The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith
Ariel is a teen refugee that was adopted into an American family. His new father works for Alex division and brings home suicidal pets, all named Alex. Together he and his new brother are being shipped off to Camp Merrie-Seymour for Boys, where their camp councilor is a guy who is a complete jerk to all of the boys in the cabin.
Meanwhile Ariel is telling his brother what really happened before he came to live in their family.
At the same time a melting man is driving a van with Joseph Stalin yelling at him and another voice called 360 narrating his life.
Then there is the arctic expedition with a bunch of guys who have no clue where they are, but they know if they don’t find a way home soon they are surly going to die.
None of these story lines seem to add up at first, but as you get closer and closer to the end of the story you find out how they all fit.
WOW! Talk about weaving a story! Alex division needs to be investigated by the government and if that doesn’t work then they need to be exposed to the public and then disbanded. Just my opinion. That camp need to take a strong look at its staff and make some serious changes. I feel bad for Ariel and I hope that if Andrew Smith ever comes out with a sequel to this book that we get to see Ariel in it. Not that I think there will be a sequel. Honestly this is the book that would beat all others published in 2015 for me. I laughed, hard. I cried! I even got all emotional over the whole story.
Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld
Ethan, or “Scam” as he is known to his friends, has gotten himself into a pickle again, or rather his “Voice” did. Ethan was born with a voice living inside him that can get him anything he wants, with a catch. His voice only works on one person at a time and it almost always gets him into trouble. So when Ethan finds himself holding a bag full of gangster money, he goes to the bank to deposit it. All he had wanted from the guy was a ride home. But while in the bank 3 robbers come in and Ethan has to use the “Voice” on a robber to keep him from opening the bag with all the cash. Thus starts the chaos that leads 6 teens, each with powers of their own into big trouble. With the police after him, the bank robber after him, and the gang whose cash he took after him, Ethan has to turn to the friends he bailed on last year, the ones who want nothing to do with him. He needs the Zeroes!
I like the way this was told and I love the way everything ended with them (maybe not Mobbs personal ending), but I feel like the book is lacking that thing that makes Scott’s books epic. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great story and I loved the book, but having read his other stuff … I did listen to the audio of this one so that may have played a part in this.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Willowdean is a self proclaimed fat girl, and she is okay with that, even if her mother (the beauty pageant leader) is not. So when she signs up for the beauty pageant she inspires other girls to join as well. Between that and the cute guy she likes treating her like a secret and a footballer wanting to date her she has a lot going on.
This is a funny sweet book about one girl being able to say I may not be the ideal weight, but I am special just as I am. I did have my moments where I believed Willowdeen was not a strong character, but everyone falters and has moments of insecurity. Dumplin’ is definitely one of my favorite books of this year, even with the trip to the drag club beauty pageant that came out of nowhere and because of the other girls (who entered because of her) not really fitting into the story as well as they should in some places.
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
It’s 1911 and Joan is the only female in a house with her father and her three older brothers. Being 14 years old she has been removed from school to stay home and do the woman’s work, but her father will not even let her keep the egg money. He believes Joan to be a spoiled, ugly girl who will never marry well, but Joan’s teacher has inspired a love of books and learning in Joan. Before her mother died, she sewed money into Joan’s doll to be used when she was older and needed to make her own way. With 9 whole dollars to her name Joan embarks on an adventure to become a hired girl and earn enough money so she can go to school and become a teacher. When she is hired by Jewish family the catholic priest she is learning about God from wants her to leave, but Joan finds the family very interesting and the Priest very prejudice. As the story progresses the whole family interacts with Joan on different levels so that Joan feels like part of the family one min and just the hired girl the next.
I wasn’t sure if I would like this book or not. The main character, Joan, is very young and she isn’t really understanding how the world works. Which I get, but her naivety was a bit much. I liked the book but didn’t love it because I didn’t like Joan. I felt like the family she worked for was too nice. She should have been out on the streets looking for work at least 3 if not 5 times. And the younger son knew just what he was doing and should have been reined in.
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Gwyneth’s cousin Charlotte has been trained to be the Ruby, the last of the time travelers. But when Gwyneth is having the headaches that come with the first time someone time travels and then she actually goes back in time , she is afraid to tell anyone because she hasn’t been trained and Newton got it wrong! Now she has to unravel a mystery and figure out who she can trust while traveling through time daily and learning everything she can about the past and the mystery around the chosen few time travelers.
I read this for the book discussion group that I run on goodreads for our library and I have to say that I’m glad a teen suggested the book. I don’t think I would have picked it up otherwise.I loved this one and picked up book 2 as soon as I finished book one.
The Cage by Magan Shepherd
Cora wakes up in a desert with no clue where she is or how she got into such strange clothes. Several different environments are all right up against each other. Something that she knows to be impossible. Soon she meets up with 3 boys and another girl, as well as a dead girl floating in the ocean. When the aliens come and say hey have to live by 3 rules things get even more serious.
1. Decode the puzzles hidden inside their environments
2. Provide their body everything necessary in order to stay healthy
Cora is not a planner. She is more of the type of person who would get killed first in a horror movie. I have no real love for her, but the plot was good enough to keep me reading. I will want to read book 2 now for sure even if I don’t like Cora.
The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Tim has been kicked out of his house and school and is now working toward his GED and living above a friends garage all because he is an alcoholic. Now trying to stay sober he finds out that he is the father of a child and doesn’t even remember the girl he girl pregnant.
Alice is the oldest daughter of the family who is letting Tim live in the garage apartment that was supposed to be hers. One year older then Tim, Alice has been hit on by Tim since he knew what it was to like girls. Alice is in fact Tim’s dream girl, but Tim’s new addition to his life and the ultimatum from his father may end up getting him to take a darker path. Alice may be the one bright spot in his life at the moment, but maybe the baby could be too.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Feyre, is the youngest of 3 sisters. Their mom died and their dad lost all their money in a gamble move and now has a leg that wont let him do much work so Feyre takes care of the family. She learned to hunt and clean the game she brings in. When she kills a large wolf in the woods she had thought it was big enough to be a Fairy in disguise. Everyone lives in fear of the Fairies. When TamLin, the fairy lord of the Spring Court demands her life for killing one of his men Feyre is forced to live at TamLin’s Court on the other side of the wall for the rest of her life to make up for killing one of them.
This is basically a retelling of Beauty and the Beast with hints of the Scottish folktale of TamLin. It kept me enthralled in it the whole way through. I can’t wait for book 2!
Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger
Sonny in a known liar. She has been living with her friend Amy for a few weeks before Amy’s parents confront them about it. Sonny’s phone and car keep breaking down on her so she has lost several jobs because of tardiness. When Ryder moved to town everyone thought he was cute until he opened his mouth and then they all wanted him gone. But Ryder has a crush on Amy, but Sonny has her phone. It was an honest mistake. Sonny thought he knew he was taking to her, not Amy. But once it all stared a scheme was devised to make Ryder like Sonny instead.