“Extraordinary Means” by Robyn Schneider

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For most of his life now, Lane has lived inside his boundaries in an almost “boring” lifestyle. He has excellent grades, a great girlfriend, and is ready to head off to the college of his dreams. It all seems perfect to him, until he is diagnosed with an incurable case of tuberculosis.  Lane’s parents have no choice but to send him away to part hospital, part boarding school, The Latham House. Here, Lane finds a girl from his past who is not at all what he remembers. He is intrigued by the way her and her friends live such adventurous lives at a place with such harsh rules. As he starts to get more used to his life at The Latham House, it’s hard to notice how much sicker everybody around him is getting until it happens to the person he cares about the most. Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider provides such a tragic love story that only can be shared through the power of words. The main reason I chose to get through the entire book was because the story line was constantly progressing in the best way possible. Extraordinary Means is a great book for people who have an interest in living with a medical condition and still trying to love in the Young Adult genre.

Check this book out or put it on hold


-Vanessa F.

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“All the Bright Places” By Jennifer Niven

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This is the story of a boy and girl who you would never expect to have anything in common. Theodore Finch is known as the “weird” boy who has a very strong interest in death and fascinates himself by thinking of ways to commit suicide. Violet Markey blame’s herself for her sister’s death, and is constantly waiting for the future to come faster so she can get out of the small town that reminds her of her sister at every turn. Theodore and Violet have never really crossed paths until the day they both end up on top of the bell tower. That is where Violet saves Theodore, or is it the other way around? Violet and Theodore end up working together on a project where they explore their boring town. Theodore shows Violet the best places around, and they become adventurers. Unfortunately, while Violet begins to enjoy her life, Theodore’s life crumbles into pieces. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven takes you on a wild journey of heartbreak and the sadder parts of life. I chose to read this book because it was easy to see it would be a beautiful story between an unlikely match. The main reason I finished this book was because it was a unique story with a tragic twist. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a tragic but fascinating story in the Young Adult genre.

Check this book out or put it on hold


-Vanessa F.

“The Bridge From Me to You” by Lisa Schroeder

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Colby Pynes, star football player for the Willow Eagles, is expected by everyone to continue playing ball in college. Why would he want to do anything else? He has the talent, college scouts are interested, and his dad is doing his hardest to make sure Colby lives and breathes the sport. But Colby has other ideas for his future, ideas that no longer involve a game he just happens to excel in.

Enter the new girl Lauren. The town is full of whispers and gossip as she moves in with her uncle and his family. Where are her parents? Why did she move her senior year of high school? When Colby and Lauren meet one night at a convenience store, there is a strong connection that neither can ignore. As they start to grow closer, Colby shows Lauren a side of himself few people, if anyone, has truly seen. Colby shares his love of bridges and his desire to major in Civil Engineering instead of playing football in college. But their relationship can’t be one-sided. Lauren is hiding something. Her unwillingness to talk about her mom and brother leave Colby searching for answers Lauren is too scared to provide.

Then, the unthinkable happens as a heartbreaking accident leaves Colby’s best friend and teammate Benny badly broken. Does Colby have the strength to survive football season without his oldest and best friend by his side? Will he be able to convince his dad that football is not what he wants to do? Will Lauren learn to trust the loving family she now finds herself becoming a part of? Should she confide in Colby the truth about her dysfunctional upbringing?

Told in alternating chapters between two very different and beautifully illustrated viewpoints, Lisa Schroeder brings Colby and Lauren, not to mention many quirky and fun secondary characters, truly to life. The struggles both characters face are painted in a very real yet uplifting manner. Schroeder portrays the importance in never giving up and not being afraid to say goodbye to things or people that hurt instead of help. I recommend this wonderful story for anyone who feels capable of taking control of their own destiny and following their heart.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Kelly H.

“Saint Anything” by Sarah Dessen

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This 2015 release by Sarah Dessen was more serious, contemplative, and reflective than her numerous other novels, such as Along for the Ride, This Lullaby, Just Listen, and Lock and Key. The story focuses on teenage girl Sydney Stanford, who has always been overshadowed by her popular brother Peyton. While in high school, Peyton started going down a bad path after he started experimenting with drugs, shoplifting, and drinking. This eventually results in Peyton getting sent to prison after he seriously injures a boy one night while driving under the influence. Sydney feels ignored by her family, especially her mother, as her parents try to connect with Peyton in prison. She feels ashamed of Peyton’s bad behavior and is the only person in her family who feels guilty about what happened to the boy, David Ibarra, who ended up paralyzed as a result of the accident.

One day, Sydney meets the Chatham family and they help give her advice on how to deal with her family and the accident, as they have gone through a similar situation. She begins to spend time with the Chatham family to escape the problems in her own family. Sydney develops a deep friendship with them, and their friendship is tested at the end of the novel.

This is one of Dessen’s more serious novels, as one of the main conflicts is between Sydney and her mother about focusing less on Peyton in prison and more on what is happening to Sydney. There is a slight theme of love, but it is not the main focus of the novel and plays a little role in the development of the plot unlike in some of Dessen’s other novels, such as This Lullaby. The theme of family is prevalent throughout the novel, especially how family must support one another through hardships. This new release gives readers insight of how difficult it is for families to stay together after a life changing event. Fans of Dessen’s will not be disappointed, and those who are interested in realistic teen fiction should check out Saint Anything if they are looking for a good read.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Caylee P.

“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

“Try Not to Breathe” by Jennifer R. Hubbard

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Returning to school after a suicide attempt and a stint in a mental institution is hard on sixteen-year-old Ryan. Every day he has to deal with his parents’ understandable paranoia and worry, strange looks from his classmates, and the reality of deciding to live again after attempting to take his own life. He befriends a girl named Nicki who asks him frank questions about his suicide attempt. Her father also committed suicide, and she wants to understand how he felt before he decided to do the unthinkable.

Ryan accompanies Nicki as she visits mediums, trying to contact the spirit of her father and come to terms with his death. As he does this, he begins to understand his own motivations better and move on from the in-between life he created at the mental institution where he recovered. Slowly, he and Nicki reveal more details about their own scarred pasts, working from deception to truth as their relationship deepens.

This book felt very real to me. I especially appreciated Ryan’s growing maturity as he realized how out of proportion his suicide attempt was in response to the event that triggered it. With compassion and without condescension, Jennifer Hubbard captures the all-consuming feelings that often swamp teenagers. This would be a great book for teens who could relate to it personally, but also an enjoyable read for anyone who likes relationship-driven stories or problem novels.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Amanda Coppedge Bosky

“How to Save a Life” by Sara Zarr

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Seventeen-year-old Jill is still grieving over the death of her father when her mother decides to adopt a baby. To make things even worse, the pregnant teen mother, Mandy, is going to come live with them until she delivers the baby. Sara Zarr deftly paints a picture of the difficult, evolving relationships in this book: between Jill and Mandy, the two girls and Jill’s mother, Jill’s on again/off again boyfriend Dylan, and Jill’s new friend Ravi.

Told in alternating viewpoints between Jill and Mandy, this is a thought-provoking, emotional story about grieving, loss, friendship, family and love. This would make an excellent pick for a teen book discussion group.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Amanda Coppedge Bosky