Last Seen Leaving

Cover - Last Seen Leaving

Mystery

 

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

His girlfriend has disappeared. 

How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing.  The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up.  All eyes are on Flynn — as January's boyfriend, he must know something.

But Flynn has a secret of his own.  And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's dasappearance, he must also face the turth about himself.

 

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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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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.

 

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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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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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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.

 

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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.

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.

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We Are the Ants

 

Science Fiction, Teen Angst

Teen Life

 

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

 

Henry Denton has 144 days to save the world.

Henry Denton knows his family is struggling to stay together. He knows his boyfriend committed suicide last year. What Henry doesn't know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and why they keep coming back to take him again. Henry is informed by his erstwhile captors that they will end the world in 144 days unless he stops them by deciding that humanity is worth saving.

The problem is, Henry isn't sure if he wants to save the world.

 

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The Uplift Saga

Science Fiction

Science Fiction

 

The Uplift Novels by David Brin

David Brin is a Hugo and Nebula award winning science fiction author.  His Uplift series is set in a future world where humans have been joined by genetically enhanced dolphins and chimps as they explore a universe full of superior alien races, many hostile to those from Earth.

Sundiver

Sundiver

In all the universe, no species has ever reached for the stars without the guidance of an alien patron – except perhaps humans. Circling the sun, in the caverns of Mercury, Expedition Sundiver prepares for a journey into the broiling inferno of the sun to find out more about humans' place in the cosmic order.  But mysterious ghosts and murderous passengers threaten the ship's mission.

 

Startide Rising

Startide Rising

The Terran exploration vessel Streaker has crashed on the uncharted water world of Kithrup, bearing one of the most important discoveries in galactic history.  Above, in space, armadas of alien races clash in a titanic struggle to claim her.  Below, a handful of her human and dolphin crew battles armed rebellion and a hostile planet to safeguard her secret – the fate of the Progenitors, the fabled First Race who seeded wisdom throughout the stars.

 

The Uplift War

The Uplift War

As galactic armadas clash in quest of the ancient fleet of the Progenitors, a brutal alien race seizes the dying planet of Garth.  The various uplifted inhabitants of Garth must battle their overlords or face ultimate extinction.  At stake is the existence of Terran society and Earth, and the fate of the entire Five Galaxies. 

 

 

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15 Days Without a Head

15 Days Without a Head

 

15 Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins

Fifteen-year-old Laurence Roach just wants a normal life, but it's far from easy with his little brother who acts like a dog and their depressed alcoholic mother. If Laurence can win the luxury vacation in a local radio contest, he's certain his mum will finally be happy again. Then one night she doesn't come home from work, and Laurence must face the reality that she might not come back at all. Terrified that child services will separate him from his brother, Laurence does whatever he can to keep their mother's disappearance a secret. For two weeks, he spins a web of complicated lies to friends, neighbors, and the authorities–even dressing up in his mother's clothes to convince everyone she's still around. But Laurence can't hide the truth forever. He begins a desperate search for her, and that's when the real trouble starts in this powerful story about family, forgiveness, and hope.

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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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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.

 

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The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley

Teen Life, Grief/Loss

Teen Life, Grief/Loss

 

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

Andrew Brawlely was supposed to die that night.  His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.  

Now he lives in the hospital.  He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet.  Drew is in hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.  

Then one night a boy named Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates.  His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them together through all their pain.  In Rusty, Drew sees hope, and a future.

But Drew knows that life is never that simple.  Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusy.  Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he's determined to bargain with Death and settle his debts once and for all.  But Death is not easily placated, and Drew's life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.

 

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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.

 

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Six of Crows

Fantasy, Suspense

Fantasy, Suspense

 

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a dealy heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams.  But he can't pull it off alone. . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction – if they don't kill each other first.

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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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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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

 

The Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries

Historical Fiction - Mystery

Historical Fiction – Mystery

 

The Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries by Lindsey Davis

Ancient Rome under the rule of Emperor Vespasian is a dangerous place for Marcus Didius Falco, a private investigator with a knack for trouble, a tendency for bad luck, and a frequently incovenient drive for justice. 

Historical Fiction - Mystery Book 1 – The Silver Pigs

Marcus Didius Falco encounters the young and very pretty Sosia Camillina in the Forum and senses immediately that there is something amiss. When she confesses that she is fleeing for her life, Falco offers to help her and, in doing so, he gets himself mixed up in a deadly plot involving stolen ingots, dangerous and dark political machinations, and, most hazardous of all, one Helena Justina, a brash senator's daughter connected to the very traitors that Falco has sworn to expose.

 

Shadows in BronzeBook 2 – Shadows in Bronze

Informer and occasional imperial agent Marcus Didius Falco is miserable. The high-born woman he fell in love with, Helena Justina, has broken off their stormy, impossible affair. So when Emperor Vespasian assigns Falco a task that will take him out of Rome, he can't wait. Disguised as vacationer in the company of his comrade Petronius Longus, captain of the Aventine Watch, Falco travels south to Neapolis, Capreae and Pompeii where he discovers a conspiracy involving the Egyptian grain shipment to Rome. He also stumbles across Helena Justina, conveniently also on a trip out of town, who might, unwittingly, be enmeshed in this dangerous, treasonous scheme.

Venus in CopperBook 3 – Venus in Copper

Marcus Didius Falco is deperate to leave the notorious Lautumiae prison – though being bailed out by his mother is a slight indignity… Things go from bad to worse though when a group of nouveau riche ex-slaves hire him to outwit a fortune-hunting redhead, whose husbands have a habit of dying accidently, leaving him up against a female contortionist, her extra-friendly snake, indigestible cakes and rent racketeers. And, all the while, trying to lure Helena Justina to live with him, a dangerous proposition given the notorius instability of Roman real estate.

