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What Are You Reading? PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 00:00

Here's what teens at Nichols Middle School are reading:



Legend by Marie Lu

In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.





Chasing VermeerChasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

When seemingly unrelated and strange events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, eleven-year-olds Petra and Calder combine their talents to solve an international art scandal.





Beneath A Meth Moon Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson

A young girl uses crystal meth to escape the pain of losing her mother and grandmother in Hurricane Katrina, and then struggles to get over her addiction - See more at:

A young girl uses crystal meth to escape the pain of losing her mother and grandmother in Hurricane Katrina, and then struggles to get over her addiction.

Darius & Twig / by Walter Dean Myers PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 17 March 2014 00:00

titleDarius and Twig are two best friends each with talent to spare. Twig is a middle-distance runner with deep reserves of energy coiled inside, perfect form and instinctive pace. If he plays it right, his running talents could win him a scholarship to college. Darius is the writer, the observer, the "smart" one. His school grades aren't much, but his short story about a boy with a bad leg who swims out too far with dolphins was almost published in a real magazine. It might be published still if he can figure out what the story means and re-write it right. If that magazine buys it, he could score his own scholarship out of Harlem, too. 

But something about that story makes Darius afraid. He senses it says something about himself he knows deep down but can't really face. Better to avoid it. Better to cheer Twig on, stick with him as his confidant and champion, especially now that Twig's resisting the "help" of a slimy college recruiter whose coming round and might quit running altogether. Running's too precious to Twig, too personal. The scholarship game is turning him against himself.   

Darius & Twig is Walter Dean Myers' finest book in years. It's a deceptively simple story about two Harlem boys who feel a need to grow beyond their neighborhood and challenged lives there, but aren't sure what it says about them if they do. Harlem is home, Harlem is life. And yet: Harlem is where the nowhere bully from their class lives, the kid who might be messing with guns and gangs and has it out for Twig. Harlem is where Twig's uncle lives, who belittles his running talent and wants him working in his barrio, a "real job." If these boys do leave it has to be for honest reasons, not because of fear, or enticement, or insults. Leaving has to have soul. The book's climax scene is a dark and violent one in which both boys act in bold, merciful ways that uncover their true core selves.

(Jarrett, The Loft)

The Guy's POV PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 16 March 2014 13:33

A list of books written from the guy's point-of-view. Sometimes he's the hero and sometimes he's the one being saved, but no matter what, these guys have what it takes to hold their own in a story.




Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

by Benjamin Alire Saenz


Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.








Before My Eyes

by Caroline Bock


Told in three separate voices, dreamy Claire, seventeen, with her complicated home and love life, shy Max, also seventeen, a state senator's son whose parents are too focused on the next election to see his pain, and twenty-one-year-old paranoid schizophrenic Barkley teeter on the brink of destruction. 







 Red Rising 

by Pierce Brown


Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow--and Reds like him--are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies...even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. 


For more great reads told through the eyes of the boys, check out The Guy's POV


(Ashley, the Loft)



From Teens For Teens: Bird / Angela Johnson PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 14 March 2014 00:00

titleBird by Angela Johnson

3/5 stars


Bird is a book revolving around a girl whose nickname is Bird. She ran away from home and is living behind a farmhouse in Alabama. She meets two boys who are going through the same kind of thing she is going through. I liked this book because it tells three different stories that come together at the end.


(Jessica W., Evanston teen)


What Are You Reading? PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 00:00

Here's what teens at Nichols Middle School are reading:


altThe Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata

Just when twelve-year-old Summer thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong in a year of bad luck, an emergency takes her parents to Japan, leaving Summer to care for her little brother while helping her grandmother cook and do laundry for harvest workers.



altGraceling by Kristin Cashore

In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.



altHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches.

Paper Valentine / Brenna Yovanoff PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 10 March 2014 00:00

altHannah is haunted.  Literally. The ghost of her best friend Lillian has been hanging around since she died 6 months ago.  As Paper Valentine opens a teenage girl has been found murdered in Hannah’s small town and Lillian is positive it’s not just some random murder.  Lillian thinks it’s connected to one that happened a few years before. She needs Hannah to put the clues together to figure it out.  Hannah having a job at the local photo shop, where the crime scene photos are developed definitely helps.  At the same time as Hannah is trying to put the pieces together to solve the murders she’s also dealing with her supposed group of friends, whose dynamic has changed since Lillian died.  Hannah feels like she’s just going through the motions instead of being her real self. Then there’s her crush on Finny, who has a bad boy reputation, but seems to have a soft spot for her.  But with a murderer lurking around is Finny the guy she should be hanging out with? Or avoiding?  Paper Valentine, has suspense, mystery and a very human element as Hannah works through all the changes in her life, comes to terms with who she really is and finally addresses her feelings about Lillian’s death. 


(Renee, the Loft)

From Teens For Teens: Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie / Jordan Sonnenblick PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00

titleDrums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

5/5 stars


The life of 13-year-old Steven Alpher, a gifted drummer, has turned upside-down after his 5-year-old brother Jeffrey was diagnosed with leukemia. Steven is now the center of attention at school and everyone starts to treat him nicer because of his younger brother's diagnosis. Steven now has to deal with his school life, love life, playing the drums, and supporting his family. Steven has liked a girl named Renee Albert since the third grade, but she doesn't notice Steven and doesn't like him in that way. Steven then falls in love with Annette Watson, a girl that had a secret crush on Steven for many years.


On the other hand the Alpher family is in hardship with all of Jeffrey's medical treatment bills. To help out, Steven's friend Renee and his girlfriend Annette come together to raise money for Jeffrey--they do sort of like a fundraiser. While at the hospital with Jeffrey, Steven meets a girl named Samantha who also suffers with leukemia. She gives Steven the advice of staying on Jeffrey's side through all of this.Steven listens to this advice and skips the band fundraising performance because Jeffrey was suffering an ear infection. Sadly, later in the story Sam dies and she had a sister that never cared about her at all. Thanks to Renee and Annette, Jeffrey survives, all his treatments go fine, and they are fully paid for just in time for Steven's graduation.


The part I enjoyed most was when Renee and Annette both came up with the idea of a fundraiser and that helped a lot. I enjoyed it because it shows that Renee is a good friend and Annette is a good girlfriend because she stayed by her boyfriend's side. It shows they both are caring and have good hearts. I would definitely recommend this book to others because it has a very good story and even though it is sad it is very realistic. You can't even tell it's fiction. I would recommend this book to children over 10 because younger kids might not understand about the situation in this book! Overall, this book is amazing and I truly loved it!


(Halima M., Evanston teen)

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