The Enemy

Zombie Apocalypse

Zombies

 

Can't get enough news about the zombie apocalypse?  We now have all five books in the series The Enemy by Charlie Higson.

Book 1 – The Enemy:  In this dystopian thriller set in London, everyone over 16 is dead or diseased, and youngsters are in constant danger of being eaten by boil-infested grown-ups who roam the streets like zombies looking for children to kill. 

Book 2 – The Dead:  This prequel takes place just over a year before the events in The Enemy and describes the beginnings of the disease that took everyone over the age of 16. Many people were killed outright but others became mindless cannibals.  Ed, Jack, Bam, and their mates are overmatched by these horrors but must try their best to protect the younger kids around them as well as scavenge food and water in a world with no functioning power supply, distribution network, or media. 

Book 3 – The Fear:  The crew, in search of the friends they lost during the recent attacks and fire, set off on a deadly mission from the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace and beyond, as the sickos lie in wait. 

Book 4 – The Sacrifice:  Small Sam and his unlikely ally, The Kid, have survived. They’re safe with Ed and his friends at the Tower of London, but Sam is desperate to find his sister, which means they must cross the forbidden zone. And what awaits them there is more terrifying than any of the horror they’ve suffered so far . . .

Book 5 – The FallenThe Holloway crew are survivors. They've fought their way across London and made it to the Natural History Museum alive and looking for a cure. All they need are medical supplies. To get them means a journey down unknown roads. Roads where more than crazed, hungry sickos hide in the shadows.

Book 6 – The Hunted: Ella is out in the country, alone now except for her silent rescuer, Scarface, about whom she knows nothing, while Ed leaves London on a dangerous quest, determined to find Ella and keep his promise to Small Sam that he will reunite sister and brother.

 

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Code of Honor

Suspense

Suspense

 

Code of Honor by Alan Gratz

Kamran Smith has it all. He's the star of the football team, dates the most popular girl in school, and can't wait to enlist in the Army like his big brother, Darius. Although Kamran's family hails from Iran, Kamran has always felt 100% American. Accepted.

And then everything implodes.

Darius is accused of being a terrorist. Kamran refuses to believe it, but the evidence is there — Darius has been filmed making threats against his country, hinting at an upcoming deadly attack. Kamran's friends turn on him — suddenly, in their eyes, he's a terrorist, too.

Kamran knows it's up to him to clear his brother's name. In a race against time, Kamran must piece together a series of clues and codes that will lead him to Darius — and the truth.

But is it a truth Kamran is ready to face? And is he putting his own life at risk?

 

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Before We Go Extinct

Friendship, Death

 

Before We Go Extinct by Karen Rivers

Since watching his friend fall (jump?) from a skyscraper, JC, nicknamed Sharky, has been holed up in his room, obsessing about sharks and climate change, and texting his dead friend.

When his mom sends him to a remote island in Canada to visit his dad, Sharky meets a girl who just may show hiim how to live – and love – again.

 

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Every Day – Another Day

Cover of Every Day

Romance, Supernatural

Cover of Another Day

 

Every Day and Another Day by David Levithan

These two books tell the same story from two different perspectives.

In Every Day, A wakes each moring in a different person's body, a different person's life.  There is never any warning about where it will be or who it will be.  A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live:

Never get too attached.  

Avoid being noticed.  

Do not interfere. 

It's all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon.  From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply.  Because finally A has found someone to love – day in, day out, day after day.

* * *

Rhiannon's side of the story is told in Another Day.  For Rhiannon, every day is the same.  She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidleines by which to live:  

Don't be too needy.  

Avoid upsetting him.  

Never get your hopes up. 

Until the morning everything changes.  Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day – a perfect day Justin doesn't seem to remember the next morning.  Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything.  Then one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn't Justin at all.

 

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Winter

Fantasy

 

Winter by Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles' final chapter is the story of Winter, the scared princess whose beauty rivals that of her stepmother, the Queen.

Winter despises her stepmother, and has been undermining her wishes for years.  Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.

Other titles in the series:

  • Cinder
  • Scarlet
  • Cress
  • Fairest

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Very in Pieces

Very in Pieces

 

Very in Pieces by Megan Frazer Blakemore

A straight-A student in a family of free-spirited artists must face the hard truths about those she loves most.  Very has always been the dependable, responsible one–until her grandmother becomes terminally ill, causing all of the pieces of Very's once-structured life to come crashing down. Now she's cast aside her steady boyfriend and started an unexpected fling with Dominic, a rebellious art student with a bad reputation. Things at home have also taken a turn. Very's mother drinks all day, her father is never around, and her sister Ramona is constantly skipping school. And that's when the sculpture appears. Out of nowhere, a bottle cap design starts climbing up the stucco walls of the Sayles-Woodruff house, mysteriously growing by the day. With her grandmother nearing death and things heating up with Dominic, Very is tired of always being the responsible one.  If everything else can fall to pieces, why can't she?

