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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This atmospheric trip down memory lane tells the story of Kathy one of many “students” from Hailsham.  Ishiguro is an amazing writer allowing his character to unfold her story in her own time and in her own way.  Although this is an adult SF book, I imagine teens would be able to relate to many of the memories Kath examines from her adult life.  This is a very human story and readers find significance in the small exchanges and hopes of the characters.

A recommended read!

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Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

The first teen book club book, Never Fall Down, gets a hold of you quickly and doesn’t let go.  With the story of Arn, the genocide in Cambodia directed by Pol Pot comes into sharp, personal focus.  McCormick tells the story through interviews and research but brings imagination and a gentle presentation to what is horrific and heroic, sometimes all at once.

I am proud to say that the teen members chose this book.  I’m looking forward to some deep discussion about survival and how it can change how you view the world.  I’m interested in knowing what the group has to say about Pol Pots methods for creating a Utopian.  I’d like to talk about equality and equity…I’d be interested to hear about their thoughts on “killing everyone who used to be rich or high ranking” – what does this accomplish?  What is it supposed to accomplish?

Who are the bad guys?  Are there any ‘good’ bad guys?  Is Arn a good guy?  I am really looking forward to listening to the insights of this generation when they read this story of the past.  Heck, I was only two years old when the Khmer Rouge regime came to Cambodia.

Read the book, and join the discussion (either write a comment here, on our website or come in and chat face to face)!

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This Broken Wondrous World by Jon Skovron

I’m about halfway through with this delightful sequel to Man Made Boy.  All of the characters are back and several new monsters and heroes and heroic monsters are introduced in this second book.  Boy finds compassion and friendship when he travels to Geneva to live with the Frankenstein family, and he tries to bridge the differences by bringing his new friend / cousin, Herni Frankenstein home for the holidays.  A reconciliation may be more difficult to facilitate for Boy, especially within himself.  The importance of an accord between the monster world and the human world take on world wide stakes when Dr. Moreau tells our protagonist, ” …know that if we meet again on opposite sides of a battlefield, I will show no mercy.  Whether human or monster, the only options I offer are to join me, or die.” (p. 188)

Evil laughter!

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Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron

Only six chapters in, but I am loving this book!
“You were trying to impress her with a story about getting mauled by a thresher?”
“It made sense at the time.”
“Ah, Youth.” He sighed. “Do you know what I would give to be young again?”
“No, what?”
“Nothing. In fact, you’d have to pay me.” (p.20)

“Humans are pretty complicated,” I said. “No, Boy. Rain-forest ecosystems are complicated. Humans are just a mess.” (p.24)

“In the dark hours, we must all be lights for each other.” (p. 323)

Fish out of water?

Teen romance?

AI disaster waiting to happen?

So far, this story is all of these things!  I am so delighted to come along with the all too human “monster” boy, who is the product of his mother and father…but not in the traditional sense…you see his father is Frankenstein’s monster and his mother is the Bride of Frankenstein.  Boy leaves the protection and safety of the small confines of the theater he’s grown up in and strikes out on his own (okay with some help from an internet friend) to discover what he’s really made of.  I can’t wait to finish this book and dive into the sequel; “This broken wondrous world “.

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The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne

This was a delightful story to read!  Ghosts, faeries, changelings, evil magicians and phony spiritualist are all added to the mixed cast of characters.  If you like adventures that have a little bit of mystery, a little bit of the paranormal and a dash of fantasy, this is the story for you!  Very appropriate for readers 3-6th grade.

The book is well written and the story is well paced and interesting right up to the ending.  I would recommend this book.

Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel

I felt like this story started on a high note.  I was intrigued by the two main characters, Lena and Aubrey and I wanted to know more about them.  The story built through alternating chapters told by the two girls.  We don’t hear from Charlie until chapter 6.  As the story unfolds and the girl’s reveal the secrets they’ve been guarding the stakes are raised and Charlie’s megalomaniacal world view comes into focus.

The ending is wide open for a continuation of the story.  Personally, I was unhappy with the ending, but because I don’t want to spoil anything for potential readers, that is as much as I will say in a public format.  If you’d like my full opinion on it you can leave a comment and I’ll get in touch with you.