Lauren’s Best of 2016!


Heartless by Leah Rhyne
About: “In this modern-day take on the classic Frankenstein tale, as told from the monster’s perspective Jolene Hall is dead — sort of. She can walk, think, and talk, but her heart doesn’t beat and her lungs stopped breathing ages ago. After Jo is abducted and subjugated to horrific experiments, she wake up to find her body is a mosaic of jagged wounds and stapled flesh. Jo has a choice: turn herself in to the authorities, or team up with her best friend Lucy and her boyfriend Eli to find a way to save herself. To Jo, the choice is clear. She’d like to know who turned her into a monster, and she’d like to live to see another sunrise.” – SPL catalog summary
Lauren Thoughts: When Jo’s perfect life is turned upside down by a mysterious accident in the middle of a snow storm, she must learn to adapt from her previous status of privileged college student to newly undead. While there were parts that made me literally roll my eyes, it was a captivating read for the most part. About halfway through I found myself wondering about the events to follow, saying to myself, “She’s found her creator, so she’s done. I mean, she’s literally falling apart and she completed her mission. Oh, there’s another 100 pages to go? What could possibly happen next?” However, any discrepancies I had against this book, such as the seeming conclusion taking place in the middle of the book, were swayed as I drudged through the next few pages of the second half and the pace ramped back up by Jo’s desire to end the experiments and save her friend. Overall, I truly enjoyed this tale of ultimate sacrifice and friendship.*

A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby
About: Murder, ghosts, deformities, oh my! When Evelyn is left disfigured by an accident, she has no one to turn to and nowhere to live. However, when an opening as a maid for the Elephant Man presents itself, she quickly takes on the job in order to provide for herself. As the story evolves, Evelyn develops a strong relationship with him and the two bond over the challenges they face daily considering their abnormal appearances. When murders begin plaguing the city, ghosts of the victims visit the duo and it is up to them to avenge their deaths.
Lauren’s Thoughts: Let’s face it, I love a good monster story/murder mystery. While I don’t especially like period-writing (I often get tangled up in the language), I found myself fully immersed in this novel because of it. Kirby has a knack for detail that had me wanting more. Before, I hadn’t known a whole lot about the Elephant Man either, which added another interesting element to the story, so to learn about the tragedy of Joseph Merrick’s life while also getting the juicy details of the murders happening across the city was a treat. I could not put this book down and hated when I had to, you know, get back to work and stop reading. Any fans of historical fiction or thrillers should enjoy this masterpiece. A word of caution, though, there are moments of gruesome details that may make you queasy. *

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
About: “In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community. But it hasn’t always been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all, her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don’t understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social and emotional upheavals of adolescence—particularly high school—complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy—especially when you began your life in a boy’s body.” – Goodreads summary
Lauren’s Thoughts: Jazz Jennings’ inspirational memoir about her journey toward acceptance and advocacy is a powerful eye-opening story. As a transgender teen fighting for equality, she shows the reader her personal side of a very heartbreaking, yet true reality for many and her determination to beat the stigma that is placed on the unknown and transgender life. Jazz faces bullying and discrimination daily, as well as many obstacles that act as a barrier in allowing her to be her true self, but she doesn’t let them slow her down. This personal account not only gives the reader insight into a life they may not otherwise understand, but explains the truth about discrimination with an air of grace and humor that highlights the profound movement that all lives matter.*

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
About: “After waking in a shallow grave, Breezy, a high school senior, crosses the country seeking answers about her death and resurrection, discovering along the way a host of supernatural creatures, as well as a human cult determined to “free” them at any cost.”
Lauren’s Thoughts: When Breezy is awoken from the nightmare that is her death, she comes to with a newfound strength and resistance to harm, along with a new ability to track down murderers and kill them. However, when she is taken by cult members, she learns there are more monsters just like herself, and a whole new world she never knew existed. This novel is full of action and mystery, with a tinge of romance. Wallace has developed such an interesting concept that goes far beyond the realm of zombies and reels the reader back in with every juicy description. *

Frost by M.P. Kozlowsky
About: “Sixteen-year-old Frost lives in a bombed-out apartment in a post-apocalyptic world, with only her pet broot Romes and a robot named Bunt, who has her father’s memories, for company—but not Romes is dying and her need to find help is forcing her to leave the apartment for the first time in her life and face the streets, which are a hunting ground for rogue robots and the dreaded Eaters.”
Lauren’s Thoughts: After so many dystopian books published back to back to back, I have grown to cringe at the genre, but this book was seriously refreshing. I’m not a fan of robots (I barely made it through Cinder), but I devoured this book. When Frost’s pet, Romes, a wild animal similar to a wolf, gets sick and needs immediate attention she does everything in her power to get him to the Battery. However, she has to cross John Lord country and meander past all the Eaters, which are essentially zombies. This epic tale of bravery and self-discovery will make you wish for more. Hoping for a sequel!*

About Audviral, Mistress of the Stacks

Teen Services Librarian for the Rita & Truett Smith Public Library of Wylie, Texas.
This entry was posted in Best of 2016 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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