Last Tuesday, I left on a road trip that would take me to Oklahoma City, where I went to college, then up through New Mexico and Colorado to Sterling, Colorado for the wedding of a family friend. Then on my way back, I went through Kansas and Oklahoma City (again). Not only did I do a lot of driving (3100 miles!!), I did a lot of reading. I read SIX books while I was on this trip! Let me tell you about some of them...
The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
I loved Bodeen's The Compound, so I was excited to get to her new book. Just like in The Compound, Bodeen forces you to think about the future and how to sustain life under bleak circumstances. The Gardener is set in the Pacific Northwest, present day, in a town run by a large corporation known for its scientific research ventures. Trying to uncover the secrets his mom keeps from him, Mason falls into an even bigger secret about the corporation and what it's keeping in its "greenhouse" to protect future generations of humans from starvation. This is a quick read, and a great story for anyone who thinks about the symbiosis of manking and Earth.
Countdown by Deborah Wiles
This book takes place in 1962, a time of great cultural revolution in the US. Franny lives with her parents, her sister, her brother, and a crazy uncle while she tries to figure out why her sister is "running away" to college, deals with the fear of Communists, and survives the most troubling days of the Cold War, all the while dealing with the normal life of an adolescent girl. Although the plot of this book may seem a little shallow, it is a fabulous way to learn some American history without opening a social studies book. Countdown also contains photos, newspaper articles, speeches, and song lyrics from the 60's. It's also a great way to connect with your grandparents!
Crazy by Han Nolan
Jason was named by his father after the Greek hero (you know the one...of the Golden Fleece and the Argonauts) because his father actually thinks that life is all a part of Greek mythology and that the Furies are chasing after him. It's Jason's job to take care of his mentally unstable father now that his mom has died, and he has to do it without anyone finding out too. If anyone finds out just how far gone his dad is, they'll separate Jason from his father and lock his dad up in a mental institution. He thinks he's got it all under control, until he makes friends for the first time since 5th grade...
Framed by Gordon Korman
First, I love Gordon Korman! I think his books are always fun. Framed delivers exactly what it promises: another genius plan to right the injustices of the tween world. When Griffin is accused of stealing a Super Bowl ring donated to the school, he is sent away to a DAEP and put under house arrest with an ankle monitor and everything. While he's benched, his friends come up with a plan to prove his innocence. Framed is a fun read for anyone.
A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell
What a great story. My only problem is that it ends too quickly. Sandell does a fantastic job with characterization, and at the end of the book, I'm not ready to say goodbye. I want to see what happens next in their lives. Lately, I'm used to books in a series, since all YA authors are jumping on that bandwagon (thank you Hunger Games, Lightning Thief, 39Clues, Uglies, Matched, etc.). Map takes us into the world of Cora, navigating her first year of high school without her brother, who should be at her school as a senior. He's dead. It was a terrible accident that tore apart the lives of Cora's family and Damian, the friend who was in the car with her brother. This is the beautiful story of how Cora tries to put her life back together in the only world she knows.
added on 7/9/12
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
This is a very compelling story of two strangers whose live collide when one gets pregnant and wants to give her baby to the other girl's mother. The two girls learn about the meaning of life and family in this book.
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
An exciting thriller set in present-day London as Rory moves from her native Louisiana to attend a boarding school across the ocean. As she begins her school year, a copycat killer of Jack the Ripper is on the loose. Without knowing it, Rory has seen the copycat killer and has the ability to stop him from killing more innocent victims. This book brings together popular history of Victorian London and the supernatural. This is definitely an interesting read.
Twenty Gold Falcons by Amy Gordon
Moving to the big city after her father's death is too much for Aiden to handle - until she gets involved in a treasure hunt. A real treasure hunt for gold. Racing with her new friends against the Queen Bee of her new school, Aiden learns more about her father and the rest of her family than she ever thought possible.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
An excellent beginning to a new series, Divergent takes us to futuristic Chicago where adults have to choose which virtue they value most: courage, honesty, selflessness, peacefulness, and intelligence. At the age of 16, each person must choose which group to live in for the rest of their lives, and when they choose, they will no longer be able to associate with anyone from any other group (faction), even if their parents are in another group. After Beatrice chooses to leave her family's faction, she begins adjusting to her new life as a member of Dauntless (the courageous faction) and discovers that one of the factions is planning a coup to take over the government. Not only is there the suspense of possible war, but the book is filled with adrenline-junkie situations as she's initiated into Dauntless, being challenged to overcome her fears, to be courageous.
added on 7/30/12
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
I would totally recommend Ender's Game for any sci-fi fans, and anyone who gets excited about all things retro. This book is the beginning of a series about a world where Earth's children are brought up playing space wars games to prepare them to defend the planet against attacking alien "buggers." In Ender's Game, the main character, Ender, leaves his family at the age of 6 to go to outer space to begin training for a position in the army fighting against the buggers. Along the way, Ender learns what it means have and be a friend.