Life Beyond Measure: letters to my great-granddaughter

Sidney Poitier writes about his life experiences in the form of letters to his great granddaughter. I am not sure if it is the form of the book (letters) or perhaps the wisdom of the writer (Sidney Poitier), but I found myself totally engaged in reading it. The author shares his advice on love, marriage, faith, courage, and the future. His inspirational stories, although addressed to his great granddaughter, are really speaking to all of us. They are meant to motivate us and guide us in our own life journeys. If you are looking for a beautifully written and heartwarming memoir, you will not be disappointed by choosing this title. (submitted by IS)

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Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen

How could you possibly resist a story of an orphan, a travelling circus, love, elephants, and gritty drama?  It was a great read. Delightful and heart-warming, if you asked me for just two words to describe it.  Set in 1932, the characters and the storytelling of their adventures is quite charming. (submitted by JB)

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The Maze Runner – James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up inside an elevator shaft, he remembers nothing except his name. Soon the elevator doors open, and Thomas quickly finds himself immersed in the world of the Glade, an enclosed space populated entirely by boys who share a single goal: to escape. However, the day after Thomas’ arrival, a girl appears in the Glade, holding a note: “This is the last one. Ever.” As life in the Glade begins to unravel, finding a way out becomes more important than ever. Part science fiction, part dystopian fantasy, The Maze Runner is the first of a trilogy for young adults, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book, The Scorch Trials! (submitted by AA)

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The Handbook for Lightning Survivors – Michele Young-Stone

A young girl is struck by lightning in her driveway one afternoon, but no one believes her.  A young boy’s mother, in another part of the country, is killed by lightning. She grows up to become an angst-ridden artist who paints scenes of lightning; he writes The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors. The parallel stories of two dysfunctional families and these unusual “survivors” is a beautifully-written page-turner. (submitted by GA)

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Lean on Pete – Willy Vlautin

I was completely charmed by this book.  Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson wants a home, food on the table, and a high school he can attend for more than part of a year. But as the son of a single father working in warehouses across the Pacific Northwest, Charley’s been pretty much on his own. When tragic events leave him homeless, weeks after their move to Portland, Oregon, Charley seeks refuge in the tack room of a run-down horse track. Charley’s only comforts are his friendship with a failing racehorse named Lean on Pete and a photograph of his only known relative. Due to increasingly desperate circumstances, Charley heads east, hoping to find his aunt —but the journey to find her will be a perilous one.  It is easy to care about Charley and his journey – it’s an easy book to love. (submitted by SB)

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The True Meaning of Smekday – Adam Rex

What happens when aliens arrive and claim ownership of Earth? After her mother is kidnapped by the alien Boov, eleven-year-old Gratuity decides to drive to the humans’ relocation area in Florida, by herself along with her cat, Pig. Along the way, she meets a Boov named J-Lo, who turns her car into a hovering vehicle. Things get even weirder when another alien race comes along. I read this book alone the first time, then to my family over the summer holidays. I was reading it aloud on one of the BC Ferries when a stranger came up and asked about the book.  Fantastic and fun! (submitted by SB)

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