Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds


Long Way Down

“Don’t Nobody believe nothing
these days
which is why I haven’t
told nobody the story
I’m about to tell you.
And truth is,
you probably ain’t
gon’ believe it either
gon’ think I’m lying
or I’m losing it,
but I’m telling you,
this story is true.
It happened to me.
It did. It so did.”  

Reynolds, Jason. Long Way Down.  Atheneum Books, 2017. 306                                                      pages. Hardcover. $17.99, ISBN 978-1-4814-3825-4

Will’s brother Shawn has just been shot and killed when this novel in verse begins.

In Will’s neighborhood, you live by 3 rules. Number One – No Crying. Number Two – No Snitching. Number Three – Always Seek Revenge.

Will, determined to follow the rules,  gets his brother’s gun and heads out to seek revenge.

But the next 60 seconds – the 60 seconds that Will spends on the elevator – will keep you reading – for sure. On each floor, a new visitor gets on the elevator – a person that Will knows – but that Will knows is dead.

Intense. Riveting. Thought provoking. Eye Opening. A must read.


You have to see this interview with Gayle King! Jason gets a call from Queen Latifah 🙂

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Link to Amazon.com    – Available in Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook (read by Jason Reynolds) and Kindle
Link to Worldcat.org



A Newbery Honor Book
A Coretta Scott King Honor Book
A Printz Honor Book
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature
Winner of the Walter Dean Myers Award
Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner
An Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2017
A Vulture Best YA Book of 2017
A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of 2017


Jason Reynolds 2017

Courtesy of Amazon.com


Jason Reynold’s Twitter





Turtles All the Way Down by John Green


Turtles All the Way Down

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“At the time I first realized I might be fictional, my weekdays were spent at a publicly funded institution on the north side of Indianapolis called White River High School, where I was required to eat lunch at a particular time – between 12:37 P.M. and 1:14 P.M. – by forces so much larger than myself that I couldn’t even begin to identify them. If those forces had given me a different lunch period, or if the tablemates who helped author my fate had chosen a different topic of conversation that September day, I would’ve met a different end – or at least a different middle. But I was beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell

Green, John. Turtles All the Way Down. Dutton Books, 2017. 286 pages. Hardcover. $19.99, ISBN 978-0-525-55536-0

Review courtesy of School Library Journal:

“Gr 9 Up–Sixteen-year-old Aza Holmes first met Davis Pickett at “Sad Camp” the summers after fifth and sixth grades. Both Aza and Davis had recently lost parents and the kids bonded in their grief and fascination with the natural world. They’ve had little contact since then, even though they still live in Indianapolis, albeit in very different circumstances. When Davis’s billionaire CEO dad disappears on the eve of a fraud and bribery investigation, Aza’s best bud Daisy is intrigued, particularly since the police are offering a $100,000 reward for information about his whereabouts. The bright, talented girls worry about affording college and soon get caught up in solving the mystery. However, a lack of finances is just one of the myriad things, large (existential) and small (microbes), that Aza stresses about. She is living with debilitating anxiety and obsessive-compulsive responses to it. Despite years of therapy and meds, she works hard to function in the face of physically harrowing mental health challenges. When she reconnects with her childhood friend, the prospect of a budding relationship is at once thrilling and terrifying. As always, Green creates whip-smart and articulate characters who will charm, frustrate, and possibly annoy readers. While the romance is never fully realized, this is undoubtedly a love story. Aza is a likable protagonist and readers will be caught up in the claustrophobic, narrowing spiral that is her existence and root for her to gain control of her life. Her tough, brutally honest first-person narrative will leave teens battered and raw but will also show them that, with love, everything is possible. VERDICT A deeply resonant and powerful novel that will inform and enlighten readers even as it breaks their hearts. A must-buy.—Luann Toth, School Library Journal”

John Green Discusses his new book:
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John Green reads Chapter 1:

Courtesy of YouTube.com

Available from Amazon in: Hardcover, Kindle, Audible, and Audible CD

John Green Photo Courtesy of Flickr.com

John Green’s website

 Twitter Account

Facebook Account

Master Minds: Payback by Gordon Korman

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“‘We’re not criminals!’    

