Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 372

First Line: "Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amelie and Moulin Rouge.

Summary: Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more.  So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris -- until she meets Etienne St. Clair.  Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all. . .including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true.  Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: A fun read.  Nothing too heavy, but not entirely brainless, either.  Anna became somewhat unlikable at a point, but it was necessary, in hindsight, to show character growth.  The plot was not entirely predictable, although there were a lot of plot parallels that became overwhelming after a while.  There is not a lot to say about the novel; overall, it's well-written, and the product of a NaNoWriMo.  I also understand Stephanie Perkins is a nerdfighter (for more information regarding nerdfighters, check out YouTube, search "nerdfighter" or "vlogbrothers").

For another review of AatFK, watch this video.

Worst part: Part of the resolution came too easily.  This is regarding Meredith.

Best part:  The plot was fairly original, as far as the world of main-character-is-new-at-a-boarding-school goes.

Grade: A-

Other Books by This Author: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author's Website: Stephanie Perkins

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sneak Peek of New Arrivals

We have a nice selection of new books! Come on in and see the shiny new acquisitions.

Sneak Peek:

Pearl by Jo Knowles


Bean (née Pearl) and Henry, misfits and best friends, have the strangest mothers in town. Henry’s mom Sally never leaves the house. Bean’s mom Lexie, if she is home, is likely nursing a hangover or venting to her friend Claire about Bean’s beloved grandfather Gus, the third member of their sunny household.

Gus’s death unleashes a host of family secrets that brings them all together. And they threaten to change everything—including Bean’s relationship with Henry, her first friend, and who also might turn out to be her first love.

Come on in and check it out :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Teen Read Week

This week, we will be celebrating Teen Read Week with three different projects.

1) Our program will be a book trailer class on Wednesday, 10/19/2011 at 7:00pm. We will be creating book trailers of our favorite books using animoto.com. What is a book trailer? Check out a book trailer of one of our newest and most popular acquisitions to get an idea!

To register for this class, click here, scroll down to Book Trailer Class and click register at the bottom of the description.

2) We are also doing a Bookface Photo Challenge!

What is a bookface? When a person obscures or augments any part of their body with a book cover causing an illusion.

1) Find a book that will work for you!
2) Take a Picture
3) Email the picture to Erin at erinr@derrypl.org
Vote for winners on our facebook page--- DPL Teen Space

Entries are accepted October 16-22nd

Winner will receive an
Author-Signed Tantalize: Kieren's Story Postcard set and $10 iTunes Gift Card!

3) Our "pick up" project will be a Book Cover Re-Design Challenge,
located in the teen area. Feel free to drop in and use the paper and art supplies to re-design your favorite book cover! The best re-design will be posted in the teen section. Come on over and create.

Have a great Teen Read Week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Facebook and Bookface!

We've got a great line up of activities this week and next week, so please feel free to join us for any of the events listed below. Also, please note that we now have a teen page on facebook to make seeing programs, new blogs and announcements that much easier. We are DPL Teen Space!

Stop by for our upcoming programs!

Writing Group: Wednesday, October, 12, 6-8:30. We will come up with our group name, hear some wonderful writing and hang out! Join us UPSTAIRS IN THE YA SECTION for this.

SAT Prep/Essay Made Easy: Saturday, October 15th, 1-3:00pm. Join us to talk about SAT Essay tips and tricks. We will also run through two practice essays before the day is out!

Teen Read Week
October 16-22

Book Trailer Class:
Wednesday October 19th, 7:00-8:00pm. What are book trailers? How can we make our own? Join us to make book trailers/movies, like this. Bring a laptop or work with one of our computers. This program does require registration. To register: click here!

We will also be holding a
Book Cover Re-Design Challenge in the teen area! Drop by to recreate your favorite book cover on some oversize paper. Winner will be displayed in the teen area.

Lastly, we are doing a Bookface Photography Challenge.

What is a bookface? When a person obscures or augments any part of their body with a book cover causing an illusion.

1) Find a book that will work for you!
2) Take a Picture
3) Email the picture to Erin at erinr@derrypl.org
Vote for winners on our facebook page--- DPL Teen Space

Entries are accepted October 16-22nd

Winner will receive an
Author-Signed Tantalize: Kieren's Story Postcard set and $10 iTunes Gift Card!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Trailer of the Week!

Need By Carrie Jones

From Publishers Weekly:

It's not hard to see Twilight in the DNA of this novel: Zara's stepfather has died, her mother isn't capable of caring for her, and she has been sent to live with her grandmother in a small remote town in Maine. When her car spins out of control (Calling Stephenie Meyer!), she's rescued by sexy Nick (who turns out to be a werewolf), and something might be cooking with her overachieving classmate Ian. Too bad she's being followed by someone dark and dangerous—a pixie king. This pixie is no harmless sprite: when not mated with a queen for an unspecified amount of time, Zara learns, the pixie kings will demand... young human men, who they kill after using them for their blood-hungry pleasures. Will Zara sacrifice herself to this vampire stand-in or let him destroy everything she loves? Jones (Love {and Other Uses for Duct Tape]) easily wins readers to Zara's side, portraying her as a funny, globally conscious teen who also collect[s} fears like other people collect stamps (obscure phobias serve as chapter titles). Genre fans will enjoy the sizzle between Nick and Zara as well as the paranormal cast. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Sound good? We have it in our collection. Come on over and pick it up!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Flume Awards

Nominate your favorite reads today! No adult contribution allowed! Teens only!

