Zombies that you want to be friends with (if they’re not hungry)!
So this is the sequel to EAT BRAINS LOVE, which I briefly mentioned a little while ago. Book 1 ended in a precarious place, our protagonists on the run. Book 2 continued at the same speed and took us into new states, different kinds of societies, and a few new kills (duh. it’s a book about zombies). Book 2 got better at giving the female protagonist some dimension (her story was kinda flat in book 1), which was a good thing. I would complain that that there wasn’t enough closure, but I have the sneaking suspicion that another book might be on the way.
EXPRESS Book Review: Noggin by JOHN COREY WHALEY
Ridiculous plot: Teen boy tragically dies of a terminal illness– but is brought back to life 5 years later with his head attached to another person’s body. Everyone and everything –but him– has aged and changed. Despite the ridiculousness of the situation and a multitude of comedic lighthearted moments and teenage antics, surprisingly deep instances often make it through. Totally recommended YA read. Check it out.
EXPRESS BOOK REVIEW: Eat Brains Love by Jeff Hart
One protagonist has just “gone zombie,” and is now on the lam with the class hottie (who’s also gone zombie) after eating half the kids in the school cafeteria. Our other protagonist is a teen psychic who works for the government’s top-secret zombie hunting operation. Lots of fun, adventure, and cannibalism! (It’s quite endearing). Check it out!
If you want to talk about an epic 2015 children’s book that is simply SCREAMING to be taught at school so it can wedge its way into our culture just like The Giver did 20 years ago, start talking about Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. You may as well read it now, because you’re going to be hearing a whole lot more about it (if your daily life involves children’s/YA lit).
My only complaint is that the end isn’t super believable if you’re an adult– but that’s only like 30 pages of around 500. Ignore my complaint for now if you want to be surprisingly impressed with how far you will be taken the story of a sort of magical transcontinental harmonica (for real) that affected some kids’ lives at pivotal times in history. I was particularly impressed with the amount of historical research that seemed to go into this book.
Epic YA fiction! American Teenage Mariam is sent against her will to live for a while with her grandmother in Egypt. She is initially pretty bummed to leave the only life she knows (her peers at school have given her lots of crap about being Egyptian-American, so she carries a heavy dose of self- and cultural distaste). It turns out her grandmother isn’t bad and there’s lots of stuff to do (as well as some time for self-discovery, first love, first adultish independence, etc). But shit kind of hits of the fan due to the revolution going on (as well as some other stuff), and lots of growing has to be done. Amidst a great story, the book also subtly does lots of good work to dispel stereotypes about the Middle East and Arabs and Islam.
I haven’t seen one quite like this before; you should Check it out!
Just a quickie (even though I think this book deserves more) :
If you’re looking for a super-smart teen protagonist, good (both rich and witty) dialogue, and lots of feelings, check out Beau, Lee, The Bomb, and Me. Our protagonist Rylee is super-smart, but fat and an outcast at school– she ends up going on a surprise road trip to San Francisco with Beau, a bullied gay kid at her school, and Leonie, her bff (of circumstance) who’s basically the class ho with a heart of gold (and as it turns out, lots of really good qualities).
While I didn’t find the entirety of the story 100% believable, lots of the different parts are really heartfelt, interesting, and awesome. Read it. You’ll get through it in about a day, and you’ll totally be googling the author to see if there is more. check it outtttt! Or buy it. It’s on sale for under $7.
This book has a bummer of a title, but it’s all right. Indeed, there’s a dead best friend– and there’s Cass, who’s still alive. Basically, it’s a story about how Cass learns to deal with the loss– and also falls in (teenage) love along the way.
Chapter-by-chapter the narrative flip flops between past and present, which was a little weird. It was slow and funky at first, but It drew more of my commitment by the time I got to the middle. I didn’t find everything completely believable– but I do gotta support a decent librarian-authored book that somehow brings together bike touring, Quakers, drama, and teen lesbians.
I’m always happy to promote queer punk YA novels. This one is kind of great; takes place in the year 2000, lets us into the life of high school senior Katherine. Her beloved grandma’s just died, her BFF is ignoring her, her parents are absentee and she’s pretty depressed.
Enter loud, opinionated, gay, straight-edge Marie, who immediately welcomes Katherine into her social circle (girls who start bands and go to punk shows).
It’s a classic YA problem novel in the sense that there’s all kids of drama and mess-ups and there’s kind of a lesson at the end and certain relationships never heal. As an adult reader I was constantly having waves of thankgoodness life’s not like that any more…
There are music references and band interactions that could have been taken out of my personal history. You should check it out.
I was totally into this one. Sweet late-bloomer flute-prodigy teenage Todd shares a ghost (Leroy) with his BFF Jennifer. In the midst of dealing with his alcoholic (librarian!) mom, realizing his sexuality, learning about a secret with his BFF, embarking on a major treasure hunt-ish challenge, (and more!), Todd learns exactly what the ghost is up to…
The writings good, the story kept me going, and there was a good bit of humor and dramatic irony nestled into the gravity of everything else. It’s different from the usual YA, which is pretty neat.
Taking place in the 1920’s and lightly historical, Vixen is a fun and captivating read. It won’t be researched enough for staunch historians or literary enough for lit lovers– but it’s success is in gossipy drama that occurs in an unusual setting. While the characters didn’t necessarily romance me, the setting did, and I found myself trying to hunt down both the sequels and other YA books on the topic (sparkly outfits! music! danger! rebellion!). It is indeed a fun read– and if you read a lot, you won’t lament that you spent a day or two on this one.
You see the cover? That’s kind of the mood of this book.
Mellow, introspective, and no big climax– but interesting enough to get me through the 250 pages.
It’s a YA novel about teenage Abby, who’s big sister (the radiant, charming, and beautiful) Tess is in a coma following an accident. Average Abby’s always felt overshadowed by Tess, and does a lot of internal processing while Tess is comatose. There’s a cute boy with issues, a surprising-to-Abby (but not to the reader) revelation about Tess, and an obnoxiously bad self-esteem that improves.
This is, indeed, a YA book. It wasn’t as lovable as Stealing Heaven, but that’s ok.
Check out a copy here