‘We kind of are,’ she reasons.  

‘ Just because we’re cloned from criminals doesn’t mean we did any of the stuff they’re in jail for,’ I insist.    

That’s what Serenity, New Mexico, turned out to be – not an actual town where people live and work and raise their kids, but a front for a twisted experiment called Project Osiris.”

 Korman, Gordon. Masterminds:Payback.  Balzer + Bray, 2017. 312 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-06-230005-8

 I didn’t realize when I read this book that it was the third in the series. No worries. I was able to understand what was going on and I loved the book. In fact, I think I’ll read the two books that preceded this one sometime. They are Masterminds and Masterminds:Criminal Destiny. In this book, four of the kids from Project Osiris are on the run and trying to find answers. It’s not that easy though. The Purple People Eaters (that’s what they call the people from Project Osiris) are looking for them. This leads to some pretty scary stuff – jumping onto the top of a moving RV – stealing a boat – living with a mob boss. You’ll have to read to find out how it turns out. What would you do if you found out you were a clone (of a criminal) and your whole life had been a lie?

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org

        Gordon Korman’s Website 


Twitter Account 



Restart by Gordon Korman

Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

“‘It’s the craziest feeling. I remember how to remember, but when I actually try to do it, I’m a blank. I’m like a computer with its hard drive wiped clean. You can reboot it and the operating system works fine. But when you look for a document or file to open, nothing’s there.

Not even my own name.”

Korman, Gordon. Restart.  Scholastic, 2017. 243 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-1-338-05377-7

What if you couldn’t remember your whole life – all thirteen years of it? What if people acted really strange when they were near you, like almost afraid of you? What if you found out that you were responsible for doing some really awful things? What if you weren’t that person any more and had a second chance to be better? That’s what happened to Chase. The new Chase wouldn’t dream of doing the things the old Chase did. The new Chase has made friends with some of the very people he bullied in the past. But – has he really changed? Can he make the right decisions? Will he make the most of his second chance? You’ll have to read to find out. I loved everything about this story. It will make you laugh and it will make you mad. I was rooting for Chase, will you be?

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org

        Gordon Korman’s Website 


Twitter Account 



A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

“I didn’t want to be angry but sometimes it was the only emotion I understood. I missed my father singing to me at bedtime and the earthy smell of his coat before he left for work each morning. Sometimes, he snuck a kiss from my mother when he thought no one was looking and it always made me giggle. I even missed Dominic. The way he used to tease me and hide my dolls and jump out from behind corners to scare me – those were good memories now.”

Nielsen, Jennifer A. A Night DividedScholastic Press. 2015. 317 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-545-68242-8

What would you do if you woke up one morning and found a fence dividing your country? That’s exactly what happened to Gerta. The East German government built a fence in the night to divide East Germany from West Germany. If that wasn’t bad enough, Gerta’s dad and brother Dominic were in West Germany looking for an apartment and a job so that the family could move. Now, they can’t get in and Gerta, her mom and brother, Fritz, can’t get out. Fast forward four years.  Times are not good. There is a food shortage. The Stasi, a secret police force, have bugged Greta’s house and have files on her and Fritz. Fritz is going to be forced to join the military. But what can they do? Those who have attempted to cross the fence have died trying. One day, Greta spots her brother, Dominic on a viewing platform on the other side of the fence. Later her father appears. He’s acting out a song he used to sing to her when she was young. He is emphasizing the digging part. What is he trying to tell her? Will this be the answer Greta and her family have been looking for? Read to find out. I think you will like this book. I did!


