to Go Viral, by Sylvia McNicoll

Dying to Go ViralJade dies.  That’s not the end of the novel Dying to Go Viral; it’s the beginning.  Riding a skateboard without a helmet is not smart.  But doing that while hanging onto the back of a car so someone can film it and make a viral video?  That’s just stupid.   So, Jade dies.

But when Jade meets her mom on the other side, she realizes all of the grief that her decision and outcome have caused her father and brother.  She asks to come back for just one week. One week in which she can’t change anything, almost.   One week to make things better, somehow.   And she’s given the chance.

The moment she returns to her body, she see’s a friend about to do a skateboarding move that will break his wrist.   So, of course, she tries to stop it.  She does, but he injures himself worse just a few moments later.  With only a week on this Earth, Jade realizes that it’s not about the small stuff; it’s more about the Big Picture.  She discovers that she can only make little changes, like having the family eat together, talking to her brother about going to college after all.   But how can she set things on a better path with only days to go?

– from Michael