Thursday, April 30, 2009

April 2009

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

Also mentioned in the Newsletter Opener, which can be read here:

FLIPPING THE SCRIPT: A Del Rio Bay Novel by Paula Chase

Reviews and Excerpts
BLOODHOUND: A TORTALL LEGEND: Beka Cooper, Book Two by Tamora Pierce (Fantasy)
Tamora Pierce novels have the reputation of grabbing readers by the gullet and speedily whisking them deep into the belly of the story right off the bat. There is usually no lack of entertainment or intrigue in a work by Pierce, and her new title, BLOODHOUND, lives up to expectations. Fans will be thrilled with Beka Cooper’s maturity, the respect she now has among the Guards where she works as a “Dog” (policewoman), and the interesting adventure she engages in as she wades waist-high (literally) into the center of a crime syndicate, trying to uncover the source of counterfeit monies infesting the Lower City. Reviewed by Joy Held and excerpted.

THIRTEENTH CHILD by Patricia C. Wrede (Fantasy)
Eff is the twin of a magical and powerful double-seven son, which makes her an unlucky and cursed thirteenth child. After her family moves to the wild frontier, Eff struggles with starting a new life and avoiding the catastrophe that potentially awaits her and those she cares about the most. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

Catherine Jinks offers up the anecdote to other vampire novels with THE REFORMED VAMPIRE SUPPORT GROUP, a laugh-out-loud noir comedy that skewers the conventions of popular vampire romances while satirizing contemporary support-group culture. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF CHARLEY DARWIN by Carolyn Meyer (Historical Fiction)
Young Charley Darwin hated school --- he much preferred to be outside studying birds' eggs, feathers and insects. And so, at the age of 21, he boarded a ship called HMS Beagle and spent five thrilling but dangerous years sailing around the world, studying plant and animal life that was beyond anything he could have imagined. Historical novelist Carolyn Meyer tells the story of his unconventional adventures. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

A MAP OF THE KNOWN WORLD by Lisa Ann Sandell (Fiction)
Cora is an artist, and she especially needs to use art as an escape after her brother dies in a car crash. Her parents are distant, and her best friend no longer understands how to talk to her. While Cora struggles through her first year in high school, she finds a friend and an art form in a surprising place. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

SWIM THE FLY by Don Calame (Fiction)
Best friends Matt Gratton, Coop and Sean always set a goal for themselves each summer. This year Coop has come up with the best one so far: to see a “real, live naked girl” for the first time. Matt doesn’t think they will find a way to achieve it, but the trio creates several elaborate plans to make their dream come true. Most of them fail, but one “fool proof” idea actually succeeds. Sort of. Reviewed by Christine Irvin.

SOPHOMORE SWITCH by Abby McDonald (Fiction)
When UC Santa Barbara student Tasha's extremely scantily-clad body is filmed in a scandalous hot tub scene (and then plastered all over the tabloids and entertainment news shows), she trades places for a semester with Oxford University student Emily Lewis. Both girls are quite out of their element as they forge new identities for themselves. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

WILLOW by Julia Hoban (Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Willow Randall is the new girl in school. She is living with her older brother because she is now an orphan. Her parents are both dead, and she blames herself for their demise. It was a horrible accident, but that doesn’t ease the pain of their loss or her guilt. The only thing that does is “the cutting.” Reviewed by Christine Irvin.

BASEBALL GREAT by Tim Green (Fiction)
Josh’s dad signs him up with Coach Rocky Valentine's youth championship team, the Titans. As he gets in deeper with the team, there are questions he needs to ask. As Josh and his new friend Jaden investigate their suspicions, they find themselves in a dangerous struggle with a desperate man who doesn't want them to expose the nasty secrets they uncover. Reviewed by Joy Held.

THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT by Julie Berry (Fantasy/Romance)
Fifteen-year-old Lucinda Chapdelaine’s life has been filled with disappointment, depression and despair. Ever since her parents died in a carriage accident, she has had to stay with her uncle and his cruel wife, toiling away the hours in their goldsmith shop. But everything changes the day the woman rumored to be a witch walks into the shop. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

ALIS by Naomi Rich (Fiction)
In this novel set sometime in the distant past, Alis, just 14 years old, has just been informed that she will marry her religious community's 40-year-old preacher. Alis is determined she will not, but her escape finds her in a multitude of gripping scenarios, including mortal danger. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

EVERYTHING IS FINE. by Ann Dee Ellis (Fiction)
Stuck at home caring for her severely depressed mother and abandoned by her father, Mazzy has only the day-to-day dramas of her neighborhood to keep her busy. But between flirting with the boy next door and worrying about the fact that she's flat-chested, Mazzy has to face the fact that her mom is emotionally paralyzed by a family tragedy. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU by Heather Duffy Stone (Fiction)
Nadio and his twin sister, Noelle, always had a unique bond. And somehow, Keeley Shipley fit perfectly into their world. But when Keeley spends the summer in England, she comes home changed, haunted by a dark memory. As she and Nadio fall in love, they try to hide it from Noelle, who's jealously guarding a secret of her own. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

Author Interview
Andrew Klavan
Andrew Klavan is the author of over 20 mysteries and psychological thrillers for adults, such as THE ANIMAL HOUR, TRUE CRIME and DON'T SAY A WORD. He recently tried his hand at writing for teen audiences, publishing THE LAST THING I REMEMBER, the first installment in a new series called The Homelanders. In this interview with's Sarah A. Wood, Klavan describes what prompted him to focus on younger readers and discusses some of the themes of the book, such as struggling with identity and values, the idea of muscular pacifism, and the still-present effects of 9/11. He also explains how his previous career in journalism affects his work as a novelist, shares his own experiences with martial arts training, and reveals what readers can expect from the second book in the series.

