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Posts Tagged ‘review’

Burning Blue – A Review

Posted on September 27th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Teens

burning blue

Burning Blue by Paul Griffin

Read by: Anna/Central Library Teen Room

Nicole Castro was a rich, beautiful girl. Everyone thought so. She’d recently won a beauty contest for a scholarship. But she was also smart and kind. People said those things about her too. Then one day while she was rushing to class someone popped up out of nowhere and squirted acid into her face, into her left eye, leaving her scarred for life. But the question is, who did it? And why? Enter Jay Nazzaro, rhymes with Sbarro. He has epilepsy and knows what it’s like to be embarrassed in front of the entire school while unconsciously flopping around on the floor while everyone takes pictures and videos to post online of his public seizure. He’s intent on making everyone think he’s stupid by using an old flip phone and asking the cute girl behind the Starbucks counter how to text his father back.  But looks can be deceiving. Jay is a hacker who likes to keep his computer parts looking cheap and worthless. His flip phone is smarter than any smart phone around and he’s determined to figure out who is the cruelest person in his hometown. Who would burn Nicole Castro? Is it her boyfriend? One of the teachers? One of Nicole’s rich tennis friends? Or someone else entirely? Jay and Nicole have never even talked to each other before but they may just become the best of friends, if not something more.

I picked up this book and right away I couldn’t put it down. There is a romance in it, but it’s very understated. Jay continually tells people he and Nicole are not in a relationship. The medical issues in the book, Jay’s seizures and Nicole’s acid burns, are spot on well researched and written to be easily understood. It helps that the author, Paul Griffin, is a volunteer EMT who also works with at-risk , special needs, and incarcerated teens, which brings a realness to his writing. This is not your typical mystery. There is no dead body. No murder. Instead, Jay is trying to figure out who would want to burn Nicole’s face. Half of her face is gone. She’s having to go to the hospital for skin grafts, where the doctor takes skin from another part of her body and uses it to cover her face. Never-the-less, her face won’t be the same again. She won’t be the same again. And the truth of what happened will astound you. You won’t see it coming. This is a fast read, but make sure you’ve got the time to read it cover to cover. You won’t want to put this one down.

Our TBOM book discussion group will be talking about it on October 1st, next Tuesday! Come in and get your copy today so you can join us next week for snack food and a good conversation!

Secretariat – A Review

Posted on August 14th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

Secretariat

Secretariat by William Nack

Read by: Anna/Central Library Teen Room

This is the true story of a race horse named Secretariat who won the Triple Crown (a series of three races at three different tracks run consecutively) in 1973. This is the story of how he came to be, charting his history back to the late 1800′s, as well as the history of his owners and their farms. How he won each race he ran, is explained, the excitement of the track, of those who owned him and his millions of fans is spelled out as if you, the reader, were right there, standing next to the colt as he nuzzles your neck. Yup, now you’ve got horse snot on you. This book feels that real. William Nack writes it as if you were there, as if you were Ron Turcotte, his jockey, racing him down the backstretch at some of the world’s most well known and well loved race tracks, having mud slung in your face as your heart beats insanely, wondering how the race will play out. Secretariat was a special horse. He ran races like nobody else, coming up from behind to steal first place and beat the other horses by several lengths. He amazed the world.

Yes, this is a non-fiction book, but if you love horses and horse racing, you’ll love the way this book is written. It reads as you would read a fiction book. And it’s definitely not a book you can put down. When I got to the end I had some time to think about it and wonder what I would do now that the book was over. I felt as if I was leaving good, life-long friends behind, including the Big Red horse. I highly recommend this book. I can’t say that enough. And even though it’s a somewhat thick non-fiction book, Nack takes the time to explain what some of the racing lingo means, so those new to it won’t feel completely at a loss or like they’re requiring a dictionary while they read. He does it in the best way possible, so you never feel like he’s talking down to you either. What an exhilarating ride!