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Con Academy

Con Academy

 

Con Academy by Joe Schreiber

It's his senior year and Will Shea has conned his way into one of the country's most elite prep schools. But he soon runs into Andrea, a fellow con-artist. With the school not big enough for the both of them, they make a bet that whoever can con Brandt Rush, the richest, most privileged student in the school out of $50K, gets to stay at the school. Will starts setting up his con (an online poker scam) with his uncle who's one of the best grifters in the business, but also with the unwanted help of his father.. The plot thickens as Will starts falling for fellow student Gatsby, and some of Will's lies start to catch up with him. In this twisty tale of scams, secrets, lies and deception, it hard to figure out who's conning who!

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Aspergers and Other Superpowers

Aspergers and Other Superpowers

Memoir, CHS Author

 

Aspergers and Other Superpowers; The Autobiography of an Oddly Blessed (and Cursed) Child by Maximillian Marciel

A memoir written by a graduate of CHS about his experiences growing up in Hawaii, in Camas, and with Asperger's.

What awaits the curious reader who ventures into these strange pages is a coming-of-age sort of thing – a story about a young boy and his mental disability, Asperger's Syndrome.  It can be sad at times, and perhaps happy at others, but I at least guarantee that it will somewhat entertain you.  But hey, who am I to judge?  See for yourself, you crazy animal.

– Maximillian Marciel

 

Rock ‘N’ Roll Soldier

Memoir

Memoir

 

Rock 'N' Roll Soldier by Dean Ellis Kohler

During a time when none of us knew for sure if we would live or die, I came to know the true power of music.‚Äč

Dean Kohler is about to make it big–he's finally scored a national record deal! But his dreams are abruptly put on hold by the arrival of his draft notice. Now he's in Qui Nhon, Vietnam, serving as a military policeman.

He keeps telling himself he's a musician, not a killer, and that he's lucky he's not fighting on the front lines. When Captain orders him to form a rock band, it's up to Dean to find instruments and players, pronto. Ingenuity and perseverance pay off and soon the band is traveling through treacherous jungle terrain to perform for troops in desperate need of an escape–even if it's only for three sets.

And for Dean–who lives with death, violence, and the fear that anyone could be a potential spy (even his Vietnamese girlfriend)–the band becomes the one thing that gets him through the day. During one of the most controversial wars in recent American history, this incredible true story is about music and camaraderie in the midst of chaos.

 

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VIII

Historical Fiction

Historical Fiction

 

VIII by H. M. Castor

Prince Hal is a young man with extraordinary gifts: astonishing warrior skills, sharp intelligence, and a fierce sense of honor.  His older brother will be the next king of England, but Hal knows that he is also destined for greatness – even if his father wishes he would disappear.

When his brother suddenly dies, Hal is thrust into further conflict as he becomes the heir to the throne. Upon his succession, Hal's obsession with regaining France and having an abundance of sons causes him to end marriage  after marriage, casting off and even executing his wives, breaking with the Catholic church, and turning from an honorable and idealistic young prince into the cruel and despotic ruler known as Henry VIII.

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Student Review: Nickel and Dimed

Nickel and Dimed

Nonfiction

 

Bella Alexander provided this student review of the non-fiction memoir Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. 

Fickle and Timed

What is there to do when the living wage can’t actually be lived on? For most working Americans, it’s finding ways to cut back, even if that means making the decision between paying the rent or feeding their children. But for Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, it resulted in a whole lot of complaining, some relatively minor stress, and an eventual return to her cushy upper middle class life. This book had an intended message that I found to be quite powerful, that is, the wages around the country that we expect working Americans to survive on, even utilize to pull themselves out of poverty, are extremely inadequate. However, although I commend Ehrenreich’s efforts regarding her going out and attempting to experience the life of a wage slave-might I add, when the economy was perhaps a better place for minimum wage workers than it is now-her writing style continually exuded a very detached, almost “holier-than-thou” perspective on what she went through. Even though Ehrenreich and I walked away with the intended message of her toils, what stood out to me more than the purpose of the composition itself was the attitude of upper class citizens towards those lower than them on the socio-economic ladder, represented by the subtle quips and snarky comments made throughout the book.  Ehrenreich was set on proving that the living wage is not livable. That is what she accomplished. But in my mind, Nickel and Dimed is not only a testament to how skewed our take on the minimum wage really is, but also a testament to the bias that the wealthy have towards the poor and the severity of social stratification between classes in our country, as told by someone who embodies the aforementioned phenomenon.

In Nickel and Dimed, Ehrenreich embarks on a mission to prove that the minimum wage simply isn’t enough. From serving in Florida to scrubbing in Maine to selling in Minnesota, we follow Ehrenreich on her pilgrimage through the life of a working class citizen and are with her as she experiences almost first hand the struggles and realities of situations simulated by her own. She pays special mind to the documentation, analysis, and observation of people she encounters throughout her brief time making it in the world of the working, and overall comes away with a reinforced understanding that the living wage is truly unlivable.

