Review: To Kill A Mockingbird

tokillamockingbirdTo Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee was an intriguing story following the life of Scout, Jem and Atticus Finch as they dealt with prejudice throughout their town. It was very gripping, and it kept you wanting more. Although the book wasn’t my favorite, I liked how it incorporated actual events from history such as the Great Depression and the Civil War. I felt that it connected with the readers, as they knew what the characters might be going through. Harper Lee focused on stereotypes not only for African Americans but for others as well. Take Scout for instance, she is always pressured to be more like a “lady” and not behave so unruly. It’s a good book for those who like historical fiction and if required for high school English classes.

Reviewed by Emma Carroll.

Explode Your Holds With More New Fiction!


Check out this awesome assortment of new fiction we just got in:


Mystery and Thrillers:

With Malice: A Novelwith-malice by Eileen Cook

Jill Charron's senior trip to Italy was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime-- and then the accident happened. Waking up in a hospital room, her leg in a cast, Jill learns she was involved in a fatal accident. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe it wasn't an accident....


city-of-spiesCity of Spies by Nina Berry

After ex-juvenile-detainee Pagan Jones, part-time Hollywood starlet, part-time spy, returns from making a film in Berlin, she's called upon by the handsome secret agent Devin Black to head to Buenos Aires for an undercover mission. She's to star in a cheesy film with bad actors while trying to track down a Nazi war criminal who has ties to her mother.

vicariousVicarious by Paula Stokes

Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they've escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be. Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose's ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it's bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities in the city's hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you--for a price. When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won't rest until she finds her sister's killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn't sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she'll have to untangle what's real from what only seems real, risking her own life in the process.

steeplejackSteeplejack by A. J. Hartley

Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga makes a living repairing the chimneys, towers, and spires of the city of Bar-Selehm. Dramatically different communities live and work alongside one another. The white Feldish command the nation’s higher echelons of society; the native Mahweni are divided between city life and the savannah. And then there’s Ang, part of the Lani community who immigrated there generations ago and now mostly live in poverty on Bar-Selehm’s edges. When Ang is supposed to meet her new apprentice, Berrit, she finds him dead. That same night the Beacon, an invaluable historical icon, is stolen. The Beacon’s theft commands the headlines, yet no one seems to care about Berrit’s murder--except for Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician. When he offers Ang a job investigating the death, she plunges headlong into new and unexpected dangers. Meanwhile, crowds gather in protests over the city’s mounting troubles. Rumors surrounding the Beacon’s theft grow. More suspicious deaths occur. With no one to help Ang except Josiah’s haughty younger sister, a savvy newspaper girl, and a kindhearted herder, Ang must rely on her intellect and strength to resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city descends into chaos.



nightstruckNightstruck by Jenna Black

Becket is an ordinary teenage girl, wrestling with the upheaval of her parents' divorce. A studious high school senior, her biggest problems to date have been choosing which colleges to apply to, living up to her parents' ambitious expectations for her, and fighting her secret crush on her best friend's boyfriend. But that all changes on the night she tries to save an innocent life and everything goes horribly wrong. Unbeknownst to her, Becket has been tricked into opening a door between worlds, allowing a dark magic into the mortal world. As the magic trickles in, the city begins to change at night.

exile-for-dreamersExile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin

Tess Aubreyson is being haunted by prophetic dreams of death and grief. She discovers that her dreams can help Lord Ravencross, the man she loves, and her fellow students at Stranje House. Which is good, because the traitorous Lady Daneska and the Ghost have returned to England to help make way for Napoleon's invasion, and the young ladies at Stranje House might be the only ones who can save England from a power-mad dictator.

black-river-fallsBlack River Falls by Jeff Hirsch

Seventeen-year-old Cardinal has escaped the virus that ravaged his town, leaving its victims alive but without their memories.

never-missing-never-foundNever Missing Never Found by Amanda Panitch

Stolen from her family as a young girl, Scarlett is now moving on from the past and starting her summer job at Adventure Time amusement park. When a girl goes missing from the park, it's clear that the past is not done with Scarlett.

rocks-fall-everyone-diesRocks Fall Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar

A paranormal suspense novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things--fears, memories, scars, even love--and his family's secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.

unitedUnited by Melissa Landers (An Alienated Novel)

The treaty between Earth and L’eihr has awakened and ancient force, threatening to destroy everything and it is up to Aelyx and Cara to unite their people before both their worlds are obliterated.

flyingFlying by Carrie Jones

Mana has always lived a normal life, albeit with an overprotective mother, until the day she comes home to find the house trashed and an alien in the garage. It turns out her mother is an alien hunter who has absconded with a piece of technology that everyone--human and alien--wants to get their hands on. When her mother's partner shows up and orders Mana to come with him, it may be up to Mana to save her mother--and the world.

Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor

Just when Skip O'Rourke thinks he's finally free of his con-artist family, they drag him back to Long Island for one last scam ... but nothing about this con is what it seems.


Continued Series:

Recreatedrecreated by Colleen Houck (sequel to Reawakened)

Lily must go into the Afterlife to save Amon and protect the world from being overthrown by the deadly Devouror of the Underworld.

empire-of-dustEmpire of Dust by Elenor Herman (Blood of Gods and Royals series, Book 2- sequel to Legacy of Kings)

After winning his first battle, Prince Alexander fights to become the ruler his kingdom demands--but the line between leader and tyrant blurs with each new threat. Meanwhile, Hephaestion, cast aside by Alexander for killing the wrong man, must conceal the devastating secret of a divine prophecy from Katerina even as the two of them are thrust together on a dangerous mission to Egypt. The warrior, Jacob, determined to forget his first love, vows to eradicate the ancient Blood Magics and believes that royal prisoner Cynane holds the key to Macedon's undoing. And in chains, the Persian princess Zofia still longs to find the Spirit Eaters, but first must grapple with the secrets of her handsome--and deadly--captor.

Under the Lights by Abbi Glines (A Field Party Novel; Sequel to Until Friday Night)

Three teens from a small southern town are stuck in a dramatic love triangle. As secrets come to light and hearts are broken, these former childhood friends must face the truth about growing up and falling in love...even if it means losing each other forever.



this-savage-songThis Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

As the heirs to opposing sides in a warring city, Kate Harker and Augustus Flynn should never have met. A Romeo and Juliet-esque fantasy about the difference between good and evil and the blurry gray area in between.

if-i-was-your-girlIf I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Amanda Hardy only wants to fit in at her new school, but she is keeping a big secret, so when she falls for Grant, guarded Amanda finds herself yearning to share with him everything about herself, including her previous life as Andrew.

the-girl-who-fellThe Girl Who Fell by S. M. Parker

When new boy in school, Alec, sweeps Zephyr off her feet, their passionate romance takes a dangerous and possessive turn when Alec begins manipulating Zephyr.



character-drivenCharacter Driven by David Lubar

In his last year of high school, seventeen-year-old virgin Cliff Sparks has to figure out what to do with his life, including how to meet new girl Jillian and how to deal with old issues with his unemployed father.

american-girlsAmerican Girls by Alison Umminger

Fifteen-year-old Anna runs away to Los Angeles where her half-sister takes her in, but after spending days on television and movie sets, she learns LA is not the glamorous escape she imagined.



american-girlsAmerican Girls by Alison Umminger (CD)

Fifteen-year-old Anna runs away to Los Angeles where her half-sister takes her in. After immersing herself in television and movie sets, she begins researching LA's lost girls and soon learns LA isn't the glamorous escape she imagined.

rebel-of-the-sandsRebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (CD)

Amani is desperate to leave the dead-end town of Dustwalk, and she's counting on her sharpshooting skills to help her escape. But after she meets Jin, the mysterious rebel running from the Sultan's army, she unlocks the powerful truth about the desert nation of Miraji--and herself.

summer-days-and-summer-nightsSummer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins (CD)

A collection of summertime romances by twelve young adult authors includes contributions by such notables as Francesca Lia Block, Lev Grossman, and Veronica Roth.

legacy-of-kingsLegacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman (Book One of Blood of Gods and Royals) (CD)

Katerina, on a mission to kill the queen, falls in love with Alexander, Prince of Macedonia. Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander's unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

spontaneousSpontaneous by Aaron Starmer

A darkly funny and spectacularly original exploration of friendship, goodbyes--and spontaneous combustion.

