Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Restless: A Novel by William Boyd

William Boyd’s fascination with what becomes of a spy brings us Restless, a fascinating story of Eva Delectorskaya, recruited in 1939 by the English. 36 years later, concerned that she is in danger, she tells her story to her daughter, who is dumbfounded, having always believed her mother to be Sally Gilmartin. The story is suspenseful and details of an unknown episode between the U.S. and Britain are interesting. Eva has lost none of her cunning over the years, Ruth discovers. Wonderfully readable!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

How to Be Popular By Meg Cabot

After spilling a red Super Big Gulp all over a popular girl’s white skirt in 6th grade, Steph Landry has been shunned by just about everybody in her class for the past five years. Now in 11th grade, Steph sets out to change all that by following advice from an old book she found, How To Be Popular. The book covers everything from what to wear to how to get the boy of your dreams.

And, how exactly do you get the boy of your dreams?

According to the book, you “brush those pearly whites and start practicing (your smile)….Then next time you pass him in the hallway, show those dimples!”

O.k. so maybe the advice seems a little outdated but it works for Steph and before she knows it she is the most popular girl at school. But, being popular is hard work and difficult to maintain and Steph has to decide what is really important to her.

Meg Cabot of The Princess Diaries fame has written another winner. The popularity advice at the beginning of each chapter is priceless. Although Steph seems a little whiny at times and her put downs of her best friend can be annoying, the situations are quite humorous and her fans are sure to enjoy this one. (YA 10th grade & up)


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Notes From the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick

Upset that his parents have divorced and that his mom has started dating, sixteen-year-old Alex Gregory decides to get drunk, steal the keys to his mom’s car, and head over to his dad’s house to give him a piece of his mind. Along the way he manages to run the car up on the neighbor’s lawn, throw-up all over the police officer and get himself arrested for drunk driving. What more could go wrong?

How about spending 100 hours of his time at the old folk’s home doing community service; spending his time with a crotchety old man, Sol Lewis, who doesn’t appreciate him? That is until Sol and Alex find a common bond and they develop the friendship of a lifetime.

In Notes from the Midnight Driver, Jordan Sonnenblick writes with a fresh, authentic teen voice as he captures the anger and selfishness of this age. Although the ending is somewhat predictable, you will still find yourself emotionally attached to both characters. This is a funny, poignant read that will be enjoyed by both adults and teens.
(YA 10th grade & up)


Monday, December 04, 2006

German Money by Lev Raphael

Michigan author Raphael begins his story around Traverse City where Paul Menkus, a passive university librarian, escapes from every day life. When he returns to Ann Arbor and turns on his cell phone he discovers that his mother, a women he hasn’t talked to in a many years has died. He missed the funeral, but returns to his mother’s home, Manhattan, to meet with his beautiful but difficult sister and his bisexual brother and to close his mother’s estate. His mother was a Holocaust survivor and he is the sole heir of her reparations-based fortune, which brings him into conflict with his younger siblings. German Money is a fascinating commentary on the psychological dynamics of a family living with the legacy of the Holocaust. German Money is one of those rare books where plot and character development both reign.