Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: March 13th, 2012

High school sophomore Willa and her artist mother move to Arizona where Willa starts attending an elite prep school after her mother finally sells some paintings, and Willa attempts to even things out by stealing from the rich students and giving to the poor ones.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

When I first read about this book, I was curious.  A modern-day retelling of Robin Hood where the "rich" are mean girls at an ultra-exclusive private school, and the "poor" are the scholarship kids that attend there?  I figured it would be one of two things; either painfully cliche or cute in a snarky/funny kind of way.  What I didn't expect is that it would be delightfully cliche, cute, snarky/funny, and have a message to go along with it.  It was like a mash-up of Gossip Girl, Mean Girls, and Robin Hood.

Willa starts out at her new school when her mother finds success after many years as a starving artist, and on her first day meets the "nice girl" that is part of every popular/mean girl clique.  She befriends her and immediately taken into the fold.  As time goes by, Willa realizes more and more that she doesn't really fit in with this ultra-rich crowd, and that the girls, with the exception of Cherise (the "nice one"), are not very nice at all.  They constantly berate, bully, and cyber-abuse everyone, including one another, but especially the scholarship girls, who Willa knows to be very nice.  This bothers Willa.  Since Willa knows that it would be social suicide to confront them about their behavior, she begins stealing from them and using the money to buy designer stuff for the poor girls, who see their statuses raised by having access to these things.  Yes, cliche, but still quite cute...

But that isn't all... "How does Willa come by her mad thievery skills?", you may ask.  She enlists the help of Tre, a sexy, mysterious bad boy who also just started at her school.  Son of a pro basketball player, he has a shady (possibly criminal?) past, and is full of tips to help Willa with her scheming; with the tips, however, come his advice to not do whatever it is she's doing.  And then there's Aiden, who of course, is the unattainable, super-gorgeous, ultra-rich, bad boy/playboy who shows interest in Willa, then kind of disappears until later on in the book.  THEN, aside from the teenage romance, there's another element of mystery with Willa's mom and possibly the father she never knew?

As you can see, there is a lot going on in this book, and honestly, while there are some things that I saw coming a mile away, there were some events that I didn't expect (although I won't spoil them here).  It had its moments of been-there-done-that, but it also had a great many laughs and right-on moments as well.  It addresses cyber-bullying in a non-preachy manner that I like, and it doesn't leave a black-and-white, right-or-wrong taste in your mouth.  It would be interesting to have teens read this and debate Willa's actions and whether they are justified or not.  I'm glad this book is the first in a series because as much as I enjoyed the book, I didn't love how it ended; it felt very abrupt and it left me a tad bit annoyed.  Thankfully, the 2nd book, Pretty Sly, comes out in March of 2013, and Willa's story will continue.  I, for one, can't wait to read it.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  There's the standard teen drunkenness, partying, and sex that are a part of any YA book about the overprivileged, undersupervised.  I would say this is best suited for grades 8 and up (ages 13+).

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I'd Save If My House Was In Peril

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week a new Top Ten list topic is posted and book bloggers fill in their own choices.  I'm a list girl (as in, I don't function without them), so I thought this would be a good choice for me!  This week's theme is "Top Ten Books I'd Save If My House...".  This one hits close to home because my parents' house was a complete loss to fire a couple of years ago.  Most of my stuff had moved south with me long ago, but all of my artwork from HS and college was still there.  It makes you think.  Anyway, here are my Top Ten Books I'd Save...

Top Ten Books I'd Save If My House Was In Peril

1. My Bible~ I've had the same one since I was 15 years old, and over the years I've made a lot of notes in the margins and highlighted a lot of verses that meant something to me at the time.  I would hate to lose that.

2. My Kids' Baby Books~ They may not be complete, but they have enough in them that I would definitely want to save them.  As they get older, I find that I've forgotten a lot of stuff that I thought I never would.  My baby book and all my baby pictures were lost in the fire at my dad's house, and I hate it that I don't have that stuff to show my kids.

