Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December 2008

The following reviews, interviews and features are running on Teenreads.com for the month of December.

Reviews and Excerpts
In this second volume of M. T. Anderson's historical epic, Octavian flees from the College of Lucidity, where he has been raised in isolation, to the British-occupied city of Boston. He enlists with Lord Dunmore's Royal Ethiopian Regiment on the promise that he will earn his freedom from slavery if he fights for the Crown. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood and excerpted.

HERE LIES ARTHUR by Philip Reeve (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Gwyna is servant to Myrddin, bard to the young and brutal warlord Arthur. Exchanging her service for Myrddin's protection, Gwyna witnesses Arthur's rise to power. HERE LIES ARTHUR is a record of her role in the events that one day will become legend. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (Fantasy)
In times of stress, Erin Misrahe has always been overcome by her alter ego, Shevaun, whose violent behavior wreaks havoc on those around her. Erin can never remember anything about these episodes and is grateful to have been spared them for a while. But when a protective friend comes back into her life, he insists that Shevaun is a vampire who actually exists apart from Erin. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

LOVE IS HELL by Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin and Laurie Faria Stolarz (Supernatural Fiction Anthology)
In these supernatural stories by Melissa Marr (WICKED LOVELY), Scott Westerfeld (SPECIALS), Justine Larbalestier (MAGIC OR MADNESS), Gabrielle Zevin (ELSEWHERE) and Laurie Faria Stolarz (BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES), love may be twisted and turned around, but it's more potent than ever on its quest to conquer all. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

LET IT SNOW: Three Holiday Stories, by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle (Romance/Humor)
When one thinks of Christmas, images of sparkling snowfalls, traditional family dinners and children dreaming of the shiny presents that Santa might bring probably come to mind. Today's holiday season, however, is sometimes more stressful than joyful. Fortunately, reading LET IT SNOW, a collection of interconnecting Christmas-themed stories, is one such stress-reducer. Reviewed Sarah Sawtelle.

LILY DALE: CONNECTING by Wendy Corsi Staub (Paranormal Suspense)
Now that Calla has accepted her ability to communicate with the Other Side, she's desperate to connect with the one spirit whose energy she can't seem to feel anywhere: her late mother. As ominous supernatural signs imply that the devastating loss might not have been an accident, Calla sets out to uncover the truth. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

DEATH'S SHADOW: The Demonata #7, by Darren Shan (Horror/Supernatural)
With Beranabus, Grubbs and Kernel off exploring the universe of the Demonata for clues about the Shadow behind the demon invasion, Bec is left behind in Carcery Vale for safekeeping. But with Dervish's health on the decline, Lord Loss knows she's the most vulnerable piece of the Kah-Gash. As hoards of demons, werewolves and zombies advance, Bec needs to figure out how to reach Beranabus with crucial information about the Shadow-fast. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER by Sally Nicholls (Fiction)
Eleven-year-old Sam McQueen has leukemia and sadly won't live to see his 12th birthday. WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER is his story: his hopes, his dreams, his goals, his questions and his thoughts on life. Come and share this profoundly moving debut novel, become Sam's friend and carry part of him in your heart forever. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

CRICKET MAN by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Fiction)
Kenny Sykes is determined to make his mark somehow in his new town and his new school. In the meantime, he has appointed himself the secret savior of the hundreds of crickets who seem bound to commit suicide by jumping into his pool. He is not entirely sure why he wants to save them. But once school starts again, Cricket Man finds that there are more important things that need saving. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE GHOST'S CHILD by Sonya Hartnett (Fiction)
Maddy arrives home one day to find a peculiar boy waiting for her. She tells him the story of her life long ago, when she fell painfully in love with a free spirit named Feather. He put aside his wild ways to live with her in a little cottage, conceived with her a child never to be born, and disappeared --- leaving an inconsolable Maddy to follow after him on a fantastical journey across the sea. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

BABYLONNE by Catherine Jinks (Historical Fiction)
Sixteen-year-old Babylonne, an orphan, lives in the 13th century with her abusive aunt and grandmother. When they start planning to marry her off to an old man, Babylonne chops off her hair and runs away, disguised as a young boy. She longs to join the noble knights and assist them with their mighty quests. But then she actually gets what she wished for. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE LETTER WRITER by Ann Rinaldi (Historical Fiction)
Nat Turner was a slave who led the largest slave rebellion in the South beginning on August 21, 1831. When finished, at least 55 people were slaughtered. The mystery is that before this occurred, he was known as a Preacher of God's Word among the area slaves. Ann Rinaldi brings the man and the surrounding events to vivid life from the point of view of 11-year-old Harriet Whitehead. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

PLAY ME by Laura Ruby (Fiction)
Eddy knows how to play the game. Not only does he have a hit online TV show, but in the game of love Eddy knows all the tricks and who will play with him. The girls who know he doesn't make any promises. The girls who are cool with it. But as graduation looms, everything starts deviating from Eddy's master script. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

