Three Black Swans, by Caroline B. Cooney

Three Black Swans is an interesting read about what happens when you mix social media with family secrets.  Missy suspects that her parents haven’t been honest about who she is and where she comes from, so when her science teacher assigns a scientific “hoax” project, she enlists her cousin Claire’s help to trick the student body.  The problem is that no one, not even Missy, really believes the hoax.  When a classmate posts a video on YouTube, she and Claire realize that there’s no going back.

I enjoyed Three Black Swans, but I did find some of the characters and the ending pretty unbelievable.  Actually, the entire plot is pretty crazy, but I was willing to suspend disbelief and go with it.  The ending, however, was a little too neat and tidy to ring true.  Still, if you’re looking for brain candy, it’s a good read.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

ImageLiving on the island city of Camorr and born with a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora becomes the apprentice of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, soon becoming infamous as the Thorn of Camorr.

Submitted by Jennifer H.

I would recommend this book to fans of fantasy; especially to those who enjoy world building because The Lies of Locke Lamora is set in a vividly realized world.

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

Image“Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.” – Goodreads

I would recommend this book to people who love epic fantasies and world building. It has a unique *magic* system and the plot is well-paced. Near the end however, (spoiler-ish alert) I was a bit frustrated at how it followed the cliche storyline of “main-character-falls-in-love-with-a-girl-and-is-pretty-much-infatuated- with-her-which-leads-to-bad-luck-for-him.” If you love displays of genius like those in the Artemis Fowl and Ender’s Game series, then this book is for you.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Submitted by Jennifer H.

Steelheart, by Brandon Anderson

In the distant future special beings known as “epics” rule the earth with superpowers.

EVERYONE! SUPER AWESOME SUSPENSEFUL EPIC AWESOME AWESOME(X2) WONDERFUL BOOK.

5 Stars!

Submitted by Jason C.

Ms. Logan’s note:  I’m currently reading Steelheart, and I agree with Jason–this book draws you in and makes you want to read more. If you like comics or superheroes, you will love this. Even if comics or superheroes aren’t your “thing,” you will enjoy Steelheart because the plot is fast-paced and unpredictable and the characters are interesting.  This would make a great read for spring break!  A sequel will be out in late 2014.

Out of the Easy, by Ruta Sepetys

Image

“My mother’s a prostitute.  Not the filthy, streetwalking kind.  She’s actually quite pretty, fairly well spoken, and has lovely clothes.  But she sleeps with men for money or gifts, and according to the dictionary, that makes her a prostitute.”

These are the opening words of Ruta Sepetys’s book Out of the Easy, told through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine.  The child of a New Orleans prostitute and an unknown father, Josie never really had a childhood–instead, she spent her entire life working, caring for others, and trying to escape the reputation of her mother.  At seventeen, Josie is desperate to escape New Orleans and start new someplace where her mother’s reputation won’t determine her opportunities.

I loved the characters in this novel, from the hard-edged madame, Willie, who actually cares deeply for the people in her life, to the chauffeur, Cokie, who is one of the few dependable male figures in Josie’s life, to the “nieces” who live in the brothel where Josie’s mother works.  This is a book filled with characters who will surprise you, in good ways and bad, and who are multidimensional–they are all flawed, but most have redeeming qualities as well.  Josie herself, while a bright girl and hard worker, gets wrapped up in a web of lies that almost ends in disaster.

If you’ve ever wished you could just move away and start over again in a place where no one knows anything about you, this is a book you’ll enjoy.

Orleans, by Sherri L. Smith

Orleans cover

 

Imagine that Hurricane Katrina was only the first in a series of storms that ravaged the gulf coast, undoing the progress of any rebuilding efforts and, eventually, resulting in the outbreak of a virus so deadly and unstoppable that the “Outer States” believe their only option is to quarantine the entire area.  A huge wall is built, and residents of Orleans are left to fend for themselves–or die of Delta Fever.

Fen de la Guerre lives in that world, where residents either form tribes based on their blood types (because Delta Fever impacts different blood types differently) or try to survive alone–which doesn’t usually last for long.  After an attack on her tribe, she finds herself alone with a newborn, trying desperately to create a new life for the baby.

Enter Doctor Daniel Weaver, a research scientist from the Outer States who sneaks over the wall into Orleans in the hopes of curing Delta Fever.  Alone and woefully unprepared for what he finds, Daniel and Fen must work together to get the baby to safety and find the answers Daniel seeks.

Orleans is full of interesting characters and plot twists.  While it is dystopian YA fiction, it differs from other titles in this genre in that life in the not-too-distant future is not marked by crazy technology, military rule, or insane games.  It’s just people, trying to survive in the aftermath of disaster, left to their own devices when society falls apart.  I liked the strength of the protagonist, her interesting back story, and her quick instincts.  I also liked the contrast between life in the Outer States and life in Orleans.

Orleans is a quick, entertaining read.  If you’re interested in medicine or disease, this book may especially appeal to you.  You can find it on the fiction shelves in the LHS Library–unless someone else has claimed it before you!