It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.
How I Got a Life and a Dog by Art Corriveau is an engaging realistic fiction book for middle school readers. When Nicky Flynn’s parents separate, his mom moves him to a one-bedroom apartment in an unfamiliar part of Boston. In addition to having to sleep on a pull-out couch, Nicky is also annoyed at being a “new kid” target at school and missing out on weekends with his dad (which he is sure is his mother’s fault). When his mom brings home shelter dog Reggie, a giant German Shepard who couldn’t cut it as a companion animal, Nicky is determined not to like his new pet, but of course, he learns to love him. Nicky actually spins a web of lies about being Reggie’s previous owner’s grandson to investigate his dog’s earlier life. After several incidents involving the new carpet and an over-protective Reggie, Nicky’s mom plans to take him back to the shelter, and Nicky has no choice but to run away with Reggie. Corriveau does an excellent job of weaving the two main plot lines together, and Nicky is a convincing and richly-drawn eleven-year-old boy.
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman was on my TBR list for a long time. In fact, it is my Random Read for February, and it also counts as book #4 for my CORL 2014 Challenge. It’s the story of Will Besting, who has been seeing a psychiatrist to help him with his fear of…well, we won’t know until later. Dr. Stevens believes that the key to helping Will is sending him to Fort Eden, a place that has “cured” many young people with fears as paralyzing as his. What Dr. Stevens doesn’t know is that Will hacked into her computer and has background information and audio files of the other six teens heading out with him. What Will doesn’t know is…everything. Rather than join the other participants in treatment, Will escapes to the woods and then finds an underground bunker which has monitors for him to see what is going on with the others–both out in the open and in secret “cure rooms.” Terrified at “the cures” he sees, Will plans to rescue Marisa, a girl with whom he made a connection. This book kept me in suspense and included a couple pf plot twists I never saw coming. It’s definitely an engaging read for students who enjoy darker mysteries or horror. I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that a sequel exists, though, as this first book ended in a way that satisfied me and yet allowed for speculation about Will’s future.
Road Rash by Mark Huntley Parsons is due to be published on 2/11. My ARC came from Library Media Connection, and I can’t post my review until they publish it, so here is the Goodreads summary: “A teenage drummer finds out what life is really like on tour with a rock band in this funny, funky, bittersweet debut YA novel. For anyone who loved Almost Famous or This Is Spinal Tap.
After being dropped from one band, 17-year-old drummer Zach gets a chance to go on tour with a much better band. It feels like sweet redemption, but this is one rocky road trip. . . .
Zach’s in control on the drums, driving the band, keeping things moving at the right pace. But when the show is over, his timing is all off. The jealousies and rivalries within his new group keep him off-balance. The awesome original song he recorded backfires. And the girl he left back home is suddenly talking about this other guy . . .”
The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston (Netgalley, due out 3/1)