My Favorite Five of Summer… (okay, really just my favorite Five of May/June)

I was asked to list five teen books that I’d recommend for Teen Summer Reading Program for a local magazine article. I’ve read quite a few great books this year, and so it was difficult to narrow down the list. I decided to just name some of my favorites from the past six weeks.

In no particular order:

Etiquette & Espionage: Finishing School, Book the First  by Gail Carriger [ISBN: 9780316190084]

EtiqandEsp.Against the backdrop of a steampunk version of an 1851 England, fourteen-year-old Sophronia Angelina Temmenick would rather climb trees and dismantle dumbwaiters than act the proper young lady her mother and older sisters demand. After having had enough, her mother trundles Sophronia off to what she thinks is a “Fine Ladies” finishing school, Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. What Sophronia’s mother doesn’t know is that the academy actually teaches the fine arts of espionage, deception, and assassination. Oh, and the school is actually housed in an always-moving articulated dirigible. I look forward to the rest of this series.

Leaving Fishers by Margaret Peterson Haddix [ISBN: 9781442443143]

LeavingFishersHaving been lonely at school for so long, Dorry is ecstatic when she finally makes friends with classmate Angela and her clique, especially since they’re all so attractive and seem so popular. She soon discovers they all belong to a religious group, the Fishers of Men. Eager to fit in and flattered by her new friends’ attention, Dorry happily joins Fishers. But when the Fishers start making harsh demands of Dorry, she finds herself compromising her grades, her job, and even her family’s love. How much is too much? And where will the cult’s demands end? What I liked most about Leaving Fishers is that it’s a fantastic cautionary tale for young people about not letting themselves be abused/manipulated without slamming religion as a whole.

Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!: Make Stylish Plastic Jewelry by Kathy Sheldon [ISBN: 9781454703495]

Shrink Not the kid’s shrinky-dinks of yestyear, Kathy Sheldon shows you how to create cool and  surprisingly chic pieces of wearable art using modern-tech plastic. 35 projects  teach you all you need to know to make your own sell-this-on-Etsy-quality  pieces. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I placed my hold, but I was happily  surprised with how nice the items were, especially since the materials aren’t  overly spendy. And a lot of the items are just really neat-looking.

While this isn’t written specifically for teens, I like that the supplies for these projects can be inexpensive enough so as not be prohibitively pricey for those without a big cash stream (and for those of us adults who might also be low on cash, but still want to make pretty or fun jewelry without having to spend half a paycheck at the bead store). Lark Publishing usually does a nice job on their jewelry books, and this one is no exception.

MidwinterBlood by Marcus Sedgwick [ISBN: 9781596438002]

MidWinterBloodSeven intertwined tales of horror, sacrifice, beauty, and love. It’s rumored that you don’t age if you live on Blessed Island thanks to the eponymous Blessed Dragon orchid, a flower that grows there. The series begins with a tale set in the year 2073, and each subsequent tale leaps further and further back, finally disclosing how Erik (the reporter from the first story who is visiting the island to find out about the agelessness myth) is connected to the mysterious Merle, an island inhabitant. Dark and brooding, it pulls you along because you really want — need — to know how it’s all connected.

5th Wave by Rick Yancey [ISBN: 9780399162411]

5thWave“Forget your E.T. version of sweet, harmless aliens–in The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey imagines a silent invasion that takes extraterrestrial intelligence to a whole new level.” (from amazon.com). Each attack “wave” kills more and more humans. The remaining humans are now waiting to see what form the fifth — and final — wave will take, and they’re not going down quietly. Told from alternating viewpoints of Cassie, a 16 year-old girl who carries an M16 and is looking for her beloved little brother Sammy, and high-school hunk Ben Parrish, now known as “Zombie”, 5th Wave is an epic tale you’ll have a hard time putting down.

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