I use to see the American slavery movement as boring, then I read this book! Clone Codes takes place in the year 2170, a futuristic world where cyborgs are segregated and clones are enslaved. Leanna, a 13 year old girl, has her world turned upside down when her mother is arrested and accused of being a part of a group called the Liberty Bell Movement. Leanna is on the run and the story unfolds!

Rating: B

The McKissacks present a modern look at slavery that makes it easy to understand. Leanna is impulsive and this quality might lead readers to frustration. Also, the novel is lacks the vivid imagery older readers have come to expect. However, the book is fast paced, refreshing and fairly light for the sci-fi genre. Cliff hanger ending leaves room for a sequel!

Richard S.

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This book is available in at in the Mississauga Library Catalogue!

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Swim the Fly – Don Calame

December 17, 2010

Matt, Sean and Coop have always achieved their summer goal. Perhaps, this summer the fifteen year olds have set the goal a little too high; to see a girl naked live. Might I add that none of the trio has charm with ladies? To impress a girl on his swim team Matt blindly volunteers to swim the 100-yard butterfly, the hardest stroke known. And he’s so skinny that the competition calls him Twig.

Rating: B+

YA-novelist Don Calame takes readers on a fun filled journey: a house party wilder then you can imagine, countless stupid dares and more. This is done though the lives of interesting characters like a drill sergeant swim instructor named Ulf and a grandfather crushing on a grieving widow next door! This book delivers far more than any review can do justice.

Richard S.

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This book is available in at in the Mississauga Library Catalogue!

Rating: A

Olivia and her parents have just moved in to a new town. On a Thursday after spring break, Miles, her mother’s coworkers’ son, gave her a tour around the school. He took her around the school where she saw many different people, especially those who tried to fit in. Each time Miles asked her a question, she could not answer directly and truthfully. After seeing the same people since grade six, Miles had the ability to observe people and find out their true personality. He felt that Olivia was hiding something, and he was right. Olivia moved in not because her mother’s promotion was exceptional, but because her twin sister, Violet died. Olivia did not have the choice but to face a life without her twin sister. When they moved into their new house, she recalled all the memories they had together, but somehow, she could not get herself to miss her. When her mother asks Olivia to attend the party with her, she searches for a dress- a dress that had all the answers. Not knowing, Violet held the solution. Her life was completely normal until she found the dress and causes her to wish- a wish that would change her life forever…

K.

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This book is available in at in the Mississauga Library Catalogue!

2 sides of questions for discussion, courtesy of Central Library’s Teen Book Club:

Side A:

 1.         What were you expecting in this novel? Did you think it would be darker or lighter?

 2.         Initially, what sort of factors did you think would lead to Hannah’s suicide?

 3.         Name three to five of the tapes that hit home the hardest for you.

 4.         Did you find Hannah’s story sympathetic? Who were you more empathetic towards: Hannah, Clay, or both?

 5.         How do you feel about Hannah’s creation of the tapes? Do you think the characters deserved to be on the tapes?

 6.         Did you like the character of Clay? What about Hannah? Out of all the characters, who did you find the most intriguing?

 7.         What did you think about Hannah’s home life? Do you think there was more to it that was not told in the tapes that may have impacted her choices?

 8.         What lessons did you learn from the novel? Do you think the issue of depression and suicide should gain more attention in society? In schools?

 9.         What were your thoughts on the conclusion? Did you find Clay taking notice of Skye uplifting?

 10.       Did you find the novel to be realistic?

 11.       Would you recommend this book? If so, to who? Do you think that this book would be appreciated by certain groups (age, maturity, gender, etc.)?

Side B:

 1. Do you think Hannah’s thirteen reasons were justifiable for what she did?

2. Do you think it was fair to the thirteen people to hear these tapes?

3. Do you believe Clay is partly to blame for Hannah’s decision?

4. Does Mr. Porter deserve to be on the last tape and “take the tapes straight to hell”?

5. Relative to number 1, which people/reasons really made Hannah’s decision justifiable and which ones didn’t? Why?

6. What do you think will happen once the tapes reach the last person?

7. Do you think there is anything that could have been done to prevent Hannah from making her decision?

8. What do you think would have happened had Clay stayed in the room with Hannah, even after told to leave?

9. Do you believe that these were the only reasons for Hannah’s decision? For example, do you think that maybe family life might have played a role as well?