The Flume award is a teen choice award done here in NH! Each year, students get the chance to nominate their favorite titles for The Flume award. This title must be a book that has been published within the last two years. From the massive list that comes in, librarians narrow it down to 13 titles and then teens vote on the winning title! They are currently taking nominations! If you go to the teen section, you will find nomination slips on the board. Feel free to take one and then put your vote in the glass jar on the shelf next to it. I will collect and mail the votes. Teens may nominate their favorite reads until January 13th, 2012.

In April, we will put out a vote to see who the overall winner is, so watch for more in the spring! In the meantime, make sure your favorite book that has been published in the last two years is on the list! Who will you be voting for?

For more information, or to vote online visit: http://www.nashualibrary.org/YALS/Flume.htm

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fun Stuff!

A few updates to the Derry teen area and programming

Montooth Challenge:
We have cataloged the first two books in the Montooth series by Robert Jay and now you have a chance to enter for an intriguing prize. What's the prize, you ask? Let me tell you! If you read books one and two and then send in an entry form with a plot idea for the third novel, and if your idea is accepted, then you will have your name in A BOOK! Drop by the teen section to take the books out and pick up an entry form!

Teen Book Group: We will be holding our first teen book group meeting on November 10th, from 3:30-5:30. Join us to do projects, talk about books, hang with friends. To join us for this group, register on line at www.derrypl.org and click on the calendar on the left or call the reference desk at 603-432-6140. Please register for this round by October 18th!

SAT Prep/Essay Made Easy: We had our first SAT Essay session this past Saturday. If you are taking the SAT in the upcoming months and want to have some time to practice the essay component as well as learn strategies and tips, please join us for the next sessions on October 15th, November 12th and 26th, from 1:00-3:00. Don't miss a free opportunity to get ahead of the curve!

Watch for pick up projects and more games in the teen area coming soon!

Upcoming Programs:

Anime Club: October 11th, 3:30-4:30
Writers Club: October 12th, 6:30-8:00
SAT Prep/Essay Made Easy: Oct. 15th, November 12th and 26th, 1-3:00
Teen Book Club: November 10th, 3:30-5:30( register by October 18th)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banned Book Trailer

As you most likely know, this week is banned books week! Please feel free to drop by the library and take a look around the teen section to see what books in this area have been challenged or banned, make an I Read Banned Books, bracelet, necklace or key chain, and read the banned books week proclamation. In addition to this, we will be featuring titles and reviews of banned and challenged books this week on the blog. Today we will take a look at a book trailer of the novel SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books Week

This week is Banned Books Week. Watch for banned and challenged books in the teen area marked with Caution and Danger tape. The Caution tape indicates that a book has been challenged and the Danger tape indicates if a book has been banned. Please feel free to take these books out! They can cut the tape off at reference or at circulation. In addition to the book displays, we will also have an ongoing activity this week in the Teen Section. Students are welcome to come in, hang out in the teen area (as always) and create "I READ BANNED BOOKS," bracelets, key chains and necklaces with the beading supplies on hand. We will also be featuring book trailers and reviews on banned or challenged books this week on the blog.

Upcoming Events:

Anime Club: Tues, Sept. 27th, 3:30-4:30pm
Teen Writers Group: Wed, Sept. 28th, 6:30-8:00pm
SAT Prep/Essay: Sat. Oct. 1st, 1-3pm

Drop Ins for these programs are welcome!

Pick Up Project: I READ BANNED BOOKS key chains, bracelets etc.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Teen Section and Upcoming Events!

We are excited to announce the unveiling of the newly remodeled upstairs along with the beautiful new Teen section. I am so excited to be the Teen librarian in this brand new space. Let me tell you a little bit about it.

The upstairs has a gorgeous Robert Frost theme with lots of poetry and paintings lining the walls. If you look to the back left corner after entering the building you will see a birch tree mural on the wall. That is the teen section. Go that way! We have fiction, new releases, graphic novels and short stories in this section. The teen nonfiction and multimedia are still going to be interfiled with the adult materials. But you will be able to identify them with the handy purple dot that is on the spine.

Another new thing to look for is the activities cupboard. This cupboard has materials for beading, storyboards for creating your own anime, graphic novels or comics, writing materials to write. reviews for this blog, card games and more. You'll also find a featured book, something that has a lot of buzz right now. Feel free to take it home and have a read. I will just replace it with another popular one! There are a few games on the bottom shelf and we will be collecting more as time goes on.

Be sure to check out the bulletin board for upcoming programs. I will be posting information about programs here as well!

Things to watch for in the upcoming week!

September 25th marks the beginning of Banned Books Week! Watch for Banned Books Week displays throughout the library as well as beading supplies to make I READ BANNED BOOKS bracelets, necklaces and key chains. Also, I will be sure to place out lots of banned books, so you can go ahead and start reading these bad boys. Granted, you've probably already read some of these...does The Hunger Games sound familiar?