3. The Stand by Stephen King~ This is a signed 1st Edition that was my mom's.  I have NO idea what it is worth, but it has to be a lot.  It is my favorite of his books, and is a very prized possession.

4.  My High School Yearbooks~ I know most people would like to forget HS, and I certainly have memories that I would like to forget, but overall, I liked HS.  My BFF from HS is still my BFF almost 18 years after graduation, and I have *mostly* fond memories of those years.  Also, since I no longer have photos of young me, it's the only proof I have for my snarky oldest daughter that I used to be hot.

5.  Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling~ My grandmother gave me my copy when I was a little girl.  We used to read it together, and it was one of my childhood favorites.  She died of cancer when I was very young, and it is one of my very few concrete memories of her.

6.  My Childhood Diaries~ I used to write in my diary often, and I did it from the time I could write, through college.  Now I go back from time to time and read the ones that are relevant to the ages my daughters are so that I can be better in touch with where they are emotionally.  It's easy to forget how a 10 year old thinks.

7.  The Twins' NICU Journals~ My twins were born over 14 weeks early (25 weeks), and spent over 4 months in the NICU.  During that time I kept journals; I wrote letters to them, I tracked their ups and downs, noted every weigh-in, surgery, and infection, and poured out my feelings during those months.  I will give those to them one day so that they will understand how far they've come.

I don't really have any more to list.  Most books are replaceable.  As you can see from my list, the only ones I've listed aren't (and some might argue that they don't even really count as "books").  What would you save?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Publisher: Grand Central
Publication Date: February 8th, 2012

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . . 
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run. 

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . . 
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her. 

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I should start this review by saying that I think Julianna Baggott is an extremely talented author, particularly when it comes to her world-building and attention to detail.  I loved her Anybodies series (written under her pen name, N.E. Bode) and her fabulous MG fantasy, The Ever Breath.  When I saw Pure on NetGalley, I was all over it because I just knew she would do an amazing job with the genre (Dystopia).  As usual, I was right! (ha,ha)  I typically don't read much adult fiction, and this book was classified as such, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I had to give it a go.  I have to say, I'm not sure why it was classified as such.  It was much more YA to me.  Yes, she definitely developed the characters and plot points in this book a bit more than I find in most YA books, but the characters were teens and it read very much like The Hunger Games or Legend by Marie Lu; definitely some more mature themes, but not such that they would push into the "adult" classification.  If anything, I would say it's YA with great adult crossover potential.

In the end I thought this book was extremely good; possibly one of the best dystopias I've read in a long time... HOWEVER, this book was extremely slow to start.  It took me 11 days to read it and eight of those 11 were spent on the first 130 pages.  If I hadn't already been a fan of the author, I probably would have given up on it.  (The slow start was the ONLY reason I couldn't give this book a 5-star rating.)  I stayed with it though, and I am so glad I did!  It ended up totally making up for the slow start, and then some.  It was a action-packed, emotional ride that was full of bizarre and unfathomable characters.  The ideas and conspiracy theories in this book are so far-fetched that they're plausible, if that makes any sense... Julianna Baggott definitely did her research on the scientific aspects of this book, and she really opens your eyes to the the effects of nuclear war in her descriptions of the burns and the desolation of the landscape and the fusing.  I read Hiroshima by John Hersey in 6th grade, which is an amazing account of the aftermath of the American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII; this book brought me back to the feelings of horror that that book evoked in me, and then took it many, many steps further.  It made me feel for the "wretches" who either didn't get to The Dome before the Detonations, or just weren't invited.  They weren't the only ones I felt for though; I felt for those within The Dome as well.  The author never gives you the impression that all is well there.  You can feel the lies and betrayal pulsing under the seemingly utopian existence within.  By first investing the reader in the characters, and then revealing the important plot points, Julianna manages to hook you.  For me, what started out as a book I wasn't sure I was going to get through, became a book that I couldn't get out of my thoughts- I'm still thinking about it.  The characters were so intertwined in ways that I didn't expect, and the plot points were woven with such attention to detail that I found myself picturing it fully, as if I was watching a movie.  I can totally see why the film rights have been optioned by Fox.

