Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 2009

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

Reviews and Excerpts
ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Sarah Dessen (Fiction)
When Auden accepts her new stepmother's invitation to visit, she amazes herself by accepting. Little does she know that this is the summer that will help her answer a few huge questions, such as "Can people really change?" and "Is there such a thing as a second chance?", as well as "Will I ever actually sleep at night?" In fact, Auden’s visit will transform her life. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon and excerpted.

THE SORCERESS: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 3 by Michael Scott (Fantasy)
Everyone believes it now. Josh and Sophie Newman are the twins of the prophecies. With Paris in ruins behind them, the Alchemyst Nicholas Flamel leads them to London, where he hopes to get them trained in Water Magic. While clear across the globe, the Sorceress Perenelle Flamel fights for her life against the best the Dark Elders can bring to destroy her. Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens and excerpted.

IF I STAY by Gayle Foreman (Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Mia had everything to live for --- a loving family, a beloved boyfriend, and her brilliant cello playing (and, very possibly, an acceptance to Juilliard). But everything changes during a tragic car accident. Now Mia hovers near the hospital bed where her physical body lies in a coma, weighing her options. Should she die, or should she stay? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

CHASING THE BEAR: A Young Spenser Novel, by Robert B. Parker (Fiction)
For almost 40 years, Robert B. Parker’s private investigator Spenser has been solving cases and selling millions of books worldwide. Now, for the first time, see how it all began as the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master sheds light on Spenser’s formative years spent with his father and two uncles out West. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

DESTROY ALL CARS by Blake Nelson (Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old James Hoff knows the only way to save the world is by destroying all cars. His ex-girlfriend, Sadie Kinnell, would rather use more peaceful tactics to save the environment. Told in essays and journal entries, James attempts to explain his disdain toward oil companies and his feelings toward Sadie. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

WOLF ISLAND: The Demonata, Book 8 by Darren Shan (Horror/Supernatural)
As the mysterious Shadow builds an army of demons in the eighth book of Darren Shan’s Demonata series, Grubbs Grady and his team search desperately for answers. But when they follow up a new lead, it takes them to an old, unexpected foe --- the Lambs. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

TOUCH by Francine Prose (Fiction)
Maisie Willard never thought it was strange that her three best friends were boys. Maisie, Kevin, Chris and Shakes were the four musketeers since preschool. Their friendship seemed unbreakable. So how can something that happened on the back of a school bus change everything? Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

BREATHLESS by Lurlene McDaniel (Fiction)
Travis Morrison is a high school champion diver complete with best friend, girlfriend, adoring little sister and a bright future. When his leg is amputated from bone cancer, each person takes a turn telling the story of what happens when people are faced with extreme circumstances and impossible decisions. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE REAL REAL by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (Fiction)
The senior class of Hampton High can't contain their excitement about their school being the new recruiting grounds for XTV, a major network that is filming a reality TV show starring a few lucky teens. Jesse O'Rourke is shocked to be chosen as a star and euphoric about getting the $40,000 college scholarship that comes with the deal. With her life turned upside down, Jesse will have to decide what the real is and the real real. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE SINGING: The Fourth Book of Pellinor, by Alison Croggon (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
In an increasingly battle-ravaged land, Maerad, Cadvan and Hem desperately search for one another as they make their separate journeys. The Black Army is advancing north, and even as Maerad faces a mighty confrontation with the Landrost to save Innail, all of the Seven Kingdoms are threatened with bitter and devastating defeat. Yet in Maerad and Hem lives the secret to the mysterious Singing, and legend holds that if they release the music of Elidhu together, they have the power to defeat the Nameless One. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

THE TWILIGHT PRISONER by Katherine Marsh (Fantasy)
Jack tries hard to fit in at his new school --- and tries even harder to win the affections of his classmate and friend, Cora. In an effort to impress her, Jack leads Cora to the entrance of the underworld and makes a terrible mistake. Soon they have crossed the threshold, and there may be no getting back. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

In Jenny Han’s second novel, everything changes --- sometimes not for the better --- during Belly’s usually predictable summer vacation. Jealousy, sexuality and loyalties collide when family friends don’t seem quite so brotherly anymore. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SPROUT by Dale Peck (Fiction)
Sprout Bradford has a secret. He’ll tell you he’s gay. He’ll tell you about his dad’s drinking and his mother’s death. The green fingerprints everywhere tell you when he last dyed his hair. But neither the reader nor Sprout are prepared for what happens when Sprout suddenly finds he has had a more profound effect on the lives around him than he ever thought possible. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin

