Monday, March 30, 2009

March 2009

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

Also mentioned in the newsletter opener, which can be read here:
AIRHEAD by Meg Cabot
BREAKING DAWN by Stephenie Meyer
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
LOCK AND KEY by Sarah Dessen
PAPER TOWNS by John Green
CHAINS by Laurie Halse Anderson
NEED by Carrie Jones
WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED by Judy Blundell

Reviews and Excerpts
WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson (Fiction) Lia’s estranged best friend Cassie is found dead in a motel room. What Lia hasn’t told anyone is that Cassie called her 33 times the evening she died; Lia didn’t answer the phone. She also hasn’t mentioned that she and Cassie once made a pact to see who could become the skinniest. At 99 pounds Lia is winning. Haunted by Cassie’s ghost, Lia must choose between the exquisite control of anorexia and the sustenance she needs to live. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from WINTERGIRLS.

MAXIMUM RIDE #5: MAX by James Patterson (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
Max and her flock of human/bird hybrids are back for their fifth book of nonstop action and adventure. And it wouldn’t be a Maximum Ride novel without our heroes facing gigantic, seemingly impossible challenges, like escaping the evil scientists and saving the world. This time the flock heads to Hawaii and enlists the help of the Navy and their submarines. They will attempt to rescue Max’s kidnappe d mother from their new nemesis, Mr. Chu. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from MAX.

Mary’s world comprises a small village of about 200 people, which is surrounded by a thick, heavy fence. On the other side of the fence in the forest lies a disease filled with terror and a fate worse than death. But Mary needs to know if there is anything beyond the forest. No one seems to have the answers, and if they do, they aren’t telling. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH.

EVERMORE: The Immortals, Book 1 by Alyson Noël (Paranormal Romance)
Sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom’s life changes forever after the car accident that kills her entire family. Actually, the accident kills her too, but for some reason she returns to her battered body. Now she can see other people’s auras, read their thoughts and predict events, plus she shares conversations with her dead sister every day. But then the new guy shows up at school. Damen is not only gorgeous, but there’s something strange about him. Who is this intriguing young man, and is he good or evil? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

PARTIES & POTIONS by Sarah Mlynowski (Fiction)
When teen witch Rachel Weinstein agrees to attend witch school with her little witch sister, Miri, she discovers a whole new world of witch parties and studly/nice young warlocks. But she’s torn when she finds out she will have her own Samsorta, a major party on the order of a bat mitzvah for witches. After all, she can't even tell her boyfriend Raf who she really is, much less invite him to a witch party. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

ALLIGATOR BAYOU by Donna Jo Napoli (Historical Fiction)
The swamp and slaughterhouse near Calogero “Calo” Scalise’s Tallulah, Louisiana home are frightening places. Alligators, panthers and cottonmouth snakes lurk nearby, waiting to pounce. Even scarier are the two-legged white predators who use the Jim Crow laws to create a climate of fear and oppression for blacks and Italian immigrants like Calo. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL by Justina Chen Headley (Fiction)
Justina Chen Headley’s powerfully moving third novel is a thought-provoking addition to young adult literature that will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, readers who are looking for a sophisticated exploration of such issues as identity, family dynamics and relationships. NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL follows a young woman’s quest to find love, fulfillment and the true meaning of beauty. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

WHEREVER NINA LIES by Lynn Weingarten (Mystery)
Ellie has wondered about her missing sister Nina for exactly the two years since Nina disappeared. People like her best friend Amanda want her to move on and forget, but she can't. She thinks about Nina every single day, especially when some sisters come into the coffee shop where she works in Edgebridge, IL. Then she finds a drawing made by her talented artist sister in a thrift store box, and her adventure begins. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

DEEPER by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams (Mystery/Adventure)
In this long-awaited sequel to TUNNELS, 14-year-old Will Burrows finally reunites with his best friend, Chester, and long-lost brother Cal. But that’s about the only good news. The three are now banished from the Colony, heading down to the dangerous Deeps. Will is determined to find his missing father, but in the chaotic war zone of the Deeps, mere survival becomes the first priority. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

FLYGIRL by Sherri L. Smith (Historical Fiction)
Ida Mae Jones wants to fly. Growing up as the daughter of a crop duster, she is introduced to planes at a young age. There is no other feeling more magical than soaring through the sky. But can Ida Mae fulfill her dream of being a pilot when she’s a black woman in the 1940s? When she learns of the special Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program created during World War II, Ida Mae is determined to join --- even if it means lying about who she really is. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

The only good thing about having a mother with cancer is that people are willing to let you get away with pretty much anything. But there’s one thing Edna is fairly certain even she can’t get away with --- her burgeoning romance with Mr. Howland, her fourth-period Ceramics teacher. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

BEYOND THE SMOKE by Terry W. Burns (Western)
When Bryan Wheeler’s parents are killed by Comanche raiders, he wonders how he will survive without them. With a few supplies, two guns and his mother’s Bible, he sets out to create a new life for himself in the western wilderness. But enemies lurk in the West, forcing Bryan to make difficult choices to survive. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

Author Interviews
Elizabeth Scott
Elizabeth Scott is the author of the acclaimed novels for teens BLOOM, PERFECT YOU, STEALING HEAVEN, LIVING DEAD GIRL and the newly released SOMETHING, MAYBE. In this interview with's Alexis Burling, Scott discusses how her main character, Hannah, deals with her less-than-ideal family life, and elaborates on the book's theme of failure and the difficulties of picking yourself back up again. She also comments on today's hyper-sexualized society and the treatment of celebrities in the public eye, and shares details about her upcoming tour and the three books she'll be publishing in 2010.