Review: Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes is a beautiful story about a princess just trying to find herself. She’s balancing her royal duties, the pressure of being perfect in the eyes of her father, the King of Hearts, and trying to be herself amidst the royal court. It’s so well written, making it feel as if you could feel what she is going through. She’squeenofhearts struggling with the way she looks along with being never good enough for her father and others in her life. Many readers may relate to this as they know what she’s going through and can understand why she makes the choices she does throughout the story. Her struggles are portrayed so well throughout the novel and show how she’s trying to find herself. Colleen Oakes makes you understand why she’s the iconic Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. This is the story about the Queen of Hearts before Alice comes to Wonderland. It makes you understand she wasn’t always cruel and heartless. The novel, Queen of Hearts is a great new book that you should read if you love fantasy: it will take your breath away.

Reviewed by Emma Carroll

Explode Your Holds With Even More Speculative Fiction!


Check out what's new this summer with even more speculative fiction!

devil-and-the-bluebirdDevil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black

Armed with her mother's guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister Cass, but when the devil she met at the town's crossroads changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil.

the-end-of-funThe End of Fun by Sean McGinty

Seventeen-year-old Aaron is hooked on FUN, a new augmented reality experience that is as addictive as it is FUN. But when he sets off on a treasure hunt, left by his late grandfather, Aaron must navigate the real world and discover what it means to connect--after the game is over.

the-crosswell-plotThe Crosswell Plot by Eliza Wass

Six siblings living in fear of their strict, religious father in the isolated woods of upstate New York, start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them and are offered glimpses of a life filled with freedom and choice, but first they will have to escape their father who has announced their family will soon return to their home in heaven.

change-places-with-meChange Places with Me by Lois Metzger

Rose wakes up one morning to find that there has been a fundamental change in her personality, and although she is now happy and outgoing, she senses that there is something wrong.

cure-for-the-common-universeCure for the Common Universe by Christian McKay Heidicker

Jaxon meets the girl of his dreams on the same day that his father ships him off to video game rehab. Now he must earn 1 million therapy points in a week, if he wants to be released from rehab in time for his date

SYNC Audiobooks: Week 15


This summer, SYNC provided two free teen audiobooks each week from May 5th to August 11th. Each week focused on a specific theme, pairing a classic YA title with a more modern YA title. This week is our last, and it starts Thursday, August 11th with Bone Gap by Laura Ruby and Classic American Short Stories by O. Henry, Jack London, Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Kate Chopin, James Fenimore Cooper.

bone-gapPrepare for the extraordinary. Narrator Dan Bittner does an exceptional job guiding listeners through this compelling novel of love and beauty, identity and power. His narration flows like a river, interweaving the stories of brothers Finn and Sean; their Polish immigrant boarder, Roza; and the small town of Bone Gap, where they live. When Roza suddenly disappears, Finn is the only witness to her abduction. Telling the story mostly from Finn and Roza’s points of view, Bittner skillfully voices characters of all ages and backgrounds. Of special note are Roza’s soft-spoken Polish-accented English and the kidnapper’s unctuous voice, which is 50 percent charm, 20 percent oil, and 30 percent very disturbing. This is a must-listen—a consummate blend of text and voice. The library owns this title in many formats: book, CD, ebook, and eaudiobook.

classic-american-short-storiesThis is a collection short late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century works by American writers Ambrose Bierce, Stephen Crane, Mark Twain, Jack London, and O. Henry. William Roberts is an excellent reader, and given a true classic, like Bierce’s “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” or Twain’s “Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” he achieves the subtlety and concentrated dramatic force that are the hallmarks of the American short story. The library does not own this particular title, but it is owned by other libraries in our system, and we would be happy to request it for you.

These titles will be available to download for free during this week only (8/11 to 8/18) at the SYNC website. The theme for this week is “Beautiful storytelling, brand new and classical.”

