Looking for a Good Summer Read?

Check out Barnes and Nobles Top 40 YA (Young Adult) summer list…

40 YA Books You Need On Your Summer Reading List

Summer YA preview

Summer isn’t just about Choco Tacos and weird tanlines, it’s about racing through summer releases like it’s your job, and business is good. Here are 40 June through August YA books I can’t wait to get my hands on, or have already inhaled like so many Choco Tacos. Get them out of this internet list and into your hands:


June YA preview

Devoted, by Jennifer Mathieu
Why we’re excited: Both protected and restricted by her family’s extreme adherence to their fundamentalist Texas church, home-schooled Rachel finds herself questioning the costs of devotion. She starts defying the rules she lives by first subtly and then outright, until she finds herself facing a terrifying crossroads between giving in entirely or finding herself in exile.
Pair with: Deep thought and sweet tea

The Witch Hunter, by Virginia Boecker
Why we’re excited: This supernatural series starter set in an alt England centers on a witch hunter named Elizabeth, who faces death from a magic-fearing inquisitor when discovered in possession of herbs. When a wizard saves her from execution and asks her to be his ally, she’s plunged into a fascinating netherworld of dark enchantments.
Pair with: A rewatch of The Craft

Proof of Forever, by Lexa Hillyer
Why we’re excited: Hillyer’s a poet and cofounder of the Paper Lantern lit fiction incubator, and this is her YA debut. Four friends who’ve drifted apart are zapped by some strange magic back in time to their last year at summer camp, and must fix (or relive) old mistakes without derailing the future.
Pair with: An evening spent lol’ing at old yearbooks”

Read More Online……

Article taken directly from website

Faculty Favorite: Mr. Lowry


Horror. Fantasy. Science Fiction. These are a few of Mr. Lowry’s favorite genres that are all wrapped up in his favorite read: At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft. “Lovecraft served as the inspiration for such writers as Stephen King and Clive Barker, both considered masters of horror in the late 20th century,” says Mr. Lowry. “Lovecraft is known for seeping his stories in the genre of  ‘cosmic horror,’ and his work also incorporates aspects of science-fiction as well. I highly recommend anything written by him, but At the Mountains of Madness is my favorite,” he adds.


Check out the link above if you want to learn more about At the Mountains of Madness, H.P. Lovecraft, and his other works. And thanks, Mr. Lowry, for your contribution to our blog!

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

Long acknowledged as a master of nightmarish vision, H.P. Lovecraft established the genuineness and dignity of his own pioneering fiction in 1931 with his quintessential work of supernatural horror, At the Mountains of Madness. The deliberately told and increasingly chilling recollection of an Antarctic expedition’s uncanny discoveries –and their encounter with an untold menace in the ruins of a lost civilization–is a milestone of macabre literature.

Faculty Favorite: Mr. Ruda

What’s Mr. Ruda’s favorite book? Biplane by Richard Bach. This former USAF fighter pilot, Air Force captain and New York Times best-selling author’s writing has been described as “life-changing,” “inspiring,” and capable of “making you want to fly planes.”   


“I like this book because Ray Bradbury wrote the intro,” says Mr. Ruda. “I like it because, once, in 1987, I bought it and gave it to my dad with a nice inscription from me: I suggested he quit work, purchase a biplane, and fly. I like it because it reminds the readers to stay conscious and present in a world driven by unconscious choices. I like it because it proves that time machines do exist,” he adds.

Want to find out more about Biplane? Check out the synopsis from Goodreads.com below:

“Finding Ourselves is Like Flying An Ancient Biplane Coast To Coast: There Are Storms Ahead, But Oonce We’ve Started, It’s Too Late To turn Back.” To discover that time is not a straight line aimed toward infinity, Richard Bach undertook a magnificent journey. “Biplane” is the story of that solo flight into the American skies — a flight that became a personal quest to discover everything that lies beyond the ordinary.

Thanks, Mr. Ruda, for contributing to our blog!

Author and Alum Jennifer E. Smith returns for a visit to Lake Forest HS!

While on tour for her latest novel, Windfall, popular young adult author and LFHS alumna Jennifer E. Smith visited some English classes Wednesday afternoon and was kind enough to stop by the Library as well.

Often inspired by her high school memories and continues to draw on them for her stories, this was Jennifer’s first visit back to Lake Forest High School since she was a student here from 1995-1999. If you pay attention, she says those familiar with Lake Bluff and Lake Forest will recognize different settings in some of her novels, though she never identifies the towns outright. She recalled one of her former English teachers who encouraged her to write, even keeping a binder full of the extra stories she was writing and was a huge supporter of Jennifer submitting her pieces for contests. She also had fond memories of spending time in the library (though it used to be elsewhere in the building – our current library was the cafeteria when she went here!).

