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Holiday Reads for Cold Nights December 16, 2016

Filed under: Books,Uncategorized — Heather @ 10:09 pm
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Here are some suggestions for when you want to escape the madness of the holidays or just snuggle up with a good book. Unfortunately, there is a serious lack of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa books for YA readers. For those of you looking for a Christmas read, here are some titles to keep you this holiday season.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This classic has stood the test of time. Read the original story that has influenced pop culture for well over one hundred and sixty years.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Another classic, this story begins at Christmas during the Civil War. Get to know the March sisters all over again.

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

A cute story about a family’s last minute scramble to plan the perfect holiday. This book has been made into the popular film, Christmas with the Kranks. 

Murder for Christmas: 26 Tales of Seasonal Malice edited by Thomas Godfrey

For the mystery lover, here’s a collection of short stories sure to make the holidays extra creepy. Famous authors like Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Charles Dickens are represented in their holiday finest.

Decked with Holly by Marni Bates

Fans of Bates’ Smith High series will delight in this light romance set aboard a cruise ship. Perfect holiday reading!

What Light by Jay Asher

The reviews keep rolling in for this 2016 title from the author of the YA modern classic, Thirteen Reasons Why. Travel to a Christmas tree farm in Oregon for a story of redemption and hope.

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

The dynamic duo of YA fiction is back with two of our favorite friends, Dashiell and Lily. We met them five years ago when a chance discovery led them on an epic chase across NYC. Now they’re back one year after the events that brought them together.

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

A who’s who of YA fiction authors feature short stories realistic and fantastic alike. There’s something for everyone in this compilation.

Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

Three interconnected stories from three of the best in YA fiction. It’s Christmas eve and romance isn’t only under the mistletoe, it could be at the Waffle House!


YALSA 2016 Teens’ Top Ten December 14, 2016

Filed under: Books,Uncategorized — Heather @ 6:54 pm
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It’s that time of year again – time for the YALSA Teens’ Top Ten list – a “teen choice” list of the favorite books of the year. Check out the website:

  1. Alive by Chandler Baker

“Stella Cross has received a heart transplant, but it has not stopped her emotional suffering. Then a mysterious boy named Levi Zin comes into her life. Stella’s pain goes away whenever she’s around Levi. However, Stella finds out a terrible secret about Levi. Can it be true?”

2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

” Death plays a big role in the lives of high schoolers Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. He is constantly on the verge of suicide, and she is battling grief after he sister’s death. The Indiana teens come together to work on a project and soon develop a bond, showing each other what it’s like to live.”

3. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

” Set in Seattle in the 1920s, a romance develops between Flora, who is African American, and Henry, who is white. Despite some differences, the pair has much in common, including a shared love of jazz music. However, it turns out that Flora and Henry actually are pawns in a game played by two other characters – Love and Death. This book is full of intrigue, and is, at times, heartbreaking, and will have the reader racing to the final pages.”

4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

” Young criminal genius Kaz Brekker is offered the chance to pull off a dangerous theft that can make him rich. He recruits a gang of six dangerous misfits to help him with the heist. The book follows the crew’s crazy adventure and features plot twists, betrayals, and schemes aplenty.”

5. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

“Maddy is a teenager with a serious autoimmune disease that prevents her from leaving the house. Yet, she seems content to stay home and read books. That is until a boy named Olly moves in next door. The two meet, and their quirky relationship is chronicled through emails, journal entries, IMs and old notes.”

6. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

“Samantha McAllister seems to have it all: she is beautiful, bright and part of the popular crowd in high school. But looks can be deceiving, and she is hiding the fact she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Samantha’s life changes after she visits a place at school called Poet’s Corner and she beings hanging out with new friends like Caroline and AJ.”

7. The Novice: Summoner: Book One by Taran Matharu

“A blacksmith’s apprentice named Fletcher discovers he can summon demons from another world. He soon gets chased out of his village for a crime he did not commit, ending up at an academy for adepts, where he is trained to serve as a Battlemage in the Empire’s war against the savage Orcs. Eventually, Fletcher discovers the fate of the Empire is in his hands.”

8. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

“Kady and Ezra have just broken up, and then their planet is bombed by a megacorporation. The pair escapes to a government ship, but must put their differences aside in order to survive and stop a plague that has resulted from the use of a bioweapon.”

9. When by Victoria Laurie

“High school junior Maddie Fynn has special powers that allow her to see numbers above a person’s forehead, which she soon discovers are death dates. She identifies the death date of a young boy, but is unable to prevent his disappearance. Then , Maddie becomes a suspect in a homicide investigation.”

10. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

” June and Delia were best friends who grew apart. Then, Delia commits suicide. Or, at least that’s what others have been told. June believes her former best friend has been murdered, and she goes on a quest to find the truth…which, it turns out, is very complicated.”


September is National Recovery Month September 12, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather @ 5:43 pm

In national-recovery-month-logohonor of National Recovery Month, we’re highlighting books that feature addiction and recovery. Take a look at some of these personal journeys. The SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) website also has many valuable resources.

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

“This is a story about a monster. Not a dragon or a mythological beast, but a very real, very destructive monster–crystal meth–that takes hold of seventeen-year-old Kristina Snow and transforms her into her reckless alter-ego Bree.

Based on her own daughter’s addiction to crystal meth, Ellen Hopkins’ novel-in-verse is a vivid, transfixing look into teenage drug use. Told in Kristina’s voice, it provides a realistic portrayal of the tortured logic of an addict.” Glass and Fallout complete the trilogy.

Recovery Road by Blake Nelson

“Madeline has a drinking problem and anger issues, so she’s sent away to Spring Meadows, a rehab center in a row of rehab centers known as Recovery Road. On a weekly movie night in town she meets Stewart, who’s dealing with demons of his own. It’s an intense time, and the two of them come together intensely.

When Madeline gets out of rehab, she tries to get back on her feet, and waits for Stewart to join her. When he does, though, it’s not the ideal reunion that Madeline has dreamed of. Both of them still have serious problems. And love seems more like a question than an answer.

True and insightful, Recovery Road is a story about finding the right person at the worst possible time. And loving that person anyway. No matter what.”

Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos

“Rachel has always idolized her older brother Micah. He struggles with addiction, but she tells herself that he’s in control. And she almost believes it. Until the night that Micah doesn’t come home.

Rachel’s terrified—and she can’t help but feel responsible. She should have listened when Micah tried to confide in her. And she only feels more guilt when she receives an anonymous note telling her that Micah is nearby and in danger.

With nothing more to go on than hope and a slim lead, Rachel and Micah’s best friend, Tyler, begin the search. Along the way, Rachel will be forced to confront her own dark secrets, her growing attraction to Tyler…and the possibility that Micah may never come home.”

Clean by Amy Reed

“Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason, and Eva have one thing in common: They’re addicts. Addicts who have hit rock bottom and been stuck together in rehab to face their problems, face sobriety, and face themselves. None of them wants to be there. None of them wants to confront the truths about their pasts. And they certainly don’t want to share their darkest secrets and most desperate fears with a room of strangers. But they’ll all have to deal with themselves—and one another—if they want to learn how to live. Because when you get that high, there’s nowhere to go but down, down, down.”

We All Fall Down by Nic Sheff

“This New York Times bestselling memoir of a young man’s addiction to methamphetamine tells a raw, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful tale of the road from relapse to recovery and complements his father’s parallel memoir, Beautiful Boy.

Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age eleven. In the years that followed, he would regularly smoke pot, do cocaine and Ecstasy, and develop addictions to crystal meth and heroin. Even so, he felt like he would always be able to quit and put his life together whenever he needed to. It took a violent relapse one summer in California to convince him otherwise. In a voice that is raw and honest, Nic spares no detail in telling us the compelling, heartbreaking, and true story of his relapse and the road to recovery. As we watch Nic plunge the mental and physical depths of drug addiction, he paints a picture for us of a person at odds with his past, with his family, with his substances, and with himself. It’s a harrowing portrait—but not one without hope.”

Zoo Station by Christiane F.

“In 1978 Christiane F. testified against a man who had traded heroin for sex with teenage girls at Berlin’s notorious Zoo Station. In the course of that trial, Christiane F. became connected with two journalists, and over time they helped to turn her story—which begins with a dysfunctional but otherwise fairly normal childhood—into an acclaimed bestseller. Christiane F.’s rapid descent into heroin abuse and prostitution is shocking, but the boredom, the longing for acceptance, the thrilling risks, and even the musical obsessions that fill out the rest of Christiane’s existence will be familiar to every reader. Christiane F.’s Berlin is a strange and often terrifying place, but it’s also a place that remains closer than we might think….”