Ehrenreich makes it clear within the first few pages of her memoir that she did not want to do this experiment, stating that it was meant for “someone younger” than herself, “some neophyte journalist with time on her hands.” It is with this sentiment that Nickel and Dimed begins, and also with this sentiment that the entire book is written. Ehrenreich gets a taste, similar in fashion to how a child who does not like broccoli tastes broccoli, of the life of a working class citizen. Despite setting rules for herself regarding finances, jobs, and housing, she self-admittedly smashes each of these rules to pieces at one point or another, sometimes even more than once, which in my mind all but demolishes the scientific validity of her experience, which is ironic because she out rightly states in the beginning of her book that she wanted to make this as scientific an experiment as possible, and this is fitting that she should want this, I suppose, as she does have a PhD in biology that she refuses to let the reader forget.

In addition, Ehrenreich’s writing is chalk full of contradictions. For example, she states "The 'working poor' are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor to everyone else." However, she still, in my mind, fails to fully grasp this concept herself while she continually resents and reproaches all those who she was forced to serve. Another flaw within Ehrenreich’s writing is her at times too humanitarian based actions, as if she were some savior come to rescue her lower class work mates from their depths of despair, as when she was working at WalMart and talked with a fellow employee about improving their situation that perhaps they could have done it had she been able to afford working there any longer.

All in all, Ehrenreich is very aware that she has no place or right to be telling this type of story from the perspective of people she will never fully understand because she chooses not to. Her brief escapade into the world of the working poor was limited in both will and true insight, therefore making her personal experiences essentially irrelevant. However, despite her nauseating personality and upper class slander, the point was delivered with some rather valuable content to accompany it.

There is a saying that goes something like, “Don’t judge someone till you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” In Ehrenreich’s case, she reluctantly decided to make the tumultuous journey into the world of the poor in their beat up sneakers, shuffled along for several steps or so, decided that her feet hurt too much and that the shoes were ugly, then sprinted back to her cushy life. If this attitude is commendable in our society, save for the overall message which in my mind could have been portrayed almost as effectively from behind a desk considering the overall invalidity of Ehrenreich’s little adventure, then what really is there to do for those trying to get by on the living wage that clearly can’t be lived on? If they’re not Barbara Ehrenreich, all there is to do is survive.

The Pregnancy Project

Memoir

Memoir

 

The Pregnancy Project, by Gaby Rodriguez, with Jenna Glatzer

It started as a school project . . . but turned into so much more.

Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom like her mother and sisters.  But Gaby had ambitions that didn't include teen motherhood.  Wondering how she would be treated if she "lived down" to others' expectations, as a school project she faked her own pregnancy to gauge  the reactions of her friends, family and community.  In her memoir, Gaby reveals all that she learned from the experience and how she came out from the shadow of low expectations to forge a bright future beyond the stereotypes.

 

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UnBound

Dystopia, Short Stories

Dystopia, Short Stories

 

UnBound by Neal Shusterman

Set in the world of the UnWind Dystology, this collection of short stories by author Neal Shusterman shares more of what happens to Connor, Risa, and Lev after the destruction of the Proactive Citizenry.  Will they be able to live freely in a peaceful future?  Or will the dark forces of society that found it acceptable to "unwind" out-of-control teens by using them as transplant sources rise again?  Find out what is left for those once destined to be unwound.

 

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Nemesis

cover picture for Nemesis

 

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

It has been happening since Min was eight.  Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood.  But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown – alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

On her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough.  

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else.  But he's not.  Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs.  But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life.  

For the planet has a bigger problem – an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth.

 

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His Majesty’s Dragon

Alternative History - Fantasy

Alternative History – Fantasy

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain's defense by taking to the skies . . . not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.

When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France's own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte's boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

Book one in the Termeraire series by Naomi Novik.

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The Sports Beat Mysteries

Sports, Mystery

Sports, Mystery

 

The Sports Beat mysteries by John Feinsein

Teen sportswriters Susan and Stevie Carol just iintend to cover sporting events – the players, the coaches, the competitions – but shocking truths and dark crimes keep putting the two in dangerous situations where they must solve the mysteries and save their own lives.

      

Vanishing Act

Rush for the Gold

Change-up

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The Female of the Species

Friendship, Lose, Violence

Friendship, Loss, Violence

 

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn't feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence. While her crime goes unpunished, she relegates herself to the shadows, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack sees her, and so does Peekay. Their lives are set on a collision course that will change them forever.

 

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Prison Island

Graphic Memoir

Graphic Memoir

 

Prison Island by Colleen Frakes

The story of a perfectly ordinary childhood in a perfectly extraordinary place.