Sept. 27th, Anime Club 3:30-4:30
Sept. 28th, Writers Group 6:30-8:00pm
Oct. 1st, SAT Prep/Essay Made Easy 1:00-3:00
To register for these programs, please go to www.derrypl.org, click on the calendar on the left hand side, find the program and click REGISTER. Drop ins are also welcome!

We'll see you in the stacks!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Isn't It Romantic by Ron Hansen

No Spoilers.

Isn't It Romantic?
Author: Ron Hansen
Year of Publication: 2004
Genre: Romance
Pages: 198
First Line: "America was Natalie's idea."

Summary: Touring America was Natalie's idea. But she had not planned on being accompanied on a cross-country bus by her playboy fiance, Pierre. Nor had they anticipated being stranded in Seldom, Nebraska, population 395.

But that is exactly what happens to this French couple, and they quickly find themselves being taken in by the obliging citizens of Seldom: Natalie by Mrs. Christiansen, a retired high school teacher who runs a rooming house for women, and Pierre by Owen, a gas station owner and ambitious winemaker in an unlikely part of the world.

And here, also, the separated couple becomes enchanted by the locals. Natalie is soon being wooed by Dick Tupper, a handsome and honest rancher. Pierre falls quickly for Iona, a beautiful, no-nonsense waitress at the local diner.

In this charming entertainment, mistaken identities, botched schemes, and hilarious misunderstandings abound as Parisian sophistication collides with the af

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: None of the characters in this book were likeable. The plot was underdeveloped and there were too many characters to keep track of in such a short piece. I found the situations to be unrealistic for the characters and their personalities. Honestly, I have very little to say about this novel. It was very disappointing and I'm glad it took less than half-a-day to read it.

Worst part: The characters were obnoxious.

Best part: I can't think of a single thing.

Grade: F

Other Books by This Author: Various, which can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Ron-Hansen/e/B000AR9NZG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

21 / 100 books. 21% done!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Indigara by Tanith Lee

No Spoilers.

Author: Tanith Lee
Year of Publication: 2007
Genre: Science Fiction, Futuristic Fiction
Pages: 195
First Line: "Otis's Diskript

The problem was that on that day I was supposed to go in for my half-yearly service appointment."

Summary: Welcome to Indigara . . . a strangely familiar, strangely hypnotic world.

Jet and her robot dog, Otis, have been taken with Jet's two sisters -- one of whom has a role in the latest Super-Movie -- to their planet's film capital, Ollywood. Jet and Otis are soon plunged into the mysterious underworld that lurks below the studios and lots. Here lies the beautiful and sinister other-where if Indigara, which has spontaneously generated from the sets, costumes, models, and actual celluloid of fantasy and SF pilot movies that never got made into series. Even while girl and dog try to survive the dangers and terrors below, their Indigaran mirror images have replaced them, and are running amok in the real world above. . . .

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: All-in-all, I found this book to be too vague. I had a hard time understanding what was going on. The idea was interesting, but it was not executed in a way that made me really into the book, which was frustrating, especially given its shortness. I was also frustrated to learn that Indigara is not pronounced the way you might expect, which took me out of the story, especially when the name was mentioned. I liked Otis' character a lot, but something about him seemed missing. Many of the characters were like that -- likable or interesting, but missing something. I would probably not recommend this book, however I know Tanith Lee has written 80 novels (as of 2007) and various other pieces, so it's possible this one was a fluke.

Worst part: The vagueness of the writing.

Best part: Otis.

Grade: C-

Other Books by This Author: Not going to list these, but there is a list found at the beginning of the copy of this book in the edition I read.

20 / 100 books. 20% done!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

No Spoilers.

Zombies vs. Unicorns
Author: (Editors) Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fantasy, Anthology
Pages: 415
First Line: "Since the dawn of time one question has dominated all others: Zombies or Unicorns?"
Summary: Which is better, the zombie or the unicorn?

Justine Larbalestier says that zombies are our own walking deaths. Funny, grim, and terrifying, they cannot be escaped. Unicorns are sparkly and pastel and fart rainbows.

Holly Black says that unicorns are healers, arbiters of justice, and, occasionally, majestic man-killers. Zombies drool and shed and probably carry diseases.

Some of today's finest writers have chosen their side, creating dazzling stories about both creatures. So read on, and decide for yourself: Are you Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: As I've done in the past, I will be reviewing this anthology story by story.

1. The Highest Justice by Garth Nix - Did not keep my attention at all.

2. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson - Better than the first story but perhaps a bit more adult in content than necessary.

3. Purity Test by Naomi Novik - Humorous, and a little better than the previous two. Would have been better in novel length.

4. Bougainvillea by Carrie Ryan - Confusing.

5. A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan - The beginning was great but it quickly became confusing and I lost interest.

6. The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson - Probably my favorite in the anthology. This story was clear and interesting.

7. The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund - I lost interest very quickly on this one.

8. Inoculata by Scott Westerfeld - Confusing, but had some interesting elements. Not up to par with the Uglies series.

9. Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot - Almost as good as Johnson's. Funny and easy to follow.

10. Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare - A step below Cabot's. Different from Clare's usual stuff, but interesting and well planed.

11. The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey - Intereting, if a bit long.

12. Prom Night by Libba Bray - Bray lost me on this one.

Side note -- the introductions to each story were fun, funny, and interesting.

Worst part: I wasn't a fan of most of the stories. I felt these authors were capable of better.

Best part: Johnson's story.

Grade: C-

Other Books by This Author: None together.

19 / 100 books. 19% done!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

No spoilers.

Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 478
First Line: "The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts."
Summary: When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks, and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, who are members of a secret organization called the Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by -- and torn between -- two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keeps everyone in his life at arm's length. . .everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . .and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: Well, this book to me way longer to read than it should have. I don't know if it was because a lack of interest or what, but I read the original three of this series much faster. (For those who don't know, Clare is doing something like Star Wars did, where she released three modern day novels about a world and is now releasing books that are a sort of prequel but aren't super necessary to the plot of the other set and vice versa.) This novel was hard to follow, and I was not particularly drawn to any of the characters (except, maybe slightly, Jem and Will -- but that's to be expected). I did find the mentions of ancestors of characters in the original three novels interesting, but there was nothing significant. I'm not sure if I will bother with the next book in this series. While I did like the original three, I'm finding this one just not up to par.

Worst part: The book dragged on and on and on and on. . . .

Best part: Jem's situation, which is explained towards the end, is really interesting.

Grade: C-

Other Books by This Author: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass

18 / 100 books. 18% done!

Trapped by Michael Northrop

No spoilers.

Author: Michael Northrop
Year of Publication: 2011
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 232
First Line: "We were the last seven kids waiting around to get picked up from Tattawa Regional High School."
Summary: Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially with distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision. . . .

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: This book was harder to read emotionally than I expected it to be. I don't know if this is because I lived through the ice storm of '08 and a bunch of other bad snow-related weather, but it was kind of rough in spots. The book does not have a "14 & up" note or anything, but if you are a younger teen, it might be wise to hold of on reading this, especially if you don't handle tough stuff and pressure well. That said, it was mostly well-written and Northrop did a good job of making the reader attached to some characters and less so to others, which makes the ending easier. That said, the very ending, I felt, was inconclusive and did not really resolve the entire plot. This is a sort of near-miss book. I almost really liked it, just not quite. It might be different for others, though, so it may be worth a read for you.

Worst part: Some of the stuff did not really make sense, logistically. It was nothing glaringly obvious, but something did not quite fit, which was frustrating. Plus the inconclusive ending was annoying.

Best part: The idea for this really interested me, being a native New Englander myself. (I don't know that it's super original, given the amount of "apocalyptic" YA fiction right now [Life As We Knew It, The Dead and the Gone, Gone, Lies, Plague, etc.])

Grade: C+

Other Books by This Author: Gentlemen

17 / 100 books. 17% done!

Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi

No spoilers.

Gamer Girl
Author: Mari Mancusi
Year of Publication: 2008
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 248
First Line: "Grandma's house was a study of crystal and glass and contained 1,153 unicorns."
Summary: Maddy's life: not so rockin'. Her parents split, she's stuck in a new, small town at a school full of Aberzombies and Haters, she has a crush on someone she really shouldn't like, and she's stuck with the nickname Freak Girl. Sometimes it's enough to retreat into her drawing -- her manga is totally important to her -- but when she gets Fields of Fantasy for her birthday, she knows she's found the one place she can be herself. In the game world, Maddy can transform from regular outcast high school student to Allora, a beautiful Elfin princess with magical powers to take down enemies with a snap of her fingers and a wave of her wand.

As Allora, Maddy's virtual life is perfect, and she even finds a little romance. But a real gamer girl understands that real life comes first -- Maddy can't escape from her IRL problems. She has to find ways to kick back at the Haters, rock her manga, and find the new, real-life friends she knows she deserves.

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: (Apologies ahead of time for the short review -- my hands are freezing!) Like Mancusi's other novels, I was disappointed and somewhat offended by this book. Mancusi takes a very superficial view of all teenagers -- especially so-called "goths." While the main character claims to be anti-label, etc., she is in fact quite the opposite, calling herself at one point a "goth." She also basically says that having a major crush on Edward Cullen makes you a goth and also a punk rocker. (Sorry, Mancusi, Cullen =\= punk rock. Trust me. Go listen to the Clash or something.) She also does this in other novels I've read. One of the main plots of the story was so predictable, I had it figured out by page 30 or something, so, while I do like to "outsmart" authors, I felt cheated on this one. She didn't even make me chase it a little. That said, it was an interesting idea, but could have been executed much better. Also, it was incredibly annoying to have a character named Chad Murray, as I could not picture anyone but Chad Michael Murray.

Worst part: The superficiality and labeling, etc. was really annoying and, in some ways and cases, offensive (seriously, not all teenagers act like that and I know that my high school did not have some crazy hierarchy with cheerleaders and football studs at the top of the pyramid).

Best part: The idea was pretty interesting. I don't see a lot about MCs who are into manga and, while I'm not, I have friends who are so it's nice to see them represented.

