Britt's Picks for 2011

 Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Chloe and Ruby are sisters, but Ruby has always taken care of Chloe like a daughter. Ruby is five and a half years older, and everyone in the town adores her. Anything Ruby says goes, and people are willing to do anything for her, including Chloe. That was before London showed up dead in a boat on the Reservoir. Chloe leaves to go live her father, rather than face the town where this girl dies. Soon enough though, Ruby decides she wants Chloe back, so of course Chloe comes back. Her sister is still telling stories about the underwater town of Olive and how Chloe can stay underwater forever. Chloe's back, and everything is the same as before she left, exactly the same. Chloe isn't quite sure what is wrong with the town and her sister, but she knows that something is up. If her sister is keeping secrets, Chloe will just have to dig deeper and let go of the ties that hold her to Ruby.

Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern
It all started with a phone call from Lillian's (sorta) friend Penny. When Lil checked her voicemail all she heard was "I did it." Lil wasn't sure what Penny did, until she recalled a recent conversation where Pen said she was going to fake her own kidnapping. Now Lillian is getting calls from the police and the FBI, she decides she needs to find Penny and get her to turn herself in. Lil decides to take her best friend (and crush) Josh on a little road trip. Lil is completely in love with Josh and hopes that this road trip can make them more than friends. Even though Josh loves Lil, he doesn't want to ruin what they have. Across the states from Illinois to Washington they travel, Lil looking for love and Penny and Josh looking to not face his future.

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison
Tallulah decides that this summer will be different for her. She will not be spending it at camp with her brother feeding her butterfly sandwiches. Instead of all that silliness, she will be going to a Performing Arts College. Unfortunately she signed up late and can't stay at the school, but ends up staying with a peculiar family with boys who stay at her and a dad trying to find his inner woman. Tallulah thought this year would be different, but she could have never imagined it to be this loony. Owls, boys and best mates are only a small part of this hilarious tale. The adventures of Tallulah will have you laughing your knickers off.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
A group of teen Beauty Queens are in a plane when it crash lands on a mysterious island. All the adults are dead and most of the other Queens are dead too. There are a few survivors. Adina is Miss New Hampshire, she's not one for pageants, but is more of an investigative reporter. Then there is Taylor who is Miss Texas through and through and will always go out fighting, because she refuses to lose. There are a few other girls and every one of them is hiding something; something from themselves or something from the other girls, but something. So what do a bunch of defenseless Beauty Queens do when stranded on an island after surviving a plane crash? Maybe they panic, or maybe they try and show the world they are more than their looks. Or maybe they go crazy and get killed, who knows? It is a tough world out their for the beautiful.

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
In the future, there is a virus that makes everyone over the age of eighteen completely infertile. So babies are high market. Harmony and Melody are twin sisters who had never met before. They grew up very differently. Harmony grew up in a church sect believing that girls shouldn't pimp themselves by selling their babies to the highest bidder. Melody grew up groomed to sell her baby for the highest price imaginable. So it's quite a surprise for Melody when her sister shows up out of the blue. Having an identical twin can certainly be a problem and is one that Melody will have to face, even though she thought her and her sister were nothing alike. Melody gets matched with the top guy in the fertility market, but a case of mistaken identity takes her and her sister on a crazy little ride. Both girls aren't sure if they want to live up to what has always been planned for them.

Die for Me by Amy Plum
Kate's parents have died in a horrible accidents. Kate and her sister, Georgia, now live with their grandparents in Paris. Paris is quite a step away from the bustling NYC. Kate likes it here though, she can sit at cafes and lose herself in books. That is until she sees Vincent and his friends. There is something about him, maybe due to the loss of her parents, that draws Kate in. All of a sudden she is thrown into a world she can hardly believe is real. Kate isn't sure she can stand to be part of this world where death looms so closely. She has to make a decision, between living a life of happiness or safety. Though some things aren't ever really choices.
I absolutely j'adore this novel. I don't know what it is about it, maybe it's the writing, the romance or the adventure? Whatever it is, it's perfect. I devoured this novel in one sitting, the pace just kept me turning pages.

