The Indigo Notebook

From Catherine, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Resau, Laura
The Indigo Notebook
 The book, The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau is a fictional book about a girl who travels the world with her mom. Each year they move to a different place, with a different culture and lifestyle. It takes a while to get used to it but the girl, Zeeta, eventually gets used to the change and can call the place her home. In her fifteenth notebook [one for each country they’ve lived in], which is indigo colored, she writes about meeting Jeff, Wendell, and many other people around Otavalo.

Wendell is on a quest for his birth parents, and Jeff is looking for someone to settle down with. They were both on the plane with Layla, Zeeta’s mom, and Zeeta. Zeeta desperately wants Jeff and Layla to like each other, because he seems like a Perfect Dad, and she thinks that she likes Wendell. The problem is, Layla isn’t into men like Jeff, and Wendell is in love with his ex-girlfriend. Zeeta thinks that both couples are getting closer through their quests: to settle down and make sure Zeeta is safe and to find Wendell’s birth parents. But will the unhappiness and dangers along the way ruin both relationships? Or will they continue as couples and make it through these rough times?? I liked this book because it shows how people can get over each other’s differences and still love each other. It also has a little drama, danger, and adventure in it. I think that this is a great book for teens to read!!


From Alicja Feitzinger
author: Yedaya, Keren
 Jaffa [videorecording]
This is a compelling drama about a young Jewish woman, Mali Wolf. Her father owns an auto repair shop in the heart of Jaffa. Mali and Toufik, a Palestinian mechanic, have been in love for years and now she is pregnant. As they plan their future together, an unexpected tragic incident changes
their lives. Mali is making tough choices as she is forced to deal with her unhappy family life and her uncertain future. This movie received mixed reviews, but I happen to like it. Mali’s strong character and the ultimate outcome made this story memorable and I would recommend it.


From Chelsea, Teen Book Reviewer
author: McMann, Lisa
Things should be great for Janie, the main character of Gone, by Lisa McMann. She has graduated from high school and is spending her summer with Cabel, the guy she’s totally in love with. Despite the thought, she thinks she is a total train wreck and that she doesn’t deserve him. She starts to think there’s only one way to give Cabel the life he deserves, by disappearing even though it might kill them both. But deep down inside, there is more to worry about. Janie starts panicking about how she’s going to survive her future when getting sucked into other people’s dreams is really starting to take its toll on her life. However, things get even more complicated when she meets a fellow stranger. Her future takes an unexpected twist that requires many life or death decisions from Janie, all when time is running out. I highly recommend this book because it’s a real page-turner and you wouldn’t dare to put it down. I also strongly recommend reading the first two books in the Wake trilogy, because this is the final book in the Wake trilogy.

Sea Change

From Elizabeth Harty
author: Friedman, Aimee
Sea Change
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman is a fictional novel geared towards the young adult reader. As a high school teacher, I am always looking for books that will captivate the interest of my students while simultaneously providing them with an interesting book to read. Sea Change fits all of these requirements as it is a novel that young adult readers will find compelling and captivating. The novel is set on the fictional Selkie Island (loosely based on Tybee Island, SC) where the protagonist, Miranda Merchant, a smart and sassy teenager from New York City, is helping her mother reconcile her recently deceased parents’ estate. It is here on Selkie Island that Miranda meets Leo, a local boy who has a mysterious quality about him. Miranda is a character whom teenagers will identify with and enjoy reading about her life-changing experiences during one monumental summer. Friedman is an exceptional writer who provides the reader with a well-written and enjoyable read.

The merry recluse: a life in essays

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Knapp, Caroline
The merry recluse: a life in essays 
This was published posthumously in 2004. The compiler is Sandra Shea, her former editor. The author died of lung cancer in 2002 at the age of 42.  Ms. Knapp was a columnist for the Boston Phoenix, an alternative newspaper, and her essays also appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Siren magazine, and New Woman magazine. She wrote honestly about her struggles and her innermost thoughts and feelings.  She admits to feelings of jealousy, anxiety, grief, loneliness and rage that many of us deny. Her essays about her obsessions and addictions are truly brave. In “A letter to my father”, she states “I’ve come to see drinking as a relationship, as full and rich and sensual and complex as the kind you have with the key people in your life, as the kind I had with you.  I loved drinking, for a long time. I loved it so much I could have died for it, literally.  But you died first and in many ways, I guess that spared me.  On some key level, you see, I couldn’t give up drinking until I’d given up you.”
      “Life without anesthesia” is about how exposed one feels after giving up an addiction.  In her case, she hid behind anorexia and alcoholism.  In conquering a food disorder and alcoholism, she was sometimes flooded with too many emotions, but also experienced an authentic life.  Ms. Knapp was also a fine social critic.  The piece entitled “Teddy Bear II” is about a case where a woman abandoned her father who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  She argues that we as a nation do a very poor job of caring for our elderly.  She could be funny, too.  How many of us can relate to spending inordinate sums of money to furnish our homes in “Notes on Nesting” I saw myself in “I hate money”: “I hate money.  I hate dealing with it, thinking about it, managing it, planning for it, and accounting for it. On the other hand, I don’t have too many problems spending it, which complicates matters considerably.” ” Bills? What bills? I don’t see any bills. Who’s Bill? Let’s talk about something else.” Some essays might appeal more to women.  In “Barbie does death”, Ms. Knapp states that “The big walk down the aisle  is allegedly something a girl starts dreaming about as soon as she’s old enough to dream”.  She did an informal poll of 15 of her friends, and only two had the wedding fantasy.  The majority fantasized about being rock stars or superheroes.  The title essay “The merry recluse” is about the joys of living alone, and how this flies in the face of societal expectations.  It would have been amazing to see what other issues she would have tackled, if she had lived.

