In the Middle of…..

Silent AlarmI admit that I have been a bit behind on my reading lately, but I did get my hands on an interesting book this week – Silent Alarm by Jennifer Banash. This one is a pretty heavy topic because it is about the sister of a boy who plans and enacts a school shooting. Alys and Luke have always been close but she never saw the shooting coming. Now she and her family have to deal with Luke’s actions and try to understand and not hate what drove Luke to open fire on the school.

I cannot necessarily say that I am enjoying this book simply because of the topic. I do like Alys and I understand her struggles. She loves her brother and at the same time she cannot understand what he has done. Moreover, since she and her family are being blamed for his actions, she is facing the hatred of others. So far the book is dealing with so much realistic emotions that it is almost a nonstop read. You want to find out how this book ends and why Luke did what he did. It also makes me wonder if in the end, there will be an actual villain in the book. After all, what Luke has done is reprehensible, but he is also a loving brother and son.

Hate ListIf you are interested in the topic, I can recommend Jennifer Brown’s Hate List. This novel is about Valerie, whose boyfriend became a school shooter. Hate List gives you another perspective, one who is both the girlfriend and victim of the shooter.  I thought Valerie was a very well rounded character who learns to acknowledge that emotions are never really as simple as they may seem.

Of course, these are novels that are not for the faint of heart. Read with caution.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think of them?

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean has fallen in love five times.  Each time she falls out of love, she writes a goodbye letter describing why she fell in love with that boy in the first place.  She then address, stamps the letter and places them in a hat box given to her by her mother.  In the meantime, her sister is off to Scotland for college and has just broken up with her boyfriend Josh.  This would not be a problem except that Josh is the last boy Lara Jean fell for.  While Lara Jean is facing all these changes, she gets another surprise.  Her letters have been sent out and now she has boys coming to her wanting to know what is going on.

I have conflicted feelings about this book.  It was very slow to start and did not pick up until Lara Jean is confronted by the first boy.  There is a lot of family life going on in the book and while it is pleasant, it slows the story down.  Plus, I did not like the way Lara Jean’s older sister protected her.  I realize that she has taken over the mom role in the story, but it seems that she is too protective – she never really lets Lara Jean spread her wings.  Because of this, Lara Jean is scared to do a lot of things.

However, Lara Jean’s fear is what made this a good book.  I loved “watching” Lara Jean step outside of herself and experience new things.  She begins to learn that things are not as scary as she thinks and telling people how she feels begins to get easier.

There were some cliché moments in the book and one part does not really get resolved the way I wanted it to but the book is a hopeful one and I will be picking up more books by Jenny Han.

Have you read this one?  Or another one of Jenny Han’s?  Tell us what you think of them.

Teen Tech Week!

Hello everyone!  Teen Tech Week is here and we are celebrating all things Ipad at the library.  Join us at the Josey Ranch Lake Library tonight as we make trailers and play games all using our library Ipads.

The fun starts at 6:30.  Don’t forget your permission slip!