McNeil Island in Washington state was the home of the last prison island in the US, accessible only by air or sea.  It was also home to about fifty families, including Colleen Frakes's.  In this graphic memoir, Colleen tells her story of growing up on McNeil Island, where regular teenage activities like ordering a pizza or going to the movies became extremely complicated endeavors, and the small-town dynamics were amplified by living on the edge of a prison, in an isolated place where if you broke a rule, your family could be kicked off the island.

 

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The Man Who Couldn’t Stop

 

The Man Who Couldn't Stop picture of book cover

 

The Man Who Couldn't Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought by David Adam

What might lead a school girl to eat a wall of her house, piece by piece, or a man to die beneath an avalanche of household junk? . . . At what point does a harmless idea, a snowflake in a clear summer sky, become a blinding blizzard of unwanted thoughts?

David Adam has suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder for twenty years, and this memoir is his unflinchingly honest attemp to understand the condition and his experiences.  In this riveting blend of science, history, and memoir, Adam explores the weird thoughts that exist within every mind and explains how they drive millions of us toward obsession and compulsion.  

 

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Gem & Dixie

Family relationships

Family relationships

 

Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

Gem has never know what it is to have security.  She's never known an adult she can truly rely on.  But the one constant in her life has been Dixie.  Gem grew up taking care of her her sister when no one else could: not their mother, whose issues make it hard for her to keep food on the table, and definitely not their father, whose intermittent presence is the only thing worse than than his frequent absence.  

When their dad returns home for the first time in years and tries to insert himself back into their lives, Gem finds herself with an unexpected opportunity: three days with Dixie, on their own in Seattle and beyond. 

But this short trip soon becomes something more, as Gem discovers that to save herself, she may have to sever the one bond she's tried so hard to keep.

 

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Sing, Unburied, Sing

Cover picture for Sing, Unburied, Sing

 

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man.  He doesn't lack in fathers to study, chief among them his black grandfather, Pop.  But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent white father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his grandfather Big Joseph, who won't acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

When his father is released from prison, Jojo's mother packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and and Parchman Farm, the state penitentiary.  At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering.  He, too, has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

In Jesmyn Ward's first novel since her National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones, she brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first century America.

 

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Bright Lights, Dark Nights

Romance

Romance

 

Bright Lights, Dark Nights by Stephen Emond

Walter Wilcox has never been in love.  He just wants to finish high school under the radar with his 2.5 friends and zero drama.  And then there's Naomi Mills, an adorably awkward harpist with a habit of saying the wrong thing at the right time.

It's inevitable that they're going to get together . . . but they're also on the unavoidable path to being torn apart.

When Walter's cop dad is caught in a racial profiling scandal, Walter and Naomi, who is African American, are called out at school, home and online. Can their bond (and mutual love of the Foo Fighters) keep them together?

It's a story about first love, first fights, and finding yourself in a messed up world, from the acclaimed author of Happyface.  

 

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Stand Off

Stand Off

Teen Life

 

Stand Off by Andrew Smith

The sequel to Winger, fifteen-year-old Ryan Dean West, now a senior at Pine Mountain Academy, becomes captain of the rugby team, shares his dormitory room with a twelve-year-old prodigy, Sam Abernathy, and through the course of the year learns to appreciate things he has tried to resist, including change.  Dealing with grief, ghosts, nightmares, and romantic challenges in additon to rugby brings on a slew of insecurities related to his own past.

 

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Goldfish

Friendship, Competition

Friendship, Teen Life

 

Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema

 

I am Lou Brown

Social outcast, precocious failure.

5' 10" and still growing.

I was on the fast track to Olympic Superstardom.

Now, I'm training boys too cool to talk to me.

In a sport I just made up.

In a fish tank.

My life has quickly become very weird.

 

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The Unwind Dystology

Science Fiction

Science Fiction

The strange and terrifying future that began in Unwind continues in Neal Shusterman's Unwind Dystology:

UnWholly

Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa-and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp-people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simltaneously providing much-needed organs for transplanting might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished. Cam is made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds; he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles to find identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam's fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he'll have to question humanity itself.

UnSouled - Shusterman

UnSouled

Connor and Lev are on the run after the destruction of the Graveyard, the last safe haven for AWOL Unwinds. But for the first time, they're not just running away from something. This time, they're running towards answers, in the form of a woman Proactive Citizenry has tried to erase from history itself. If they can find her, and learn why the shadowy figures behind unwinding are so afraid of her, they may discover the key to ending the unwinding process forever. Cam, the rewound boy, is plotting to take down the organization that created him. He knows that if he can bring Proactive Citizenry to its knees, it will show Risa how he truly feels about her. And without Risa, Cam is having trouble remembering what it feels like to be human. With the Juvenile Authority and vindictive parts pirates hunting them, their paths will converge explosively-and everyone will be changed.