Summer Beach Reads


Summer is the time to kick back, relax, and enjoy some time in the shade. If you’re like me, you like to spend as much of your summer as you can at the beach! Of course, one of the essentials to pack in your bag when going to the beach is a good beach read. What makes a book a good beach read? I don’t really have a set genre of beach reads, just a loose collection of types of books that are perfect to read while sitting out on a beach towel or catching some sun by the pool. For me, this includes books in tropical/beachy locations, books that take place in the summer, sweet romances, short story collections, and books that are easy to lose yourself in (like fantasy, sci-fi, and thrillers). I’ve listed some suggestions below. What do you like to read at the beach?

summer-days-and-summer-nightsSummer Days and Summer Nights: 12 Love Stories edited and with a story by Stephanie Perkins

Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins, this book will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

hearts-fingers-and-other-thingsHearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross by Katie Finn

Gemma and Hallie, enemies to the core, are shocked when they learn that their parents are engaged -- to each other! Nothing in the world could possibly be worse than being stepsisters. Except perhaps being bottled up in a house together during a hurricane, along with two ex-boyfriends, a current crush, and the engaged couple...

just-kill-meJust Kill Me by Adam Selzer

After taking a summer job with a Chicago ghost tour company, eighteen-year-old Megan is interrogated for murder, when the reports of "real" ghost sightings increase along with the number of missing tourists.

two-summersTwo Summers by Aimee Friedman

Two possible futures face Summer: either she will spend the summer in Provence with her father, uncovering family secrets, and exploring the old world, or she will stay in upstate New York, coping with her mother, and dreaming of her long time crush--and which future unfolds will depend on whether or not she answers a phone call.

a-fierce-and-subtle-poisonA Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

Spending the summer with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico, seventeen-year-old Lucas turns to a legendary cursed girl filled with poison when his girlfriend mysteriously disappears.

no-love-allowedNo Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista

A wealthy boy's plan to survive the summer social season by hiring a fake girlfriend goes in an unexpected direction when he falls in love with bi-polar artist Didi.

portrait-of-usPortrait of Us by A. Destiny and Rhondy Helms

Looking forward to taking summer classes with a famous artist-in-residence, Corinne struggles beside a fellow student whose style clashes with her own, a view that shifts when she learns that they have more in common than she thought.

frannie-and-truFrannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup

When fifteen-year-old Frannie's seventeen-year-old cousin Tru moves in for the summer after a bad coming-out experience, Frannie feels desperate to impress her worldly older cousin, only to discover that his charismatic facade may hide a dark secret.

this-is-the-part-where-you-laughThis is the Part Where You Laugh by Peer Brown Hoffmeister

Rising sophomore Travis and his best friend, Creature, spend a summer in a Eugene, Oregon, trailer park dealing with cancer, basketball, first love, addiction, gang violence, and a reptilian infestation.

Before We Go Extinctbefore-we-go-extinct by Karen Rivers

After Sharkey's best friend commits suicide (or was it an accident?) in front of him, he spends the summer processing his grief on an abandoned beach resort island where his dad is the caretaker.

how-it-feels-flyHow It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes

For as long as Samantha can remember, she's wanted to be a professional dancer. But she's beset by crippling anxiety about her appearance, which threatens to crush her dreams entirely. On her dance teacher's recommendation, Sam is sent to a summer treatment camp for teen artists and athletes who are struggling with mental and emotional obstacles. If she can make progress, she'll be allowed to attend a crucial ballet intensive. But when asked to open up about her deepest insecurities, secret behaviors, and paralyzing fears to complete strangers, Sam can't cope. A compelling novel about body, mind, and the courage it takes to become who you want to be.

a-walk-in-the-sunA Walk in the Sun by Michelle Zink

While grieving following an unexpected family tragedy, Rose Darrow finds her quiet world turned upside down when Bodhi Lowell is hired to spend the summer working on her family's farm.

Summer of Supernovassummer-of-supernovas by Darcy Woods

As the daughter of an astrologer, Wilamena Carlisle knows the truth lies within the stars, so when she discovers a rare planetary alignment she is forced to tackle her worst astrological fear--The Fifth House of Relationships and Love--but Wil must decide whether a cosmically doomed love is worth rejecting her mother's legacy when she falls for a sensitive guitar player.

summer-of-sloaneSummer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

Seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre spends a summer in Hawaii as she deals with being betrayed by both her boyfriend and her best friend, and she and her twin brother, Penn, begin new, complicated, romances.

the-season-of-you-and-meThe Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine

Cassie deals with a breakup by deciding to spend the summer with her father and his family at their Jersey Shore bed-and-breakfast. Bryan, now in a wheelchair after being paralyzed last summer, is back at his camp job. Neither of them is expecting to fall in love.

a-totally-awkward-love-storyA Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Hannah and Sam are each searching for The One-- but over the summer, a series of hilarious misunderstandings prevent them from realizing that they're It for one another.

