Deadline by Chris Crutcher

Deadline by Chris Crutcher (2007)
Just before his senior year in high school, Ben Wolf is diagnosed with a rare blood disease, and told that he has only about a year to live. Since he’s 18, he decides not to tell anyone, including family or friends, and declines medical treatment, so that he can have a “normal” senior year. Ben also wants to pack as much as possible into his remaining life. He spends the year reading voraciously; joins the football team despite his very small stature; constantly questions and pushes his “close-minded” civics teacher so he could get the most from his education; befriends the reclusive town drunk; and dates the girl he’s always had a crush on.

This book is filled with sarcastic humor, thought-provoking issues, references to interesting books, and many memorable characters. Ben leaves us with a message to enjoy life to the fullest every single day…live like you were dying!

Just an FYI for any teens in your life: author Chris Crutcher will be at Indian Prairie on November 11 at 7:00. Contact Youth Services for details (call 630-887-8760, ext. 263 or drop in upstairs).

The Bay at Midnight by Diane Chamberlain

The Bay at Midnight by Diane Chamberlain (2005)
This story takes place in present day, with flashback memories to 1962, when a 17-year old girl was killed at her family’s summer beach house. Now, over 40 years later, the mystery of her murder is reopened, due to a note left by a childhood friend who recently died. The story unfolds in chapters that are alternately narrated by the victim’s mother and two sisters. We learn how each influenced and was affected by the earlier tragedy. The characters are well-defined and believable. Well-written drama regarding family, friendship, issues of race, forgiveness, and guilt.

Visit the author's website for the inspiration for the book, a reading guide, and an excerpt.

Third Degree by Greg Iles

Third Degree by Greg Iles (2007)
A fast-paced page turner! This thriller unfolds over a 24-hour period, during which a rational, intelligent physician spins out of control after suspecting his wife of having an affair. There are several sub-plots with twists and turns that keep you on edge till the end.

Run by Ann Patchett

Run by Ann PatchettThis is the story of two families who first come together during an accident in which a woman intentionally throws herself in front of a car to save the life of a “stranger.” It shows the power and commitment of parental love, whether by birth or adoption. Great character development.

There are several places to find more reviews on this novel: check out the New York Times, listen to NPR, or read the Washington Post. For more information on the novel or the author, listen to an interview with NPR or visit Ann Patchett's website.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (2007)
This follow-up to Hosseini’s bestseller, The Kite Runner, is beautifully written and extremely powerful. It depicts life in Afghanistan during the communist takeover from the perspective of two women. Their struggles and suffering are heart-wrenching and often disturbing to read about, but I couldn’t put it down.

Am I Old Yet? by Leah Komaiko

Am I Old Yet? by Leah Komaiko (1999)
This memoir is a delightful story of the friendship that forms between a 44-year old woman (Komaiko), who’s feeling old and empty inside, and a 94-year old woman, Adele, who is living in a nursing home. Leah learns much about love and life from Adele’s infectious enthusiasm and positive spirit. Everyone should have an Adele in their lives!

Love in the Present Tense by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Love in the Present Tense by Catherine Ryan Hyde (2006)
By the author of Pay it Forward, this story takes place over the course of 25 years. Three characters take turns telling their side of the story:
  • Pearl, who, at the age of thirteen, has a son, Leonard;
  • Leonard, whose mother disappears when he is 5 years old;
  • Mitch, their 25-year-old neighbor, who takes on the responsibility of caring for Leonard after his mother disappears.
  • It explores the meaning of family, the power of love, and the difficulty some people have in expressing it. The characters just draw you in from start to finish.

    Amazing Gracie by Dan Dye

    Amazing GracieAmazing Gracie by Dan DyeThis is a great book for any dog lover! It’s the touching and humorous story of Gracie, a lovable, deaf, albino Great Dane who is rescued by the author. Her finicky eating habits were the impetus behind the creation of the successful business, Three Dog Bakery. Dye is an entertaining storyteller, who reminds us how animals can touch our lives in amazing ways. This book had me laughing and crying!

    I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson

    I'm a Stranger Here MyselfI’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson (1999)
    This book is a collection of columns that Bryson wrote for a British newspaper upon his return to the US, after living in England for 20 years. In his very humorous way, he makes comparisons between the two countries and many funny observations about various aspects of American life. It provided many laugh-out-loud moments.