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The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection is a work of art. No, it isn't an ACTUAL picture, but Kiera Cass weaves lifelike characters with humor and a touch of spunk to make The Selection unforgettable. The thing that makes The Selection different from other dystopian books is its characters. They are people that I could actually see as real people. In a lot of books, the female character either A. sits back and acts like a scrawny weak person, or B. wears revealing clothes, swears, and hates everyone. The Selection is a refreshing break from typical young adult literature. It doesn't have obsessive gore or spend the entire book focused on a romance with NO action whatsoever. The Selection does have elements of romance, but they are interesting and convert non-romance lovers, like myself, into obsessive fans.

The whole plot of The Selection is that 35 girls are competing for Prince Maxon's heart. We, the reader, see the entire book from the perspective of a teen girl named America. But America isn't your typical teenager. At first, she isn't even sure if she loves Prince Maxon. On their first meeting, she scolds and slaps him. In a way, America is sort of similar to Katniss from The Hunger Games. They both are strong woman, and don't like being told what to do.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Selection and would recommend it to everyone. Boys, this includes you too! There isn't that much more than kissing, with the exception of one or two sexual references. If The Selection were a movie, it would be rated somewhere in between PG and PG-13. But honestly, this book's age range is twelve and over. If you have a mature reader, I could see them reading it earlier. I read the book when was ten and still enjoyed it. The Selection is one of the best books that I've ever read and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone!

-- Anna Q. age 12

Twinmaker by Sean Williams

Twinmaker is great for kids who want pure science fiction. Reminiscent of the world-building in Uglies, people now use “d-mat” to transport themselves anywhere around the world. However, someone is sending out a message saying that, through the use of d-mat and a code written on a piece of paper, you can change things about yourself. The only problem is that many of those who use improvement end up dead. Clair’s best friend has used improvement and now time is counting down to her death. Clair must team up with an unlikely boy at her school to figure out what’s really going on. This book is fast-paced, descriptive, and exciting. We read it for book club and everyone really enjoyed it!

--Anna Books Inc. Palo Alto

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Spring break was supposed to be epic. Aruba. Her best friend, her boyfriend and all their group of friends. Drinking, dancing until dawn and no parents. It wasn't suppose to end like this. Now her best friend Elise is dead and she is in jail awaiting trial for murder. I read this for my book club. It was recommend to me by one of the teens who really wanted me to consider this for the group. I started it and finished it in one sitting and the ending - OH MAN! This is a psychological thriller told through the perspective of Anna who is Elise's best friend and potential murderer. A ripped from the headlines story - compelling, dark and edgy. A teen Gone Girl. --Connie, Books Inc. Opera Plaza

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

I was moved by the beauty and magic of this novel. I had to remind myself this is a young adult novel and honestly I’m convinced this may find its home amongst other greats such as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Song of Solomon.  Magical realism is a non-genre that grants literary clout but also gives us a new view of the world that is delicious as the baked goods the women of the family create in their bakery. The promised tragedy hinted throughout the book is brutal; a comparison to Lovely Bones can be a helpful guide for potential readers. Oh, yes did I forget to mention our protagonist Ava has wings? Her family’s story does little to explain this but it does illuminate the magic, mystery, and tragedy of love. Is it a blessing or a curse? Can we protect our loved ones from the world or does it simply seal their fate?

Recommended for age 14 and up. --reviewed by Renee, Books Inc. Castro

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

This book is effing whack. It’s about Catholic school. Or, it’s about the Midwest. Or unstoppable corn. Or being horny all the time. Or else an apocalypse caused by gigantic man eating praying mantises, the size of refrigerators. Or about coming of age, and still being confused. I don’t know. It’s awesome. Just read it. For ages 14+ --Reviewed by Maggie, Books Inc. Children's Department Director

The Violet Hour by Whitney Miller

The Violet Hour is a heart-pounding fast-paced debut novel from local author Whitney Miller. With twists and turns and a sprinkle of lies, it's a novel that will have you questioning just about everything you have ever seen or believed. Follow 17-year-old Harlow Wintergreen asshe tries to confront the murderous voice in her head...and unravels the very fabric of the world as she does so. With a heroine this strong, a plot this refreshingly new, and a voice decidedly different from anything else out there, why wouldn't you give this book a try? -- Katherine from Books Inc. Laurel Village



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