2014 Summer Reading Book Reviews; Young Adult

These are reviews for young adult books from last years summer reading program.
Clicking each will bring you to the full book review on our Facebook page.

Abandon by: Meg Cabot (Rating: 3/5)

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can’t help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she’s never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

Carmen by: Walter Dean Myers (Rating: 2/5)

Into the summer heat of New York’s Spanish Harlem strides Carmen, a chica who is as hot as the sizzling city streets. When she first meets José, she falls for him hard. He’s not like the gansta types she knows—tipo duros who are tough, who think they are players. But José has a quick temper, and he likes to get his own way. And nobody gets in Carmen’s way.

Dead Girls Dance by: Rachel Caine (Rating 4/5)

Claire has her share of challenges. Like being a genius in a school that favors beauty over brains; homicidal girls in her dorm, and finding out that her college town is overrun with the living dead. On the up side, she has a new boyfriend with a vampire-hunting dad. But when a local fraternity throws the Dead Girls’ Dance, hell is really going to break loose.

Everybody Sees the Ants by: AS King (Rating 3/5)

“Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.”

Girl In Pants by: Ann Brashares (Rating 3/5)

“It’s the summer before the sisterhood departs for college . . . their last real summer together before they head off to start their grown-up lives. It’s the time when Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen need their Pants the most.”

Glass Houses by: Rachel Caine (Rating 5/5)

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation, where the popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks in the school’s social scene: somewhere less than zero. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don’t show many signs of life. But they’ll have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.”

Goose Chase by: Patrice Kindl (Rating 3/5)

Her name is Alexandria Aurora Fortunato, and she is as lovely as the dawn. But that is only one of her problems. There’s also the matter of those three magical gifts of treasure bestowed on her by a mysterious old woman. And King Claudio the Cruel wants to marry her for her beauty and her wealth, and so does his rival, Prince Edmund of Dorloo. Those are two more problems. And, worst of all, she is locked in a tower, with a grille of iron bars and several hundred tons of stone between her and freedom. Some days Alexandria wishes she looked like a pickled onion. Clearly the only thing to do is escape—and, with the aid of her twelve darling goose companions, that’s precisely what Alexandria does.

Summer on Kidd’s Creek by: Robert Holland (Rating 3/5)

“Asa and Ike live on Kidd’s Creek, less that a mile apart. Those are the only two houses on the creek which stretches for miles through wide saltwater marshes. And because those marshes are full of clams, Ike and Asa plan to dig and sell enough quahogs to buy dirt bikes. But for anyone living near Kidd’s Creek there is always the question of whether Captain Kidd, as legend has it, buried the remains of his pirated gold somewhere in the marshes. No sooner do they start to look than they discover a strange albino camped out on the High Ground, digging holes everywhere. They begin their search in earnest, a search that takes them deep into the marshes, into a cave full of surprises, and pits them against the albino and his partner, Fishbone Watson in the rush to find the lost gold of Captain William Kidd.”

Sweet Shadows by: Tera Lynn Childs (Rating 5/5)

Three teenage descendants of Medusa must figure out where their fate will take them. The warring factions among the gods of Olympus are coming for them, the creatures of the abyss are pushing into San Francisco, and the boys in their lives are hiding dangerous secrets.

The Wish List by: Eoin Colfer (Rating 3/5)

Meg Finn is in trouble-unearthly trouble. Cast out of her home by her stepfather after her mother’s death, Meg is a wanderer, a troublemaker. But after her latest stunt, finding a place to sleep is the least of her worries. Belch, her partner in crime, has gotten her involved in the attempted robbery of an elderly man, Lowrie McCall. And things go horribly wrong. After an accidental explosion, Meg’s spirit is flung into limbo, and a race begins between the demonic and the divine to win her soul. Irreverent, hilarious, and touchingly hopeful, The Wish List takes readers on a journey of second chances, where joy is found in the most unexpected places.

The Tiger Rising by: Kate DiCamillo (Rating 3/5)

Walking through the misty Florida woods one morning, twelve-year-old Rob Horton is stunned to encounter a tiger – a real-life, very large tiger – pacing back and forth in a cage. What’s more, on the same extraordinary day, he meets Sistine Bailey, a girl who shows her feelings as readily as Rob hides his. As they learn to trust each other, and ultimately, to be friends, Rob and Sistine prove that some things – like memories, and heartaches, and tigers – can’t be locked up forever.

