Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Maze Runner

Dashner, James. (2009). The Maze Runner. New York: Delacorte.

Image credit: Wikipedia

An amnesiac teenager awakes in a box in the middle of a colony of boys.


What is a Maze Runner?

maze runner. n. a fast shank who risks his shuck life everyday running through the ever-changing maze, escaping the grievers, in the hopes of finding an exit for all the gladers.

Thomas wakes up confused and without a memory of who he is or what happened to him. He knows that he is currently surrounded by a large crowd of boys of all ages and that they don't looked surprised to see him. Thomas soon learns he is in a place called the Glade, a large area surrounded on all sides by massive walls. Beyond the walls is a massive labyrinth maze that changes every night. Thomas is immediately determined to find a way out, and he soon discovers that the only way he will succeed is to become a Maze Runner.

  • Kentucky Bluegrass Award grades 9-12, 2011
  • VOYA Best Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, 2009 
  • YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers 2011

Listen to a clip from the audio version courtesy of Random House Audio ©2011 .

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Condie, Allyson. (2010). Matched. New York: Dunton.

Image credit: Ally Condie

In Cassia's society the Officials decide everything, including who you will be matched with for life.


Within the Oria province the Officials control every aspect of life for the members of the Society. They are the ones who decide your job, when and who you marry, and when you will die.

Cassia Reyes: A seventeen year-old good girl who believes in the Society and is anxious to see whose face will appear at the Matching Banquet.

Xander Carrow: Cassia's thoughtful and caring best friend since childhood. The boy every girl dreams of being matched with.

Ky Markham: A bad-boy who lives near Cassia. Outcasted by the community because of his father's actions.

The lives and futures of these three teenagers will become dangerously entwined with one another. Unravel the secrets of the Society and find out the truth about being Matched.


Every minute you spend with someone gives them a part of your life and takes part of theirs.


  • AML Award, 2010
  • New York Times Bestseller
  • Publishers Weekly's Best Children's Books of 2010

Sunday, November 27, 2011

City of Ember

Duprau, J. (2003). The City of Ember. New York: Yearling.

Image credit: Wikipedia

Residents of the City of Ember begin to panic when the electricity and generator begin to fail. They must figure out something quickly before the lights go out for good and the Emberites are left in dark, dark world.


What is life like for a person in the City of Ember? For starters its pitch-black, all the time, except for the old lights strung across the city. You choose your job out of a bag filled with little papers with different jobs written on them. You stand in line for hours at the warehouse for supplies just to be told that the city has recently run out of the requested item. You are constantly worried that the lights will go out for good as rumors of the generator failing permeate the city.

Lina and Doon, citizens of Ember, are intelligent, curious, and hopeful. Brought together by their shared concern about the eminent blackout, Lina and Doon work together to find out more about the inner-workings of the city. Doon's father gives them cryptic adivce to live by:

"The main thing is to pay attention. Pay close attention to everything, notice what no one else notices. Then you’ll know what no one else knows, and that’s always useful.

Join them in their search for truth and a brighter future in a world consumed by darkness. Will Lina and Doon succeed in saving the people of The City of Ember?


  • ALA Notable Book
  • Black-Eyed Susan Award, 2005-2006
  • Borders Original Voices
  • California Book Awards, Commonwealth Club of California
  • Chapman Award for Shared Reading (Esmé Raji Codell)
  • Child Magazine’s Best Children's Books, 2003
  • Children's Literature Association of Utah Book Award
  • Kirkus Editor's Choice, 2003
  • Land of Enchantment Book Award, New Mexico
  • Mark Twain Award, 2006
  • Nevada Young Reader’s Award
  • New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • New York Times Bestseller List (Children's Paperback Fiction)
  • Nutmeg Children’s Book Award, Connecticut
  • Publisher's Weekly Flying Start
  • William Allen White Children’s Book Award, 2006
  • Young Hoosier Book Award, Indiana

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ship Breaker

Bacigalupi, Paolo. (2010). Ship Breaker. New York: Little, Brown, & Co.

