You just never know when Young Adult books might work in the middle school. Only way is to read them, or find a good review from someone you trust. So, as much as these books intrigued me, they are not a good fit for my particular library. They were good, so take a look if you are looking for books for older readers.
Baker, Ken. How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love
April 22nd 2014
by Running Press Kids
E ARC from Netgalley.com
"Emery is okay with how things are. That is, until her "momager" signs her up for Fifty Pounds to Freedom,
a reality show in which Emery will have to lose fifty pounds in fifty
days in order to win the million dollars that will solve her family's
financial woes. Emery is skeptical of the process, but when the pounds
start to come off and the ratings skyrocket, she finds it hard to resist
the adoration of her new figure and the world of fame. Emery knows that
things have changed. But is it for the better?"
What I Wanted: A book about weight issues, which are always popular with my students. I was also interested to see how a male writer would write about body image issues. Fairly convincingly, I thought. I liked the book and stayed up late reading it.
What Didn't Work for Me: Mainly the sex. Emery loses her virginity in an unfortunate way and is outspoken about the topic in general. Think there was language, too. Drat.
Plum, Amy. After the End.
May 6th 2014
by Harper Children's
E ARC from Edelweiss.com
"World War III has left
the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the
Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living
off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might
still be out there.
At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.
Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her
clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of
their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying:
There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact.
Everything was a lie.
Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world
she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue
her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who
knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past."
What I Wanted: I adored this author's Revenants series, and the writing in this was very good. Post apocalyptic type setting, with a little supernatural stuff thrown in... sounded good.
What Didn't Work: A little bit of language, but just slightly odd. The issue with Juneau's community hiding out pretending that WWIII had destroyed the world was weird enough, but then there was Reading nature, connecting with the Yara, and communicating by crow, and Miles being able to find her after reading his father's e mails. Great for high school, but will pass.
Kantor, Melissa. Maybe One Day
February 18th 2014
E ARC from Edelweiss.com
"In the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, critically
acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of
friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a
teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best
friend's life-threatening illness.
A person's whole life, she's
lucky to have one or two real friends. Friends who are like family . . .
for Zoe that someone is Olivia. So when Olivia is diagnosed with
leukemia Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for
her best friend.
Even when she isn't sure what to say.
Even when Olivia misses months of school.
Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia's crush.
one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will
beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has
to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine."
What I Wanted: I ADORE Kantor's books. Girlfriend Material is my number two favorite romance book ever, right after Cleary's Fifteen. This looked like a better version of Lurlene McDaniel (which tend to be somewhat formulaic), or like a non potty mouth version of John Green. The ballet was a nice touch.
What Didn't Work For Me: F-bombs EVERYWHERE! I was kind of shocked. Yes, Zoe is upset about Olivia's cancer, but the language was completely gratuitous. There was also a rather alarming scene where Zoe gets drunk and is highly inappropriate with Calvin. I very nearly ordered this without reading it, since the other books by Kantor have all been so good. Glad I didn't!