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Good Reads for Teens from the Naperville Public Library

Finnikin of the Rock
by Melina Marchetta
This is Australian author Melina Marchetta’s first high fantasy novel. At the age of nine, Finnikin of Rock Village made a blood pact with his friends Prince Balthazar and Lucien that they would protect the Kingdom of Lumatere in the land of Skuldenore. Shortly after, Lumatere is attacked, the King and Queen are killed, and an imposter has seized the throne of Lumatere. The inhabitants have either been killed or banished to other lands. A curse is placed on Lumatere: a black mist covers the kingdom and those who escaped can never return, and those who were trapped inside the kingdom were never heard from again. In chapter 1, Finnikin and his mentor Sir Topher have been travelling through the various kingdoms for ten years visiting the camps of the refugees and recording their stories in the Book of Lumatere. But one night he dreams that Prince Balthazar is alive, and that Evanjalin, an enigmatic young novice who has taken a vow of silence and lives in a convent on top of a mountain, will lead him to the rightful heir of the kingdom. Evanjalin, Finnikin and Sir Topher begin their quest, which is to find Prince Balthazar and their scattered people and bring them home. But can the novice Evangeline be trusted? This book should appeal to even those readers who don't care for fantasy. The companion book to this title, Froi of the Exiles has just been released.
For grades 8 and up — Ravi S

by Janne Teller
This book has been translated from the Danish into English. It has won many European awards and was a 2011 Printz Honor Book. When Pierre Anthon, a seventh-grader at Taering School has an existential crisis, he climbs a tree and refuses to attend school. He pelts his classmates with unripe plums and his nihilistic philosophy: “Nothing matters…So nothing’s worth doing.” His classmates are furious and determined to convince Pierre Anthon that life has meaning. Each classmate has to sacrifice that which is most meaningful to them on the “heap of meaning” that begins to accumulate in an abandoned sawmill. This bleak novel has been compared to William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. It is an idea novel. Short chapters with short, declarative sentences and enough suspense make it a quick read. For grades 8 and up – Ravi S.

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