Author Talk
Anthony Horowitz
Anthony Horowitz's latest novel, NECROPOLIS, is the fourth book of The Gatekeepers, a fantasy series that chronicles the adventures of a group of gifted children on a quest to save the world from the forces of evil. In this interview, Horowitz describes how a nightmare inspired the series' villains, The Old Ones, and discusses why --- despite writing about fantastical elements like magic and witchcraft --- he chose to set his books in the real world. He also explains some of the challenges he encountered while writing from the perspective of a young girl, reveals the real-life counterparts to some of his characters, and shares details about what he has planned for the fifth and final installment of the series.

Special Features
NECROPOLIS: Book Four of The Gatekeepers, by Anthony Horowitz (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
As the fourth novel in the spellbinding Gatekeepers series begins, the world is under the greatest threat it’s ever known. The evil corporation Nightrise has amassed an immense amount of power…and the devastating force of the Old Ones is about to be unleashed around the globe. To stop this from happening, Matt and three of the Gatekeepers head to Hong Kong --- not just the modern city of skyscrapers and wealth, but the secretive underworld beneath. In Hong Kong they will meet the final Gatekeeper, a girl named Scarlet, whose fate is inextricably joined to their own. is offering 10 readers the chance to win a copy of NECROPOLIS. To enter, please fill out this form by Tuesday, June 23rd.
- Click here for all the contest details.
- Click here to read an excerpt from NECROPOLIS.
- Click here to read an interview with Anthony Horowitz.
- Click here to read Anthony Horowitz’s bio.

Now Available in Paperback
Junior is a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian reservation. Born with a variety of medical problems, he is picked on by everyone but his best friend. Determined to receive a good education, Junior leaves the rez to attend an all-white school in the neighboring farm town where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Despite being condemned as a traitor to his people and enduring great tragedies, Junior attacks life with wit and humor and discovers a strength inside of himself that he never knew existed.

Written with raw emotion by acclaimed writer Sherman Alexie, the National Book Award-winning novel THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one unlucky boy trying to rise above the life everyone expects him to live.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN.
- Click here to read Sherman Alexie’s bio.
- Click here for an audio excerpt of Sherman Alexie reading from THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN.

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 our interview with Elizabeth Scott.
- Click here to read Elizabeth Scott’s bio.

Series Books
P.S. I LOATHE YOU: The Clique #10 by Lisi Harrison (Fiction)
Change --- and swarms of pigeons --- fills the air at the Briarwood-Octavian Country Day School campus. Ever since the Briarwood boys “crashed” the OCD, things have not been the same. Soccer players, overflow trailers, boy crushes --- oh my! The Pretty Committee still rules, and Massie is still in control. Or is she? Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

STRANGE ANGELS by Lili St. Crow (Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy)
Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.)

Then her dad turns up dead --- but still walking --- and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever --- or whoever --- is hunting her?

Cool New Books
April's roundup of Cool New Books includes BLOODHOUND, the second installment in Tamora Pierce's trilogy featuring Beka Cooper, a medieval equivalent of a police officer with magical powers; FRAGILE ETERNITY, Melissa Marr's third mesmerizing tale of Faerie (following WICKED LOVELY and INK EXCHANGE); THIRTEENTH CHILD, which kicks off a new trilogy from Patricia C. Wrede, who creates an alternate history of westward expansion; THE REFORMED VAMPIRE SUPPORT GROUP, a new Catherine Jinks novel about vampires who must give up fanging people, admit their addiction, join a support group and reform themselves; and IF I STAY by Gayle Forman, the emotionally gripping story of a 17-year-old whose life changes in an instant when she's involved in an accident that kills her parents and little brother.

New in Paperback
April's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE SWEET FAR THING, the extraordinary conclusion to Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy; the National Book Award-winning THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie, a semi-autobiographical novel that chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to escape the life he was destined to live; AIRHEAD, in which Meg Cabot introduces readers to a 16-year-old girl whose appearance changes drastically as the result of a mysterious accident; EXTRAS, a continuation of Scott Westerfeld's award-winning Uglies series that is set in a world where social status is constantly monitored and rated; Carolyn Mackler's GUYAHOLIC, which centers on Vivienne Valentine (from VEGAN VIRGIN VALENTINE) and her own misadventures through life, love and a cross-country road trip; and SUNRISE OVER FALLUJAH, a powerful novel from Walter Dean Myers about the heroics and horror of war, as seen through the eyes of a young recruit from Harlem.

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