teen booklist

  • Increase
  • Decrease
  • Normal

Current Size: 100%

  text size

The Host by Stephenie Meyer


Book cover: The host

I’ll admit it: I’m a big Twilight fan. Even though I’m quite far from being a teenager, I love the romance and angst of it all. So when I saw that Stephenie Meyer had written The Host, a book NOT within the Twilight series, I was very skeptical. This was before the Twilight series was done and I couldn’t imagine Stephenie writing anything that didn’t take place in the hallowed Twilight universe or with its beloved characters. So when the book came out, I boycotted it. I knew I would not be able to accept some other world by this great (yes, I said great) author.

 

Now it’s been a few years since the last Twilight book came out. Last month I saw a trailer for a movie made of this book and decided it was time. Time for me to finally read The Host. So I checked out the enormous tome and dove in. It’s a hefty book! No way a slow reader like me could read the whole thing in three weeks. There was a list of people waiting for it, so I wouldn’t be able to renew it. Because of this, I read the first half and listened to the second half on CD in my car. I was dubious about liking it but, like her other novels, it dragged me right in. The characters are so well-drawn. The plot is intriguing and exciting.

 

The story takes place in an alternate America. Aliens have landed and have taken over the bodies of almost all of the Earth’s population. The humans act as hosts to these parasitic beings who are much more peaceful than we are. But there remain sects of resistant humans trying to escape being taken over by the peaceful parasites, called “souls.”

 

I don’t normally read science fiction, but this really drew me in. The story is really about displacement, adaptation, and trying to forge a good life and make everyone happy, which is pretty much impossible. This book is classified as adult fiction, where Twilight was for teens, but I would recommend it for teens and adults. It’s a wonderful story and [dare I say it?] even better than the Twilight series.



Deadly by Julie Chibbaro


Deadly cover

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro can be found on Link+.  After reading an article about strong female lead characters in an article by Joanna H. Kraus in the San Jose Mercury News, I became interested in reading the titles she recommended.  Of course, this was after reading the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  I was interested in reading other young adult titles with strong female protagonists like Katniss Everdeen.

 

Prudence is a young lady who is much more interested in learning about science in the male-dominated early 1900's.  She applies as an assistant to an epidemiologist, Mr. Soper.  Soon, Prudence finds herself involved in finding the cause of several typhoid epidemics around the city. 

 

This tale is a fictional account of what happened to Typhoid Mary.  Mary Mallon was the first person who was identified as a healthy carrier of the typhoid disease.  It was unheard of at that time for a healthy person to spread disease.  Trying to convince the public, the courts, and Mary Mallon becomes an uphill struggle. 

 

Julie Chibbaro is also the author of Redemption, also a Link+ book.



Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos


 

I lifted the rifle again and swung the tip of the barrel straight up into the air.  I figured I could gradually lower the barrel at the screen, aim, and pick off one of the Japanese troops.

 

BLAM!  The rifle fired off and violently kicked out of my grip.

 

"Jaaaack!"  I heard my mother shriek and then the screen door slammed behind her.

 

"If I'm not already dead I soon will be," I said to myself.

 

She pounced on me.  "There's blood!  You've been shot!  Where?"  Then she gasped and pointed directly at my face.  Her eyes bugged out and her scream was so high-pitched it was silent.

 

Fictional autobiography, Hell's Angels, history, mystery, comedy, death, horror...Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos is all and more.  Full of eccentric characters, this novel follows the life of author Jack Gantos during one action-packed summer in his hometown.  Meet Miss Volker, who is trying to revitalize a dying town.  Meet Mr. Spizz, who polices the town on his adult-sized tricycle.  Meet Jack's mother, who believes in bartering jam rather than paying cash.  Meet Jack's father, who worries about the "commies" in  town and who wants to build a runway in the backyard.

 

In addition to having a town full of loveable characters, Jack also suffers from nosebleeds that can be triggered by any excitement or surprise.  Is it hemochromatosis, like Hemingway?  Ugh!  This is problematical, of course, since he is helping Miss Volker to write all of the obituaries. 

 

Finally, a whole-summer grounding dampens his summer plans when he mows down a cornfield.  How does he get out of it?  Who is killing all of the senior citizens?  Will he have to move to Florida?  Read this extraordinary novel to find out!



Inheritance by Christopher Paolini


"Enough," said Glaedr.

 

Glaedr seemed possessed of an urge to do something other than sink ever deeper into the all-enveloping morass of his private torments.

 

"Enough," Glaedr repeated, sounding both weary and exasperated.  "Do you wish to attract unwanted attention?"

 

"Eragon, you should not spend so much time sparring.  It is distracting you from more important matters.  The sword in Galbatorix's hand is not what you need fear the most, nor the sword in his mouth, but rather the sword in his mind."

