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In the stacks: New books for young adults

Posted: December 1, 2011 - 1:08am

Look for these and other new books for young adults on the shelves at the Juneau Public Libraries — they’re easy to spot with yellow-green stickers above the spine labels.

Flip, by Martyn Bedford.

Alex can hear his mom calling him to wake up, but he can’t figure out why. It’s Saturday, the first day of Christmas break, and he doesn’t have anywhere special to be. Only it isn’t Saturday: it’s really a Monday in June, and it isn’t Alex’s mom calling him, it’s someone else who thinks Alex is her son. Has he gone crazy? When he looks in the mirror, he sees someone else entirely, a jock who likes croissants but not cornflakes, smokes on the sly, and is stringing several pretty girls along — a far cry from the skinny, nerdy, asthmatic Alex trapped inside. His first days as Phillip are horrible — he ticks off all his friends, annoys his family, and puzzles his teachers even more than usual — the only thing that saves him is Flip’s reputation for being a big dumb jock. Alex calls his own cell number, only to hear a recording tell him the number isn’t recognized, and don’t even ask about what happens when he calls his real mom. Maybe he’s going to have to get used to living as Phillip after all…

Jersey Tomatoes are the Best, by Maria Padian.

Henry and Eva have been best friends since they were 6. Who else do they have to blow off steam with? Henry is being groomed by her father to be the best tennis player he can make her, while Eva’s mom is hoping to create a prima ballerina. Both girls have talent and drive, and now, they both have a chance at the next step in their fields. Eva has made it into a prestigious summer ballet program and Henry is going to Florida for tennis camp. It’s a turning point summer — Henry’s first time playing tennis without her father’s overbearing supervision, and Eva’s first time dealing with real competition — and they quickly find how much support the other has provided through the years. Told in alternating voices between willowy Eva and obsessively competitive Henry, this will draw readers in from the opening tennis match.

Hunger, by Jackie Morse Kessler.

Who better to serve as Famine than an anorexic teenager? When Death, looking like a dead rockstar, knocks on her door, gives her a set of scales and a giant black warhorse, and tells her she’s now one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Lisa Lewis thinks he’s just a dream. But the horse in the backyard and the old-fashioned scales in the kitchen, invisible to all but her, confirm it, and she soon takes up her mantle and heads out on her rounds. Riding Midnight is fantastic, but the part of her job that involves turning food to ash just makes her hungrier, making her work harder to blot out the feeling. In her day-to-day life, her father and boyfriend grow more worried about her, her bulimic best friend reassures her that she’s healthy, and the voice inside Lisa’s head insists she’s fat. Will she fall into Death’s calming embrace — or is she, as the voice in her head claims — too weak?

You Don’t Know About Me, by Brian Meehl.

Raised by the widow of an evangelical preacher, Billy Allbright believes that blacking out the names and images on Devil Dogs, Devil’s Food Cakes, and Red Devil Hot Sauce while they’re still on the grocery store shelf is helping to save unsuspecting sinners. But when a Trojan Horse Bible containing a DVD “for his eyes only” arrives in the mail, Billy discovers some truths about his father. The DVD also contains clues to the inheritance that Mark Twain scholar Richard Allbright has left his son — a valuable unpublished manuscript by the godless atheist Mark Twain that Richard knows Billy’s mom will never allow Billy to have. Hitchhiking away from Bible Camp, Billy is quickly picked up by Ruah Branch, a famous baseball player traveling undercover with secrets of his own. Laugh-out-loud funny in parts, poignant in others, this coming-of-age story owes a lot to Twain, but stands on its own two feet with aplomb.

•••

Were you one of the many in Juneau who spent November desperately logging your word count? Whether you’re ready to share your writing, your relief that the challenge is over, or your new-found enthusiasm for the writing life, come to the Douglas Library at 6 p.m. Saturday Dec. 3 for readings that celebrate writing and NaNoWriMo.

Creative Ideas for Your Photos: Gretchen Powers is back with a presentation on fun things to do with all those photos you’ve got in boxes and on harddrives. Come to the Downtown Library at 3:30 p.m. Sunday for inspiration, examples, and how-tos.

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