2010 Unwind

2010 Winner - Unwind 
by Neal Shusterman

Donating one's grown out hair for cancer victims, or even signing up for organ donations when you accidentally die is a noble and thoughtful commitment decided by you.  In this potential futuristic story Unwind by Neal Shusterman, you don't decide to sacrifice your body, but your parents can sign the death warrant.  Of course, this commitment is noble and all rounded-up teens, from ages 13 to 18; get parties and fun until that specific day of "unwinding." Travel with Connor, who discovers that his parents have signed him over to the harvesters.  He isn't going willingly. He intends to resist—to run away—but to where he's not sure.

Booktalk by Lyla Anderson, Teacher-Librarian
Haller Middle School & Post Middle School

Booktalk #2

Remember when you could find an i-pod someplace besides an antique store? Remember when the “pro choice” and “pro life” people didn’t have standing armies and fight wars across America? Remember when your parents didn’t have the right to get rid of you if they decided you were just a big mistake. That was a loooong time ago; a time before “unwinding.”

Now if your parents or guardians decide want you gone, they can sign you up to be “unwound.” You’ll be sent to a “happy camp” you’ll be imprisoned until your 18th birthday.

On that day, they authorities will carefully sedate you, they’ll cut out all your useful body parts, and give them to deserving people.

Connor, Risa and Lev are three teenagers on the run. They’re scheduled to be Unwound. They’re determined to live anyway.

Will they make it?

Booktalk by Kirsten Edwards, Teen Librarian
King County Library System


13 Reasons Why 
by Jay Asher

I love getting mail, don’t you? Isn’t it great when you come home to find a package with your name on it?

For Clay Jensen—? Well... When he rips off the brown paper and tape he finds cassette tapes from his ex-girlfriend, Hannah Baker: Cassette tapes of her, talking to him, telling Clay what she’s thinking and feeling.

Not so great.

Especially since Hannah killed herself two weeks ago.

Really not so great.

Hannah promises that all 13 recipients of the box are named somewhere in the tapes, and they are one of the 13 reasons why Hannah Baker took her own life. The tapes take Clay on a guided tour of the highs and lows of Hannah’s life: she’s vulnerable and explicit in explaining her pain; why she chose suicide.

Meanwhile, Clay lives in fear of the tape he is mentioned on. Will Clay be able to live with what he hears? Hannah’s choice is already made, what will Clay’s be?

Booktalk by Mike Fleming, Teacher-Librarian
Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus Library

Booktalk #2

Clay has no idea why he got the tapes. What does this have to do with him? Hannah Baker has committed suicide but Clay had nothing to do with it. But he knows he must listen to the tapes and then pass them along. He listens to the secrets that surround Hannah. The secrets that led to her final, horrible decision to take her own life.

Audio version: http://www.nancykeane.com/booktalks/mp3/asher_thirteen.mp3

Booktalk by Nancy Keane, Booktalks Quick and Simple


City of Bones  by Cassandra Clare

[Good props: tattoos, (your own, a student’s) books on tattoos and what they mean]

Let’s set the stage for you. You’re name is Clary and you are 15. You get into the nightclub Pandemonium. You notice a boy with blue hair (not so unusual in this place) follow a very attractive girl in a white dress. You notice two dark shapes following the blue haired boy. You watch the couple sneak into a side room. You look again and realize that the dark shapes are really two boys and you see one of them pull out a long knife out and follow the couple.

What is happening? [Give the audience a chance to guess that this is—obviously—a murder and read page 8 where Isabelle declares her name until he is killed.]

Obviously he was killed, but who was he? And who is Isabelle? All Clary knows is that she has seen a murder. And possibly by kids who are into demons, maybe a cult of some sort? No, they are in fact, demon killers, and Clary has just admitted that she can see them, which is something a “mundie” can’t do (I know, shades of Harry Potter and muggles!)

THIS is no Harry Potter, however. Clary’s mother is kidnapped by the demons and put into a coma; Clary joins the “Shadowhunters” which is dark and dangerous; she finds a strange attraction to one of the Shadowhunters just as her friend Simon announces his love for her. But never fear—it is not a romance either! With werewolves and of course mind-sucking librarians (aren’t we all??); this book will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Booktalk by Mary Jo Heller, Teacher-Librarian
Einstein Middle School


The Luxe 
by Anna Godbersen

The Holland sisters were the beautiful daughters of an old New York family. But they couldn’t have been more different.

Elizabeth, the oldest, was known for her strong “moral character”. Liz always did what was expected of her. She had spent a year with a finishing governess, and had lived in France. Liz was well on her way to becoming a lady. Diana, only 16, was yet to have her formal coming out and she hated the idea of becoming a lady. Diana was an outspoken free spirit in full rebellion against the Rules.

It was September 1899, the end of a century and the beginning of the party season in Manhattan. For many of the 70 or so families that made up New York society, much revolved around what would happened in the next few weeks. This was especially true for the Hollands. For they had a secret that no one else must know—with the death of Mr. Holland the family had become poor.

