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.


You Know You Wanna Read It Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

truthThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Available in Print.

Can rumors destroy you? Can your reputation be so ruined by others that you can no longer function? Alice was popular and now she is called horrible names and shunned. One party started it all and the death of the star quarterback made it worse.

Alice lives in a small Texas town where football is everything. So when there is no game, what else is there to do? Parties are not those huge deals you see in the movies where hundreds of teens pack a house. Mostly, people (the popular upperclassmen and a select few of younger teens) hang out and drink. Occasionally, something big happens like at Elaine’s party where Alice had sex with two guys in the same night. Brandon, one of the guys himself, said it so it must be true.

Kelsie didn’t go to the party (she was ill), but she has been Alice’s best friend for…well, since she moved to Texas from Michigan. She was such a nerd back then and decided to start over in her new home. Alice was the first one to speak to her and they have been friends ever since – until the party. How could she risk losing her semi-popular status by staying linked to Alice who is ridiculed be everyone?

Josh is Brandon’s best friend. He was in the car when Brandon crashed and died. It was Alice’s fault. She kept sexting him. It was that distraction that caused the crash. Josh can’t keep that kind of info to himself, so now everyone in town knows (including the adults).

Kurt has been crushing on Alice for a long time. He is very smart and keeps to himself. Yes, he lives next door to Brandon, but Brandon would never admit to speaking to Kurt civilly (like he sometimes does when they are by themselves). And that’s just fine with Kurt. He doesn’t care about the rumors or whether they are true. He just wants to help Alice.

Through the alternating voices of Elaine, Kurt, Josh and Kelsie, we learn about the events leading up to the party and the accident. They each have their own motives and perspectives. What do they reveal and to whom? And is it too late for Alice?

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




worldThis Shattered World (Starbound #2)

By: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Publication: December 23rd, 2014

Genre(s): Science fiction

My rating: 4.5 stars

Available in Print, Downloadable Audiobook, and CD Audiobook.



The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war. Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should have never met. Lee is captain of forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents. Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion. Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelenting war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape to the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

“The girl is standing on a battlefield, and it’s the street she grew up on. The people here don’t know a war’s coming, and every time she opens her mouth to warn them, the city called November drowns her out. A car screeches past, a siren wails, children laugh, a holoboard starts playing its looped ad high above. The girl screams, but only the pigeons at her feet notice. Startled, they fly upward and disappear into the bright patchwork maze of laundry lines and lanterns crisscrossing overhead.

No one hears her.”

That is the opening line of This Shattered World, sequel to These Broken StarsIt made a huge impact on me and let me know that I would ultimately find it okay that This Shattered World is not about Tarver and Lilac,  the characters I came to love from the first book. No, this is about a new couple, as each book in the Starbound Trilogy is. The second I started reading from Jubilee’s perspective, though, no thoughts about Tarver or Lilac cropped up, which shows the talent both of these authors have: they can create separate characters, with separate goals and situations, but in the same world, without making me love the old characters more or less.

Though, I do approve of the Tarver and Lilac cameo. 100% approve.

Here’s a funny story: I was on a plane when the cameo happened unexpectedly. So, that left me with a bunch of random passengers, my mouth wide open, grinning idiotically, without anyone to talk to and share the excitement with. My mom was trying to sleep and she shushed me every time I began to squeal to myself. I had to keep it in and make myself read past the glorious Tarver & Lilac cameo, without giving myself a complete chance to process what I had just read. Funny story, but not at the time.



This was me at that unfunny time.

Anyway, with the cameo done for the moment, I continued reading and found myself swept up once again in the descriptive and beautiful world, in the characters and their journeys, in the whole book itself. Just like These Broken StarsThis Shattered World is written with a dual perspective, so I was the reader, both of my feet hovering on a white line that separated Jubilee and Flynn, the line that separated both of their peoples, both of their worlds, both of their sides on the bloody war they’ve been participating in for years. That line was slowly erased as Jubilee and Flynn found each other, and I didn’t root for either side any more; I rooted for Jubilee and Flynn, both as people and as lovers. The banter between them is addictive to read, and watching them go from enemies to friends to falling in love with one another was amazing.

“Are you in love with this vess-this person?”

I gape at him, caught off guard. The absurdity of the question here, in the bowels of a secret research facility, conversing with a creature from another universe, is so striking that I have to fight the hysterical impulse to laugh. But his eyes are so grave, so serious, that the urge fades and I’m looking left at him, my heart tight and painful.

“I-I don’t know,” I whisper. I remember the shape of his heart and mine, and his kiss at the water’s edge. “But I wanted the chance to find out.” 

Speaking of the secret research facility and the other creature from another universe, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have seriously upped their game in the departments of all things paranormal and creepy. I was on the edge of my seat during the ending, tense and worried about my favorite Captain, Jubilee Chase, and my favorite rebel, Flynn Cormac. Expect a mind-blowing ending if you pick up this book. Expect it. Love it. I did.

Final thoughts: this is a must read. Kaufman and Spooner put so much time into developing likeable characters, expanding their already creative and cool world, and setting up for what I’m sure is going to be an epic conclusion to the Starbound Trilogy. Who else hopes that the last book will be about Sophia Quinn? *fingers crossed*


Review by Mary Claire, Indy PL Teen

Real Rad Reads

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Spotlight on realistic Teen books about depression

13Thirteen reasons why : a novel by Jay Asher.

When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah’s voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

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



chanceThe chance you wont return by Annie Cardi.

High school student Alex Winchester struggles to hold her life together in the face of her mother’s threatening delusions about being Amelia Earhart.

Available in Print and E-book.





notesSuicide notes : a novel by Michael Thomas Ford.

Brimming with sarcasm, fifteen-year-old Jeff describes his stay in a psychiatric ward after attempting to commit suicide.

Available in Print and E-book.





willWill Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan.

When two teens, one gay and one straight, meet accidentally and discover that they share the same name, their lives become intertwined as one begins dating the other’s best friend, who produces a play revealing his relationship with them both.

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