To Catch a Killer

To Catch a Killer

By Sheryl Scarborough

Scholastic, 2017.41gsWP78F9L

This was a really great read!  If you loved, Blood Will Tell by April Henry, get ready as Scarborough ramps up the intensity of this double murder!  Erin at the age of two was found at sitting in a pool of blood next to her murdered mother. She never knew her father, so Erin’s mother’s best friend Rachel raised Erin—staying right in the same town.  Erin has always been known as the kid whose mom was murdered.  Even fourteen years later—people feel sorry for her. Erin is tired of not knowing who killed her mom so she befriends the biology teacher who has a passion for forensics—and that person ends up dead too!  Now instead of searching for a murderer, Erin is trying to defend herself as she becomes a suspect in the teacher’s murder! I thought this was a great YA murder mystery-as every character is a suspect.


The Place Between Breaths

The Place Between Breaths

By An Na

New York: A Caitlyn Dlouhy, 2018.

Grades: 9 and up

Grace King is strong but is she strong enough to overcome her own DNA? Grace’s mom left when Grace was very young—her mom was suffering with schizophrenia and when she couldn’t deal with it anymore she left her husband and Grace  behind.  Grace just has some vague memories of her mother that at times scare herBetween—not because her mother would hurt her but because her DNA might be a repeat of what her mother went through.

Although intrigued with this story of a father who is obsessed with finding his wife and a cure for schizophrenia and a daughter who works in the same lab, looking for the same cure. But Grace’s mental condition begins to deteriorate it was hard to tell if she was telling us about her mother or if we were living her own hallucinations.  A sad story indeed. I would only recommend this to a dedicated high school reader as it has a suicide is a theme.

Midnight Dark Star

Midnight Dark Star

By R.T. Martin

Minneapolis: Darby Creek, 2017.

Thriller   88 Pages  Grades 7 and Up   Reluctant Readers

This reminds me of an old sci-fi movie and perfect for reluctant readers who need a fast pace thriller. Claire is not doing well in high school science class—she is getting 51lbl9q9ecl-_sx353_bo1204203200_desperate and when her teacher offers Saturday night extra credit—Clare has no choice but to cancel her plans with friends. Misery loves company and soon her friends join her Saturday night extra credit.  It was the new smart girl, Val,   who came up with going out to the bluffs to watch the meteor showers. But, she does not know the history of the


bluffs—the bluffs where a whole senior class disappeared many years ago.  But this mysterious new girl has a dark side, a very dark side and Claire and her friends will not soon forget the night they spent at the bluffs—if they survive.

The Fall

The Fall

By James Preller

Feiwel and Friends, 2015.

Realistic Fiction   Grades 7/8 and Up9780312643010-2

This is a timely book written about suicide, bullying and cyber-bullying. It is told from high school student Sam Proctor’s perspective, as he writes in a journal about the death of his classmate Morgan Mallen—she jumped from the water tower to her death.  Sam reflects on whether he had caused her to take her life, if he did any of the bullying of Morgan, could he be caught if he did and did he do anything to stop what was happening to Morgan? Journey along with Sam as he digs deep within himself to come to grip with Morgan’s death and what kind of a human tortures another.   You won’t soon forget this novel by James Preller.

When We Collide

When We Collided

By Emery Lord

New York: Bloomsbury, 2016.

Young Adult Grade 8/9 and Up  344 Pages

Vivi and her mom have traveled to Verona Cove for the summer to get away from the city and from recent events.  Verona Cove is home to Jonah, his four siblings and his mom.  Both Jonah and Vivi are in crisis mode and both have a void in their life that seems to be insurmountable. For Jonah it is the sudden death of his father leaving his mom in a deep depression and him in charge of his two youngest siblings, work at his dad’s restaurant 25663637and no social life. Vivi is coming off a mental breakdown, trying to find herself and keeping life in balance. Then Vivi and Jonah collide, sparks fly and a summer relationship ensues.  Vivi lightens Jonah’s load at home as his younger two siblings fall in love with Vivi and her creative ways to entertain them. Vivi begins to feel alive, energized and in control but her control includes not taking her mood stabilizing pills.  Vivi draws Jonah out of his shell and falls in love and finds her sense of belonging but that is short lived as Vivi begins to spiral out of control.

I really enjoyed this story because of my psychiatric nursing background and the ability of Emery Lord’s great writing of the maniac phase of bipolar disorder—I could literally feel the rising mania in Vivi!  Vivi experienced what many other patients with Bi-Polar Disorder –the desire not to feel down at all.  Often when people take a mood stabilizer as they come down off their high they do not like feeling the “lower stable” or down feeling that they experience and therefore, they stop taking their pills just like Vivi did.

Alert: It is a YA title—it references sex several times in the story—no details/description.  Language issues especially when Vivi becomes out of control.

Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything

By Nicola Yoon

New York:  Delacorte Press, 2015.

