Saturday, September 29, 2012

TRUE LEGEND by Mike Lupica

Drew "True" Robinson has a plan.  He and his mother moved to California from New York to advance his basketball career.  Only a junior in high school, he is one of the best.  If things work out, he will be scouted by the best colleges and after the minimum one year of college play, he'll head to the pros.

Lately Drew hasn't exactly been focused much on his grades, and he is getting some grief about it from his mother and his counselor.  He tries to remind them that college isn't really his goal; it's just a stepping stone to his pro career.  The temptation of endorsements and perks from his mother's rich boss and scouts is beginning to take Drew's attention away from his game. 

Late one night when he heads to a local court to practice, he comes across a street player shooting hoops.  The guy is older but he has great skills.  Drew watches him unnoticed, and after seeing him a second time, he attempts to find out who the mystery player is. 

It turns out he was a legend years ago, but poor decisions ruined his chances to turn pro.  When Drew finally does meet him, he realizes they have a lot in common.  This realization might be just what Drew needs to get back on track.  Hopefully, it's not too late.

Author Mike Lupica focuses on not only the game of basketball, but also on the mind of the athlete in TRUE LEGEND.  Many young athletes dream of a professional career, but all the attention and fame that come from being a legend can quickly derail many of those dreams.

Friday, September 21, 2012

DEVIANTS: THE DUST CHRONICLES by Maureen McGowan

The world as we know it has changed.  After being hit by asteroids, the only safe place to live is under the dome.  Glory and her brother Drake live in Haven and exist with the help of monthly rations and Glory's ability to capture rats to supplement their meager diet.

The teens' mother is dead and they also believe their father is dead.  After becoming a threat to his family, he was exed or expunged.  Now Glory lives in fear of being exed herself. 

The dust resulting from the asteroids causes mutation in human DNA creating what are known as deviants.  Glory is a deviant.  If she loses control of her emotions, especially anger, she has the ability to kill with a simple look.  Being discovered could mean the end for her. 

Glory must take extreme risks to insure her survival and that of her brother.  Being a deviant is only one of her problems.  Drake is unable to take care of himself.  After a mysterious incident with their father, Drake was left paralyzed from the waist down.  Glory must keep his condition a secret because the disabled are considered a drain on society. 

Glory's troubles increase when a stranger named Burn appears with news that her father is still alive.  Can she trust this stranger?  Does she want to be reunited with the man she blames for her brother's handicap?  According to Burn, she doesn't have a choice.  He is about to take Glory and Drake to places they never knew existed.  Hopefully, they can survive as they try to escape the Comps and the Shredders.

DEVIANT is the first book in the Dust Chronicles series by author Maureen McGowan.  She has created a frightening new world where life is hard and dangerous.  Watch for DEVIANT in bookstores October 30.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

PERFECT ESCAPE by Jennifer Brown

I often hear people say something triggers their OCD tendencies.  It usually involves organizing something or a superstition about some upcoming event or activity.  The person mentioning this is most likely referring to a minor quirky behavior that makes them feel a bit self-conscious or has been commented on by a friend.  To truly understand the serious effects of OCD, I suggest you read Jennifer Brown's new book titled PERFECT ESCAPE.

Kendra's older brother Grayson suffers from severe OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).  His condition has caused him to leave school by his junior year, enter treatment facilities numerous times, and totally change the dynamics of family life for Kendra and her parents.  For as long as Kendra can remember, Grayson has gotten all her parents' attention and interfered with family activities.  Kendra has learned to stay focused on trying to be the perfect child.  Her goal is to do all the things Grayson can't and make her parents proud.

In her effort to maintain her perfection, Kendra finds herself deeply involved in a cheating ring near the end of her senior year.  When it appears her involvement might be discovered, Kendra panics.  She heads to the nearby quarry that has frequently offered sanctuary for her brother, and she climbs the fence hoping to forget her troubles.  Instead, Kendra discovers her brother, newly released from a treatment program, obsessively counting rocks.  Something snaps in Kendra.  She coaxes her brother into the car and starts driving.  The farther they get from home and all their problems, the more Kendra realizes that distance might just be the answer.

