CLP Teens Blog


she's not invisible

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

When Laureth Peak’s father goes missing and her mother doesn’t care, Laureth takes matters into her own hands. She’s supposed to be babysitting her 7-year old brother Benjamin for the weekend, but instead Laureth uses her mom’s credit card number (which she has memorized) to buy two plane tickets to New York, where one of her father’s notebooks was found. Based entirely on the notebook location and a terrible gut feeling, 17-year old Laureth tells her little brother that they’re going to find Dad and they fly from England to America.

Oh yea, and Laureth is blind. And Benjamin has a strange effect on technology, by which I mean he fries everything he touches.

Laureth and Benjamin meet Michael and exchange money for the notebook at the Queens Library. They scour the notebook for clues and look for coincidences. Their father was becoming obsessed coincidences, which they follow from one strange place to another, wondering if everything has a meaning or their father was losing his mind.

Laureth needs Benjamin to help her navigate the city, but you get the feeling if she wasn’t trying so hard to hide the fact that she’s blind she’d get around just fine by herself. But Laureth doesn’t like to reveal her blindness for two reasons. Number one, she’s afraid that she’ll be seen as unfit to travel internationally with a 7-year old and somehow get sent back home. And number two, when people find out she can’t see they treat her like she’s invisible. And you only have to look at the title to see how she feels about that.

Annica CLP-West End


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Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan

Meg has grown up with the Golden Rose theatre troupe and plans to make her life with them. But life on the stage is hard and the troupe has to supplement their income in other, less entertaining ways. Troupe members are trained in the way of the theatre as well as in the ancient art of … pick pocketing. Meg, who is a gifted thief, gets caught while trying to save another member of her troupe. Instead of wasting away in the dungeons, she finds herself working for the queen! Queen Elizabeth puts her thieving skills to good use as a spy and Meg is suddenly thrust into a new world playing a role she never dreamed. She soon finds herself on the trail of a mysterious party who has been destabilizing life in Windsor Castle. In tracking down the people who are working against the crown, Meg meets handsome dignitaries from Spain, is briefly reconnected with her beloved theatre troupe, and makes friends with the other Maids of Honor. Find out exactly what sort of intrigues she uncovers in “Maid of Secrets” by Jennifer McGowan.


Reviewed by Leah, CLP-Downtown & Business

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Noggin by John Corey Whaley

When 16-year old Travis finds out that he’s not going to beat the acute lymphoblastic leukemia (i.e. cancer) that has suddenly taken over his body, he volunteers for a new experimental treatment: he has his head cut off and cryogenically frozen. It takes five years for a donor body to become available, and when Travis wakes up in the hospital after those five long years he feels like he’s just woken up from a nap.

Travis becomes a media sensation. He’s one of only two successful head transplants, but he feels like his regular old self. He goes back to live with his same parents, goes back to his same school, and tries to rekindle relationships with his girlfriend, Cate, and best friend, Kyle. Obviously things can’t go back to the way they were. Kyle, who confided that he’s gay on Travis’ deathbed, is dating a girl when Travis comes back to life, which seems odd. And Cate is now engaged to a 25-year old man.

Five years have gone by for everyone else, but Travis is still the same 16-year old he was when he died. He makes it his mission to make things right with Kyle and Cate, even though he’d be better off trying to move on than get back with Cate. Travis truly believes that he and Cate belong together, which makes some uncomfortable and frankly sad situations.

Travis has a way of emerging from something truly tragic with a one-liner that makes you laugh out loud. It’s one of the talents of author Whaley – you know you’re going to laugh and you know you’re going to cry. Recommended for fans of The Fault In Our Stars and for lovers of reality fiction with a sci-fi twist.

Annica, CLP-West End


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Legends, Icons and Rebels:  Music That Changed The World by Robbie Robertson

The beginning American music like Jazz, Blues, Gospel and Country provided inspiration. These 4 separate and unique art forms gradually blended and mixed to create something brand new. Some artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Hank Williams have come to define one specific genre, but other artists like Elvis, Little Richard, and Bob Dylan created completely new and uniquely American art forms by sampling from each genre. The evolution of American music continues as modern artist take their cues from musical legends and get inspired to create new styles. Robbie Robertson, himself a pioneer of Rock and Roll, takes us a tour of the truly unique history of American popular music.

With short biographies of legendary Jazz pioneers, early Mountain Music pickers and Gospel luminaries, Legends, Icons, and Rebels takes its readers to the birthplace of modern music. If you want to know more about the origins of the music you love check out Legends, Icons, and Rebels.