Orange Is The New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison

From Andrea Payne
author: Kerman, Piper 
Orange Is The New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison
This is unlike any ‘prison’ story you’ve ever come across. Piper Kerman writes about and accepts responsibility for a drug trafficking crime she committed in her youth. Ten years later, the feds come knocking and the Smith College graduate is placed in the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Danbury, CT. This book chronicles some of the experiences that led to Piper’s incarceration; the life she began to build with her fiance before being indicted and sent to prison; and the relationships she builds in prison, while still somehow maintaining her relationship with her fiance, family and friends on the ‘outside.’ Some moments are very funny, others are deeply moving and thought provoking. This was an enjoyable and very unique read.

Instant Temptation

From Jody Bassuk
author: Shalvis, Jill
Instant Temptation
This is a continuation of the Wilder Brother books.  I didn’t read the first two, but I enjoyed this one anyway.  This is the story of oldest brother
Cam and his longtime relationship with Harley.  She’s holding a grudge against him because he doesn’t remember what happened one night years ago when he was drunk and had a one night stand with Harley.  This book was very enjoyable and I’m now looking for more Jill Shalvis books to read.

Thirteen Plus One

From Chloe Rafferty
author: Myracle, Lauren
Thirteen Plus One
This book was so awesome and  i couldn’t put it down. It is about a girl named Winnie Perry and her two best friends, Cinnamon and Dinah. It starts off during Winnie’s birthday and she is having a great day. But, all day she was longing for her boyfriend, Lars, to give her  a cupcake. instead, he gives her a gift card to Starbucks and she is upset. This book is amazing, and  i recommend it for anyone who has read Winnie’s other books, Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen. Otherwise, the books will make no sense!!! But don’t worry, the are fantastic.

Bridget Jones’s diary

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Fielding, Helen
Bridget Jones’s diary
I saw the movie before reading the book.  This is the classic book that spawned Chick Lit.  It holds up well (it was published in 1996). Some of the British-isms take getting used to: such as “fag” for cigarette and “flat” for apartment.  Each diary entry is prefaced by how many cigarettes she smoked, how much she weighs, the circumference of her thighs, how much alcohol she drank, calories consumed, and in parentheses if it was good or bad, and any mitigating factors leading to such behavior. In later entries, she also adds number of lottery tickets purchased, how many panic attacks or negative thoughts, and how many times she dialed 1471 (the equivalent of *69).

Bridget is a winsome, bumbling heroine.  She goes to dinner parties attended by Smug Marrieds, who say all sorts of derogatory things to her, a Singleton, such as ” Your biological clock is ticking”; and “You still don’t have a boyfriend, Old Girl?.”  She works at a publishing firm reading manuscripts. She starts an affair with her boss, Daniel Cleaver.  All along, she keeps running into the son of her parents’ friends, Mark Darcy, a human rights lawyer (or barrister, as they say. Interestingly, the text mentions the actors Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, who play Daniel and Mark in the film, respectively.  The book is funny and relatable; I didn’t want it to end.

The Help

From Charlene Muhr
author: Stockett, Kathryn
The Help
It’s 1962, and Eugenia Skeeter Pheelan, is a recent white college graduate, who returns home to Jackson, Mississippi, in hopes of becoming a writer.  The local paper hires her to write a housekeeping column, a subject very unfamiliar to her.  Seeking advice for her column, Skeeter begins interviewing Aibileen, a black maid who works for her friend Elizabeth.  When Skeeter submits a story to a NY Book Company and it is rejected, the editor encourages her to write about a subject that she knows.  Skeeter begins writing a ‘secret’ book about black maids working experiences with white families.  She enlists Aibileen’s help in finding other black maids to interview for her book.  This ‘secret’ book will establish Skeeter as a writer but will place the maids in jeopardy.  The audio book with the cast of four voices brings this novel alive, connecting the listener to the women who lived through it.