The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak Celebrates 10th Anniversary March 8, 2016

Filed under: Books,Uncategorized — Heather @ 6:31 pm
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It’s hard to believe it’s been TEN YEARS since the publication of Marcus Zusak’s modern classic The Book Thief. This is the book that took 2006 by storm.

book thief cover

Here are just some of the honors awarded:

  • 2006: Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book (South East Asia & South Pacific)
  • 2006: School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • 2006: Daniel Elliott Peace Award
  • 2006: Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year
  • 2006: National Jewish Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature
  • 2006: Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
  • 2007: Michael L. Printz Honor Book The Printz award is given to the best book for teens, based only on the quality of the writing.
  • 2007: Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Children’s Literature

If you’ve never read it – here’s your chance. If, like me, it’s one of your favorites, pick it up and revisit some old friends. Set in Nazi Germany, The Book Thief tells the story of young Liesl Meminger, orphaned and sent to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Liesl loves books and becomes adept at stealing them, even though she can’t read. Follow Liesl, her best friend Rudy Steiner, as they navigate the dangerous war years. Narrated by the ever-present Death, The Book Thief is a story that stays with you long after the pages have turned.



Cross-Platform Mobile Apps July 14, 2014

Filed under: Tech Talk — Heather @ 6:11 pm
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Welcome to the wonderful world of apps! We are here to help you find the official, and most popular, apps available in the “Big Three” app markets (Apple, Google and Microsoft), accompanied by a brief description. Whether it is Microsoft, Apple, or Google, these thriving ecosystems have some common apps that appear in their respective stores. We will also include “Windows 8.x/Pro/RT” tag as the operating system for desktops/laptops/tablets has a Store built in. As a disclaimer: These apps are free to download but some of these services may require a subscription (will be noted) to use their services. Check back as there will be updates to these lists.


               Instagram – Part social, part photo filter, all fun! One of the most popular services for sharing your photos and videos, Instagram adds flare to all your photos with many filters, tilt effects, stickers frames, and more. Lastly, users can upload quick videos. This app can feed into your other social circle(s), like Facebook and Twitter, to share with your family and friends. Available on iOS and Android. It is BETA on Windows Phone 8.x – limitation is no video upload but the team promises it in future updates.

               Facebook – Considered the biggest social network on the planet. With more than a billion users globally, this network gives you the ability to share photos, create/comment on posts, play games, create events, and see an innovative timeline of your friends and family “lifespan”. The service is available in app form on all platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

               Twitter – Another excellent network to interact with other members such as celebrities. In some cases they may tweet you back! You “follow” people and some “follow” you back, which creates a feed. This service provides quick news updates, as well as being social with other people using hashtags, links, and other methods. Available on iOS, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT, Android.

Vine – Owned by Twitter, created by you in 6 seconds! This mobile app is strictly video sharing. What makes this unique is the limitation of how short video clips need to be, which is 6 seconds. Users can share, comment, and favorite your videos. Adding to the appeal, sites have been created to pay homage to this service compiling “best of…” videos. Available on iOS, Windows Phone 8.x, Android

               Path – This is a lesser known network but growing nonetheless. Billed as an alternative to Facebook, this service aims to streamline content and be more personal to you without the barrage of ads, sponsored posts, and other content that tends to clog up your Facebook feeds. Path is also aimed to take the very best parts of Twitter and Facebook to give a simpler and easier user experience. Available in iOS, Windows Phone 8.x, Android

Pinterest – Social network dedicated in creating virtual corkboards. You “pin” your interests such as photos, recipes, and other materials. This site is excellent for gift ideas as well as projects for school, work, or for fun. You can follow people for quick access to see what your friends are pinning. Must be a registered member to surf the corkboards. Available on iOS, Android, and BETA for Windows Phone 8.x.


               The Weather Channel – This is the official weather app from The Weather Channel. It is your one stop app to give your local weather forecast, extended forecasts, and radar maps. You can add various locations from across the globe too. Available of iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

               NBC News/CNN/FOX News Media – These apps all provide users with late breaking news as well as editorials, videos, photos, and other information from these leading news sources. Each app offers something a little different, but in the end you get your news. All provide push notifications, and ability to integrate into each respective platform. All for the news junkies (like myself!). All available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.


