Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 2009

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

Reviews and Excerpts
GOING BOVINE by Libba Bray (Fiction)
All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school --- and life in general --- with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he is sick and is going to die. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure --- if he’s willing to go in search of it. Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from GOING BOVINE.
- Click here to read Libba Bray’s blog post, “Why I Love Disney World.”

VIOLA IN REEL LIFE by Adriana Trigiani (Fiction
Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. There's no way she's going to survive the year. Boarding school, though, and her roommates and even the Midwest are nothing like she thought they would be. Reviewed by Lourdes Orive and excerpted.
- Click here to browse inside VIOLA IN REEL LIFE.

THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST by Rick Yancey (Gothic Horror)
An apprentice to a monstrumologist, or monster hunter, should be familiar with the strange and unexplainable. Twelve-year-old orphan Will Henry is no exception. When monsters that feed through mouths of sharp teeth located in their bellies start terrorizing a local town, Will Henry’s apprentice skills are put to the test. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST.

LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW by David Levithan (Fiction)
The lives of three teens are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him. Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt fom LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW.
- Click here to read a Q&A with David Levithan on the Blog.

TRICKS by Ellen Hopkins (Fiction)
Ellen Hopkins’s sixth novel in verse is a blistering account of five very different young people’s descent into the desperate, dangerous world of teenage prostitution. These moving stories remain separate at first, then interweave to tell a larger, powerful story --- a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down and growing up. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

FOREST BORN: The Books of Bayern, Book 4 by Shannon Hale (Fantasy)
The Books of Bayern series continues in this latest installment with Razo’s younger sister, Forest-born Rin, traveling to the city and meeting up with Isi, Enna and Dasha. A mysterious threat sends the four women on a journey full of self-discovery and the usual mix of humor and suspense. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.
- Click here to read Shannon Hale's blog post, "Shannon Hale on the Give-and-Take of Storytelling."
LIAR by Justine Larbalestier (Psychological Thriller)
Micah is a compulsive liar, but she’s making a concerted effort to tell the truth to you, the reader, after her boyfriend Zach is found murdered. But is she telling the truth? This novel shies away from nothing and plays with your mind the whole way through. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

NIGHT RUNNER by Max Turner (Fantasy)
Zack Thomson has spent almost his whole life in a mental ward that looks after his special condition. When a crazed old man breaks in and tells Zack to run, Zack is forced on a journey that has him confronting the truth --- vampires exist and he is one of them. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.
- Click here to read Max Turner’s blog post, “Max Turner on Writing the ‘Perfect Bad Guy.’”

RAGE: A Love Story, by Julie Anne Peters (Fiction)
Johanna dreams of finding love like her sister and her husband, or her friend Novak with her guy of the week. Unfortunately, she thinks that the girl she fantasizes about doesn’t know she’s alive. But then Reeve does notice her and things go really wrong. Author Julie Anne Peters garnered a National Book Award nomination for LUNA, her novel about a transgender character, and she tackles another tough subject here: dating abuse. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

THE GEORGES AND THE JEWELS by Jane Smiley (Fiction)
In the 1960s, seventh grader Abby Lovitt lives on a small California horse ranch with her strict but kind parents. Normally, Abby loves helping to train the horses and rarely does she encounter a problem that she can’t handle --- until she meets Ornery George. The two of them just can’t seem to speak the same language. But then an unusual man drops by and shows Abby another way to communicate with the horses. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS by Michelle Zink (Fantasy)
When Lia Milthorpe’s father dies, she thinks she’ll at least have her brother, Henry, and her twin sister, Alice, to share in her mourning. But when the siblings become parentless, Lia learns of an ancient prophecy that pits her and her twin against each other. As Lia struggles to battle ancient dark forces, she must also grapple with her position in the prophecy and decide whether she has free will in it all. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.
- Click here to read Michelle Zink’s blog post, “Outlines, Magic and Not Knowing.”

