Mar 31, 2009

New teen books

It was just supposed to be a routine exam. But when the doctors snake the fiber-optic tube down Robert Smith's throat, what they discover doesn't make medical sense. Plastic casings. Silver filaments. Moving metal parts. In his naked, anesthetized state on the operating table, Robert hears the surgeons' shocked comments: "What the hell is that?" "It's me," Robert thinks, "and I've got to get out of here." Armed with a stolen automatic and the videotape of his strange organs, he manages to escape, and to embark on an orphan's violent odyssey to find out exactly who--exactly what--he is.

Are our schools safe?" It's hard to turn on the news without hearing this question, and the answer is typically "no." This novel explores what happens when bullying escalates to violence, and it challenges our definition of victimization. With thought-provoking prose, Suzanne Phillips explores the psyche of Cameron, a bullied freshman who ultimately does the unthinkable: he kills another student. As she did with Chloe Doe, Suzanne has found a way to make this seemingly dark story ultimately redemptive. But she also dares readers to look at the behavior that provokes violence as having the potential to be as dangerous as the violence itself. It's Suzanne's hope that Burn will inspire readers to take a precautionary stance against bullying rather than waiting to react to it.

Angela's parents think she's on the road to ruin because she's dating a "bad boy." After her behavior gets too much for them, they ship her off to Hidden Oak. Isolated and isolating, Hidden Oak promises to rehabilitate "dangerous girls." But as Angela gets drawn in further and further, she discovers that recovery is only on the agenda for the "better" girls. The other girls -- designated as "the purple thread" -- will instead be manipulated to become more and more dangerous . . . and more and more reliant on Hidden Oak's care.

Welcome to Chilo, a planet with corrosive rain, crushing pressure, and deadly heat. Fortunately, fourteen-year-old Timas lives in one of the domed cities that float 100,000 feet above the surface, circling near the edge of a monstrous perpetual storm. Above the acidic clouds the temperature and pressure are normal. But to make a living, Timas like many other young men, is lowered to the surface in an armored suit to scavenge what he can.Timas’s life is turned upside down when a strange man crash lands on the city. The newcomer is fleeing an alien intelligence intent on invading the planet and discovering the secret hidden deep inside the perpetual storm—a secret that could lead to interplanetary war.As the invaded cities fall silent one by one, Chilo’s citizens must race against time to stop the enemy. And Timas will find out what kind of man he has become in the harsh conditions of Chilo’s surface.

From Booklist*Starred Review* The first reaction of some readers upon finishing the first several pages of this novel might be: “Hey, didn’t The Twilight Zone already do this story?” It’s true, there are similarities between Clark’s story of a little boy with a terrifying mental power and “It’s a Good Life,” the famous Twilight Zone episode based on a Jerome Bixby short story about a little boy with a terrifying mental power. But the similarities between the two are only thematic. In execution, the two tales are very different. Clark, author of such stellar horror thrillers as London under Midnight (2006) and Lucifer’s Ark (2008), proves again that he has a real knack for working unique variations on time-tested themes. His little boy is the sole survivor of a shipwreck, now living in an orphan asylum, and he’s the sweetest boy you could ever want to meet—until his eyes glaze over, and he begins to repeat your name. Then it’s time to take cover. But is the boy evil himself, or is he merely the innocent vessel of a much greater, darker evil? Clark will tell you, but in his own good time, and only after the knot in the pit of your stomach is the size of a boulder. Another clever, original, and beguiling thriller from this very talented storyteller

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