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier 
Gwyneth's cousin Charlotte, has had classes in dancing, fencing, horseback riding and the like all in preparation for when her time traveling gene kicks in. For days Charlotte has been having dizzy spells, one of the symptoms that time travel is soon to come, and her mother and grandmother have whisked her away in preparation. However, one day Gwyneth finds herself transported to a different time. That night, Gwyneth again wakes up in a different time period. After the third instance of her time traveling she tells her mother, and gets ushered to the secret hall where her other family members have been awaiting Charlotte's travels. Gwyneth has not been prepared for a life of fulfilling her duties while traveling through time. At least there is Gideon, fellow time traveler from the de Villier family, he has been trained as Charlotte was. Gideon is not to keen on the change of companionship at first, but they will have to learn to work together, since Gwyneth is in fact the Ruby.

Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde
Think you know the story of Little Red Riding Hood? Think again. Vivian Vande Velde decided to retell it, eight different ways. In each story you will have a chance to see Red and the other characters in a different light. Make sure you brush up on your other fairy tales too, since some of them make a guest appearance woven deftly into each tale.

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz
Chase should have been named Stay. He's the one who's always left behind when his older brother, Noah, runs away all the time. Every summer Chase's family and the Hathaway's meet at the beach. There Chase learns about love, family, lust, sex, life and loss. A lot can happen in four summers. Nothing from the off season matters on the beach, the summers always pick up like there was no time in between. Chase falls in lust with the girl that his brother is interested in, summer after summer. Chase is the second oldest but with Noah unable to take the duties of being the eldest child Chase is often left holding the family from falling to bits summer after summer.

Warm Bodies by Issac Marion
R has been dead for a long time. Or, maybe he's only been dead a few days, he doesn't remember. He doesn't remember his life when he was alive, doesn't remember what it's like to be alive. All he has of his name is a single sound R. R is different from all the other walking dead though, he wants more from life. He's not satisfied with a groan here and a moan there, a shuffle-shuffle and some brains for lunch. R wants to be alive again, to feel again and to remember. On one of his hunting trips he dives into the brain of a young man, but before he can finish he is distracted by a girl. His friend is going after her and R intervenes. R saves this girl's life and takes her back to his home. He finds out that her name is Julie and he wants to keep Julie safe. He wants to listen to Frank Sinatra under the stars and never have to kill again. Julie can tell there is something different about R and maybe some of the others too. Maybe they don't have to be the walking dead forever.

Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson
Scarlett get invited to the Queen Bee's party. The guest list includes only the posh kids in the area. Dan McAndrew is there to, and Scarlett is crushing on him something fierce. When he asks her out onto the terrace, there is no way she could refuse. Then there was this kiss. The kiss was magical, beautiful and Scarlett's first. Then something went horribly wrong, and she held Dan while he died. Now, harassed by her peers and the newspaper about delivering the kiss of death, Scarlett transfers to the school her grandmother runs. Scarlett is relieved knowing that people at Wakefield Hall won't know about her past. She's trying to forget what happened when she gets an anonymous note that proclaims her innocence and causes Scarlett to set of to find the truth of what really happened that night.

A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux
There was a woman picking peaches in her father's orchard when a train derailed. This woman, Gloria, heard a woman's cries coming from inside a train. The women was French and told Gloria to take her baby Blaise Fortune and gave Gloria their passports. Gloria has raised Blaise as her own, and has given him a proper name of Koumaïl. When Koumaïl turns seven the Caucasus becomes a war filled place and Gloria decides they must flee west to Europe. The traveling spans across five years, with stays here and there. The whole time Koumaïl asks Gloria to repeat the story of how he came to be with her, as if her words would help him figure out who he is.

This was a very fascinating read. Historical Fiction that pulls at your heartstrings. Koumaïl is a young boy and when him and Gloria must flee he has to leave many things behind. As soon as he gets comfortable in one place they must again move on as the war follows at their heels. I really enjoyed following their journey across the continent. Koumaïl was a very interesting character and it was fascinating to hear his account of the trip that he had to make. Seeing everything from a child's point of view makes the whole situation look a whole lot different than if an adult was telling it. A child's perspective though not any lesser of an observation, is often times more naive, a young child simply doesn't know what is going on, often because the adults are trying to shield them from it. This is certainly the case in this novel. Koumaïl is much more worried about leaving his friends and hoping that Gloria is okay, than the war itself which they are fleeing. If you really enjoy a short Historical Fiction read make sure you check this one out, Anne-Laure Bondoux is quite a good author.

Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman
Natalie is a romance advice columnist, Dr. Aphrodite, for her school paper. When some harsh comments crop up on her latest online help column, she realizes that maybe she isn't the best person to be dispensing advice about relationships, especially since she hasn't had a boyfriend since...forever. She decides to ask the boys at her school some questions that girls really want to know the answers to. They all clam up though and give her nothing. Natalie isn't sure what to do. Then she has a plan, born from her love of acting, she decides she will go undercover at the local all boys school Underwood Academy. Being a guy shouldn't be too hard right? Enter super dreamy roommate, Nat's new roommate and new crush. How can she keep her cover when all she wants is to flirt with this beautiful boy. Natalie finds out that there are lots more things about guys she didn't know about, than what she came here to find out.

Nothing by Janne Teller
Pierre Anthon stands up in class one day to announce that life has no meaning and that he is off to go practice being nothing.
Pierre's classmates are confused by what this may mean for them if he is right. What if life has no meaning? They know the only way to carry on is to prove to Pierre Anthon that there is in fact meaning. So they set out to build a heap of meaning. A whole heap of meaningful things in the middle of an abandoned sawmill. When they decide that they too have to contribute to the pile of meaning that's when things get serious. They can't trust a person to give up what is meaningful to them, so everyone has to pick something for someone else to give up. A pair of shoes, a bike, a pet, innocence–as the pile grows so do the stakes. Can all these worthwhile object really make a pile of junk meaningful? Will it convince Pierre Anthon that life has meaning?

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Lena lives in a world where love is said to be a disease. They call it deliria.Lena counted the days until she could be cured and no longer susceptible to the disease. The government controls how people think, even though their control might be absolute. There are people who ran away before they were cured, they live in the Wilds. A place uncontrolled by the government. Lena is completely ready for her cure, until she contracts deliria and falls in love.

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
How can you write about love? There are many different kinds of love, as well as different emotions for each stage of love. Clearly using a dictionary of sorts is the easiest. Or is it? This is a story about glimpses into the world of love. Small fragments that help make up the big picture. A story about one couple in one relationship and what love meant to them at different points in time.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Raina falls while running across the tar with her friends. The result: missing front teeth that will need years of creative surgery and orthodontia to correct. This is the story of her misadventures through puberty and head gear. Where all she wants are good friends and a place to fit in.

This was a fantastic graphic novel for young girls. It talks a lot about identity and being okay with who you are. I also appreciated that it pointed out that you shouldn't always keep the friends you have if those friends in fact, suck. This was a fast and fun read about the perils of braces and adolescence. Everyone experience the social suck of middle school. Even if you have tons of self confidence it does effect you in some way what people are saying or doing to you. This was completely age appropriate and a great book for every girl to read.

So Shelly by Ty Roth
Byron and Keats are thrown together by the death of their mutual friend Shelly. Byron and Keats have never exchanged much by way of greeting and hanging out, the only thing they feel they have in common is Shelly. She has bestowed upon them the duty of stealing her ashes from her wake and bringing them to her favorite place to scatter them while playing her favorite songs. On their journey Keats and Byron recount the many memories of Shelly that they have. Interspersed through their journey Keats pens down relevant stories to help grow the characters of Byron and Shelly. This whole novel was "written" by Keats as he looks back at this journey with a boy he never really knew, except through Shelly's adoring tales of him.

The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman
June moves around a lot due to her parents business. Her parents help companies come up out of the red, and then they move on to the next hurting company. So June winds up in Minnesota. Wes just broke up with his girlfriend of nearly 18 months, because he just needed some time to be himself. Then Wes sees June. The connection is not really instant. Wes can only really recall her aqua colored eyes. As they glimpse at each other more and more, and eventually have a conversation though, something develops between them. Then June ends up dating Wes's best friend because she doesn't figure she's long for this town. What Wes and June don't realize though is that they have a connection, whether they like it or not and they will have to explore it as much as they can.

