Young Adult Books, ages 11 or 12 and up
SOME WE LOVE, SOME WE HATE, SOME WE EAT, by Hal HerzogHal Herzog subtitled his book, "Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals," because he is struck (as I've always been) by our ambivalence about animals. We love dogs, but some breed dogs who fight viciously as people bet money. We have “a thing” for all babies, yet many eat veal. We say we loathe cruelty to animals, yet as a nation we overlooks the giant hog, turkey, and chicken operations that are cruel in the extreme. We permit anything, it seems, in order to reduce the cost of our groceries. Because Herzog is a very good writer; you’ll find this book hard to put down, and you’ll think some new thoughts by the time you’re finished. A very stimulating, thought-provoking read.
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan.
This book started a fascinating sci-fi/fantasy series about Percy Jackson, a 12 year-old guy who knows he is different-he has ADHD and gets kicked out of private schools everywhere-but when he learns that he's the son of a Greek god, that explains a great deal. At his most recent school, one of the teachers turns into a monster and Percy's best friend becomes a satyr, and bingo! the adventures take off. Due to the writer's skill, it is easy to believe that Mount Olympus is located today on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building and Hell is at DOA Recording Studio, somewhere in LA. Readers who don't know Greek mythology will learn a lot here incidentally, and lovers of old myths will be in heaven. Readers can keep up with Percy, Grover (the nervous satyr), and AnnaBeth (daughter of Athena) in sequels: The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2)and The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 3)
Bloody Jack, Being An Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary (Jacky) Faber, Ship's Boy by L.A. Meyer.
Disguised as a boy in order to survive, Mary applies to be a ship's boy and succeeds with her deception, becoming Jacky. As she is both lovable and tough, readers are pulling for her from the earliest pages. She comes close to getting "caught out" a few times, but Jacky is resourceful. When breasts threaten to give her away, she binds them. When a pirate comes at her in a war, she shoots him, thus earning the name "Bloody Jack." Time passes, and this deception becomes more and more difficult to sustain. Somehow Jacky has to figure out ho
Extreme Pets! by Jane Harrington.
You might need a few science genes to really appreciate this book, but hey! lots of us have those genes. Suppose you don't want a puppy or a kitten or a hamster, but instead you want a snake. Or a tarantula. Or a nice rat. If so, this book is terrific. Five major sections include Cold Blooded! Pocket Pets! Insects! Slimy Pets! and D.I.Y. Guide. This is a sensible, informational approach with a sense of humor and lots of pictures to help you decide if YOU want to own a very different, extreme pet!
Fragments by Jeffry W. Johnston (Edgar award nominee, 2008)
Teens really like this book, calling it "dark and edgy" and "compelling." All professional reviews are raves, so I look forward to reading the story of Chase, a junior in high school who is recovering from a serious accident. As days go by, flashes of highly unpleasant memories come to him and he realizes that he needs to know more, though he fears what he will learn. As Chase's partial amnesia fades, tension mounts. This is the author's first book, but it foretells a writing future.
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