Friday, June 24, 2016

Ten Miles Past Normal

by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Janie is failing the social part of high school. Part of the reason is that she lives on a farm and unfortunately brings a little of the farm life with her...on her sneakers. Nothing goes right for Janie until she sort of gives up trying to be normal and embraces the world outside of high school and popularity. She meets friends. She meets a boy named Monster (real name). She learns to play bass. A lot happens...

Janie is a freshman and learning about life in high school versus life on the farm is tough and fun and happy and not so happy.

This book was reviewed a few years ago for this blog. It has a lexile of 960, if you care about that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Taking Flight

by Michaela DePrince
with Elaine DePrince

From War Orphan to Star Ballerina

Michaela had a different name and was an orphan in war torn Sierra-Leone. She had a very tough start, being outcast because she has a skin condition that makes her skin appear spotted like a cheetah. After many hardships, she and her best friend are adopted to a family in America and she begins her journey towards becoming a world class Ballerina. DePrince was the star of a documentary about her journey called First Position and was on Dancing with the Stars.

There are many happy and sad parts of this story, but it is a very easy read. Teens don't have to be interested in dance to relate to the author, and many readers will find it very uplifting!

This book has a lexile of 940, if you find that sort of information useful.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Until Tuesday

by Fmr. Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan with Bret Witter

This is the story of a wounded warrior and the golden retriever who saved him. Capt. Luis Montalvan was in the U.S. Army and recounts his time in Iraq without censoring a lot. He tells, in alternating chapters, the story of Tuesday, a golden retriever, trained in various places for various things, never quite finding the "right" fit. Suffering from PTSD and lots of physical pain, he withdraws from society, family and friends and becomes very depressed. Eventually, Montalvan is introduced to Tuesday and they form an amazing bond. This is their story apart and together.

There are certainly some troubling scenes about war and about other things that happen to the author. This may be a great read for older teens looking for a war experience or service dog story. It's very well written and an interesting, serious read.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Art of Tinkering

by Karen Wilkinson & Mike Petrich

Tinkering : attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way, often to no useful effect.

Tinkering might be where art and science meet. It might be where making and engineering meet. Tinkering is sometimes playful, and sometimes necessary. This book stars electricity, fabric, clay, cardboard, photography, toothpicks, music. It's amazing. It's crazy. 
You could pick up this book just to read about what other people have done. You could pick up this book to be inspired to make something amazing. You could pick up this book to look at the awesome photographs. Any way you say it, you should pick up this book.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Start of Me and You

by Emery Lord
***Guest post by Amanda B***

After the death of her first boyfriend, Paige decides to shut out most of the world. With the start of junior year she decides to make an effort to be more active and has created a plan. A date with long time crush Ryan is on that list but his cousin Max who has recently returned to their school throws a wrench in that plan. Paige knows that starting over is not easy and can be scary as well. Now it's just a matter of seeing if she has what it takes to do so.
The first few chapters of this book may be hard to get into but after that it becomes hard to put down. Readers will enjoy the relationship between Paige and her friends and find ways they can relate to it. Paige's story is one of growth that readers can appreciate.