APL's Teen Space

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.

Book – Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

stitching snow

Essie lives on the planet Thandra with the seven drones she has upgraded to help the miners have safer working conditions, more money, and more down time. Tick tock, Clank, Clunk, Zippy, Wirligig, Cusser, and Dimwit each have personalities of their own and are always in need of repair. Essie is the only one who can fix them so the miners need her, but she needs to make ends meet as well so she has learned to fight in the cage to earn enough to get by and keep the miners away from her. When Dane’s ship crashes into Thandra Essie decides to help him repair his ship and get him gone so nobody in authority comes snooping. But Dane isn’t just some dumb guy who crashed. He came to Thandra looking for a treasure beyond compare, the lost princess of Windsong. Essie will have to face her fears and find another way to survive if the Candaran people have their way and return her to her father King Matthias and step mother Queen Olivia.

First, big thank you to netgalley.com and the publisher for the ARC! Now, I haven’t gotten around to reading Cinder, but I hear that it is much like this one, only that this one is more serious. Based on the story of Snow White this book takes the tale and twists it in ways that had me from the beginning. This is no Fairy tale! This is pure science fiction at its best. Even though I know the story of Snow White I never saw the twists coming in this book. Some huge differences in the story and it worked fantastically. Essie has to be extremely brave in my opinion and the drones provided much needed laughter in the book. Overall this is one of my new favorites.

Book – The Crossover by Kwame Alexander


Twelve year old Josh “Filthy McNasty” Bell and his twin brother Jordan “JB” are the sons of the legendary Cuck “Da Man” Bell. Together these two 12-year-olds are unstoppable on the court. Their dad has trained them well. But these two kids are really different. Filthy has dread-locks, loves ballin’ and loves using big words. JB is more conservative, not that great at school unless Filthy helps him study and is really interested in girls. But these two have big changes ahead for them.

Heartwrenching! Told in verse this is the story of twin boys whose father was da man! They play basketball and they are fantastic at it. Told from Josh’s point of view the reader gets to see a side of him that not many people show to the outside world. Fast passed and told in a way that young ballers will love. If read out loud it gives the feel that you are bouncing the ball. Extremely well written!