Grade 8 and Up  310 pages

Fans of the Fault in Our Stars will love Nicola Yoon’s new book Everything, Everything. Madeline Whittier is just turning 18 years old and has never left her home.  Maddy is a bubble kid—she has SCID Severe Combined Immunodeficiency which means the outdoor world or people who have not been decontaminated could kill her.  So Maddy has accepted her fate and lives with her doctor mom in a house especially built just for her. Her mom built the house with the settlement money from when a driver fell asleep at the wheel and killed both her dad and her older brother.


Then one day her life is changed forever when a moving van pulls up and a new family moves into the house next door.  Life would have just gone on the same if it wasn’t for Olly, the new boy next door who from the beginning showed an interest in Maddy when she peered out the window to get a look at the new neighbors.  First it was a gaze, then IMing and then Maddy talked her day nurse into arranging for Olly to become sanitized and come in for a visit.  Maddy begins to ponder her existence, living inside her house, never feeling sick and yet never having outdoor contact. She makes a bold move to runaway not fearing the consequences.  Follow this exciting and romantic tale as Maddy experiences the real world and love for the very first time—life is short so live it while you can—even if it has a disastrous outcome!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved the twists and turns it takes along the way!

Grades 8 and up because one chapter has a love scene—not a lot of description (similar to the Fault in Our Stars). 

The Nest

The Nest

By Kenneth Oppel

New York:  Simon & Shuster, 2015.

Grades 6 and Up    244 Pages

I loved Kenneth Oppel’s, Airborn it was both magical and adventurous so I wasn’t quite sure what was in store for me in The Nest.  I knew that it was a thriller—but it was one of the strangest book I have read in a long time!!

It is always strenuous when a new baby is brought home but even more the-nest-9781481432320_hrstrenuous when the family brings home a sick baby.  Baby Theo has some congenital issues and is going to need heart surgery as soon as he is strong enough—so a lot of time and attention toward this new baby has put siblings Nicole and Steven lacking some attention.  Steven has anxiety issues and now that summer is upon them he has become anxious about the wasp nest growing outside the house.  Steven’s daytime anxiety rolls over into night but recently his night dreams have become soothing he believes that the creatures with the white bodies and big eyes are angels that have come to “fix” baby Theo if Steven will agree to the ‘contract’. Well Steven gets stung by a wasp, finds out he is allergic and the angels in his dreams are the queen wasps and his dreams now have become nightmares both at night and during the daytime!  Read this anxiety ridden thriller as Steven tries to find his place in his family.

A quick unique read!

Kenneth Oppel Website

The Here and Now

The Here and Now

By Ann Brashares

New York: Delacorte, 2014.

Pages 242.  Grades 8 and Up

It used to be if you said sci-fic it meant a “guy book” but over the last couple of years there have been some really great girl sci-fi novels and this one ranks at the top!  Ann Brashares, author of the popular chic series, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, does not disappoint her female fans!

Prenna James has come to the USA with her mom and handful of other people but she is not coming from another country she is Anncoming from another time—she comes from the USA but from the future. Traveling back in time allows seventeen year old Preena and her mother to escape the plague (spread by mosquitoes)—that is wiping out future generations.  Ann Brashares hints at true events taking place in our world today—such as climate change; that is leading our country to sure future destruction unless some subtle changes can be made.  This group of time travelers tries to blend in and the their “counselors” have stringent rules so that they do not change the course of history but when Prenna meets Ethan Jarves—she finds the rule about “no relationships” with anyone impossible. Can the two time periods really coexist without collisions if love is involved?


This is set in present day but you will love being introduced to future technology like iMemory, a camera and microphone that can be worn as an earring that records 24/7 and uploads it to cloud storage. The story blends the two time periods flawlessly—it is exciting, romantic a must read!


Author Website

Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens

By Libba Bray

New York:  Scholastic Press, 2011.

Grades 9 and Up

This is the perfect beach read!  I read this on vacation and kept disturbing everyone around me because I was either laughing out loud or reading a few lines out loud from the book! 

Libba Bray cooks up the perfect storm—Beauty Queens crashing on a deserted island (and if that isn’t enough for you—read on), sexy pirates, and a corrupt pageant corporation!   

The plane carrying all 50 beauty queen contestants for the Teen Dream Pageant goes down on an island and as the teens come out of the wreckage Miss Texas leads the remaining girls in a prayer. 

Then in Teen Dream fashion Miss Texas says, “We need to do a recon mission, to see if there are any more survivors, and tend to the wounded. My head kinda hurts,queen Miss New Mexico said.  Several girls gasped.  Half of an airline serving tray was lodged in forehead, forming a small blue canopy over her eyes. What is it? Miss New Mexico checked to make sure her bra straps weren’t showing. N-nothing. Miss Ohio managed an awkward smile” (8).

And so the story goes—while some are forging for food, others are tanning and practicing for the pageant.  This is a hilarious book from start to finish.  This is for the more mature YA reader as it has language issues and every social issue known to man, or in this case woman.