Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Secrets and Lies

Lucy's mom is a hoarder. She never throws anything away, and flies into a rage at the mere suggestion of cleaning up. Over the past several years, Lucy's home has become something resembling a garbage dump. Lucy is humiliated by this. She can't even invite friends over. If anyone found out about Lucy's living condition, her social life would be over. Or worse. Then one day Lucy arrives home to find her mother is dead, her body half buried underneath a pile of old magazines.  Lucy knows she should call 9-1-1, but she fears what others will think when they see how messy her home is. So Lucy makes a decision: Before she calls anyone, she will clean up the house the best she can. But the task is much more complicated (and much more disgusting) than she ever could have imagined. As the day passes, Lucy realizes the extent of her mother's illness. Finally, Lucy makes the hardest decision of her life. C.J. Omololu's novel Dirty Little Secrets is both fascinating and disturbing. As is the case with a horrible accident or reality TV, you simply can't look away. Those with a weak stomach might want to skip this one (there are some really icky parts). Overall, though, Lucy is a believable character and readers will likely sympathize with her struggle: Doing what's right vs. maintaining an image to the world. --AJL  

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dystopian Fantasy is a Dream Come True

In Laura's world, people don't create their own individual dreams. Rather, they are told what to dream by an elite group called Dreamhunters. Only a Dreamhunter possess the unique ability to enter The Place, a desolate shadow dimension boarding the real world where various dreams (both pleasant and disturbing) are collected. These dreams are then shared with the general public at The Rainbow Opera, a huge sleeping center at the heart of the city. Now Laura has been chosen as a Dreamhunter and will soon have her chance to collect and perform a dream. But when her father vanishes mysteriously, Laura suspects foul play. She ventures alone into The Place to find him. There, she discovers the government's dream regulatory body has been using dreams to control the general public, lull them into a false sense of security, and cover up some serious wrongs. Laura knows exactly how she can expose these lies. But will she risk it? The first book in Elizabeth Knox's Dreamhunter Duet is exciting and exceptionally unique. Readers will be swept into Laura's world and not want to leave. And luckily, they won't have to just yet. For more of Laura's adventures, check out the sequel, Dreamquake. --AJL

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Perfect for the Beach

Jessi Kirby crafts the perfect beach read with Moonglass, her first novel. When Anna was a young child, her mother committed suicide by drowning herself in the ocean. Soon afterward, Anna privately crafted a mythology about what she believed really happened that fateful night: Her mother is still out there somewhere, swimming beneath the waves in her true mermaid form. Nine years later, at age 16, Anna and her still-grieving father move to a beachfront cottage near Crystal Cove where her father has accepted a position as lifeguard. But Crystal Cove isn't just any beach. It carries with it the history of Anna's family: It is the place where her parents first met and fell in love. Over the course of the book, Anna slowly uncovers the truth about her family she has been denied for so long. She also comes to terms with her mother's death and lets go of the anger, resentment, and abandonment issues she has carried for so many years. Add in a crushworthy lifeguard, a gorgeous setting, and a cast of interesting characters. If you liked Twenty Boy Summer, by Sarah Ockler, you'll love Moonglass! --AJL

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chiller Alert!

Author Rachel Klein delivers a deliciously spooky read with her debut novel, The Moth Diaries. Set in the late 1960s at an exclusive all-girl's boarding school and told through diary entries of an anonomyous narrator, The Moth Diaries is a startling snapshot of a young teen's slow descent into madness. When the narrator returns to Brangwyn School in the fall, she discovers her best friend Lucy has befriended mysterious new girl Ernessa. Overcome with jealousy, the narrator convinces herself Ernessa is a vampire who is sucking the life out of her former best friend. She feels her suspicions are confirmed when Lucy becomes strangely ill. Add to this the deaths of two other students who had encounters with Ernessa. As the year progresses, the diary entries become more obsessive and more twisted until not even the reader is certain of what is real and what is imagined. Is Ernessa really a vampire? Or is she just a regular girl whose image has been twisted by a highly-disturbed young lady? Read it and decide for yourself. --AJL

Monday, July 11, 2011

Incredible Read!

Briony keeps a terrible secret buried beneath a facade of self-loathing. Briony believes she is a witch and that her uncontrolled powers killed her Stepmother, destroyed her twin sister Rose's mind, and ravaged her home. Stepmother said as much right before she died. Keeping such a secret causes Briony great personal pain, but there's no one she can even talk to because, in her village on the edge of the swamp, witches are hanged until dead. Then Eldric comes to stay with her family, and everything changes for Briony. Suddenly, she longs to open her heart to someone for the first time. As it turns out Briony does have incredible powers at her disposal, but those powers don't necessarily mean she's a witch. Or do they? Someone else knows the whole truth about Briony, but will they confess what they know before it's too late? Chime is part romance, part mystery, and part suspenseful adventure. Unique language, vivid imagry, and, of course, magic make this one impossible to put down. Also, check out the audio version. --AJL

Saturday, July 2, 2011

New @ OPL Teen

Fans of Shiver will want to check out The Gathering, the first book in Kelley Armstrong's exciting new trilogy. Something strange is happening in Maya's tight-knit Canadian community of Salmon Creek. Her best friend, a champion swimmer, mysteriously drowns. And now bodies are turining up in the woods. The authorities claim these deaths are nothing to worry about, attributing them to accidents or cougar attacks. But there's a lot more to it. Shortly after she turns 16, Maya learns she is a Skin-Walker, an ancient race of shapeshifters once believed extinct. Now Skin-Walkers are back thanks to a top-secret genetic experiment. But something is going wrong with the teens whose Skin-Walker gene was awakened: They are losing control of their ability to shift, reverting back to their wild animal nature. With the help of Rafe, a sexy new boy who shares this secret, Maya begins to learn the truth about her past. But can Rafe be trusted? What other secrets are being hidden from her? As a wildfire blazes dangerously close to Salmon Creek and the time of her first shift draws near, Maya must decide what to do before it's too late. --AJL

Friday, July 1, 2011

Overlooked & Under-rated

Looking for the next Great Read? Look no further than Marc Acito's hilarious novel, How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater! Set in suburban New Jersey, summer of 1983, this hidden gem introduces readers to the very likable Edward Zanni, a 17-year-old Theater Geek who dreams of attending the prestigious Julliard and someday making a name for himself. But for now he'll content himself with enjoying a Summer of Mischief and Mayhem with his quirky circle of friends. Edward's plans are thwarted when his money-obsessed father remarries and, thanks to the influence of the evil new stepmother, refuses to pay for Edward to go to college. Homeless, jobless, and, now, future-less, Edward turns to his friends. And they're happy to help. When Edward discovers his new stepmother has been embezzling money from his father, he and his friends devise an elaborate plot to steal said money back and use it to pay for Edward's continuing education. Because it's not really stealing if it's already stolen, right? Disguised as clergy and nuns, Edward and Co. visit Julliard and set up a scholarship with very specific requirements. Requirements only Edward could fill. Or so they thought. If things go wrong, and of course they do, they'll need a Plan B. And a Plan C. Over the course of this hilarious romp, Edward and friends blunder their way through money laundering, forgery, identity theft, blackmail, and other less-than-legal activities. They also learn the true meaning of friendship (awww!). Stop by the Teen Department and check this one out. You'll be glad you did! --AJL