Grade: D

Other Books by This Author: The Blood Coven Series, Razor Girl, Moongazer, News Blues, Karma Kitty Goes to Comic Con, and Zombiewood Confidential

16 / 100 books. 16% done!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

No spoilers.

Bitter End
Author: Jennifer Brown
Year of Publication: 2011
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 356
First Line: "If I had to describe my best friend, Bethany, in one word, it would be persistent."
Summary: He'd never told me he loved me before.

Nobody had ever told me they loved me before.

When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole -- a handsome, funny sports star who adores her -- she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate...someone who truly loves and understands her.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, and increasingly violent threats.

As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose -- between her "true love" and herself.

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: I am very often interested in books about teenage relationship abuse. I don't know why. Those that I have read on the subject so far have all been well written and this one is not an exception. I loved all the characters in the book and it was all written realistically. I found Bethany and Zack to be especially realistic with how they deal with Alex's situation. I also enjoyed the character of Alex's manager where she works. I don't know that I liked that she didn't have a mother, but this could just be because for the last four books I've reviewed, there was an orphan or half-orphan as the main character, so it feels incredibly cliche at this point. All-in-all I enjoyed this. It was a quick read and worth it.

Worst part: While I loved Zack, he was kind of an idiot.

Best part: I liked that Alex was a writer. I know that some authors avoid writing about writers because some people consider it "desperate" but I think they forget that a lot of their readers are writers and readers like to read about people like them, therefore they like to read about writers.

Grade: B+

Other Books by This Author: Hate List

15 / 100 books. 15% done!

Ivy by Julie Hearn

No spoilers.

Author: Julie Hearn
Year of Publication: 2008
Genre: Historical
Pages: 355
First Line: "When she was born her father took one look at her and spat into a corner."
Summary: Ivy is used to being overlooked. The youngest in a family of thieves, scoundrels, and roustabouts, the girl with the flame-colored hair and odd-colored eyes is declared useless by her father from the day she is born. But that's only if you look at her but don't see. Fore Ivy has a quality that makes people take notice. It's more than beauty -- and it draws people toward her.

Which makes her the perfect subject for an aspiring painter named Oscar Aretino Frosdick. Oscar is dtermined to make his mark on the art world, with Ivy as his model and muse. But behind Ivy's angelic looks lurk dark secrets and a troubled past -- a past that has given her an unfortunate addiction to a dangerous drug. And when treachery and jealousy surface in the Eden that is the artist's garden, Ivy must learn to be more than a pretty face if she is to survive.

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: I was drawn into this book from the beginning but as it went on, I became less interested. Ivy's character is not very interesting. In fact, there are other characters I'd prefer the book to be centered on because they were more interesting than the main character. This, as you can imagine, as a failing. Despite that, the novel is written with an air of knowledge and it's clear that the research was well done for this historical novel. I appreciated this immensely as it is something I struggle with in my own writing. The dialect was fairly consistent, which helped to keep it from being jarring. The story was interesting but I think parts of the plot were kind of forgotten at different parts of the book and then ignored for the rest. The end was somewhat strange and kind of confusing. I was not really sure where the author got the idea to end it like that, as there was nothing leading up to it suggesting it would end that way and not in a good way.

Worst part:
How the second half of the book had less quality than the first.

Best part: The idea was really interesting and I appreciated the note after the novel that explained where the idea came from.

Grade: C+

Other Books by This Author: The Minister's Daughter and Sign of the Raven

14 / 100 books. 14% done!

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

No spoilers.

Title: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Year of Publication: 2008
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 471
First Line: "In these dungeons the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind."
Summary: In a world where people born with an extreme skill -- called a Grace -- are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace -- or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: I had a hard time with this book, probably mostly because it dealt so much with politics. In addition to that, I did not find the characters especially compelling or unique. The book did pick up about half-way through, but until then I struggled with even wanting to finish it. I was disappointed in the ending and the fates of some characters, though I suppose I should have seen it coming. I know some people who love this book, but I would not recommend it myself.

Worst part:
The book dragged, especially in the first half.

Best part: I guess the whole idea was kind of cool but it wasn't executed well.

Grade: D

Other Books by This Author: None.

13 / 100 books. 13% done!

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

No spoilers.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz
Author: A.S. King
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 323
First Line: "Before I died, I hid my secrets in the Master Oak."
Summary: Is it okay to hate a dead kid? Even if I loved him once? Even if he was my best friend? Is it okay to hate him for being dead?

Vera's spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she's kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone -- the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? does she even want to?

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: I really enjoyed this book. Each character was well-rounded and three-dimensional, the dialogue was realistic. There was not a lot of dialogue, but the non-dialogue parts were written in a way that made it easier for me to read. I found this book was a lot like John Green's books, especially Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns. This book is totally different from King's other novel, The Dust of 100 Dogs which was also excellent. It's difficult to say a lot about it without giving much away, but it is definitely worth the time it took to read it and I highly recommend it.

Worst part:
The ending did not explode quite as much as it should have but it was still enjoyable.

Best part: Vera's character was very well done, as was her dad's.

