Archive for the ‘friendship’ Category


      Wahoo Gray and his animal wrangler dad, Mickey, are hired by the producer of the wildly popular survivalist television show “Expedition Survival” to guide their star through fantastic perils with Everglade wildlife.  Derek Badger is well known for his impromptu survival skills and eating anything, alive or dead, for the show.  But Derrick arrives with a flaming red dye job, a phoney tan, and a belly a bit too rotund for sleek man of the wilds.  This prime dona is flown to a luxury hotel each night.  But that does not mean he is not entertaining to Wahoo and irritating to Mickey.  After blasting Alice the alligator as being too tame for a wrestle, Alice takes Derek on a spin in the pond.  He almost drowns.  Other wildies have their nip of flesh from the star in his less than stellar performances of bravado.  He slinks off into the Everglades to meet his fate.  In the meantime, Mickey and Wahoo have whisked Tuna away from her abusive father and are alluding him in a chase through the Glades.  The producer insists that everyone search for her star.  Great action.  Snorts of laughter.  This is such a fun book for guy readers, well, anyone.


Carl’s Website

Noelle tries to keep herself invisible, from the bullies at school who make fun of her clothes, bump her in the hall and hoot over her lettuce and mayo half sandwiches made from the slim pickings at home.  Her mother only allows Noelle a room, otherwise, she is totally neglected.  She settles for whatever she can get, even boyfriends, meeting Matt clandestinely, instead of study hall, for make-out sessions.  Being blocked from walking down the aisle in Spanish by gorgeous Julian Porter, Noelle fantasizes about the perfections of his eyes, hair and build.  She can feel his smile as she sidles past him  to get to her desk.  Things could be worse, she could live the tormented life of Ali Walsh, the only one in the school bullied more than her.  Ali has invited Noelle to her home, but Noelle is afraid of increased torment if their relationship grows.  After a particularly horrible lunch scene, Noelle is invited to work on the school literary magazine that meets during lunchtime, and it really beats hiding in the restroom crouched on top of a toilet seat.  Simon, the student editor,  brings loads of food each day “for the staff.”  Another guardian angel, Sherae,  manages to help with mall runs at times of desperation.  I like the wisps of hope in the novel, and how Noelle lifts herself up on the shoulders of friends whose acts of kindness far outweigh the daily taunts.

Dealing with bullying is never easy, and Susane shares her own high school endurance race with it.  She has started a program for schools called “Your Ideal Life” which helps young adults plan for their better lives.

Susane’s Website

Mclean moves often with her dad, going to where he is assigned to resuscitate restaurants in trouble: “Restaurant Impossible” assignments. Mclean decides to be a new person for each move. But now her real self and name have bubbled to the surface. It all begins and ends with Dave. He yanks her into a hiding place during a chase. She repays the favor by ricocheting a basketball onto his head. There are a bevy of memorable characters. Deb commandeers a public service project that the distressed restaurant manager, Opal, has been suckered into assembling. Everyone of Dave’s buds get involved. Dave’s FBFs welcome Mclean and the oddball Deb into their circle. Jason, the cook, is Harvard educated. Tiffany, wait staff, is trouble and contributes some zingers. I loved the “ensemble casting.” But part of that cast is Mclean’s mother who insists on visitations with Mclean. Mclean resent her mother leaving her dad and refuses to go with her. But the money and lawyers of her new step-father might be more than Mclean can handle. Can Mclean and her family be fixed?

ENDERS’ Rating: ****

Sarah Dessen’s Website

I just enjoyed the tenth installment of “The Ranger’s Apprentice” series, touted as the final battle. Even though the series title is about the apprentice, I am impressed with how Flanagan maintains the ensemble of heroes sharing center stage throughout the series. And I like it! Halt, Will and Horace have such unique characteristics.

In this episode Horace has traveled to the far east to study the fighting techniques of the Senshi of Nihon-Ja. He becomes involved in a bloody civil war when a jealous Senshi lord marches through the country to take power and the life of the emperor, Shirgeru. Will, Halt and their very talented friends board the Skandian Wolfwill to assist. With only the emperor’s injured senshi and a passel of woodcutters and farmers they face the hordes in a last stand.

ENDERS’ Rating: *****

John’s Website

Sylvie and Carl have been best friends since…forever!