PUNKZILLA by Adam Rapp (Fiction)
For a runaway boy who goes by the name "Punkzilla," kicking a meth habit and a life of petty crime in Portland, Oregon, is a prelude to a mission: reconnecting with his older brother, a gay man dying of cancer in Memphis. Against a backdrop of seedy motels, dicey bus stations and hitched rides, the desperate 14-year-old meets a colorful, sometimes dangerous cast of characters. And in letters to his sibling, he catalogs them all. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

A KISS IN TIME by Alex Flinn (Fiction)
A long time ago, in a European kingdom named Euphrasia, a witch places a curse on a princess, where by the young royal shall prick her finger on a spindle and sleep until a prince awakens her with a kiss. Three hundred years later in the present day, a teenager from America wanders into the kingdom and awakens the princess. But will two teens from such vastly different backgrounds be able to find their happily ever after? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

Author Interviews
Sarah Ockler
In this interview with Teenreads.com's Sarah A. Wood, Sarah Ockler discusses the true stories behind both the title and plot of her debut novel, TWENTY BOY SUMMER, and elaborates on some of its major themes, like friendship, honesty, peer pressure and keeping secrets. She also muses on why it's sometimes easier to trust strangers more than best friends, provides information on an organization near and dear to her heart, and shares details about her upcoming book, FIXING DELILAH HANNAFORD, which is due out next summer.

Michael Grant
Michael Grant's latest supernatural sci-fi project, the Gone series, introduces a new world in which everyone over the age of 15 has disappeared, and children and teens must learn to survive and fend for themselves amidst near chaos. In this interview with Teenreads.com’s Chris Shanley-Dillman, Grant talks about why he chose that particular age as the bridge between childhood and adulthood, and gives readers a sneak peak into the world of the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) by explaining his motivation for creating talking animals and characters with superhuman qualities. He also discusses his need to balance the books' entertainment with a sense of realism, provides "advice" to those looking to change themselves for the better, and hints at what is to come in the third installment of the series due out next year.

Melody Carlson
Melody Carlson is an award-winning Christian author who has penned almost 200 books for both adults and young readers, such as the True Colors and The Carter House Girls series. In this interview with Teenreads.com's Michele Howe, Carlson talks about her most recent book, IT'S A GREEN THING --- the second installment in the Diary of a Teenage Girl: Maya series --- and sheds light on some of the main characters’ thoughts and actions, such as her struggle with faith and her concern for the environment. She also explains why readers are attracted to this confessional format, elaborates on the hopeful message found at the end of the novel, and shares what she has in store for her characters next.

Lisa Mantchev
Lisa Mantchev's debut, EYES LIKE STARS, is the first installment in a new YA fantasy series, The Théâtre Illuminata Trilogy. In this interview with Teenreads.com's Alexis Burling, Mantchev discusses what inspired her to stage much of the book's plot in the form of a play and elaborates on the messages she hoped to relay from the characters and dialogue. She also imagines the perfect musical score to accompany the novel's prominent scenes, reveals some of her dream roles, and talks a bit about what readers can look forward to in Acts II and III of the series.

Special Features
TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler (Fiction)
A debut novel about friendship, first love and grief that will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen.

For 16-year-olds Anna Reiley and Frankie Perino, their 20 day-long, minimally supervised California vacation will be the "Absolute Best Summer Ever." And according to Frankie, if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance that Anna will get her first real boyfriend.

Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie --- she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Written in lyrical, accessible prose, TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone and what it truly means to grieve, and perhaps most importantly, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.
- Click here to read an excerpt from TWENTY BOY SUMMER
- Click here to read Sarah Ockler’s bio.

GONE by Michael Grant (Science Fiction)
Now Available in Paperback
In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.

Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. And just as suddenly there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to figure out what’s happened. And no way to get help.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents --- unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers --- that grow stronger by the day.

It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you will disappear just like everyone else.

HUNGER: A Gone Novel, by Michael Grant (Science Fiction)
It's been three months since everyone under the age of 15 became trapped in the bubble known as the FAYZ.

Three months since all the adults disappeared.