Reviewed by Brooke, CLP-South Side

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This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl

This Star Won’t Go Out tells the story of Esther Earl, a girl diagnosed with cancer who helped to inspire John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Esther passed away in 2010, but her friends and family gathered together to find some way to let her memory live on. This book is the result. Along with accounts by her parents, siblings, and friends, it also includes Esther’s journals and stories, fulfilling her dreams of becoming a writer.

This Star Won’t Go Out is beautiful, heartfelt, and deeply touching. I couldn’t put it down. Esther’s voice shines, and her talent as a writer is astounding. The book doesn’t sugar coat Esther’s struggles with cancer, or idolize her perfect human being. She can be angry at her illness, and sometimes she’s scared about what the future holds, but that is what makes her human. Esther is quirky, loving, creative, funny, and most of all, exceptional. Her thoughts on life will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading. The book serves a beautiful tribute to someone who left too soon.

Overall, I highly recommend This Star Won’t Go Out . If you’re looking for a good book, go and get this now.

Reviewed by Veronica, CLP-Sheraden teen

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every day

Every Day by David Levithan

Every day I am someone else. I am myself–I know I am myself–but I am also someone else. It has always been like this.”

So you wake up, and you are happy. The next day you wake up and you are depressed. One day you feel ugly. The next day you look great and you’re on top of the world. Each of these feelings are you. Each day may be different, but still you wake up to the same people, in the same house, go to the same school, and make plans for what to do after school. For as out of control as you may feel, you at least have consistency. Your psychology may feel chaotic, but your physical presence is constant. It has always been like this.

But not for the character in Every Day by David Levithan.

Every day is different for this person. This person wakes up in a different body. The emotions may change like anyone else, but so does the body. One day this person is a female punk rocker. The next day this person is a male mathlete. For as chaotic as you may feel now, from day to day, what kind of chaos would this add to your life? What would it do to your identity?

Consider this:

1) You could never write anything down to gather your thoughts. Each morning you wake up someplace else, anything you wrote down would be somewhere far away with yesterday’s body.

2) You could never keep anything. Any gift you would ever be given, would be gone when you switch bodies.

3) You could never know if you are male or female. If you are always switching bodies, how would you know which gender you are? How would it feel? Or would it matter?

4) You could never have a name. Each day you take on the name of whichever body you inhabit. Would you name yourself in secret, even though no one would ever say it?

5) You could never have friends. If you made a connection with someone, they would be gone the next day. Anything you’d want to ask anyone, you’d have to find out in one day. There would be no such thing as ‘see you tomorrow’.

6) You could never fall in love. Or, if you did, you couldn’t have a relationship.

These are just a few facts and feelings that came up while falling through the compelling rabbit hole of Every Day. The last one is the key to a fantastic story–falling in love. When I first started reading I thought, “Yeah, yeah, you’re a different person every day, we need to understand other perspectives and welcome diversity into our lives.” But as amazing as that would be in a book (and is), Every Day gets even better. David Levithan creates a complete and satisfying story built around this premise and it’s one I found almost entirely unpredictable. I couldn’t figure out how this character could possibly make a romance work. He/she (because, again, we don’t know the gender) would be miles away in an unrecognizable body. Even if you could get to the person, you’d have to reintroduce yourself every time. What if you were a hot girl one day, and an ugly dude the next? Could the person you care for be attracted to you? People say it’s what’s on the inside that matters and this book truly tests that theory.

For all the switching of bodies, the author unfailingly makes you care for the characters you follow. Intensely. I don’t remember the last time I’ve felt such empathy, and part of that empathy came from vicariously living their lives with the changing days of main character. One day I was a drug addict and I could feel the painful pangs of addiction jumping off the page. Another day I was from a family of religious zealots, and I could see how that way of life was perceivably legitimate as any other to them. In this book you get the chance to see inside people. This book lets you step out of your own body to see what motivates other people on the inside. It’s a beautiful experience and I found it lastingly moving. More than once I’ve referred to the experiences of these characters to better understand the people around me, particularly people I previously didn’t understand.

In essence, what makes you you? This book is about motivations. What moves us as people? Why do we do the things we do, and are those things because of who we are or the circumstances around us? If you want to ask some big question, while getting lost in an amazing story, read this book! Every Day goes deep into this kind of identity asking, and reminds us that every day is a new day. Who are you going to be?



Reviewed by Georgiana D. CLP-Brookline

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nearly gone

Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

Life isn’t really that great for high school junior Nearly Boswell. After her father walked out with no explanation, Nearly and her mother ended up in a trailer park, where her mother can barely pay the rent with the tips she makes stripping. Now a teenager, the “gift” of empathetic touch that she inherited from her father makes Nearly a self-made outcast. Nearly isolates herself rather than feel and taste the stinging, throbbing, bitter pain of anyone she touches. Despite her few friendships, she’s alone.

