YOU by Charles Benoit:
Fifteen-year-old Kyle is a member of the “hoodies.” So named for their ubiquitous hooded sweatshirts, they are the slackers/burnouts/freaks common to every high school. In fact, Kyle would be the first to admit his commonness—he gets picked on by bullies, he serves detention, he pines after a girl.
The deadness he feels is impinged upon by the arrival of Zack, a private-academy transfer who wears sports coats, quotes philosophers, laughs at Shakespeare, and seems to have every student and teacher in the palm of his hand. Zack takes on Kyle as a sort of project, but his swank parties and daring escapades soon turn to deeds far darker.
Benoit's stylistic gamble here is the use of the second person—you, the reader, are Kyle. The gimmickry of it quickly fades; in fact, the reader identification helps fill in the gaps of an otherwise watery protagonist. Zack is a theatrical, Iago-like villain, and he makes a great foil to Kyle's antihero in their twisted relationship.
First lines: You're surprised at all the blood. He looks over at you, eyes wide, mouth dropping open, his face almost as white as his shirt.
MATCHED by Ally Condi
For Cassia, nothing is left to chance--not what she will eat, the job she will have, or the man she will marry. In Matched, the Society Officials have determined optimal outcomes for all aspects of daily life, thereby removing the "burden" of choice.
When Cassia's best friend is identified as her ideal marriage Match it confirms her belief that Society knows best, until she plugs in her Match microchip and a different boy’s face flashes on the screen. This improbable mistake sets Cassia on a dangerous path to the unthinkable--rebelling against the predetermined life Society has in store for her.
As author Ally Condie’s unique dystopian Society takes chilling measures to maintain the status quo, Matched reminds readers that freedom of choice is precious, and not without sacrifice.
First lines: I smile at myself, at the foolishness of my imagination. People cannot fly, though before The Society, there were myths about those who could. White wings, blue sky, gold circles above their heads...
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins
Anna Oliphant has big plans for her senior year in Atlanta: hang out with her best friend, Bridgette, and flirt with her coworker at the Royal Midtown 14 multiplex. So she is none too happy when her father sends her off to boarding school in Paris. However, things begin to look up when she meets Étienne St. Clair, a gorgeous guy–with a girlfriend.
As he and Anna become closer friends, things get infinitely more complicated. Will Anna get her French kiss? Or are some things just not meant to be? Teens will feel like they are strolling through the City of Lights in this starry-eyed story of finding love when you least expect it
First lines: Here is everthing I know about France: Madeline and Amelie and Moulin Rouge. The Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, although I have no idea what the function of either actually is. Napoleon, Marie Antoinette, and a lot of kings named Louis.
ROOM by Emma Donoghue
In many ways, Jack is a typical 5-year-old. He likes to read books, watch TV, and play games with his Ma. But Jack is different in a big way--he has lived his entire life in a single room, sharing the tiny space with only his mother and an unnerving nighttime visitor known as Old Nick.
For Jack, Room is the only world he knows, but for Ma, it is a prison in which she has tried to craft a normal life for her son. When their insular world suddenly expands beyond the confines of their four walls, the consequences are piercing and extraordinary.
Despite its profoundly disturbing premise, Emma Donoghue's Room is rife with moments of hope and beauty, and the dogged determination to live, even in the most desolate circumstances. A stunning and original novel of survival in captivity, readers who enter Room will leave staggered, as though, like Jack, they are seeing the world for the very first time.
First lines: Today I'm five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I've changed to five, abracadabra.
I'm currently reading: ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, and SILVER DRAGON
Next up: PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ, STOLEN, and SAY ANYTHING
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