Scott Pilgrim is a twenty-three year old underachiever who lives in an apartment in Toronto with his roommate, off of whom he mooches unapologetically. Scott’s in a band, and in volume 1: Precious Little Life, he has just started dating a high school girl named Knives Chau. Everyone, except Scott and Knives, realize that this is slimy behavior at best, but their friends are happy that Scott has stopped moping over his ex. Then Scott starts to see a girl in his dreams: a beautiful, cool-looking Amazon delivery girl who rollerblades through his dreams. When Scott decides to order some CDs from Amazon in the hopes of meeting his (literal) dream girl, Knives and Scott are pretty much done as a couple (...not that Knives knows about it).
There may be some hitches along the way in the form of the seven evil ex-boyfriends Scott must fight if he wants to date the Amazon girl, not to mention Knives’ increasing obsession… but it won't be a dull ride!
That’s right, it’s going to be a huge summer blockbuster starring Michael Cera. So very awesome. Everyone knows that the book is always better than the movie—so get the Scott Pilgrim series and decide for yourself. The art is amazing, the funny quips in the margins are the best, and did I mention that Scott is an awesome fighter, his band sucks and there is going to be a video game?
Pancho’s mom died when he was a kid, and his dad died in an accident a few months ago. Since then it’s just been Pancho and his older sister Rosa… but all that happens before this story even begins. This story begins with Pancho’s rage. His sister’s body has been found in a motel room, and her death is ruled as having been of natural causes. The police tell Pancho that his sister was 20 years old, and that there was nothing illegal about her being in a motel room. But while Rosa was 20, she had the intelligence of a ten year old, and Pancho knows in his blood that whoever was there with her killed her. Pancho has the beginning of a plan: he is going to find that man, he is going to kill him, and then Pancho is going to go to prison.
First Pancho has to get ready. He needs money, a car, and time to research Rosa’s killer. He is sent to St. Anthony’s orphanage, where he is given the job of taking care of a terminally ill resident named D.Q. D.Q. is also getting ready, and he needs Pancho’s strength, his fire and his determination. D.Q. has hard choices ahead, and while he knows what he wants, he needs a friend to make his final wishes a reality. If Pancho will help D.Q., then D.Q. may be able to help Pancho… in more ways than he knows.
The Last Summer of the Death Warriors is an amazing book. You won’t be disappointed. While some of the subject matter is difficult, it is dealt with without being excessively graphic. Pancho and D.Q. are really wonderful characters, but the side characters, like D.Q.s mom, and The Panda are great too. This story will keep you turning the pages, and it will make you think about Pancho, D.Q. and their situations.
Our Teen Summer Reading program kicked off in high gear with an open mic night performance from Darien metal band, TEMPEST. Here's a clip from the event showing performances by Zach, keyboardist, and Misha, the lead vocalist and guitar player.
Check it out!
Will Halpin is Deaf, and it’s his first day at mainstream public school. Being a lip reader and ignored (to the point of near invisibility) gives Will the opportunity to observe a lot about his classmates. He gets through the day by writing his wry (read: snarky) comments in his notebook and generally trying to make sense of high school culture. Basically, Will Halpin is hilarious:
“It is pretty much a directly rising slope of coolness from the front of the bus to the back. From me to a weird skinny guy in a football shirt who clearly isn’t on the team, to Marie (whose last name is Stepcoat) to the trio from my morning bus stop: A.J. Fischels, Teresa Lockhart, and Gabby Meyers. If you keep going, you’d fly out the back of the bus onto the road itself and land in the cars belonging to kids far too cool to ever set foot on a bus.”
Then, on a field trip to Happy Memory Coal Mine, the quarterback (and first-rate bully) falls to his death. The police say it was an accident, but rumors swirl that it was murder. Will has been watching the quarterback with fascination: his father mired in political scandals, the planned huge and exclusive birthday party the students would kill to be invited to, the looks from the flirty math teacher, the beautiful girlfriend with a sad look in her eyes… Will may be the one with the keys to a mystery, if he can put them together, and all of a sudden he has a Hardy Boys obsessed friend to help him out.
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin is great. Funny, a good mystery and all around a great read!
Write What You See: 99 Photos to Inspire Writing by Hank Kellner---Do you ever have trouble writing stories for your English class or on your own? Well Write What You See is packed with 99 intriguing photos, writing prompts and key-words that will surely motivate you to write stories that will blow people away. The ideas and stories these pictures can help you come up with are endless. You'll never have trouble writing again!
