Biblio Bytes – Food for the book lover in you!

Some reviews, some goodies … a little bit of a lot of things …

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day

August22

Ms. Bixby’s last Day

by John David Almond

Ms. Bixby is “one of the good ones”.  At least that’s what Brand, Steve, and Topher think.  We all know there are different kinds of teachers: the boring ones, the mean ones, the ones who try too hard, and the ones who gave up long ago.  But every once in a while you get one that inspires you, makes you want to do better, be better, and gives you a reason to love school.  Those are the “good ones”.  When Ms. Bixby announces that she will not be able to finish out the school year, the three boys hatch a plan to give her the best last day ever!  The story is told in alternating chapters and you learn, little by little, how much Ms. Bixby means to each boy and how she impacted their lives.  Be ready to get the tissues ready when you read this one!

 

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A Handful of Stars

August22

A Handful of Stars

by Cynthia Lord

When Libby’s blind dog Lucky runs off through the blueberry barrens, it’s Salma who manages to get him to stop.  Salma is one of the migrant workers in town to harvest the blueberries.  Salma and Libby quickly become friends and work together painting bee houses in Libby’s grandfathers store.  When Salma decides to enter the Blueberry Queen pageant, Libby is forced to examine her friendship not only with Salma and also her best friend Hannah.  Hannah and Libby have been friends forever and Hannah won the pageant last year.  Should an “outsider” be able to enter the pageant and possibly win?

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When We Wake

September1

When We Wake

When We Wake

by Karen Healey

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027—she’s happiest when playing the guitar, she’s falling in love for the first time, and she’s joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan’s life, she dies—and wakes up a hundred years later, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

The future isn’t all she had hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better world?

Award-winning author Karen Healey has created a haunting, cautionary tale of an inspiring protagonist living in a not-so-distant future that could easily be our own.  (From the book jacket)

 

I was completely sucked in from the very beginning.  The story takes place in Australia in 2127, 100 years AFTER Tegan is shot and killed.  She awakens to find that Australia is now the world superpower, the environment is in grave danger; the seas are rising, eating meat is frowned upon, and there is a very strict no-migrant policy in effect.   A great new dystopian read for those that are a fan of the genre.  This is the first book in the series.

Imperfect Spiral

November24

Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy

Imperfect Spiral

Danielle wasn’t sure she would make a great babysitter, but five-year-old Humphrey was such a cool little kid. Then, after a successful session at the playground, where Danielle teaches Humphrey to throw a football in a perfect spiral, the ball bounces into the street, and Humphrey takes off after it. She remembers seeing a teal-blue minivan and vaguely wondering if that was the car that hit Humphrey, but all details are lost in a haze of grief when Danielle learns Humphrey has been killed. Her feeling of guilt chokes back her words. The community, however, seizes on the accident to promote two political causes: making the road safer and cracking down on illegal immigrants (the driver of the blue minivan turns out to be undocumented).

Vitro

November24

Vitro by Jessica Khoury

Vitro

After receiving a mysterious emergency email from her scientist mother, Sophie Crue returns to her childhood home in Guam in search of Skin Island where, for years, her mother has been involved in a top-secret project. Only one pilot is willing to fly her to the remote island, her childhood best friend, Jim. Following a terrifying crash landing, the pair discovers that Sophie’s mother is part of an organization that has appropriated unwanted human test tube embryos and has been raising these Vitros in incubators to young adulthood for the past 17 years, programming them as skilled laborers and coding them to imprint on the first person they see upon awakening. One of those Vitros is Sophie’s twin sister, Lux. (School Library Journal)

This is the companion to the book Origin however, you do not need to read the first book to “get” this one.

