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September 22, 2006 Edition

Fly on the Wall, by E. Lockhart


Gretchen Yee feels invisible as she moves through her days at the Manhattan High School for the Arts. Her parents are divorcing, her teachers think she doesn’t take her art seriously, her best friend is suddenly “too busy”, and her “let’s be friends” ex-boyfriend won’t even talk to her. When her idle wish – to become a fly on the wall of the boys’ locker room so she’ll learn more about guys – comes true, she learns a lot more than she bargained for. Implausible premise, but a lot of fun.

King Dork, by Frank Portman


Portman, a musician himself, has created a hero in 10th grade rocker-wannabee Tom Henderson, whose life changes the day he reads his deceased father’s copy of “The Catcher in the Rye.” Tom’s the kind of kid whose vocabulary is too extensive and humor too self-deprecating to make fitting in with anyone, even his own bandmates, easy. But it’s those qualities that have left him well-equipped to follow the clues in the book that may help him solve the mystery of his father’s death. Intelligent and funny, this is a look inside (or back at) high school geekdom from someone both detached from and very much enmeshed in it.

Becoming Chloe, by Catherine Ryan Hyde


Seventeen year-old Jordy is homeless, gay and living on the streets of New York when he rescues Chloe from a brutal rape. She’s a year older, but child-like, and silent about the abuse that has left her that way. The closer they get, the more Chloe’s inner demons surface until Jordy realizes that the only way she’ll survive is if she can be convinced that the world still has beauty in it, and that he’s the only one who cares enough to prove it to her.

Ruby Tuesday, by Jennifer Anne Kogler


Ruby Tuesday Sweet, named by her rock-and-roll loving mom and raised by her dad, is trying to figure out what her dad does for a living. After her Uncle Larry is found dead, though, that mystery is solved and another one looms. Her dad is a handicapper who worked for Larry and is now accused of murdering him, but Ruby knows he didn’t. Scooped up by her mother and taken to Las Vegas to stay with her iguana-toting grandmother, the three women search desperately for a way to clear her dad’s name. Reminiscent of Janet Evanovich, but for a younger crowd, this manages to mix humor, high drama, mystery, and action together with memorable and loveable characters for a wonderful read.

The New World Order, by Ben Jeapes


Historical fiction for alternative history fans: aliens from a parallel universe are attempting to use the civil war between Royalists and Roundheads to their advantage and turn 17th century Britain into a colony ruled by an alien overlord. The pivot is John Donder, a Holekhor who was raised in a small English village, and his half-English son, Daniel, whose divided loyalties have the power to turn the tide of the invasion in this complex and deftly written novel.

Spirit Walker, by Michelle Paver


When a terrifying disease starts killing off members of Torak’s Raven Clan, he is convinced that he is the cause and sets out to seek a cure. His search takes him through the Forest and across the seas to the Seal Clans, where he is betrayed and marked for death. But Torak has friends, among them the now-grown Wolf, who come to his aid as he battles the Soul-Eater and learns to Spirit Walk. Readers who enjoyed the prequel “Wolf-Brother” will welcome another adventure into Torak’s world, but this eerie and fast-paced story can also be read alone.

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