The Square Root of Summerthe-square-root-of-summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Gottie Oppenheimer, a seventeen-year-old physics prodigy, navigates grief, love, and disruptions in the space-time continuum in one very eventful summer.

whisper-to-meWhisper to Me by Nick Lake

Told through letter-writing flashbacks, Cassie is a New Jersey shore teen who over the course of one summer experiences the exhilarating highs of new love, the frightening free-falls of personal demons and family tragedy, and the bumps along the way to forgiveness, acceptance, and self-discovery.

the-hatersThe Haters by Jesse Andrews

For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It's pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It's three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they're in Ash's SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.

Explode Your Holds With Even More Realistic Fiction!


We have even more realistic fiction for you to check out this summer:

ask-me-how-i-got-hereAsk Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann

Addie has always been running--until she gets pregnant and makes a choice.

without-annetteWithout Annette by Jane B. Mason

Josie Little and her girlfriend Annette Anderson have traveled halfway across the country to attend Brookwood Academy, a prestigious boarding school in Connecticut, and get away from Annette's abusive mother, but as soon as they get there things begin to unravel--the undercurrents in the school are poisonous, Annette seems more interested in drinking with the in-crowd, and a boy declares that he is in love with her.

this-is-the-part-where-you-laughThis is the Part Where You Laugh by Peer Brown Hoffmeister

Rising sophomore Travis and his best friend, Creature, spend a summer in a Eugene, Oregon, trailer park dealing with cancer, basketball, first love, addiction, gang violence, and a reptilian infestation.

the-last-time-we-were-usThe Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

While Liz is planning a summer that includes a possible new boyfriend and great parties, Jason Sullivan, the boy who used to be her best friend before he was sent away, returns, and she is torn between her new life and her feelings for Jason.

the-unexpected-everythingThe Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

When a scandal surrounding her father upsets all her carefully laid plans for her future, Andie must learn to accept a new relationship with her father and to embrace a little chaos in her life.

draw-the-lineDraw the Line by Laurent Linn

A teen boy survives a hate crime against another gay student through his art.

flanneryFlannery by Lisa Moore

Sixteen-year-old Flannery Malone has it bad. She's been in love with Tyrone O'Rourke since the days she still believed in Santa Claus. But Tyrone has grown from a dorky kid into an outlaw graffiti artist, the rebel-with-a-cause of Flannery's dreams, literally too cool for school. Which is a problem, since he and Flannery are partners for the entrepreneurship class that she needs to graduate. And Tyrone's vanishing act may have darker causes than she realizes. Tyrone isn't Flannery's only problem. Her mother, Miranda, can't pay the heating bills, let alone buy Flannery's biology book. Her little brother, Felix, is careening out of control. And her best-friend-since-forever, Amber, has fallen for a guy who is making her forget all about the things she's always cared most about -- Flannery included -- leading Amber down a dark and dangerous path of her own. When Flannery decides to make a love potion for her entrepreneurship project, rumors that it actually works go viral, and she suddenly has a hot commodity on her hands. But a series of shattering events makes her realize that real-life love is far more potent -- and potentially damaging -- than any fairy-tale prescription.

burn-girlBurn Girl by Mandy Mikulencak

When her mother dies of a drug overdose, sixteen-year-old Arlie must adjust to living with an uncle she has never met and going to school on a regular basis.

before-we-go-extinctBefore We Go Extinct by Karen Rivers

After Sharkey's best friend commits suicide (or was it an accident?) in front of him, he spends the summer processing his grief on an abandoned beach resort island where his dad is the caretaker.

how-it-feels-flyHow It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes

For as long as Samantha can remember, she's wanted to be a professional dancer. But she's beset by crippling anxiety about her appearance, which threatens to crush her dreams entirely. On her dance teacher's recommendation, Sam is sent to a summer treatment camp for teen artists and athletes who are struggling with mental and emotional obstacles. If she can make progress, she'll be allowed to attend a crucial ballet intensive. But when asked to open up about her deepest insecurities, secret behaviors, and paralyzing fears to complete strangers, Sam can't cope. A compelling novel about body, mind, and the courage it takes to become who you want to be.

