Posts Tagged ‘High Schools’

Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M McManus.

January 22, 2019 Comments off

9780141375656Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M McManus. Pub. PenguinRandom House, 2019.

This is a murder mystery for teens par excellence.

It is set in a small East coast American town called Echo Ridge, a town that is obsessed with it’s tragic past. Twenty odd years ago Sadie and her twin sister Sarah went to the Homecoming Ball at Echo Ridge High where Sadie was homecoming Queen. Shortly after Sarah disappeared and has never been found. Why?

Now Sadie’s twin daughter Ellery and brother Ezra have returned to Echo Ridge to live with their grandmother and go to Echo Ridge high school as Sadie has gone into rehab for drug addiction. Five years earlier another homecoming Queen, Lacey who was Sadie’s favourite babysitter, was murdered in a horror theme park called Fright Farm. Her murderer has not been found

On their return to Echo Ridge on a rainy night, Ellery and Ezra find a teacher dead on the road and lots of ominous things are happening around the town. It is the eve of another homecoming Queen Ball at Echo Ridge High and startling as it seems Ellery has been named as one of the finalists for Homecoming Queen. She suspects a fit up and her investigative nature causes her to look into the deeds of the past.

Then one of the other candidates for homecoming Queen goes missing in the company of Malcolm the brother of Declan who has top candidate for the murder of Lacey. What the heavens is going on? Read it and find out, it is outstanding drama.

Brilliantly written in short chapters with lots of things going on. There are mean girls, football players who think they are wonderful, gay boys and girls and the whole American high school scene. The ending is thrilling. You won’t put this down once you start.

Expelled by James Patterson & Emily Raymond.

October 23, 2017 Comments off

expelledExpelled by James Patterson & Emily Raymond. Pub. Penguin Random House, Imprint Young Arrow, 2017

This novel for teens had me laughing from start to finish. It is clever, it is witty and the dialogue between characters is buzzing. If you are a reluctant reader get your eyeballs into this novel, I guarantee you won’t put it down.

The brief plot is – someone has put a revealing photograph using the IP address of 16 year old Theo’s Twitter account. For this he is expelled from school along with those that featured in the photograph. He is innocent.He is aggrieved and wants justice and has to convince the others that they must pursue the truth. They decide to do it by making a film about the incident and the outcome is superb. But be warned it brings out truths that you may not be ready for.

Theo is unhappy and doesn’t want to be known as the kid with the dead father who was expelled. He has a crush on Sasha in a way that is a cross between like and lust.

Sasha is an intelligent and aloof beauty. When she says anything the boys sit up and notice. When the movie is suggested by Theo the boys take it seriously because of Sasha who herself has been expelled for alleged theft. There is also some thought that she is the girl with the impressive boobs in the photo on Theo’s Twitter page.

Jude is Theo’s best friend and is assumed to be in the photograph too. He describes himself as a 16 year old bisexual virgin in a Hello Kitty T shirt and plans to paint himself to success and happiness with his art.

Parker is a 200 pound football player with the intelligence and language skills of an ox, who was also a subject on the photograph. He was swigging from a whisky bottle with a hand on the afore mentioned boobs.

Felix is the film maker moved by the fact that the film Tangerine was  shot on iPhone 5’s. Can he do it with this story and get to Sundance film festival?

Great cover. You see this cover and you want to pick the book up. It’s a rivetting story get into it.




Homeroom Diaries by James Patterson and Lisa Papademetriou.

July 17, 2014 Comments off

homeroom diariesHomeroom Diaries by James Patterson and Lisa Papademetriou.  Pub. Random House, 2014.

I often hear teachers and librarians say much is written for reluctant boy readers what about reluctant girl readers. James patterson writes much for reluctant boys and now he has taken on the girls in liaison with Lisa Papadementriou who enables him to get the female teenage voice right.

