Harmony House REVIEW

harmony houseAvailable in Print & eBook.

Jen Noonan’s father thinks a move to Harmony House is the key to salvation, but to everyone who has lived there before, it is a portal to pure horror.

Do you like scary stories? Creepy old houses? Supernatural activity? Then I’ve got the book for you. ‘Harmony House’ is one part Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ and one part ‘The Haunting’ movie and all other movies that make you jump when you see a shadow in your house.

This book is a great read if you want something a little spooky but don’t want to get slogged down with a behemoth novel. It’s a quick read you could finish in one sitting, on a dark and stormy night, when suddenly the power goes out…

Mostly, I enjoyed this book for the same reason I enjoy horror movies. I could sit there yelling at the character, ‘No! Don’t run upstairs! Now you’re trapped, dummy!’ just like I do watching movies. The story was not overly complex, hence why it’s a short read. But it did provide some interesting backstory on the house and all the ‘evil’ that’s tainted it. My only gripe was that one early backstory moment was never fully flushed out. It felt like it was just left in there and then forgotten about for further explanation.

So if you a fan of horror movies and thrilling YA, give this book a read. If you can’t watch horror movies without all the lights on and during the middle of the day, well, then you should probably pass on this one…

Happy Reading!
Maggie
Librarian
Warren Branch

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Highly Illogical Behavior REVIEW

HIBAvailable in Print, eAudiobook & eBook.

I picked this book up after I saw John Green (Paper Towns, Fault In Their Stars, yeah, that John Green) post about it months ago. He raved about it and once I read the plot, it sounded pretty interesting.

‘HIB’ has three main characters. Lisa is a determined student who wants to attend one of the best psychology programs in the country after high school. Clark, her boyfriend, is a laid back, kind and funny soul that hasn’t quite figured out what the next step will be. Solomon is an agoraphobe with severe anxiety and hasn’t left his house in three years. He’s also Lisa’s ticket out of her hometown in California.

Lisa plans to ‘cure’ Solomon of his anxiety and agoraphobia and then will detail her experience in her college admissions essay. Clark is the only one that knows her secret. From the very start, you stop and think, ‘Oh great, this won’t blow up in her face at all…’. What Lisa doesn’t expect to find is a very functional, funny, smart and rather well adjusted teenager in Solomon.

I loved this story from the start. Whaley writes excellent dialogue that turns into witty, clever banter between the three main characters. His characters all had their own flaws, which that’s the way it should be since none of us are perfect in real life anyhow! Through the story, you experience Sol’s growth as he becomes more confident in himself and learns to control and face his fears. His progress may seem small but for someone with such anxiety, it’s the little steps that count. Not only do you see a change in Sol, but Lisa and Clark grow together as a couple and as young adults. Lisa learns more about herself and her relationship with Clark in her attempts to learn more about Sol.

I don’t want to give too much away but this really was a wonderful story. I don’t usually pick up contemporary books but this one had enough quirkiness to intrigue me. If you are a fan of John Green, David Levithan or Stephen Chbosky, you will enjoy this book.

Happy reading!
Maggie
Librarian
Warren Branch
Indianapolis Public Library

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Month of Pride Part 2

June is LGBT Pride Month and to celebrate we are highlighting some of our books that feature LGBT characters.
syndetics-lcRead Me Like A Book by Liz Kessler

Available in Print.

Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling – that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. It’s enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents’ marriage troubles. There’s just one thing bothering her . . .

Shouldn’t it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way – not Miss Murray, her English teacher?

A thought-provoking coming out story from a highly skilled author. (Goodreads)

syndetics-lcYou Know Me Well  by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

Available in Print.

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time. (Goodreads)

syndetics-lcWithout Annette by Jane B. Mason

Available in Print.

Josie Little and her girlfriend Annette Anderson have traveled halfway across the country to attend Brookwood Academy, a prestigious boarding school in Connecticut, and get away from Annette‘s abusive mother, but as soon as they get there things begin to unravel–the undercurrents in the school are poisonous, Annette seems more interested in drinking with the in-crowd, and a boy declares that he is in love with her.

