When the beloved president of Kershaw University died, the faculty fell into a state of worry. Their pet projects were coming under more scrutiny than they had ever imagined. From the secret army project to create soldiers who did not need sleep to research in the lifestyle of laboratory rats, no laboratory was safe from the prying eyes of newly-instituted president Mark Winner. However, this is only the beginning of the problems at Kershaw. Scheming professors, a scandal that nearly closed the medical school, and so much more have the potential to damage the reputation of a university that is only beginning to turn itself around.
While it is never pleasant to be dumped, high school student Colin Singleton has a relationship history to rival even the nastiest of breakups. Beginning with his first girlfriend in the fourth grade, Colin has dated a total of 19 girls named Katherine—and unfortunately been dumped by every single one. When Katherine VIV (also known as K-19) breaks his heart, Colin sets out on a road trip of self-reflection to escape his sheltered town, analyze his relationship history, and just maybe figure out why “the Katherines” are ruling his life. Written from Colin’s perspective and alternating between his past and present experiences, John Green’s “An Abundance of Katherines” is a hilarious and light-hearted read guaranteed to appeal to the heart of any math and science nerd.
“Thirteen Moons” by Charles Frazier tells the story of Will Cooper, a twelve year old orphan that goes on a wild adventure. Will is sold into indentured servitude and, as part of his service, he is ordered to travel to the edge of the Cherokee Nation, where he will manage a trading post. On this adventure he inevitably encounters all kinds of unexpected adventures.
The Pacific Crest Trail (aka the PCT) stretches approximately 2,650 miles from the Mexican to the Canadian border. It travels through various terrains, including the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range. At age 26, Cheryl Strayed hiked from the Mojave Desert to the Bridge of the Gods alone, traveling around one thousand miles. “Wild” tells the extraordinary story of her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. Although she hiked the trail in 1995, “Wild” was published in 2012, and since then her book has been quite the success, becoming a #1 New York Times Bestseller.
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” — Paolo Coelho in “The Alchemist”
By all accounts, Clay Jensen seems like an ordinary, run of the mill high school student. But of course, that is how good stories begin. One day Clay returns home from school to find a box with his name on it and thirteen cassette tapes. These tapes were recorded by his classmate and crush, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Clay is given a burden that he will struggle through. Hannah recorded thirteen tapes with the thirteen people outlining the reasons why she is dead. The tapes are passed from person one to person thirteen and only to the people who Hannah blames and talks about on the tapes. Hannah outlines her journey through the last couple of years via a map and landmarks, instructing the listener to go to each landmark as it is discussed. Though it pains him to do so, Clay will battle to listen to all thirteen tapes and follow Hannah’s instructions to different places all around town. From cafes to libraries and gas stations, Clay will piece together the mystery of why Hannah is gone and why his name is on the tapes too.
Many people have seen the movie, but much fewer have read the book. “The Princess Bride” (1973) by William Goldman is everything that the movie is and more. Although lengthy, it is worth the read. Goldman claims that his book is the abridgement of “The Princess Bride” by S. Morgenstern which his father read to him as a child. That book does not exist, but Goldman’s claim of his version of “The Princess Bride” having only the good bits is definitely true. That claim helps Goldman tell the story with a narrative twist on the classic style of the novel.
Don Tillman is definitely not a typical protagonist. A professor of genetics at a prestigious university, he prepares Lobster, Mango, and Avocado salad every Tuesday, once memorized the Periodic Table for fun, and uses a giant whiteboard to schedule out his time literally to the minute. Don lives his life as a science…until a spontaneous, fun-loving woman by the name of Rosie comes crashing into his life. As Don and Rosie take on one challenge after the next in Graeme Simsion’s “The Rosie Project,” readers will find themselves captivated by one man’s unexpected journey of spontaneous fun, irrational attraction, and ultimately, true love.
Salman Rushdie has written a variety of adult books including “Midnight’s Children” and “The Satanic Verses.” While these books are great reads, they are complicated, long, and at times very confusing. “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” (1990) is the lightest and most accessible of Rushdie’s books. It was written for Rushdie’s son after Rushdie was separated from him for a significant period of time. Although this book could technically be categorized as a book for young adults, it tackles important societal problems (that are especially relevant in India, Rushdie’s home country) and has themes that are relevant to people of all ages.