Grade: A

Other Books by This Author: Dust of 100 Dogs

12 / 100 books. 12% done!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

No spoilers.

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fiction/Futuristic Fiction/Science Fiction/Dystopian Fiction
Pages: 366
First Line: "Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?"
Summary: In the society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It's hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one. . .until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path no one else has ever dared to follow -- between perfection and passion.

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: Like I've heard suggested before, I will confirm that this novel is a lot like Lois Lowry's The Giver. I found the organization to be kind of strange. I did not feel particularly drawn to any of the characters, but they weren't unlikable, either. To have not read this would not have been a great loss. It is nothing spectacular, it is not horrific, it's just there. Probably worth the read if you like dystopian societies.

Worst part: How random things sometimes seemed.

Best part: The situation concerning death in the Society was interesting.

Grade: B-

Other Books by This Author: Freshman for President, Being Sixteen, Yearbook, First Day, Reunion, and (the sequel to Matched) Crossed

11 / 100 books. 11% done!

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

No spoilers.

Title: Revolution
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Pages: 472
First Line: "Those who can, do."
Summary: Brooklyn: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She's angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken at the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she's about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights' most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

Paris: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn't want -- and couldn't escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine's diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There's comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal's antique pages -- until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine's words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: While I had tried to read A Northern Light in the past, I found it uninteresting. However, this novel by the same author is much more enjoyable. Funnily enough, (although it may have been intentional because of the subject matter) it is in some ways like A Tale of Two Cities, in the intricate web of plots and how they are connected. Each character is strong and individual, but still realistic. Some things seemed a little melodramatic but it was in a way that was realistic.

Worst part: The fantasy bit. It didn't seem to fit well with the rest of the novel.

Best part: The way the romantic interest was introduced.

Grade: A-

Other Books by This Author: None, but there is another coming out in 2012 called Live Through This.

10 / 100 books. 10% done!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Minor spoilers.

Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 484
First Line: "Our arrival didn't exactly go as planned."
Summary: Three angels -- Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human -- are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.

The angels' mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: There wasn't anything terribly special about this novel. I found the main character's voice to be strong and somewhat unique. I was impressed to know that the author, Alexandra Adornetto, is only 18 and was first published when she was 14, according to the author biography at the back of the book. The general plot was fairly predictable. I found it was difficult to connect with any of the characters, Bethany included. Unfortunately, the book ended without tying everything up and even started a new conflict on the last page. This book could have done without a sequel, and I'm not sure I'm interested in reading the sequel.

Worst part: Molly, Bethany's friend, wasn't likable at all.

Best part: The concept was interesting, though I could have been executed better.

Grade: C

Other Books by This Author: None available in the US as of right now.

9 / 100 books. 9% done!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Freefall by Mindi Scott

Title: Freefall
Author: Mindi Scott
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 315
First Line: "This was Daniel's deal."
Summary: Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend, Isaac, alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time when Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn't wake up.

Convinced that his own actions led to his friend's death, Seth is torn between turning his life around. . .or losing himself completely.

Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own and Seth will soon realize he isn't the only one who needs saving. . . .

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: This book was kind of like a light-hearted version of Looking for Alaska by John Green. And it was also like Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl. Scott's style is fairly conversational, and I think, like all books like this one, it was best in first-person and could not have been done well in any other point of view. I found most of the characters to be interesting and well-rounded, although Daniel's character could have been done better. The ending was very much like a movie, which I wasn't a fan of, but at the same time, I understood that there weren't a whole lot of ways to end this book. All in all, not bad, but I don't think it's something I'd rush to read again.

Worst part: Daniel.

Best part: Everything that happened was super realistic and things came naturally.


Other Books by This Author: None, but there is another coming out in 2012 called Live Through This.

8 / 100 books. 8% done!

Beatle Meets Destiny by Gabrielle Williams

No spoilers.

Title: Beatle Meets Destiny
Author: Gabrielle Williams
Year of Publication: 2009
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 336
First Line: "John Lennon was named John Lennon after John Lennon."
Summary: Imagine your name is John Lennon but everyone calls you Beatle.

And then you meet your dream girl, and her name is Destiny McCartney.

But you meet her on Friday the 13th -- and you're very superstitious. Not to mention that you're already dating the perfect girl, who happens to be your twin sister's best friend. . . .

Beatle can't imagine ever leaving his girlfriend, Cilla, who supported him after the stroke that changed his life and left him with a limp. Still, he knows that the only thing worse than staying with the wrong person is missing the chance to be with the right one.

Source: Back/Inside of book

Review: I was kind of surprised at the lack of actual Beatles-related stuff in this book, but at the same time, I guess I'm kind of glad it wasn't really included because it would have been so obvious. (Although if you're looking for a book that has more Beatles stuff, read Pepperland.) Williams' style wasn't anything special. In fact, I found the style itself a little bland and sometimes difficult to pay attention to. That said, it was a quick read that was fun, "brainless," and easy. Not sure I'd recommend it to younger teens because of some references, but it's nothing horrendously graphic or anything. As far as characters go, I felt Destiny was very contradicting. She came across as one way through Beatle's perception, but then when we "saw" her acting, it was totally different. To fix that, I might've done this (or preferred it, rather) in first-person rather than third. In any case, it was pretty good and worth the time I spent reading it.

