Diamonds In The Rough

Eric Walters

After the sudden death of Sky’s mother, Sky wants nothing more than to keep her and her three younger sisters together. The solution may lie with a newly discovered uncle. But Cole’s criminal history and his constant struggle to escape his past are not exactly the stable parental qualities that the authorities are looking for. When Sky and Cole strike a mutually beneficial deal to create an acceptable image, they both get more than they bargained for.

I pulled out the picture Cole had given us . . . my gaze fell on the boy, my uncle. I thought about the sadness in his eyes and what he’d been through at such a young age. And I was shocked to see a bit of me, staring back.

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A Wrinkle In Time

Madeleine L’Engle

Madeleine L’Engle’s classic A Wrinkle in Time was published in 1962 and has become a favourite book for many young readers. At the time of its publication, A Wrinkle in Time was different in that it was science fiction (the author was reading about quantum physics) and had a female protagonist. Originally developed for the big screen in 2003, a new movie version of the book is out, starring Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, and Mindy Kaling. The film is directed by Ava DuVernay, who directed the Academy Award-winning film Selma in 2014. We have several copies of the book in the collection, and not surprisingly, all copies are currently checked out.

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

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The Fourth Dimension

Eric Walters

Fifteen-year-old Emma has moved house with her ex-Marine mother and younger brother. It’s a brand-new condo building, which explains the semi-regular power outages, as workers complete the units around them. So Emma is not particularly concerned when the latest blackout hits just as they are preparing to leave town on a long weekend camping trip. Then the car won’t start, and their cellphones appear dead — and all the cars outside their building seem to be stalled in a long traffic jam …

In the midst of what appears to be a massive power outage, with their camping gear packed and ready, Emma and her family canoe over to the islands, just offshore, to wait it out. While they land on an isolated island, with a relatively hidden site, they are far from safe, as people become increasingly desperate to find food and shelter. As the days pass, and the power remains out, the threat of violence becomes all too real.

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Beastly

Alex Flinn

Kyle Kingsbury’s good looks and father’s riches got him far in life. He was just named as one of the prince nominees for the spring dance court when his classmate, Kendra Hilferty, brings attention to how disgusting it is that these competitions are based on a person’s attractiveness rather than more important qualities such as intelligence or bravery. Wanting to put her in her place, Kyle decides to humiliate her at the school dance. In return, she reveals to him her true identity as a witch and transforms Kyle into a creature with claws, fangs, and an excessive amount of hair. As a beast, Kyle must find true love in two years or remain this way forever.

Kyle is portrayed to be an unlikeable character at the beginning of the novel. Alex Flinn exaggerates the bad qualities associated with him to have this impact on the reader. His manipulative nature, conceitedness, and insensitivity are made clear through his actions and interactions with other characters in the story. After he is put under Kendra’s spell, we see a new side to him causing our perceptions of him to shift. For instance, Kyle becomes compassionate and sensitive to the issues of others. This teaches readers that everyone has the potential to change. This and the many other morals in this book, that mainly relate to love, make this a worthwhile read.

I associate a very nostalgic mood with parts of this book due to the many fairy tale references it includes. Often in the novel, there would be text threads between Kyle and other creatures that were considering transformations or were transformed. The screen name, SilentMaid, represented the Little Mermaid. This was done in a mature way that didn’t make you feel like you were reading a book targeted at a younger audience. These text threads also added a more interesting element to the book because it told the story in a creative way.

The short two years the beast was given to reverse the curse was a strategic way of implementing suspense into Alex Flinn’s novel. It gradually increases in intensity as Kyle’s deadline approaches. It makes you obsessively continue reading to anxiously see if Kyle can manage to change back to his former self. The ending of the novel relieves the readers stress and leaves them very satisfied because it doesn’t just resolve the problems of the main characters, but updates us on the supporting characters like Kyle’s blind tutor, Will. For these reasons, I found Beastly to be a stunning read. – Julia K.

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Before I Let Go

Marieke Nijkamp

Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.

Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated—and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. In addition, they push Corey away as if she is a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets—chilling secrets. Piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter…

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Shadowsong

S. Jae-Jones

Six months after the end of Wintersong, Liesl is working toward furthering both her brother’s and her own musical careers. Although she is determined to look forward and not behind, life in the world above is not as easy as Liesl had hoped. Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her.

When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King―who he was, who he is, and who he will be. What will it take to break the old laws finally? What is the true meaning of sacrifice when the fate of the world―or the ones Liesl loves―is in her hands?

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