Category Archives: Children & Young Adults

Elizabeth Langston. Whispers from the Past. Contoocook, NH: Spencer Hill Press, 2014.

whisperspastMark Lewis is in his last year of high school in modern-day Raleigh, North Carolina, and graduation is fast approaching. Mark had originally planned to send in applications to three schools, with Newman College in Virginia being his first choice; the main reason being that the campus is perfect for his passion of mountain bike riding. However, Mark has now added a fourth school to the list. Mark is applying to Duke University because of its close proximity to home and to his girlfriend Susanna Marsh. In the past year, Susanna has become Mark’s passion. After saving Susanna from the horrific circumstances of her indentured servitude in 1796, and bringing her back to his century, Mark has assumed responsibility for Susanna. He cannot see himself moving over three hours away from her for four years. But, the choice may be taken out of Mark’s hands when Susanna makes some decisions of her own.

While Mark has his worries, Susanna believes that she is becoming accustomed to her new life. She now lives with Melissa, Mark’s sister, and pays her own way with chores and a fourth of the rent money. Also, Susanna has found a job bussing tables in a restaurant and is making friends. But, Mark is quick to show his disapproval of Susanna’s new job and of her new male friend. These controversies leave Susanna not as sure in her relationship with Mark as she usually is, and she soon finds herself seeking out the familiar in the only way she knows how. Susanna takes a trip to the archives. Soon Susanna has more to worry about than Mark. There is a storm that will come through Susanna’s hometown of Worthville and result in many deaths. Susanna combs the archives for mention of Dorcas, one of the children she used to take care of and her closest friend, any time after the storm. When information is not there, Susanna decides to take things into her own hands and comes up with a plan that will ensure that Dorcas survives the storm. The only problem is that this plan will cost Susanna her freedom and maybe even her life.

Mark and Susanna are coming up on a year since they met and developed a bond that crossed centuries. Much has happened in the past year and there is much to come in the next few months. The question is, will Mark and Susanna’s bond be able to cross centuries once again?

Whispers from the Past is the third novel in the Whisper Fall series. Susanna and Mark first met in Whisper Falls, and their story of a magical waterfall and transcendent love continued in Whisper in Time and is finalized in this novel.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Children & Young Adults, Historical, Langston, Elizabeth, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Wake

Jennifer Estep. Killer Frost. New York: Kensington Publishing, 2014.

killerfrost“Self-sacrifice is a very powerful thing, especially if you do it of your own free will.”

Gwen Frost is just settling down from her last battle with the Reapers, in which her boyfriend Logan was possessed and forced to turn against her. Now Logan and Gwen are out on a double date with Gwen’s best friend Daphne and her boyfriend Carson, and everything is becoming normal again. Nevertheless, there is one moment that dampens the mood – apparently other students at Mythos Academy are betting on when the Reapers will show up next and if Gwen will be able to stop them. As the goddess Nike’s chosen champion, it is Gwen’s duty to kill the god Loki and stop his Reapers from taking over the magical world. However, Gwen has not shared this bit of information with her friends.

The reoccurring bet is that the Reapers will show up at the Valentine’s Day dance, but Gwen thinks it has been too quiet and is expecting something to occur before then. She turns out to be correct. The Reapers attack while Gwen and her friends, along with the Protectorate, are transporting artifacts to Mythos Academy. When Gwen foils their plans, Vivian, the champion of Loki, and her mentor Agrona strike back at Gwen – and they make things personal.

Gwen is forced to make a hard decision – to lose yet another person she loves or to risk the lives of everyone in the magical world by giving Loki an artifact that could bring him back to full strength. If you’ve been following the series and know Gwen, it’s not hard to guess what path she chooses. With Gwen’s choice, the final battle between Gwen and Loki begins. Gwen’s destiny is to kill Loki, but she can’t envision how to do so without losing herself. Before this tale ends, Gwen will have another difficult choice to make–she must choose her fate.

Killer Frost is the sixth and final installment in the Mythos Academy series. Estep continues to make her characters relatable – what teenager could sentence a loved one to death for the good of all? These supernatural characters are still everyday teenagers, and this is just one of the appeals of this series. In this sixth novel, readers will learn what exactly is needed to defeat an evil such as Loki.