UnDivided - Shusterman

UnDivided

Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future. But more trouble is brewing. Starkey's group of storked teens is growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they'll burn the harvest camps to the ground and put every adult in them before a firing squad-which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future.

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The Bitter Side of Sweet

Child Slavery, Fiction

Child Slavery, Fiction

Fifteen-year-old Amadou counts the things that matter. For two years what has mattered are the number of cacao pods he and his younger brother, Seydou, can chop down in a day. This number is very important. The higher the number the safer they are because the bosses won't beat them. The higher the number the closer they are to paying off their debt and returning home to Moke and Auntie. Maybe. The problem is Amadou doesn't know how much he and Seydou owe, and the bosses won't tell him.

The boys only wanted to make some money during the dry season to help their impoverished family. Instead they were tricked into forced labor on a plantation in the Ivory Coast; they spend day after day living on little food and harvesting beans in the hot sun–dangerous, backbreaking work. With no hope of escape, all they can do is try their best to stay alive–until Khadija comes into their lives.

She's the first girl who's ever come to camp, and she's a wild thing. She fights bravely every day, attempting escape again and again, reminding Amadou what it means to be free. But finally, the bosses break her, and what happens next to the brother he has always tried to protect almost breaks Amadou. The old impulse to run is suddenly awakened. The three band together as family and try just once more to escape.

 

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters

Student Review: Black Like Me

Memoir - Civil Rights

Memoir – Racial Identity

 

Erik Brainard provided this student review of Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin.

Black Like Me Review

Most people know of the hardships that blacks faced throughout most of American history, from enslavement in the 1700’s and 1800’s, to facing oppression to this day even after being freed in the late 1800’s. However, for a long time, whites had no idea what it was like to be of African descent in America, and none were brave enough to go against the grain and discover what it was like. However, this all changed when in 1961, white author John Howard Griffin published his book Black Like Me, documenting his experiences playing the societal role of a black man in the south during the late 1950’s and 1960’s. Using various dyes and exposure to UV lights, Griffin successfully changed his skin color from Caucasian to African American. Griffin writes in a diary style, with each chapter being a new day, with a date for each. Griffin accurately describes his experience as a black man and his information stays relevant even to this day.

The book begins with Griffin pondering the idea of living as a black. He questions; what adjustments would a white man need to make to live as a black in the south? Griffin then goes on to describe the steps that he took to prepare himself for this change, including how he got his family on board, and his experience finding a dermatologist who would help him. When Griffin finally starts his treatments, he finds them painful, and they often cause him nausea. However, because of his dedication, he pulled through and completed the process. The first time Griffin looks at himself in the mirror after his treatment is a major event in the book, showing one of the main themes: losing and regaining identity. When Griffin looks in the mirror, he doesn’t recognize the man staring back at him, and he feels scared. This foreshadows how different his life is about to become, and symbolizes his departure from the white community and his entrance into the black one. Throughout his experience as a black man, Griffin finds the condition of living to horrible. He is constantly on the receiving end of racial slurs and at one point a white man almost attacks him before Griffin chases him away. It is also very hard for Griffin to find a job, and to even find a restroom to use. Obviously, most educated people today already know that blacks had a very hard life before the civil rights movement, but Griffin’s firsthand view and white man’s perspective are really a nice change from other accounts, simply because Griffin is able to make comparisons between these two different lifestyles, something that genetic blacks can’t do. Griffin then goes on to describe his time after his six-week experiment. When he first publishes an article in 1960 describing his experiences as a black man, Griffin receives huge amounts of praise from around the world, and is invited to appear on multiple major television shows to be interviewed. However, he doesn’t quite get as much praise in Mansfield, TX, his home town. The overall attitude there remains racist, and Griffin and his family feel threatened, so they move to Mexico.

In the book, Griffin does a superb job of keeping the story pretty interesting and entertaining, while also keeping it historically accurate and informative. The blending of these two aspects really make Black Like Me a special book to read. Because of it being an interesting story, the book can be read for pleasure, and can be assigned to high school students and it won’t bore them to death. On the other hand, because of its historical relevance and accuracy, this book can be used for anyone looking to study the life of blacks in the 50’s and 60’s, and can be considered a primary source from this era. Whatever the reason for reading may be, chances are Black Like Me will satisfy the reader. However, the book is not flawless. The main issue is that Griffin’s writing style is not the most exciting. He doesn’t use much imagery when describing, and this occasionally makes reading feel like a chore. Another flaw is the way that the chapters are set up. Each chapter is one day, which in theory sounds like it would work, but doesn’t work quite so well in the book. Since on some days more things happen than on other days, the chapter length can vary quite a bit, and this disrupts the flow of Griffin’s writing.

