Saturday, June 13, 2015

Guest blog: Thriller



There Will Be Lies is a new, fast-paced thriller by the Printz award-winning author Nick Lake.

Before the accident, Shelby Cooper's life revolves around being home-schooled, batting, and spending time with her mother. Shelby's mother constantly cautions her to stay away from people, because people can hurt her. But then, a perfectly normal day leads to the event that changes her life forever. As Shelby leaves the library one evening, she is hit by a car.

In a vision that follows the accident, Shelby thinks she sees a coyote, who tells her that first, there will be two lies, then there will be a truth. The day turns even more surreal when her mother sneaks her out of the hospital without checking her out, and the two set off in their car across Arizona, running from dangers Shelby knows nothing about. It will be up to her to separate the lies from the truth to make sense of her new life.

There Will Be Lies is a well-written and absorbing page-turner. Although it is mostly a realistic fiction novel, it benefits from the magical elements that Nick Lake incorporates into the story. There's a bit of Native American lore that runs parallel to the main story and makes it more complex and mysterious. But what really makes this book so fun to read is the suspense. Instead of building up to the big conclusion, the book is infinitely full of surprises. No surprises or challenges are too hard to handle for Shelby, however. It was refreshing and enjoyable to read a story with a character who stands by what she believes and strives to make the right choice no matter how afraid she may feel. Although the book tackles some difficult issues, I finished the book feeling satisfied. This is definitely a great summer reading book for teens grades 7 and up!

Reviewed by Anush B., children's librarian


Editor's note: Book Café people! If you are a realism or magical realism fan, this might be a good book to choose to read and share at one of our four café book-talks during Teen Meetup in the Burb! Wednesday nights at Buena Vista--7:00 p.m., on June 17, July 1, 8, and 22. Join us, won't you???



Thursday, June 11, 2015

Teen review: Sequel, Serial Killers

Killer Instinct, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, is a 375-page book filled with mystery, murder, and a thrilling chase to stop a serial killer. It is the second book in The Naturals series. In this book, 17-year-old Cassie Hobbes is part of an elite FBI program using teens who possess unique skills useful for solving FBI cases. Aside from Cassie, there are four other teenagers in the program. However, of the teenagers in the program, Dean is the one most connected to the recent case involving a serial killer. The serial killer’s motive is not to be recognized for his own method of killing. Instead, this serial killer is imitating the distinct and legendary killing style of Dean’s incarcerated father, Daniel Redding. Throughout the book we follow FBI agents and this group of highly gifted teenagers in their attempt to solve their most difficult case yet! In addition, as if solving a murder case wasn’t difficult enough, the case is filled with twists and turns that make a solution seem almost unfeasible.

The book was very entertaining and fun. My favorite elements of the book have to be the pages written from a killer’s point of view that illustrate what the killer is thinking and feeling as he/she commits crimes. This detail definitely made the story more exciting without being too violent or disturbing. In addition, I really appreciated that actual facts and statistics were used to make the investigation throughout the book feel real. My last favorite detail of this book was the unexpected plot twist. However, I was not very fond of the main character, Cassie, whose actions felt repeatedly predictable. Nevertheless, it was a compelling read and I would rate it 3 out of 5 stars. I hope others will enjoy it too.

Reviewed by Melody, grade 11


Editor's note: We read the first book, The Naturals, in 8+9 Book Club, and it was rated 8.75 out of 10. We're hoping Ms. Barnes writes a third!


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Teen Review: Sarah Dessen

This Lullaby
by Sarah Dessen
345 pages
Realistic fiction / romance
For grades 9+

Reviewed by Amber, grade 10


This Lullaby seems like a classic love story, but it has its own little twists and turns. The book’s main character is a girl named Remy. She thinks she’s got everything figured out, from boys to the rest of her life. With a mom who constantly writes and remarries, a brother who has trouble staying on the right side of the law, and a new stepfather, she can’t handle any other uncertainty in her life. That is, until she meets Dexter. Dexter is in a band. Dexter is annoying. Dexter has bad handwriting. Dexter won’t give up on Remy. That gets on Remy’s nerves, big time, but somehow, she can’t get rid of him.

Remy and Dexter first meet at Remy’s soon-to-be-stepfather’s auto dealership. As soon as Dexter crashes (yes, crashes) into Remy, she is furious, but Dexter still has the nerve to write his name and number on Remy’s hand before dashing out. Soon, we learn that Remy is borderline heartless, only loving her immediate family and few close friends. We find that out by learning that Remy wants to break up with her current boyfriend, Jonathan, for no valid reason. She has a plan set out on how to break up with Jonathan but it all goes downhill when she discovers an actual valid reason to break up with him. Remy doesn’t think about it too much since she was already going to break up with him, and her mother’s wedding is in a week. For her mother, the wedding is a success, but Remy is left all alone until Dexter finds her and helps her out. It’s then that Remy realizes that Dexter’s not that annoying after all.

My thoughts on This Lullaby are that it was really cute and a little heart-wrenching at times. I loved almost all of the characters and I could imagine them existing in real life. There wasn’t much that I didn’t like, and the book was only slightly predictable. Honestly, I would recommend the book to people I think would enjoy it. Be warned that this book does have cussing and mature topics that are meant for older teenagers. I would rate this book a 3.5 out of 5 because the book is good but it’s only slightly better than most.


Editor's note: If you read and like this book, Sarah Dessen has written many others from which to choose. If you like this kind and style of realistic fiction, you might also try the books of Deb Caletti


Monday, June 8, 2015

Sketch Journaling Workshop!

Are you planning on keeping a sketch journal this summer? Don't forget--we're holding a workshop to get you started, this Thursday, June 11, at 3:00 p.m. at the Central Library (auditorium). If you want some hints, tips, and valuable exercises to get you started drawing your way through June and July, sign up by emailing melliott@burbankca.gov TODAY!