The Foundation Trilogy: Foundation – A Review

Posted on August 5th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

the foundation trilogy

The Foundation Trilogy: Foundation (Book 1) by: Isaac Asimov

Read by: Anna/ Central Library Teen Room

This is an epic story. It has been called The Lord Of The Rings for Science Fiction. The first book starts off with a man predicting the demise of a galactic empire that has already survived for twelve thousand years! He predicts its downfall in three hundred years, yet, no one wants to believe him. Nor do they want to care. Why should they? They certainly won’t be around in three hundred years to care. Leave it to the future people to bother with the bad stuff. But this scientist will not back down. And as he predicts, things start to fall apart. Each section of the book jumps forward in time several decades, with new characters each time trying to solve the galaxy’s problems by creating war or by trying to avoid war.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the first book in the trilogy. I’d been told that readers of science fiction (and writers as well) should not miss this epic, so I bought a copy and then it sat on my coffee table for a few years before I got around to starting it. But now that I’ve started it, and finished the first book, I’m actually looking forward to reading the second book, Foundation and Empire. It is a very political book and also deals with a lot of mathematics and science, three topics I usually prefer to avoid at all costs. That being said, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a quiet read. There isn’t much action, no space ships gunning for each other as some of the covers might have you believe. But there is just enough to keep you wondering what’s going to happen. It’s also interesting to read a book where you have some idea of what’s going to come because it’s already been predicted. One would say that doesn’t make for a good book. Readers like to be surprised, but it works here, and I was surprised. A lot. The way some of the characters handled the different situations they got themselves into was interesting and not at all what I was expecting.

In short, if you love Science Fiction, you should not miss out on this classic which was first published in 1951, over 60 years ago! Talk about a series that’s lasted! This trilogy (and the related books that followed the trilogy) are still very much popular today as they were back then. Of course, in reading these books, one must remember the time period in which they were written. There are almost no women or girls in the first book, Foundation. In the 1950′s this was a man’s world, and women stayed at home, cooked, cleaned, and looked after the children. They didn’t have jobs or anything like that. Thus, I’m assuming that Asimov assumed in the future they would be the same as in his world, staying at home and out of trouble. That was the biggest similarity to the 1950′s I could find. If you get a chance to read it, see what others you can find. They shouldn’t ruin your reading experience. They’re just a bit of an example of how people used to live and how things might be in the future, as seen by someone 60 years ago.

The Art of Racing in the Rain – A Review

Posted on July 30th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

the art of racing in the rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Read by: Anna/Central Library Teen Room

Our Teen Book of the Month group is reading this book for our August 14th book discussion at 3pm in the Central Library Teen Room.

Enzo is a mixed breed dog named after the founder of the Italian car company, Ferrari. He’s also owned by a professional race car driver, Denny. The story is told through the point of view of Enzo as he recounts his life with his human family on the night he realizes he won’t be making a round trip ride to the vet the next morning. His mobility issues are making it increasingly harder for him to move around as he gets older and older.  Enzo learned a lot about life through Denny and his racing tips and tricks and he applied them to the obstacles in his way whenever he could. Their family life wasn’t the greatest. Denny’s wife died from brain cancer and Denny ended up in a legal battle with her parents over the custody of his daughter. Enzo knew the grandparents were not nice people and didn’t like the fact that Zoe, the daughter, had to spend so much time with them. Money is tight for Denny, he’s lost his wife, might lose his daughter to his in-laws, but he’ll never lose Enzo. Enzo is always there for him and for Zoe, when he can be, helping to keep their spirits up and to keep them going when things get tough.

This was an AWESOME book. But don’t read it in public. Unless you don’t mind bringing a large hanky and a bucket to collect your tears in. This book will have you bawling your eyes out and laughing hard in certain places. You will learn a lot about life, as Enzo did, and have a good time doing it. There are a lot of references to racing cars, but you don’t have to have a love of cars to read this and enjoy it, which is another reason it’s a great read. I highly recommend it to everyone who loves dogs especially.

The Realm of Possibility – A Review

Posted on May 15th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

The Realm of Possibility

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room for the TBOM group meeting on May 8th, 2013.

This is the stories of multiple teens struggling to find themselves and figure out who they are in the world. It’s told from their multiple points of view in poem and song lyric formats.

This was an interesting read for me because I wasn’t expecting it to be in poetry format. I was expecting a novel. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the way these stories were told. Each poem and song interwove themselves seemlessly with each of the others. Some responded to what had happened in other poems, some wrote their poems to another person who had a poem in the book. It was a unique take on writing a book in verse. Obviously, each person who “wrote” a poem was a character that came from David Levithan’s head, but he did a really great job with the characterizations and making each one as unique as the next. The first poem and the last poem are connected, which was a nice circle back to the beginning once you got to the end. I really felt that the emotions of the teens he was writing about were clearly stated, or were just as confusing for the reader sometimes as they can be for teens in real life. It was realistically done, and a book I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys stories told in this fashion or thinks they would like to try one for the first time. The fact that some of the characters are gay is not stated in such a way as to hit the reader over the head with it, and there are some who appear straight. Some are lesbian. There is a good mix of characters and experiences to round out the story over all.