Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (editors)

7171748[1]Since the dawn of time one question has dominated all others: Zombies or Unicorns?
Now it is time for you to decide for yourself. Which side are you on?

Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

There are 12 stories in this anthology: 6 about zombies, 6 about unicorns.

Zombies are scary, Unicorns are for 8 year old girls, right?

WRONG!

Here you will find zombie love stories, killer baby killer unicorns, a group of high school students who have decided to hold prom despite the fact that the world has been overrun by zombies, and a unicorn named Princess Pretty pants that helps a teenage girl get revenge on her cheating boyfriend.

Read it. Pick a side.

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Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

30334[1]“I took a deep…
…in the fire of a dropped lantern.”

pg. 3

War is all that Princess Danica and her people have known for centuries, so long that no one can remember why the fighting started in the first place.

Danica’s people are avian shape shifters, and their enemies, the Serpiente, are serpentine shape shifters. In other words, each race of people can shift between animal (bird or snake) forms to human ones.

Danica is tired of the bloodshed and the destruction. She will do whatever she needs to do to bring peace to the her kingdom, even if it means taking Zane Cobriana, prince of the Serpiente, as her mate, bringing the two royal families together.

As she negotiates an uneasy peace, she discovers that there are those who will go to great lengths to sabotage her efforts. It could even mean the destruction of her kingdom and her own death, if she is not careful.

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The Demonata: Lord Loss by Darren Shan

164719[1]Off course they sent Grady Gurbbs to a mental hospital. You would probably be there too if you saw what he saw.

One day when he came home from school he found his whole  family murderd by demons.

His father was hung upside down…headless.
His mother was half eaten by a creature that was a cross between a crocodile and a dog.

His sister was split in two and a demon had his hand inside her back and was moving her around as if she were a puppet.

The leader of the group? A demon named Lord Loss.

Grady ran out of the house as fast as he could, barely making it out alive.

The police want to know how his family was murdered, but Grady just keeps mumbling about demons and blood. Who would believe that?

Doctors and some distant relatives try to bring Grady back to reality. Because after all, demons aren’t real, are they? And then his Uncle Dervish arrives to come get him out. Not only does he believe Grady, he has a drawing of the creature called Lord Loss.

He knows who the demon is and why he killed Grady’s family. And he knows that is not the last time they will have to face him…

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Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison

454856[1]John Elder Robison has had some fascinating jobs during his lifetime. He now fixes fancy European cars. He used to work as an engineer developing toys for the Mattell company. And did I mention that he was a sound engineer for the band Kiss where he also helped to create some very cool special effects for the band. But if you met him when he was a kid, you might have gotten a different picture.

sociopath, psycho, delinquent

Those were the words that some adults used to describe John when he was young. People always thought he was up to something because he wouldn’t look them in the eye and had a hard time communicating with other people, often misinterpreting social cues, facial expressions and other things we take for granted.

He seemed “off” somehow, different than “normal” people. But that assessment was more than a bit harsh. John didn’t find out until he was in his 40s that he had a syndrome called Aspergers. Not being able to read those social cues is one of several characteristics that mark a kid with Aspergers. It is a high functioning form of Autism.

They didn’t have a name for it when he was a kid. Add to the difficulties of living with Asperger a father who is an abusive alcoholic and a mother who is slowly slipping into mental illness. His prospects in high school don’t look good. He dropped out, but he found out that he was a wiz with electronics. He eventually taught himself everything he needed to know about sound engineering and started to become a local legend among bands for his ability to fix sound equipment. And that’s when the real adventure began.

If you want to find out about his bewildering love life, getting arrested for drugs in the Caribbean, creating flaming guitars and other special effects for the band Kiss and his other adventures, then check out Don’t Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

6936382[1]Anna’s plan for her senior year in high school was just fine as it was, thank you very much. She was going to hang out with best friend Bridgette, work at her part time job at a local movie theater where the hot boy who has been flirting with her also works, the boy who kissed on her on that last night before she left for France.

It was her dad’s idea. He is a successful romance novelist. (Think Nicholas Sparks). He wanted her to go to boarding school in Paris. It would be a “good learning experience,” he said. She begged and pleaded, but it was no use. She doesn’t know any of the rich kids at the school and she doesn’t know a word of French.

But it isn’t horrible. She makes a few friends right away. Most people in town speak enough English for her to get by. But the best thing about Paris? Étienne St Clair, or just St. Clair, as everyone who knows him calls him. He is a gorgeous, charming and funny American boy with an English accent and Anna falls for him right away. He seems to like her too, but…he has a girlfriend.

