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Monday, June 13, 2011

Teen Girl SUMMER Reading List

I have created the MOTHERLOAD LIST of summer reading for girls! Most of these books I have read myself and the rest come by recommendation from my TEEN BOOK Guru, my daughter Emily. I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to write your own reviews or give your opinions on other choices for a SUMMER READING LIST!

As if it isn’t bad enough to have cancer, practically every time we pick up a book or hear about a character in a movie who gets sick, we know they’ll be dead by the last scene. In reality, kids get all kinds of cancers, go through unspeakable torture and painful treatments, but walk away, fine in the end. Isabelle, not quite 15, is living a normal life of fighting with her younger brother, being disgusted with her parents, and hoping to be noticed by a cute guy. Everything changes in an instant when she is diagnosed with lymphoma—and even her best friend, Kay, thinks Izzy is going to die. But she doesn’t, and her humor—sardonic, sharp, astute—makes reading this book accessible and actually enjoyable.

Abandoned at birth, Hollis Woods has lived in about a half dozen homes and has always wished for a family. A foster caretaker describes her as "a mountain of trouble." When Josie Cahill, a retired art teacher, takes the 12-year-old into her home on Long Island, NY, the two bond almost immediately. Hollis draws pictures with colored pencils and Josie carves branches into people. However, it soon becomes clear that Josie has trouble remembering things, and Hollis becomes the caregiver. When she stops attending school, a social worker comes by to investigate. Flashbacks slowly illuminate Hollis's life with one family who had hoped to adopt her and why this didn't happen. Giff masterfully weaves these two strands together in a surprising and satisfying ending. (From the School Library Journal)

After Emily's aunt dies, Emily learns that everything she has always believed is a lie, and her world crumbles. Forced to face the fact that her mother is not who she thought she was, Emily tries to find the truth about her past and make sense of her future. Turning to graffiti and vandalism as a way to deal with her anger, she comes to realize that there is more to a family than shared DNA.

All Y'Tin, 13, ever wanted was to be an elephant trainer, and when he was 11, he became the youngest handler ever in his village. His life revolves around Lady and the other elephants in their small herd. But this is Vietnam in 1975 and the North Vietnamese are a threat to the Dega people of the Central Highlands now that the American forces are gone. The feared attack comes and half the village, including Y'Tin, is captured. He witnesses the murder of a fellow elephant keeper and, when he is ordered to help dig a mass grave, he knows escape is his only hope. When the chance comes, he and his friend Y'Juen slip into the jungle. They manage to find Lady and the other elephants, but the stress, fear, and anxiety about the war never leave Y'Tin. Even when he is reunited with his family, he cannot let go of the constant strain and despair for the future. When he is sent into the jungle to track down a lost Y'Juen, he spends a desperate night in fear. At this point, he decides the best thing is to try and make it to Thailand to find his future as an elephant trainer. Like a child in any war, Y'Tin has to cope with a situation that he doesn't understand, one that has completely overturned his life. (From the School Library Journal)

Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute... Laurie Halse Anderson's first novel is a stunning and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast. The triumphant ending, in which Melinda finds her voice, is cause for cheering (while many readers might also shed a tear or two). After reading Speak, it will be hard for any teen to look at the class scapegoat again without a measure of compassion and understanding for that person--who may be screaming beneath the silence. (Amazon review)

Overwhelmed by wave after wave of emotional trauma, Kristen Anderson no longer wanted to live. One January night, determined to end her pain once and for all, the seventeen-year-old lay across train tracks not far from her home and waited to die.

Instead of peace, she found herself immersed in a whole new nightmare.

Before the engineer could bring the train to a stop, thirty-three freight cars passed over her at fifty-five miles per hour. After the train stopped and Kristen realized she was still alive, she looked around—and saw her legs ten feet away.

Surviving her suicide attempt but losing her legs launched Kristen into an even deeper battle with depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as unrelenting physical pain—all from the seat of a wheelchair. But in the midst of her darkest days, Kristen discovered the way to real life and a purpose for living.

For anyone struggling to find the strength to go on, the message of this heart-wrenching yet hope-building book is a clear and extraordinary reminder that even when we give up on life, God doesn’t give up on us. 

Ethan lives in a foster home, struggling to put his life on the right track. Involved in a photography program for at-risk kids, he finds himself threatened again and again by someone who wants his camera. What does Ethan know? And what is on his camera that someone is willing to kill for? Struggling to stay out of trouble and solve the mystery, he discovers he has all the answers. He just has to figure out the questions.

After losing her best friend, Ingrid, to suicide, Caitlin is completely immobilized. Unable to function, and refusing to visit a therapist, she begins the long journey to wellness alone. During this year of heart-wrenching, raw emotion, Caitlin finds Ingrid's journal, which not only reveals her descent into irreversible depression, but also serves as Caitlin's vehicle for renewed hope in the future. The book is written with honesty, revealing one's pain after the loss of a loved one. Caitlin learns, with the help of new friends and her parents, that there is life after Ingrid. (School Library Journal)

The last normal moment that Mia, a talented cellist, can remember is being in the car with her family. Then she is standing outside her body beside their mangled Buick and her parents' corpses, watching herself and her little brother being tended by paramedics. As she ponders her state (Am I dead? I actually have to ask myself this), Mia is whisked away to a hospital, where, her body in a coma, she reflects on the past and tries to decide whether to fight to live. Via Mia's thoughts and flashbacks, Forman (Sisters in Sanity) expertly explores the teenager's life, her passion for classical music and her strong relationships with her family, friends and boyfriend, Adam. Mia's singular perspective (which will recall Alice Sebold's adult novel, The Lovely Bones) also allows for powerful portraits of her friends and family as they cope: Please don't die. If you die, there's going to be one of those cheesy Princess Diana memorials at school, prays Mia's friend Kim. I know you'd hate that kind of thing. Intensely moving, the novel will force readers to take stock of their lives and the people and things that make them worth living. (Publisher's Weekly)



  1. You are doing such good things! xo Irene

  2. Thanks so much or this awesome list. What do you think of the melody carlson series?

  3. I love the style of the site! ;p

  4. Never read the melody carson series.... is the private series good?

  5. whre's the books about LOVE?