Francisco X. Stork
Francisco X. Stork is the author of three young adult titles: THE WAY OF THE JAGUAR, BEHIND THE EYES and the newly released MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD. In this interview with's Alexis Burling, Stork explains what inspired his main character's unique attributes and discusses the research he conducted in order to accurately paint a portrait of a young man suffering from a developmental disorder. He also elaborates on the concept of "large talk," sheds light on the sound advice given to Marcelo about "hearing the right note" and shares details about his next project due in stores next spring.

Siobhan Vivian
Inspired by her own high school experiences, Siobhan Vivian's second novel, SAME DIFFERENCE, revolves around a 16-year-old girl struggling to define herself during a summer away from home. In this interview with's Kristi Olson, Vivian elaborates on some of the book's main themes --- like the quest for self-discovery and how that search affects already well-established relationships --- and explains what draws her to write about friendships between girls. She also reveals some of the real-life counterparts to her characters, gives insight into her research and writing process, and shares details about her current project due out next year.

Special Features
SOMETHING, MAYBE by Elizabeth Scott (Fiction)
Hannah's got her hands full with her embarrassing parents, and after getting the wrong kind of attention for far too long, she's learned to stay out of sight.

Of course, that isn't helping her get gorgeous, confident Josh, who Hannah knows is her soul mate. Between figuring out a way to get Josh's attention, dealing with her parents, and wondering why she can't stop thinking about another guy, Finn, Hannah feels like she's going crazy. She's determined to get what she wants...only what she wants may not be what she needs.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SOMETHING, MAYBE.
- Click here to read Elizabeth Scott’s bio.

MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD by Francisco X. Stork (Fiction)
Marcelo Sandoval hears music that nobody else can hear --- part of an autism-like condition that no doctor has been able to identify. But his father has never fully believed in the music or Marcelo’s differences, and he challenges Marcelo to work in the mailroom of his law firm for the summer…to join the “real world.”

There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising co-worker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it’s a picture he finds in a file --- a picture of a girl with half a face --- that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice and what he can do to fight.

Reminiscent of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME in the intensity and purity of its voice, this extraordinary novel is a love story, legal drama and a celebration of the music each of us hears inside.
- Click here to read an excerpt from MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD.
- Click here to read Francisco X. Stork’s bio.

SAME DIFFERENCE by Siobhan Vivian (Fiction)
Sometimes, a girl just needs a change…

The last thing 16-year-old Emily wants is to pool hop and tan her way through another summer in Cherry Grove. Now that her best friend has a boyfriend, everything feels…different in a way Emily doesn’t quite understand. So when offered a spot at a prestigious art program in Philadelphia, Emily jumps at the chance to leave her hometown for a few hours a day.

But it takes more than a change of scenery and a new group of friends to discover yourself. As Emily bounces between a suburb where everyone tries to fit in and a city where everyone wants to be unique, she struggles to find her own identity. And while the rules may change, pressures remain the same. Friendships can be hard to navigate. Boys are both deeply mysterious and utterly predictable. And the line between right and wrong is always a little blurry.

In SAME DIFFERENCE, acclaimed author Siobhan Vivian paints a realistic and detailed picture of what it’s like to be a teenager --- including the joy, thrill and heartache we all experience when we’re figuring out who we really are.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SAME DIFFERENCE.
- Click here to read Siobhan Vivian’s bio.

Cool New Books
March’s roundup of Cool New Books includes WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson, the haunting story of a friendship frozen between life and death; MAX, the fifth installment in James Patterson’s high-flying Maximum Ride series; THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, a post-apocalyptic love story from debut author Carrie Ryan set in our world after a devastating virus spreads that causes the dead to walk and eat the living; SURFACE TENSION, Brent Runyon’s remarkable portrait of a boy at four distinct points in his life that literally shows readers his coming-of-age; and CITY OF GLASS, the final installment in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments trilogy, in which the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down their father.

New in Paperback
March’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes INK EXCHANGE, a follow-up to the New York Times bestseller WICKED LOVELY and the continuation of Melissa Marr’s tales of Faery; THE MIDNIGHT TWINS, Jacquelyn Mitchard’s spellbinding story of mirror twins born on either side of midnight, each of whom possesses unique powers; BEIGE, an edgy LA novel from Cecil Castellucci about a quiet, polite girl who spends part of her summer with her aging punk rocker father; HIT AND RUN by Lurlene McDaniel, in which the lives of four young people intersect when a hit-and-run accident leads to choices that cannot be undone; and CITY OF ASHES, the sequel to Cassandra Clare’s CITY OF BONES that takes readers back to New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

Click here to read the full newsletter.