I think the best news about this book is that now that the backstory has been covered, the series is only going to get more amazing from here.  I think the greatest parts about Pure- the plot points and character twists- are only scratches on the surface.  I think as the trilogy unfolds, we will get to see more about how far reaching the destruction is and we will meet some very important characters that are only briefly mentioned in Pure.  I can't wait to get my hands on book #2, Fuse, later on this year, because I think it's going to be amazing.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ¾ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  This is a really tough call.  For content, I would put it wherever you would put The Hunger Games.  For me that is 5th grade.  There is a comparable amount of violence and death, and I think the imagery is similarly graphic.  This book is much more complex than The Hunger Games though.  There is a good deal more scientific jargon and this book makes some historical assumptions that most kids younger than about 7th grade will miss.  For these reasons, and not really for content, I would say that this book is most appropriate for kids 7th grade and up (ages 12+), but I wouldn't rule out letting a super-smart 5th or 6th grader read it.

In My Mailbox (24)

In My Mailbox (IMM) was started by The Story Siren a few years back, and is a great way for bloggers to give the books they are reading (or are planning to read) a quick mention.  I've skipped the past few weeks, so I have a bunch of books to mention, including a glut of NetGalley books (I have a problem!), so bear with me...

Dead to You
By Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 7th, 2012
Source: Purchase
Goodreads Synopsis
I've been waiting for this one to come out and am really excited to read it!  Lisa McMann is great, and I'm always pleased with her books!  Stay tuned.

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare
By Melissa Jensen
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: February 16th, 2012
Source: Purchase
Goodreads Synopsis
Aside from the facts that the cover is great and the title is awesome, I wanted this book because it looks like a really cute story.  I can't wait until I can get to reading it.  In the meantime, it makes me happy to know it's waiting for me.
Lexapros and Cons
By Aaron Karo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux BYR
Publication Date: April 10th, 2012
Source: ARC/Publisher
Goodreads Synopsis
I got the NetGalley of this awhile back, and then the other day my husband brought it in with the mail.  If it's as funny as I'm expecting it to be, maybe I'll do a giveaway...

After the Snow
By S.D. Crockett
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: March 27th, 2012
Source: ARC/Publisher
Goodreads Synopsis
Another one I received awhile back via NetGalley.  This came in the same package as Lexapros and Cons.  I'm really excited for this one!

By Morris Gleitzman
Publisher: Henry Holt BYR
Publication Date: June 5th, 2012
Source: ARC/NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis
The third, and final installment in Morris Gleitzman's trilogy about two friends living Nazi occupied Poland during WWII.  It's sure to be as amazing as the first two installments, Once and Then.

Before You Go
By James Preller
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: July 17th, 2012
Source: ARC/NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis
This book looks like one of those gut-wrenching, tear-jerkers that stays with you long after you read it.  I can't believe I'm finding myself looking forward to one of those days when I want to this type of book...

Monstrous Beauty
By Elizabeth Fama
Publisher: Farraf, Straus, and Giroux BYR
Publication Date: September 4th, 2o12
Source: ARC/NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis
I get chills every time I read the synopsis!  This book looks amazing, and I am so excited to be one of the lucky ones to get it!

Shadow & Bone
By Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt BYR
Publication Date: June 5th, 2012
Source: ARC/NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis
This book looks so freaking good.  The few reviews I have seen have been phenomenal, and I can't wait to dig into it!  Stay tuned!

Monument 14
By Emmy Laybourne
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: June 5th, 2012
Source: ARC/NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis
Click the synopsis link and tell me this book doesn't sound awesome!  I love survival stories, especially when the survivors are stuck together and don't necessarily like each other.  I'll let you know how it is!

