Monday, July 27, 2009

July 2009

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

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

SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson
WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson
IT IS WHAT IT IS by Nikki Carter
AFTER THE MOMENT by Garret Freymann-Weyr

Reviews and Excerpts
WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead (Fiction)
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda begins receiving mysterious notes --- notes that will change her life forever. Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from WHEN YOU REACH ME.

L.A. CANDY by Lauren Conrad (Fiction)
BFFs Jane and Scarlett just moved to glamorous L.A. Pretty, good-girl Jane will intern for a top event planner, while gorgeous, smart Scarlett will attend U.S.C. But their plans take a wild turn when they’re recruited to star in a hit reality TV show. Now the girls have to cope with cameras, backstabbing co-stars and crazy new relationships. Will fame change them for better or worse? Reviewed by Meredyth Temple and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from L.A. CANDY.

BLUE MOON: The Immortals, Book 2 by Alyson Noël (Paranormal Romance)
Just as Ever Bloom is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him. As Ever’s powers are increasing, Damen’s are fading --- stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his life. Desperate to save him, Ever travels to the mystical dimension of Summerland. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE TREASURE MAP OF BOYS: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon --- and Me, Ruby Oliver, by E. Lockhart (Fiction)
In E. Lockhart’s third novel starring Ruby Oliver (following THE BOYFRIEND LIST and THE BOY BOOK), the lovably neurotic high school junior organizes a bake sale, tries to negotiate rocky romantic terrain, and, as always, wants desperately to do the right thing. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

GORGEOUS by Rachel Vail (Fiction)
In a town where everyone is rich and beautiful, Allison Avery is starting to stand out. Unlike her gorgeous sisters, Allison is “interesting looking” --- according to her grandmother --- and now with her mom’s lucrative job on the line, it looks like her family’s privileged life is over too. It’s time for things to change, but how far is Allison willing to go? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

ANGRY MANAGEMENT by Chris Crutcher (Fiction)
Ever wonder what happened to Sarah Byrnes? What about some of the minor characters in WHALE TALK? The influential counselor Mr. Nak is back to lead a new Angry Management group as Chris Crutcher revisits some of his most infamous characters in three new novellas. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

VAMPIRE KISSES 6: ROYAL BLOOD by Ellen Schreiber (Paranormal Romance)
Summer break is over, and Raven is hardly eager to be returning to Dullsville High. Not only does school mean daily interaction with preppy pest Trevor Mitchell, but her sleep-filled days and romantic nights with her immortal boyfriend, Alexander, must come to an end. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

THE WATERS & THE WILD by Francesca Lia Block (Fiction)
Thirteen-year-old Bee has never felt like she’s belonged, and her isolation has led to loneliness and depression. One day her feelings are confirmed when she wakes up and finds an exact double of herself standing in her room. The stranger whispers “You are me” and then she disappears. But Bee knows she’ll be back. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

LOVE YOU HATE YOU MISS YOU by Elizabeth Scott (Fiction)
Seventy-five days after the tragic death of her best friend, Amy struggles to figure out how she can go on without Julia. She is also fresh out of Pinewood, a rehab center, where she spent some time following the car accident. Now sober, sad and friendless, Amy must figure out how to live her new life and deal with her overwhelming guilt. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

VACATIONS FROM HELL by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Mlynowski (Fantasy/Horror Anthology)
In this collection, five popular authors --- Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson and Sarah Mlynowski --- tell supernatural tales of vacations gone awry. From light and funny to dark and creepy, these stories have something for everyone. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

DAYS OF LITTLE TEXAS by R. A. Nelson (Fiction)
Sixteen-year-old Little Texas is facing his biggest challenge as a young charismatic revival preacher --- evil itself. Will a mysterious ghost of a girl he failed to heal be able to help in his mission? Or will this experience reveal what Little Texas is most afraid of --- that he’s a fraud? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

NO SUCH THING AS THE REAL WORLD by M. T. Anderson, K. L. Going, Beth Kephart, Chris Lynch, An Na and Jacqueline Woodson (Fiction/Short Stories)
What's the line that separates childhood from the "real world"? And what happens when the "real world" is nothing you imagined it would be? Six award-winning authors --- M. T. Anderson, K. L. Going, Beth Kephart, Chris Lynch, An Na and Jacqueline Woodson --- tackle the subject of the "real world" in this collection of pieces about graduation, suicide, pregnancy, death, pain, love and loss. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

PRISM by Faye Kellerman and Aliza Kellerman (Paranormal Suspense)
Purple-haired sophomore Kaida Hutchenson isn’t looking forward to a class trip to Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico. But after a fiery crash in the desert, Kaida is plunged into a world of darkness then light and wakes up in a parallel universe with a whole new set of problems. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

FOOTBALL CHAMP by Tim Green (Fiction)
When Troy White proved his remarkable "football genius" to the Atlanta Falcons, they brought him on board as a team consultant. Now, thanks to Troy's ability to predict winning plays, the Falcons are pulling in victories. Troy is thrilled to have NFL star linebacker Seth Halloway (who's dating Troy's mom) to coach his own Duluth Tigers team on their way to a state championship. But then Troy's perfect world comes crashing down. Reviewed by Joy Held.

SIDESHOW: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes (Fiction Anthology)
While the term “freak” is casually tossed off these days as a minor insult, in the not-so-recent past it had stronger connotations. In SIDESHOW, 10 writers and writer-illustrators explore the oddity and attraction of freaks. Edited by Deborah Noyes, the short stories and short comics in this collection are intriguing, mysterious, clever, sometimes funny and always thoughtful. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.
- Click here to read Deborah Noyes's blog post, "Are You Odd? Step Up!"

