“Before I Fall” By Lauren Oliver

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Samantha Kingston is a popular senior with lots of friends and a great boyfriend. She enjoys life and is constantly partying. In fact, February 12th (“Cupid Day”) is one of her favorite times of the year. That is until she dies in a car accident on “Cupid Day.” However, she doesn’t really actually die. Instead, she wakes up the next morning and the morning after that, reliving “Cupid Day” over and over again. Samantha realizes that small decision or actions can change the whole day for her. She begins to find her voice and discover who she really wants to be. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver was one of the most suspenseful books I have ever read. Although it might’ve gotten frustrating, I was determined to finish the book to see what was going to happen to Samantha. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Young Adult books with a great sense of patience. 

Check this book out or put it on hold


-Vanessa F.

“Famous Last Words” by Katie Alender

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Willa and her mother have moved from Connecticut to California to live with her new stepfather, Jonathan, who is a movie director based in Los Angeles. While not excited to live in Los Angeles, Willa accepts the fact that it is the only way to move on from the death of her father. She regularly tries to contact his spirit using a method she found in an old book, but she does not receive any response. After she tries to contact her father’s spirit in her stepfather’s house, she starts seeing things that no one else can see. Her stepfather’s mansion was owned by Diana Del Mar, an actress who died in the house, and Willa assumes that the ghost of Diana is causing all of the strange occurrences that she is witnessing. At the same time, Los Angeles is being struck by the Hollywood Killer, a serial killer who kidnaps young girls and poses them in reenactments of famous movie scenes before murdering them. Willa meets a boy named Wyatt who is obsessed with the Hollywood Killer, and she believes that he is somehow connected to the case. When Willa’s friend Marnie goes missing and the paranormal activity in the house increases, Willa and Wyatt set out to get to the bottom of both mysteries.

Famous Last Words is a mixture of mystery and ghost story, Alender combines the characteristics of paranormal activity with a good old-fashioned murder mystery. Willa is a character who wants to connect with her father’s spirit and initially is afraid of the paranormal activity she appears to have unleashed upon herself, but by the end of the novel she accepts it and is less afraid of it. She is driven to solve the mystery of the Hollywood Killer, and the strange clues that she finds do not deter her from her search. Like a true mystery novel, the plot contains details that came together by the end of the novel to reveal the true identity of the murderer, while also containing elements that would only be found in Los Angeles such as private schools filled with children of rich parents and movie premiers. Teens should check out Famous Last Words if they like solving mysteries before reaching the end of the novel or if they just want to follow along on a new mystery.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Caylee P.

“We Were Liars by” E. Lockhart

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Summertime on Beechwood Island in Massachusetts has always been special for the Sinclair family. Harris Sinclair, the patriarch of the family, owns the small island near Martha’s Vineyard and built a summer house there for each of his three daughters. Cadence “Cady” Eastman, eldest grandchild of Harris and his beloved wife Tipper, has happily lived and loved every summer with her extended family on Beechwood.

Summer 15 proves to be difficult in many ways. It’s the year when everything changes. Cady’s father leaves. Tipper passes away. Cady realizes in her heart that she’s in love with Gat, her cousin Johnny’s best friend, who also spends his summers on Beechwood Island. The summer Gat tells her he loves her. But what about his girlfriend back home? Their first kiss. The summer of her “accident”, an accident she doesn’t really remember. Secrets and lies. The summer when her world comes apart.

Summer 16 is not a good one for Cady either. She is forced to go on a European vacation with her father instead of her usual summer plans. She hasn’t been in touch with any of the “Liars”, cousin Mirren, Cousin Johnny, or her Gat. None of them have written or called since her accident the previous summer. No Beechwood. No Gat. No Liars. Only brutal migraines that leave Cady in extreme pain, sometimes sleeping for days, and taking meds that the doctors prescribe but don’t actually work.

Now, it’s Summer 17, two years after her accident. She has convinced her mom to let her come back to Beechwood. Bits and pieces of Summer 15 flash back to her in between her frequent migraines. All Cady remembers about the accident was going down to the beach alone to swim and the way she was found, freezing and curled up into a ball on the shore. Something else must’ve happened. A fight maybe? She must’ve hit her head on the rocks, right? Hypothermia they said. Respiratory issues they said. But why can’t she remember? Traumatic brain injury and selective amnesia was her diagnosis, but it still made no sense. Why would Cady go alone when the three other Liars were always with her? So many questions Cady couldn’t answer. Or could she?