Elizabeth’s mother was desperate to save the good name of the Holland Line. To accomplish this, she was grooming Elizabeth to marry a rich suitor. Liz thought she would have time to pick a husband. But now it seemed like time had run out. For Liz had gotten a proposal from an unexpected source—Henry Schoonmaker, The handsome Henry was the descendent of one of New York’s oldest families, the son of a man who owned much of Manhattan. But Henry was definitely not a rule-follower. And he was not the kind of young man Elizabeth would have chosen as a husband.

In fact, Elizabeth was in love with somebody else, a boyhood friend who was much below her station. Someone she could not get off her mind. What should she do? Her mother was depending on her to save the family. But her heart was telling her that she couldn’t go through with the wedding.

The Luxe, when anger, jealousy, and passion collide in turn-of-the century New York City Society none of the old Rules apply.

Booktalk by Tom Reynolds, Teen Librarian
Seattle Public Library

Booktalk #2

Scandal. Lust. Secrets. Betrayal. Gossip. Debutante society in wealthy New York city.Do these sound like the ingredients an episode of Gossip Girls?? Guess again: the Luxe takes place in 1899. Elizabeth Holland is the darling of the New York. The prettiest. The richest. The most desired. But Elizabeth Holland is dead.
Was it suicide? Murder?Find out all of Elizabeth and her family’s most guarded secrets in The Luxe.

And don’t miss the series website: Meet the characters, take a quiz, scope out the different hotspots and get a sneak peak at the sequel Rumors at: http://www.harperteen-theluxe.com/luxe.html

Booktalk adapted from a book review by Katy
Cameron Village Regional Library


Evernight 
by Claudia Gray

Bianca is a sheltered small town girl who likes her life just the way it is. Unfortunately her parents have other plans for her—they agree to take jobs teaching at Evernight an ultra exclusive boarding school: As an Evernight student, not only will Bianca get a first class education, but her horizons will be broadened.

Boy, will they ever.

On her first day, before school even starts, Bianca is tackled in the woods outside the school by a mysterious and handsome young man who at first accuses her of being “one of them” then promises to keep her safe. Bianca finds herself at once deeply attracted to Lucas and unnerved by his strange behavior toward her—and when she discovers he’s a fellow Evernight student she knows this will be no ordinary school year.

The students at Evernight are not only impossibly rich and well-groomed, but inhumanly beautiful. Only a handful of Evernight “scholarship” students—admitted for the first time in the school’s history—look and act anything like normal teenagers. There is no school cafeteria—all meals are served in the student’s private rooms. And Lucas? He’s a serious bad boy, playing hot and cold with Bianca’s affections, assuring her that it’s not safe for them to be together.

If you think you know where this is going, you’re almost certainly wrong. Evernight will turn your expectations upside down not once—but twice—and leave you clamoring for more.

Booktalk by Kirsten Edwards, King County Library System


Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

On an ordinary day, in an ordinary town, an ordinary girl is about to make an extraordinary acquaintance…

She turned. When his hat had come off, his hair had come off, too. In the confusion, all she had seen was a chalk-white scalp, so she turned expecting to see a bald albino, maybe. But, no. With his sunglasses gone and his scarf hanging down, there was no denying the fact that he had no flesh, he had no skin, he had no eyes, and he had no face. All he had was a skull for a head.

When Stephanie inherits her eccentric uncle’s estate, little does she know she’s inheriting something along with it: a life-or-death battle between good and evil. Fortunately for Stephanie, she also inherits a friend and ally that just might help her make it out of this alive--Skullduggery Pleasant. With his dashing fashion sense, snappy wit, and fire-throwing abilities, Skullduggery is just the guy to have along in fight--so who cares if underneath the designer clothes, he’s just a skeleton—?!

Booktalk by Nancy Keane, Booktalks Quick and Simple

Booktalk #2

See this guy [point to Skulduggery on the cover of the book] He’s Skulduggery Pleasant. Long ago an evil sorcerer tortured him to death, stripping the flesh from his living body. Did that stop the man? Hardly! Skulduggery returned from the grave to bring his Nemesis down. Nowadays he continues to fight crime, bringing hardened thugs and ne’er do wells from the secret world of magic to justice. When his good friend, Gordon Edgely is murdered, Skulduggery is on the case—and the last thing he needs on the job is a tag-along human apprentice.

Stephanie is a smart aleck teenager with a taste for trouble and an entirely unsuspected talent for magic. Unsuspected, that is, until her eccentric Uncle Gordon Edgely leaves his entire estate—house, property, the whole shebang to Stephanie, and the inheritance includes a one way ticket to the magical underworld. She can use all the help she can get and Skulduggery looks like just the perfect companion on the ride.

Together they’ll solve Gordon’s murder—and maybe save the world a time or two as well.

Booktalk by Kirsten Edwards, Teen Librarian
King County Library System


The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Famil
By Martha Raddatz

“Black Sunday, 1900 hours April 4, 2004, Sadr City, Iraq. Where the light shone that evening, it illuminated only gore and the clenched faces of soldiers unaccustomed to pain.”

