Friday, January 30, 2009

January 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features are running on for the month of January.

Reviews and Excerpts
3 WILLOWS: The Sisterhood Grows, by Ann Brashares (Fiction)
Eighth grade has come to an end, and Polly, Jo and Ama --- a new generation of sisterhood --- are poised to enter South Bethesda High School. Over summer vacation, the three girls reflect on the day they first met and how their friendships have changed over the years.

Our review of 3 WILLOWS is written by Donna Volkenannt, a newcomer to Ann Brashares’s work. In addition, Amy Alessio, who has read all four books in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, discusses the similarities and differences between the two series.
-- Click here to watch an interview with Ann Brashares as she discusses 3 WILLOWS.

FOREVER PRINCESS: Princess Diaries, Volume X by Meg Cabot (Fiction)
The final episode in the popular Princess Diaries series will surprise and delight. Once again, Meg Cabot is able to take the fun fantasy princess angle and apply it to a realistic, funny and endearing teen who is wondering who she is and what she wants out of life. FOREVER PRINCESS is a fitting end for a Princess. Reviewed by Amy Alessio and excerpted.
-- Click here to read an excerpt of FOREVER PRINCESS.

DEADLY LITTLE SECRET: A Touch Novel, by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Paranormal Romance)
Sixteen-year-old Camelia Hammond’s normal life gets turned upside down when Ben Carter transfers to her school. Rumors fly that Ben murdered his girlfriend. Then Camelia starts receiving threatening letters and phone calls. Her gut says she can trust Ben, but then who is stalking her every move? And is the stalker really capable of the threats he makes? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

GUARDIAN by Julius Lester (Historical Fiction)
In a time and place without moral conscience, 14-year-old Ansel knows what is right and what is true. But it is dangerous to choose honesty, and so he chooses silence. Now an innocent man is dead, and Ansel feels the burden of his decision. He must also bear the pain of losing a friend, his family and the love of a lifetime. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gomez.

DEADVILLE by Ron Koertge (Fiction)
Basically, Ryan has been sleepwalking through life since his younger sister died of cancer two years ago. But when Charlotte Silano --- a gorgeous, popular senior way out of his league --- has a riding accident and falls into a coma, Ryan finds himself drawn to her hospital room almost every day, long after her friends stop coming around. DEADVILLE, deals with life, death, love, drugs --- and a really great playlist. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

NEED by Carrie Jones (Paranormal Romance)
After her father suddenly dies from a heart attack, Zara White falls into a deep depression. Desperate to help, Zara’s mom sends her to Maine to live with her grandmother. And while the change of scenery, new friends and even a boyfriend help Zara begin to crawl out of her depression, her life is in even greater danger. An evil creature called the Pixie King has set his sights on Zara, and he is willing to kill in order to fulfill his needs. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE SCHOOL FOR DANGEROUS GIRLS by Eliot Schrefer (Psychological Thriller)
Parents used to threaten their misbehaving children with military school. Now there is something much worse to offer --- Hidden Oak, a school that promises to rehabilitate "dangerous girls." Angela has no idea just how much danger is in store for her when she is forced to enroll. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

TIGER MOON by Antonia Michaelis (Fiction)
German author Antonia Michaelis makes her U.S. debut with TIGER MOON, a powerful and thrilling fairy tale whose magical realism is set against the backdrop of colonial India. Michaelis's skillful storytelling should win her a wide following among anyone who enjoys losing themselves in a good, old-fashioned tale of adventure, love, friendship and storytelling. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Special Features
TALES FROM OUTER SUBURBIA by Shaun Tan (Fiction/Illustrated Short Stories)
An exchange student who’s really an alien, a secret room that becomes the perfect place for a quick escape, a typical tale of grandfatherly exaggeration that is actually even more bizarre than he says... These are the odd details of everyday life that grow and take on an incredible life of their own in tales and illustrations by Shaun Tan, author and illustrator of the New York Times bestseller THE ARRIVAL.
-- Click here to read an excerpt from TALES FROM OUTER SUBURBIA.
-- Click here to read Shaun Tan’s bio.

CHASING LINCOLN’S KILLER by James Swanson (History)
“This story is true. All the characters are real and were alive during the great manhunt of April 1865. Their words are authentic and come from original sources: letters, manuscripts, trial transcripts, newspapers, government reports, pamphlets, books, and other documents. What happened in Washington, D.C., that spring, and in the swamps and rivers, forests and fields of Maryland and Virginia during the next twelve days, is far too incredible to have been made up.”

CHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER is a fast-paced thriller about the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth: a wild 12-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia.
-- Click here to read an excerpt from CHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER.
-- Click here to read James Swanson's bio.