Iron Hand of MarsBook 4 – The Iron Hand of Mars

When Germanic troops in the service of the Empire begin to rebel, and a Roman general disappears, Emperor Vespasian turns to the one man he can trust: Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer whose rates are low enough that even the stingy Vespasian is willing to pay them. To Falco, an undercover tour of Germania is an assignment from Hades. On a journey that only a stoic could survive, Falco meets with disarray, torture, and murder. His one hope: in the northern forest lives a powerful Druid priestess who perhaps can be persuaded to cease her anti-Rome activities and work for peace. 

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Running With Lions

Soccer, Friendship

Soccer, Friendship

 

Running With Lions by Julian Winters

As the Lions' star goalie, Sebastian Hughes should be excited about his senior year: his teammates are amazing, and he's got a coach who doesn't ask anyone to hide their sexuality.  But when an ex-best friend shows up at summer training camp, Sebastian realizes he needs to repair the relationship to save the team's success.  Setting out to regain Emir's trust, he is surprised to realize that their bonding efforts may be sparking more than just friendship between them.  

 

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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.

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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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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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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.

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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

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!

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.

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.

 

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

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.

 

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.

On Two Feet and Wings

Memoir

Memoir

 

On Two Feet and Wings by Abbas Kazerooni

Abbas Kazerooni is not yet ten when, during the Iran-Iraq War, her is forced to leave his parents, his friends – his entire world – and flee from Tehran.

On his own in the often frightening city of Istanbul, Abbas grows up fast with little more than his wits to guide him.  Here, in a city where he doesn't speak the language, he must determine who is a friend and who is an enemy, walking a tightrope of survival.

His quick thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, and the unexpected kindness of of strangers allow him to make the best of his dire situation in surprising ways.  But does he have what it takes to achieve his parents' ultimate dream for him: a visa to England – and safety?

 

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 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.

 

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

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

More Happy Than Not

More Happy Than Not

 

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is. Why does happiness have to be so hard? 

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

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.

 

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

Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow

Fantasy

Fantasy

Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell

"So now that you know I'm a vampire, for certain, you don't care?"

"Now that I know that you just sneak around, drinking household pets and legal game, yeah, I'm not too bothered.  It's not like I'm a militant vegetarian."

"And you still don't believe that I'm dead."

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen. That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right. Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here–it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.

This book wins my award for the most misleading cover on a YA book.  There is romance, and angst, but also monsters and death and misuse of magic and annoying roommates.  More of that needed to show up on the cover!

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 Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

The Ladys Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

 

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Felicity Montague is through with pretending she prefers society parties to books about bonesetting – or that she's not smarter than most people she knows.

Felicity has returned to from a whirlwind tour of Europe spent evading highwaymen and pirates.  She has two goals in mind – avoid marriage with a persistent suitor and enroll in medical school.  But the administrators who see men as the sole guardians of science thwart her second goal, requiring a trip to Germany where a more forward thinking physician might be willing to take her on.

But making the trip involves impersonations and secrets that threaten not just her plans but her life.

 

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.

Dear Rachel Maddow

Dear Rachel Maddow

Teen Life

 

Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner

Brynn has been writing – but never sending – emails to Rachel Maddow about personal problems for a long time, about her brother's death, her awful stepfather, and why she is thinking about dropping out of school.

When she's confronted with a moral dilemma in the form of an ex and an archnemisis, she has to ask herself:  What Would Rachel Maddow Do?

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.

Wild

Biography

Biography

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State–and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

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.

 

A World Without You

Mental Illness, Teen Suicide

Mental Illness, Teen Suicide

 

A World Without You by Beth Revis

Seventeen-year-old Bo has always had delusions that he can travel through time.  When he was ten, Bo claimed to have witnessed the Titanic hit an iceberg, and at fifteen, he found himself on a Civil War battlefield, horrified by the bodies surrounding him.  So when his worried parents send him to a school for troubled youth, Bo assumes he knows the truth: that he's actually attending Berkshire Academy, a school for kids who, like Bo, have "superpowers."

At the academy, Bo falls in love with Sofia, a quiet girl with a a tragic past and the superpower of invisibility.  But even the strength of their love isn't enough to help Sofia escape her deep depression.  After she commits suicide, Bo is convinced that she's not actually dead, that she's stuck somewhere in time – that he has somehow left her in the past, and that now it's his job to save her.

 

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

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

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

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.

 

Jan 30

Running With Lions

Poppy War

 

Running With Lions by Julian Winters

As the Lions' star goalie, Sebastian Hughes should be excited about his senior year: his teammates are amazing, and he's got a coach who doesn't ask anyone to hide their sexuality.  But when an ex-best friend shows up at summer training camp, Sebastian realizes he needs to …

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Jan 30

Dear Rachel Maddow

Dear Rachel Maddow

 

Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner

Brynn has been writing – but never sending – emails to Rachel Maddow about personal problems for a long time, about her brother's death, her awful stepfather, and why she is thinking about dropping out of school.

When she's confronted with a moral dilemma in …

Continue reading »

Nov 19

A Blade So Black

A Blade So Black

 

A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney

The first time a Nightmare came, Alice nearly lost her life.  Now, with magic weapons and hard-core fighting skills, she battles these monstrous creatures in the dream realm known as Wonderland.  Yet even warriors have curfews.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn't always so simple, as Alice …

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Nov 19

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

The Ladys Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

 

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Felicity Montague is through with pretending she prefers society parties to books about bonesetting – or that she's not smarter than most people she knows.

Felicity has returned to from a whirlwind tour of Europe spent evading highwaymen and pirates.  She has …

Continue reading »

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 …

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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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