Karl Shoemaker’s one goal for his senior year of high school is to be normal. He’s finding normalcy difficult, though, with an alcoholic mother and a spot in group therapy at school. Will he be able to survive the year --- or the first week --- when abnormal is the way of life? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

Author Interview
Lizzie Skurnick
Author/poet/blogger Lizzie Skurnick's new book, SHELF DISCOVERY, is a collection of essays that sprung from a column she writes for the women's blog Jezebel, in which she revisits and deconstructs old favorite YA books from her childhood and adolescence. In this interview with's Sarah A. Wood, Skurnick discusses the origins of the column and explains why she chose the specific novels she included in the book. She also muses on the positive messages she hopes young girls can learn from both these older teen reads and current YA titles, shares her thoughts on how the act of reading in general can enrich people's lives, and offers advice for those aspiring toward careers in writing and publishing.

Special Features
SHELF DISCOVERY: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading, by Lizzie Skurnick (Memoir)
Remember that book you read at that time in your life when everything seemed to be going crazy --- the one book that brought the world into focus and helped soothe your raging teenage angst?

From Laura Lippman’s Foreword
“Some people are baffled by re-reading. What’s the point? There’s so much else to read. With these essays, Lizzie Skurnick has answered those questions. It’s as if a kindly psychiatrist suddenly appeared with a sheaf of missing brain scans. Do you giggle when someone tells you to ‘sit here for the present’? You are channeling Ramona Quimby, who turned those simple words into a daunting challenge. Does the mere mention of a mink-trimmed coat make you secretly swoon, even though you are rabidly anti-fur? You have ‘A Little Princess’ complex. Do you long to cover your enemies with leeches? You’re having a ‘Little House’ flashback…. So stretch out on Dr. Lizzie’s couch and find out why you think it would be kind of cozy to be locked up in an attic with your brother. Or learn to dissect the subtle class consciousness of Judy Blume’s New Jersey. Ponder the way that Lois Duncan’s characters come into unexpected powers, natural and supernatural alike, as they enter adolescence.”
And most of all, enjoy.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SHELF DISCOVERY.
- Click here to read Lizzie Skurnick’s bio.

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.

IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin (Romantic Suspense/Fantasy)
Inspired by the ballad “Scarborough Fair,” this riveting novel combines suspense, fantasy, and romance for an intensely page-turning and masterfully original tale.

Lucy Scarborough 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 fall into madness upon their child’s birth. Unless she can complete these tasks, Lucy will go mad, just like her mother and all the Scarborough women before her. 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. As they struggle to make sense of the puzzle in the ballad and play by the dangerously important rules, time is slipping away and Lucy’s fate hangs in the balance. Do they have love and strength enough to overcome an age-old evil?
- Click here to read all the contest details.
- Click here to read an excerpt from IMPOSSIBLE.
- Click here to read Nancy Werlin’s bio.

SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater (Supernatural Romance)
For years Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf --- her wolf --- is a haunting presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human…until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears and the temperature drops, Sam must fight to stay human --- or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
- Click here to read all the contest details.

SKELLIG: 10th-Anniversary Edition, by David Almond (Fiction)
Ten-year-old Michael was looking forward to moving into a new house. But now his baby sister is ill, his parents are frantic, and Doctor Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then he steps into the crumbling garage…. What is this thing beneath the spiders' webs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never before seen? The only person Michael can confide in is his new friend, Mina. Together, they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael's world changes forever.
- Click here to read all the contest details.

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.

Cool New Books
July’s roundup of Cool New Books includes WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead, a thought-provoking and compelling novel in which four mysterious letters change a sixth-grader’s world forever; BLUE MOON, the highly anticipated sequel to Alyson Noël’s EVERMORE, which finds Ever Bloom eager to learn everything she can about her new abilities as an Immortal; BOYS R US, the 11th installment in Lisi Harrison’s Clique series that deals with the consequences of the Pretty Committee’s announcement deeming its boyfast null and void; THE TREASURE MAP OF BOYS by E. Lockhart, a companion novel to THE BOYFRIEND LIST and THE BOY BOOK; R. A. Nelson’s DAYS OF LITTLE TEXAS, a ghostly love story that centers on Ronald Earl, who at the age of 10 became the electrifying “boy wonder” preacher known as Little Texas; and SIDESHOW, a collection of 10 original tales edited by Deborah Noyes in which freaks, magicians, psychics and the passing strange take center stage.

New in Paperback
Internal and external struggle, and, eventually, peaceful resolution, are the key ingredients in the heady potion that is HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. The final installment in J. K. Rowling’s classic series is now available in paperback.

July’s roundup of New in Paperback titles also includes REVELATIONS, the third installment in Melissa de la Cruz’s spine-tingling series that finds the Blue Bloods dealing with darker forces as the danger of the Silver Bloods lurks; IVY by Julie Hearn, an engrossing odyssey into gritty 19th-century London that introduces the youngest in a family of thieves, con artists and roustabouts; THE RESTLESS DEAD, an anthology of creepy stories edited by Deborah Noyes guaranteed to make readers think twice about every bump in the night; and Marcus Sedgwick’s MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING, in which a woodcutter's son in 17th-century Europe must solve the riddle of his father's mysterious past to save a nearby village when the dead begin returning from the grave.

Click here to read the full newsletter.