APL's Teen Space

Book – Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

lola and the boy next door

This is book 2!

Lola dresses in costume every day. The only child of two fathers, (that she did not get her fashion sense from) Lola is a devoted daughter who thinks her life is perfect. Especially with her rocker older boyfriend. But just when everything in her life is going good the Bell twins move back in next door.  Calliope and Cricket Bell used to be her friends, but Calliope tried to pull Cricket away and Cricket’s life always revolves around his sister and her ice skating career. But, Lola and Cricket used to be close. So close that Lola thought that there was a romance growing there, but he broke her heart and moved away. Now he is back and he is still in love with Lola. Can Lola decide between her first love and the guy she thinks is the rest of her life?

A cute little romance. This is actually book two in a series, but I saw no problem starting here. This one is for older readers, but it has that element of first love in it that makes it sweet. I could see any girl falling for Cricket Bell. He is the ultimate boy next door. I honestly couldn’t believe that Lola’s dads didn’t call the cops on her older boyfriend. Even if they thought Lola a flight risk like her mom they could have gotten a restraining order on him. Over all a light read that I listened to on audio.

Book – The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

iron trial


Callum Hunt has been told all his life about the Magisterium and how magic is bad. How magic killed his mother and how the Magisterium Mages don’t protect their students, but use them for experiments. So on the day of his testing Call sets himself up to fail. Call fears magic and hasn’t learned anything about it or the world that it comes from. His father wont even speak about Call’s mother. So when Call is last on the leader board during the testing he thinks he is safe, but then he is chosen by Master Rufus, the highest ranking Master there. Taken to a school in the ground Call just wants to get back to his father, but soon he makes friends and learns that magic isn’t all bad.  But then there is a prophecy about Call and his two friends.  “One will be expelled, one will die, and one is already dead!” With the Enemy of Death out there somewhere and chaos ridden animals to fight and magic to learn, Call’s Iron year is anything but boring, even if his training starts out that way.

After meeting these authors at Anderson’s Teen Literature Conference I decided to read their joint novel. They made it sound interesting to write together the way they did this so I wanted to see how it turned out. The main gist of the story is much like Harry Potter and a number of other books that are similar. However the big twist is something I didn’t see until almost half way through the book. I listened to the audio of this and found myself drawn in by Call. Though anytime anyone used his name I was thinking “why do they keep talking about calling someone.” I really what to know what happened to the Lizard and I can’t wait for book two after that ending!

Book – Random by Tom Leveen


Tori is about to face trial for aggravated manslaughter. She and a few of her friends were cyber-bullying a kid who was a friend of hers and he killed himself. Now the night before her trial, a kid named Andrew has called her number randomly because he is about to commit suicide and he gives the world “one last chance for someone to show some human compassion.” Now Tori has to figure out a way to talk Andrew out of killing himself.

This faces a big issue in today’s high schools. Cyber Bulling. What constitutes cyber-bullying? Words can hurt, especially ones that are written down. This book brings to light a lot of the things that teens face today that their parents didn’t.  How liking a post on facebook can actually hurt someone. How depression and secrets play a roll in teens lives. Kevin was innocently making posts to encourage his friend Tori when all her other friends started to tell him to leave school and kill himself. Tori, wanting to be cool, never said anything against her friends. Instead she liked their posts. That can be hurtful.  I honestly think this would be a great discussion book to get people talking about this issue. The ending was especially powerful! Get read for a twist.

Book – The Young World by Chris Weitz

young worldJefferson now has to take on the responsibilities of leader of their small band of teens because his big brother Washington is dying.  When all the adults and small kids died the teens and pre-teens were left to fend for themselves.  Washington kept them alive. Jefferson told them stories, now he has to lead. Donna grew up being best friends with Jefferson and when the world ended had a major make out session with Wash. Now with Wash dead and Jeff in charge Brain Box, the kid with all the smarts, has a plan to save mankind and cure the plague, but it means a trek to the library across enemy territory.  Now Jefferson and a small group of his friends have to make it to the library to find out how to cure them all. Facing ghosts, up-towners out to kill them, wild animals from the zoo, and other dangers this group of kids will have to pull everything together to survive the long journey across New York.

I listened to the audio. I was supposed to read the Advance e-reader copy the Netgalley.com sent to me, but I ran out of time to read that one. While this book was great there was the undeniable feeling that I had heard this story before a million times.  There was a TV show in the 90’s called The Tribe that reminds me of the plot of this book, there are aspects of Lord of the Flies, and there are elements of The Girl who Owned a City all in this book.  Some of the characters seemed very stereotypical but, I really liked several of the characters. Donna lost herself to love which was annoying and the people in the library would probably never happen if they had been actually all about knowledge. They where freaky! I’m just saying! The ending felt a bit rushed and odd considering the whole plot line of the book, but if it goes where I think it will in book two then it makes since.  Over all a good read, but been there done that.