Link to WorldCat .org listing 

Link to Amazon.com listing (Available in Hardcover, paperback, Kindle and Audible)

Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

Jennifer Nielsen’s Website


  • 2016-17 Tome Society List
  • Top 2015 Mighty Girl Books for Teen and Tweens List
  • 2015 AML Finalist
  • 2015 double Whitney Award winner for Best Middle Grade book and for Best Overall Youth Novel.
  • State List nominations: California Young Readers Award (17-18); Illinois Rebecca Caudil Award (17-18); Maine Student Book Award (16-17); Maryland Black-eyed Susan Book Award (17-18); Missouri Truman Award (17-18); Nebraska Golden Sower Award (17-18); New Hampshire Great Stone Face Award (16-17); Oregon Battle of the Books (16-17); Texas Lone Star (16-17); *South Dakota Young Adult Readers Award (16-17); *Utah Beehive Book Award (16-17); Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award (16-17); Middle School Virginia Readers Choice (17-18); *Wyoming Indian paintbrush Award (16-17) *Winner
  • 2016 ILA-CBC Children’s Choices List

When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin




“You’d have to be nuts to trust a magician. I learned that lesson the hard way. And then, if you can believe it, I actually became a magician’s assistant. That part was the Rainbow Girl’s fault, but the rest of it I blame on a little dog named Flip.

Griffin, Paul. When Friendship Followed Me Home.  Dial, 2016. 247 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-8037-3816-4

I loved this story – for a lot of reasons. First, it had a dog in it. I absolutely adore dogs and Flip is special. He can listen when kids read books to him – and he actually looks interested. Second, the story shows that when bad things happen, you can still survive, that there are always options. A good attitude goes a long way to help. Third, it made me laugh out loud. Ben Coffin is one funny guy and his friend Halley (like the comet) is equally entertaining. Ben and Halley are the kind of people who keep a positive attitude even when things aren’t looking so good. Another reason I love this book, one of the good guys in the story is a librarian who keeps homemade chocolate chip cookies on her desk and she’s pretty cool. I’m a librarian and I love cookies so I have lot in common with her. Plus, she’s Halley’s mom and I’m a mom so I can relate. Most likely, if you’re reading this, you’re a kid, and I think you just might relate to Ben and Halley and all that they are experiencing. This book will make you laugh and it will make you cry. I highly recommend it. If you want to know more, watch the book trailer below created by Heartland Media Center. They did a great job book talking this book. Enjoy!

Want to watch a book trailer for When Friendship Followed Me Home?

Link to Amazon.com (available in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle versions, and Audible)

Link to Worldcat.org

 Paul Griffin





Soar by Joan Bauer



Image courtesy of Amazon.com


“The problem with having a story like this is people don’t know what to do with it. Their faces get super sad and their shoulders slump as they pat me on the head, which I find irritating and say. ‘My, you are a little survivor, aren’t you?’

Bauer, Joan. Soar.  Viking, 2016. 296 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-451-47034-8

There are a few things that you need to know about Jeremy Lopper. First, he is probably 12 years old. The other things you should know about him are that he was left at a water cooler in an office building with a note and a stuffed eagle when he was a baby. He was found by a single man named Walt, a computer genius, who later adopted him. The other thing you need to know is that Jeremy has had a heart transplant, and his new heart, that he has affectionately named Alice, is not working as great as everyone would have hoped.  Lastly, Walt and Jeremy love baseball!

Walt and Jeremy move to a small town where Walt has a consulting job. This town is all about baseball and Walt and Jeremy can’t wait to get there. When they arrive however, all is not as they had planned. There is an unexplained death and some unexpected secrets that surface which are tearing the town apart.

Here’s the most important thing you need to know about Jeremy though- he has THE BEST ATTITUDE about life and baseball. Will it be enough to help this town? Read this book to find out what happens to the town, baseball, Jeremy and Walt.

I love, love, loved every page of this book!

Want to watch a book trailer for Soar?