Young adult readers ages 13 and up will enjoy this mythological urban fantasy series.

Are you new to the series? Then check out our post on the first novel in the Mythos Academy series, Touch of Frost. Or, check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Buncombe, Children & Young Adults, Estep, Jennifer, Mountains, Novels in Series, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Anola Pickett. Whisper Island. Springville Utah: Sweetwater Books, 2013.

whisperBecause her mother left when she was just three, Primmy Hopkins has grown up in a household of men.  Miz Lucinda, a neighbor, helped raise Primmy, but now that Primmy is twelve she is expected to perform the traditional women’s chores in the house that she shares with her father and her two half-brothers. Cooking meals, doing the laundry, sweeping–all this falls on Primmy’s shoulders.  But she doesn’t much like it, and she’s not very good at it either.  Her father reminds her that these are skills she should develop so that she’ll be a good wife and mother, and that’s something that Primmy doesn’t want to hear. Primmy doesn’t want that life–she wants to be part of the U.S. Life Savers Service, like her father and her brother Jacob.

But it’s 1913 and the Life Savers Service does not hire women. All the economic activity and much of the social life on the island are gender bound. Only when Primmy roams the beach with her pals Will and Emory does she feel free from the expectations of what she should do and should become.  An invitation from her mother to visit her on the mainland makes it yet cleared to Primmy what she does not want her life to be, but it takes an unexpected storm to show her–and the men in her life–what she can do.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Pickett, Anola

Melissa Marr. Made for You. New York: Harper Teen, 2014.

madeforyouEva Cooper-Tilling is the town darling of fictional Jessup, North Carolina. As the granddaughter of a prominent minster and a girl born into a family with wealth and status, Eva is very popular and above reproach to most of her peers. So, it is big news when Eva is the victim of a hit-and-run, and it’s even bigger news when evidence points to the accident being a deliberate act.

While in the hospital, Eva refuses to see anyone but her closest friend Grace. But during her stay, Eva runs into her old friend Nate and the two are soon on their way to redeveloping their old friendship, but with new feelings. However, Nate and Eva’s renewed closeness only seems to make the would-be killer even more upset. The bodies of Eva’s peers start showing up with messages to Eva.

A stalker-killer and amorous feelings for Nate aren’t all Eva is dealing with after the hit-and-run. Whenever someone touches Eva she receives a vision of their death. In order to avoid these flashes, she must initiate contact with the person before they touch her. Eva confides in Grace, who is skeptical, and in Nate, who believes her. When Eva realizes that the killer will continue to go after her peers to get his message across, she quickly decides to use her new ability to her advantage. Will she be able to discover the killer before he gets his hands on her?

Throughout Made for You, readers are provided with insights into the mind of the killer, who thinks of himself as “Judge.”  This tale is a great suspenseful thriller that will capture the minds of teenagers and older readers. Do you think you can figure out who the killer is before all is revealed?

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Children & Young Adults, Marr, Melissa, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Tommy Hays. What I Came to Tell You. New York: Egmont USA, 2013.

whatWhen tragedy strikes, it can bring a family closer together–or tear it apart.  Jean Johnston was a school counselor and a great mother to her children, Grover and Sudie.  She made her husband Walt laugh and kept him from becoming a complete workaholic.  After Jean dies rescuing the family dog from traffic, Walt retreats into his work.  He is the director of the Old Kentucky Home, the Thomas Wolfe historic site in Asheville, North Carolina.  The site has reopened after a fire, but attendance is down from what it once was, and the county commissioners, especially Delbert Lunsford, are reluctant to give the site much more support.  Asheville is booming and the Old Kentucky Home sits on some valuable land that could be developed for something more commercial.

There is also a lot prime for development right next to the Johnston family home in the Montford neighborhood.  The lot is overrun with bamboo and “the Bamboo Forest” has become Grover’s retreat.  Grover has found an outlet for his artistic talent and his grief by creating weavings from bamboo, leaves, and other bits of nature.  He carries these weavings to his mother’s grave, a place that he and Sudie go to several times a week.  Although Grover is grieving, he is not so lost in his grief that he doesn’t watch out for Sudie.  And while their dad is inattentive, other adults–at school and in the neighborhood–watch out for the children.  Those concerned adults–especially Jessie, a neighbor who does a lot of landscape work at the cemetery and Leila, a nurse who rents a house in the neighborhood–aid the Johnstons when Delbert Lunsford tries to destroy the bamboo forest, and they help each family member move beyond anger and grief.

