Monday, April 18, 2016


Swagger  by Carl Deuker

Jonas Dolan doesn't have a lot of post-high-school prospects until a canny basketball coach helps him improve his game--and his grades.  For the first time, Jonas considers going to college.  But then the family moves from California to Seattle, and all the friends, coaches and teachers supporting Jonas are too far away to help much.

In Seattle, Jonas finds a new friend.  Levi is also a talented basketball player, but halfway through the season, Jonas discovers why Levi seems so withdrawn and depressed, especially when Coach Hartwell is nearby.  Although Levi begs his friend to keep quiet and pretend that nothing is wrong, Jonas knows that he will need to do something.

But, what?

Excellent characters facing a truly horrible situation.  I even read   made sense of    didn't die during the basketball sequences.  (Basketball lovers will love the basketball parts.  Me, not so much.)  Overall, a strong story, recommended for readers (especially sports fans) ages 14 to adult.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Reckless (series)

Reckless  by Cornelia Funke

Jacob Reckless is 12 years old when he discovers the secret in his father's abandoned study:  a mirror that can transport him into a magical world of fairies, witches, dwarves and shapeshifters.  He spends  twelve years exploring and exploiting the magic, and thinks less and less often of his sickly mother and lonely younger brother...until the day that younger brother Will finds the mirror portal and immediately falls into trouble in the Mirrorworld.

German author Cornelia Funke's skillful blend of traditional magic tropes (child-eating witches, enchanted apples, princesses spelled to sleep until kissed awake) and fantastically horrible original creatures fills the quest to save Will from certain doom with a dark (very dark) charm.  

This series was originally cataloged and shelved with the children's collection at KCLS; on review, the series will be shifted to the teen collection due to adult characters, somber themes, blood and violence, and references to sexual situations in later volumes.  It is much darker and more violent than this author's Inkheart series...and it is possibly a stronger story because of the darkness.

Highly recommended for ages 12 to adult.