10. Do you think that teens today would react the same way Hannah’s Peer Communications class did when the topic of suicide came up?

Readalikes for Thirteen Reasons Why:

 Y ADOFF.      Adoff, Jaime.                         The Death of Jayson Porter.
 Y ALEXI        Alexie, Sherman.                Flight.
 Y ANDER      Anderson, Laurie Halse.  Twisted.
 Y CHALI        Chalifour, Francis.             After.
 Y COHN         Cohn, Rachel.                       You Know Where to Find Me.
 Y FOXLE        Foxlee, Karen.                     The Anatomy of Wings.
 Y GREEN       Green, John.                         Looking for Alaska.
 Y SUMME      Summers, Courtney.        Cracked Up to Be.
 Y ZARR          Zarr, Sara.                             Story of a Girl.
 Y ZEVIN        Zevin, Gabrielle.                Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac.

Jay Asher websites:

http://www.thirteenreasonswhy.com/
http://jayasher.blogspot.com/
http://www.myspace.com/jay_asher

Teen suicide prevention resources:

http://www.distresscentrepeel.com/
http://www.trilliumhealthcentre.org/programs_services/mental_health/mississauga/crisisInterventionTeam.html
http://cameronhelps.ca/
http://www.teenhealthandwellness.com/article/316/suicide

A & M.

Rating: B+

When I read the back of the book, I was really excited to read it. It is about a girl who is part of the Knights Templar, and how her life is. It was a good book, but I think the plot could have been a bit better. For his first novel, Sarwat Chadda did pretty well, I just wasn’t as captivated by it as I wanted to be.

K.

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This book is available in at in the Mississauga Library Catalogue!

This novel is about a young girl named Meridian, who has never been quite normal. Since she was a baby, things have died around Meridian. When she was younger, it was just insects, but as she got older, bigger things died around her. She was teased at school, and even her family felt a bit distant. Then, when Meridian turns sixteen, she finds out why she is the way she is. Meridian is a Fenestra, and angel that guide souls to heaven.

Rating: A

Exciting and new, this book has an original plot. I have read many books, and so it is nice to find a book that has a different theme and plot, one that I have not read before.

K.

Links of Interest: (opens in new window)

Google Book Preview

Publisher’s Website

Author’s Website

This book is available in at in the Mississauga Library Catalogue!

20 questions for discussion, courtesy of Central Library’s Teen Book Club:

1.       Does the book mention how North America was reformed and why the nation of Panem came to be?

 2.       Did you expect the book to take a romantic turn like it did?

 3.       What are the parallels between the Capitol and the developed countries of today? (i.e. disregard for suffering beyond their borders?)

 4.       Do you think so much time under such oppressive rule has pacified or enraged the people of Panem?

 5.       Do you think Katniss and Gale were really romantically aware of each other?

 6.       Do you think the people in the Capitol are brutes or just naïve?

 7.       What messages does this book convey about human greed?

 8.       What was your favourite part of the book?

 9.       Do you agree that all is fair for survival?

 10.   Who do you think Katniss will choose, Gale or Peeta? Who do you think is the better choice?

 11.  Do you think that Peeta really meant it when he declared his love for Katniss in the interview?

 12.  How is the ‘star-crossed lovers’ theme used in the book related to Romeo and Juliet?

 13.  What do you think the sponsors are looking for when they watch the Games?  Why? Do Katniss and Peeta have those qualities?

 14.  How do you think the Games transforms people?  Is it for better or worse?

 15.  Knowing that the government conducts the Games, what kind of environment do you think Panem is?

 16.  If the Games were a real reality show, would you watch and support it?  Why or why not?

 17.  What do you think of Haymitch?

 18.  Do you think Katniss acts differently because she knows she is on live television?

 19.  Discuss the relationship between Katniss and Rue?

 20.  Why does Katniss ignore Haymitch’s advice to head away from the cornucopia?  Was it a good decision?

H & K.