Readers will enjoy this gentle book for its portrayal of how a warm community helps people to heal.  Readers who know Asheville will like the many mentions of local business and locations and with how their town is portrayed.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Buncombe, Children & Young Adults, Hays, Tommy, Mountains

Elizabeth Janet Gray. Jane Hope. New York: Viking Press, 1933.

All her short life Jane Hope Kenard has heard about Chapel Hill, the Southern town where her mother grew up.  Now she is going to live there.  After her father’s death and the complicated problems with his estate, at last Jane Hope and her mother and siblings are moving from Philadelphia to live with her paternal grandparents in North Carolina. Jane Hope thinks she is off to a world of magnolias, persimmons, jasmine, and figs–and a great college that she hopes to attend.  Jane Hope will find Chapel Hill not the enchanted land of her dreams–the great college is just for boys and slavery is not the benign institution she’s been told it is–but she manages to find her way in this new world.  Jane learns to overcome her shyness, check her rashness, and open her heart to not just her grandparents, but her mother’s new husband too.  Although the novel depicts Chapel Hill on the eve of the Civil War, the novel is about the person–Jane Hope–more than the place.  Readers see a romantic, impetuous, tomboy grow into a kind, level-headed young woman.

The author lived in Chapel Hill during the 1930s  where she would have had easy access to the standard published sources about the university and the town and would have heard stories about Chapel Hill life “before the War”. Many readers have enjoyed this novel for its depiction of Chapel Hill places and people.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1930-1939, 1933, Children & Young Adults, Orange, Piedmont, Vining, Elizabeth Gray

Tessa Emily Hall. Purple Moon. Raleigh, NC: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2013.

    “…withpurple moonout the dark, we’d never see the stars. There also would be no use for the moon if there was never a night.”

Selena Taylor’s life has been pretty dark since the day her father kicked her and her mother out of his life. She can’t understand how he could go from being her best friend to not wanting anything to do with her. Eight years later, Selena’s dark night may just turn into the starlit fairy tale she’s always dreamed of. Moving in with her aunt’s family in Lake Lure, North Carolina is not what Selena planned to do this summer, but it might be exactly what she and her mother need.

Ever since they were kicked out, Selena has been taking care of her mom. But now an agreement has been made between the two: mom will go to rehab and Selena will stop smoking and drinking. Actually, Lake Lure isn’t looking too bad to Selena. She runs into someone she knew from when she was a kid, Austin Brewer, and he’s not such a nerd anymore, at least not to her. Austin and his sister Audrey soon talk Selena into joining in their church group activities. Of course she’s a little wary of church after how her hypocritical father, a preacher, behaved. Nevertheless, she goes with them and is soon having the time of her life with her new friends. Selena even begins to believe in God again. Now, if only she could avoid her cousin Whitney, then things might really start to look up.

When Whitney breaks up with her boyfriend, Richard, and he turns his attention to her, Selena thinks life can’t get much better. However, she’s breaking her promise to her mother as well as skipping out on the church skit that she agreed to do with her friends. Also, what about her feelings for Austin? In the end, will Selena be able to find the purple moon in the darkness of her life?

Purple Moon is Tessa Emily Hall’s first novel. The author wanted to write Christian fiction that would appeal to teenagers. She succeeded. Both Christian teens and those struggling with Christianity will be able to connect with Selena’s story–the struggle to run away or to trust in a being unseen.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Children & Young Adults, Hall, Tessa Emily, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship, Rutherford

Lisa Ann Scott. School of Charm. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2014.

school of charmEleven-year-old Brenda Anderson, better known as Chip, has always been a daddy’s girl. After Daddy dies, Chip, her mom and two sisters must move down south to their grandmother’s house in Mount Airy, North Carolina. When her grandmother greets the group in high heels and pearls, Chip just knows she doesn’t fit in with this family of Southern belles. Grandmother Nancy was Miss North Carolina in 1939 and Chip’s mother was runner-up in 1961. Though Chip’s sisters, Charlene and Ruthie weren’t born in the South, the two are budding Southern belles themselves. They will both enter the Miss Dogwood 1977 pageant in the Miss and Little Miss divisions respectively.

