READ THIS BOOK: Review of Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

gabi-a-girl-in-pieces-cover-artWelcome to the world of Gaby Hernandez: closet junk-food binger, aspiring poet and Latina high school senior whose world collapses around her just as she’s beginning to find her place in it.

Gabi’s life is full of typical teenage angst: academic stress, mad crushes, negative body image, mean girls, and mom conflicts. But underlying that everyday turmoil is Gabi’s struggle to answer deeper questions about her ethnicity, class, and her sense of self: Is her skin too white even though she feels brown inside? How long can she hide the fact that her dad is a homeless meth addict? Is she too fat to be noticed by the cute guy? More importantly, will she ever break free from her family’s cycle of poverty and rise above the cultural boundaries set by her mother and aunt?

Told through diary entries, Gabi reveals her innermost thoughts, feelings, hopes and despair as she navigates her way through a senior year straight out of Drama 101: Her best friend becomes pregnant, her guy friend announces gay, she gets dumped by her boyfriend, her dad’s addiction is destroying her family (among other life-changing dramas), and through it all, she soothes herself by writing brilliant poetry while devouring sweets and sopes.

Gabi’s character is self-deprecating and real. It’s almost as if the author, Isabel Quintero, has stepped inside Gaby’s brain and downloaded its contents into the diary entries of this book.

I loved how Gabi presents herself as a strong, empowered woman, yet, as a reader, we are a partner to her most fragile, tender thoughts. She’s resilient amid the chaos around her and, for all of her perceived faults, she’s still quite likeable. After reading the first 20 pages, I wasn’t so sure I’d make it through this book. But her character grows on you; suddenly you connect and you’re swept up in her life–and her very own, very real journey to mend her fractured soul.

This book is also a 2017 Abe Lincoln Award Nominee. You can find it and other nominees on the shelf under the stairs. Check out the link here for a full list of Abe Lincoln Book Award nominees!

And let us know your thoughts if you decide to read Gabi, A Girl in Pieces.

Reviewed by Denise Mortensen, Library/Media Assistant at LFHS.

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Publishers Weekly’s List of Most Anticipated Children’s and YA Books for Fall 2016

tales-of-the-peculiarFall is here and so is Publishers Weekly’s list of most anticipated book releases. Fans of some popular YA series will find some familiar romance and fantasy sequels, including Tales of the Peculiar, by Ransom Riggs. Look for the Sept. 30 release of Tim Burton’s adaptation of Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children starring Eva Green and Asa Butterfield.

What will you be reading this fall? Will you be reading any of these? Let us know! Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon to the LFHS Library

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Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope (Harper, 2015)

By Wendy Holden

Reviewed by LFHS Library/Media Assistant Denise Mortensen

Born Survivors is a graphic and harrowing, yet inspiring true story about three unrelated young women who fought against all odds to survive Nazi death camps and bring new life into the world.

Priska, Anka and Rachel were young, happily married women with bright futures, living in three different cities when WWII broke out. Their stories begin to overlap in 1944, when the terrified women arrive, naked, freezing, and newly shorn of all bodily hair, on the parade ground of the Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp. Under the leering eyes of SS Officer and physician Dr. Joseph Mengele, the “Angel of Death,” the three women (who were in the early stages of pregnancy) were inspected and sorted into two lines: one for children, elderly, sick or pregnant women, and one for healthy, strong women. When Mengele asked,“Good morning, my pretty lady, are you pregnant?” each one answered, “Nein”; they didn’t know if telling the truth would mean they’d be condemned to the gas chamber.

Though Priska, Anka and Rachel knew nothing of each other during their captivity, they suffered the same deprivations: starvation, thirst, disease, forced labor, horrific living conditions and the constant fear that their “secret” pregnancy would be discovered by the Nazis. Yet miraculously, through their despair and suffering, they gave birth to three babies just days before their camp was liberated. After the war ended, the women counted their losses: their homes, their beloved family heirlooms and photos, their jobs and family businesses. Saddest of all, the women lost their adoring husbands, most of their relatives, and precious years of their lives.

Holocaust books are never easy to read, and this book is no exception. But in the end, Born Survivors is deeply inspiring, as the author recounts how each woman struggles to regain her health, happiness, and hope after the war, while raising their young children as single mothers.

It was not until many years later, when the “babies” were in their sixties, that they learned of each other through the website of their liberators, The 11th Armored Division (The Thunderbolts). The three were tearfully reunited in 2005 at the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Mauthausen concentration camp. There, they personally thanked the men who helped liberate them.

