Tuesday, October 18, 2016

MY KIND OF CRAZY by Robin Reul

My Kind of Crazy
Hank Kirby wants to go to the prom with Amanda Carlisle, but she barely knows he exists. When he comes up with an incredibly unique promposal, he nearly burns down Amanda's house. The idea to spell out "prom" in sparklers certainly didn't go the way he planned, and instead of impressing the girl of his dreams, Hank ends up sprinting across lawns to escape the lights and sirens.

During his frantic dash to avoid prosecution, Hank runs into Peyton Breedlove. Her tendency toward pyromania has her totally impressed with Hank stunt. Also not a fan of the popular people like Amanda, Peyton praises Hank for his efforts, and they fall into an unusual friendship.

When Hank's buddy Nick expresses interest in Peyton, Hank is ready to step aside still hoping to pair up with Amanda. However, as Hank's home-life becomes more complicated, he finds himself relating to Peyton whose own personal life is a mess. Maybe there is more of a connection than Hank imagined. He might be the only person who truly understands Peyton and has the power to protect her.

Author Robin Reul has created in Hank a hero readers will begin to root for on the very first page. Hank and Peyton are true underdogs it is a pleasure to support. MY KIND OF CRAZY has plenty of action, humor, and drama to be a sure winner with teen readers.

Monday, October 10, 2016

THE OTHER BOY by M.G. Hennessey

The Other Boy
Life hasn't been easy for Shane. If asked, he would tell you that he was born with the wrong body. His official gender at birth was female, but it didn't take long for Shane to recognize that he had the mind and heart of a boy.

Shane lives with his mother who supports his transgender status completely. His father isn't accepting it quite as gracefully. Having reached the age of puberty, Shane has the choice to begin getting hormone injections that would help his body begin developing as a male. His father isn't in favor of the injections, but Shane is determined to convince him that it is necessary for him to live the life he was meant to live.

In addition to issues with his father, Shane must also deal with his friends, his baseball teammates, and the other kids at school when the player from a competitive team posts a picture of Shane in elementary school. The picture shows Shane with long, flowing hair and the clothes of a girl. How will everyone handle Shane's secret? Will they accept him for who he really is?

Author M.G. Hennessey presents a well-written and realistic picture of being a twelve year old transgender youth. Shane has understanding and supportive people in his life, but as expected, he must deal with others who either don't understand or need time to adjust to the idea of his life choices. Readers will see the struggles involved as well as the inspirational determination of Shane and his family and friends.

Monday, October 3, 2016

TOP PROSPECT by Paul Volponi

Top Prospect
It wasn't until reading this book that I realized there are 8th grade football players so talented that they have been offered college scholarships before even beginning their high school football careers. Paul Volponi's new book TOP PROSPECT tells a story with a character who experiences just that.

Travis Gardner and his brother Carter both play football and play it very well. Travis is starting 8th grade and is extremely proud of his brother who will be starting his freshman year in college with a football scholarship.

While spending time with Carter, Travis gets to show off some of his skills as a quarterback. He attracts the attention of the college coach, and before he knows it, he is guaranteed a chance to attend college when he graduates in five years. The offer creates quite a sensation in town, and ESPN even shows up to interview him.

Now the pressure is on. Travis has to demonstrate his talents in each and every game and lead his team to victory. After a successful 8th grade season, he is then faced with making the high school team and earning the spot of first string quarterback.

Amidst the stress of football, Travis must deal with his brother's jealousy, a rocky relationship with their father, his first experience with death, and at the same time keep up his grades so his mom won't shut down the whole plan. Author Paul Volponi expertly describes the rollercoaster of emotions young Travis experiences as he fights to play his best and hang onto a chance for a stellar future.