By Adele Griffin
With Halloween right around the corner, I saw it fit to review a creepy thriller. Some people are scared by monsters and bloody gore, but I like a good old-fashioned ghost story. Tighter by Adele Griffin is loosely based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. The main character in the story is 17-year-old Jamie, who takes a summer job as an au pair on the New England island of Little Bly. Her mom convinced her to take the job to escape the problems back home including an addiction to prescription pills. Jamie soon finds that the little island is full of mysteries including the tragic death of two teenagers. She also begins to see ghosts. Is this real or just a cause of the pills?
This book has the ingredients for a great ghost story. Creepy island. Check. Tragic deaths. Check. Old mansion. Check. Unexplained sights and sounds. Check. The line between the living and dead is completely blurred in Jamie’s world. The best part is that the reader is unsure if the ghosts are real or just figments of her imagination due to the pills. If you are familiar with The Turn of the Screw you will notice the similarities in this book. However, Griffin plots some original twists and presents an ending that is stunning! Adele Griffin is also the author of Picture the Dead and My Almost Epic Summer as well as many other books.
If you enjoy Tighter, read Turning by Francine Prose. This book is also based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. This book was just released in September, and I can not wait to read it! I am sure it will be equally chilling and creepy!
By Marcus Sedgwick
Many young adult books that I read are light and happy and involve some sort of romance. However, White Crow is the complete opposite of light and happy. It is dark, twisted, and haunting.
This book is set in a small seaside village called Winterfold in England during two time periods: present-day and 1798. In present-day Winterfold, sixteen year old Rebecca is reluctantly spending the summer with her dad, a former policeman caught up in a scandal. She meets Ferelith, a local girl who is known for her oddities. Throughout the summer, they explore the sinister history of the town and Rebecca learns that Ferelith has her own troubled history. In 1798 Winterfold, a local rector learns that a man named Dr. Barrieux is coming to town to live at Winterfold Hall. They soon form a twisted bond over the afterlife and attempt to form an experiment to find out what really happens when a person dies. These two stories weave into a suspenseful, horrific tale of good and evil. This is a page turner at its best!
I read this book in three hours and can still say it haunts me. It was that good! Some books that incorporate more than one point of view can be confusing, but Sedgwick ties the two voices together seamlessly. I should say that this book is not for the faint of heart or those who like light reads. Marcus Sedgwick is the author of several young adult books including Revolver, a Printz Honor Book.
This list is in no particular order, but these are my favorites thus far:
1. Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaimon and Andy Kubert – Your favorite Marvel heroes and villains throwback 1602!
2. Axe Cop. 1 by Malachai and Ethan Nicolle – The gist: little brother (5 years old) + whacked out stories + older brother with drawing skills= the funniest comic I have ever read.
3. Deogratias, a tale of Rwanda by Jean-Phillipe Stassen – 2000 prize winner of the Goscinny Prize – A beautiful work, but one that is difficult to digest in its gut wrenching tale of the genocide in Rwanda.
4. Green Arrow : year one by Andy Diggle and Jock – The Green Arrow was never my favorite superhero, but after reading this I was a huge fan. This graphic novel could be easily made into a movie.
5. Beowulf by Gareth Hinds – This epic tale beautifully rendered in all of its ancient brutality.
How to Save a Life
By Sara Zarr
How to Save a Life is a story of two very different girls and how their lives come crashing together.
Jill MacSweeny is still struggling with the death of her father and has pulled away from everyone in her life, including her boyfriend and her best friends. Her mom decides that she wants to adopt a baby and to Jill that seems like a sad attempt at replacing her father.
The baby is where Mandy Kalinowski comes into the story. She’s a pregnant teen who’s had a rough life and really isn’t sure if she’d be able to give her baby a better life than the one she’s had. She connects with Jill’s mom on an adoption website and agrees to give her the baby on her own terms, no contract and she will live with the MacSweeny’s for the final weeks of her pregnancy. Mrs. MacSweeny quickly agrees but Jill is suspicious of Mandy and her motives.
Both Jill and Mandy have a lot to figure out about who they are and what they want out of life and realize that it might not be what they originally planned. This is a wonderful story about family and love and finding your place in the world…and more than one life is saved by the end of it.
Last month, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) announced the winner of the Michael L. Printz Award, an award given annually for the book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.
The winner is Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley.
From the YALSA website:
“Witty, sardonic Cullen Witter agonizes over the disappearance of his beloved brother, Gabriel, while everyone else in his stiflingly dull Arkansas town thrills to the apparent return of a long-extinct woodpecker. Kidnapping, bromance, arcane religious texts, and ornithology collide in this ground-breaking coming-of-age tale.
‘Straightforward, yet increasingly complex, this novel masterfully weaves together themes of brotherhood, friendship, loss and religious obsession,’ said Printz Award Committee Chair Erin Helmrich.”
Where Things Come Back was also the winner of YALSA’s William C. Morris Award, which recognizes the best debut novel of the year.
The Ruins of Gorlan
by John Flanagan
The beginning of a great adventure is about to begin for Will, a young orphan without direction. Everyone is being chosen for careers amongst his friends, and Will is unsure of what awaits him. When he is chosen to apprentice with the mysterious ranger Halt, Will knows little of the adventure and danger that await him as he leads this new life.
Filled with witty dialogue and action, these books will not disappoint. I started reading this book with hesitation, but once I finished I was hooked on the entire series.
Ever wonder what book your favorite Glee character might like to read? Well, here are some likely guesses:
Thanks to Pat Zietlow Miller!