Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 2010

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

Reviews and Excerpts
WISH by Alexandra Bullen (Urban Fantasy)
For broken-hearted Olivia Larsen, nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone...until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep. This dress has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from WISH.

CAPTIVATE by Carrie Jones (Paranormal Romance)
Zara White and her friends continue to battle the evil pixies, feeling as if they are finally making a dent in the problem. But then even more pixies begin to arrive, including two new pixie kings intent on taking over the weakened territory. One swears to Zara that he is different, that he is not evil. Does Zara dare trust him? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from CAPTIVATE.

THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer R. Hubbard (Fiction)
Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one --- not even Julia’s boyfriend --- knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy Reviewed by Amy Alessio and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE SECRET YEAR.

NUM8ERS by Rachel Ward (Urban Fantasy)
Ever since she was a child, Jem has kept a secret. Whenever she meets someone new, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head --- the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

ASHES by Kathryn Lasky (Historical Fiction)
Thirteen-year-old Gabriella Schramm’s favorite pastime is reading. With Adolf Hitler slowly but unstoppably rising to power, Gaby turns to her books for comfort while the world around her changes dramatically. When Gaby’s beloved books come under attack, she fears she may have to leave behind the fiction --- and the life --- she has always cherished. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

AFTER EVER AFTER by Jordan Sonnenblick (Fiction)
Surviving leukemia is one thing. Surviving eighth grade is a whole different beast. Cancer survivor Jeffrey Alper, first introduced in DRUMS, GIRLS & DANGEROUS PIE, has his work cut out for him if he ever wants to make it to high school unscathed. Find out what happens after ever after. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THEY NEVER CAME BACK by Caroline B. Cooney (Mystery)
In a busy school cafeteria, a teenage girl is confronted by a classmate who questions her identity. He explains to the students who have crowded around that the girl bears an uncanny resemblance to his cousin, who was taken away by social services five years ago. The girl shrugs off the attention as a case of mistaken identity, but as the days pass, the boy refuses to relent. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

FLIGHTSEND by Linda Newbery (Fiction)
Flightsend is a remote countryside cottage, named for what it is to people: a refuge where those who need it can find some peace and an end to their wandering. Now that Kathy has lost her baby girl and the idyllic life she once dreamed of, she's hell-bent on distancing herself and her daughter, Charlie, trying to recover some of the peace they've lost. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.
- Click here to read Linda Newbery’s Teenreads.com blog post, “Linda Newbery on the Faces and Places of FLIGHTSEND.”

FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK by Melina Marchetta (Fantasy)
Ten years after the five days of the unspeakable, when the royal family of Lumatere was brutally murdered and the country torn apart, Finnikin of the Rock is on a mission to reclaim his homeland. He finds unexpected help in Evanjalin, who claims to know how to find a surviving royal child through her dreams. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE GIRL WITH THE MERMAID HAIR by Delia Ephron (Fiction)
Sukie Jamieson is obsessed with her appearance. So when her mother gives her a full-length mirror that once belonged to her grandmother, she is so thrilled that she doesn’t listen to her mother’s warning: “This mirror will be your best friend and worst enemy.” As Sukie discovers, mirrors show not only the faraway truth but the truth close up. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

A MATCH MADE IN HIGH SCHOOL by Kristin Walker (Fiction)
Fiona has the world's worst luck. She is trapped in a ridiculous but mandatory "marriage" with Todd Harding, the jock intent on humiliating her. Meanwhile, Amanda, Todd's air-headed girlfriend, is paired up in the marriage class with Gabe, Fiona's lifetime crush. But what Fiona learns --- about friendship, boys and herself --- just may transcend her faux vow woes. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

GOOD FORTUNE by Noni Carter (Historical Fiction)
Ayanna Bahati was born in Africa, as free as a bird in the sky. At just four years old, she is torn from her home and shipped to America as a slave. At 14, she escapes the plantation and runs north towards freedom. But even the scars on her back and the wounds in her heart won’t kill her dreams of achieving the next step in freedom: getting an education. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

Graphic Novels and Manga
INVINCIBLE, Volume 11: HAPPY DAYS written by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Ryan Ottley and Cliff Rathburn
Invinciblecontinues his high-flying adventures, which entail fighting deadly villains, working out the ups and downs of dating, and dealing with a terrible event in the life of his very first girlfriend. Reviewed by John Hogan.