Lockhart does an amazing job with this story. I couldn’t put it down. Some will see the plot twist and some won’t, but it doesn’t change the intrigue and mystery surrounding Cady’s accident and the craziness in her family. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that enjoys quick reads, romance, and a good mystery.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Kelly Handy

“More Than This” by Patrick Ness

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Has Seth awakened in hell? He regains consciousness partially bandaged, lying on the sidewalk in front of the English row house his family moved from years before. What is he doing here? Last thing he remembers he was being battered to death on the rocks off the Pacific coast, near his home in Washington state. The story takes us back and forth between a tragic past and a stark present. Seth’s past includes a younger brother damaged at the hands of an escaped convict (an incident that Seth feels responsible for), being outed by a “friend” and being cut off from his boyfriend. In his mystifying “present” he shows up in a hushed, desolate town–hiding out with two other teens who’ve suffered similar traumas, hunted by a mysterious van and driver from a nearby prison.

What’s behind the prison walls and how are they connected to it? Which is the real world– their past or the present? Seth finds some answers and peace with his past but, the book’s ending leaves some dangling questions, possibly to be answered in a sequel…?

Check this book out or put it on hold.

—Mary Burns

“Season of the Witch” by Mariah Fredericks

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I picked up “Season of the Witch” by Mariah Fredericks totally at random. The title sounded interesting and I was looking for something to get me in the Halloween mood. This book turned out to be so much more than that.

Reading this book was like taking all the best “junk food” plots (revenge, mean girls, murder?, witchcraft?!), mixing them all together, and somehow ending up with a gourmet meal. It sounds like it should be cheesy, but it’s just wicked awesome. Teen girl, Toni, is coming back to school after a rough summer of breakups, makeouts and heartbreak. Things get real right away when  Queen of Mean, Chloe vows revenge. Once the action starts you cannot look away. Every page I read made me want to read the next one even more. The only help Toni is going to get seems to come from a strange source–her best friend’s cousin, the suddenly goth Cassandra. But what kind of help is she offering , exactly?

I love that many things are left ambiguous at times without it feeling like a cop-out.

***SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS***
Is witchcraft real? Why did *spoilers* die? Who really is to blame?
*** END SPOILERS END SPOILERS END SPOILERS****

It doesn’t feel to this reader that the author didn’t bother to come up with answers to these questions, but instead you feel the struggles as Toni tries to comes to terms with all these questions and more in her own way.

If you love real-life high school stories full of over-the-top reality TV drama I’m pretty sure you will like this book, but if you love well-written emotional books about realistic characters and the adversity they overcome (or fail to) then I *know* you will definitely love this book.

Pick up a copy of this worthy Halloween Read, right away!

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Aramis Troche

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

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John Green is one of my favorite YA authors, hands down. When I found out his newest title, “The Fault In Our Stars” had main characters with cancer, I regrettably decided to pass. After all, I cry over commercials on tv. How could I possibly get through a book like this? Fast forward a year and a half, a gifted Kindle and a free sample and I was HOOKED!

The Fault In Our Stars is one of the most beautifully written glimpses into teenage love I have ever read. Green mesmerizes his audience with the heartbreaking tale of sixteen-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, a Stage 4 Thyroid cancer patient that is being kept alive by an experimental drug Phalanxifor. She is forced by her parents to attend a support group where she ends up meeting her true love, Augustus “Gus” Waters, through a mutual friend Isaac. Gus, a former basketball star, is missing his right leg from osteosarcoma, in remission, and full of life. As Gus and Hazel Grace start spending time together and bonding over her favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction, a beautiful friendship and potential relationship start to bloom. Hazel is very apprehensive about her feelings for Gus and the pain she will cause him when she loses her ongoing battle to cancer. Gus loves Hazel and doesn’t want their time together to end. As they both take a chance on each other, Gus’s circumstances change and the lovers are split up far earlier than expected.

Through Gus and Hazel’s adventures, an amazingly honest and touching love affair is born. I recommend this to any fan of romance, realistic fiction or John Green. Although I wanted more time with Hazel Grace and Gus, the lasting impression that both characters make is unforgettable.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

—Kelly Handy

“The Unquiet” by Jeannine Garsee

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Rinn Jacobs has bipolar disorder. Before she started taking medication to control her condition, her moods — and her life — swung wildly out of control. When her actions indirectly led to the death of her grandmother, she attempted suicide. Rinn and her mother left California to return to her mother’s hometown in Ohio. Now it’s Rinn’s job to get her disorder under control while her mother and stepfather are separated and dealing with the aftereffects of her step-grandmother’s death.

But it’s hard to be normal when you’re renting a house and sleeping in a room where a woman hanged herself. It’s hard to be normal when a creepy hallway and an abandoned swimming pool at school seem to be haunted by Annaliese, the ghost of the hanged woman’s granddaughter. And it’s especially hard to be normal when tragedy falls on everyone who experiences paranormal activity in the eerie corridor.

Rinn becomes convinced that Annaliese is haunting her and preying on her friends and her mother. But will people believe her, or just think it’s her bipolar disorder talking?Give this book to horror fans who are looking for a genuinely creepy, page-turning ghost story.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Amanda Coppedge Bosky