So Nearly makes a plan to escape. She’s competing with her best friend and other honors students for a chemistry scholarship. It’s her only chance at being able to pay for college and her future. To qualify for the scholarship, Nearly has to earn the top grade in her class and fill a service requirement by tutoring other high school students.

But nothing is easy for Nearly, and someone’s willing to resort to murder to make her already abysmal life even more miserable. When her students are killed one by one, Nearly finds notes in the personal ads that give clues before the murders take place. Horrified and confused, Nearly tries to do the right thing and goes to the police with what she knows. But instead of being thankful for her information, the police make Nearly the target of the investigation and ask an undercover informant to keep tabs on her. Nearly realizes that she’s being framed by the killer and stalked by a dangerous and alluring police narc.

With a long list of potential murderers, a “touch” of the supernatural and a personal-ad puzzle to solve, Nearly Gone is a winning mystery that will keep you guessing to the end.

Reviewed by Erin, CLP-Allegheny

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doll bones

Doll Bones by Holly Black.

You’ve all heard of Chucky, right? The doll possessed by the spirit of a serial killer? Doll Bones is about a possibly possessed doll that is less psychopathically violent than Chucky but may be even creepier.

For as long as they can remember, Zach, Poppy, and Alice have played a made up game that takes place in a fictional world ruled by the Great Queen, a bone-china doll kept locked away in Poppy’s house.

One day, Poppy starts having dreams about the Queen, the ghost of the little girl whose bones were used to make the doll. She convinces her friends that the only way to get rid of the ghost is to bury the doll in the little girl’s empty grave, though Zach and Alice aren’t quite sure they believe in the ghost. On their quest to bury the doll, nothing goes according to plan, with a simple trip turning into an epic, creepy adventure.

Is the doll just a doll—or is it actually possessed? Zach and Alice aren’t sure—until the ghost starts entering their dreams and adults start to see the doll as a live girl. Poppy starts to act strangely—could she be possessed, too? If the Queen really is a ghost, will it let them go? Will burying the doll in the empty grave put the spirit to rest?

Read Doll Bones to find out.


Reviewed by Amy, CLP-Lawrenceville

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life after theft

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

It is hard enough changing to any new school, but when you go to high school, it is so much tougher. To make friends you try to fit in and try not to cause a fight at least on the first day. Imagine if you were Jeff Clayson. His family came into money and now he is a student at Whitestone Academy, a very exclusive private school in Santa Monica, California. Jeff did exactly what you would not want to do, call attention to himself and get in a fight. The problem was who he got into a fight with.

Now everyone thinks he is absolutely crazy! Apparently, Jeff is the only one who can see a young lady name Kimberlee Schaffer. She’s beautiful, dressed very trendy and apparently from a very wealthy family. The problem is; she’s dead. She died a year ago and no one but Jeff can see her. Kimberlee was the epitome of a mean girl and she was also a thief. Kimberlee is not sure why she was left on Earth and why Jeff is the only one who can see her. Possibly it is to correct some past wrongs. In an attempt to cross over, she solicits Jeff’s help in returning the stolen merchandise to the rightful owners. Easy peasy right. . .? Jeff finds out that it was probably easier for Kimberlee to steal the items than it is for him to return them. Follow the mayhem that ensues in Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike.


Reviewed by Andrea, CLP-Homewood


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How they Choked:  Failures, Flops and Flaws of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg.

Did you know the only reason Marco Polo is famous for being an explorer is because he spent time in jail? Or that Isaac Newton poisoned himself to the point of insanity while trying to turn lead and mercury into gold? These stories and more epic failures of the epically famous are told in How They Choked.

Marco! It’s true that Marco Polo was a famous explorer, but he overestimated his abilities. His inflated ego unfortunately led him to believe he could defeat an army when he was clearly outnumbered. He was arrested as a prisoner of war and while in jail he spent time with a historian and writer. Marco Polo passed the time by telling amazing stories of his travels on the Silk Road and being sort of adopted by Kublai Khan. The historian turned those stories into a book called Description of the World (also known as His Travels). It was written 150 years before the printing press was invented and even so was hugely popular and translated into many languages. And now people all over the world hide from people shouting Marco from pools.

Even though the genius Isaac Newton lived into his 80s he was insane by the time he was 50 from practicing alchemy, which was very illegal. Alchemy is the “science” of turning common metals into gold. Even though it doesn’t work, it was still against the law to try. Newton was a strange guy in many ways, but trying to get rich quick, er um, slowly since he tried and failed for 25 years, made him all the more strange when lead and mercury poisoning turned his brain into mush. Perhaps his lack of social skills hid his madness, but take a lesson from Newton and don’t try this at home.


Reviewed by Annica CLP-West End


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