Monday, October 27, 2014

SURROUNDED BY SHARKS by Michael Northrop

Surrounded By SharksDavey and his family just arrived on the tiny island off Florida's Key West.  After spending their first night in the hotel, Davey wakes up early and decides to explore the island.  He grabs his book and heads off to find a quiet place to read. 

After traipsing through the hotel lobby and checking out the dock, Davey finds a tiny, deserted beach that looks interesting.  He notices the faded No Swimming sign, but he puts down his book, slips off his glasses, and wades into the warm ocean water.  The gentle waves gradually lure him  away from the shore until the water is up to his chest.  Before he realizes it, he is being pulled away from the beach by the current.

As the rest of Davey's family awakens back at the hotel and comes to the realization that he is missing, Davey begins a struggle to survive miles from shore. 

He is a swimmer, but when exhaustion hits, knowing how to swim really doesn't matter.  When he sees the first shark, he knows his life depends on his family back on the island and whether or not they will figure out where he is in time to send a rescue boat.

Author Michael Northrop has created the perfect suspense thriller.  The action alternates between Davey lost at sea and his frantically searching parents and younger brother.  Northrop teases the reader with glimpses of the sharks as they circle and contemplate the floating boy.  SURROUNDED BY SHARKS will grab readers immediately and keep them gasping until the last page. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

THE CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander

The CrossoverJosh and Jordan are twins, raised on basketball by their father, a former star player in the European League.  For them success has been measured on the court.  Josh is referred to as a phenom with huge potential.

The two brothers have always been headed in the same direction, but when Jordan becomes more interested in a pretty girl than in the action on the court, Josh is confused.  The confusion turns to anger and he finds himself sitting the bench just when his team needs him the most.

Worried about their own personal issues, the shocking news of their father's health crisis hits them hard.  Their father had been too stubborn to heed his wife's warnings to see a doctor, and now Josh and Jordan may lose their mentor.  Each young man faces the crisis in his own way and each must determine how best to honor the father they love and respect.

Author Kwame Alexander uses verse to create this hard-hitting, fast paced story.  The basketball action, the rivalry between brothers, and the discovery of what holds a family together all combine to provide an interesting read for a wide ranging YA audience.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

WELCOME TO DARK HOUSE by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Welcome to the Dark HouseNightmare Elf's e-Newsletter reads "NIGHTMARES BE GONE CONTEST."  According to the rules, if you write about your worst nightmare (one thousand words or less), you just might win a chance to meet a famous movie director and get a sneak peek at his latest horror film. 

That's the contest eighteen year old Ivy Jensen entered.  She wants to win the awesome prize, not to meet the famous director, but because of the promise associated with the contest - the promise that your terrible nightmare would disappear.  Ivy hasn't even seen a Justin Blake movie, but she has a nightmare that plagues her sleep and even haunts her every waking moment.  When she learns about the contest, she enters hoping that winning will free her from the horror she experienced back when she was twelve.

Seven teens have entered the contest each hoping for something different.  A few are like Ivy, hoping to be rid of their nightmares, while others have different dreams for the weekend at the Dark House.  Most are true movie fans and meeting Justin Blake and some of his famous characters are worth whatever it takes.  At least that's what they think as the weekend begins.

When they discover the weekend entertainment includes an amusement park and real life reenactments of their horrible nightmares, winning doesn't seem to matter anymore.  A graveyard, vicious black eels, and the disappearance of one of the contestants are just the beginning for Ivy and the others.  Can she survive and will it be worth the peace she hopes to find?

Author Laurie Faria Stolarz is well-known for her BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARE series, BLEED, and PROJECT 17.  Her latest, WELCOME TO THE DARK HOUSE, is sure to please her loyal fans and win her many new ones.  Told through the alternating voices of the teen contest winners, Stolarz takes readers into the frightened minds of characters whose nightmares will remind us of some of our very own fears.  Get your hands on a copy today, but be sure to sleep with the light on when you finish reading.