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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Winger
by Andrew Smith

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Smith takes readers inside the mind of Ryan Dean West, nicknamed Winger for his position on the rugby team of his tony private school. He's brilliant, immature (a 14-year-old junior), and anxious to prove himself to his teammates and especially to his crush, 16-year-old Annie. "You push things too far" advises his best friend and teammate Joey, who is gay and accepted for his honesty about it and his status as team captain. With only Joey, Annie, and the Tao of rugby to guide him, it's no wonder Ryan Dean has more than his share of missteps while trying to reinvent himself. Some are painfully awkward, and some are laugh-out-loud hysterical, especially his sponge bath by a hot nurse. The team's on-field camaraderie deteriorates into simmering hostility off the field, rife with drinking, crudeness, profanity, and constant verbal slurs. Still, readers will be shocked by a climactic violent act against Joey that leaves Ryan Dean changed forever. Smith's understanding of teen males is evident; nuances add depth and authenticity to characters that could have been cliches. However, Annie feels a bit idealized: one wonders what she sees in Ryan Dean. The pace moves quickly and holds readers' interest, punctuated by Bosma's charts and graphic-novel pages that cleverly depict the boy's hilarious inner turmoil. Readers don't need to know anything about rugby to appreciate this moving, funny coming-of-age novel.-M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly This brutally honest coming-of-age novel from Smith (Passenger) unfolds through the eyes of Ryan Dean West, a 14-year-old, rugby-playing junior at the exclusive Pine Mountain school. He's two years younger than his classmates, hopelessly in love with his best friend Annie, and stuck in Opportunity Hall, the residence reserved for the worst rule-breakers. As Ryan Dean struggles with football-team bullies, late-night escapades, academic pressures, and girl troubles, he also discovers his own strengths. Like puberty itself, this tale is alternately hilarious and painful, awkward and enlightening; Bosma's occasional comics add another layer of whimsy and emotion, representing Ryan Dean's own artistic bent. The characters and situations are profane and crass, reveling in talk of bodily functions and sexual innuendo, and the story is a cross between the films Lucas and Porky's, with all the charm and gross-out moments that dichotomy suggests. That's what makes the tragedy near the very end all the more shocking and sudden, changing the entire mood and impact of Ryan Dean's journey. The last-minute twist may leave readers confused, angry, and heartbroken, but this remains an excellent, challenging read. Ages 12-up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrew Brown Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* After he opened a vein in YA lit with The Marbury Lens (2010) and then went completely nutso in Passenger (2012), about the only thing that Smith could do to surprise would be a hornball boarding-school romantic romp. Surprise! Well, sort of. At 14, Ryan Dean West is a couple years younger (and scrawnier) than the rest of the juniors at Pine Mountain. He is a plucky kid despite a tendency to punctuate his every thought with I am such a loser who stars in the rugby team due to his speed and tenacity. The rail ties of his single-track mind, though, are his exploits (or lack thereof) with the opposite sex, particularly his best friend Annie, who thinks he is adorable. In short, Ryan Dean is a slightly pervy but likable teen. He rates the hotness of every female in sight but also drops surprising bombs of personal depth on a friend's homosexuality, the poisonous rivalries that can ruin friendships, and his own highly unstable mix of insecurity and evolving self-confidence. Much of the story seems preoccupied with the base-level joys and torments of being a teenager, content to float along with occasional bursts of levity from some nonessential but fun minicomics by Bosma. But at its heart, it is more in line with Dead Poets Society, and by the end this deceptively lightweight novel packs an unexpectedly ferocious punch.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog In the Past: From Trilobites to Dinosaurs to Mammoths in More than 500 Million Years
by David Elliott