               Amazon Kindle – Most popular app for reading e-books, newspapers, magazines, and listening to audiobooks. This app syncs with your Amazon account, so the user can send any newspaper, magazine, book or audiobook, either purchased or borrowed, from the Amazon store to those devices. Available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT

               Overdrive Media Console – This app is a portal to your local library. You can browse all the e-books and audiobooks your local participating library has to offer. You can place holds, check books/audio in and out and has a built in player for audiobooks. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT

Audible, Inc. – This service, owned by Amazon, is strictly a collection of audiobooks, radio podcasts and audio versions of popular news magazines. You can choose from over 150,000 titles and listen to as many as you like. The catch is this is a subscription-based service, even though the app itself is free. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT

Barnes & Noble Nook – A direct competitor to Amazon, the Nook app is a portal for all this B&N. The user can purchase/download content much like the Kindle app. It also syncs with your B&N account to update all your electronic purchases. Available on iOS, Android, and Windows 8.x/Pro/RT (NOT AVAILABLE on Windows Phone)


Xbox Music – This app taps into the entire music collection that Microsoft offers. Competing with Apple iTunes & Google Play Music, Xbox Music aims for a subscription model and offers unlimited downloads and streaming to your favorite devices. Certain caveats to use the service on mobile devices include the requirement of Xbox Music Pass which is their subscription service. Free accounts . Available apps on iOS & Android.  BUILT INTO Windows Phone 8.x & Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

Slacker Radio – One of my personal favorite music apps. Streams music directly to your device. Curated by the “geniuses” at Slacker Radio, Inc., the service offers many stations for you to listen to for free. They do offer two subscription-based plans called Radio Plus and Radio Premium . Free plans offer a limited, 6 skips per station, and ad-supported music. Overall Very good choice for a “set it and forget it” listening. Also has a search function to find your favorite artists, and will intelligently find similar artists to build a custom station. Available on Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT, iOS, and Android.

Pandora – One of the most popular music apps, and billed as music “personalized for you”. The user can curate their own stations, like and dislike artists/songs, and discover new music. This is a way for Pandora to track your listening habits and become more customized for your tastes in music. You are required to have a Pandora music account, but basic users can listen to ad-supported streams for free. Also offers a subscription-based plan for ad-free music via Pandora One; this service costs $4.99/month. Available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8.x.

Spotify – Another great service for streaming music with over 40 million subscribers, including 10 million premium members. Users can join for free or join their Premium Subscription plan to for unlimited, commercial free music. Also, listeners with premium accounts can enjoy music offline by downloading them to your connected device. Paid membership fee is $9.99/month. Lastly, connecting this service to your Facebook account will unlock its “social” aspects. Your friends can see what tracks/mixes you published to your timeline. It asks to use your Facebook account to log in  Available on Windows Phone 8.x, Android, and iOS.


WeChat – This is a very popular app with 400+ million users globally. This app makes it easy to communicate with other users from around the globe. You can send voice notes, pictures, video and text.  A cool feature, called “Message in a Bottle”, lets users “throw” a virtual bottle into the digital ocean for a user to read (or hear if you send a voice message). There are many other features to check out that are more social networking. Mainly popular in Asia but gaining traction in other territories.  Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x.

WhatsApp – Most widely known messaging app globally, with over 500 million active users. This app also lets users send and receive voice notes, texts, and pictures. This service has a 1 year free subscription which after that will charge $0.99 a year to continue using WhatsApp. They also note on their site that uninstalling and reinstalling the app will not reset 1 free year subscription. Lastly, this service is now owned by Facebook, Inc. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x.

Skype – One of the pioneers in cross platform messaging and video chatting apps around. Began as an independent company before being acquired by Microsoft in 2011, this service lets users send text messages as well as video calling with loved ones across the globe.  There is a subscription version of the software reserved for internet calling to users domestically and international; usually pay for the minutes. Free for just video chat with one user, and texting. Excellent choice for businesses as well as casual users. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

Viber – An excellent app for the traveler. This app enables users to send pictures/texts over the web as well as make free domestic voice calls over Wi-Fi to other Viber users. Users can send “stickers” with their texts too. Also offer cheap international plans for calling abroad. Lastly, a user can call someone outside Viber network, for a small fee. Available on iOS,Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.


May is Mental Health Awareness Month May 28, 2014


Nearly 5 million American children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental illness.  Here is a selection of fiction titles that touch on this subject.

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

Things in Delilah Hannaford’s life have a tendency to fall apart.

She used to be a good student, but she can’t seem to keep it together anymore. Her “boyfriend” isn’t much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family’s painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena

“Kidd is running from his past and his future. No mom, no dad, and there’s nothing for him at the group home but therapy. He doesn’t belong at the beach where he works either, unless he finds a reason to stay.
   Olivia is blond hair, blue eyes, rich dad. The prettiest girl in Cardiff. She’s hiding something from Kidd—but could they ever be together anyway?
   Devon is mean, mysterious, and driven by a death wish. A best friend and worst enemy. He followed Kidd all the way to the beach and he’s not leaving until he teaches him a few lessons about life. And Olivia.”