Without sharing her plans with Grayson, Kendra decides to drive from Missouri to California to seek help from their best friend Zoe.  Zoe and her parents had once been their neighbors, but Grayson's condition caused an irreparable rift between the families, and they packed up and move away.  Now Kendra is convinced that seeing and talking to Zoe again will solve her problems and spending time with her brother will allow her to cure his OCD.  Thus begins their adventure.

Author Jennifer Brown once again explores serious issues using relatable characters in a story teens won't be able to put down.  PERFECT ESCAPE will not disappoint her many fans.

Monday, September 10, 2012

UNWHOLLY by Neal Shusterman

The frightening world of UNWIND continues.  Neal Shusterman's UNWHOLLYis book #2 in the sci-fi thriller trilogy.  Picking up where UNWIND left off, readers follow the key characters and are introduced to new ones as well as breath-taking, non-stop action.

Connor, known for escaping the fate of unwinding, is now leading the AWOL's who live in an aircraft graveyard in the desert.  Still struggling with his own demons, Connor is trying to keep things together for hundreds of under seventeen year olds.  If each one can reach the age of seventeen, they can legally escape unwinding.  Connor is hoping to keep their location a secret, but more and more he is becoming convinced that the Juvie police are aware of their existence and are simply toying with them.

Lev, famous for being the clapper who survived, is working in Connor's organization.  He finds himself paired with Miracolina who is determined to follow through with her unwinding.  She was "rescued" but believes the destiny assigned to her at birth should be honored.  Lev and Miracolina find themselves partners even though they seem to be fighting for two different causes.

Risa has long been in love with Connor but refuses to show it lest it be seen as a sign of weakness.  Confined to a wheelchair since the explosion at the unwinding camp, she still refuses the surgery that could make her whole again because she refuses to take a spine from an unwound teen.  However, when she is captured while rushing with an injured AWOL to the hospital, she becomes part of a plot to improve public perception toward unwinding.

Orchestrated by a woman known as Roberta, the plan of the new organization was to create a complete human from unwound parts.  The experiment is a success, and the result is a unique individual named Cam.  Part of the group's plan is to choose a suitable partner for Cam, and Risa is their choice.  She is horrified by the idea of Cam and vows to figure out a way to escape.

UNWHOLLY is another masterpiece by author Neal Shusterman.  He has a unique talent for taking bizarre ideas and adding just the right touch of reality that make reading his work a chilling experience.  Readers will be thinking about UNWHOLLY long after they turn the last page, and they will be waiting breathlessly for book #3.



Sunday, September 2, 2012

THE ADVENTURES OF STANLEY DELACOURT: BOOK 1 OF HARTLANDIA by Ilana Waters

Stanley Delacourt is a librarian, but he's not just any librarian.  Raised by an elderly librarian after the death of his parents, Stanley actually lives and works in the library.  Only a teen he is still an authority on every book under his care, and he commands an unusual respect for someone so young.

Stanley's life in Hartlandia is simple yet fulfilling.  His friends include Sophie and Will.  Sophie is an apprentice to the local apothecary.  Actually, the old apothecary has pretty much retired leaving Sophie to handle the business.  She is well-trained and does an excellent job, only getting frustrated with annoying customers.  Will works on his grandparents' farm.  Compared to his friends, Stanley and Sophie, his job is a physical one, but he has the necessary strength and stamina to do it well.

As the adventure begins, the three friends are attending the local festival.  They witness a surprise win in the annual boat race and enjoy the other entertainment and delicious food of the festival.  As the events are winding down, the young winner of the boat race approaches them asking for help.  He has lost his winning medal in a nearby meadow.  After searching a short time, Stanley and Sophie must return to their respective jobs leaving Will to continue the search.

The following morning Stanley and Sophie receive devastating news.  Will is dead.  It appears he has been murdered by soldiers under the command of an evil substitute ruler.  Stanley and Sophie vow to avenge their friend.  Not long after, Stanley's beloved library is burned to the ground by the same evil ruler, angering Stanley even further. 

What follows is an adventure that takes Stanley to strange and dangerous places.  He encounters an odd principal and an unusual school, magic, satyrs, and much more.  Sophie who stays at home in Hartlandia has her own share of adventure as she waits impatiently for her friend's return.

THE ADVENTURES OF STANLEY DELACOURT is a new middle grade fantasy adventure by author Ilana Waters.  As yet only available in ebook format, it is the beginning of a series that is sure to thrill many middle grade fantasy fans.