Thursday, February 19, 2009

"The state of Noboyfriend is not a state like New Jersey is a state"

I have a confession to make. I think I might be Ruby Oliver. Or at least there are some striking similarities between Roo and a younger version of me. Keep in mind, this is not always a complimentary comparison! But I really loved that about this and the other Ruby Oliver stories by e. lockhart.
In this installment, The Treasure Map of Boys, Roo is still going to counseling and still trying to sort out her roly-poly life in the Tate Universe. We first met Roo in The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book. She is not perfect and she certainly causes much of her own drama. But in the end, she is like most girls I knew (including myself!) in high school.
Like other e. lockhart books, these are quick reads because you want to discover what Ruby is going to figure out next. She is likable: quirks, panic attacks and all.
If you haven't read the other 2 books, you have time. This third novel is not due out until July 2009.

"You, yes you."

The final installment of Jessica Darling's life with and without Marcus Flutie, perfect fifths, by Megan McCafferty begins with Jessica dashing through the airport to catch a plane to her friends' Bridget and Percy's wedding. As the title suggests, this is the fifth in McCafferty's series and, as the final chapter, seeks to answer all the questions Jessica and Marcus have about their tumultuous past and uncertain future. The entire book is staged around a meeting between Jessica and Marcus who have not seen each other in three years . . . since the day Jessica refused Marcus' marriage proposal. There is an amazing section written entirely in Haiku poetry which stands out as one of the most unique "conversations" I have ever read. I loved this whole series and it left me wondering where Jessica Darling was when I needed her in high school and college. This book is due to be published and available for sale on April 14, 2009.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Lana has always believed in things. Fortune cookies. Horoscopes."

The title of this post is a quote that comes really early (pg. 2!) in the book, The Decoding of Lana Morris by Laura and Tom McNeal , but it simply sets the stage for the underlying premise of this story. Lana Morris is in foster care, in what comes to be known as Snick House (snick for SNK, Special Needs Kids). As we all might imagine, foster homes are not always good and Lana's situation is less than desirable.
Through the book, she comes to believe that she has uncovered a way to grant wishes, in a manner of speaking. Without beating you over the head with it, the story is all about wishes and making pure wishes and what that means not only to you but also to the others in your life. Lana learns that wishes, like actions, have consequences that are not easily controlled or predicted.
Lana is going through a lot, perhaps much more than is believable. Bad situations are piled up. But the writing is good and Lana and Chet, the nice podcasting neighbor boy, seem much wiser than their 16 years. With just a touch of magical realism, we are all reminded to be careful what we wish for, because we just might get it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Reading by Sarah Dessen

I wrote about Along for the Ride last week and then Sarah posted herself reading from it today. Enjoy!

"Wherever you go, you take yourself with you."

While in Denver, we attended the Youth Media Awards press conference. I was excited to learn that Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book was awarded the 2009 Newbery Medal. I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman for some time but had not read this one until now.
Nobody "Bod" Owens finds himself living in a graveyard. Of course, it is not the usual life for a living, breathing boy. But he knows no other life. As he gets older, he learns many things, including some tricks of the dead. The inhabitants of the graveyard protect and raise him as one of their own.
Gaiman readily acknowledges Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book as an inspiration. And no doubt, the similarities are there. But Bod stands on his own, with much imagination and care on the part of Gaiman. While I thought it was a little slow to get going, I found it hard to put down the further into it I went.
With great characters and a mix of fantasy, spooks and growing pains, its obvious why this book is popular with readers as well as the critics!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"Four weeks before we left for Indianapolis, he became the first person in our school's history to have a varsity jacket for quiz bowl."

Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci are the editors of Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, a compilation of short stories written by some of the hottest YA authors. From the philosophical question about what would happen if a Jedi hooked up with a Klingon at a convention, Black and Castellucci wrote a story which answers that question in their own way. They then invited others to imagine some of the most awkward moments faced by teenagers from relationships to being new in a school to all the subtle things that make one person "cool" and another person a "geek." Authors included are: Holly Black, Cecil Castellucci, Tracy Lynn, Scott Westerfeld, Cassandra Clare, M. T. Anderson, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Garth Nix, Lisa Yee, Kelly Link, John Green, Barry Lyga, Sara Zarr (this story not included in the ARE copy), Wendy Mass, and Libba Bray. Art by Bryan Lee O'Malley and Hope Larson, including comics, top ten lists, and gaming-type icons, add fun and interest to this anthology. This book is due to be published and availalbe for sale in August, 2009.

Monday, February 2, 2009

"It has been revealed to me that your oldest daughter, Sister Kyra, is to wed Apostle Hyrum Carlson. She will be his seventh wife in the Lord."

Carol Lynch Williams was signing copies of The Chosen One at Midwinter in Denver and I was thrilled to receive one. The topic of the book, an extreme fundamental belief that polygamy is the only way to Heaven, is fascinating. Kyra, age 13, is one of her father's 20 children with his three wives. The Prophet has a vision that Kyra should be the seventh wife of her 60-year-old uncle. Through flashbacks of events that Kyra calls her "sins," as well as scenes of her life leading up to the wedding, we see Kyra learn that she can make different choices. But, is she willing to leave her family behind and reach out into the unknown?
This books is due to be published and for sale on May 12, 2009.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

"Maybe the truth was, it shouldn't be easy to be amazing. Then everything would be."

When I saw a stack of ARCs of Sarah Dessen's latest novel, Along for the Ride, at the Penguin booth in Denver, I let out a little squeal. Seriously. The girl in the booth may have been scared, but she graciously handed one over--and I am so appreciative. In this lovely book, Dessen tells the story of Auden, a teenager spending her last summer before going to college at her father and stepmother's home following the birth of their first baby. Throughout the summer, Auden's insomnia pairs her with Eli, who is struggling to deal with the loss of his best friend Abe. They travel through the night with Eli leading Auden on a quest to regain a missed childhood, while Auden helps Eli deal with moving past the trauma of losing Abe.
This book is due to be published and available for sale June 16, 2009.