Margaret “cuckoo” Clarke is at high school but has a hard row to hoe in life stakes. Her mother is flaky which is ok if you’re a piecrust but not so good if you are responsible for another human being. Her mother had bad taste in men and often left Cuckoo alone at home without support for days on end.

When she disappeared for more than two weeks Cuckoo broke down and was taken to what she calls “crazytown”. She is in a mental institution and presents a very sympathetic picture of what it was like in there.

When she comes out she goes back to school and mixes with kids that she nicknames the “freakshow”. The kids are all brilliant and innovative and Cuckoo is not an unhappy girl in fact she is amazingly upbeat. She comments when a rich boy takes her out and asks why she mixes with her freaky friends. She replies “everybodys’ weird once you get to know them”.

This is what I like about the novel. It is crazy yet perceptive and at times enormously funny.

Every other page  of this novel carries  illustrations that picture the characters and what is going on. They are accompanied with comments that will make you laugh and cry.

Easy to read, with a portrait of American High school life that takes the water. Reluctant girls will love this even boys if they are brave enough. I was.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

May 7, 2014 Comments off

looking alaskaLooking for Alaska by John Green. Pub. HarperCollins, 2013.

The most enjoyable and satisfying novel for High school students i have read this year. Why? because the four major characters in it are just superb.

Miles Halter goes to the same High School in steamy Alabama as his father went to and stays as a boarder. Miles is looking for the Big Perhaps and he meets it alright in the shape of three friends at the school that are to change his life for ever.

He rooms with Chip alias the Colonel, a poor boy, with a deep resentment of the rich, due to his upbringing in a trailer park. He is on a scholarship to the school, is witty and a risk taker. Just what Miles needs. He nicknames Miles Pudge because he is tall and thin and Pudge he becomes.

He is introduced to a brilliant girl named Alaska and is instantly attracted to her and hungers after her for the rest of the book. She in turn flirts with him and other boys but when it comes down to it she holds them all at bay by saying she is true to her boyfriend Jake who is hung like a horse and is an attentive lover. You innocents cannot compete with that.

The fourth character is Takumi, a Japanese boarder who is a true friend and for all the others holds a key position in their friendship.

The book is in two parts and is structured in the days counting down to the beginning of a relationship. Miles or Pudge narrates the story as we count down from136 days Before the event. When it happens everything is blown out of the water but you will have to read it to find out what.

Part 2 is 136 days After the event and wow it is brilliant. As I read it I said why can’t I write like this? and you will too.

The novel is underpinned by a deep philosophical argument about the meaning of life and growing up. Highly recommended.


Life after theft by Aprilynne Pike

May 23, 2013 Comments off

life after theftLife After Theft by Aprilynne Pike. Pub. HarperCollins, 2013.

Sometimes it is good to pick up a teenage novel that sounds like it is frivilous and it turns out to be pretty good. This is such a novel.

Kimberlee is dead. She was the hottest chick in school but she wasn’t miss nice to everyone. She was immensely wealthy but a kleptomaniac. She stole from everyone. Teachers, students, shops everyone. No remorse.

For whatever reason and at the behest of whatever Cosmic power you believe in Kimberlee comes back as a ghost to correct the wrong she has done. ie return all the stolen property. Hundreds of boxes of the stiff. She never needed it or used it but stored it in a cave.

Jeff is the new boy at a privileged school. The school that Kimberlee went to. On his first day he sees her lying as a ghost on the locker room floor. Nobody else can see her except him. Kimberlee gets him to help her return the stolen goods with the belief that returning the booty will end her days as a ghost. Will this happen or is there more to it than that?

Meanwhile Jeff starts up a relationship with Sera, a once bad girl, now apparently miss clean. The trouble is Sera and Kimberlee have history as does her brother Khail who is built like a brick toilet and has secrets of his own.

It all builds up to a very satisfying and revealing ending. You might not think you would like such a novel at first viewing, but you would be wrong. I enjoyed it immensely.

For high school students.