A GOOD READ: Boom! It’s spring break (prime book time)

Mark Haddon
Mark Haddon's Boom! is a recommended read.
— image credit: image SUBMITTED

Looking for books to keep teens reading over spring break? Look no further…

Boom! by Mark Hadden: When Hadden first published this book in 1993, it was titled Gridzbi Spudvetch! Unfortunately, no one knew how to pronounce the title, much less want to buy it. After some readers wrote to Hadden telling him how much they liked it, he convinced his publisher to release it again. In 2011, he took out references to floppy disks and Walkmans and gave it a new title.

Boom! is the story of Jim, struggling student and wimpy guy. Jim’s sister tells him she overheard a teacher say Jim is going to get expelled and sent to the school for juvenile delinquents. Jim is terrified and desperate to find out if his sister is telling the truth or just winding him up so his friend Charlie comes up with a plan. They will bug the teacher’s staff room during their upcoming meeting and discover the truth. They learn that staff meetings are boring but after the teachers clear out, two teachers stay behind and start speaking in a strange language. Jim and Charlie are determined to find out what these teachers are hiding.

The Way we Fall by Megan Crewe: Kaelyn is trying to settle back into her small island community but it’s not easy reconnecting with friends after a year living in the city. Life seems bearable until she goes over to her classmate Rachel’s house after school. Rachel’s dad is acting strange and looks very ill. A few days later, Rachel’s dad is dead and Kaelyn’s dad, the only microbiologist on the island is trying to figure out why.

Suddenly more and more people are getting sick and dying and no one can find a cure. With illness ripping through the small community, the island is quarantined. Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr: When 18-year-old Jill MacSweeney’s dad dies in a car accident, she is lonely, upset and angry. Her mother reacts in a different way — she decides to adopt a baby. She meets Mandy, pregnant teen, in a chat room and sets up a very odd arrangement: Jill’s mother invites Mandy to live with her and Jill during Mandy’s last month of pregnancy.

The chapters flip between Jill’s sarcastic, smart and angry voice to Mandy’s. Mandy has never known her father and her mother treated her like a nuisance rather than a daughter. Even though the circumstances are strange: Mandy feels at peace living with Jill and her mother but she isn’t completely honest with the MacSweeneys or herself — she’s not sure she wants to give the baby up for adoption.

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne: Dean’s day starts like any other. He leaves late for the bus, wishes he could talk to the beautiful Astrid and avoids eye contact with the jocks. It seems like an ordinary day until out of nowhere, hail starts plummeting from the sky, an unusual event for a sunny day in Colorado. The school bus gets into an accident and winds up in the parking lot of Greenway, a big box store where the surviving teens take refuge. Dean’s brother is there, too, as the school bus heading toward his elementary school also got caught up in the freak hail storm.

Initially, the students are comfortable. One of the teens works at the pizza kiosk that’s inside the store and makes pizza for everyone. They find new clothes and toys to keep the little kids busy. They would take advantage of some new technology except all networks are down. When they find a working television, they turn on the news. That’s when they discover they didn’t survive an ordinary rainstorm — a huge volcano erupted halfway around the world that triggered a tsunami that has destroyed the East Coast. When the ground starts shaking, it’s obvious that the disaster isn’t close to being over.

For these books and more ideas, visit your local public library — open all spring break.


A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published every Wednesday. Dana Ionson works at Terry Fox Library in Port Coquitlam.



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