The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel

Thursday, August 12, 2010
Michael Scott

Some people may have first heard of Nicholas Flamel in Harry Potter & the Sorcerers’ Stone, but Flamel is an actual person who was rumored to be a successful alchemist in the late 1300’s.   Flamel’s house still stands in Paris (the oldest stone house in the city – the book has a photo of the house!)

Author Michael Scott uses a gigantic canvas for this riveting fantasy. The well-worn theme of saving the world from the forces of evil gets a fresh look here as he incorporates ancient myth and legend and sets it firmly, pitch-perfect, in present-day California. At the emotional center of the tale are contemporary 15-year-old twins, Josh and Sophie, who, it turns out, are potentially powerful magicians. They are spoken of in a prophecy appearing in the ancient Book of Abraham the Mage, all but two pages of which have been stolen by evil John Dee, alchemist and magician. The pursuit of the twins and Flamel by Dee and his allies to get the missing pages constitutes the book's central plot. Amid all this exhilarating action, Scott keeps his sights on the small details of character and dialogue and provides evocative descriptions of people, mythical beings, and places. He uses as his starting point the figures of the historical alchemist Nicholas Flamel and his wife, who have found the secret of immortality, along with mythical beings, including the terrifying Scottish crow-goddess, the Morrigan; the three-faced Greek Hekate; the powerful Egyptian cat-goddess, Bastet; and Scathach, a legendary Irish woman warrior and vegetarian vampire. While there is plenty here to send readers rushing to their encyclopedias of mythology and alchemy, those who read the book at face value will simply be caught up in the enthralling story. A fabulous read – Look for book 2!

Diane, Administration

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I am the Messenger

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Markus Zusak

Sometimes, books are so wonderful they deserve to be read twice. I am the Messenger is one of those special books. Without a doubt, it is one of my all time favorites and I will never tire of rereading it. Ed Kennedy is not special in any way. He has no talents. He has no girlfriend. The only thing he has is a smelly, coffee drinking dog named The Doorman. When Ed spontaneously stops a bank robbery, his life abruptly changes. Suddenly, he is receiving playing cards in the mail with clues that Ed needs to riddle out all alone. The clues lead him to different missions around his neighborhood that redefine how Ed views himself.


The different messages Ed delivers are thrilling and often beautiful. At the end of the novel, it becomes clear that Ed isn’t just the messenger…he is also the message.

Gabrielle M., Circulation

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Katy's New World

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Kim Vogel Sawyer

Books about the Amish and Mennonites are always interesting.   In this one Katy, a 14 year old Mennonite girl, is given permission to attend the public high school. She is given all kinds of rules  by her church leaders and her single parent father.  Katy struggles with wanting to learn and also fit in with some of her classmates.  The reader really gets  a feel for the kind of life the Mennonites live.   It is a young adult book but also of interest to adults and probably good 4th and 5th readers.

Sue N., Youth Services

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Thursday, July 15, 2010
Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is exactly what its name suggests; a fun, unusual and memorable novel. The entire book is a compilation of letters written by a boy who uses a false identity. As a reader, the recipient of the letters is never revealed, but Charlie’s life is captured quite poetically and comically in his many letters.


Unlike many teenage boys, Charlie is quiet, contemplative and unusually intelligent. His English teacher, who insists that Charlie call him Bill, becomes one of Charlie’s best friends. He urges Charlie to stop being a wallflower and just observing his own life. He inspires Charlie to actually participate.


This novel is entirely uplifting and joyful. Charlie’s letters could convey emotions in his life better than anything I have ever read, and inspired me to fully participate in my own.

Gabrielle M., Circulation

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Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery

Thursday, July 15, 2010
John Feinstein

We listened to this on a looong drive across Utah.  My husband, who generally doesn’t care for audiobooks actually told our 4-year-old daughter, (normally Daddy’s darling), to be quiet because he was listening to the story!  And now she knows who Coach K, while our son says “ABD – anybody BUT Duke.”

