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Mystery Novels for Teens: The Uninvited

Mimi Shapiro needs an escape and her father's remote cabin in Canada could be the ticket. But when she arrives, she is shocked to find someone already living there — Jay, a young musician, who is equally surprised to see Mimi. Strange things have been afoot at the cabin, and Jay immediately accuses her of wrongdoing. But Mimi has just arrived, so who is responsible? And more alarmingly, what does the intruder want?

Juvenile Book Selection: All Rise For the Honorable Perry T. Cook

Eleven-year-old Perry's home life is like that of most kids his age: morning ritual, school, dinner with his mom, and games with his extended family. Unlike most kids, Perry lives in a minimum security correctional facility, where he's stayed since birth with his mother, Jessica. Jessica is up for parole, and she and Perry are eager to start a new life on the outside. The county's ambitious district attorney is outraged that a child was raised in a prison and demands that Perry live with a foster family while the case is sorted out. Perry knows he has traded a prison that feels like home for a home that feels like a prison, and resolves to reunite with his mother. 

The Inferno

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Dan Brown’s latest, The Inferno follows the pattern of Brown’s other thrillers.  There is an intellectual puzzle to be solved while baddies chase and threaten the good guys. The fate of the world is in Langdon’s hands and hands of the brilliant Sienna Brooks, who accompanies him. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, specifically “Inferno”,   is the key to deciphering an obscure message left by an obsessed scientist, Zorbrist, who is intent on saving the world by destroying it. The chase and race is on… through the streets, alleyways, secret underground passages, hidden doors and tombs of Florence, Venice, and Istanbul.

Along the way Langdon delivers a running commentary on the rich history of the Italian Renaissance, Christian, and Islamic art. The abundance of information can distract from the plot versus enrich.  I would recommend reading this book for the excitement of the chase, the clues and the underlying theme, but not the convoluted plotting.

 

High-Rise by JG Ballard

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In a gleaming new high-rise building on the outskirts of London, the inhabitants have everything they need to live comfortable, pampered lives: two indoor pools, an elegant restaurant, a grocery store, a beauty parlor, a bank, even a rooftop park and a school. But violence lurks beneath the polished surface: when minor construction problems send a floor into darkness, riots erupt—leaving a dead dog floating in the swimming pool. In the weeks that follow, chaos rules, as the lower floors send raiding parties to assault the penthouse, and warring groups seize control of the elevators. A dark (and darkly funny) exploration of the animal passions that lie beneath the most civilized facades, this 1975 novel is being adapted into a 2015 movie directed by Ben Wheatley and starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, and Luke Evans.

Dark Sparkler, by Amber Tamblyn

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Poet and actress Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men; House, MD; 127 Hours) takes on the subjects of fame, death, and memory in thirty poems inspired by the lives of actresses both famous and obscure. From Brittany Murphy (“They say good things about the body. / How bold her eyes were, bigger than Hepburn’s.”) to Jayne Mansfield (“Your neck was a study of the asterisk, / the silken shape of Sanskrit, / the sucker punch of succulents.”), she turns an unflinching eye on the pressures and perils faced by women who make careers on camera. Raw, haunting, and powerful.

Glory over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

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In this follow up to The KItchen House, Jamie Pyke, son of a white father and a slave mother, is currently living in Philadelphia as a free white business owner since fleeing from his life on a southern plantation.

 A good friend’s son who is Jamie’s house servant Pan, has disappeared and possibly been sold into slavery from the Philadelphia docks.  Jamie sets off on a journey to find Pan, which ultimately leads him back to his past and too close to the plantation life he fled with slave hunters on his trail.

The story is told via multiple narrators and is a gripping, fast-paced read.  Focusing on race, slavery, and the underground railroad, The Glory Over Everything attests to family ties and upbringing as strong influences.  Great read!

Picture Book Selection: And Then It's Spring

What a winter we have had in central Ohio!  Spring is finally here according to the calendar!  Celebrate by checking out “And Then It's Spring” by Julie Fogliano and award-winning artist Erin Stead.  A boy and his dog are tired of brown winter and they dig and plant seeds.  They wait and then wait and then finally it's spring and everything is green and colorful!  Great for ages 4 and up.  

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