Kirkus A dramatic portrait gallery of some of our planet's former residents down through the eras, with pithy odes in rhymed or free verse.Arranged chronologically from a Cambrian Period trilobite to the hairy Mammuthus of the Quaternary, Trueman's 21 subjects loom majesticallysometimes, as in the case of the gore-spattered Dimetrodon or the giant shark Megalodon, in entirely too-close-up views. They are also rendered in such naturalistic detail (for all that some bear almost human expressions) many viewers are likely to flinch as each page is turned. In his short but vivid lines, Elliott generally offers good reasons to be cautious: "The bad news: Like a centipede. Eight feet long. Or more. / The good news: Arthropleura was an herbivore." Or take saber-toothed Smilodon (please): "No compassion. / No tolerance. / No mercy. / No pity. / And definitely no / Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.' " Though the poet generally reflects the visual immediacy of the images, he sometimes takes a broader view; the tadpolelike Astraspis of the early Ordovician is "One note at the beginning / Of a never-ending song," and as for Tyrannosaurus rex, "even kings / are vanquished / when stars fall / from the sky." Many of the informal facts and observations he adds at the end are just as memorably phrased.Highlights from life's last 544 million years infused with humor and wonder. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Horn Book This collection of imaginative, clever poems about ancient animals (all but one extinct) moves chronologically from trilobites in the Cambrian era to woolly mammoths from our current geologic time period, with good representation across species. The poems are knowing, humorous, and filled with scientific details. Dynamic, creatively composed mixed-media illustrations plunge readers into past environments using awesome, sometimes-scary perspectives. Timeline. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 1-3-Softly detailed watercolors accompany poems about early life-forms in this moving examination of prehistoric Earth. At the bottom of each page is a small box noting the era of the topic creature and showing the range in millions of years. Each short poem communicates the name of the animal and some details about them with a sense of wonder and humor, often playing on readers' expectations. ("Dilophosaurus" is only three words: "Blessed/with/crests!") Most illustrations are a full spread in size. Trueman's mixed-media artwork is filled with texture and small details; muddy river banks, the fleshy ridges of the megalodon's mouth, the remains of trilobites, etc. The majesty of the larger creatures is also well communicated. An author's note discusses ongoing discoveries of fossils, and explains how the prehistoric eras built on each other like stairs. In addition, a "Notes on the Animals" segment lists each covered time period, the poems that fall within that era, and additional information on creatures. VERDICT Prehistoric beasts are an evergreen favorite among kids, and this wonderful combination of art, poetry, and science is a great addition to libraries.-Tamara Saarinen, Pierce County Library, WA Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Dinosaurs and other mammoth creatures might be the star attraction here, but the poems themselves are bite-size. In vivacious, often humorous verse, Elliott walks readers through prehistoric times, beginning with the tiny trilobite, which appeared more than 500 million years ago. That much time can be a difficult concept to grasp, but a time line at the bottom of each spread gives readers an assist as the book moves chronologically forward. The text walks a fine line between scientific and poetic, and for the most part, it succeeds gloriously. Each poem's title is the name of its subject. Some require very little introduction (the entirety of the poem for the Jurassic era Dilophosaurus is, quite simply, Blessed / with / crests!), while others are more elaborate the infamous T. rex certainly gets his due (Even kings / are vanquished / when stars fall / from the sky). It's not just dinosaurs profiled here; the book heads all the way into the Quaternary period (that's the one we're currently in) and introduces creatures like the saber-toothed tiger (Smilodon) and the Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus). Trueman's full-bleed, vibrant portraits bring these long-extinct animals to energetic life, and a final spread offers up more scientific facts. A journey into the past that's a visual and linguistic joy.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Elliott and Trueman take readers to the Cambrian period then work their way forward, highlighting unusual and long-gone creatures, several of which will be new to many readers. There's more than a whiff of caricature to Trueman's larger-than-life mixed-media portraits, not that the creatures are around to complain. A Dilophosaurus ("Blessed/ with/ crests!") looks downright startled, and a Yutyrannus is fearsome as it tromps across a snowy landscape ("Your discovery in China/ created quite a stir./ Could dinosaurs be feathered?/ They could. You were"). Elliott's clever, winking poems are chiefly interested in keeping readers entertained: "Some way you were among/ the first to leave the ocean/ and touch the wet black earth," he writes as an armored Eurpterus slinks out of the water. "We're glad you did,/ for what it's worth." But closing notes should satisfy their curiosity about these ancient beasts-or send them searching for additional information. Ages 3-7. (Mar.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Fortune And Glory
by Janet Evanovich

Library Journal Hard to believe, but this is the 27th book in the cheeky "Stephanie Plum" series, and though plot details aren't yet available, expect the New Jersey bounty hunter to return with Lulu, Grandma Mazur, and the rest of the gang. With a million-copy first printing.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog House of Sand and Fog
by Andre Dubus

Library Journal: In his second novel (after Bluesman, LJ 5/15/93), the son of noted writer Andre Dubus manages to get deep inside the heads of two very different characters who clash over a modest house in the San Francisco suburbs. Kathy is a recovering alcoholic and cokehead who loses her inherited bungalow for alleged nonpayment of taxes. Behmini, an Iranian who was an officer in the Shah's air force before fleeing the revolution, is now struggling to succeed in the United States. He buys the house at auction, planning to make a profit on the resale. Kathy skulks around the neighborhood and eventually confronts the family. When she becomes sexually involved with the policeman she met at her eviction, a married man with bad judgment and a drinking problem of his own, he takes up her cause with explosive results. Dubus's attention to detail and realistic prose style give the narrative a hard-edged, cinematic quality, but unlike many movies, its outcome is unexpected. Recommended for all fiction collections.

Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: This powerfully written but bleak narrative is a mesmerizing tale of the American Dream gone terribly awry. Massoud Amir Behrani, a former colonel in the Iranian Air Force under the Shah, now lives in exile with his wife and teenage son near San Francisco. Working on a road crew as a "garbage soldier" by day and as a deli clerk by night, Behrani is obsessed with restoring his family to the position of glittering wealth and prestige it once enjoyed. At a county auction, he sinks his savings into a bungalow seized for non-payment of taxes, and quickly moves his family into it, planning to resell the house at a sizable profit. But when the house's previous occupant, recovering coke addict Kathy Lazaro, resurfaces with valid claims for repossession, Behrani's plan begins to unravel, and with it his tightly controlled facade of composure. Tensions between Lazaro and Behrani quickly escalate into violence, as Lazaro's lover, a married police officer with a weak spot for lost causes, decides to take matters into his own hands. The book's horrifying denouement offers readers a searing study in the wages of pride. Dubus (Bluesman) writes with an authority regarding the American lower middle class that is reminiscent of Russell Banks and Richard Ford, and his limber imagination is capable of drawing the inner lives of three very different main characters with such compassion that readers will find their sympathies hopelessly divided. If the tragedy that he so skillfully orchestrates cries out to be leavened with a little less desperation and some quiet glimpse of hope, the keenly perceptive and moving narrative is proof that the son and namesake of one of our most talented writers has embarked on a dazzling career in his own right.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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