THE DEMON’S LEXICON by Sarah Rees Brennan (Urban Fantasy)
Sarah Rees Brennan’s debut novel introduces readers to a world of magicians and demons, possession and obsession --- and two memorable brothers who inhabit it. THE DEMON’S LEXICON will keep its audience guessing through a series of increasingly shocking revelations, including one that is a complete game-changer. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Graphic Novels and Manga
BLOODY KISS, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Kazuko Furumiya
When Kiyo inherits a rundown mansion from her grandmother, she doesn’t realize there are already boarders --- two handsome vampires who quickly decide that Kiyo should become a vampire’s bride. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

CANON, Volumes 3 and 4 written and illustrated by Chika Shiomi
Canon finds the vampire who killed her friends and turned her into a vampire herself. But what used to be obvious is now confusing, and not everyone is telling her the truth. She starts to realize that what she believed was true is actually a lie. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

THE TAROT CAFE, Volumes 1-3 written and illustrated by Sang-Sun Park
Pamela, who was born in Scotland hundreds of years ago, helps people --- and mythical creatures --- by giving them tarot readings. The artwork in The Tarot Café series is amazing. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

SARASAH, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Ryu Ryang
Ji-Hae has no luck getting love in modern-day Korea. Then a goddess sends her back in time more than a thousand years for another shot at romance. Hopefully things will work out better this time! Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

Author Interviews
Michelle Moran
Michelle Moran is the bestselling author of three works of historical fiction --- NEFERTITI, THE HERETIC'S QUEEN and the newly released CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER --- each of which is centered on legendary princesses of ancient Egypt. In this interview with's Melanie Smith, Moran recalls the college experience that sparked her interest in this particular time and setting, and recounts the moments of inspiration that prompted her to write each of her books. She also provides some background information on her characters, shares what she hopes readers will take away from her work, and reveals which historical era she will focus on in her next novel.

Kazu Kibuishi
Comic book artist Kazu Kibuishi is the founder and editor of the comic anthology Flight, as well as the creator of Amulet, a young adult graphic novel series about two children who must rescue their mother, taken captive by a dangerous creature inhabiting a sinister underground world found below the basement of the great-grandfather's home. In this interview with's John Hogan, Kibuishi provides insight into the process of creating the series and credits the legendary film The Empire Strikes Back as a source of inspiration for its newly released second installment, THE STONEKEEPER'S CURSE. He also discusses his background in animation, recalls some of the first comics he enjoyed as a child, and shares details about projects currently in the works.

Author Talk
Suzanne Collins
Suzanne Collins's latest book, CATCHING FIRE, revisits the dystopian world of Panem and its victorious tributes Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, first introduced in the 2008 bestseller THE HUNGER GAMES. In this updated interview, Collins discusses the various sources --- ranging from Greek mythology to reality television --- that inspired the plot of this futuristic sci-fi trilogy and explains how her father's stories from her childhood helped her with elements of the novel's plot, themes and characters. She also gives readers insight into how she has mapped out plot and character developments for each book, shares what she found most surprising about the feedback she received from fans, and imagines what her own special skill would be if she was ever required to participate in the Games.

Special Features
CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins (Science Fiction/Fantasy)
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
- Click here to read an excerpt from CATCHING FIRE.
- Click here to read Suzanne Collins’s bio.

CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER by Michelle Moran (Historical Fiction)
The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two --- the 10-year-old twins Selene and Alexander --- survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.

The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER, a fascinating portrait of imperial Rome and of the people and events of this glorious and most tumultuous period in human history. Emerging from the shadows of the past, Selene, a young woman of irresistible charm and preternatural intelligence, will capture your heart.
- Click here to read an excerpt from CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER.
- Click here to read Michelle Moran’s bio.
- Click here to read Michell Moran's blog post, "Why Cleopatra's Daughter?"

LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES written by Laini Taylor and illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo (Supernatural Romance/Short Stories)
Three tales of supernatural love that all hinge on a life-changing kiss.