Link to Amazon.com (available in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle versions, and Audible)

Link to Worldcat.org

 Joan Bauer

HRS Joan Bauer

Courtesy of Penguin Books

 Twitter Account 
YouTube Channel



House Arrest by K.A. Holt

Courtesy of FCPS OPAC

“‘Adjudicated delinquent. I had to look up how to spell that.Three times. I don’t feel like a delinquent and I don’t know what adjudicated means (even after looking it up). Sounds like a kung fu move. I adjudicated you in your face! HI-YA”

Holt, K. A.. House Arrest.  Chronicle Books, 2015. 296 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-1-4521-3477-2

Did you ever do something wrong but for the right reason? I mean, something really wrong? Was it worth it? Would you do it again? Timothy (aka T-man) did and he has to write about it and his feelings in a journal for a year while he’s under house arrest. This book is written entirely in journal entries. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. I highly recommend it. Read it and let me know what you think 🙂

Link to Amazon.com (available in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle versions)

Link to Worldcat.org

K.A. Holt’s

Courtesy of kaholt.com

Courtesy of kaholt.com                                                                        

   Twitter Account 



Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“My birthday is the one day of the year that we’re both most acutely aware of my illness. It’s the acknowledgement of the passage of time that does it. Another whole year of being sick, no hope for a cure on the horizon. Another year of missing all the normal teenagery things – learner’s permit, first kiss, prom, first heartbreak, first fender bender. Another year of my mom doing nothing but working and taking care of me.

Yoon, Nicola. Everything Everything. Delacorte Press., 2015. 307 pages. Hardcover. $18.99, ISBN 978-0-553-49664-2

From School Library Journal (Courtesy of Amazon.com):

Gr 10 Up—From the first page, Madeline Whittier is a sympathetic character who has had to watch the world from the inside of a bubble—literally. Her diagnosed condition of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency is a life sentence that limits her to a world of two people: her mother, who is a doctor, and her nurse. Everything changes when Olly and his family move into the house next door. Olly is the kind of inventive guy who figures out a way to communicate with Madeline, and over the course of the next few months Madeline becomes Maddy, a young woman who takes potentially deadly risks to protect Olly emotionally, if not physically. Maddy’s and Olly’s hastily planned trip to Maui and their tastefully described liaison while there suggests a mature teen audience, but readers of Cammie McGovern’s Say What You Will (HarperCollins, 2014) and Wendy Mills’s Positively Beautiful (Bloomsbury, 2015) will fall in love with this humorously engaging story of a girl who discovers life, love, and forgiveness in new places. VERDICT Everything, Everything is wonderful, wonderful.—Jodeana Kruse, R. A. Long High School, Longview, WA

Link to Amazon.com.

Link to Worldcat.org.


It’s going to be a movie! Read about it here. 

Want to read more? Here’s a great NPR interview with Nicola Yoon.

Check out the movie trailer.


HRS Black-Eyed Susan

Courtesy of www. public-domain-image.com

Everything Everything is a High School nominee for the 2016-2017 Black Eyed Susan Award. For more information go to the Maryland Association of School Librarians.

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Nicola Yoon’s





Stick by Michael Harmon

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“Everything. This whole school. The team. Sometimes it seems like it’s all just fake. Like a pretend world. Like we’re something better than all the dregs. Isn’t that what Coach tells us? That we’re better than everybody else?”

Harmon, Michael. Stick. Alfred A. Knopf., 2015. 229 pages. Hardcover. $17.99, ISBN 978-0-385-75436-1

It all started when Brett’s (aka Stick’s) teammates dropped raw eggs on a fellow classmate. It was just a guy Stick didn’t even know but it started him thinking about a lot of things – like the football team thinking they were better than everyone else –  like his coach who was always yelling at them – like his Dad who drinks too much and only focuses on Stick’s mistakes on the field, not any of the good things he does. The team is headed for the state championship. Scouts are looking at Stick and he’s sure to get a college scholarship to play football and then eventually play in the NF. What does all this thinking do for Stick? He quits – quits the team and football – the game he has loved for so many years. Imagine his teammates reaction? Imagine his coach’s reaction? Imagine his Dad’s reaction? Now imagine an unlikely friendship with the kid who got the eggs dropped on him who also happens to be a superhero at night. You’ve got to read this book to see how it turns out? This is a story about being true to yourself. I loved it!

Link to Amazon.com.

Link to Worldcat.org.

HRS Black-Eyed Susan

Courtesy of www. public-domain-image.com

Stick is a High School nominee for the 2016-2017 Black Eyed Susan Award. For more information go to the Maryland Association of School Librarians.

Courtesy of Penguin Books

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© Chris Peeler 2013