XVI by Julia Karr
Sixteen is the age all the girls want to be. Sixteen years of age makes them legal, and they are open for sex. Nina does not like the idea of this at all. It makes her feel disgusted and vulnerable, knowing that guys can have their way with her just because of the XVI tattoo she will be forced to have on her wrist. This is the thing that Nina fears the most, until her mom is brutally attacked and murdered. Nina thinks it was an intentional murder, not just something random. Her mother is put on life-support long enough for Nina to say goodbye, but while they are talking her mother reveals something shocking—Nina's father is still alive.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Amy goes with her parents to get cryogenically frozen and put upon the spaceship Godspeed. Her parents are vital for the new planet that the FRX wants to colonize. Amy, is not so important, but can not stand the thought of leaving her parents. She has fitful nightmares while frozen and even worse ones when fifty years before the scheduled landing time, someone unplugs her chamber and nearly kills her. Now Amy is stuck on the ship, she can't be refrozen and she can't unfreeze her parents. The spaceship seems so small to her, and the people are completely bizarre. Eldest, the spaceship's leader, has taken complete control and everyone willingly allows him to. Elder, his heir to the rule, seems so different, almost enough so that Amy can trust him. even with Elder on her side and the eccentric Harley, Amy knows there is at least one person she can't trust. Someone tried to kill her and they may just try to kill some of the other frozens.

The Jumbee - Pamela Keyes
Esti Legard is an actres living in the shadow of her father, an even greater actor. After her father dies, Esti convinces her mother to move them to Cariba, so she can attend the Manichay School and hopefully step out from under her father's shadow. When she hears a strange voice mentoring her on her parts in the play she has joined, she isn't sure if it's real, she's going crazy, or it's a Jumbee. Many of the locals are quick to tell her that he's a Jumbee, but there is something so real about him that Esti can't believe it. When her childhood friend Rafe shows up on the island, way hotter than he used to be, but every bit as charming, Esti starts a longing attraction toward him. Though it's hard for her to be in Rafe's arms while she thinks about her mysterious Jumbee. When strange things start to happen that no one can explain, blame turns to Esti and the Jumbee that locals fear she converse with. Is her mentor simply trying to possess her, or does he simply need a friend and sees one in her.

The Water Wars - Cameron Stracher

Millions of people have died. Many of these people died of dehydration. All of a sudden there wasn't enough water in the world to sustain life—at least not pure, clean water. That's why when Vera sees Kai pouring precious drinking water to the ground she is appalled, not only is it illegal, but there's not much water to waste. Kai doesn't seem to think water is the big deal that everyone makes it out to be, which intrigues Vera. So, when Kai goes missing Vera convinces her brother Will to help her find him. This is more than just knocking on his door though. What they find there lead them on an adventure they never could have imagined.

The Boyfriend List - e. Lockhart
Ruby Oliver is fifteen and after she starts having some panic attacks, her mom decides she should see a shrink. The reasons for her panic attacks are numerous. In the last few days nothing has gone right for Ruby; she lost her boyfriend and all of her other friends, became the school leper, started hanging out with another boy (though that wasn't so bad). In general Ruby's life is a complete mess and maybe a shrink is just what she needs.

The Chosen One - Carol Lynch Williams
Kyra's family is part of the Chosen Ones, a polygamist cult. Kyra and her family except the way life is with their new leader. Maybe they can't leave the compound freely anymore, maybe some people have been killed and they had to burn all the books they own. Life is still good though, they are still happy to be going to God's kingdom. That is until The Prophet converses with God and decides the Kyra is to marry her uncle, who is quite a few decades older than her. Kyra's father goes to the Prophet to dispute this, but it is done. Kyra fears this is due to her sins. She has been sneaking out and seeing and kissing a boy, she has been hiding books to read, and she has been saying terrible things about killing the Prophet. Kyra knows there is no way she can go through with the marriage, no way she can face becoming her uncle's seventh wife. She knows she has to run away, or do something, but how? Who is willing to help her escape?

Post a Comment:

  1. I must say I loved, The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan. "Charming" is the perfect word to describe this small romance, a conscise anaylsis, written with wit and wisdom in a sequence that forms the little novel. I enjoyed it, like a box of chocolates--a box of surprises, some delicious, some good, some okay, but always a delight. Thank you for bringing it to my attention--it was so much fun. It is a lovely book for anyone who has had the joy of being in love--or wanting to be.