You can find her signature in the Silent Study Room’s Wall of Fame, and because we couldn’t resist, check out Jennifer’s freshman and senior yearbook pics – she looks exactly the same!


Want to get your hands on some of Jennifer’s writings? Look no further than the fiction section.

Image resultThe Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

“Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything? Imagine if she hadn’t forgotten the book. Or if there hadn’t been traffic on the expressway. Or if she hadn’t fumbled the coins for the toll…”



The Comeback SeasonThe Comeback Season

Ryan should be in class, enduring another miserable day of her first year of high school, but instead she’s on the train heading to opening day. Good luck is often hard to come by at a place like Wrigley Field, but it’s on this day that she meets Nick, the new kid from school, who seems to love the Cubs nearly as much as she does. But Nick carries with him a secret that makes Ryan wonder if anyone can ever really escape their past, or believe in the promise of those reassuring words: “Wait till next year.”


Click for more information on this titleThe Geography of You and Me

“Sparks fly when sixteen-year-old Lucy Patterson and seventeen-year-old Owen Buckley meet on an elevator rendered useless by a New York City blackout. Soon after, the two teenagers leave the city, but as they travel farther away from each other geographically, they stay connected emotionally, in this story set over the course of one year.”


And more…!



Faculty Favorite: Mr. Sweet


Mr. Sweet’s favorite author once wrote an entire book in 10 days and is the one of the top-earning authors of all time. Who is this literary powerhouse? None other than the prolific “king” of horror, Stephen King. And what’s Mr. Sweet’s favorite book? Different Seasons, a novella King wrote early in his career, which later became the basis for three different major motion pictures.

“Steven King is an amazing story teller, although this book (a 4-novel interconnected series) is not on his horror genre it is still a nice sci-fi,” says Mr. Sweet.screenshot-2017-02-13-at-8-49-08-am

Want to learn more about Different Seasons? Read the synopsis here from Goodreads.com:

A “hypnotic” (The New York Times Book Review) collection of four novellas from Stephen King bound together by the changing of seasons, each taking on the theme of a journey with strikingly different tones and characters.
“The wondrous readability of his work, as well as the instant sense of communication with his characters, are what make Stephen King the consummate storyteller that he is,” hailed the Houston Chronicle about Different Seasons.

This gripping collection begins with “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,” in which an unjustly imprisoned convict seeks a strange and startling revenge—the basis for the Best Picture Academy Award-nominee The Shawshank Redemption. Next is “Apt Pupil,” the inspiration for the film of the same name about top high school student Todd Bowden and his obsession with the dark and deadly past of an older man in town. In “The Body,” four rambunctious young boys plunge through the façade of a small town and come face-to-face with life, death, and intimations of their own mortality. This novella became the movie Stand By Me. Finally, a disgraced woman is determined to triumph over death in “The Breathing Method.”

Thanks, Mr. Sweet, for contributing to our blog!

Check Out Some New Titles at the Lake Forest High School Library!

Check out (and check out!) some of the books we’ve just added to our collection:


Book cover

Drawdown : the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming edited by Paul Hawken

First, the good news. In 2015, 195 nations agreed at a meeting in Paris to take measures to reduce carbon emissions. In early 2016, national leaders from around the world began signing the Paris Agreement.

Now, the bad news. President Trump’s top advisors are split on whether to exit the Agreement, and 2016 clocked in as the hottest year ever on record.

Thankfully, editor Paul Hawken and a coalition of more than two hundred scientists, researchers, fellows, writers, economists, financial analysts, architects, companies, agencies, NGOs, activists, and other experts have formed Project Drawdown to gather one hundred of the most viable ways to “draw down” carbon from the atmosphere.

The result of their research is Drawdown, an immensely readable volume of solutions to climate change written for laypeople but informed by the world’s top experts in the field – the first book of its kind. I spoke with Hawken about the origins of Project Drawdown, the influence he hopes Drawdown has on readers, and the ways in which readers can get further involved in the work that Project Drawdown is doing. […]

From a Yale Climate Connections interview with Paul Hawkin



                             MARS ONE by Jonathan Maberry

Mars One by Jonathan Maberry

Science Fiction

It ain’t easy to get to Mars.

