Tales of the Madman Underground, Barnes
September 1973: The beginning of Karl Shoemaker's senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl's been part of "the Madman Underground"- kids forced to attend group therapy during school. Karl has decided that he is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act-and be-Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative. Karl has two after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother . . . and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored rollercoaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.
I really enjoyed this book. Winner of the Printz award in 2009, it details the life of Karl Shoemaker, known as "psycho shoemaker" to his classmates. Karl's goal for his senior year of high school is to work at his 4 jobs, see his friends, but primarily to stay out of the therapy groups his school has had him attend since the fourth grade. Known as the Madman Underground, these group of children share a depressing home life, but a warm concern for each other.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Greene and Levithan
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, Will Grayson crosses paths with . . . Will Grayson. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, and culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high school stage. Told in alternating voices from two YA superstars, this collaborative novel features a double helping of the heart and humor that have won them both legions of fans.
Not really about either of the Will Graysons -- but about Tiny Cooper, the best friend of one of the Will Graysons. Very funny and classic John Greene.
Kingdom Keepers Power Play, Pearson
For the five teens who modeled as Disney Hologram Imaging hosts, life is beginning to settle down when an intriguing video arrives to Philby's computer at school. It's a call for action: the Overtakers, a group of Disney villains, seem to be plotting to attempt a rescue of two of their leaders, both of whom the Disney Imagineers have hidden away somewhere following a violent encounter in Epcot. A staged attack by new Overtakers at Downtown Disney, startles the group. One of their own, Charlene, is acting strange of late. Has she tired of her role as a Kingdom Keeper or is there something more sinister at play? When caught sneaking into Epcot as her DHI, acting strictly against the group's rules, Finn and Philby take action.
Has the "impossible" occurred? Have the Overtakers created their own holograms? Have they found a way to "jump" from the Virtual Maintenance Network onto the Internet, and if so, what does that mean for the safety of the parks, and the spread and reach of the Overtakers? Are they recruiting an army from outside the parks?
Okay, I really enjoy the plot of these books. But honestly, the writing just isn't that great. After about the fourth time it came up -- in this installment in the series, never mind the others -- I wanted to yell, YES I KNOW THEY AREN"T SUPPOSED TO GO INTO THE PARKS WITHOUT PERMISSION. AND THEY COULD GET IN TROUBLE. Also, I listened to this one in audio (I had read the others) and I really hated how the narrator voiced the girls' voices. It couldn't have been whinier. That said, I'm sure I'll still read the next one to find out what happens.