Friday, August 6, 2010

Hot August reads

The long days and lazy weekends of August mean there's lots of time for fun reading. Here are some fiction and non-fiction reads for teens, as well as a short selection of books about music and movies. Search for library copies in the World Catalog box, or buy them through BookBag's link.

Reality Check
, Peter Abrahams (HarperTeen) Football was NFL-hopeful Cody's only reason for staying in high school, so when a serious injury dashed his dreams of going pro, he dropped out. Now working in a lumber yard in his rural Colorado town, Cody takes off for Vermont when he gets news of his girlfriend Clea's disappearance from her boarding school there. Not long after beginning his amateur investigation, Cody finds himself in real danger. With steadily building suspense, a plot filled with twists and turns, and a satisfying love story, Reality Check will appeal to both romance and thriller fans.

The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan (Simon & Schuster) Ever since their father was murdered, brothers Nick and Alan Ryves have been on the run from evil, power-crazed magicians who conjure demons to do their bidding. According to Alan, the magicians are after the protective charm that the boys' mother stole. But brooding, cold-hearted Nick is starting to suspect that his older brother, the only person he's ever trusted, is lying to him about...well, everything. Full of action, surprises, and vividly rendered characters, The Demon's Lexicon will bewitch fans of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments trilogy (which begins with City of Bones).

Carter Finally Gets It, Brent Crawford (Disney/Hyperion) Will Carter, aka "Carter," is about to start high school--and between his ADD, the stuttering problem he develops around girls, and his lack of a cool nickname, he's just not ready. But ready or not, he's barreling into his freshman year gung-ho, trying his hand at football, dating, baseball, flirting, drama club, dating, avoiding humiliation and pummeling, and (oh yeah) dating. Will he ever find his niche? Will he ever get lucky? Will he even survive freshman year? Read this hilariously awkward story and find out.

Peace, Love & Baby Ducks, Lauren Myracle (Dutton Books) Back in her ritzy Atlanta neighborhood after a crunchy-granola summer of roughing it in the woods, 15-year-old Carly is having a tough time. First of all, her little sister morphed into a hottie during the six weeks that Carly was gone, and Carly is trying hard not to be jealous. Second, Carly is beginning to realize that she cares about different things than her image-obsessed family and friends do. But sister-love conquers all, right? If there's a long list of people waiting to check out this sisterhood drama, try I Am the Wallpaper by Mark Peter Hughes or Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You by Dorian Cirrone while you wait.

Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia,
Cindy Pon (Harper Collins) With her father missing and a lecherous merchant attempting to blackmail her into marriage, 17-year-old Ai Ling sets out for the emperor's palace, the last place where her father was seen. On her journey, she meets and joins forces with Chen Yong and his younger brother Li Rong, who are on a quest of their own. When evil forces threaten to keep the trio from their destination--and to destroy all of Xia, their homeland--Ai Ling uses her newly discovered powers to fight back. If you're looking for a grand, exciting martial-arts adventure with a kick-butt heroine, look no further than Silver Phoenix.

Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old G.I. Ryan Smithson (HarperCollins) Ryan Smithson, who describes sitting in his high school history class and watching the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11 as the "atypical, unpredictable kind of real that you never see coming," enlisted in the Army as soon as he graduated. In this harrowing and powerful memoir, Smithson brings readers inside his tour of duty in Iraq, from basic training through combat and his return home. If you want to know what life is really like on the battlefield, Smithson's story provides a soldier's unflinching viewpoint; for an Iraqi civilian's account of the early days of the war, check out Thura's Diary by Thura Al-Windawi.

I want my MTV

When it debuted on August 1, 1981, MTV was the first television network to broadcast music videos--and only music videos--24/7. Since then, of course, MTV has expanded its programming to include a variety of reality shows, cartoons, movies, and more. Celebrate the network's 28th birthday by reading one of the books below about the music industry, video production, or both.

Pop Princess, Rachel Cohn (Simon & Schuster) Fifteen-year-old Wonder Blake is wearing headphones, mopping the floor at Dairy Queen and belting out "Smells Like Teen Spirit" when talent manager Gerald Tiggs discovers her. Before long, Wonder is on the fast track to fame and fortune--the same trajectory that her sister Lucky had been on when she was killed by a drunk driver two years before--hoping to put her problems behind her and start a new life. Despite dealing with some serious issues, Pop Princess is a fun and frothy read that anyone fascinated with teen stardom will enjoy. For a rise-to-stardom story more in the vein of punk than pop, check out Gillian Cross' Chartbreaker.

Notes from the Teenage Underground: A Novel,
Simmone Howell (Bloomsbury U.S.A.) Gem and her best friends Lo and Mira have nothing but disdain for their "sucker peers," whom they call "barcodes." When film-fanatic Gem, inspired by Andy Warhol, decides the three of them should make an underground movie, creative disputes lead to betrayals and serious testing of their friendship. Movie buffs and fans of edgy humor will enjoy Australian author Simmone Howell's ├╝ber-geek "Heathers-meets-I Shot Andy Warhol" style drama.

Rock On: An Office Power Ballad, Dan Kennedy (Algonquin) In this darkly comic memoir that Time Out New York calls "snort-audibly-on-the-subway funny," McSweeney's and GQ contributor Dan Kennedy chronicles his rock-'n'-roll a marketing executive for Atlantic Records. Finding the industry to be not exactly what he expected, Kennedy skewers clueless managers, aging stars, his coworkers, and even himself in this expose of the floundering music biz. Random lists (such as "Inappropriate Greetings and Salutations for Middle-Aged White Record Executives to Exchange: #1. Hello, Dawg") ratchet Rock On's humor dial up to 11.

Birdland, Tracy Mack (Scholastic) Still deeply wounded by his older brother Zeke's recent death, Jed is making a video of Manhattan's Lower East Side over winter break, filming the "cacophony of color and sound" that Zeke wrote about in his poetry. While documenting the everyday lives and tragedies in his neighborhood, Jed meets a homeless girl who may have known his brother--and may know the secret behind his death. With rich characterizations, rhythmic and poetic language, and grittily real emotion, Birdland paints a vivid picture of both the NY setting and Jed's disintegrating family.

Play Me, Laura Ruby (Harper Teen) Aspiring filmmaker Eddy has a hit online video series called Riot Grrl 16--and, if he and his friends win the contest they've entered, soon his show will be on MTV! Meanwhile, Eddy, usually somewhat of a playboy, is unwittingly getting hooked on fiercely free-spirited Lucinda Dulko, one of the few girls who isn't completely charmed by him. With great characters, morbidly hilarious moments (such as when Eddy's younger brother Meatball repeatedly fakes his own death), and tons of movie references, Play Me is one highly entertaining read.

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