Things are gonna get rough.
Beck is the product of a loveless and brief encounter between his poor mother and an African sailor in Liverpool in the early 1900s.
After his mother dies Beck is sent to Canada to a group called The Catholic Brothers which is just as terrifying as it sounds.
Abused at the home, Beck is sent to work as a farmhand where he's treated like one of the animals.
Beck powers through, though, and what follows is a beautifully written tale of extreme hardship and true grit.
Eventually, Beck finds Grace, a woman that understands at least part of his hardships. With Grace Beck finds a glimmer of hope in what has been a cruel and heartless world.
I loved this book, even when it was hard to read sometimes. Peet creates a character that survives against all odds and projects volumes without barely saying a word.
There's been a lot of controversy about this being nominated for the Carnegie Award and the graphic description of abuse and sex. I get that, I wouldn't hand this to an 11 year old. It's for older teens in my opinion. Some have said it's just for adults and I disagree. If an older teen reads this they'll still be here in the morning and they'll be better off for reading it. An amazing tale that should not be missed.
Denizen Hardwick's having a tough week.
First, he's stuck in Crosscaper orphanage. That's not a huge deal because he's been there his whole life. He has no memory of his father. His only memory of his mother is that she smelled like strawberries and used to sing to her.
Then, on his thirteenth birthday, everything changes. Denizen gets a visitor, a mysterious man that tells him he's going to take him to see his long lost aunt.
On the way to see his aunt, something weird happens. The air becomes electric and his stomach feels queasy. The driver pulls the car over and steps out.
From the darkness emerges a creature, the stuff of Denizen's nightmares. The driver, known as Grey, kills the creature with a few barely audible words, driving it back into the dark with a blast of light.
From here, Denizen learns that his family belongs to an ancient band of Knights sworn to protect the earth from these creatures who live in another fold of reality. A dark, dark, fold that is getting stronger by the hour.
Denizen must learn ancient fighting techniques if he's going to join the Knights and help save the day.
A fast-paced electric series that is going to be super popular with the teens I work with!
I recommend this book to ages 11 and up!
Griffin has just lost the love of his life.
HIs best friend and soul-mate, Theo, has drowned in a horrible accident. Now Griffin is left to pick up the pieces, starting with the realisation that one of the only people that can help him cope with this tragedy is Jackson, the boy Theo grew to love after he left Griffin and moved to California for school.
Griffin's suffering doesn't end there, his OCD has gone into warp speed since Theo's death, and he can feel himself quickly unravelling. In order to survive his grief, Griffin has to be honest with himself, and unleash the secrets that are tearing him apart.
Written from the perspective of Griffin when Theo was alive and after he died, we slowly learn the things that Griffin has kept hidden from everyone he loves. I've never read Adam Silvera before and his writing is truly unique.
Griffin is consumed with grief the entire novel, fading in and out between hopelessness and not-quite hopelessness as he retraces his time with Theo, remember the things that made them special as a couple. When his OCD rears its ugly head it's easy to imagine Griffin's world crumbling around him as he tries desperately to make the pieces fit in his mind.
It's a brutally honest look at dealing with grief, teen angst, teen love and loss of all kinds. I recommend this book to ages 16 and up!
What if you could be the Grim Reaper?
That's the reality in this awesome new book by Neal Shusterman. It's the future, death is a thing of the past. Nano technology means that even getting hit by a Mack Truck isn't the end.
Sure, you'll spend a few days in a recovery centre while you're pieced back together, but hey, the recovery centres have the best hot fudge sundaes in town. There's no ageing, there's no disease, there's no crime.
On top of this, there's no government. Instead, the online "Cloud", now known as the Thunderhead, is an al knowing, all seeing leader of the world.
To keep the human population from spiralling out of control, select people are chosen to be Scythes, those who live a monk like existence and whose job it is to dole out death.
In a twist of fate, teens Citra and Rowan are chosen by Scythe Faraday to be his apprentices. Together, the teens learn that the world of the Scythes isn't as cut and dry as it seems. There is in-fighting, there is forbidden love, there is a band of rogue Scythes on the loose unleashing hell on people underserving of being "gleaned" as they call it.
Through their training, Citra and Rowan find out some really awful truths about their world, and once they're pitted against each other, all bets are off.
This is a really great book. I was completely sold on this brave new world and even though the Thunderhead made one appearance, I have a feeling it will be back for more in the second instalment. Both boys and girls alike will really get into this awesome new series.
I recommend Scythe to ages 12 and up!