DOWN SAND MOUNTAIN by Steve Watkins (Fiction)
Twelve-year-old Dewey Turner is giving life a go in 1966 Florida. Though he hasn't had the best of luck with popularity, Dewey is positive it will get better when he starts at the junior/senior high school. But it doesn't. In fact, it gets worse. Dewey muddles through the confusion of racial rights, the Vietnam War, death, growing up, morality and even a haunted hotel while trying to figure out himself. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

UNSETTLED: The Problem of Loving Israel, by Marc Aronson (History)
Marc Aronson's new book explores the history of Israel, from the beginning of the Zionist movement to the birth of Israel as a state in 1948 to the intense conflicts over Israel, the Palestinians and the Jewish settlements of today. Along the way Aronson intersperses stories from his own family's long experiences in Israel. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah G ómez.

Best Books of the Year
As 2008 comes to a close, we at Teenreads.com have compiled some of our favorite books of the year for teens. Along with the blockbusters BREAKING DAWN and BRISINGR, we spotlight THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins, the first installment of a trilogy set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present; THE KINGDOM ON THE WAVES, book two in the historical epic The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, in which M. T. Anderson recounts Octavian's experiences as the Revolutionary War explodes around him; and THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, E. Lockhart's story of a teenager who finds a way to infiltrate her school's boy-only secret society and practically becomes a criminal mastermind by the age of 16.

Additional standouts include PAPER TOWNS, the highly anticipated return of Printz Medalist John Green in an irresistible plot combining a friendship tale, a road trip and a mystery; CHAINS, Laurie Halse Anderson's compelling examination of the very different implications of freedom and loyalty for slaves during the American Revolution; THE GOOD NEIGHBORS, which marks the first time Holly Black has written about the faerie world in graphic novel form; and the winner of the 2008 National Book Award in the Young People's Literature category, WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED, Judy Blundell's coming-of-age novel set against a backdrop of mystery, lies and shattering reality.

Special Giveaway: Win All of Sarah Dessen's Books --- and a "Lock and Key" Necklace!
Calling all Sarah Dessen fans! Teenreads.com is giving one lucky reader the complete Sarah Dessen library, along with a very cool "lock and key" necklace (get it?!). The winner will receive one copy of LOCK & KEY, JUST LISTEN, THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER, THIS LULLABY, DREAMLAND, KEEPING THE MOON, SOMEONE LIKE YOU and THAT SUMMER. Start reading now, and you’ll be done with Sarah's books just in time for her upcoming title, ALONG FOR THE RIDE, which releases in June. Keep up with all the latest buzz on the new book at Teenreads.com and www.sarahdessen.com.

Special Feature: IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin (Romantic Suspense/Fantasy)
Lucy has nine months to break an ancient curse in order to save both herself and her unborn daughter.

Inspired by the ballad "Scarborough Fair," this riveting novel combines suspense, fantasy and romance for an intensely page-turning and masterfully original tale.

Lucy is 17 when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child's birth. But Lucy is the first girl who won't be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents and her childhood friend Zach beside her. Do they have love and strength enough to overcome an age-old evil?
-- Click here to read a review of IMPOSSIBLE.
-- Click here to read an excerpt from IMPOSSIBLE.
-- Click here to read our interview with Nancy Werlin.
-- Click here to read Nancy Werlin's bio.

Cool New Books
November and December's roundup of Cool New Books includes PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY, a thrilling tale of love, loyalty and illusion from the bestselling author of the Kiesha’ra series, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes; LOVE IS HELL, a collection of supernatural stories courtesy of Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin and Laurie Faria Stolarz; LILY DALE: CONNECTING, the third installment in Wendy Corsi Staub's paranormal suspense series, in which Calla finally uncovers the mystery behind her mother's death; HERE LIES ARTHUR, Philip Reeve's retelling of the legend of King Arthur, who is portrayed as the leader of a ragtag war band; DEATH'S SHADOW, book seven in The Demonata horror series by Cirque du Freak author Darren Shan; and THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD, a collection of five fairy tales courtesy of J.K. Rowling that gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter.

New in Paperback
November and December's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X, James Patterson's sci-fi adventure about a boy who uses his unique gifts to hunt down the killer who brutally murdered his parents; WYVERNHAIL, the fifth and final installment in Amelia Atwater-Rhodes's The Kiesha'ra series, in which readers find out what happens after Princess Oliza abdicates the throne of Wyvern's Court; UNBELIEVABLE, book four in Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series that marks a return to the exclusive town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania; COVER-UP, a John Feinstein mystery that finds Steve Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson sitting on the biggest sports scandal of the decade; RIGHT BEHIND YOU by Gail Giles, a psychologically complex novel in which a boy learns that sometimes your own past can be the scariest thing of all; and THE NIGHT MY SISTER WENT MISSING, a suspenseful mystery from Carol Plum-Ucci involving a summer night, a group of teens --- and a loaded gun.

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