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The Neptune Project

November24

The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke

Neptune Project

Several centuries after global warming has devastated the planet, a tyrannical government has taken control of the West Coast of America. In a small seaside community in what was Southern California, Nere lives with her scientist mother and a pod of trained dolphins. Unbeknownst to Nere, her parents have genetically engineered her and several other children to breathe under water so they can live free there someday. When the government announces its intention to move the entire community inland, Nere’s mother finishes the alterations on the children and sends them away into the sea, where they will try to join Nere’s father’s colony for these new “Neptune children.” Nere and her friends, along with their friendly dolphins, must make their way there under the sea while fighting sharks and avoiding capture by government forces. They communicate telepathically, and Nere is even able to talk with the dolphins. Together with other Neptune children from Southern California, they head north, hiding and fighting all the way.

Say What You Will

November24

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Say What You Will

It isn’t that words fail Amy: she has plenty to tell, and her wry and witty mind is unaffected by her cerebral palsy. Her speech, though, is incomprehensible, so a talking computer speaks for her. To move in her body, she requires a walker and a helper to assist her between classes. But she is fiercely independent, and for her senior year, she has decided that students her own age will be her school aides. Maybe that will help with the one area she has struggled to master her whole life—making real friends—as she prepares to transition to college. Matthew, stunted and isolated by his obsessive-compulsive disorder, signs on to assist Amy and inadvertently embarks on a self-improvement project that she passionately encourages. As they lean on each other and their relationship deepens, even as they each inch toward independence, Amy and Matthew test the boundaries of their self-determination and their friendship, much to the disappointment of Amy’s worried mother.  (Booklist)

Numbers

November24

Numbers by Rachel Ward

Num8ers

10102001 That’s Jem’s mother’s number. Jem saw it whenever she looked into her mother’s eyes, but it wasn’t until four years after the woman’s fatal heroin overdose when Jem was 11 that she realized that the number was the date her mother would die. And it’s not just that number that the teen sees—she knows when everyone will die by looking into their eyes. Isolating herself from the rest of humanity seems to be the only solution until Spider, a freakishly tall, twitchy mess of a boy, refuses to leave her alone. In spite of the fact that she knows his death date is only months away, she can’t resist his overtures of friendship. One afternoon, while ditching school, they head for the London Eye tourist attraction. When Jem realizes that several people standing in line are fated to die that very day, she panics and takes off. Newspapers and television pick up the story, and Jem and Spider, targeted as the terrorists responsible for destroying the Eye, or at least witnesses, are on the run in a stolen car.  (School Library Journal)

If you looked in somebody’s eyes and saw the date of their death, would it change the way you felt about people? Would it change the way you lived your life?

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Notes From the Dog

November24

Notes From the Dog

by Gary Paulsen

Nots from the Dog

From the book jacket …

“Sometimes having company is not all it’s cracked up to be.”
Fifteen-year-old Finn is a loner, living with his dad and his amazing dog, Dylan. This summer he’s hoping for a job where he doesn’t have to talk to anyone except his pal Matthew. Then Johanna moves in next door. She’s ten years older, cool, funny, and she treats Finn as an equal. Dylan loves her, too. Johanna’s dealing with breast cancer, and Matthew and Finn learn to care for her, emotionally, and physically. When she hires Finn to create a garden, his gardening ideas backfire comically. But Johanna and the garden help Finn discover his talents for connecting with people.

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The Year We Disappeared

May13

The Year We Disappeared by Cylin Busby

The Year We Disappeared

When Cylin Busby was nine years old, she was obsessed with Izod clothing, the Muppets, and a box turtle she kept in a shoebox. Then everything changed overnight. Her police officer father, John, was driving to his shift when someone leveled a shotgun at his window. The blasts that followed left John’s jaw on the passenger seat of his car—literally. While clinging to life, he managed to write down the name of the only person he thought could have pulled the trigger. The suspect? A local ex-con with rumored mob connections. The motive? Officer Busby was scheduled to testify against the suspect’s family in an upcoming trial. Overnight, the Busbys went from being the “family next door” to one under 24-hour armed guard, with police escorts to school, and no contact with friends. Worse, the shooter was still on the loose, and it seemed only a matter of time before he’d come after John—or someone else in the family—again. With few choices left to them, the Busby family went into hiding, severing all ties to the only life they had known.  {Book Description from Amazon.com}

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