If You Liked The Book Thief, Try…Why?

Let’s get one thing clear–there are no books like The Book Thief.

Death is the perfect narrator, Lisel is an amazing heroine, and her story is unlike any other. But there are other phenomenal, engrossing books out there you’ll like if you enjoyed The Book Thief.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

WHY? Verity will do anything to keep from being tortured–hand over classified information, reveal military depots, crack codes, but first she has to explain how she got into the service, and that means talking about her best friend Maddie and that means buying time. This story is all intricate plot, trembling emotions, and best friends, with the same WWII backdrop as The Book Thief. 

Jellicoe Road by Malina Marchetta

I’m dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

WHY? This novel is brilliantly compelling, with characters you can love and hate from all different perspectives and a mystery that weaves everything together. Taylor’s narrative isn’t as peaceful as Death’s, but her voice will strike you just the same. Continue reading

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Author Interview with Caragh O’Brien!

Well, it’s time for finals, so we thought we’d share something fun on the blog!

Today we have Caragh O’Brien here to talk about her newest release! This mind-game of a novel pulls you into the competitive world of the Forge School, and all it’s creepy secrets…

THE VAULT OF DREAMERS (The Vault of Dreamers, #1) by Caragh O’Brien

From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.

The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success:  every moment of the students’ lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students’ schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What’s worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

Caragh M. O’Brien is the author of the BIRTHMARKED trilogy and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS, both from Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ms. O’Brien was educated at Williams College and earned her MA from Johns Hopkins University. She recently resigned from teaching high school English in order to write young adult novels and now lives in rural Connecticut.

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Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re working on right now? How was it to end the Birthmarked trilogy and start something new?birthmarked trilogy

First, Emily, let me say thanks for inviting me to do an interview. Happy New Year to you and your readers! I’m working on the sequel to The Vault of Dreamers, The Rule of Mirrors, which has been evolving slowly since last spring. I have a very patient editor who has been super supportive. Ending Gaia’s story left me with a mix of feelings: I was sad to leave my characters, but also satisfied that I’d left them in the right place. I was curious and excited about starting Rosie’s story, but the challenge was daunting, too. I hoped I would be able to do a decent job.

Describe The Vault of Dreamer’s heroine Rose in three words–using only nouns.

She’s creative, caring, and curious.

Where did the Forge School story start? How long from inspiration to publication?

The idea came from a combination of my interests in reality TV, education, and dreams. I had the first inklings back when I was working on the Birthmarked Trilogy, in 2011, I think, and then I had a full draft of Vault in 2012 when my editor bought it. I was still revising it in early 2014, and it came out last fall. So, what is that? Three years? I don’t really count the time. I just keep writing.

Did the plot of The Vault of Dreamers drastically change from first draft to publication, or was the story pretty well nailed down from the get go?

I had the basic concepts in the first draft (the school, the evil around the dreams), but the characters deepened and the layers of the plot had to develop a lot before the final draft. I had to discover the story with Rosie, who could only see the problems from her perspective, so it was tricky to develop what Berg was doing behind the scenes.

Has your writing process changed since writing Birthmarked?

I seem to write each book differently. The first draft of Birthmarked came out in a straightforward way, and then went through a dozen or so revisions. My first drafts since then have been more tangled, and they, too, have required many revisions. It might seem like I’m going backwards, but I have more faith now that I’ll eventually find solutions as long as I keep working, so I trust my process more. That’s an advance.

You have some amazing characters in The Vault of Dreamers, not to mention your Birthmarked trilogy! What character has been your favorite to write, and why?

Hmm. I loved writing Gaia’s character and oddly enough, I still wake up thinking about her sometimes. I have a similar investment in Rosie, especially in the book I’m writing now. She gets to me in ways I can’t quite describe and makes me care for her struggles. Leon, Will, Peter, and now Linus are favorites of mine, too.

Would you rather your books be made into a movie or a TV show? Why?

I’m very happy that the stories exist as books, and I don’t expect they’ll ever make it to screens. That said, I could see The Vault of Dreamers as a TV show. It would make sense, considering The Forge Show is a reality TV show.

What is your definition of a “bad writing day” and how do you deal with them?

I have days when I erase as much as I write, so I get to the end of the day and I’ve added no pages to my total, but those days are part of the process, too. The considering and rejecting of ideas counts as progress. I remind myself I’m in this for the long haul, and the point is to keep trying, keep thinking

Any words of wisdom for aspiring authors?

Explore the ideas that fascinate you, and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.

We know what you like to write–epic, thrilling dystopias!–but what do you like to read? Describe how your bookshelves are populated.

I love reading YA and have many recent favorites—The Winner’s Curse (Rutkoski), The Kiss of Deception (Pearson), Every Day (Levithan), and Belzhar (Wolitzer). I also enjoy historical fiction, romances novels, poetry, adult fantasy, and humor. I keep a list on Goodreads and update as I finish books in case you want to see more titles.

What’s one book you’re looking forward to being released?

I’m looking forward to the sequel to Pearson’s The Kiss of Deception. She’s a friend, and I’m hoping I can finagle an ARC out of her.

Thanks for these questions! Happy reading and writing!

Candy Bar Books

Welcome back, Scouts!

Winter break was fun, but now it’s time to crack down for finals! We’ve compiled a list of books to help you unwind, books that are fun, devour-in-one-sitting books. You’ve got enough deep thinking to do as you prepare for analytical English finals and studying calculus.  The books we picked are designed to help you relax in your study breaks or between finals.

Remember, reading helps decrease stress, so it’s not really procrastinating, you’re just taking care of yourself!

MISSION 1: THE RECRUIT (CHERUB, #1) by Robert Muchamore

CHERUB agents are highly trained, extremely talented–and all under the age of seventeen. For official purposes, these agents do not exist. They are sent out on missions to spy on terrorists, hack into crucial documents, and gather intel on global threats–all without gadgets or weapons. It is an exceptionally dangerous job, but these agents have one crucial advantage: adults never suspect that teens are spying on them. James is the latest CHERUB recruit. He’s a bit of a troublemaker, but he’s also brilliant. And CHERUB needs him. James has no idea what to expect, but he’s out of options. Before he can start in the field he must first survive one hundred grueling days of basic training, where even the toughest recruits don’t make it to the end….

THE SELECTION (Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself–and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER by Sarah Dessen

A long, hot summer…

That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU (Gallagher Girls, #1) by Ally Carter

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission–falling in love. Continue reading

Top Ten Books of December

Hope you’ve had a great Winter Break! Here are the most checked out books of December:

10. Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2) by Marissa Meyer

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

9. The Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself–and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined. Continue reading

Status

2015 Reading Challenge!

Happy New Year, Scouts!

It’s the time for resolutions, and hopefully yours include checking out some new books! We’re excited to kick off 2015 with a reading challenge.

We collected a bunch of prompts from all over–36 to be exact, one for every week of school. We thought it fitting, though of course we expect participants to read over breaks! Can you finish by December?

Reading challenges are a great way to step out of your comfort zone, explore new genres, and find books you’d never have picked up on your own!

For a print out of the prompt list, come in to the library! We also have recommendations to fill in each of these suggestions.

Hopefully, you’ll find a new favorite book in 2015.

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Here are some past blog posts to help you get started:

Read Me in a Day

We Need Diverse Books

Here’s My Trailer, So Read Me Maybe? 

Hidden Gems Genre Lists: