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High School Summer 2019 (3)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | Summer - (Comments Off on High School Summer 2019 (3))

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Duyvis, Corinne. On the Edge of Gone. Amulet Books/Abrams, 2016. 456 pages (978-1-4197-1903-5)

Age 14 and older

It’s 2035 and a comet is headed toward Earth. Preparations for the inevitable destruction have fallen along class lines – those who can afford it, or who have critical skills, are set to escape on self-sustaining generation ships. Those who can’t are staying in underground shelters with little hope of long-term survival. Biracial Denise, her drug-addicted mother, and her trans sister don’t come close to qualifying for safe passage on a generation ship but Denise is determined to get the three of them on board, even it means lying or sneaking on. Denise has autism – sometimes that hinders her, sometimes it helps, but always it is just part of who she is and how she views the world. Set in a futuristic Amsterdam, this compelling novel is tense, visceral, and extremely well crafted. It also offers a thoughtful exploration of ethical dilemmas: What would you be willing to do to survive? Whom would you save? And, in the face of pending doom, who deserves to live and who is expendable? ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School Summer 2019 (2)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | Summer - (Comments Off on High School Summer 2019 (2))

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Rusch, Elizabeth.
Impact! Asteroids and the Science of Saving the World. Photographs by Karin Anderson. (Scientists in the Field) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. 76 pages (978–0–544–67159–1)

Age 10 and older

“About once a year, a car-size asteroid strikes the Earth … roughly every five thousand years, the Earth is struck by an asteroid as big as a football field.” And then there are the really big ones every few million years—the kind that can trigger a global disaster. (Think dinosaurs.) How do scientists understand the past and potential future impact of asteroids on earth, and calculate risk? It’s work that takes place on many fronts, from amateur meteorite hunters to geologists studying craters of long-ago impacts to asteroid hunters, both amateurs and professional scientists, monitoring space using telescopes on the ground and orbiting the earth. Each kind of research and monitoring plays an important part in understanding asteroids and identifying potentially hazardous asteroids. The men and women introduced here share their fascination with their work, as well as things some readers may find surprising. (e.g., “A lot of science is writing … You are always trying to convey what you’ve done or what you’re hoping to do.”). The inviting design includes ample color photographs and graphics, while a final chapter, “How to Save the World,” offers fascinating theories on how we might try to divert a potentially devastating asteroid from impact. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School Summer 2019 (1)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | Summer - (Comments Off on High School Summer 2019 (1))

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Lee, Fonda. Exo. Scholastic Press, 2017. 371 pages (978–0–545–93343–8)

Age 12 and older

Teenage Donovan is a member of the security forces keeping the peace after years of war that followed the invasion of Earth by the Mur zhree. Although the war has ended, an active human resistance remains. “Hardened” with zhree biotechnology as a child, Donovan can activate a protective exoskeleton, but it can’t prevent him being kidnapped by the Sapience resistance when a raid goes awry. When the resistance learns Donovan is the son of the Prime Liaison—his father is the highest ranking human in their district and works closely with zhree leaders—he’s taken to a Sapience hideout as a pawn. Although Donovan has personal issues with his demanding father, he’s loyal to the zhree and, especially, his fellow security officers. But the identity of the principle Sapience propaganda writer turns everything upside down: It turns out to be his mother, who left when he was six, unable to save Donovan from the Hardening his father volunteered him for. The resistance believe exos are no longer fully human. Donovan knows it’s his humanity that makes him feel so conflicted upon seeing his mom—both hungry for and resistant to her love. A fast-paced, compelling work of science fiction with strong world-building deftly addresses the logistical and emotional complexities of political conflict and change through intriguing characters—human and nonhuman alike. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School May 2019

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | May - (Comments Off on High School May 2019)

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Stevens, Courtney.
Dress Codes for Small Towns. HarperTeen, 2017. 337  pages (978–0–06–239851–2)

Age 13 and older

A YA book set in a small town in which the main character, a preacher’s kid, does not hate either the town or being a preacher’s kid. In which the group of friends at the story’s heart feels both exceptional and ordinary and authentic. At the center of it all is Billie McCaffrey, who may be in love with both of her best friends, Wood and Janie Lee; who dresses in jeans and combat boots and creates large-object art in her garage; who is part of a group of six friends who call themselves the Hexagon and are as adept at creating community as causing havoc. The Hexagon’s efforts to save Otter Falls’ annual Harvest Festival and Corn Dolly competition—both of which are presented with astonishing appreciation through Billie’s eyes—is the storyline around which Billie and her friends make discoveries about themselves and one another in a novel that is funny and poignant and probing by turns as it examines sexuality, gender, friendship, love, and family, all with remarkable little angst in spite of some serious soul searching. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School April 2019

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | April - (Comments Off on High School April 2019)

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Reynolds, Jason. Long Way Down. A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book / Atheneum, 2017.  306 pages (978–1–4814–3825–4)

Age 12 and older

Will learned “The Rules” from his older brother, Shawn. No. 1: No crying. No. 2: No snitching. No. 3: Get revenge. When Shawn is shot and killed, Will’s grief is trapped behind a wall of unshed tears. He’s sure he knows who did it: Riggs. And of course he won’t tell the police. Using the gun Shawn kept in his middle drawer, the gun he was never supposed to touch, Will leaves his 8th floor apartment the morning after Shawn’s death. He gets on the elevator at 9:08:02 a.m. Over the next 67 seconds and 234 pages of this taut, tightly paced novel in verse, different rules are broken: the rule in which no one talks on the elevator; and rules of life and death, space and time. On every floor, as Will descends, someone impossible gets on. Will knows each one of them, and their conversations—with him, with one another—explore the strange, unreliable honor of The Rules and reveal the cycle of violence they perpetuate. And now it’s Will’s turn to put The Rules into play, to shoot Riggs for killing Shawn. Isn’t it? The final two words of this novel are explosive, inviting discussion about what comes next, but it’s the entirety of Will’s reality-bending, expansive 67-second descent that makes it possible to wonder. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School March 2019

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | March - (Comments Off on High School March 2019)

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Mathieu, Jennifer. Moxie. Roaring Brook Press, 2017. 330 pages (978–1–62672–635–2)

Age 13 and older

Vivvy loves the Riot Grrrl bands and zines of her mother’s youth, but unlike her mom at 16, Vivvy is not a wave-maker or rule-breaker in her small east Texas town, until anger at the rampant sexism at her school spurs her to action. Vivvy creates an anonymous zine, Moxie, calling out the sexism—some of it verbal, some of it physical, some of it psychological, all of it an assault. New student Lucy, an avowed feminist, loves Moxie, while Vivvy’s best friend Claudia finds the word “feminist” too much and the Moxie calls to action useless. New boy Seth, on whom Vivvy has a crush, sees Vivvy placing copies of Moxie in the bathrooms, but he keeps her secret and romance blossoms. Moxie begins to illuminate and then bridge divides of race and class as many different girls begin to embrace the anonymous zine and the Moxie movement slowly grows. The sexism at Vivvy’s school—insidious and infuriating—is both believable in the context of this story and also symbolic of the sexism in our society as a whole: It is systemic in scope; takes myriad forms; is too rarely acknowledged or challenged; has an impact that is achingly personal; those who fight back face repercussions; and every additional voice adds power to the call for change. Mathieu’s narrative is fierce and inspiring, while her nuanced characters and the complexity of their relationships ground the story.  ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School February 2019

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | February - (Comments Off on High School February 2019)

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Dimaline, Cherie.
The Marrow Thieves. DCB, 2017. 234 pages (pbk  978–1–77086–486–3)

Age 12 and older

“It began as a rumor, that they had found a way to siphon dreams right out of our bones.” In a not-too-distant future when environmental devastation has killed millions, many people no longer dream when they sleep. At the Canadian government’s new residential “schools,” the dreams of Indigenous people are distilled from their marrow for later use by the wealthy and privileged. Sixteen-year-old Frenchie escaped school Recruiters at 11 and has been with his found family ever since. One elder, one middle-aged adult, four teens, and four children from several Nations, they are constantly on the move evading Recruiters as new schools are built farther and farther north. Although they’re skilled at survival, safety is an unknown destination, and when tragedy strikes at the heart of their group Frenchie decides it’s time to stop running and take a stand. This riveting work confronts the reality of genocide but never loses sight of hope. It’s the breath of those who survive. It’s the love, the solidarity with others, cultural traditions, and the power of languages kept alive. Métis author Dimaline’s plot is fast-paced and unyielding while her finely drawn main characters, although marked by pain, are full of intelligence, compassion, and grace. Dimaline’s exquisite writing offers beautiful turns of phrase and lines that sting with their sharpness and honesty, while Frenchie’s teen voice and feelings, often surprisingly funny, are, like the story itself, at once of his time and our own. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School January 2019 (2)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | January - (Comments Off on High School January 2019 (2))

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Heiligman, Deborah.
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers. Godwin Books / Henry Holt, 2017. 454 pages  (978–0–8050–9339–1)

Age 14 and older

As a young man, Vincent Van Gogh worked at an art auction house but was neither happy nor successful. He turned to God and ministered to the poor with great humility and an unsettling passion for self-denial until he was asked to leave his post. At 27, he returned home and began to draw and paint with purpose, relentless in the desire to improve. His brother Theo, two years younger and a successful art dealer, was his greatest critic and staunchest supporter financially and emotionally. Excited by the new style called Impressionism, Theo encouraged Vincent to use more and more color in his work. There had been signs for years that Vincent could be unstable, sometimes subject to deep sadness and withdrawal, sometimes frenzied. Theo, too, battled despair. A narrative that quotes liberally from their prolific correspondence details their individual struggles, while the devotion between them is its heart and soul. This exquisite, remarkable book told in the present tense positions readers as intimate observers of Vincent’s and Theo’s lives. Two portraits emerge in rich detail: a deep-thinking, gifted artist who was a troubled, gentle, compassionate man; and an insightful critic who recognized his brother’s brilliant mind and work, devoting incredible energy and resources to nurturing and supporting him. Uplifting, poignant, and tragic by turns, the brothers’ lives unfold in a work of exceptional literary nonfiction weaving scholarly research (further detailed in ample end matter) into a vivid, immersive account. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School January 2019 (1)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | January - (Comments Off on High School January 2019 (1))

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Zarr, Sara. Gem & Dixie. Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins, 2017. 282 pages (978–0–06–243459–3)

Age 12 and older

Gem took care of her sister Dixie when they were younger and their parents were addicts. Now both in high school Dixie makes friends easily, whereas Gem is lonely, an outcast. Although their mom got sober and kicked their dad out years ago, she struggles to pay the rent and buy food, and sometimes slips back into dangerous habits, oblivious to her daughters’ physical and emotional needs. When the girls’ dad shows up out of the blue with money to burn, Dixie is thrilled, Gem suspicious, their mom furious. She dumps out all the food he buys, appalling Gem, who is often hungry, and tells him to go. He leaves behind a hidden backpack full of money. When Gem finds it, she sees it as a chance for her and Dixie to escape. For Dixie, their journey is an adventure. For Gem, it’s survival. On the road, Gem and Dixie are often at odds, but also gradually finding their way back to a small bit of common ground. Gem’s determination, a well-meaning if fallible guidance counselor, and the kindness of strangers are threads of genuine hope leaving a lasting impression in a story that doesn’t minimize poverty or despair. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School December 2018 (2)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | December | High School - (Comments Off on High School December 2018 (2))

