Winger by Andrew Smith

I am super obsessed with this book right now. If you haven’t read it, you need to. Seriously. I’m super super obsessed.

Ryan Dean West is a 14-year-old junior. Yes, you read that correctly. He also plays rugby.

Both of these things are rather uncommon. And yet, Ryan Dean West is an effortlessly relatable character. Andrew Smith’s writing is accompanied by illustrations–comics and commentary on Ryan Dean’s life drawn by RDW himself (actually drawn by Sam Bosma).

Go read it. Now. Do it.


The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

This book is charming, funny, and hearbreaking all at once.

It is a perfect “next book” for those who have devoured all of John Green’s books.

It is a perfect “I don’t like John Green books but want that sort of idea”

It is a perfect addition to the YA world.

This book is the beginning of everything.

(Get it?)

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

If you loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you will love this.

If you didn’t read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you will still love this.

Laurel is given an assignment to write a letter to a dead person. She chooses Kurt Cobain for one reason–he died young, just like her sister May. While she never turns in her assignment, she continues writing letters to Cobain, Judy Garland, Amelia Earhart, and many more–working through the issues in her life through these letters. Dellaira’s debut is a wonder–I can’t recommend this book more.

Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink

9780307718969Five Days at Memorial
by Sheri Fink
(pub. 7/13)

The first half of this engrossing account of the aftermath that Hurricane Katrina had on a New Orleans hospital contains a detailed account of the daunting conditions facing medical personnel and patients, including the failure of all levels of government to provide timely relief.  They were forced to make life and death decisions while battling heat, loss of power and threats from marauding looters.  The second half examines those decisions, particularly whether doctors crossed moral lines and violated their oaths by sedating patients and possibly causing their deaths.  The issues raised are important and no simple resolutions to them emerge in this harrowing true story.

Recommended by:
Joe – Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

9781400067558Behind the Beautiful Forevers
by Katherine Boo
(pub. 2/12)

Next to the luxury hotels in Mumbai live thousands of Indians in the Annawadi slums.  This is a revealing portrait of individuals trying to move ahead amidst corruption and a lack of education and opportunity.  Moving stories of survival in what seems a hopeless environment are contained in this excellent piece of investigative journalism.

Recommended by:
Kathy – Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville