Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

HighlyHighly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Three unique characters. 1. Lisa Praytor – Highly driven high school student with an outgoing personality and a get-it-done attitude. She also has a great boyfriend. 2. Clark Kent. Just kidding. Clark (don’t know his last name) is Lisa’s water-polo playing, extremely nice, boyfriend who is pretty happy  with things just…the…way…they… are. And then there is Solomon. 3. Solomon Reed. Sol jumped in a fountain in the 8th grade trying to end his panic attacks and then stayed at home for the next 3 years with a serious case of agoraphobia.

51x5BPDDkNL._UX250_-1
Lisa wants to use Solomon as a case study for her college essay and her big ticket outta here. Clark actually and truly really likes Sol because they have A LOT in common. I mean, how many kids want a holodeck for Christmas? And Solomon doesn’t know where these two friends came from, but his enclosed world is slowly opening after three years of solitude.

Surprise, this book is actually funny 🙂

Whaley is also the author of Where Things Come Back and Noggin – both available at the BHS Library.

Review by Ms. Rosenkrantz

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

suicide

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

This engaging thriller is being marketed as  Gone Girl meets Thirteen Reasons Why.  I suppose it is a thriller like Gone Girl and does, at least potentially, have a suicide like Thirteen Reasons.  But in my mind, it wasn’t nearly as good as either of those titles.  Not to say it didn’t catch my interest and keep me turning pages, at least for the first half.   June’s former BFF Delia has burned herself to death in a shed behind her house.  At least that’s what the authorities are saying.  But June doesn’t buy that explanation and goes on a hunt to find out who murdered Delia.  Along the way, her boyfriend and Delia’s boyfriend also get involved and there are rumors of conspiracy, illicit sex and betrayal.

While I really enjoyed the first part of the book, the last half sort of dragged by.  And I personally found the end disappointing, but maybe that was just me as a reader.  I would recommend this with caution to readers who like mysteries.

Review by Ms. Provence

 

Nil by Lynne Matson

Image result for nil by lynne matsonNil by Lynne Matson

One minute you are in a Target parking lot and the next you are naked in a rock field on what appears to be an island..  That’s what happens to Charlie.  Apparently she isn’t the only teen that has been abducted by some mysterious force.  Nil is the name they’ve given this place and the force. Each person has exactly one year from the date of their arrival to make it through the gate that opens for them sporadically and without warning.  After that you die. With the, to be expected, tensions and attractions between characters as well as the dangers and unexpected events the story makes for a very good read.

Reviewed by Ms. Brenner

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

passthrough

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

This is a downer of a book. Not really happy endings or happy people to be found in this read. Also, it’s not that well written. Which may be on purpose for authenticity or maybe not. But the story is very real, raw and relatable. To set the stage, the main character’s mother is constantly uprooting their lives in search of her next husband, while ignoring her daughter and leaving her to scramble for identity. Entering new schools as an uncared for girl, she never really makes friends and instead enters into sexual relationships with boys to try and meet her need for connection. Along the way she works at asserting her independence and is able to separate from her unresponsive mom. But life never really gets easier.

I read the book, but I didn’t really enjoy it. I don’t know that it was meant to be enjoyed. It is a work of fiction but I think it could easily be a true story, and so it may inspire compassion. Many people struggle and we don’t always know what their lives have been like. They may not have been very easy. Reading this story is a good reminder not to judge people or assume that we know why they made the life choices that they did.

Review by Sarah Rosenkrantz

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

SerpentKing

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

If you have always lived in Berkeley, or a city of any size, then it is hard to fathom what it means to be from a small town. Always the same kids in your classes. Everybody doing the same thing on Saturday night. And you inherit the legacy of the life your siblings, parents and grandparents led before you ever got here. If you are lucky this is a good thing. But Travis or Dill it’s a heavy burden to carry. Dill has a dad behind bars and a fanatical mom at home who wants him to keep his life as small as possible. Travis’s dad drinks himself into a fury at his son whose world revolves around a fantasy book. Both boys are big disappointments to those around them. Lydia, their one other friend, is the saving grace of the group. With a supportive family and the desire to live bigger than the small fish high school they are trapped in together, she helps them grow dreams that expand beyond their town.

But nothing can protect everyone from the potential tragedies of life. They strike at random times and random places, and, for better or for worse, make us into who we are. These three friends will never be the same when high school ends, and they have their senior year to do the unthinkable. This is a brave story about what it means to be different and what it takes to make a difference.

Review by Sarah Rosenkrantz

Gabi A Girl In Pieces by Isabel Quintero

GabiGabi A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Gabi is a good girl who is questioning the hypocrisy of just what exactly it means to be “good.” In Gabi’s mother’s and Tia’s world her brother can do no wrong (even when he is obviously doing wrong), girls who get pregnant are sluts and always to blame, and being fat makes you destined to be single forever. Except that Gabi knows that none of this is true. She sees right through all the double standards and BS thrown her way. Gabi is smart and articulate, she is a writer and a poet, and she isn’t going to let her dreams die, like going to UC Berkeley, just because her family judges her harshly for her choices.

Written in the form of journal entries, this book is entertaining and heartfelt. It reads like a true-to-life high school experience. Gabi is from Southern California and shares a Latina perspective on growing up and coming of age. There is poetry and letters mixed in, all told in an authentic voice of a girl who is confident and insecure all at the same time.

Review by Sarah Rosenkrantz

This Girl Is Different by J J Johnson

different

This Girl Is Different by J J Johnson

Evie (born Evensong Sparkling Morningdew) lives with her”hippie” mom in a geodesic dome in the woods near their small town.  After being homeschooled since forever, she’s finally convinced her mom to let her finish high school at the local public school, claiming she would be like a gonzo journalist studying the ethnography of the public school system.  The question isn’t the obvious one of Evie being ready for public school after so many years with just her mom, but is the school ready for Evie.  She is strong-minded, confident,not afraid to share her opinion on anything and everything, and a budding activist.  Whenever Evie is about to do something unexpected, she tells herself, “This girl is different,” and she certainly is.  When she is faced with the inherent lack of student rights at her new school, she feels compelled to take on the system, getting herself into all kinds of trouble.

I found this book to be absolutely delightful.  It’s awesome to see a teenager so empowered  such that she follows her own conscious, even when she knows it will lead to trouble.  The book has some interesting minor characters: Evie’s mom Martha, a love interest named Raj, and a smarter than average administrator named Dr. Folger.  I would recommend this title to students looking for humorous books, titles about challenging authority, and  “green” lifestyles.