Of Poseidon
By Anna Banks
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: May 22nd, 2012
Source: ARC/NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis
I've been looking forward to this one, so I'm kind of antsy, but I promised myself I would read my ARCs in order of release date, so I'm waiting (and pouting ever-so-slightly).

By Jennifer Bosworth
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux BYR
Publication Date: May 8th, 2012
Source: ARC/NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis
Another much-anticipated debut.  This looks like a very unique story, and that is always a good thing!  Also, I kind of love the cover...

All These Lives
By Sarah Wylie
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux BYR
Publication Date: June 5th, 2012
Source: ARC/NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis
I don't know if it's fair to any author for me to read any kids-with-cancer book in the same lifetime as John Green's amazing The Fault in Our Stars, but this one has twins, and being the mom of twins, I'm a sucker for twin books, so...
The Book of Blood and Shadow
By Robin Wasserman
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication Date: April 10th, 2012
Source: ARC/NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis
I requested this awhile ago and got denied, but decided to try again, and viola!  I got approved, which is really good, because I really, REALLY want to read this!

Burn Mark
By Laura Powell
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: June 19th, 2012
Source: ARC/NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis
I love witch stories, especially those that involve persecution.  This book looks great, and I'm super excited to read it!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date:  January 10th, 2012

Godspeed was once fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos. It’s been three months. In that time, Amy has learned to hide who she is. Elder is trying to be the leader he’s always wanted to be. But as the ship gets more and more out of control, only one thing is certain: They have to get off the ship.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I didn't really think A Millions Suns could be better than its amazingly good predecessor, Across the Universe.  I was actually pretty worried about my high expectations of this book, and whether it could possibly measure up.  When an author makes such an outstanding debut, they often have somewhat of a sophomore slump...  I can tell you with certainty, that there was none of that here.  A Million Suns was PHENOMENAL!

This book starts off right where Across the Universe left off, and it starts with a HUGE, and entirely unexpected reveal.  Elder finds out something is really wrong and has to find a way to remedy it, all while being seen by a lot of the population as not necessarily prepared for his duties.  Add to that his ever-growing relationship with Amy, whom everyone views as a freak; people are not sure of his leadership ability and low rumbles of mutiny begin to emerge.  BUT...  Orion had other plans for Godspeed and those who live on her, and even from his frozen state, he begins to lead Amy to the truth through a series of clues.  As the clues are uncovered, the surprises keep coming, each more shocking than the one before.  A Million Suns is full of action and intrigue right up until the end.  That said, this book has so much more than the plot and pacing going for it.

The characters were mostly the same as those in Across the Universe, but we learned so much more about each of them.  Beth Revis has a gift for character development; she writes everyone with such depth that often I find myself not able to hate people who do hateful things, or like people who are generally good.  When you learn of the reasons behind the actions of certain characters, you understand, and find it difficult to judge.  That's good character writing!

If you read MY REVIEW of Across the Universe, you know that I loved Beth's world-building, and it was no different in this book.  As the reader, you will become immersed in the world that these people live in; you understand why some people want to stay on Godspeed and others, like Amy, are desperate to get off.

Overall, I felt like this book was better than Across the Universe.  I hope Beth Revis has a great story for the third book, Shades of Earth, because my expectations are higher than ever.  That said, after her sophomore home-run, I am not in slightest bit worried.  She's a pro!  I predict that come December, A Million Suns will have no problem making my Top 25 Books of 2012 list!

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ +

Grade Level Recommendation:  As with Across the Universe, which I recommended as grades 7 and up, there is some sexual content (rape/attempted rape).  There is more violence in this book as well, as the seeds of revolution and mutiny are sown, including several murders.  Even so, these things are tastefully handled so as not to become inappropriate for the audience this book is intended for.  This could very well be taken seriously as Adult Sci-Fi, but for its intelligence, not content.  It stand by my conservative 7th grade+ recommendation from the 1st book (ages 12+), however I would not rule out allowing a well-read, mature 5th or 6th grader to read it (my daughter, 10, has).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Busy, Busy... (Plus, "Which book should give away?")