All in all, John Howard Griffin’s book Black Like Me is still relevant to this day. Whether the reader wants a book to read just for pleasure, or they want a historically accurate book from the Civil Rights Era, Black Like Me will be satisfactory. Although it does have some flaws such as lack of descriptive language and unusual chapter structure, the positives certainly outweigh the negatives.

Since You’ve Been Gone

Teen Life

Teen Life

 

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Sloane had been the one who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting.  But right before what should have been the most epic sumer, Sloane just . . . disappears.

All she leaves behind is a to-do list.  On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try.  But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night – Easy enough

Dance until dawn? – Sure.  Why not?

Kiss a stranger? – Ummm.

 

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters

Bone Gap

 

Mystery - Fantasy

Mystery – Fantasy

"Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps – gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever."

Eighteen-year-old Finn, an outsider in his quiet Midwestern town, is the only witness to the abduction of town favorite Roza.  When she disappears, the people of Bone Gap aren't surprised.  After all, it wasn't the first time.  That's just how things go, they say.

Finn knows she was kidnapped, but no one believes him, and Finn's face blindness, which makes him unable to distinguish between faces, makes it difficult for him to help with the investigation, and subjects him to even more ridicule and bullying.  Finding Roza means exploring the gaps between what is real and what is unseen, the gaps between worlds.

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters.

Hidden Girl

Nonfiction

Memoir

 

Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave by Shyima Hall

Shyima Hall was eight years old when her parents sold her into domestic slavery.

One of eleven children, Shyima lived with her family in poverty in Egypt.  When an older sister, a domestic servant in Cairo, was dismissed from her job for stealing, Shyima's parents made a deal with her sister's employers.  In order to repay the debt, Shyima would take her sister's place.

This began Shyima's life as a slave.  Her captors, a wealthy couple, referred to Shyima only as "stupid girl" and forced her to wait hand and foot on their family.  Any money she was paid for her work went directly to her parents, with whom she had very little contact. Two years into her bondage, Shyima's captors moved to the United States, and illegally trafficked Shyima in with them, keeping her enslaved.  

This is Shyima's harrowing true story of life as a child slave, and her long, inspiring road to freedom.

 

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters

Tomboy

Graphic Memoir

Graphic Memoir

Tomoby: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince

Liz Prince tells gender norms to eat dirt

Growing up, Liz Prince wasn't a girly girl, dressing in pink tutus or playing Pretty Pretty princess like the other girls in her neighborhood. But she wasn't exactly one of the guys either, as she quickly learned when her Little League baseball coach exiled her to the outfield instead of letting her take the pitcher's mound. Liz was somewhere in the middle, and Tomboy is the story of her struggle to find the place where she belonged.

Tomboy is a graphic novel about refusing gender boundaries, yet unwittingly embracing gender stereotypes at the same time, and realizing later in life that you can be just as much of a girl in jeans and a T-shirt as you can in a pink tutu. A memoir told anecdotally, Tomboy follows author and zine artist Liz Prince through her early childhood into adulthood and explores her ever-evolving struggles and wishes regarding what it means to "be a girl." From staunchly refuting anything she perceived as being "girly" to the point of misogyny, to discovering through the punk community that your identity is whatever you make of it, regardless of your gender, Tomboy is as much humorous and honest as it is at points uncomfortable and heartbreaking.

 

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters

Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly

Seventeen year-old dirt-bike-riding daredevil Arlo Santiago catches the eye of the U.S. military with his first-place ranking on a video game featuring drone warfare, and must reconcile the work they want him to do with the emotional scars he has suffered following a violent death in his family.  Author Conrad Wesselhoeft takes readers from the skies over war-torn Pakistan to the dusty arroyos of New Mexico's outback in this young adult novel about daring to live in the wake of unbearable loss.

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters.

 

Dream Things True

Romance, Immigration

Romance

 

Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt

What did it mean to be free, she wondered, when she lived in constant fear that the people she loved would go to jail?

Evan and Alma have spent fifteen years living in the same town, connected in a dozen different ways but also living worlds apart – until the day he jumps into her dad's truck and slams on the brakes.

The nephew of a senator, Evan seems to have it all – except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two, surrounded by a large, sometimes smothering, Mexican family.  They both want out of this town.  His one-way ticket is soccer; hers is academic success.

When the two fall in love, they fall hard, trying to ignore their differences.  Then Immigration and Customs Enforcement begins raids in their town, and Alma knows that she needs to share her secret.  But how will she tell her country-club boyfriend that she and almost everyone she's close to are undocumented immigrants?

 

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters

Original Fake

Teen Life

 Graphic Novel, Teen Life

 

Original Fake – written by Kirstin Cronn-Mills, with art by E. Eero Johnson

 

A tale for anyone who's ever felt invisible.

 

An escalating sibling rivalry train wrecks and vengeance is a street-art act of war in this illustrated novel.

