Saturday, August 25, 2012

Book talk: Ship Breaker (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2012-2013)

Nailer Lopez is a teen with a full-time, grueling, and potentially lethal job, a job which requires him to have facial tattoos which mark him as part of a work crew and also requires him to be fairly small and lightweight. What is he? He’s a ship breaker: he scavenges wrecked, beached ships for their metal. Nailer has to crawl through tight, mazelike ducts inside the ship, usually in utter darkness, and cut away copper wire, aluminum, nickel, and steel clips. It’s really, really scary inside those dark, airless, dead ships and tankers. Kids have gotten lost and trapped and died inside of them. You crawl through tunnels over dead rats’ bodies. You pray to the Scavenge God that you’ll get out alive, and that you’ll scavenge enough metal to stay on your work crew. In this world you’re loyal only to your closest friends. So what would Nailer do if he found a girl, barely alive yet clearly very rich, on a beached ship containing both wealth and dead bodies?

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. Little, Brown: 2010. 326 p. Virginia Reader’s Choice for high school: 2012-2013.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book talk: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares (Virginia Reader's Choice, 2012-2013)

Teens mostly e-mail, text, IM, or call each other nowadays, right? Dash and Lily are completely different. They met by notebook, and it stayed that way for a while. Let me explain. Dash, short for Dashiell, is in his favorite bookstore in New York City, and on the shelves he finds a red moleskin notebook with handwritten instructions involving a challenge, and not an easy one. The challenge – if done correctly – will get the notebook back to its owner. The challenge involves writing, intelligence, willingness to make a fool out of himself, and some luck. And so the game starts. Dash and Lily don’t actually meet for a while. They couldn’t tell you what the other one even looks like: they’re both blanks to each, in that respect. They start sharing through writing: thoughts, memories, aspirations – you know, the kind of stuff it’s easier to write that to say. But both harbor a desire to meet in real life, yet the signs are there that they won’t and can’t have the type of relationship that they had through the notebook. What if meeting in real life ruins everything? Read Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. 260 p. Knopf, 2010. Virginia Reader's Choice, 2012-2013. Booktalk to high school.

Note: This I posted this book talk in November 2010, but I'm re-posting it with better tags.