Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan April 25, 2013

Tragedy PaperDuncan is about to begin his senior year at prestigious Irving School. When he finds out which room he’s been assigned, he can’t believe his bad luck. The previous tenant was Tim, an albino who graduated the year before. The gift Tim left behind for Duncan is a set of CDs that chronicle the story of Tim’s senior year, namely how he met Vanessa, Patrick’s plan, and the events that led up to a tragedy that Duncan can’t seem to forget.

The story flashes back and forth from Tim’s senior year to Duncan’s. Tim’s plan is to give Duncan content for his Tragedy Paper, a thesis assigned to all seniors. But is Duncan ready to face the truth and his part in it?

Similar to 13 Reasons Why, the main character is listening to the story of a peer and figuring out which part he played in the story. I liked the story and it flowed well; I was looking forward to times when I could read more. Unfortunately, I thought the ending fell flat and my disappointment lowered my opinion of the book.

3 out of 5 stars

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Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan April 23, 2013

Mr PenumbrasClay Jannon is a young, out-of-work web designer in San Francisco. During his job search, he stumbles upon Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. His ability to climb the ladder to reach the large, cryptic books near the ceiling get him a job there. Clay works the overnight shift and only sees a few customers a night, if he’s lucky. The customers are an odd bunch; they work in the middle of the night on a secret project Clay is not allowed to know. After awhile, he decides to work on a project to keep his programming skills sharp. He designs a virtual 3-D model of the store. When he meets a cute girl who happens to be a genius, his 3-D model becomes very sophisticated with the help of equipment at her employer, Google. What they reveal sets in a motion a series of events filled with danger, mystery, and intrigue.

This was a bizarre, interesting story of books, the effects of technology, and secret society. I liked the characters and the mystery kept me reading. I would recommend this to young adults who can appreciate what technology lends to the story.

4 out of 5 stars

 

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Tell the Wolves Im HomeThe story begins in 1986. Sisters June and Greta are sitting for a portrait their artist uncle, Finn, is painting of them. This is Finn’s final work of art because he is dying of AIDS. Now that she and her sister have drifted apart, fourteen-year-old June feels like Finn is the only person in her life that really understands her. After his death, June finds solace in a surprising acquaintance and realizes she’s not the only one lost without Finn. This is a tender story of love, the confusing emotions that come with being a teenager, and the distance that can come between families.

This was a twist on the all-too-common story of two sisters who grew apart and the emotional roller coaster of being a teenager. It also demonstrates the fear and ignorance about AIDS in the 1980’s. It was full of raw emotion and made me cringe in some parts and tear up in others. I would recommend this to adults looking for a thought-provoking, emotional realistic fiction.

4 out of 5 stars

 

 
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