Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hidden treasure, family history, and a touch of magic

Discovering the world is bigger than you think is part of being a good reader! Here is a group of novels each having its own take on how complicated life can get. Look for them using the WorldCatalog and Amazon search boxes here on BookBag, and be sure to bring along your sense of adventure.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson,
by John Green and David Levithan (Dutton) Fiction. Two different guys
named Will Grayson narrate this sarcastic, hilariously profound novel that is, as supposedly secondary character Tiny Cooper might say, made of awesome. One Will Grayson is the long-suffering best friend of Tiny Cooper, "the world's largest person who is really, really gay and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large" (and, by the way, "large" refers not just to Tiny's size, but also his personality). The other will grayson -- he doesn't bother to use capital letters -- is cynical and depressed, and lives for his late-night chat sessions with a guy named Isaac. In a stunning coincidence, the two Will Graysons meet...and then things really get interesting. Want to know more? Check out co-author John Green's YouTube book trailer.

The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting (Harper) Mystery. Sixteen-year-old Violet Ambrose has inherited a talent for detecting the "echoes" of colors, sounds, smells, and even tastes that connect murder victims to their killers. It's an unsettling ability that, until recently, only led her to the dead birds left behind by her cat -- but now a serial killer is on the rampage in her small town, and Violet may be the only one who can stop him. She enlists the help of Jay Heaton, her best friend since grade school ... who, to complicate matters, is suddenly causing her heart to flutter. Combining suspense, paranormal phenomena, and romance, this novel is a great pick for fans of Wendy Corsi Staub's Lily Dale mysteries or Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series.

Mercury, by Hope Larson (Atheneum Books) Graphic Novel. Cross-country runner Tara lives in Nova Scotia and hopes that she and her mom will be able to rebuild the old family farmhouse, which recently burned to the ground; meanwhile, she's staying with relatives and trying to readjust to high school after two years of homeschooling. In a separate but linked story line, Tara's ancestor Josey falls for an itinerant prospector who wants her father to mine for gold on their property. Eisner Award-winning graphic novelist Hope Larson weaves the past, the present, love, hidden treasure, family history, and a touch of magic together to create this leisurely paced yet enthralling story.

The Carbon Diaries 2017, by Saci Lloyd (Holiday House) Carbon rationing in the UK--London college student Laura Brown just wants to focus on her punk band's upcoming European tour and her relationship with her boyfriend, Adi. But the whole world is in crisis due to the effects of climate change, and Laura and her friends have no choice but to deal with the political unrest, riots, and government corruption that have become commonplace. This dark yet exciting story will thrill fans of frighteningly believable near-future dystopias (such as Cory Doctorow's Little Brother) as well as those who like contemporary environmentalist fiction (such as Jennifer Cowan's Earthgirl).

Vegan Virgin Valentine, by Carolyn Mackler (Candlewick Press) Fiction. Mara Valentine lives a strictly ordered and controlled life; she makes stellar grades, participates in all the right extra-
curricular activities, has received early acceptance to Yale, and is a vegan (albeit one who admits to herself, "I LUST after cheese. I DREAM about cheese."). When her niece, Vivian, a.k.a. V--who's only a year younger than Mara--temporarily moves in with the family, Mara's tidy, shipshape world gets seriously shaken up. Charged with sarcasm, angst, honesty, and hope this hilarious and somewhat racy story by the author of The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things is a quick and upbeat read.

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