goldfishGoldfish by Nat Luurtsema

Lou Brown is a fast individual medley swimmer, training for the Olympics. But when she tanks the time trials, she starts over and goes back to school. It's hard to fit in with the existing social groups. But then, she begins to coach boys in a different type of swimming activity, for a different type of competition.

how-it-endsHow it Ends by Catherine Lo

Jessica is a good student who hates school because she is bullied by the "cool" girls and she is startled and grateful when Annie, the new girl in her southern Ontario high school, seeks her out on the first day of tenth grade and defends her from the bullying--it is a friendship that both girls need, but one based on assumptions and misunderstandings that ultimately threaten to drive them apart.

autofocusAutofocus by Lauren Gibaldi

A senior photography project gives Maude the perfect opportunity to search for more information about her birth mother--but she may not like what she finds.

SYNC Audiobooks: Week 14


This summer, SYNC will be providing two free teen audiobooks each week from May 5th to August 11th. Each week will focus on a specific theme, pairing a classic YA title with a more modern YA title. This week starts Thursday, August 4th with Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin and The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez.

most-dangerousRay Porter narrates in a “you-are-there” style that is well suited to this sweeping story of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Sheinkin focuses on Daniel Ellsberg’s discovery and disclosure of government lies and mismanagement in Southeast Asia spanning more than two decades. Porter skillfully suggests the speech patterns and cadence of a variety of characters, including Vietnamese soldiers and negotiators, Cubans involved with the Watergate break-in, and Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. While his deft impressions make his completely unvoiced portrayal of Henry Kissinger a disappointment, it doesn’t take away from the power of this production. Written for a teen audience, this work will also appeal to adults. Listeners unfamiliar with the Vietnam War, the Pentagon Papers, or the Watergate scandal may be shocked by the vulgarity of the Oval Office tapes that ultimately brought down the Nixon presidency. The Library also owns this in book format.

the-book-of-unknown-americansThis captivating story of America’s “simultaneously conspicuous and invisible” population is powerfully rendered by an ensemble of narrators representing voices from all over Latin America. Like families before them, the Riveras immigrate to the U.S. in search of a better life for their daughter, Maribel. Though Maribel is the catalyst, it is Alma, her mother, and Mayor, her friend, who lure listeners in during alternating chapters. Their voices shift with emotion as the narrators deftly use pitch and pacing to maintain an intimate atmosphere amid the shifting perspectives. Periodically, new voices and new accents claim a chapter to share their own immigrant experiences. Each is captured with sensitivity, lending an immediacy to the story and providing a larger context to the Riveras’s experience. This book is not owned by the Library, but we are able to request either the book or CD audiobook for you through other libraries in our consortium.

These titles will be available to download for free during this week only (8/04 to 8/11) at the SYNC website. The theme for this week is “Hidden Americans take center stage.”

Review: Save Me by Jenny Elliott

savemeI can definitely say that this book is one of my new favorites. It starts off with a girl named Cara who lives in a small town in Oregon. She loves whale watching, and an accident occurs on the boat that she’s on. A new tourist named David saves her and the connection between them is undeniable. But then she finds out that they can’t really be together because of some unexpected circumstances. Cara also meets another guy named Garren, who is a little too perfect, but Cara is (surprisingly) not attracted to him. Cara and Garren become really good friends. Meanwhile, Cara’s best friend, Rachel, is not acting like herself. It’s almost as if she’s under some sort of spell…

Save Me, by Jenny Elliott, is the perfect mix of love and the supernatural. You will definitely fall in love with the characters and want to keep reading. The romantic part of the plot-line is a little bit unrealistic, but overall, this is a great novel.

Reviewed by Brina Patel

Review: Turbo

turboIf you are the type of person who likes racing, cars and maybe snails, then this movie is for you. This movie packed with action and speed. It is about a snail who is obsessed with speed. Then later on he gets into an accident that makes him into a motoring mollusk. His dream is to race in the Indianapolis 500. I would rate this movie a 5 out of 5.

The Library owns this movie in both DVD and Blu-ray formats.

Reviewed by Hriteesh Haridas