This is War by: Lisa and Laura Roecter (Rating 2/5)

Everyone at Hawthorne Lake Country Club saw Willa Ames-Rowan climb into a boat with James Gregory, the Club’s heir apparent. And everyone at Hawthorne Lake Country Club watched him return. Alone. They all know he killed her. But none of them will say a word. The Gregory family is very, very good at making problems go away. Enter the W.A.R.—the war to avenge Willa Ames-Rowan. Four girls. Four very different motives for justice and revenge, and only one rule: destroy the Gregory family at any cost.

The Splendor Falls by: Rosemary Clement-Moore (Rating 4/5)

Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.”

Speak by: Laurie Halse Anderson (Rating 4/5)

The first ten lies they tell you in high school. ‘Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.’ From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

Sea of Monsters by: Rick Riordan (Rating 4/5)

After a summer spent trying to prevent a catastrophic war among the Greek gods, Percy Jackson finds his seventh-grade school year unnervingly quiet. His biggest problem is dealing with his new friend, Tyson-a six-foot-three, mentally challenged homeless kid who follows Percy everywhere, making it hard for Percy to have any “normal” friends.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by: Richard and Florence Atwater (Rating 3/5)

Poor Mr. Popper isn’t exactly unhappy; he just wishes he had seen something of the world before meeting Mrs. Popper and settling down. Most of all, he wishes he had seen the Poles, and spends his spare time between house-painting jobs reading all about polar explorations. Admiral Drake, in response to Mr. Popper’s fan letter, sends him a penguin; life at 432 Proudfoot Avenue is never the same again. From one penguin living in the icebox, the Popper family grows to include 12 penguins, all of whom must be fed.

Feast of Fools by: Rachel Caine (Rating 4/5)

In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans have learned to live in relative peace. Still, students like Claire Danvers know that after dark, studying can take a backseat to staying alive. But the tenuous good-neighbor policy is really turned on its head with the arrival of Mr. Bishop.  Bad to the bone, the ancient old-school vampire cares nothing about harmony. Staying at the top of the food chain isn’t enough. What he wants from the town’s living and dead is unthinkably sinister. It’s only at a formal ball attended by vampires and their human dates that Claire realizes Bishop’s plan—and the elaborately evil trap he’s set for the warm-blooded souls of Morganville.

The Moon and More by: Sarah Dessen (Rating 4/5)

In her eleventh novel, Sarah Dessen returns to the beach town of Colby, setting of some of her best-loved books. Emaline is a Colby native, and so summer at the beach for her means hard work and a new population of beach goers. During this, her last summer before college, Emaline meets Theo while working for her family’s rental business. He’s a city boy who’s come to Colby as the assistant to a high-strung documentary filmmaker who’s in town to profile a reclusive local artist. Emaline knows he’s not her type, but she can’t help feeling drawn to him. And as their relationship develops, Emaline finds herself questioning her own goals, values, and choices in this classic Dessen romance.

The Mark of Athena by: Rick Riordan (Rating 4/5)

The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophecy remains a mystery. . . .

Lost Hero by: Rick Riordan (Rating 4/5)

Readers longing for a return to Camp Half-Blood will get their wish in the first novel of the Heroes of Olympus series, which follows Riordan’s popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and includes some of the same characters in minor roles. The new cast features Jason, Piper, and Leo, teen demigods who are just coming to understand and use their unique abilities as they learn how much depends upon their wits, courage, and fast-developing friendship. Setting up the books to come, the backstory of a master plan to unseat the gods is complex but is doled out in manageable bits with a general air of foreboding. Meanwhile, the action scenes come frequently as the three heroic teens fight monstrous enemies in North American locales, including the Grand Canyon, Quebec City, Detroit, Chicago, Omaha, Pikes Peak, and Sonoma Valley. Flashes of humor lighten the mood at times, but a tone of urgency and imminent danger seems as integral to this series as the last.