Preferring to climb trees, work in the garden and save animals, Chip believes that she has nothing in common with her family. While out exploring the area, in order to escape from all the pageant plans in the house, Chip sees a sign for Miss Vernie’s School of Charm. She ventures in to discover whether this charm school is for magic or for beauty. Miss Vernie gives a confusing answer, but Chip decides to join anyway. Having been given a charm bracelet that must be worn at all times, Chip starts to think that she’s come to the wrong place for her.

However, Chip reconsiders when she meets her classmates, Dana and Karen, and they all get to work cleaning bird feeders. Dana and Karen are at the school because they are entering the Miss Dogwood pageant. Constantly clashing with her grandmother leads Chip to consider entering the pageant herself, in order to become a brand-new Brenda who does fit in with her family. But, telling her family that she’s joined the pageant only gets her laughed at. Will brand-new Brenda be able to show her family that she is one of them? Which Anderson sister will bring home a crown? And is there hope for peace between nature-loving tomboy Chip and her pageant loving, bird-killing grandmother Nancy?

School of Charm is a young adult novel. But, this tale of a young daddy’s girl who has just lost her father and must now relearn how she fits into the family will touch the heart of any reader, whether younger or older.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Children & Young Adults, Mountains, Scott, Lisa Ann, Surry

Elizabeth Langston. A Whisper in Time. Contoocook, NH: Spencer Hill Press, 2014.

awhisperintimeSusanna Marsh is grateful that her boyfriend, Mark Lewis, rescued her from a life of servitude, but now she must learn the ways of a world two centuries apart from her own. An indentured servant from 1796, Susanna is not prepared for this world of freedom, nor its lax expectations for young adults of her age. Without identification Susanna can neither go to school, nor can she get a job. Unused to not having anything to do, Susanna is at a loss for what to do with herself and is having to depend upon others to survive.

On the other hand, Mark has much to do in his last year of high school. He has gained some new friends, is on the homecoming court and is trying to figure out what colleges he may be interested in attending. All he wants is to share his world with the young lady he loves. But first he must come up with a way to get her an identity within this century.

To give herself something worthwhile to invest her time in, Susanna seeks out information on those she left behind by combing through historical documents. She and Mark soon come upon journal written by her sister Phoebe. When she learns what Phoebe’s future holds, she can’t help but to act even though doing so bodes ill for her own happiness. Will Mark be able to save Susanna once again or will their lives be forever altered?

A Whisper in Time is the second book in the Whisper Falls series. Susanna and Mark first met in Whisper Falls, the first book in the series, and this novel continues their tale of a magical waterfall and a love that transcends centuries.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Children & Young Adults, Historical, Langston, Elizabeth, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Wake

Antony John. Firebrand. New York, NY: Dial Books, 2013.

firebrand In a future post-apocalyptic world, Thomas and his friends have succeeded in saving their parents, the Guardians, from invading pirates. However, the pirates still have hold of Roanoke Island. Thomas’s group has commandeered the pirates’ ship and must now decide whether to move on and risk the loss of their powers over the elements, or stay within reach of the pirates and risk losing their lives.

Having been told all of his life that he did not have a power, Thomas is still learning what his power does and how to use it. When the use of his power allows him to hear a radio message calling for refugees to come to Fort Sumter, Thomas is convinced that they should take the risk of losing their powers and head to a safer place. It isn’t until a pirate’s arrow kills their leader, Kyte, that the Guardians decide to go along with this plan.

Fort Sumter will reveal answers to the questions that have plagued Thomas and his friends. What power do the pirates think Griffin possesses that would be worth enough to kill for? Are there other secrets that the Guardians kept from their young? And how has this colony on Fort Sumter survived so long without encountering the plague?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Children & Young Adults, John, Antony, Novels in Series, Science Fiction/Fantasy