Frankie Neumann's always felt like the black sheep of his family.  compared to his tutuwearing nightmare of a sister and his parents, Bridget and Brett – Frank sinatra and Dr. Frank-N-Furter impersonators – he's the odd man out in a very odd family.  He's the introvert nobody ever sees.  

But Frankie's got his own secret artistic aspirations, and they're about to get him swept up in the art adventure of a lifetime.

When Frankie's approached by David and Rory, cousins and errand runners for the notorious and anonymous street artist Uncle Epic, they make him the offer of his dreams, giving him the chance to strike back at his sister and to hang out with the hottest girl in school.

But soon, the lines between art and real life start to blur, and Frankie has to find a way to rein in the chaos before things spiral out of control.

 

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters

 

 

 

Diamond Boy

Diamond Boy

 

Diamond Boy by Michael Williams

My father says that a journey should always change your life in some way.  Well, when you have nothing, I suppose a journey promises everything.

"Diamonds for everyone." That's what fifteen-year-old Patson Moyo hears when his family arrives in the Marange diamond fields. Soon Patson is working in the mines along with four friends, pooling their profits for a chance at a better life. Each of them hopes to find a girazi , a priceless stone that could change their circumstances forever. But when the government's soldiers come to Marange, Patson's world is shattered.

Set against the backdrop of Zimbabwe's brutal recent history, Diamond Boy is the story of a young man who succumbs to greed but finds his way out through a transformative journey to South Africa in search of his missing sister, in search of freedom, and in search of himself. A high-stakes, harrowing adventure in the blood-diamond fields of southern Africa.

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters.

 

The Trouble in Me

The Trouble in Me

 

The Trouble in Me by Jack Gantos

This fiery autobiographical novel captures a pivotal week or two in the life of fourteen-year-old Jack Gantos, as the author reveals the moment he began to slide off track as a kid who in just a few years would find himself locked up in a federal penitentiary for the crimes portrayed in the memoir Hole in My Life . Set in the Fort Lauderdale neighborhood of his family's latest rental home, The Trouble in Me opens with an explosive encounter in which Jack first meets his awesomely rebellious older neighbor, Gary Pagoda, just back from juvie for car theft. Instantly mesmerized, Jack decides he will do whatever it takes to be like Gary. As a follower, Jack is eager to leave his old self behind, and desperate for whatever crazy, hilarious, frightening thing might happen next. But he may not be as ready as he thinks when the trouble in him comes blazing to life.

This book is the prequel to Hole in My Life, Gantos' story of the events in his life that result in his time in federal prison.

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters.

Throne of Glass Series

Thone of Glass

Fantasy

 

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the king's champion and be released from prison. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing she never thought she'd have again: a friend. But something evil dwells in the castle–and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters.

The series continues in the following volumes:

Throne of Glass - Crown of Midnight

Throne of Glass - Heir of Fire
Throne of Glass - Queen of Shadows

Throne of Glass - Assassins Blade

Symptoms of Being Human

Gender Identity, School Life

Gender Identity, School Life

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

The first thing you're going to want to know about me is: 

Am I a boy, or am I a girl

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid.  Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl.  The thing is . . . Riley isn't exactly out yet.  And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection, the pressure — media and otherwise — is building up in Riley's so-called "normal" life.

Just settling in to a new school, and  developing feelings for a mysterious outcast, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it's really like to be a gender fluid teen.  But the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discover's Riley's real identity, threatening exposure.  

Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created — a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in — or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

 

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters

Just Fly Away

Family, Romance

Family, Romance

 

Just Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy

Ever wish that you could just fly away?

When fifteen-year-old Lucy Willows discovers that her father has a child from a brief affair, an eight-year-old boy who lives in her own town, she begins to question everything she thinks she knows about her home and her life. 

As her father's secret becomes her own, Lucy grows more and more isolated from her friends, her family, and even her boyfriend, Simon, the one person she thought understood her.  When Lucy escapes to Maine, the home of her mysteriously estranged grandfather, she finally begins to get to the bottom fo her family's secrets and lies.

 

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters.

The Suffering

Supernatural Horror

Supernatural Horror

 

The Suffering by Rin Chupeco

      Not all that is lost should be found . . . 

Seventeen-year-old Tark knows what it is to be powerless.  But Okiku changed that.  A restless spirit who ended life as a victim and started death as an avenger, she's groomed Tark to destroy the wicked.  But when darkenss pulls them deep into Aokigahara, known as Japan's suicide forest, Okiku's justice becomes blurred, and Tark is the one who will pay the price.

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters.

Renegades

Cover picture for Renegades

 

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies – humans with extraordinary abilities – who emerged from the ruins of a rumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned.  As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone . . . except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance.  As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adreian, a REnegade boy who believes in justice, and in Nova.  But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

 

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters.

