by Keren David

Available in Print.

Jake is an actor on the incredibly popular soap opera, Market Square. In one episode, his character Riley goes up the stairs to his bedroom and never comes back down. Jake (and Riley) are left in limbo. Will his character ever return to the show? The producers keep telling him they haven’t decided. Jake, now 16, has been playing Riley since he was a child. So what is he supposed to do?

Jake decides to shoot video episodes of his own life and post them on the internet to let the world know why his missing character ultimately led to the end of the show (yes, the show was pulled off the air!). Some fans just want to know what was going to happen to other characters, but Jake has a story that goes beyond his character Riley.

Jake wants to be an actor, so he keeps going to auditions. He is not just desperate to get his career on track but to financially assist his family. Three years ago, Jake’s dad lost his job. His mental state has become increasingly unraveled in the months that Jake has been off the show. Jake’s older brother, Adam, is severely autistic, a situation that strains everyone. Their mom works some, but the family is in a financial crisis. Eventually, Jake cannot take it anymore and leaves home.

We follow the story through the episodes with Jake’s fellow actors taking the parts of his family and friends. This is not about a famous actor losing his job, but a deeper look at a family that has spiraled out of control. And it is told very well.


Ouran High School Host Club REVIEW

You’re invited to… Ouran High School Host Club!


Available here.

I spent many years avoiding this manga series. I really regret that decision. I’m not sure why I avoided this manga series other than the fact that I thought it would be like other stereotypical shojo manga. Now stereotypical shojo manga usually involves a girl who is in love with a boy, but that boy hates her until he eventually falls in love with her. Ouran High School Host Club is not that kind of manga series. Haruhi, the female protagonist, and the host club members are so far beyond that stereotype it’s laughable, in fact the characters themselves laugh at those stereotypes. Haruhi is smart, witty, and strong; qualities that are rare in quite a few shojo mangas.

To give some context, this manga is about a young girl named Haruhi. She is a scholarship student at Ouran, and her family is of the lower financial class. While exploring the school she tries to find a quiet place to study and ends up knocking over a vase worth 80,000 dollars, a vase that belongs to the host club. The host club allows her to work for them (basically until she graduates) so she can pay off the debt. As she slowly pays off the debt she gets to know the other host members: Tamaki, Kyoya, Hikaru, Kaoru, Mori, and Honey. Within the first manga you get to know these boys at face value. You learn that they’re rich and you also learn that they’re indulgent.  They are also funny, smart, and very bored which is why they put together the host club, to entertain the other rich and bored students. All of the host club members seem like they would be the worst of friends because they are all so different. Haruhi is the no-nonsense one, Tamaki is the overly passionate and kind one, Kyoya is the critical one, Hikaru and Kaoru are the tricksters, Honey is the childish one, and Mori is the stoic character. Though all are vastly different, through the manga (which is 18 volumes) their bond grows and they become greater friends. You will find yourself connecting to all of the characters. All in all it’s a funny, exciting, and thoughtful manga series, one that I highly recommend.

Cera House
Southport Library


Boomerang Effect REVIEW

Boomerang Effect
by Gordon Jack

Available in Print.

Someone dressed in the school viking mascot costume is creating havoc – spray painting an unflattering message on the principal’s parking space, vandalizing the homecoming floats. Principal Stone knows it must be Lawrence Barry. Lawrence is always pulling some prank and has no respect for authority. It is only the intervention of the school guidance counselor that keeps Lawrence from being shipped off to Quiet Haven alternative school like his friend Alex after they disrupted the diversity assembly.

To stay in school, Lawrence must join the Buddy Club and mentor Spencer Knudson, a freshman student from Norway. Spencer dresses like an adult in freshly pressed clothes. He carries a violin case and is constantly reading text books. Spencer is going to need a lot of help if he is going to survive high school. At least that’s what Lawrence thinks.

But Lawrence is the last person who should be giving advice even though he thinks he knows what is best for others. If he had listened to Spencer (you know, taken advice instead of giving it), everyone would not believe he is the vandalizing viking.

Still, Lawrence is trying. He is giving up smoking pot (which loses him his old partying friends). He attempts to help his friend ask his dream girl to the homecoming dance. He tries to advise the plain girl who sits in the back of the classroom to reveal more of herself like she does when she is participating in live action role play. Lawrence is also trying to catch the real vandal (he knows it has to be that crazy goth girl Zoe who seems to be stalking him).

Even though you may find yourself scratching your head at Lawrence’s plans and begging him not to go through with them, it is a fun journey.


To Catch a Killer REVIEW

To Catch a Killer
by Sheryl Scarborough

Available in Print.

Erin’s mother was murdered. And Erin was there when it happened. She was just a toddler and was left in the house for days while her mother’s body lay on the floor in a puddle of her own blood. But Erin survived.

Erin was raised by her mother’s best friend, Rachel, who has always been overly protective. Rachel will not discuss Erin’s mother or what happened. But it doesn’t stop Rachel from wondering. Erin is drawn to forensics like her Uncle Victor whom she has never met. He works for the FBI and has written about his experiences in books that Erin has practically memorized.

Ultimately, Erin wants to solve her mom’s murder, but she can only do so much as a student. She is fortunate to have an encouraging biology teacher, Miss Peters, who helps her dabble in forensic science. Erin was delivering some important materials to Miss P’s house the night she finds her lying dead on the floor. Two dead bodies is too much for one lifetime.

That night Erin saw Journey Michaels near Miss P’s house, too. Erin has been fascinated by Journey for a while, but what if he killed her favorite teacher? Her best friends Spam and Lysa have never understood Erin’s attraction to Journey. They also worry about Erin’s obsession with her mom’s murder case.

So many questions to answer about the two murders with Erin the only obvious connection. There is much to keep the reader guessing, but it is well worth it.


All Fall Down REVIEW

All Fall Down
(Embassy Row #1)
By Ally Carter

Available in Print, Audio, eBook & eAudio.

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

  1. She is not crazy.
  2. Her mother was murdered.
  3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

This book was our first book club pick for the teen book club I run at my branch. It seemed fitting to pick a political thriller for January 2017 considering our current political climate. This book was a fun read. It’s fast paced and full of action. The characters are intriguing and all have their own quirks. There’s an underlying mystery to the first book that leads way to a bigger mystery to be solved for the whole series.

My book club and I enjoyed the book. It was a fast read that I devoured in just a few days. Carter keeps the dialogue moving and doles out clues in small doses. There’s a bit of a shocker at the end that will leave your head spinning. I will definitely be picking up the rest of the books in this series. To date, there are two more books in the series.

If you enjoy thrillers, mysteries and a quick, fun read, give this series a look!

And if you are interested in joining our Teen Book Club, we meet on the second Tuesday of the month, 5PM at the Warren Branch.

Happy reading!
Warren Branch