Teen Top Ten Announced

The votes are in.  The winners in order of popularity are:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Splintered by A.B. Howard

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

I’ve read Eleanor & Park; The 5th Wave; The Testing; Steelheart; and The Eye of Minds. Which ones have you read?

Sway – Kat Spears


High school senior, Jesse Alderman, a.k.a. Sway, knows how to make things happen.  He’s the high school senior everyone goes to when they need something done in return for a favor or some extra cash.  Dates, drugs, popularity, expulsions – anything is fair game; it’s all just business.  Until one day, Sway gets caught up in researching the amazing but unattainable Bridget Smalley so that the captain of the football team has a chance of asking her out.  Jesse thinks it’s only business until he starts falling for her inherent goodness and genuinely enjoying hanging out with her younger brother that has cerebral palsy.  Jesse may be too deep into his lies to ever be able to tell the truth to those he cares about, which is exactly the problem as he never thought he’d care about anything after his mom passed away and his dad never being around.  He always makes things happen for other people; will anyone ever look out for him?
I really liked this book.  It’s the author’s debut novel and a fresh take on what it costs someone to be the go-to guy in high school.  They delved just enough into his sad past with his mom, without making the book center around it, but explaining his attitude and why he reacts the way he does.  The reader can’t help liking Jesse and then wanting to smack him at the same time.  The book can be crude and a little insensitive, but this is the reality of high school, and I think it portrays it accurately.  I wish there was a little more conclusion in the end, as I still had some unanswered questions as to the future of most of the characters.  A female author with a lead male protagonist is rare, and I think Kat Spears wrote it well and honest.  A good read if you want a little more complication in your high school love story :)

Book – Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

mortal heart

Annith has been at the convent of St. Mortain all her life. She should have been sent out long before her two friends to do their lords work, but everyone gets to leave before her. Even though Annith is more skilled at every task set before her. After she is given the assignment to learn to become the next Seeress, Annith has had enough. Wanting to learn the truth she breaks rules to try and find out why she alone has been forced never to leave the convent. Soon Annith is sneaking out to join her friends and help her country while serving Mortain. But on her journey she meets someone unexpected. The leader of the Hellequin, a group of dead souls repenting for the wrongs they did in their lives, meant to track down those who are left wandering the earth to help them cross over. Annith’s life is not the only one that will change because of this meeting.

This is the best of all 3 books! I didn’t want to put it down and I so didn’t see “certain things” coming. I had always preferred Sybella to the other characters, but not I think I like Annith more. The Hellequin leader twist was fantastic. I really didn’t see that one coming. Plus I’m completely satisfied with how everything ended. I never liked the Abbess, even from the first book, but I never would have taken her for what she turned out to be. Fantastic read! A big thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the advance copy!

Book – A Matter of Days – Amber Kizer

a matter of daysBluStar wiped out over 98% of the population.

Dia and her younger brother, Rabbit have survived the BluStar Plague only because their Uncle Bean came and gave them a shot with the antivirus before everyone knew what was happening. Having been trained by their father to “be the cockroach” they know what they need to do to survive and Uncle Bean has given them the supplies they need.  He wasn’t able to take them with him to safety before everything happened because their mom wouldn’t believe him that the end was coming. But he left the kids instructions on how to find him and their grandfather in West Virginia. So somehow these two teens have to make it from Washington State to West Virginia alone in a a world that has gone crazy. Where the people left behind have turned to murder, theft and worse to survive.

I thought there was going to be a lot more drama in this book, but it works. A fight for survival in a world gone mad due to the death of most of the population of the world. I was glad that Dia and Rabbit still showed human compassion and that they found Zach and that he turned out to be kinda fantastic. I’d be team Zach in a heartbeat if there was such a thing. I don’t know any guy that would do what he did! And Rabbit with his dog. gotta love the kid. These characters really grab you, even if the story can drag on at times.  Overall a good read and I hope there is a sequel!

Book- The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe

sound of letting goDaisy lives with her parents and her autistic brother, Steven. Their lives all revolve around Steven’s schedule. As he has gotten older his fits have become more violent and more dangerous to everyone so Daisy escapes her reality with music. She is involved in several bands, including Jazz bands. Playing the trumpet. But when her crush the bad boy Dave starts to show interest in her things start changing around her house as well.

Told in verse this book talks about a reality that some have to live with. I really liked how Daisy didn’t want Steven to go, but she didn’t want to be around him often either. She was portrayed like a real teenager. She was sick of giving up her life for her brothers and I felt that there was something so real and fantastic about that. I don’t know if I believe the ending entirely, but  this book hits on a topic that is hard to have a happy ending so I’m gonna go with it. But I have to say that the exchange kid completely has a thing for Daisy and that will not turn out well.