Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest ClineImage result for ready player one

In Ready Player One, Cline creates the unlikely pair of futuristic virtual reality technology and eighties culture – with captivating success. Most of the novel takes place in the online Oasis, but despite the absence of “real” danger, still manages to create a suspense that had me unable to put it down. When impoverished, eighteen-year-old Wade Watts becomes the first person in the worldwide challenge to find a hidden Easter Egg in the Oasis — a challenge that the winner of will inherit the fortune of its late creator — he now needs to figure out the rest of the riddles that lead to the egg while competing with other gamers and evading greedy, even dangerous, corporations. Ready Player One explores the creative ways that VR technology can change video games and society as a whole, with plenty of eighties pop culture references. Despite the fact that I am neither a videogamer nor an 80’s enthusiast, I still found the novel engrossing to the very end.

Review by Abigail

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

Pretend you love me by Julie Anne Peters

emptyPretend you love me by Julie Anne Peters

Mike is a small town girl who is the star softball player, works at the hardware store, and is reviving her deceased dad’s plumbing business. Her best friend is the only boy on the cheerleading squad who is also out and proud. Mike very quietly has the hots for the big city girl, Xanadu, who just moved to town. Xanadu has her own secrets and, while she doesn’t seem to like Mike in “that” way, they become close friends fast. It’s also senior year and time for Mike to decide what happens next in her life. She seems to think that staying right where she is will be just fine. But her family, community, and friends would like to see her go farther. Her coaches and neighbors all recognize how hard she works, but Mike’s not willing to be a charity case or anybody’s poster child.

Sounds a bit cheesy but it’s not.

Review by Ms. Rosenkrantz

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Image result for lost in a good book by jasper ffordeLost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Thursday Next, a literary detective in the Special Operations division, has become famous for her work trapping a villain in the pages of Jane Eyre. Set in an alternate universe centered in England, Thursday and he husband Landon start noticing bizarre coincidences that put their lives in danger. Thursday’s father, a renegade time traveler being hunted by the ChronoGuard, keeps finding her in the past and future to warn her about a mysterious substance that will destroy the world if she doesn’t stop it. At the same time Thursday keeps meeting Miss Havisham from Great Expectations to be trained as a book jumper. As the plot threads begin to merge and the characters keep meeting, the book becomes even more engaging. The second in the Thursday Next series, Lost in a Good Book continues Jasper Fforde’s wildly inventive and humorous universe created in The Eyre Affair. While having read the works of literature mentioned is not necessary, familiarity with their plots gives the reader a deeper understanding of this book. Fforde even brings in a character from his Nursery Crime series. This book is great fun and well worth the reader’s time.

Lost in a Good Book sub index

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

Girl at War by Sara Novic


Girl at War by Sara Novic

Traversing time periods to tell the story, Girl At War, explores the reality of war for a young girl in Yugoslavia and how it changed the course of her life. Ana was ten years old when civil war broke out and her life slowly descended from carefree and happy into the depths of despair. Even though she survives the horrific situation she loses much and does her best to bury her experiences deep inside. Now living in the US, participating in a project to tell her story sends her back home, and back to the friends and family she left behind. Anyone who has lived through a war may recognize themselves in the characters and events of this story. The youthfulness of Ana makes it bearable to read such a devastating story with a sense of hope.823879.jpg

Follow up by reading Safe Area Gorazde, an historical graphic novel by Joe Sacco

Review by Sarah Rosenrkantz

Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

the_front_cover_of_the_book_raising_steam_by_terry_pratchettRaising steam by Terry Pratchett

After his father dies in an accident working with steam and metal, 10 year old Dick Simnel vows to make steam his servant. Ten years later, Dick tells his mother he has educated himself in mathematics at the library, knows what went wrong with his father’s work and shows his mother the prototype of a steam engine he calls Iron Girder. After Iron Girder takes a few turns on tracks he’s laid in a field at home, Dick announces he’s taking Iron Girder to the city of Ankh Morpork. Lord Vetinari, tyrant of Ankh Morpork, sends Moist von Lipwig to see this novel machine. Both Moist and Dick realize the potential it has to carry people and goods. Even as Lord Vetinari, Moist and businessman Sir Harry King begin planning what they call the railway, a group of renegade dwarfs called grags begin fomenting a rebellion. As the grags and railway are heading toward open warfare, Moist keeps extending the railway throughout the area.

Since this is a Terry Pratchett book, plot twists and Image result for terry pratchettturns, colorful characters and humor come without pause. Just when the reader suspects what’s coming next, Pratchett springs another surprise. This title also features Moist von Lipwign one of my favorite DiscWorld characters. Published near the end of Pratchett’s much-too-short life, this title is one to treasure.

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

Carry On: the Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell

carry on

Carry On: the Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell

Rowell’s fans will be thrilled with her latest novel detailing the crazy life of Simon Snow as he tries to finish theWatford School of Magicks, fall in love, and save the world.  Simon and his roommate and arch enemy Baz started off as fictional characters in the writer’s 2013 Fangirl.  Simon, his best friend Penny, his sort-of-ex-girlfriend Agatha and Baz join forces to combat the powerful Humdrum which is trying to steal all the world’s magic.  The story may remind readers of the Harry Potter stories, but Rowell’s twists on the genre and strong characters and setting make this title hard to set aside.  I recommend to fans of fantasy, Harry Potter, romances and Rainbow Rowell.

If you’re an an author geek, here’s an interview with her from Book Expo last June.

fangirl               eleanor and park

Click on the book covers for our reviews of her other books.