Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Driven by strong characters caught in a horrible situation, this story pulled me along as if I were on an unstoppable train. “Challenging” teens, thirteen through seventeen, can be unwound if their parents sign the papers or if they are wards of the state or if their religion deems them to be tithes. To be unwound is to […]


We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Imagine a family, Mayflower descendants, perfect, blond, and rich enough to own a private island off Martha’s Vineyard. Like Shakespeare’s Lear, the patriarch of the family pits his three daughters against each other for the inheritance. They in turn enlist their older children, four cousins (The Liars) who have spent every summer together on the […]


Twisted Sisters by Jen Lancaster

Twisted Sisters by Jen Lancaster

I have found Jen Lancaster’s fiction hit or miss—I either really love it, or really hate it. Twisted Sisters is the only one that I started out hating and by the end, actually kind of enjoyed.  It took me a really long time to get into this book…. And I do mean REALLY LONG, as […]


Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann

Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann

I don’t know if I can do justice to this amazing book. Violence permeates this novella and three stories, the violence of wanting, of loving, of powerlessness. Exquisite language sharpens the contrast between the simultaneous past, present and future. Writing and recognition are themes that carry throughout. The search for clues and explanations in the […]


Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

“Why are there so many dystopian and apocalyptic novels for young adults right now?” you may ask. I think it’s because the news is repeatedly giving us the unnerving and terrifying message that the adults in charge are destroying the world. Therefore, in order to be able to look forward to a future, teens need […]


The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir

A great skill set for an astronaut to bring along on a Mars flight is a combination of chutzpah, inventiveness, determination, botany know-how and tool conversancy. Duct tape is good to have, too. And a cheeky sense of self if you are going to record a journal that others would want to read. I certainly […]


Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Hyperion represents speculative fiction at its most mesmerizing. Echoing Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, this saga of a band of pilgrims unfolds in a fantastical space opera set some seven centuries in the future. As each tale is recounted along the journey, interlocking like so many pieces to a jigsaw puzzle, an ominous day of reckoning looms […]


Nora Webster by Colm Toibin

Nora Webster by Colm Toibin

Enniscorthy, Ireland is the kind of small town where everyone knows everybody’s business and is not afraid to comment and offer advice, especially to a young widow with two pre-teen boys still at home. Nora Webster goes through the motions of housekeeping, being a parent and trying to plan a future without her beloved husband […]


Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This is the answer to the question “What should I read after I finish the Harry Potter series?”! Adults and young adults alike will love this story of the beginnings of heroic, fallible, sad, proud, orphaned Kvothe as he tries to succeed and support himself in the University where he studies magic while solving the […]


Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

A master of understatement tells the story of Eilis, a young Irish woman, who is herself so understated that she does not even think to protest when her mother and sister decide she should emigrate to the United States in the 1950’s to find a better life. She risks ruining her chances by her mild […]