Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Escape Theory

Escape Theory: a Keaton School Novel by Margaux Froley

Publication Date 3/12/2013

Teen, 14+

ARC used for review.

Personal Ranking 3.5 out of 5

Welcome to the Keaton School 

One crazy night can change your life. No one knows just how true that is more than Devon and Hutch, who met as freshman at the Keaton boarding school. Then after just one night of pancakes, poetry and promises, they have a connection that no one even knows about. Hutch was a legacy student, with a charmed life and loads of friends. Now, two years later at the beginning of their junior year, Hutch's life is cut short as the result of a suspected suicide. As if Hutch's death turning her world upside down wasn't bad enough, Devon is not the only participant in the school's new Peer Counseling program. Now, after Hutch's death, her first assignment in the program becomes providing support for Hutch's closest friends and trying to help them acknowledge their own demons. But, something doesn't feel right, and Devon finds herself deeper into the secret underworld of Keaton while she becomes obsessed with proving that the real Hutch was the boy she shared that one crazy night with two years ago.

have read so many mysteries lately that I thought I knew just who would betray who and how the story would end. I thought I knew, but I had no idea.

Now I am left with questions, like why did Devon and Hutch never spent time together again after those Nutter Butter pancakes? (What are the best tips for mastering the art of Nutter Butter pancakes.) Even though I didn't expect to really like this book, I ended up blown away by the twists and turns. (And no, no spoilers.  If I was stunned, I want you to be too!)  Devon was really able to help her peers, she gained their trust and kept at if even after being let go from the program. I am really excited to see what happens next in the second book of the Keaton School.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Panic by Sharon M. Draper

Publication Date 3/12/2013

Teen, 13+

ARC used for review.

Personal Ranking 4.5 out of 5

"All it takes is one moment, one bad decision,
for everything to change"

Diamond Landers has a good life. She lives with both of her parents, has great friends and is a talented dancer. At 15 years old, she has paid attention to all of the stranger danger lessons taught to her. But in one moment, too much temptation is dangled in front of her. He looks safe and professional, claiming he is new to the area he wants to introduce her to his daughter and her movie star friends who are all in town to addition for a movie. That is all it takes for her life to change forever. Now all her friends and family can do is wait, hope and pray for any news of Diamond and her safe return.

Wow! What an incredibly well written story that every teenage girl should read. I will definitely use this as a book club title with teens in addition to recommending it for the school's high school summer reading list. You can feel the panic setting in starting with the cover. Even though you can't fully understand the symbolism until you begin reading, it sets the tone perfectly.

Unfortunately, I have worked with too many young women who very easily could have ended up in any one of the situations shown in this story. One of the most important things about stories like this is that putting yourself in someone else's shoes, it makes you think about your past choices and how you would act in those situations. Panic shows the strengths and dangers of all different kinds of relationships and human interaction. While it didn't even really address the dangers of social media, you could talk about it during a discussion easily. All of the main characters take turns narrating different chapters, so you get to see multiple stories from their own point of view. The trade off is that they don't go into a lot of details. So even though what is going on is horrific, you are left to imagine the worst. So here at my branch, I would feel comfortable to recommend it to the middle school students as well.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

the Nightmare Affair

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
Arkwell Academy


Publication Date: March 5, 2013

Teen, Ages 13+

ARC copy used for review.

Personal Ranking 4 out of 5

Nightmares may be scary, but they have feelings too

Dusty is still trying to adjust to her new life as a magickind. It doesn't help that her mother's reputation as a rule breaker is making it harder. Nightmares feed their magic by invading other people's dreams, which often involves also breaking into their houses. Being a Nightmare is hard enough, but when a Eli, a former classmate of hers is dreaming about a murder that just happens to be on campus of her new school things begin to get complicated. Not only is the murder at Arkwell Academy, but it turns out that it has just happened. Now Dusty and Eli have to work together to figure out the clues before anyone else gets hurt. But, things aren't always what they seem at Arkwell, and Dusty has to figure out just who she can trust, even if they just happen to be her mother.

What a fun ride! From start to finish, this was a fast, enjoyable read. The fun thing will all the paranormal tales out today, is that they each have their own, unique spin on tales that are familiar. Our heroine is a sixteen year old girl named Destiny, who prefers to be called Dusty, who just happens to be a Nightmare. But, because of her fractured relationship with her mom, and her late blossoming into her powers, she is untrained and not sure of anything besides the basics. Nightmares are rare, and other then her mom, she only knows of one other in the area. Unfortunately, her mom has a bit of a wild side and has given their kind a bit of a bad reputation. Even though it takes her almost the entire book to admit it, her mother's absence has given her some emotional scars. Coming to terms with her mom, will hopefully help her heal and let go of some of her anger. I kept thinking that this would make a great series. Thankfully, I read the author's bio where she mentioned that it would be! I am looking forward to my next visit to Arkwell Academy.