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Lu, Marie. Warcross. Putnam, 2017. 353 pages (978–0–399–54796–6)

Age 11 and older

Teen bounty hunter Emika Chen is down to her last few dollars and about to be evicted from her New York City apartment when she hacks into a promotional round for the Warcross championship, a popular worldwide virtual reality game. Within hours she is jetting off to Tokyo on the private plane of the game’s creator, 21-year-old Hideo Tanaka. The longtime focus of Emika’s private crush, Hideo not only invites her to participate as a wild card in the draft for the official Warcross teams, he also asks her to secretly investigate and unveil Zero, another hacker who is able to move through the game anonymously. Emika is the first pick of the draft, and as she trains with her fellow Phoenix Riders teammates and they enter into the games, she spies on her own teammates and members of other teams. Her meetings with Hideo to report her findings evolve from business to romance, while uncertainty about whom she can trust becomes a critical issue when she realizes Hideo’s life is in danger, and so, too, is her own. A novel set in the not-too-distant future creates an immersive experience in both the “real” and virtual worlds the characters move between. With plenty to offer readers interested in action as well as technology, it features a strong, smart female protagonist and offers ethical questions to ponder as it sets up the next book in the series. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School December 2018 (1)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | December | High School - (Comments Off on High School December 2018 (1))

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Anderson, M. T.
Landscape with Invisible Hand. Candlewick Press, 2017. 149  pages (978–0–7636–8789–2)

Age 13 and older

When the vuvv first arrived to conquer Earth they promised great technology, cures for all disease, and freedom from work. The truth, as teenage Adam knows, looks very different. Great technology and medical care are only for those who can afford it. Work is hard to come by thanks to all that tech, while food and housing still cost money. Adam’s attraction to Chloe was the impetus to earn money for both their families by live streaming their romance to the vuvv, who think Hollywood romances of the 40s and 50s, when they first tapped into human transmissions, are the ways all humans interact. Adam and Chloe’s dates were a hit and the money started rolling in. Now they’ve fallen out of love and seethe beneath their live-streamed smiles. Meanwhile, Adam longs to be a serious artist. When some of his paintings garner positive attention and he’s invited to enter a prestigious vuvv contest, he faces a dilemma: enter a piece that expresses the idealized human world they imagine, or a piece that reflects the truth of his grimmer outlook and experience. The decision has potential life or death implications when Adam’s chronic illness, an intestinal condition that impacts his daily life and for which his family cannot afford vuvv treatment, worsens. A slim volume packed full of big ideas that resonate with the world today, delivered with humor and poignancy. Each vignette-like chapter is named for one of Adam’s paintings. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School November 2018

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | November | High School - (Comments Off on High School November 2018)

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Slater, Dashka. The 57 Bus. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017. 305 pages (978–0–374–30323–5)

Age 12 and older

Despite recently losing a friend to gun violence, African American Richard is focused on improving his grades and graduating from his Oakland high school. Sasha, who attends private school, is agender and brilliant, the type of person who invents languages for fun. On November 4, 2013, as Richard and Sasha ride the bus home from their respective schools, Richard holds a lighter to Sasha’s skirt, which erupts into flames. This event sets in motion a long, painful process of court appearances for Richard, and healing for both. The two teens are treated with respect and empathy in this nonfiction account that begins with an exploration of their backgrounds, including Sasha’s gradual understanding that they don’t identify as either male or female, and continues through Sasha’s recovery and Richard’s sentencing. Accessible descriptions of aspects of the U.S. and California justice systems—the practice of restorative justice and California’s Proposition 21, which allows juvenile offenders to be charged as adults—in addition to information about Richard’s personality and adolescent brains and behavior, suggest that, as Richard’s friend attests, the crime “was like a funny prank-joke turns to something that ends your whole life.” Although a grim event begins this narrative, the humanity of both teens and their families is palpable throughout. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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