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Howton's Hidden Corner Posts

Audacity by Melanie Crowder

A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000.


Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world.

Loved every moment of this fast paced, novel in verse.

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

I think the theme I have found in many of the books I have been drawn to recently is, ‘What makes us who we are?” And while we wish it was completely left up to our dreams and goals for ourselves, most of what makes us who were are or will become is determined by our surroundings and the experiences that happen to us in those surroundings.  A look at the Queen of Hearts before she became queen, is a book that I thought would be pretty straight forward. She was evil to begin with and remained evil until the end. However, that is not the story that Marissa Meyer found when she began her journey into Wonderland. This look into the journey of becoming The Queen of Hearts is an adventure packed  story that we all thought we already knew.

 

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

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A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby

Jack the Ripper, Phossy Jaw, and the Elephant Man may seem like sadistic carnival attractions from the past but they are not. However, they are bits and pieces of history that center around a singular time period. A time period that Matthew J. Kirby began to research and then decided that by a not so distant stretch of his imagination, these people and situations could have intertwined within each other’s lives.  Out of this brilliant feat of imagination comes a ghost story that is drenched in historical fact and dipped in narrative fiction. I hope you will check out and enjoy Kirby’s A Taste for Monsters.

London 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory with nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in London Hospital. Evelyn wanted to be locked away from the world, like he is, shut away from the filth and dangers of the streets. But in Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, she finds a gentle kindred, who does not recoil from her, and who understands her pain.

When the murders begin, however, Joseph and Evelyn are haunted nightly by the ghosts of the Ripper’s dead, setting Evelyn on a path to facing her fears and uncovering humanity’s worst nightmares, in which the real monsters are men.

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The Serpent King by Keff Zentner

What is it that really shapes who we are as a person. Is it where we grow up? Do our parents influence the person we are or who we will become?  Do we really have any control over our future?  These are the questions that are explored through the eyes of Dill in The Serpent King.

Dill isn’t the most popular kid at his rural Tennessee high school. After his father fell from grace in a public scandal that reverberated throughout their small town, Dill became a target. Fortunately, his two fellow misfits and best friends, Travis and Lydia, have his back.

But as they begin their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. His only escapes are music and his secret feelings for Lydia–neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending–one that will rock his life to the core.

I was engulfed in this authentic look at adolescence and the pull to find our own personality and future out of the life that everyone around us seems to think we should be living. This book slowly won it’s spot in my list of favorite books.

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Goodbye Stranger By Rebecca Stead

“Who’s the real you? The person who did something awful, or the one who’s horrified by the awful thing you did? Is one part of you allowed to forgive the other?”

Long ago, best friends Bridge, Emily, and Tab made a pact: no fighting. But it’s the start of seventh grade, and everything is changing. Emily’s new curves are attracting attention, and Tab is suddenly a member of the Human Rights Club. And then there’s Bridge. She’s started wearing cat ears and is the only one who’s still tempted to draw funny cartoons on her homework.

By the time Valentine’s Day approaches, the girls have begun to question the bonds—and the limits—of friendship. Can they grow up without growing apart?

7th grade is hard. Everyone is mean, even the people who you think are your friends.  It is a cutthroat world where you are trying to figure out who you want to be, who your current friends are, if you really still  fit within their group, and if not, then where do you belong.  This was a perfect look into what being a 7th grader looks like and I enjoyed every moment (unlike the year that I actually was a 7th grader)!

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Scythe Neil Shusterman

In a world in which humanity has conquered death (no aging, no disease, no poverty, no war), ruled by the Thunderhead, an omniscient evolution of today’s cloud, Scythes are the only ones who are allowed to take a human life. They are considered to be the best humanity has to offer, and they roam the world “gleaning” people in order to keep the population in check. Scythes are treated like royalty and feared. The last thing Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch want is to become Scythes, but when they are chosen by Scythe Faraday to become his apprentices, they are thrown into a life in which they need to master the art of death. They prove to be apt pupils, but when Scythe Faraday mysteriously gleans himself and Citra and Rowan are apprenticed to two other fearsome Scythes, they will have to put their skills to the test against each other. —Tyler Hixson, School Library Journal

I thoroughly enjoyed the world that Neil Shusterman created in this new series.  I found it to be a believable scenario and found  the different ideals that different Scythes made into their individual creeds to be authentic.  I look forward to delving into this world again with future books in the series.

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Sea of Ink and Gold: The Reader by Traci Chee

Words hold magic, and those who can read them hold power that many are afraid of. That is why things called book are unheard of in the world created by Traci Chee.  An adventure from page one, this book grabs you and takes you on many different journeys to the point where you are anxiously anticipating what will be continued in the next book!

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

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NEED by Joelle Charbonneau

Dark, intense, and worrisome but boy was this a great read.  A gripping look into what happens when people (especially teenagers) think they can do harmless tasks in order to get the things they need…

 

When a new social network pops up promising to fulfill any need, 16-year-old Kaylee Dunham knows it’s too good to be true. It’s one thing to deliver new phones, computers, or sports equipment, but how can an anonymous site give Kaylee what she needs—a kidney for her little brother? Kaylee joins NEED to please her best and only friend, Nate, but starts to worry when NEED begins asking users to complete tasks in exchange for getting what they want. The tasks seem harmless enough at first, until a student turns up dead, and Kaylee finds out the lengths to which some people will go to get what they think they need. —Kimberly Ventrella, Southwest Oklahoma City Library for School Library Journal

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The Thing About Jellyfish By Ali Benjamin

Grief is an intricate process that is hard to define and is experienced in a different way for every person.  Suzy is a quirky, stubborn, and brilliant girl and she just isn’t sure how to approach life when her friend dies. Especially when she thinks about the last time she saw her friend and how their friendship was changing. This book gripped me in the throws of Suzy’s grieving process and I was swept along with the tide, much like…jellyfish.

 

Everyone says that it was an accident… that sometimes things “just happen”. But Suzy won’t believe it. Ever. After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory–even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

The hype surrounding this book and the subsequent Netflix series made me feel like if I didn’t read this book this summer, that I would be left out of a major issue surrounding young adults and what they read/watch. So like any good librarian would tell me to do, I read the book and then watched the series.  I truly fell in love with Hannah Baker and therefore Clay Jensen.  It is a haunting story but one that is also so full of moments in which to look at the way we treat each other and to find ways to change our behaviors in order to be kinder.   I found it to be a very realistic look at depression and all of the small moments that combine to convince someone to choose to end their life rather than try to find something to live for.  The publisher’s synopsis is as always quoted below!

 

You can’t stop the future. 
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

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