All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

all the bright placesTheodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of their high school’s bell tower.

They are both at a crossroads.  Life?  Or death?

For Finch, stepping off the ledge would be a way of taking control of his life, taking back his choices by choosing when to make it stop.  Choosing not to listen to Gabe Romero and all the other locker room jerks who call him Theodore Freak.  Choosing when to go to sleep, instead of sleep choosing him.  He’s not even quite sure how he got up there, on this cold January day, when he really doesn’t remember too much of anything since before Thanksgiving.

For Violet, it’s more more about removing the choices from her life.  The endless decisions, what to eat, what to wear, what to think, what to write, where to go to college, who to choose as a partner for a school project, choices that she just isn’t interested in making without Eleanor.  That she just can’t make without Eleanor.  Eleanor, who died in the car crash last spring that Violet survived.  How is a girl supposed to go through life without her big sister and best friend?

But Violet and Finch save each other.  And when they walk down the stairs from the bell tower, it’s not back to the same life they left when they climbed up.

Working together on a school project to discover the odd corners of their home state of Indiana, Violet and Finch embark on an epic journey.  A quest to find life, and all the strange, quiet moments the world has to offer.  A journey toward and through and around blue holes, giant balls of paint, rare birds, spring flowers in winter, backyard roller coasters, the highest point in Indiana (1,257 feet in elevation), Chinese food, and all the stars in the sky.  A journey that is all about living life fully awake.  But as Violet finds herself slowly coming alive again, and realizing that her world is bigger and brighter with Finch in it, Finch’s world starts to narrow and dim, with Violet one of the few bright stars to light his path.  Can Violet save him?  Or is the only person you can save yourself?

Sweet, sad, funny, heart-wrenching, and rare, raw, and honest, this is the story of two people trying to figure out how to be in a world that gives you both ugly and beautiful moments, sometimes all in the same day.  If you love Gayle Forman’s books, Matthew Quick’s Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock really made you think, Laurie Halse Anderson’s books hold a place of honor on your shelves and in your heart, Jandy Nelson’s books are everything that you ever felt ever, or you tore through Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, Jennifer Niven’s YA debut is definitely one to add to your to-read pile this spring.


spring book saleWith spring comes the biggest book sale of the year, and it’s being held this weekend.  The Friends of the Library have been busy filling tables with all kinds of gently used books and other merchandise for customers to purchase.  The sale begins tomorrow, Saturday, March 28th, at 9 am and goes until 2 pm in the Foot Room.  Want to get into future FOL book sales early?  Then become a member!  For just $5/year you can become a library supporter and get into book sales a whole day early for primo purchasing choices.  All proceeds from the sale benefit the library.  Happy shopping!

Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

famous in lovePaige Townsen has always loved being on stage, but until now she’s been more of a high school drama and community theater kind of girl.  The youngest of four kids, her family is supportive, but they think acting is more of a hobby.  And besides, Paige is a native Portland girl, hundreds of miles from L.A. and major studio casting calls.

Until Paige’s bestie Cassandra tells Paige that they’re holding auditions for Locked, the most anticipated book-to-screen film to hit theaters since The Hunger Games.  A supernatural thriller about a girl who gets stranded on a mysterious tropical island with her boyfriend Ed’s best friend Noah, millions of voracious fans are religiously stalking the blogs to see who gets cast as August, Noah, and Ed.

Paige decides to audition.

And gets the role.

Three months later she finds herself on set in Hawaii with Hollywood golden boy Rainer Devon, cast as Noah, and filming the biggest movie of the year.  But dodging paparazzi, avoiding rumors, making crazy early set calls, sitting for hours in a make-up chair, making out (on film) with the amazing Rainer, trying to act (and feel) like she deserves all the fame and fortune, getting yelled out constantly by the demanding director, keeping in touch with her old life, worrying about satisfying millions of rabid fans, figuring out if she should let herself fall for Rainer, and just trying to find some time alone to think are the least of Paige’s problems when Jordan Wilder turns up on set – and nabs the role of Ed.

Jordan and Rainer are notorious rivals in the gossip blogs, and it turns out to be one of the few things the paparazzi got right.  Especially when Paige and Jordan turn out to have amazing chemistry – on-screen and off.  When Paige finds herself in the middle of the same love triangle August has been fighting for three books, how’s a newly minted, real-life starlet supposed to choose?

I looooved this book!  Movie sets, a bad boy with a heart of gold (you’ll have to read it to find out who!), young Hollywood insider info, and endless Hawaiian beaches all make for a delicious confection you’ll inhale in one sitting.  If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to be shot from the small stage to incredible fame, followed a movie from standing in line at midnight for the books to the first casting announcement to shelling out for the collector’s editions of the DVDs (*cough* Twilight *cough*), or just love a good issue of US Weekly, grab your biggest pair of sunglasses and a copy of Famous in Love and settle in for a fabulous afternoon!

The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

carnival at brayThe Carnival at Bray is the fifth of the five 2015 Morris nominees!  The last of the five, it also snagged a Printz Honor this year for best work of literature for young adults.

When Chicago girl Maggie Lynch’s mom announces that she’s getting remarried and the family will be moving to the small coastal town of Bray in Ireland, it’s more than a bit of a shock.  Leaving behind her friends, and, worst of all, her awesome uncle Kevin, to do her senior year overseas does not sound like a great idea.

It’s 1993, and Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, and grunge are everything to Kevin, who has instilled his love of everything music into his niece.  After seeing the Smashing Pumpkins play live in downtown Chicago with Kevin and his bandmates, Maggie knows she has music flowing through her veins – it’s the epic thing that makes her truly alive.  So when the worst happens and Maggie is left with two tickets to see Nirvana play in Rome, the only thing left to do is make it a pilgrimmage.  The best thing about Ireland?  It’s easier to get to Rome from Bray than it is from Chicago.  But Maggie isn’t as alone as she thinks she is – and she has a whole lot of help along her journey.

Filled with rich characters like Dan Sean, the nearly-100-year-old Irish farmer Maggie loves to spend time with, Eoin, the awesome guy Maggie finds herself falling for, and the motley assortment of world travelers, Nirvana fans, and Italian nuns Maggie meets on her journey to Rome, The Carnival at Bray feels like being at the best concert you’ve ever been to.  Sometimes quiet and introspective and at others a messy mosh pit of emotions spilling over the crowd, this awesome debut novel will rock your world.  If you experienced the nineties, have ever owned a pair of Doc Martens, live for flannel, love love love music, or have ever rocked out to Smells Like Teen Spirit (who hasn’t?!), you’ve got to check this one out!