Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Family Secret

Written by: Anne Frank House

First line: Jeroen only has a few days left to gather up some old things for the Queen's Day flea market.

Why you should read this book: This plot-heavy piece of historical fiction uses a modern day frame and a graphic format to tell the interlinking stories of several young people's experiences in the Netherlands during World War II. Jeroen finds an old scrapbook in his grandmother's attic, and his grandmother tells him about her childhood best friend, her brothers, her own work for the resistance, and the effect the Nazi invasion had on the people of the Netherlands. Jeroen comes away with a new understanding of what Memorial Days means for people of his grandmother's generation and manages to bring unimaginable joy to the lives of two elderly women.

Why you should read this book: You haven't yet read the Diary of Anne Frank.

Dr. Oblivion's Guide to Teenage Dating Volume 1

Written by: Jeff Pina

First line: Being a single father these days isn't an easy task.

Why you should read this book: Dr. Oblivion is an evil supervillain, intent on taking over the world, because he knows that he can make it a better place for her his teenage daughter, Callie, who is not wildly enthusiastic about his work, or his plans to bioengineer a genetically perfect man for her eighteenth birthday present. Instead. Callie falls for a guy she meets at school, who just happens to have an alter-ego: he's Dr. Oblivion's newest nemesis. Dr. Oblivion finds he must toe the line between his daughter's love and his own hatred, with comical result.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You're just keeping your teenage daughter locked in a closet where she can't look at handsome boys.

The Kidney Hypothetical or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days

Written by: Lisa Yee

First line: It was supposed to be the best week of my life, but then everything went terribly wrong.

Why you should read this book: On the surface, Higgs Boson Bing has a perfect life--perfect family,  perfect friends, perfect girlfriend, perfect grades, perfect college prospects--but a week before his high school graduation, he says the wrong thing, and suddenly, everything starts to unravel. Someone is obviously out to get him, and all the good fortune he thought he had begins to slip from his grasp. There's a campaign going on to ruin his life, and he needs to get to the bottom of it before his perfect future disappears, too.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You don't know you're actually a jerk.

Fat Angie

Written by: E.E. Charlton-Trujillo

First line: This was the beginning.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Fat Angie hasn't recovered from her big sister's decision to enlist in the Air Force, let alone her sister's public capture by the enemy shortly thereafter, or her own public freak out slash suicide attempt at a school pep rally last year, and she's definitely not prepared to deal with her second attempt at finishing the school year. The popular girls seem determined to make her reentry into society rough, and Angie doesn't even know how to feel about the beautiful newcomer, KC Romance, a girl who inexplicably wants to be friends, and maybe more, with her. Angie and KC's relationship never does run smooth, but in the end, Angie will find a path through her own disconnection and make her own way in the world.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You don't need help mourning the death of your sister.

A Separate Peace

Written by: John Knowles

First line: I went back to the Devon School not long ago, and found it looking oddly newer than when I was a student there fifteen years before.

Why you should read this book: Like many people, I first read this book in a high school English class, but I decided to reread it after seeing it mentioned a few other places, and it really is a kind of monumental story about adolescence and war. Gene, bookish and serious, and Finny, athletic and irreverent, are roommates and best friends at a New England boarding school during World War II, but the world that seemed so knowable to Gene begins to shift as the war becomes more real to him. In the book, Gene reexamines the events of that year through an adult's eye.

Why you shouldn't read this book: It's a quiet and nuanced story, less about action and more about motivation, and it's full of profound sadness.