Noble Genes by Rune Michaels

It’s tough to measure up to your parents’ expectations. Imagine how much harder it would be if your mother told you that your biological father—whom you’d never met—was a Nobel prize-winning genius? NOBEL GENES is the story of just such a boy. His life consists of a series of halves; his genes are half from a donor bank that featured Nobel winners. After years of testing and tutoring, he only lives up to his mother’s expectations halfway. He spends half his time sharing in his mother’s manic ups and the other half in her depressive downs. And he always has to be half-awake in the middle of the night so that when his mother wakes up and plays with her pills, he can count them and make sure the proper amount are still there before he goes to sleep. 

Perhaps him being a “Nobel son” is a dream. Or a hope. Or a delusion. No matter what it is to his mother, it becomes devastation when he learns that his genius history is a lie. And once the truth is revealed, there is no going back. Even when he thought he discovered the most important truth, in his dreams, he finds one answer that he never imagined. Does it matter who you come from? Or are we all just made from dust?”

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

“In this raw and relatable romance, Bea learns that some things just can’t be controlled.

When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic…and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down…and she might end up breaking her own heart.”

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

September 1973: The beginning of Karl Shoemaker’s senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl’s been part of “the Madman Underground”- kids forced to attend group therapy during school. Karl has decided that he is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act-and be-Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative. Karl has two after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother . . . and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored rollercoaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.”

Click here for a more complete list of titles.


Memorial Day Reads May 27, 2014

This Monday, May 27th we honored those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  In keeping with the patriotic theme, here are some titles that highlight the sacrifice of service, past and future.

Torn by David Massey

“Witnesses to a mystery on the battlefield, a British medic and an American Navy SEAL confront Afghanistan’s fog of war.

In war-torn Afghanistan, a girl walks right into a hail of bullets: Elinor watches it with her own eyes. The young British army medic risks the line of fire to rescue her, only to realize the girl is gone. 

To find the missing, mysterious child, Elinor enlists the help of an American Navy SEAL. But in all the confusion, with coalition troops fighting every day to maintain a fragile peace, does Ben have something to hide? 

Elinor came to Afghanistan with the hope of changing hearts and minds: What she’s about to discover will make her question everything she ever believed about love and war.

A war thriller. A cross-cultural love story with an undercurrent of magic realism. A powerful debut set in modern-day, battle-scarred Afghanistan. This is TORN.”

Vietnam Book 1:  I Pledge Allegiance by Chris Lynch

Four best friends. Four ways to serve their country.

Morris, Rudi, Ivan, and Beck are best friends for life. So when one of the teens is drafted into the Vietnam War, the others sign up, too. Although they each serve in a different branch, they are fighting the war together–and they pledge to do all they can to come home together.

Haunted by dreams of violence and death, Morris makes it his personal mission to watch over his friends–and the best place to do that is in the US Navy. Stationed off the coast of Vietnam on the USS Boston, Morris and his fellow sailors provide crucial support to the troops on the ground.

But the Boston itself isn’t safe from attack. And as Morris finds his courage and resolve tested like never before, he keeps coming back to a single thought.

He made a pledge. He must keep them safe.”

The Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

“A fourth-generation German-American now living in easy circumstances on Cape Cod (and smoking too much), who, as an American infantry scout hors de combat, as a prisoner of war, witnessed the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany, “The Florence of the Elbe,” a long time ago, and survived to tell the tale. This is a novel somewhat in the telegraphic schizophrenic manner of tales of the planet Tralfamadore, where the flying saucers come from. Peace.

Billy Pilgrim returns home from the Second World War only to be kidnapped by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, who teach him that time is an eternal present.”

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

“The finest novel of the Civil War, and one of the greatest battle stories ever told

The question of courage enters Henry Fleming’s mind the moment he dons the blue uniform of the Union Army. But his first firefight reveals the emptiness of words such as bravery and fear. Pinned in by his comrades, he can only fire his rifle like a cog in a machine. There is no chance to run.

Then comes the true test. Waking from a nap, Henry sees the enemy advancing once again. Gripped by an unshakable terror, he flees—from his regiment, from duty, from everything he wanted to believe about himself. A corpse bears witness to his shame.

The nightmare has come true. Henry Fleming is a coward. Only one thing can save him now: a visible wound, the red badge of courage. With his regiment’s colors in hand, Henry looks the enemy in the eye—and charges.”

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

“If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl? 

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight…for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom. “