Sylvie knows that now they are in high school their friendship will blossom into a romance, then marriage, just like they pretended when young. Carl seems to have forgotten the master plan. He is moody, distant and overly excited about a soccer player on the boys’ team at his school. For Carl’s birthday they go to a Chihuly glass exhibit in London, and Carl’s glass dreams splinter around him. Though there were enough hints as to Carl’s passion, Sylive just doesn’t get it. Love will do that to you.

ENDERS’ Rating: ***

Drea has just moved to gray Bellingham with her hard-luck mother to live with eccentric grandmom. She holes up in the bland basement, soon to turn bright green, with her sophisticated music editing equipment. Drea is not much of a people person, in fact, they make her uncomfortable. She doesn’t understand why they cannot take the truth when they ask questions. She feels nervous when people get too close. She doesn’t trust the feelings she has around the new guy, Justin, who plays an amazing guitar. Then there is Naomi, her new drug-crazed friend with an amazing voice. So they form an amazing trip-hop band. This is a funny, heart-warming look into the perspective of a teen girl with Asperger’s Syndrome, her musical brilliance, and her trial and error with social situations. You will wish Drea were your friend by the time you finish.

ENDERS’ Rating: *****
Tara’s Website

Lacey is sure that if she had not dawdled with makeup for the weekly “breakfast with Dad” on Saturday mornings, that he would be alive today. Everyone but Lacey knows that she is overcompensating for her guilt by trying to solve her brothers’, mother’s and other people’s problems. The idea of starting a group for grieving teens who are ostracized by others seems a great way to create something positive from her pain. But Mom still works later than ever, Tanner thinks he cannot have fun as Dad is not. Logan resorts to being a party animal. Dealing with grief is harder than Lacey even realizes. The group presents a surprise. So many books deal with grief, but this is the first I have seen with a “fixer” as a main character.

ENDERS’ Rating: *****

Kristen’s Blog

In this much anticipated end of the Triskellion trilogy, Rachel and Adam escape to freedom from the Hope Orginaization to tranquility in Australia. Hahaha! Gabriel is back. Another terrifying adventure whisks Rachel and Adam to New Mexico and back to dangerous New York, following the clues of their grandmother’s diary, hoping to find the third triskellion. Mom is in trouble. The identity of their father is discovered, and at the end Rachel knows that soon her mother will notice the bulge. The epilogue foretells two lives “stirring inside of her.” Don’t look for a photo of Will Peterson, a pseudonym for authors Mark Billingham and Peter Cocks who, despite Rachel giving up the diary, may have more in store for fans one of which snagged the book from me and declared it the best. This is inventive fantasy that opens a new door to fantasy literature without a detour through Middle Earth!

ENDERS’ Rating: *****

Confession time: this is my first Lurlene McDaniel novel, though her books are extremely popular at my high school library. She started writing novels about youth facing challenges after her son was diagnosed with type one diabetes.

Elowyn and Kassey are such good friends that Elowyn gives Kassey an extra set of keys to her new car, a gift for her sixteenth birthday.

A young teen named Arabeth never leaves her home. She quietly waits for a donor heart so that she can live. Little does she know that Elowyn will become her closest friend also, with the donation of her heart after an accident in her new car. Everything gets surreal as Kassey, then Elowyn’s parents begin visiting Arabeth, as well as Elowyn’s boyfriend Wyatt. Awkward situations need to be dealt with as their lives become tangled together. I can see what my teen readers like about McDaniel’s books, if they are as intuitive and uncomfortable as this one.

ENDERS’ Rating: ****

Lurlene’s Website

Poor Seth. He has lost his fourth job, his girl breaks up with him in Applebee’s in front of the guy replacing him, and then over his shoulder he sees his dad with another woman! He decides to deal with his grief and angst in an oral journal, a podcast, using his mom’s old soundboard. Seth is good and his podcast gains quite a following. While golfing with his dirty-minded bud, Dimitri, Seth determines to ask for his fifth summer job at the golf course and to play gumshoe to ferret out his father’ slut. With zany, witty, hormonal Dimitri as his sidekick they end up in more hot water than fresh lobsters. A new love interest is on the horizon for Seth if he lives through her freakishly horrid sandwiches.

Loved, loved, loved this laugh-out-loud book for its cleverness and compelling story!

ENDERS’ Rating: ****

Eric Luper’s Website

Eric’s Blog