The Man with the Red Bag by: Eve Bunting (Rating 3/5)

Six months after 9/11, everyone wanted life to return to normal. But when Charles Stavros boards the Star Tours bus, twelve-year-old Kevin Saunders is sure this exotic-looking stranger is up to no good: He sits alone. He has a bushy black mustache and sinister eyebrows. He carries a red bag with him wherever he goes—and even talks to it! Kevin confides his suspicions to Geneva, a girl he meets on the tour bus. Together they watch the man’s every move. Kevin is convinced Stavros isn’t a typical tourist, interested in the Great Salt Lake, the Grand Tetons, or even Yellowstone National Park. Kevin knows Stavros, red bag in hand, has something much bigger in mind, and it’s up to Kevin to save the day, and maybe even the world.

Little House on the Praire by: Laura Ingalls Wilder

The adventures continue for Laura Ingalls and her family as they leave their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin and set out for Kansas. They travel for many days in their covered wagon until they find the best spot to build their little house on the prairie. Soon they are planting and plowing, hunting wild ducks and turkeys, and gathering grass for their cows. Sometimes pioneer life is hard, but Laura and her folks are always busy and happy in their new little house.

Lord of Misrule by: Rachel Caine (Rating 4/5)

In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, the master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the evil dead, and let chaos rule. But Bishop isn’t the only threat. Violent black cyclone clouds hover, promising a storm of devastating proportions as student Claire Danvers and her friends prepare to defend Morganville against elements both natural and unnatural.

Kick by: Walter Dean Myers and Ross Workman (Rating 4/5)

Kevin Johnson is a great kid and skilled soccer player. With attitude. Then he ends up in jail. Sergeant Brown is a tough cop and Kevin’s mentor. With attitude. If Kevin and Brown can learn to trust each other, they might be able to turn things around. Before it’s too late.

How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli and Snake Hill by: James Patterson (Rating 3/5)

Rafe Khatchadorian, the hero of the bestselling Middle School series, is ready for a fun summer at camp–until he finds out it’s a summer school camp! Luckily, Rafe easily makes friends with his troublemaking cabin mates and bunkmate, a boy nicknamed Booger-Eater, who puts up with endless teasing from the other kids. Rafe soon realizes there’s more to a person than a nickname, though, and Booger-Eater might be the kind of friend you want on your side when the boys from the Cool Cabin attack.

Home for the Holidays by: Heather Vogel Frederick (Rating 4/5)

This year, the girls are everywhere but home for the holidays. From a tropical cruise to a ski trip to Switzerland, it promises to be a Christmas to remember. Becca, Megan, Emma, Cassidy, and Jess have plenty of reading material to bring on their trips too, because the book club is tackling the Betsy-Tacy series before their next meeting on New Year’s Eve. But from unexpected blizzards to a sledding disaster, nothing goes as planned. Even the Secret Santa presents are turning into a huge disappointment. Worst of all, Becca’s dad has lost his job, and Becca is determined not to let anyone find out—even if it puts her friends’ goodwill to the ultimate test. The mother-daughter book club is in desperate need of some winter cheer! Luckily, there are plenty of holiday miracles in store.

Hide and Seek by: Kate Messner (Rating 3/5)

Jose, Anna, and Henry are junior members of the secret Silver Jaguar Society, sworn to protect the world’s most important artifacts. When they discover that the society’s treasured Jaguar Cup has been replaced with a counterfeit, the trio and their families rush to the rain forests of Costa Rica in search of the real chalice. But when the trail runs dry, new mysteries emerge: Who can they trust? Is there a traitor in their midst? With danger at every turn, it will take courage, teamwork, and a little help from the creatures of the rain forest to keep the cup from falling into the wrong hands.”

High Wizardry by: Diane Duane (Rating 2/5)

Young wizards Nita and Kit face their most terrifying challenge yet: Nita’s little sister, Dairine. Not only is Dairine far too smart for a ten-year-old, she also has recenlty become a wizard, and worse yet, a wizard with almost limitless power. When Dairine’s computerized wizard’s manual glibly sends her off on her novice adventure–her Ordeal–Kit and Nita end up chasing her across the galaxy, trying to catch up with Dairine before she gets into trouble so deep that not even her brains can resuce her.

The Cay by: Theodore Taylor (Rating: 4/5)

Phillip is excited when the Germans invade the small island of Curaçao. War has always been a game to him, and he’s eager to glimpse it firsthand–until the freighter he and his mother are traveling to the United States on is torpedoed. When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only companion is an old West Indian, Timothy. Phillip remembers his mother’s warning about black people: ‘They are different, and they live differently.’ But by the time the castaways arrive on a small island, Phillip’s head injury has made him blind and dependent on Timothy.