Food ran out weeks ago. Everyone is starving, but no one wants to figure out a solution. And each day, more and more kids are evolving, developing supernatural abilities that set them apart from the kids without powers.

Tension rises and chaos is descending upon the town. It's the normal kids against the mutants. Each kid is out for himself, and even the good ones turn murderous. But a larger problem looms. The Darkness, a sinister creature that has lived buried deep in the hills, begins calling to some of the teens in the FAYZ. Calling to them, guiding them, manipulating them.

The Darkness has awakened. And it is hungry.
- Browse inside GONE and HUNGER.
- Click here to read Michael Grant’s bio.

IT’S A GREEN THING: Diary of a Teenage Girl: Maya, Book 2 by Melody Carlson (Fiction)
With her mother in jail for drug possession and her pop-star father away on his comeback tour, 16-year-old Maya Stark’s new life with her uncle Allen and cousin Kim is coming together. Summer vacation is just beginning and things are finally starting to look up. But that doesn’t mean life is about to get any easier. Maya is still devoted to living Green, and her uncle offers her a Green column in his newspaper. But can Maya balance her newfound faith with her save-the-planet convictions?
- Click here to read more about IT’S A GREEN THING.
- Click here to read an excerpt from IT’S A GREEN THING.
- Click here to read Melody Carlson’s bio.

Win a Copy of SKELLIG: 10th-Anniversary Edition by David Almond
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of SKELLIG, a poignant and magical tale of love, life and death, Teenreads.com is giving away 3 copies of the special anniversary edition, which features a new cover and includes an exclusive new story about Mina. The book has won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature and is an amazing addition to any reader's library. To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Wednesday, August 19th at 11:59PM. You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

Series Books
The Théâtre Illuminata Trilogy
EYES LIKE STARS: The Théâtre Illuminata, Act I by Lisa Mantchev (Fiction)
Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theatre. She's not an orphan, but she has no parents. She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own. Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book --- an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family --- and she is about to lose them, and the only home she has ever known.

Lisa Mantchev has written a debut novel that is dramatic, romantic and witty, with an irresistible and irreverent cast of characters who are sure to enchant the audience.

Books into Movies
Our latest Books into Movies feature spotlights two highly anticipated films based on Teenreads.com faves. Already in theaters is My Sister's Keeper, starring Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin. Based on Jodi Picoult's emotional roller coaster of a novel, this guaranteed tear-jerker follows an 11-year-old girl as she seeks emancipation from her parents, who have been using her to keep her older, cancer-stricken sister alive. And in case you hadn't already marked your calendars and begun your countdown, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits the big screen on July 15th. The sixth installment of the epic good-vs.-evil saga promises plenty of magic, mystery, heart-pounding adventure and hair-raising suspense, not to mention some long-sought answers to dark secrets, raging teenage hormones and a jaw-dropping, gasp-worthy ending.

Cool New Books
June’s roundup of Cool New Books includes ALONG FOR THE RIDE, in which Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect; TWENTY BOY SUMMER, a compelling debut novel from Sarah Ockler about friendship, first love and letting go; KILLER, the sixth installment in Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series that finds Aria, Hanna, Spencer and Emily stumbling over a deadly new secret after a shocking discovery at the end of WICKED; JUST ANOTHER HERO, the stunning conclusion to Sharon M. Draper’s two-time Coretta Scott King Honor-winning trilogy (following THE BATTLE OF JERICHO and NOVEMBER BLUES); and PRISM by the mother-daughter writing team of Faye and Aliza Kellerman, a paranormal suspense novel in which three teens become trapped in a parallel universe where “survival of the fittest” takes on a deadly meaning.

New in Paperback
June’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes BLACK RABBIT SUMMER by Kevin Brooks, a compelling mystery and a profound exploration of the many subtle influences that can change --- and end --- relationships; WICKED, Sara Shepard’s fifth Pretty Little Liars book that finds the secrets only getting darker and the scandals juicier; BELIEVING, the thrilling second installment in Wendy Corsi Staub’s paranormal suspense series set in the mysterious town of Lily Dale; THE BOXER AND THE SPY, Robert B. Parker’s thought-provoking novel about a teen boy who investigates the apparent suicide of a high school student; and THE YEAR MY SISTER GOT LUCKY by Aimee Friedman, a humorous yet heartrending story of two sisters and the year they learn about life, love and 4H skills.

Click here to read the full newsletter.