So, I accidentally took a week off from blogging and reading YA (puppy training books are another story).  I hope ya'll didn't miss me too much... Life has been a bit crazy around here the past month or so.  My kids have all gotten sick, but each about a week after the other, so I've pretty much had a sick kid home every week for the past three weeks.  Then of course, there was Valentine's Day stuff.  My kids are the creative type and they aren't happy with fill-in-the-blank Spongebob valentines for their friends.  No, we have to make the annual Conversation Heart Cookies and handmade tags to go with them.  While I love baking, I do not love baking, icing, and hand-piping names and messages on 90+ cookies!  They did come out beautifully, but it took me three days to pull it off.   Along with that, we have the Christmas puppy, Marvel, (see picture below) and the housebreaking and chewing have been a handful (it's been 16 years since I've had a puppy, and I had forgotten what it was like).  Add to that her 4-day stint with diarrhea (never accidentally allow a 15 week old puppy access to her fill of cat food!) and while I didn't plan a week-long blog vacation, it kind of happened.

Anyway, I'm back now, and I have some great reviews coming up over the net few days.  Look for my glowing gush-fest of A Million Suns by Beth Revis, a review of the audio version of E. Lockhart's first Ruby Oliver book, The Boyfriend List, and my yet-to-be-determined take on the newly released Pure by Julianna Baggott.  Also, I'm thinking of doing a giveaway, but haven't decided what to give away yet...  I have signed hardcovers of Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins and Hourglass by Myra McEntire.  Both are fabulous, and both have sequels coming out soon.  Anyone have an opinion on which I should give away first?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WWW (26) and Waiting on Wednesday (February 8th, 2012): The Diviners by Libba Bray

W. W. W. Wednesday is hosted by Should Be Reading a great blog that I subscribe to. Here's how it works... Each Wednesday I will answer the following questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you'll read next?

This has been a super-slow week of reading for me.  Last week I had one kids home sick, then I had a sick puppy, now this week I have another kid home sick.  Add to that the start of the softball season, and I've been BUSY...

What are you currently reading?

Pure by Julianna Baggott~ I like the way she writes, and this book looks really excellent.  It came out today, so I'm a little behind with my ARCs.  I'm hoping it's one of those books I can't put down.  Stay tuned!

Firelight by Sophie Jordan~ Finally!  I've been wanting to read this for ages, but haven't been able to get around to it!  I just got an audio copy, so now I can "read" it while I act as my kids' maid, chauffeur, laundress, and ATM.  :-)

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins~ This is a buddy-read with my daughter.  She loved Hex Hall, so we are on to the next book.  She wants to make sure she is all read up for the release of Spell Bound next month.

What did you recently finish reading?

A Million Suns by Beth Revis~ This may not seem possible, but this book was better than Across the Universe.  I loved it!  Lots of big secrets revealed, with lots of murder and mayhem along the way.  There's also kissing.  Review to come.

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs, and Me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart~ I've been meaning to read this forever!  It was so cute.  I totally get why everyone loved Ruby Oliver so much!  She's great.  Just the type of girl I would be BFFs with in HS.  Review to come.
Paper Towns by John Green~ This was a "re-read" of the audio, and like the text version, I loved it.  Actually, I loved it even more!  Read my full review HERE.

What do you think you'll read next?

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison~ Since I didn't get to this one last week, it will be read next.  The cover is reason alone!  Also, I'm kind of in the mood for a thriller.

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally~ I've been meaning to read this one since it came out a couple of months ago.  I've heard such rave reviews about it.  Stay tuned!

"Waiting On" Wednesday is another fun blog event. Hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, this event gives us a chance to talk about the books we anxiously await the release of. Since there is ALWAYS a looooooong list of books I'm waiting on (I actually keep a spreadsheet), I figured this is one that I MUST do.