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Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston REVIEW

exit coverAvailable in Print, eBook & eAudiobook.

Just a forewarning about this book. It deals with the matter of rape which I know not everyone wants to read about. So if this is a trigger for you, feel free to pass on this review.

With that being said, I don’t think this book is solely about rape. The sexual assault of the main character, Hermoine Winters, is by far a pivotal action of the story. But the resulting months and story line after her assault are about much more than that. This story, for me at least, was about growth in personal lives, in relationships and in maturity. Hermione’s story starts at the beginning of her senior year in high school, which is a year of growth and change in of itself. She is already thinking about how things will be changing and how something as simple as sleeping in a bunk at cheer camp will be the last time. But then her life is thrown upside down. She is drugged and sexually assaulted while at cheer camp.

In the wake of the Stanford case & Brock Turner’s ‘sentencing’, this book struck a chord with me. It gave me a look at the process and people that ultimately end up being involved when something terrible like this happens. While Hermione’s ordeal is by no means the standard situation a survivor deals with, her handling of the situation, her relationships and healing were a perspective I would not have any knowledge of prior. I think the author wrote an intriguing story not about rape, but about how rape changes a person and the people around them. Characters in the book grappled with blame, fault, ignorance, empathy and anger in their own ways. Johnston gave the reader a look at how sexual assault can affect people involved directly and indirectly in many ways.

I know this isn’t a book that many people would want to go out of their way to read. However, I would still recommend it greatly. It is well written and provides a story line of a situation often not discussed enough. If you aren’t willing to give this story a try, you might check out one of Johnston’s other stories such as ‘One Thousand Nights’. I’ve already read and enjoyed that story as well.

Happy Reading!

Maggie
Librarian
Warren Branch
Indianapolis Public Library

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Month of Pride

June is LGBT Pride Month and to celebrate we are highlighting some of our books that feature LGBT characters.

Cover of This Book Is GayThis Book Is Gay

by James Dawson

Available as eBook

Lesbian. Bisexual. Queer. Transgender. Straight. Curious. This book is for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. This book is for anyone who’s ever dared to wonder. This book is for YOU.

There’s a long-running joke that, after “coming out,” a lesbian, gay guy, bisexual, or trans person should receive a membership card and instruction manual. THIS IS THAT INSTRUCTION MANUAL. You’re welcome.

Inside you’ll find the answers to all the questions you ever wanted to ask: from sex to politics, hooking up to stereotypes, coming out and more. This candid, funny, and uncensored exploration of sexuality and what it’s like to grow up LGBT also includes real stories from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, not to mention hilarious illustrations.

You will be entertained. You will be informed. But most importantly, you will know that however you identify (or don’t) and whomever you love, you are exceptional. You matter. And so does this book.

Cover of Beyond MagentaBeyond Magenta Transgender Teens Speak Out

Available as eBook

A 2015 Stonewall Honor Book. A groundbreaking work of LGBT literature takes an honest look at the life, love, and struggles of transgender teens. Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.

Cover of Branded by the Pink TriangleBranded by the Pink Triangle

Available as eBook
A history of the persecution of gay men by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. When the Nazis came to power in Europe, the lives of homosexuals came to be ruled by fear as raids, arrests, prison sentences and expulsions became the daily reality. When the concentration camps were built, homosexuals were imprisoned along with Jews. The pink triangle, sewn onto prison uniforms, became the symbol of their persecution. This book combines historical research with first-person accounts and individual stories to bring this time to life for readers. From the first chapter, with its story of a young Jewish girl who was rescued from the depths of despair and starvation in the camps by a fellow prisoner who wore the pink triangle, to the last, entitled It Gets Better, which outlines the strides forward in gay rights made in the decades since the war, the feeling of bravery and perseverance in the face of inhuman cruelty shines through.

 

 

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