 

"Anyone with the time and inclination can acquire technical proficiency.  To achieve greatness, though, that requires artistry."

 

"By seeing all and discounting nothing, you may adapt without hesitation to any change.  The warrior who can adapt the easiest to the unexpected is the warrior who will live the longest.

 

The theme of being able to adjust strategies based upon meditated evaluation is a major theme in this, the final volume of Christopher Paolini's Eragon cycle.  The cycle comes to an end in  Inheritance.  In this final volume, Eragon finally meets his nemesis, Galbatorix.  Eragon's growth as a character will determine if he will be able to follow Glaedr's advice.

 

This novel starts with a synopsis of all that has transpired in previous novels.  Don't relax, though!  The beginning chapter, "Into the Breach," starts off running in the midst of a battle.  We see familiar faces, Saphira, Arya, Roran, Katrina, Angela, Nasuada, Orrin, Orik, Nar Garzhvog, Elva, Murtagh, etc. and familiar towns that must be breached by the Varden.  Inheritance is a hefty volume and encompasses troubling births, bloody battles, encounters with the priests of Helgrind, kidnappings, werecats, the Rock of Kuthian, and name-finding.  Always in the shadows, though, is the grim shadow of the mad king, Galbatorix.

 

The showdown with Galbatorix itself made me initially cringe because I saw images of the end of Star Wars:  Return of the Jedi.  However, I am pleased that my initial assumption proved to be incorrect!

 

Paolini delivers a deliberate and exciting conclusion to his epic saga.  He promises us, though, that he intends on visiting the lands of Alagaesia in the future.  I look forward to further adventures in this sprawling landscape!



Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol


Anya has immigrated to the United States and has worked hard to assimilate into the American culture.  She has eliminated her Russian accent and adopted American mannerisms.

 

Everything changes on the day she falls into a hole and meets a ghost.  This "benign" ghost seems to be a great  supporter and advisor.  Anya's ghost looks nerdy and unassuming.  However, this new friend finds ways to help Anya out of schoolwork and skipping out on classes.  Anya's ghost even starts to help Anya find a way to get together with her huge crush, who never seems to notice her.  With the ghost's help, however, Anya soon gets his attention!

 

Vera Brosgol is an illustrator for Laika, Inc.  She works on storyboards for feature animation.  Neil Gaiman has called Anya's Ghost (find on Link+) "a masterpiece."  This is a novel for those who love graphic novels and young adult literature.



Recommended by Teens for Teens…


 

Did you know that every branch of the San Jose Public Library has a youth advisory group of teen volunteers called teensReach? In addition to earning community service hours for participating in library activities, members also attend monthly meetings at their local library branch and act as advisors and advocates for the library. If you would like to learn more about what teensReach does and how to become a member check out the teensReach link from our website: www.sjpl.org/teensReach.

 

At a recent teensReach meeting held at the Dr. King Library, teensReach members were asked for their favorite books and movies that they would recommend to other teens. This is what they came up with…

 

cover of School's Out Forever by James Patterson   cover of Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer   cover of Redwall by Brian Jacques   cover of Blood Red Horse by K.M. Grant   Cover of Suckerpunch by David Hernandez

 

 

Maximum Ride 

This popular teen series by James Patterson was listed twice by members of the teen group. The library has copies of the novels in print, e-book, audio book, and manga versions available for check out now.

 

Breaking Dawn

The fourth and final book of the wildly popular vampire series the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer.  All of the books in the Twilight Saga series have now been made into movies and half of this last volume is in theaters now as Breaking Dawn Part One.  The book and the movie soundtrack are available now in the library.

 

Redwall

This classic animal fantasy tale was first published in 1987 and still holds its appeal today. It was also the first of the now 22 volume series by author Brian Jacques, with volume 22 – The Rogue Crew just published in 2011. If you are already a fan, you can place a hold in now and be one of the first to get a copy of the latest volume when the library’s shipment comes in.

 

Blood Red Horse

A historical fiction title by K.M. Grant set in the Middle Ages during the Third Crusades. If you like tales about the age of knights and would like to learn a little about what it was really like during those times, you might enjoy this book… the first of three in the  De Granville Trilogy.

 

Sucker Punch

It was not clear if this recommendation was for the fantasy film Sucker Punch released in 2011 about a girl in a 1950’s mental institution who creates an alternate reality and the quest she goes on to escape that world or if the recommendation was for the book Suckerpunch by David Hernandez about two teenage brothers who drive from Southern California to Monterey to confront the abusive father who walked out on them a year ago and now wants to return. Either way, library patrons are in luck as both are available for check out.

 

Easy A

Another teen film available at the library. A summary from the library catalog: After a little white lie about losing her virginity gets out, a clean cut high school girl sees her life paralleling Hester Prynne's in 'The Scarlet Letter, ' which she is currently studying in school. Hoping to become popular, she decides to use the rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing.