TBR7

Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff pays homage to the new networks that we (myself included) rely on for love: technology.

Brezenoff packs this modern dilemma into a cheeky, geeky story of RPG, LARPing and video game lexicons. I have very limited knowledge about video games, so I was skeptic at first but also curious. After all I am a reader; I take on stacks of books and move up level by level in lexile points.

Fortunately the story itself is not in full video game mode, but it has a few contextual key points that prove that it is in fact a geeky love story. The love story is interesting because it involves a hardcore metal fan, Lesh, and the game profile he creates, Svetlana, who he falls in love with. This is the moral dilemma about modern technology that Brezenoff introduces rather skillfully: Falling in love with a CHARACTER you created! Rather creepy, but in a world of ideal relationships and teenage awkwardness, Lesh’s actions are very relatable (from a teenager’s perspective).

After all, being in love during high school is very awkward and sometimes stressful for the couple and people around them. Brezenoff incorporates these types of teen issues, such as dealing with parents, friends and cliques (Gamer geeks versus metal fans?), in his book quite well. For that, I give Brezenoff a big thumbs-up for the full slice-of-life action, but the whole plot itself is pretty mediocre and similar to modern genres of books that I’ve been reading.

If you are a writer who constantly looks out for slice-of-life, geeky books (especially if you are a gamer of some sort), then this book might fit your criteria. From a reviewer’s perspective with no knowledge of video games whatsoever, I found this pleasing but bland. Brezenoff could have added more background info about the relationship and the clique structure of “gamer versus metal fans” so as to demonstrate the difficulty of their relationship due to their different outlooks. But it is a book that is meant to end well.

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TBR6

The book that I am writing a review about is Panic by Lauren Oliver. It was on the list for the ALA Conference so I decided to give it a shot.

From a personal standpoint I would give this book a rating of 5/5. It was a very well written book and I absolutely loved it! I could not put the book down due to all of the action and suspense that kept going on. The characters were very well portrayed, and the ending was something completely different from what I expected it to be. It actually made me want to start reading it again!

It’s one of my favorite books now and I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to read it. I highly suggest that you go pick up a copy at the Library!

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scar-boys

The Scar Boys is currently one of my favorite books I have read in the past few years. Myself being a musician playing guitar, I could connect to this story on a personal level. You do not have to be a musician to enjoy this book though. The Scar Boys exemplifies what is like to be in a band, why you form one, and sometimes how they sometimes break up on a first hand account from the author.

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wedding-night

Once again, Kinsella brings her brand of fluff to fiction.

Straying once again from her mainstay Shopaholic series, this stand-alone story revolves around Lottie and Ben, a couple who reunite after years and rekindle their love affair. Soon they are getting married. Lottie’s family thinks this is a drastic mistake, so they do everything in their power to stop the quickie marriage from being consummated. Sound silly? I will not lie: It is. However, it would not be Kinsella if it was not knee-deep in silly. That is part of the appeal here; you do not read this in place of Tolstoy. You read this at a beach or on vacation when you are trying to escape from reality.

When you want something meaty and in-depth to read, please do not seek out Kinsella. If you do not want to think and you want to escape into a fun, light story, Sophie Kinsella is for you!

Wedding Night is available for check out at the Niles Public Library!

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Sekret-Review

“An empty mind is a safe mind.”

This quote underscores the main theme of Sekret by debut author Lindsay Smith in describing Russia’s culture. With a flair of YA touch and the supernatural, Smith isn’t someone who is incapable of spelling. In fact, this is intentional. The setting of this book is in 1960’s USSR, and I suppose by spelling “secret” as “Sekret” it reflects the Russian language.

Prior to reading Sekret, I was very interested in Russian history with regards to my European history class. I noticed the innumerable controversies linked to Russian history (Rasputin? Romanov? Babushkas?). This book does a good job of incorporating Russia’s mysteries during its communist years into the story and giving the reader an intimate perspective on its dark history.

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all-this-talk

A strong, moving family drama set around an Italian-American family who has issues dealing with the outside world and with each other.

Spanning generations, the Grasso family has a lot going on amongst their own family, not to mention trying to get back to Italy for one last visit. The personalities of all of the family members are well-defined and strong in their own way and the way the characters interact with each other is timeless and is reminiscent of typical family relations. Each of the fully developed characters are realistic and engaging. Some family secrets that are hidden for years emerge and there is nothing phony or fake about the repercussions.

Not the best family drama story ever written, but a deeply-engaging story nonetheless.

The book is available for check out at the Niles Public Library!

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Breakfast-Review

Do we all have a dream? As human beings, we are very much susceptible to the pits of our own idealism. Lost in an imagined world of our own wonders leads us to question: What is true anymore? Sarah Combs’ debut book, Breakfast Served Anytime, questions the availability of dreams and the intangible journey of social navigation.

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TBR2

The Hit by Melvin Burgess began with a promising concept: a drug called Death that plagues a society in the near future. This drug provides the victim with one week of pure bliss, including anything they could ever ask for in terms of riches, power, intelligence, and romantic partners – however, after the week is up the victim dies. As the story progresses the plot becomes extremely convoluted with the addition of several seemingly unnecessary characters and a subplot of a terrorist organization that manufactures fake death. The protagonists had superficial personas, which made them unrelatable and unlikable. The fast-paced nature of the novel kept me interested in the story, but it fell short of my expectations. The idea of a world obsessed with a particularly fatal drug had the potential to be the foundation for a thought-provoking book, however Burgess should have further explored the societal and emotional effects of such a drug in order for his book to live up its potential.

– Nicolette

The book is available for check out at the Niles Public Library.

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TBR3

Much like The Hunger Games and The Testing, The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean is a dystopian novel centered around the aftermath of a war. Living in a town torn apart by war, William “Billy” Dean is an enigmatic child whose unknown powers guide him into a world of mystery. This novel is an exceptional story suited for adults but is admired by young adults as well. With a well-paced plot, David Almond tells the story using Billy Dean’s illiterate stance so the reader can get a glimpse into his mind. You get to watch Billy grow and see his perceptions alter. Patient readers will enjoy this book to its fullest potential and will revel in its perplexity.

– Kristjan

The book is available for check out at the Niles Public Library.

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TBR4

As a die-hard lover of young adult contemporary fiction, one of my favorite things about these books is when a character grips me so hard that I want to crawl through the book and just love him or her, and this is where I found myself with Torn Away by Jennifer Brown. While Jersey didn’t initially start out as a character with issues, it only took a few pages before she became one. I found myself so attached to her that I wanted to go to her and give her encouragement and support and just HELP HER THROUGH THIS TIME IN HER LIFE. She took over my heart while I was reading this book, you guys, because my heart was broken for her.

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