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campell Bartoletti---Everyone knows the story of Hitler and his Nazi Army's quest to control the world and exterminate the Jewish race. However, many people don't know about Hitler's plan to affect the children of Germany as he tried to create a new world. This book takes you back to the 1930s and 40s to tell the unimaginable story of the dedication and devotion that millions of children had for Hilter and the Nazis. Hitler Youth, which includes tons of photos from the times, is incredibly insightful and will show you exactly what it was like to be a kid when Hitler ruled Germany.
Your Name in Print by Elizabeth Harper and Timothy Harper---If you've ever had hopes of getting your writing published in a magazine, newspaper, online, or even in a book, this book is for you. It contains tips and information that will help you in every step of the writing process: from subjects and ideas of what to write about to numerous websites that will either publish your writing or help you reach your goal of becoming published. No other book will give you as much insight on how to get yourself out there into the world or writing or how manage your writing career!
Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Tough Stuff by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Kimberly Kirberger---Have you ever been put in a stressful or scary situation and feel there is no way out? This book is filled with countless stories of people just like you; only, they've all learned lessons from their hardships and pain. These stories are being shared to help you realize that there are other people in the world going through the same thing as you and so you can learn the same lessons others have.
The Art of the Video Game by Josh Jenisch---The Art of the Video Game has amazing pictures from dozens of well-known video games on every page. It also explains to you how the animation, visual effects and even more came to be. Along with captions for every picture and video game explainations, this book contains numerous interviews with the game creators themselves! This book is perfect for all gamers who want to know more about how their beloved video games work.
Fire, the main character of Fire, grows up in the Dells, a country torn apart by political instability and characterized by the monsters that inhabit it. Monsters can be of any type of species: mice, cats, birds, deer, cows, or even humans. All monsters share the same characteristics: unbelievable beauty and the ability to control the thoughts of others, both of which they use to ensnare their prey. Fire is the only, the last, human monster. Her father was a monster who used his beauty and mental power to control the previous King of the Dells, encouraging him to wallow in base pleasures and maliciousness while the kingdom fell into ruins. Fire is a gentler sort of monster. Taught harsh lessons by her father’s cruel example, she never uses her mental powers, and hides her beauty as much as possible to avoid accidentally ensnaring the people she meets. When the new King requests her help in protecting the kingdom from civil war, Fire fears that she will not be able to stop the kingdom from falling again into the control of another monster: herself.
Fire is a prequel to Graceling, last summer’s hit novel about a girl with the power to kill, but it has very little to do with the other book. Fire and Graceling take place in the same world, but in very different countries. Fire is a more mature book than Graceling. Fire must deal with moral questions that go beyond what Katsa experienced, and her powers have the ability to cause more damage than Katsa’s. She experiences hard losses and finds her way in difficult situations. It is a fantastic read, with realistic relationships and a wonderful setting. It’s another can’t-put-it-down book (true story: when I was reading it I had the audio book in the car, and the book for my lunch break and home.)
This is a novel that takes you back to 2003, to the very beginning of the Operation Iraqi Freedom. Birdie is a soldier in the Civil Affairs unit. At the beginning of the book, he is stationed in Kuwait but the threat of war is only a rumor. When war is declared, Birdie leaves for Iraq, assigned to a small Civil Affairs squad meant to undertake smaller missions to ensure Iraqi support for the US. Their jobs include finding lost children, speaking to communities where there have been casualties, giving medical treatment to civilians and forging relationships with potential Iraqi allies and informants.
Sunrise Over Fallujah is a really good read. Birdie is an intelligent person who thinks about war and his reactions to the people he meets and the situations he encounters. The complexity of being in a warzone, especially one where the enemy seems ill-defined, becomes clear, as does the bravery of the men and women serving with Birdie. One of the most interesting things about this book is its treatment of the recent past—for example, when Birdie hopes for a short war and a quick return home, the reader has the clarity of knowing what will happen in the war, but not what will happen to the characters. It is a well written book, and even people who do not normally like war stories will enjoy it.
The teen librarians have collected a lot of book lists to help you choose what you want to read this summer. Click on these links to get the lists. If you're looking for more recommendations, leave a comment below or IM us by visiting our Contact Us page.
Middlesex Middle School Recommended Reads 2010 (the books we talked about)