I have been waiting for a cover for this one FOREVER, just so I could put it in this post!

The Diviners by Libba Bray

A supernatural series set in Manhattan during the 1920s that follows a teen heroine reminiscent of two of the era's most famous literary women—Zelda Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker. The story will be a wild new ride full of dames and dapper dons, jazz babies and Prohibition-defying parties, conspiracy and prophecy—and all manner of things that go bump in the neon-drenched night.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I LOVE Libba Bray!  I'm a huge fangirl!  As always, I will run right out and buy this book when it comes out.  In fact, I will probably buy two copies, because I whenever I read one of her books, I end up giving my copy away to someone while preaching at them about how they "must read it NOW!".  This book looks amazingly awesome.  I love it when she does Historical Fiction (the Gemma Doyle books are fantastic) and I am eager to read what she does with Prohibition era NY!  Does it suck that we had to wait over a year between books?  Yes.  But it will, no doubt, be totally worth it!

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  November 6th, 2012
My Expected Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★+++++

What are YOU Waiting On this week?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I'd Hand to a Teen Who Doesn't Like to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week a new Top Ten list topic is posted and book bloggers fill in their own choices.  I'm a list girl (as in, I don't function without them), so I thought this would be a good choice for me!   This week's topic is a bit difficult for me because I think it depends entirely who your non-reader is...  So, for the purposes of this list and its relevance to my YA book blog, I will say that these are the top ten books I would give to a teen who doesn't like reading.

Top Ten Books I'd Hand to a Teen Who Doesn't Like to Read

1.  The Hunger Games Trilogy~ This is a "duh" choice, but one that needs to be on the list.  I've met VERY few people, readers or not, who have not raved about these books.  These are the types of books that get kids reading.

2.  Everlost by Neal Shusterman~ This is a book that sucks you in and makes you want to keep reading until the end, and then leaves you wanting more (fortunately, there are two more books- Everwild and Everfound).  I think a lot of kids don't like reading because they are either intimidated by the length of certain books, or lose interest.  This is a book that make losing interest an impossibility because Neal Shusterman is amazing, and because of this, the length of the next two books is a non-issue.

3.  Empty by Suzanne Weyn~ This book is super-short, and very relevant.  A non-reader would never be intimidated by the length, and the story is quite good, and extremely plausible.  This is one I recommend to reluctant readers regularly.

4.  A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess~ This book reads like a movie, but is SO much better than the movie version.  This is one of the books that I most remember reading in HS.  It sticks with you.

5.  Lord of the Flies by William Golding~ I've never met a boy who didn't like this book.  It's a little more hit or miss with girls, but I would still recommend it to the right one.  I'm a girl, and I loved it when I read it at age 11.

6.  Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin~ This book was on last week's list too, but it's just one of those books that I think everyone likes, but not a lot of people know about.  There's a little something for everyone in Elsewhere.

7.  The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien~ Tolkien is the master of world-building!  This is one of the books that turned me into a reader.  Who has to willpower to NOT get sucked into Middle Earth?

8.  Harry Potter 1-7 by J.K. Rowling~ These books have already turned a lot of non-readers into readers.  Of course, with the movies, many opt not to read the books, but they should.   We all know the movie is never as good as the book!

9.  The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis~ For the same reasons The Hobbit and Harry Potter are on this list...

10.  Trackers by Patrick Carman~ Or any of his other recent books.  He is one of the first to do the online companion thing with his books, and kids that don't typically read, seem to enjoy that part.  Other books he's done this with are the Skeleton Creek series and The 39 Clues (along with the multitude of other authors that wrote them).

Obviously, this list is a generalization.  When I make recommendations, especially to reluctant readers, there are questions I ask them before just offering up something.  There are much better choices for certain personalities, but these are book that I would recommend to almost any teen who doesn't read much.