“Code Orange” by Caroline B. Cooney

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In the book, Code Orange, by Caroline Cooney, a teenaged boy from New York named Mitchell Blake attempts to write a biology report for a school assignment on infectious diseases. He accidentally encounters a book containing sample scabs from an early 1900s smallpox study. Unsure of whether or not he has been affected by the scabs, Mitty encounters moral and logical dilemmas involving those close to him as well as a possible bio terrorist threat after discussing the circumstances of his unique situation online.

I initially chose to read this book when I found it in my school library and thought that the concept was rather interesting and original. The idea that a previously prevented epidemic may resurface and cause new biological concerns is a complex concept not often written about in young adult books.

I would recommend this book to middle and high school aged kids who are interested in the medical field but who are not typically enthralled by nonfiction reading. The plot of the book discussed not only interesting idiosyncrasies of the medical world, but also successfully created a narrative about an adolescent faced with both everyday issues as well as more global, serious conflicts and the attempt to make advantageous choices in the face of adversity, providing substance for both fiction and nonfiction enthusiasts. Code Orange takes interesting ethical and scientific situations and examines them through an easy to relate to, compelling story making it an enriching novel to read.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Lisa F.

“Black Widow: Forever Red” by Margaret Stohl

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Eight years ago, Natasha Romanoff is sent to Ukraine to kill Ivan Somodorov, the man who trained her to become a Black Widow. S.H.I.E.L.D. has discovered that Ivan was trying to create more Black Widows, and cannot let that happen. Natasha rescues a young girl, Ava Orlova, from Ivan’s hideout before the base explodes. Natasha promises young Ava that she will always watch over her because they are both “Ivan’s girls”. Fast forward to the present and Ava Orlova is now a teenager who lives on the streets after escaping from a S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house. She has dreams of a boy named Alex Manor, and she goes to a fencing competition in Philadelphia to attempt to meet him. When she meets him, he doesn’t recognize Ava at all, and she wonders why she is having dreams of him. When she tries registering for the competition, the lady running the registration table turns out to be Natasha, and she tells Ava that Ivan has sent men to kidnap her because he wants to continue testing on Ava. They go to the roof to escape from the men when Alex Manor appears because he was concerned about Ava. The three of them get to safety, and Alex joins Ava and Natasha to finish Ivan off once and for all.

Teens that are fans of Marvel comics or the Marvel cinematic universe will enjoy this story about the Black Widow. Marvel fans will pick up on the subtle references to the Avengers that other teens may not; those who have never seen a Marvel movie or have never read a Marvel comic may want to do a little research if they are interested in picking up this novel. Stohl’s version of Natasha Romanoff is up to par with the Natasha Romanoff portrayed in the Marvel cinematic universe and the comics, and the bits of Russian spoken by the characters make them seem even more realistic. Each chapter starts off with an excerpt of an interrogation of Natasha Romanoff by S.H.I.E.L.D., and they are meant to tell Natasha’s reflection on the events that have occurred in the novel. The ending will contain unexpected events, and it will be heart wrenching for some readers. Teens who want more Marvel stories should check this book out.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Caylee P.