As the school year goes on, Anna and St. Claire grow closer, but are they just friends? Or is there something more there?  In a year of near romantic encounters, betrayals from her friends, and possibly her first french kiss in Paris, her senior year is turning out to have more drama than one of her dad’s novels.

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel Grace Lancaster never thought she would meet a boy and fall in love, 11870085[1]especially one like Augustus Waters.

Hazel is 16. She is obsessed with America’s Next Top Model and the novel An Imperial Affliction by reclusive Dutch author Peter Van Houten.  Augustus is 17. He is smart, has a dark sense of humor and is hot. But most importantly, he is interested in Hazel.

They meet in a church basement during a cancer survivor support group. She has stage IV thyroid cancer which has spread to her lungs. She survives by taking a miracle drug and with the aid of an oxygen tank. He has lost a leg to osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

They start spending all of their time together. They watch movies, play video games, and ponder the ultimate questions of life and death, poetry and Natalie Portman movies.  And they fall in love.

In a grand gesture, Augustus decides to use his Make a Wish grant to send him and Hazel to Amsterdam to meet Peter van Houten. Along the way, they struggle to deal with the implications of being in love and facing the inevitable.

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Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith

8043762[1]Alex Sawyer is a criminal and he would be the first to admit. But he is not a murderer. He was framed. Now he is in Furnace prison with a life sentence.

He and his friend Toby had broken into a house the night that it happened. Alex heard screams coming from the other side of the house. He thought it was the owner, but It turned out to be Toby. He found Toby on the floor surrounded by four gigantic men standing in the room. All wore black suits and one had on an antique gas mask that had a hose running to a tank on his back and a long black leather jacket.  He seemed to be the leader. They shot Toby and gas mask told Alex to run for his life.

But who would believe that story? The trial was a joke. He was sentenced to life in prison in Furnace, a juvenile prison for the worst offenders that is a mile underground.

In some ways, Furnace is like any other prison. There are gangs, disgusting food, prison toilets in the cells. But there are also unimaginable horrors. Gigantic guards in black suits guard the boys with automatic weapons.  Vicious genetically engineered dogs will tear you apart if you don’t follow the rules. And sometimes in the middle of the night, silent men with antique gas masks arbitrarily pick inmates to be dragged off never to return, or worse yet, to return as something else entirely.

Nobody has ever escaped from Furnace, but Alex has to try.

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Who Am I without Him? by Sharon Flake

481912[1]There are 12 stories in Who Am I Without Him? that range from scary to funny to just plain wrong.

One girl stays with her boyfriend even though she knows he is cheating on her because she thinks “who am I without him?”

Another girl who is pregnant and whose boyfriend is in jail leads on the wrong guy.

In another story, a boy wants to impress a girl he likes, but he is too poor to buy some nice clothes for homecoming, so he steals them instead.

In another, a girl writes to an advice columnist to ask the best way to go about steal a friends bad boy boyfriend. Only she doesn’t realize that the columnist is her friends younger sister.

Plus, there are eight more with just as much drama.

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Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

How m317282[1]any of you have ever wanted a do-over with your life–maybe a day, a few years, whatever?

Well, when Naomi falls down the steps outside her high school and then wakes up in the hospital, she gets her own do-over whether she wants one or not. Because of the fall, she has amnesia and has forgotten the past four years of her life. When she gets home, she has to start putting together the missing pieces of her life.

Apparently, she has a best friend named Will and they are crazy dedicated to their job as yearbook editors. She has a hot boyfriend named Ace who is on the school tennis team. In her nightstand, she has birth control pills and a food diary.

Was she popular? Did she want to be? Was she having sex with Ace? And if so, was that a good thing? Did she have an eating disorder of some kind?

She has to rebuild her identity one piece at a time. But it remains to be seen if the one she puts together is the same one she had before the accident.

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The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Rick Yancey

670339[1]Alfred Kropp is a mope. A big headed, oversized, all day video game playing, do nothing except sit on the couch Grade A mope. Alfred’s mother died of cancer when he was twelve and he never knew his father. So he lives with his Uncle Farrell, a night security guard at Samson Towers, an office building in downtown Knoxville.

One night a strange man named Arthur Myers comes to the house. He has offered Uncle Farrell one million dollars to steal a sword from the office of the owner of the company that Uncle Farrell works for, Samson Industries.

Uncle Farrell agrees to do it and so, reluctantly, does Alfred. It is all planned out. Half the money now. Steal the sword and get the other half later. But of course, it is not that easy. Even though they get away with the sword, there is danger everywhere. Men in brown robes, government spies, and a mysterious group called OIPEP are all after them. Because you see, this is no ordinary sword. This is a sword of great power. One that no weapon can win against. The master of this sword can rule the world.

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