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 Bruiser is not your typical story of the loser boy getting the normal girl. He is different. Brewster is the one kid in school who got voted “The Most Likely to get the Death Penalty”, so he is clearly not your typical happy teenage boy. He also has a secret, discovered when he begins to date Brontë. She and her brother, Tennyson, both discover that Brewster (nicknamed Bruiser) can take things away. There is a reason he always stays away from people, there is a reason he tries not to care too much. Because when he does care, he can take away their pain.

This is a story about how many people can affect one person. . . and also how that one person can affect many people.

Reviewed by Lexie K. ’15

 

On the eve of World War II the United States Navy introduces its newest, most up-to-date, sophisticated submarine. The crew has been assembled. The majority of  tests have been done and the Squalus has passed with flying colors. Minor problems have been fixed and all is ready for its first ever deep sea dive in the Northern Atlantic. However, when the sub begins its descent to 200 feet, the main intake valve sticks open and the submarine floods and sinks to the ocean floor with all hands on board. One man, one submariner, has prepared all  his Navy career for this exact moment. He is Charles “Swede” Momsen, a man who previously stood by watching as two subs sank and rescue was impossible, watching as their entire crews perished. Now Momsen is ready. The Terrible Hours is the story of his ingenuity, drive and determination to rescue the Squalus’ crew at all cost. Maas describes the harrowing hours of the crew in the sunken sub, their families waiting with prayer and hope, and the rescue team fighting rough seas, broken cables and time. This nail-biter isn’t to be missed.

 

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

This is a must-read for runners and non-runners regardless of age.  It is a study of faith and determination.  The is story of Jessica, a sixteen-year-old runner, who loses a leg in a tragic accident and begins a journey of frustration, loss, unexpected friendship, enlightenment, hope, and service.   Readers are reminded to recognize people for their strengths and not overlook them because of their disabilities.  Jessica lets go of “what could have been” and triumphs in “what will be” as she reaches out to help another who has profoundly inspired her to never give up and to run a race against the odds proclaiming at the finish line, “This race has made me believe that there’s nothing I can’t do.  This is my new starting line.”

 

Reviewed by Mrs. Michaels
PE Department Chair

After devouring two of Oliver’s books (Delirium and Pandemonium), I had to go back and read her debut novel, Before I Fall. In a Glee mash up, this would be Groundhog Day meets Thirteen Reasons Why. It was witty and poignant, but also unnerving and annoying as the main character, Sam, has a go at the same day over and over (and over) again. Chock full of valuable lessons, this is a great young adult read if you can get past the repetition. I was going to write a plot synopsis, but in preparing for next week’s conference presentation all about utilizing technology to promote young adult reading, I found this great book trailer that *hopefully* does the trick! Let me know what you think and what you’re doing with book trailers yourself!

Reviewed by Mrs. Archambault

ImageThe title of this novel is taken from the book of Ezekiel in which the prophet describes the perfect place awaiting believers as a “Land of Decoration.” In a rundown English factory town, 11-year-old Judith and her father cling to this promise as their daily lives become increasingly difficult. Judith’s mother died giving birth to her, bullies at school torment her relentlessly, and she is sure her father does not love her. As refuge, Judith creates her own “Land of Decoration,” a miniature world composed of found objects where peace and happiness dwell. Her father, meanwhile, withdraws into himself as the workers at his factory strike creating hardship throughout the town. Judith, however, believes in miracles and that God speaks to her encouraging her to perform her “miracles” and make things right. Despite all this, things become increasingly worse. Is Judith truly hearing God’s voice? Is she making miracles happen. Will things ever get better?

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

Chip Linton, an airline pilot, ditches his crippled passenger plane into Lake Champlain after a bird strike; 39 passengers and crew are killed. Chip now suffers post traumatic stress disorder and can no longer fly. To help recuperate and restart their lives, Chip, his wife and 10-year old twin daughters move to an old Victorian house in New Hampshire where the basement reveals a door long sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts. Thirty-nine passengers, thirty-nine carriage bolts. Chip becomes obsessed with what is behind the door that is so securely sealed. Meanwhile his wife notices that the women in their new town are also obsessed with herbs of all kinds as well as her twin daughters. A great Halloween read!

 

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

Snow, wind, relentless cold and the need to survive in a government controlled society are but a few of the obstacles Willo must overcome to find  out where he belongs. When his family disappears from the mountain where they have sought refuge from government controlled settlements, Willo sets out to find them and return to the clean air, fresh meat, and relative comfort of living in the forest. Along the way he discovers that his father was not who he said he was and that people in the settlement are seeking to find Willo and bring him to safety. Government soldiers are doing everything in their power to make sure that doesn’t happen. After the Snow is full of nail-biting adventure and the consequences of too much government involvement in the lives of people faced with a crisis.

 

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn