“Ruby Red” by Kerstin Gier

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Gwyneth Shepherd is an afterthought in her family. After all, it is her cousin, Charlotte, who has inherited the time travelling gene. When Gwyneth jumps back in time, she is as shocked as anyone else that it is she and not Charlotte who traveled.

Now Gwyneth must catch up with Charlotte’s lifetime of lessons, quickly learning how to behave and how to dress when traveling to the past. She is inducted into the mysteries of time travel, learning that there is a device which allows travelers to control when and where they go instead of randomly jumping into a potentially dangerous time and place.

This book is a pure pleasure to read. Gwyneth is an engaging, likeable and vivacious character. Her relationship with her best friend, Lesley, and her growing romance with fellow time traveler, Gideon, are believable and fun. Readers will keep turning the pages, imagining themselves in Gwyneth’s shoes as she travels to the past and encounters strange–and often dangerous–people. There is a strong mystery element to this book as well. This trilogy opener provides a satisfying, contained plot arc that will leave readers eager to read Book 2 without feeling that they were left on a cliffhanger.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Amanda Coppedge Bosky

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“Tyger, Tyger” by Kersten Hamilton

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Teagan Wylltson is a girl with a good head on her shoulders and big plans for her future. When her free-spirited friend Abby tells Teagan about strange, frightening dreams she’s had, Teagan wants to brush her off. But Abby dreams about the paintings Teagan’s dead mother created–and in those dreams, the nightmare creatures in the pictures come to life and try to harm Teagan.

Things only get stranger when Finn Mac Cumhaill shows up at her house and claims to be of the mythic Celtic line of Mac Cumhaills. Now Teagan must confront the truth about her family’s history, protect her little brother from goblins, and deal with her growing feelings for Finn.

This story is such a pleasure to read. It has plenty of twists and turns in the plot (including one big jaw-dropper), but is very character-driven. The relationships between the characters are rich, loving and full of life. Great for teens who love reading mythology and fairy tale retellings.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Amanda Coppedge Bosky

“The Black Tattoo” by Sam Enthoven

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You could say that “The Black Tattoo” is another of the countless good vs. evil tales where a trio of characters battle to save planet Earth from the forces of darkness. You could say that. Until you read this book.

The author’s cast of characters could be any of the teenagers attending your nearby school. Charlie, the misfit, is bored with school, doesn’t do homework, can’t get a girlfriend, hates his life and desperately wants to be like his ultra-cool, good-looking, smart and ever-popular friend. Jack, of course, is that friend. Then there’s Esme. She’s trained her whole life for this mission. It has been her total focus for as long as she can remember. Just think of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider and you’ve got the talents, skills and finesse of Esme.

The author draws the reader into this story through his integration of vividly described action scenes, fantastical settings, realistic characters, and quick pacing. As the main characters are deeply involved in surface issues, they are also dealing privately with individual issues of ethics, morality and loyalty. They must each deal with their own personal demons regarding these issues in order to be ready to accomplish the task at hand. Cleverly, the author provokes the reader’s contemplation of these issues as well.

Join Charlie, Jack and Esme as they battle inner demons, interpersonal relationship issues, and the battle of their lives. Together they must go to the very depths of hell to save planet Earth from total destruction. You won’t want to miss it!

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Kimberly Bower

“Lockdown: Escape from Furnace” by Alexander Gordon Smith

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Imagine England in the near future. Juvenile lawbreakers who have committed a serious crime can be sentenced to life in a maximum security prison that is run by a private corporation. Alex, a 14-year-old juvenile delinquent, is framed for his best friend’s murder while they were committing a robbery. Once inside Furnace (the prison), he ends up fighting for his life while, at the same time, trying to figure out an escape … because something reeeally nasty is happening to some of the inmates. They’ve been hauled out of their cells in the middle of the night by hideous monstrosities that vaguely resemble other inmates who disappeared from their cells or were taken away for rule infractions.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

Also check out the sequels, “Solitary” and “Death Sentence.”

-Mary B.

“Putting Makeup on Dead People” by Jen Violi

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There’s no way around it. Death changes people. For Donna, the change began four years ago with the death of her father. At that time, Donna withdrew from her family and friends. That’s normal. Fast-forward four years to the spring of her senior year. Here, at the funeral of her classmate, she discovers she is more comfortable around dead people. Well, not so normal. Also, not the future her mother has in mind.

High school graduation is a point where change cannot be avoided. While her friends receive acceptance letters from high profile colleges, Donna seeks entrance into mortuary school. With her past weighing heavily on her and a secret sure to cause unbearable strife at home, Donna seems to be stuck in neutral. In “Putting Makeup on Dead People,” Jen Violi provides a fresh angle on the coming of age story. She successfully weaves elements of a family struggling to move past death, the faith of a new friend, the power of reconciliation, the infatuation of first love and the classic boy-next-door to create an altogether believable tale. Sometimes destiny comes in strange packages. This one is sure to have wide young adult appeal.

This book is recommended for older teens.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

– Kimberly Bower

“The Trouble With Half a Moon” by Danette Vigilante

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Thirteen-year-old Dellie’s family fell apart when her little brother, Louis, died. Mom is terrified that Dellie will get hurt, too, so she refuses to let her leave their apartment for anything besides school. Dellie keeps her confusion, pain and guilt inside–until six-year-old Corey and his abusive mother move into the apartment downstairs. Though Dellie knows Corey’s mother and her boyfriend are dangerous people, she can’t stop reaching out to Corey and trying to help him.

Readers will respond to the emotion Dellie feels–her worry and love for Corey, the fight she has with her best friend, Kayla, and the new romance that buds between her and Michael. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this sweet book is Dellie’s developing friendship with another new neighbor, Miss Shirley, who helps her cope with her past and learn to deal with her present.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Amanda Coppedge Bosky

“Shine” by Lauren Myracle

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Cat’s friend Patrick is openly gay in a small, very conservative Southern town. When he is beaten up and left for dead one night, Cat has strong suspicions that it was someone Patrick knew, not a passing stranger, who assaulted her friend. As Cat delves deeper into the mystery of what happened to Patrick, she must confront her own demons and uncover unpleasant secrets about her friends and her hometown.

Cat’s irresistable voice would be enough to make this book a page-turner. But on top of crafting a gritty coming-of-age story, Lauren Myracle also added a compelling mystery to her plot. The twists and turns of the mystery read like hardboiled crime noir dropped into a backwoods Southern town. Though this book might look a little too long for reluctant readers, they will soon find themselves drawn in by Cat’s investigation. I recommend this book for more mature readers.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Amanda Coppedge Bosky