The reconstruction of Iraq has stalled. Civil war threatens to ignite the country. The men and women of the 2-7 Cavalry are doing everything and anything they can to help the Iraqi militia and citizens restore basic services: even to the scutty job of hauling sewage. But it’s not enough. They’ve been ambushed.

Many will die. Many more will be wounded. Live the story of their courage and perseverance through a bloody fight at a time when all hope seemed lost. These soldiers paid the price: this is their story.

Booktalk by Kirsten Edwards, Teen Librarian
King County Library System 


Peak 
by Roland Smith


The air is so thin up here, Peak doesn't think he will ever be able to make it.  How can they really expect a 14-year-old to summit the tallest peak on earth?  If his father wasn't leading the expedition and if he hadn't gotten himself into trouble back in the states, this would not be happening.  But what is really going on here?  Why is his father so interested in him after ignoring him most of his life?  Is it really about wanting Peak to be the youngest person ever to summit on Mt. Everest? Why are the Chinese soldiers making repeated trips to check on the climbers?  And why is Peak's dad so interested in the Nepalese boy on the trip? 

Booktalk by Nancy Keane, Booktalks Quick and Simple

Booktalk #2

His name is Peak. Peak Marcello. It could be worse. His parent’s could have called in “Glacier” or “Crampon” or some other crazy mountain-climbing name. Peak is headed for a nice stint in Juvenile Detention for tagging. He was caught trying to put his trademark blue mountaintop symbol on the side New York City’s Woolworth Building.

57 floors up.

So maybe his parents aren’t the only people crazy about climbing.

Enter Peak’s dad to the rescue, to whisk him away from boring old school (and juvvie) and take him off on a life of adventure: Mr. Marcello is going to win fame and glory with his son as the youngest person ever to scale Mount Everest. At first Peak is excited, then he begins to discover just how painfully deadly that mountain climb can be. Pretty soon it’s not a question of “can he make it to the top” but “can he survive?”

If you like edge-of-your-seat survival adventure, this one’s for you.

Booktalk by Kirsten Edwards, Teen Librarian
King County Library System


Snitch by Allison Van Diepen

Julia DeVino goes to high school in Brooklyn.  Everyone belongs to a gang.  Julia and her friends have decided from 7th grade that they want nothing to do with them. They have watched the violence, even among girls, that is brought home to them in a frightening way.  Then Julia falls in love with Eric, who at first seems very simpatico, but also joins the Crips.  If Julia wants to continue being his girlfriend, she must also.  To her friends’ horror, Julia talks about the safety of being a part of a gang, the friendship, the “loyalty”; and while her friends watch, she is badly beaten, and  begins lying.  This novel never sugar coats, never preaches.  It does give us a hard look at the drugs, sex, and violence of gang life.

[Booktalker’s note: This is a short talk. We talk about this book with no gimmicks, no funny lines because it is a pretty mature book with mature themes]



Booktalk by Mary Jo Heller, Teacher-Librarian
Einstein Middle School

Booktalk #2

I’ve never been to a school where you have to go through a metal detector before you can get to class. Where my fellow students murder each other. Because gangs dominate our world.

Julia DiVino does. She’s just trying to get through at her Brooklyn high school where gang lines are clearly marked, where gangs are everywhere. She’s not a member, though her friends Marie and Black Chuck do belong to gangs. Julia has a future and she is NOT going to let the gangsta life derail it.

Julia’s life is going along fine, until Eric Valiente enters it. He’s new in school, and all the girls are drooling over him. But, for some reason, he’s interested in Julia. And he’s not the gang type, right?

Nothing is as it seems, and nothing will stay the same. Julia has hard choices to make, and then she’s got to deal with the consequences, whatever those may be.

Booktalk adapted from a book review by Teen Reader Jocelyn


Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

(Good props: camera, yearbook)



Have you been involved with your school yearbook?  Newspaper?  Used a school camera? Well, let’s imagine that you are Naomi, and as one of the yearbook co-editors, you forgot the $3600 camera that you use as the editor.  Because you are the responsible type, you take it back inside to get it, but because you are in a hurry, you trip down the stairs to meet your best friend and co-editor,     

Did I mention it was a $3,600 camera?  You save the camera [pantomime falling with the camera on top] but hit your head on the steps.

The next thing you know you are in an ambulance.  No memory of the fall. No memory of the boy who is sitting beside you, claiming to be your boyfriend.  No memory of the last 5 years in fact.  Your best friend wants to lead you with bits and pieces of information to help you remember.  Your friends want you to remember NOW.  And that boyfriend? He says you are having sex.

What would you do?  Who do you believe?  Do you want to be that person even?  Is this your chance to remake yourself?  You will love Naomi; you will hate Naomi; but you will have an opinion!  And I guarantee you will be talking about this book!

Booktalk by Mary Jo Heller, Teacher-Librarian
Einstein Middle School

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