Worst part: The style.

Best part: The concept. But like I said, I would've liked a little more Beatles stuff.

Grade: B

Other Books by This Author: There is another, though I can't find the title. It was not a YA-novel.

7 / 100 books. 7% done!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A New Blog

In honor of NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month), I have started a blog on which I will collect all of my poetry. There are thirty or so poems that I have written since August up there now. All of them are raw and unedited, so don't expect great quality. Comments and critiques are always appreciated and I will continue to update after NaPoWriMo.

The link is below. Enjoy and happy reading!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finding Lubchenko by Michael Simmons

Sorry about the lack of paragraphs, guys. The HTML is being funky. I'll fix it when I can. No Spoilers. Title: Finding Lubchenko Author: Michael Simmons Year of Publication: 2005 Genre: Fiction Pages: 280 First Line: "So this is basically a story about a murder." Summary: "Let me offer a preliminary description of myself. I was a poor kid trapped in the surroundings of great wealth and oppulence." So says Evan Macalister, the slacker anti-hero of Michael Simmon's new novel. Since his tightfisted millionaire father never gives him any money, Evan "liberates" equipment from Dad's business and sells it online. But when a man is murdered at the office and Mr. Macalister is accused of the crime, Evan is faced with a terrible dilemma. he alone can clear his father's name -- but only by revealing his own theft operation. And then he'll be grounded forever. There's just one thing to do: find the real murderer himself. Armed only with a cryptic e-mail from someone named Lubchenko, Evan sets off on a quest that catapults him and his two best frineds into a world of danger and international intrigue. Source: Back of book Review: Another reviewer, Jen Robinson, compared this book to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and I think that's a great analogy. She examines this analgoy a bit more closer (and I recommend reading her review, especially after you read the book, but before is fine, too) and makes it really interesting. In any case, this story is slow-moving in the first half then quickly pick sup the pace and moves too fast for the second half. However, the story is interesting and, especially in the climax, almost overly-complicated. That said, I reccomend this to older teens because of that. Besides this, the voice of Evan is very strong and the book comes off as someone is telling you this story, rather than you are reading it in a book. It makes it personal and interesting for the reader, and it is easy to relate to Evan, even though he's unlike anyone you've ever met. Worth the time it took to read, but nothing absolutely spectacular, despite the clever witicisms and general idea. Worst part: The odd pacing was frustrating. Best part: Characters were pretty well developed for the kind of novel it was. Grade: B Other Books by This Author: The Rise of Lubchenko

6 / 100 books. 6% done!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lucky T by Kate Brian

No Spoilers.

Lucky T
Author: Kate Brian
Year of Publication: 2005
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 291
First Line: "On a warm and sunny Saturday morning, Carrie Fitzgerald stepped out of her walk-in closet wearing a lime green miniskirt."
Summary: Some girls have all the luck. So far, Carrie Fitzgerald's sixteen years have been pretty sweet. Straight A's, an adorable boyfriend, a starting position on the varsity basketball team. . .

But Carrie's luck is about to, well, change.

Suddenly, her boyfriend dumps her (to "hang out with his friends"), she and her best friend have a massive blowout, and she gets a D on a biology test. Carrie knows what's wrong -- her mom accidentally donated her lucky T-shirt to Help India. That one adorable, perfect T-shirt was the source of all her good fortune.

So Carrie does what any girl would do: she's going to India. Cross your finger sand hope that Carrie finds adventure, love, and maybe just a little good luck along the way. . . .
Source: Back of book

Review: A bit slow in some places. I previously read Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys which is also by Brian and enjoyed that more than this novel. This is a cute and fun read, but not challenging in any way. I expect this would be the same for any age reading it. The novel was missing something that I can't quite put my finger on that made it just an "okay" book (or even a step below "just okay"). Furthermore, I found the fact that she would go to India to find this shirt incredibly unrealistic. While the summary on the back of the book addresses that with a sort of joke, I found it too implausible for a "realistic" novel which made it less enjoyable as a whole. Despite this, I found her character otherwise (especially her flip-flopping) to be very real and believable.

Worst part: The pace kind of jumped all over. It was weird and jolting.

Best part: I liked everything to do with Doreen.

Grade: C-

Other Books by This Author: Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys, The Princess and the Pauper.

5 / 100 books. 5% done!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

No spoilers.

Return to Paradise
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 291
First Line: "Some people are damn lucky."
Summary: Caleb Becker left Paradise eight months ago, taking with him the secret he promised to take to his grave. If the truth got out, it would ruin everything.

Maggie Armstrong tried to be strong after Caleb broke her heart and disappeared. Somehow, she managed to move on. She was determined to make a new life for herself.

But now Caleb and Maggie are forced together on a summer trip. They try ignoring their passion for each other, but buried feelings resurface. Caleb must face the truth about the night of Maggie's accident, or the secret that destroyed their relationship will forever stand between them.

Source: Back of book

Review: Although most of Elkeles' books have a basic formula to them, each of them manages to be individual. They are wonderful books and this one was just as good. Her characters are entertaining but also real and easy to relate to. I love her stories and plots and her dialogue is wonderful.