Everyone dreams of getting the kiss of a lifetime --- but what if that kiss carried some unexpected consequences? A girl who’s always been in the shadows finds herself pursued by the unbelievably attractive new boy at school, who may or may not be the death of her. Another girl grows up mute because of a curse placed on her by a vindictive spirit, and later must decide whether to utter her first words to the boy she loves and risk killing everyone who hears her if the curse is real. And a third girl discovers that the real reason for her transient life with her mother has to do with belonging --- literally belonging --- to another world entirely, full of dreaded creatures who can transform into animals, and whose queen keeps little girls as personal pets until they grow to child-bearing age.

From a writer of unparalleled imagination and emotional insight, three stories about the deliciousness of wanting and waiting for that moment when lips touch.
- Click here to read an excerpt from LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES.
- Click here to read Laini Taylor’s bio.

THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner (Science Fiction)
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade --- a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up --- the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.
- Click here to read all the contest details.
- Click here to read Chapters 1-9 online!

Feature and Contest
GREEN: The Circle, Book Zero: The Beginning and the End, by Ted Dekker (Fantasy/Suspense)
At Last…The Circle Reborn

The story of how Thomas Hunter first entered the Black Forest and forever changed our history began at a time when armies were gathered for a final battle in the valley of Migdon. GREEN is a story of love, betrayal and sweeping reversals set within the apocalypse. It is the beginning: the truth behind a saga that has captured the imagination of more than a million readers with the Books of History Chronicles.

But even more, GREEN brings full meaning to the Circle Series as a whole, reading as both prequel to BLACK and sequel to WHITE, completing a full circle. This is Book Zero, the Circle Reborn, both the beginning and the end. The preferred starting point for new readers…and the perfect climax for the countless fans who’ve experienced BLACK, RED and WHITE.
- Click here to read all the contest details.
- Click here to read Ted Dekker’s bio.

AMULET, BOOK TWO: THE STONEKEEPER’S CURSE written and illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi (Graphic Novel)
Emily and Navin’s mother is in grave danger, and there’s only one place to find help: Kanalis, the bustling, beautiful city of waterfalls. Leon Redbeard, a mysterious fox, joins Emily, Navin and Miskit on their journey, as they are pursued by the Elf King’s son, Trellis, and his dangerous guard. In order to save them all, Emily has to unleash the power of the amulet --- but can she do so without destroying herself?
- Click here to read all the contest details.
- Click here to read Kazu Kibuishi’s bio.

Cool New Books Roundup
September’s roundup of Cool New Books includes CATCHING FIRE, the powerful second installment in Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games Trilogy, which continues the amazing story of Katniss Everdeen; GOING BOVINE by Libba Bray, in which a 16-year-old who just wants to get through high school finds out he’s dying of mad cow disease; THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST, a gothic tour de force from critically acclaimed author Rick Yancey that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does a man become the very thing he hunts?; FOREST BORN, the fourth title in Shannon Hale’s The Books of Bayern series, an emotionally wrenching journey of self-discovery set in the magical and alluring world first encountered in THE GOOSE GIRL; and VIOLA IN REEL LIFE, Adriana Trigiani’s novel about a group of boarding school friends navigating the ups and downs of living together, falling in love, and following their dreams.

New in Paperback
September’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes ENVY, the third installment in the Luxe series, Anna Godbersen’s thrilling saga of romance, scandal and intrigue in the Gilded Age; PAPER TOWNS, which marks the highly anticipated return of Printz Medalist John Green in an irresistible plot combining a friendship tale, a road trip and a mystery; Shannon Hale’s BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS, a unique retelling of a little-known Grimm’s fairy tale filled with adventure, romance, drama and disguise; CONNECTING, a continuation of Wendy Corsi Staub’s paranormal suspense series, in which Calla finally uncovers the mystery behind her mother’s death; and LIVING DEAD GIRL, Elizabeth Scott's deeply disturbing and heart-wrenching novel about a girl who suffers indescribable physical and mental abuse at the hands of her abductor.

Click here to read the full newsletter.