Holden leaves you in profound wonder at the courage and indomitable spirit of these three young women. This is a book you won’t put down–and it’s a book about a subject we should never forget.

 

CAUTION: Watching This Video May be Hazardous to Your Freedom of Expression

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Ahead of Banned Books Week (September 25-October 1), The American Library Association released its list of Top Ten Most Challenged  Books for 2015. According Time Magazine, “violence and substance use both make the top 10 reasons books are challenged, although sexually explicit content draws far more criticism, ranking the No. 1 most cited reason for seeking to ban a book.” Check out their interactive chart about it, and watch the ALA’s video below. Anything surprise you? Stop by to let us know what you think about why you think a particular book should or shouldn’t be on the list.

Just in Time for Homecoming 2016: Ten Books to Pump Up Your School Spirit!

Homecoming is just around the corner, Scouts, so we’ve compiled a list of our most popular books about football, cheerleading, and all the school spirit you can stand that’ll make you laugh out loud, get inspired, and see things through your opponents’ eyes. Get ready to show your Scout Spirit with one of these great reads!

10. FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS BY H.G. BISSINGER 

screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-37-15-amThe Permian Panthers of Odessa, Texas are the winningest team in Texas history. Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom-bust path of the oil business. In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday night from September to December, when the Permian High School Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, H. G. Bissinger chronicles a season in the life of Odessa and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires–and sometimes shatters–the teenagers who wear the Panthers’ uniforms.


9. FIRST AND THEN BY EMMA MILLS
 

screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-38-11-amVeronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine.

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

8. ALWAYS A CATCH BY PETER RICHMOND 

screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-38-52-amA ripped-from-the-headlines story about teens and steroids.

From a New York Times bestselling sports writer comes the story of one boy’s quest to stay true to himself without letting down his team. Jack and his father have never seen eye to eye…until Jack’s dad gives him the chance to transfer to Oakhurst his junior year. His dad sees it as a way for Jack to get into a good college; Jack sees it as refuge from his dad.

Oakhurst is more than an escape—it’s a chance for Jack to do something new, to try out for the football team. Once Jack makes the team, he’s thrust into a foreign world—one of intense hazing, vitamin supplements, monkey hormones and steroids. Jack has to decide how far he’s willing to go to fit in—and how much he’s willing to compromise himself to be the man his team wants him to be.

Perfect for fans of Mike Lupica and Tim Green.

7. THE BLIND SIDE BY MICHAEL LEWIS

screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-34-53-amWhen we first meet Michael Oher is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or how to read or write. He takes up football, and school, after a rich, white, Evangelical family plucks him from the streets. Then two great forces alter Oher: the family’s love and the evolution of professional football itself into a game in which the quarterback must be protected at any cost. Our protagonist becomes the priceless package of size, speed, and agility necessary to guard the quarterback’s greatest vulnerability: his blind side.

 

 

6. I’M WITH STUPID BY GEOFF HERBACH  

screenshot-2016-09-16-at-9-11-34-amFelton Reinstein has never been good with stress. Which is why he’s seriously freaking out. Revealing his college choice on national TV? It’s a heart attack waiting to happen. Deciding on a major for the next four years of his life? Ridiculous. He barely even knows who he is outside of football. And so…he embarks on The Epic Quest to Be Meaningful.

 


5. BLEACHERS BY JOHN GRISHAM
  

screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-39-41-amHigh school all-American Neely Crenshaw was probably the best quarterback ever to play for the legendary Messina Spartans. Fifteen years have gone by since those glory days, and Neely has come home to Messina to bury Coach Eddie Rake, the man who molded the Spartans into an unbeatable football dynasty.

Now, as Coach Rake’s “boys” sit in the bleachers waiting for the dimming field lights to signal his passing, they replay the old games, relive the old glories, and try to decide once and for all whether they love Eddie Rake – or hate him. For Neely Crenshaw, a man who must finally forgive his coach – and himself – before he can get on with his life, the stakes are especially high.

 


4. RAIDERS NIGHT
 BY ROBERT LIPSYTE, MICHAEL MILETIC

screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-40-22-amThe pressure is on.

At Nearmont High School, football stars are treated like royalty, and Matt Rydek has just ascended to the throne. As co-captain of the Raiders, he’s got it all, or so it seems: hot girls, all the right friends, plenty of juice to make him strong, and a winning team poised to go all the way. If he can keep his eye on the ball now, his future will be set, with a full ride to a Division One school, a shot at the pros, and most important his dad off his back. But when the team turns on one of its own, should Matt play by Raiders rules, or should he go long alone?