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS #5: WICKED by Sara Shepard (Fiction)
Hanna, Spencer, Emily and Aria have paid dearly for their sins. A stalker named "A" terrorized them for months and revealed their darkest secrets. But now that A's true identity has been revealed, the girls can finally go back to their pretty little lives. Only, once a pretty little liar, always a pretty little liar --- and these girls just can't help but be bad. After all, girls who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. And in Rosewood, someone is always watching…
-- Click here to browse inside PRETTY LITTLE LIARS #5: WICKED
-- Click here to read Sara Shepard’s bio.

ABSOLUTELY MAYBE by Lisa Yee (Fiction)
Meet Maybelline “Maybe” Chestnut. She may be named for her mother’s favorite brand of mascara, but she has a mind --- and a hair color --- all her own.

Meet her mother, Chessy --- that is, Chessamay Chestnut Abajian Wing Marshall Wing Sinclair Alvarez and soon-to-be Himmler. The one man she didn’t marry? Maybe’s father.

Meet Ted and Hollywood, aka Maybe’s best friends. When Chessy chooses her latest scuzzball fiancé over her daughter, the trio sets out to find Maybe’s dad in California.

Where they meet Los Angeles: city of swimming pools, movie stars, and a whole lot of surprises, including an aging screen goddess, a famous photographer, three makeovers, a Rolls-Royce, and a taco truck.

Hollywood makes a film; Ted makes his fortune. But the biggest surprise may be Maybe herself, as a charm-school dropout becomes a drop-dead charmer in Lisa Yee’s terrific new novel. is offering 10 readers the chance to win a copy of ABSOLUTELY MAYBE. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, March 26th.
-- Click here for all the contest details.
-- Click here to read a review of ABSOLUTELY MAYBE
-- Click here to read an excerpt from ABSOLUTELY MAYBE
-- Click here to read Lisa Yee’s bio.

Special Giveaway: Win All of Sarah Dessen's Books --- and a "Lock and Key" Necklace!
Calling all Sarah Dessen fans! 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 and

Books into Movies
The two films in our latest Books into Movies feature are about as different as night and day, but each offers the perfect excuse to lose yourself in a good story. Hitting theaters on February 6th is Coraline, a delightfully creepy animated movie based on Neil Gaiman’s instant classic about a young girl who stumbles upon an alternate mirrored universe and risks becoming trapped “on the other side” forever. Remember to bring your 3-D glasses, as this Tim-Burton-meets-Alice-in-Wonderland fairy tale is being released in both 2-D and 3-D formats.

And just in time for Valentine’s Day, February 13th marks the release of Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic, a madcap romantic comedy that follows unlikely heroine Rebecca Bloomwood as she conquers life, love and looming credit card debt in the big city.

Cool New Books
2009 is getting off to an excellent start for teen readers, as bestselling authors return with additions to popular series, brand-new series and stand-alone novels that will be remembered for a long time to come.

FOREVER PRINCESS marks the 10th and final installment of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series. Mia is now a senior in high school, and her future (along with Genovia’s) hangs in the balance. In 3 WILLOWS, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants author Ann Brashares introduces fans to three BFFs on the verge of entering South Bethesda High School --- the very same school that the original Sisterhood attended. Anna Godbersen’s Luxe series continues with ENVY; it’s Manhattan, 1899, and all of society is eagerly watching the Hollands, the Hayeses and the Schoonmakers to see what kind of drama the great families’ sons and daughters will stir up next. Jonathan Stroud follows up his Bartimaeus Trilogy with HEROES OF THE VALLEY, an epic fantasy thriller featuring murder, revenge and a slightly diminutive protagonist. And Carl Hiaasen delivers his third novel for young audiences, SCAT, a mystery involving the disappearance of a fearsome biology teacher while on a field trip to Black Vine Swamp.

New in Paperback
The ninth --- and next-to-last --- installment of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series is now available in paperback. PRINCESS MIA features several plotlines: Mia has broken up with Michael, her best friend Lily isn’t speaking to her, Mia’s parents are so worried about her emotional state that they are making her see a therapist, and Mia seems to have uncovered a secret that could alter Genovia’s destiny. January’s roundup of New in Paperback titles also includes RUMORS, the exciting sequel to Anna Godbersen’s THE LUXE, which revolves around the pricLinke of keeping secrets and the fortunes that can be made or lost upon their revelation; GAME, Walter Dean Myers’s novel about a young man who hopes that his achievements on the basketball court will help him succeed in life off the court; and BOY TOY by Barry Lyga, in which an 18-year-old battles the demons of his past, especially when he learns that his seventh grade history teacher is about to be released from prison.

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