It is the year 2026, and Tristan’s family has been chosen for the (real-life proposed) Mars One program, a one-way mission to establish a colony on Mars. In order to raise the necessary funds, good-looking white boy Tristan Hart has become an all-American teen heartthrob as the star of the reality show Tristan and Izzy, which chronicles his impending lifelong separation from his childhood sweetheart. Having made millions from the show, Tristan donates a portion of the funds to the Mars One mission and sets some money in trust for Izzy and his best friend, both of whom will be left behind. Lurking in the backdrop of the media charade, a terrorist group known as the Neo-Luddites has launched bombing attacks to thwart the Mars mission. Tensions are further exacerbated when it is discovered that a competitor may have already launched a secret mission to Mars. Tristan capably narrates, the believable teen blending his sorrow at leaving his friends with the kind of excitement readers will expect from a space adventure. Maberry mixes sci-fi details with romance and satire of modern media, his Mars One mission hosting a diverse set of characters that will have readers wishing they could join up.

Maberry wins with his on-the-spot dialogue, and his characters grace the page with ease.

From the Kirkus Review



Given to the Sea (Given Duet, #1)

Given to the Sea by Mandy McGinnis


Multiple perspectives reveal the story of several people—and a kingdom—in turmoil.

Khosa is the Given, destined to sacrifice herself to the sea for the sake of her kingdom. Her village attacked, she escapes Pietra leader Witt and his hordes for the royal city so she can do her duty. There, she meets Vincent, third in line to the throne, as well as his adopted Indiri siblings, Donil and Dara. Both Vincent and Donil fall for fragile Khosa, but it’s Donil who captures her affections—the only person whose touch doesn’t repel her. Meanwhile, fierce Dara has feelings for Vincent but knows a speckled-skinned Indiri can never sit the throne with him—and, as one of two of the last of her race, she is obsessed with finding another Indiri male. But this book isn’t just about love triangles (or squares): themes of duty and fate are thickly woven into the fabric of this tale as each character grapples with balancing moral obligation against desire. […]

This well-paced, thoughtful story will have readers eager for the sequel.

From the Kirkus Review

                             WAKING IN TIME by Angie Stanton

Waking in Time by Angie Stanton

Science Fiction

She’s going back in time; he’s going forward; they meet in 1961.

Still raw from her grandmother’s death, 18-year-old Abbi takes comfort in the fact that she is starting her freshman year at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. It’s the perfect place, one where the white narrator can make a fresh start and stay close to the memory of Grandma, who once walked the very same halls. But in her wildest dreams, Abbi never could have imagined just how close the two would be. For reasons she is desperate to understand, Abbi finds herself traveling backward through time, with each new stop providing clues to a mysterious family secret. To add to the intrigue, Abbi discovers she’s not the only time traveler. Will, a handsome white farm boy from 1927, is on his own journey forward through time, and Abbi gradually realizes that Will is not only linked to her family’s past, but also holds the key to her heart—past, present, and future.

From the Kirkus Review


Prez Vol. 1: Corndog in Chief by Mark Russell

Graphic novel

Meet Beth Ross, the first teenaged President of the United States. In a nation where corporations can run for office, the poor are used as human billboards, and tacos are delivered by drone, our only hope is this nineteen-year-old Twitter sensation. But the real question isn’t whether she’s ready for politics—it’s whether politics is ready for her.

From the DC Comics review


                             SNOW WHITE by Matt Phelan

Snow White by Matt Phelan

Graphic adaptation

Imagined through a 1920s lens, “Snow White” unfolds as a graphic novel.

Samantha White, nicknamed Snow, loses her mother at a young age. Her father, a shrewd and wealthy businessman, remarries a blunt-bobbed and ruthless actress known as the “Queen of the Follies.” In their large New York City apartment, the ticker tape whirrs stock updates and reminders of their fortune without cease. This, however, gets to Snow’s stepmother, and she starts to see insidious messages—just like the ones her fairy-tale counterpart received from her enchanted mirror—that ignite a deadly and consuming jealousy. She engages a man to kill Snow, who is ultimately saved by a gang of seven orphaned boys. Her stepmother finally exacts her revenge—with a syringe and an apple—until Detective Prince saves the day. Phelan masterfully shifts a tale heavily reliant on magic and fantasy into a realistic and historical setting without compromising plausibility. Creating sweeping and dreamy watercolors that play with emotion and color, Phelan is an exquisite visual storyteller, and he lets expressive, wordless sequences carry a large portion of his interpretation. With a keen historical slant, a bit of action and intrigue, high visual interest, and the fairy-tale leaning, this will awe a wide readership.


From the Kirkus Review




Faculty Favorite: Ms. Zimmerman

This week’s Faculty Favorite goes to a true book lover, English teacher Ms. Zimmerman. She’s got FOUR favorite books she’d like to recommend!


First up is When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka. “A Japanese family is sent from their home to Utah during the Japanese internment era of World War II,” says Ms. Zimmerman. “It is about their struggles on the journey and the problems they face when they try to return home. It is written from several different family members’ perspectives, which makes the voices all the more real.”