Robert Lipsyte, an award-winning journalist, in consultation with Dr. Michael J. Miletic, a leading sports psychiatrist, takes a hard-hitting look at the world of competitive high school sports in a novel straight from today’s headlines.



3. INVINCIBLE: MY JOURNEY FROM FAN TO NFL TEAM CAPTAIN BY VINCE PAPALE WITH CHAD MILLMAN 


screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-42-03-amThe true story of the NFL’s oldest rookie
In 1976, Vince Papale was thirty, a former schoolteacher and part-time bartender, and a season ticket-holder for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles. When he heard that Coach Dick Vermeil was holding open tryouts, he decided to give it a shot. Shocking himself and the coaches, he ran an explosive 40-yard-dash in just 4.5 seconds–a world-class time–and was offered a contract on the spot. When he joined the team, Papale became the oldest non-kicking rookie in NFL history, a fan favorite who played for four years and was named a team captain. Invincible is Vince Papale’s story, and a tie-in to the Disney Pictures film of the same name starring Mark Wahlberg as Papale and Greg Kinnear as Vermeil. But more than just a tie-in, it tells Papale’s story in his own words, covering subjects not included in the film. Like Rudy, Glory Road, and Rookie, it is the true story of an ordinary man who achieves an extraordinary goal.


2. EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR BY E. K. JOHNSTON
 

screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-42-45-amVeronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine.

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

1. CONCUSSION BY JEAN MARIE LASKAS 

screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-40-58-amNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Now a major motion picture starring Will Smith, Concussion is the riveting, unlikely story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who made one of the most significant medical discoveries of the twenty-first century, a discovery that challenges the existence of America’s favorite sport and puts Omalu in the crosshairs of football’s most powerful corporation: the NFL.

Jeanne Marie Laskas first met the young forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu in 2009, while reporting a story for GQ that would go on to inspire the movie Concussion. Omalu told her about a day in September 2002, when, in a dingy morgue in downtown Pittsburgh, he picked up a scalpel and made a discovery that would rattle America in ways he’d never intended. Omalu was new to America, chasing the dream, a deeply spiritual man escaping the wounds of civil war in Nigeria. The body on the slab in front of him belonged to a fifty-year-old named Mike Webster, aka “Iron Mike,” a Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the greatest ever to play the game. After retiring in 1990, Webster had suffered a dizzyingly steep decline. Toward the end of his life, he was living out of his van, tasering himself to relieve his chronic pain, and fixing his rotting teeth with Super Glue. How did this happen?, Omalu asked himself. How did a young man like Mike Webster end up like this?The search for answers would change Omalu’s life forever and put him in the crosshairs of one of the most powerful corporations in America: the National Football League. What Omalu discovered in Webster’s brain—proof that Iron Mike’s mental deterioration was no accident but a disease caused by blows to the head that could affect everyone playing the game—was the one truth the NFL wanted to ignore.

Taut, gripping, and gorgeously told, Concussion is the stirring story of one unlikely man’s decision to stand up to a multi-billion-dollar colossus, and to tell the world the truth.

All images and book reviews from Goodreads.com

Ipad Air 2s Have Arrived!

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Our library catalog is now just steps and a keypad touch away! Through a grant from the LFHS Foundation, three new iPad Air 2s were installed throughout the library this summer. You’ll find two of these wall-mounted catalog stations in our fiction section and one in the stacks of our non-fiction section. Now, you’re free to search through our catalog for just the right book for your History project or that new book everyone’s been talking about. We’re always grateful for new technology to help make your life (and your research) much easier!

What’s New in the Library/Media Center?

The Call Me, Ishmael Phone: Connecting LFHS Students with Readers Around the World

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Have you noticed the “new” old-school phone in our fiction section? No, it’s not a vintage prop that we picked up at a garage sale. It’s actually a high-tech interactive literary device aptly named ‘Call Me, Ishmael.’ Through a grant from the Secretary of State, we are lucky enough to be one of the first libraries or bookstores in the world to have one! What does it do, you ask? Well, if you’re looking for your next great read, simply pick up the phone and press any key to hear voicemail messages about any of the ten books we’ve featured this month. Press #4 to hear reviews of Abe Winner and NY Times bestseller, I am Malala. Press * to get “Ishmael Recommends.”  Next month we’ll be featuring reviews from LFHS teachers. You’ll be fascinated to hear reviews and recommendations from people all over the world–you can even create and upload one yourself. We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we have! Check it out here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/meishmael

http://callmeishmaelstore.com/