Worst part: This one was not long enough for me. I wanted more.

Best part: The characters.

Grade: A

Other Books by This Author: Perfect Chemistry, Rules of Attraction, Leaving Paradise, and others.

4 / 100 books. 4% done!

Fishbowl by Sarah Mlynowski

No spoilers.

Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Year of Publication: 2002
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 360
First Line: "Allison, Jodine and Emma are going to set their apartment on fire."
Summary: Allison can't wait for Jodine and Emma to move in to her apartment -- until she realizes having roommates means living in a fishbowl. You are never alone. When one small, sightly accidental fire leads to one big repair bill, all efforts to avoid each other are finally abandoned: They've got to raise money. . .fast ("Insurance? You mean you have to pay for that?"). This means joining forces. Bonding? Well, at least they're talking to each other!

Amazingly, they agree on a plan: shamelessly exploit their conbined expertise on the male species for hard cash. Tactics: sell tickets to their swanky soirees and How To Pick Up Women seminars. . . . But their grand scheme sweeps away any last shreds of privacy with startling consequences. Now that they're forced to take a long hard look at themselves, Allie, Jodine and Emma's lives -- and budding friendship -- are about to change in ways they never imagined.

Source: Back of book

Review: Just as with Milkrun, Mlynowski captures the 20-something female voice spectacularly, except this time her characters have a little more life and personality to them. Part of what makes this novel so interesting is her ability to show characters through the eyes of other characters. This totally changes your perspective on how you see each of them, and makes for an all-the-more interesting conflict. The story is hilarious and the boys are fantastic. A great book to share with friends!

Worst part: I think some of the characters (Jodine's boy, for example) were somewhat underdeveloped.

Best part: The general cleverness of the book. The last page blew me away, and the title does too, after you've read it.

Grade: A

Other Books by This Author: Milkrun

3 / 100 books. 3% done!

Milkrun by Sarah Mlynowski

No spoilers.

Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Year of Publication: 2001
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 281
First Line: "Jerk. Jerk, jerk, jerk."
Summary: Of all the ways to find myself Single Again, this has to be the worst. A "Dear Jackie" e-mail from my supposed boyfriend, who claimed to be "finding himself" in Thailand. Instead, he's found someone else. And dumped me.

But I, Jackie Norris, will bounce back! I will become Crazy Dating Girl and prove to Jilting Jeremy that I am over him! One snag: Why do all the guys I meet either have groping hands, lunatic tendencies or a worrying interest in putting up shelves? I need a man who wants to rip my clothes off, feed me pizza, then have stimulating, intelligent conversation.

Single in Boston -- c'mon, there has to be someone!

Source: Back of book

Review: I love Mlynowski's voice. She is great at capturing 20-something city girls and her stories are creative and memorable. I felt she left the end of the story (as in the tying up) a little too late in the book (like, last page late), but in general I like how she ended it. I would love to see a sequel of this one, although I don't expect one.

Worst part: I'm not sure how I felt about the room mate character. She could have been done better.

Best part: Mlynowski's voice!

Grade: A-

Other Books by This Author: Fishbowl

2 / 100 books. 2% done!

Friday, February 18, 2011

New Blog


I wanted to invite all readers and writers to take a look at my new blog, A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words, or, http://worth10k.blogspot.com/. More information can be found on the blog. I encourage you to read through it.

Also, I have read several books but simply have not had the time to review them. They will be up as soon as possible. Some of those books to be looking out for are. . .

The Collected Poetry of Sylvia Plath - Sylvia Plath (ed. Ted Hughes)
Milkrun - Sarah Mlynowski
Fishbowl - Sarah Mlynowski
Return to Paradise - Simone Elkeles

Keep an eye out for new posts soon!

Monday, January 31, 2011

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

No spoilers.

P.S. I Love You
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Year of Publication: 2004
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 470
First Line: "Holly held the blue cotton sweater to her face and the familiar smell immediately struck her, an overwhelming grief knotting her stomach and pulling at her heart."
Summary: Holly and Gerry are the kind of perfectly happy married couple that others envy. Then, at the age of thirty, Gerry is diagnosed with a terrible illness. Months after Gerry's death, Holly receives a package of letters that he's left for her, instructing her to perform a series of unexpected tasks. with the help of the letters -- and her fun, quick-witted girlfriends and a raucously endearing family that smothers, loves, and drives her crazy -- Holly wobbles, weaves, and jokes her way toward a new life, even larger than the one that she's been forced to leave behind.

Source: Back of book

Review: Not quite as romantic as I expected. The characters were fairly colorful, but I felt that they weren't really real. I think the story might have been better if it had been told in first person rather than third, as it was. The concept was interesting, and I understand Ahern wrote the story to deal with the possibility of grief and losing a loved one, but I'm not sure it would help those who are looking to deal with grief.

Worst part: The end was disappointing.

Best part: I like that she did not characterize Gerry a whole lot and let the reader fill in a lot of the blanks for him.

Grade: B-

Other Books by This Author: Love, Rosie; If You Could See Me Now; and There's No Place Like Home

1 / 100 books. 1% done!