Monday, 7 October 2019

Everything Everything

Everything, Everything
Everything Everything
By Nicola Yoon

Madeleine (Maddy) Wittier has spent all eighteen years of her life in a bubble. She suffers from a rare immune deficiency called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) which prevents her from leaving her house and limits her mother, Pauline, and her nurse, Carla, for company. Madeleine has no complaints about her life, not having known any other form of existence. She attends school online and has Skype classes and tutors, and has read just about every book ever written. 

Her life as she knows changes when a moving truck arrives at the house next door. Madeleine is captivated by Olly, the teen age boy of the family and wants to know all about him. As she watches the family from her bedroom window, she and Olly strike up a friendship over IM and support each other in many ways.When Carla allows Olly to visit Maddy, without her mother's knowledge, things become more intense and Maddy begins to yearn for more than her life in the bubble. 

So, you can guess what happens next, the development of a more intense relationship, the running away, the discovery. But I can't tell you any more about that....*spoilers, but I can tell you it is not what you expect and both Olly and Maddy learn some things about themselves that will change them both. Whether this change is for the best or not, you will have to decide for yourself, once you've read, Everything, Everything there is to read in between these covers.

Monday, 15 July 2019

The Marrow Thieves

The Marrow Thieves
The Marrow Thieves
By Cherie Dimaline

The Marrow Thieves is a dystopian tale of the not-too-distant future.  Climate change is now wreaking havoc on the coasts, the cities have crumbled, and survivors are struggling to maintain small communities.  The most pronounced effect of these changes is the loss of an important part of our humanity: our dreams.  Indigenous people are the exception; they can still dream, and this ability becomes a sought-after commodity.

At first it seems that Frenchie and his family can make their way in this new world together, but they soon realize they are being hunted.  As Frenchie’s family members disappear one by one, he discovers that the powers that be want to harvest his bone marrow, and that of all Indigenous people, to regain their dreams.  But this “harvest” comes at the price of Indigenous people’s lives.  

Frenchie finds a new family of sorts – a group of people who band together for companionship and survival.  Will they be able to defeat the marrow thieves?  Or will they be on the run forever?

An award-winning must read!

Friday, 31 May 2019


By Andy Mulligan

Raphael is fourteen years old and lives in a dump called Behala in an unnamed third-world country. He is certainly not alone.  Many families, including children and teens living on their own, live in abject poverty in many countries, and make their living by finding reusable garbage and selling it.

But when Raphael finds a bag with a wallet inside, his life is completely changed.  He takes the items, hoping they will make some money for him.  Almost immediately the police descend on the dump, questioning residents about this lost bag and offering a big reward.

Raphael does not trust the police to live up to their word.  He and his friend Gardo quickly find a place to hide their stash – with a friend called Rat.  Rat has earned his name because of his bad teeth and because he lives at the bottom of the dump site with all the rats.  No one bothers him there.  

Rat takes the wallet and discovers that there is a note inside, which leads the boys to a locker.  The locker gives them another clue, and the three boys follow it.  Each clue leads to another, but as the mystery drags on, life gets more and more dangerous for these poor boys.  As they begin to realize that the trail they are following will lead to big trouble for some very high-powered officials, they also understand that if the police catch them, they will kill them. 

Trash is a riveting mystery but also a commentary on life in third world countries.  Raphael, Gardo and Rat are living a lifestyle that is unimaginable to most of us in the West.  Andy Mulligan paints a vivid picture of poverty and corruption, which is all-too-familiar in many countries.  If you’re interested in social justice, try reading Trash.

Monday, 27 May 2019


Dry - Shusterman, Neal
By Neal Shusterman

Southern California is experiencing a drought that has lasted for many months.  Water conservation practices are well underway, including the “No Frivolous Use” policy, which means people can’t even use their pools anymore.  But no one expects the taps to go dry.  One day, out of the blue, there is no more water for cooking, washing or even drinking.

Alyssa Morrow and her little brother Garrett are sure it won’t last – the electricity always comes back on after a power outage, right?  Their parents assure them that desalinization machines are being brought to the beaches to change sea water into fresh water.  Everything is going to be fine.

As the days pass, people get more thirsty and become more desperate.  Alyssa’s neighbour, Kelton, has no worries though – his family has been preparing for this for years.  They have stockpiled food, water, and medical supplies.  Their home is utterly secure from intruders.  Kelton is willing to help Alyssa, despite his parents’ desire to keep their preparedness to themselves.

But when Alyssa’s parents go missing, and the neighbours try to invade Kelton’s house, the two teens decide to take Garrett and leave for Kelton’s family’s bug-out – a survival shelter hidden in the backcountry.

Their journey is far more difficult than they bargained for.  As they negotiate their way into an off-road vehicle and a box of water, Kelton, Alyssa and others they pick up along the way, learn what they are really capable of.  As they struggle to survive, they behave in ways they never normally would.  Their decisions will make the difference between life and death, and they do what they have to do.

Dry is an amazing survival story, and for those who like disaster movies, this is a must read!  But Dry is also terrifying because the story is so close to reality.  In a place like California, or even here in Richmond, the distance from “water restrictions” to complete “tap-out” might be closer than you think.  How far would you be willing to go to survive?