Grade 6-10 - This action-packed mystery is set at the NCAA Final Four men's basketball tournament. Eighth-graders Steven Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are aspiring journalists and winners of the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association 14-and-under writing contest. Their prize is a trip, with press credentials and reporting responsibilities, to the Final Four in New Orleans. While exploring the Superdome, they overhear a blackmail threat leveled at Minnesota State University's star player. Threatened with a falsified transcript that would disqualify him and his team, Chip Graber is pressured to deliberately lose the final game against Duke. Stevie and Susan Carol become resourceful sleuths determined to save Chip and to expose the scandal. Throughout the story, famous basketball personalities make memorable guest appearances, including spirited sports analyst Tony Kornheiser and irrepressible commentator Dick Vitale. References to real players and coaches mingle, almost eerily, with the fictitious characters. Feinstein shares his extensive sports expertise, smoothly weaving into the tale a wealth of background information about NCAA regulations, tournament traditions, recruitment and eligibility issues, and gambling. Although the action on the court is vividly described, this story also breaks new ground for teens, focusing primarily on the influential role of media in promoting college basketball. Readers will enjoy the rivalry and chemistry between outspoken but insecure Stevie and savvy-beyond-her-years Susan Carol, and their spunky determination to get the scoop. Mystery fans will find enough suspense in this fast-paced narrative to keep them hooked.

Diane M., Administration

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Fat Cat

Thursday, July 1, 2010
Robin Brande

A high school junior decides her science experiment will be to live as early hominins did - no technology (cars, cell phones, etc.) and eating mainly fruites, veggies, nuts, etc.  Quite a challenge for a teen addicted to caffeine and junk food, but this science geek is determined to outshine her rival.  A fastpaced, interesting read.

Janice, Youth Services

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The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading

Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Charity Tahmaseb

A fun chick-lit for teen girls...
Two girls (self-proclaimed as geeks), decide to try-out for the high school cheerleading squad and throw the school's social hierarchy a little haywire. They had no idea cheering & carrying pom-poms would cause such an upset among the geeks and the jocks. A fun and entertaining story.

Janice, Youth Services

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Sunday, November 22, 2009
Michael Grant
Everyone age 15 and older disappears one day - out of nowhere - they poof... leaving a new world filled with kids 14 and under to fend for themselves. But that's not the only strangeness going on... some of them have developed special powers. And everyone's taking sides. An adventure-filled page-turner.
"LOST" meets "Heroes" If you liked the Hunger Games, try this one. First book in a planned series of six.

Janice, Youth Services

The Lightning Thief

Sunday, November 22, 2009
Rick Riordan
This story grabs you from the very beginning and doesn't let you go until the end. A fantasy page-turner filled with lots of action, sword fights, Greek Gods, and even a betrayal. The story of a boy who find out he's a "half-blood" (his mother was mortal but his father apparently wasn't) and the quest he goes on to save the world.

Not a "new" book or series but one I finally got around to starting and it was worth it!
Recommended for Teens, avid fantasy readers & Harry Potter fans.

Janice, Youth Services

The Maze of Bones (book #1 of “The 39 Clues”)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Rick Riordan
The Cahills are the most powerful family the world has ever known. Grace Cahill, the matriarch of the family, left a challenge in her will for her surviving relatives. They can either take one million dollars or the first in a series of Clues that will reveal the source of the family’s power. It’s Cahill vs. Cahill in a race to beat the competition and be the first to assemble all 39 Clues. Read The 39 Clues books to follow fourteen-year-old Amy Cahill and her eleven-year-old brother Dan as they travel the world to hunt for the Clues.” - Scholastic (www.the39clues.com)
I read the first book, The Maze of Bones and just loved it. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. It’s an action-packed scavenger hunt and full of lots of obstacles – bombs, poison, and lots of mind-bending puzzles.
Check out the website, and find out which Cahill branch you belong to: www.the39clues.com
And watch fan Whoopi Goldberg interview Gordon Korman, author of book #2 about “The 39 Clues” at:
Janice, Youth Services


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