Julie Otsuka’s commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any we have ever seen. With crystalline intensity and precision, Otsuka uses a single family to evoke the deracination-both physical and emotional-of a generation of Japanese Americans. In five chapters, each flawlessly executed from a different point of view-the mother receiving the order to evacuate; the daughter on the long train ride to the camp; the son in the desert encampment; the family’s return to their home; and the bitter release of the father after more than four years in captivity-she has created a small tour de force, a novel of unrelenting economy and suppressed emotion. Spare, intimate, arrestingly understated, When the Emperor Was Divine is a haunting evocation of a family in wartime and an unmistakably resonant lesson for our times. It heralds the arrival of a singularly gifted new novelist.


Next, is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, an award-winning best seller that is headed for the big screen.

Ms. Zimmerman sums up the plot like this: “A blind young French girl (Marie Laure) and a German orphan who is called to become a member of Hitler’s Youth (Werner) find that their paths collide during the German occupation of France in WWII,” says Ms. Zimmerman. Why is it one of her favorites? “Both, in a way, are fighting for physical and emotional survival–Doerr delivers with poignancy what a child’s perspective on the wartime experience might be–it’s so beautifully written, full of imagery and metaphor,” she says.


From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).


Also topping Ms. Zimmerman’s list of favorite reads is this parenting book: The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage are Creating a Generation of Disconnected Kids by Madeline Levine.

Says Zimmerman, “Wow–opened my eyes as a parent and a teacher to one of the many routes some kids may take to becoming fragile rather than resilient through the constant process of “rescue” that our culture can sometimes promote.”


“If you are rearing a sensitive child, one who is burdened by the world’s problems and unsure how to cope with it, or one who is sensitive to physical or emotional energy in the room, or one who feels things more intensely than most, this is a great self-help book,” says Zimmerman. “There is also one by the same author for highly sensitive adults. Helped me learn to help my own children as well as some of my students. The book reminds us that about 10% of the world’s population is “highly sensitive.” I learned something new by reading this book,” she adds.

Screenshot 2017-02-10 at 2.41.35 PM.png

Lastly, Ms. Zimmerman recommends another parenting book: The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine N. Aron.

“If you are rearing a sensitive child, one who is burdened by the world’s problems and unsure how to cope with it, or one who is sensitive to physical or emotional energy in the room, or one who feels things more intensely than most, this is a great self-help book,” says Ms. Zimmerman. “There is also one by the same author for highly sensitive adults. Helped me learn to help my own children as well as some of my students. The book reminds us that about 10% of the world’s population is “highly sensitive.” I learned something new by reading this book,” she adds.


The bestselling author and psychologist whose books have topped 240,000 copies in print now addresses the trait of “high sensitivity” in children–and offers a breakthrough parenting guidebook for highly sensitive children and their caregivers.

With the publication of The Highly Sensitive Person, Elaine Aron became the first person to identify the inborn trait of “high sensitivity” and to show how it affects the lives of those who possess it. Up to 20 percent of the population is born highly sensitive, and now in The Highly Sensitive Child, Aron shifts her focus to highly sensitive children, who share the same characteristics as highly sensitive adults and thus face unique challenges as they grow up.

Rooted in Aron’s years of experience as a psychotherapist and her original research on child temperament, The Highly Sensitive Child shows how HSCs are born deeply reflective, sensitive to the subtle, and easily overwhelmed. These qualities can make for smart, conscientious, creative children, but with the wrong parenting or schooling, they can become unusually shy or timid, or begin acting out. Few parents and teachers understand where this behavior comes from–and as a result, HSCs are often mislabeled as overly inhibited, fearful, or “fussy,”or classified as “problem children” (and in some cases, misdiagnosed with disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder). But raised with proper understanding and care, HSCs are no more prone to these problems than nonsensitive children and can grow up to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults.

In this pioneering work, parents will find helpful self-tests and case studies to help them understand their HSC, along with thorough advice on:
• The challenges of raising an highly sensitive child

• The four keys to successfully parenting an HSC

• How to soothe highly sensitive infants

• Helping sensitive children survive in a not-so-sensitive world

• Making school and friendships enjoyable

With chapters addressing the needs of specific age groups, from newborns through teens, The Highly Sensitive Child delivers warmhearted, timely information for parents, teachers, and the sensitive children in their lives.

If you’d like to check out All the Light We Cannot See, please stop by the library and we’ll help you locate it. We’d like to send out a huge shout-out to Ms. Zimmerman for her wonderful contribution to our blog. Thanks!