Scythe

Scythe cover image

Dystopia, Science Fiction

 

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

 

A World With No Hunger, No Disease, No War, No Misery

Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death.  Now scythes are the only ones who can end life – and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are about to learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.  They are chosen to apprentice to a scythe – a role that neither wants.  These teens must master the "art" of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

 

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters

Some Assembly Required

Memoir

Memoir

 

Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen by Arin Andrews

Seventeen-year-old Arin Andrews shares all the hilarious, painful, and poignant details of undergoing gender reassignment as a high school student in this winning memoir. We've all felt uncomfortable in our own skin at some point, and we've all been told that "it's just a part of growing up." But for Arin Andrews, it wasn't a phase that would pass. He had been born in the body of a girl and there seemed to be no relief in sight… In this revolutionary memoir, Arin details the journey that led him to make the life-transforming decision to undergo gender reassignment as a high school junior. In his captivatingly witty, honest voice, Arin reveals the challenges he faced as a girl, the humiliation and anger he felt after getting kicked out of his private school, and all the changes – both mental and physical – he experienced once his transition began.

Some Assembly Required is a true coming-of-age story about knocking down obstacles and embracing family, friendship, and first love. But more than that, it is a reminder that self-acceptance does not come ready-made with a manual and spare parts. Rather, some assembly is always required.

 

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters.

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl

Teen Life, Friendship

Teen Life, Friendship

 

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melisa Keil

Alba loves her life living behind the bakery and waking up in a cloud of sugar and cinnamon, drawing comics and watching bad TV with her friends.  

But high school has officially ended and everyone else seems to be making plans to move on.  Meanwhile, a long gone guy has reappeared, her best friend is going off the rails, and her latest comic book creation is misbehaving.

Also, the world might be ending. Awkward.

Alba's life has been upended, and Armageddon might turn out to be the least of her problems.

 

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters

Lincoln’s Spymaster

Biography - History

Biography – History

 

Lincoln's Spymaster: Allan Pinkerton, America's First Private Eye by Samantha Seiple

Without Allan Pinkerton, Abraham Lincoln might never have made it to the presidency.  This story highlights Pinkerton's efforts to uncover the details of an assassination plot designed to stop the newly elected Lincoln from ever taking office, as well as the detective's other adventures as America's first private eye.

Want to know more? Use the Destiny Catalog to search for the title – click on the title and look for the Title Peek logo below the cover image to get more plot details, read reviews, and preview chapters.

Jan 08

Nemesis

cover picture for Nemesis

 

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

It has been happening since Min was eight.  Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood.  But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown – alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the …

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Jan 08

Renegades

Cover picture for Renegades

 

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies – humans with extraordinary abilities – who emerged from the ruins of a rumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned.  As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone . . . except the …

Continue reading »

Jan 05

The Man Who Couldn’t Stop

The Man Who Couldn't Stop picture of book cover

 

 

The Man Who Couldn't Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought by David Adam

What might lead a school girl to eat a wall of her house, piece by piece, or a man to die beneath an avalanche of household junk? . . . At what point …

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Jan 05

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Cover picture for Sing, Unburied, Sing

 

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man.  He doesn't lack in fathers to study, chief among them his black grandfather, Pop.  But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent white father, Michael, who is being …

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Aug 30

Author News – Terry Pratchett

Pratchett

Author Terry Pratchett, who died in 2015, chose an unusual method of ensuring his unpublished novels would remain unpublished.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/aug/30/terry-pratchett-unfinished-novels-destroyed-streamroller

Apr 27

Who Killed Christopher Goodman?

Mystery

 

Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf

 

Everybody likes Chris Goodman.

Sure, he's kind of weird.  He wears those crazy bell-bottoms and he really likes the word ennui and he shakes your hand when he meets you, but he's the kind of guy who is always up for a good time and …

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Apr 26

Just Fly Away

Family, Romance

 

Just Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy

Ever wish that you could just fly away?

When fifteen-year-old Lucy Willows discovers that her father has a child from a brief affair, an eight-year-old boy who lives in her own town, she begins to question everything she thinks she knows about her home and her life. 

Continue reading »

Apr 26

Gem & Dixie

Family relationships

 

Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

Gem has never know what it is to have security.  She's never known an adult she can truly rely on.  But the one constant in her life has been Dixie.  Gem grew up taking care of her her sister when no one else could: not their mother, …

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Feb 06

Every Day – Another Day

Cover of Another Day

 

Every Day and Another Day by David Levithan

These two books tell the same story from two different perspectives.

In Every Day, A wakes each moring in a different person's body, a different person's life.  There is never any warning about where it will be or who it will be.  A has made …

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Jan 30

Scythe

Scythe cover image

 

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

 

A World With No Hunger, No Disease, No War, No Misery

Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death.  Now scythes are the only ones who can end life – and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size …

Continue reading »

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