Image credit: Powells

A young boy lives a hard life retrieving part from broken down ships. When he discovers a young girl in one of the ships he will be faced with many hard decisions.

What did the Ship Breaker find? Every person experiences a turning point in their lives. For Nailer that time came the day he discovered Nita among the wreckage of a ship. Before he found her his life was anything but great. His father was addicted to drugs and abusive. His mother is dead and the only people he has are his best friend and her mother. Nita changes everything. Nailer is unsure whether he should disregard her and strip the ship she came from or if he should rescue her and hope she offers him a better life. Will Nailer follow his heart, or will he continue to be a Ship Breaker?

  • Best of Books of 2010
  • Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Nominee, 2011
  • Booklist Starred Review
  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Michael L. Printz Award, 2010
  • National Book Award Finalist, Young People's Literature, 2010 
  • Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How I Live Now

Rosoff, M. (2004). How I Live Now. United Kingdom: Puffin.
Image credit: Perrot Library


A young American girl is sent to England to live with estranged family at the onset of World War III.



Daisy lived in Manhattan with her father. Her biggest concern was her evil stepmother who had recently revealed that she was pregnant. Daisy was sure the baby would be just as devilish as Davina.

Daisy lives with her four cousins in the remote English countryside. Her aunt has been stranded in Norway due to the outbreak of World War III. For a while things are idyllic without an adult around. But, as the war catches up to them, Daisy and her cousins must face a new reality that is violent, hostile, and deadly. Find out what happens to Daisy and see How She Lives Now.

  • Branford Boase Award, 2005
  • Der Luchs des Jahres Book Prize, 2005
  • Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, 2004
  • Julia Ward Howe Prize (Boston Authors Club), 2005
  • Michael L. Printz Award, 2005

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Ryan, C. (2009). The Forest of Hands and Teeth. New York: Delacorte.

Image credit: Carrie Ryan

In a post-apocalyptic world of zombies a teenager must find courage to protect the ones she loves.


What lies beyond the fences in the Forest of Hands and Teeth? Mary is like any other teenager; she falls in love, she is rebellious, and she has had a best friend since she was little. But Mary's world is post-apocalyptic and overrun with undead cannibals who threaten her existence. When the village fences succumb to the relentless undead, Mary is forced to flee with a small group of friends. And so begins a journey for truth, safety, and a world long forgotten. Will Mary find what she is looking for in the Forest of Hands and Teeth?


I think about how fragile we are here—like fish in a glass bowl with darkness pressing in on every side.


  • ALA Best Books for Young Adults selection
  • Borders Original Voices finalist
  • Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book
  • Denver Public Library Best Teen Books, 2009
  • Georgia Peach Book AwardNomination, 2010-2011
  • IndieBound Kids' Indie Next List for Spring 2009, #4
  • Junior Library Guild selection
  • New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age List, 2010
  • New York Times Best Seller
  • North Carolina School Library Media Association Young Adult Book Award Nomination
  • Texas Library Association TAYSHAS High School Reading list, 2010-2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Last Book in the Universe

Philbreck, Rodman. (2000). The Last Book in the Universe. New York: Blue Sky Press.

Image credit:

A young fourteen year-old boy sets off on a dangerous journey through a post-apocalyptic world to save his younger sister who is sick.


What would you say if you had to write down the story of your life? Would you be happy with what you've done so far? 

After a major earthquake, people are now using probes, needles that inject memories into the brain, to face the reality of their world. Society is divided into two classes: the scientifically improved humans, Proovs, who live in Eden and the poor, imperfect people who live in run-down crypts in the Urb. Spaz, an epileptic young boy, is on his own in the Urb until he meets an strange old man named Ryter.

Spaz convinces Ryter to set out with him to find and save his sick younger sister. Along the way Spaz discovers that Ryter has a knowledge that few in their world possess. Will they save Spaz's sister? Will the story of Spaz's life become the Last Book in the Universe?

    • ALA Best Book for Young Adults, 2001
    • Isinglass Teen Read Award, 2001-2002
    • Maine Lupine Award Honor Book, 2000
    • Maryland Readers Medal
    • YALSA 100 Best of the Best Books for the 21st Century