LUDWIG II, Volume 1 written and illustrated by You Higuri
It is the mid-19th century, and a remarkably beautiful 18-year-old has been crowned King Ludwig II of Bavaria. In the midst of a confrontation with Prussia and Austria, Ludwig II retreats from reality into an exquisite world colored by the music of Wagner. Reviewed by Casey Brienza.

LUDWIG II, Volume 2 written and illustrated by You Higuri
The kingdom of Bavaria was absorbed into the German Empire during the latter half of the 19th century. The stunningly handsome king of Bavaria --- who never married and who would have operas and plays privately staged for him --- wandered between fantasy and reality, alone in his extravagant crystal palace. Now we reach the final act of his drama Reviewed by Courtney Kraft.

THE DEVIL’S TRILL written and illustrated by Sooyeon Won
THE DEVIL’S TRILL brings us two supernatural stories. In one, a vampire tries to be with the woman who makes him happy; in the other, a jeweler makes an unfortunate deal to be young again Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

Recent Bookreporter.com Titles Perfect for Teens
NOT MY DAUGHTER by Barbara Delinsky (Fiction)
The emotional ties between mothers and daughters are stretched to breaking in this emotionally wrenching story of love and forgiveness. Once again, Barbara Delinsky has given us a powerful novel, one that asks a central question: What does it take to be a good mother? Reviewed by Jennifer McCord and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from NOT MY DAUGHTER.

SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT by Beth Hoffman (Fiction)
Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman's sparkling debut is, as New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah says, "packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart." It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others. Reviewed by Jamie Layton and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT.

ALICE I HAVE BEEN by Melanie Benjamin (Historical Fiction)
Few works of literature are as universally beloved as ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole --- and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling. Reviewed by Alexis Burling and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from ALICE I HAVE BEEN.

Author Interviews
Julie Anne Peters
Julie Anne Peters is the author of over a dozen books that often deal with “controversial” issues faced by children and teens regarding sexual identity, abuse, destructive relationships and problematic family dynamics. Her latest teen novel, BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I’LL BE DEAD, follows a suicidal high school student who has been the victim of peer bullying for years. In this interview with Teenreads.com’s Norah Piehl, Peters explains what prompted her to tackle this difficult and timely topic, and reflects on the negative effects of the Internet Age on “bullycide.” She also shares advice for young people in similar situations to her main character, Daelyn, and addresses her reputation for writing about challenging subject matter.

Judy Blundell
While the historical coming-of-age novel WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED appears to be author Judy Blundell's literary debut, she has actually written over 100 books for children and young adults under various pen names --- the most widely known of which is Jude Watson of Star Wars and The 39 Clues fame. In this interview with Teenreads.com's Kristi Olson, Blundell explains how the idea for this work of fiction originated from a headache, and compares and contrasts the process of writing period novels with those of her previous works of sci-fi, mystery and adventure. She also discusses how her upbringing in New York as well as her time spent in the Palm Beach area helped shape her main character and setting, reveals how winning the National Book Award has affected her career, and names some of her favorite recent reads.

Barbara Delinsky
Barbara Delinsky, author of FAMILY TREE, THE SECRET BETWEEN US and WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS, recently published NOT MY DAUGHTER, which explores teen pregnancy, as well as the bonds of friendship and family relationships. In this interview with Teenreads.com’s Jennifer McCord, Delinsky discusses why she chose to tackle such a timely subject and explains why she consistently revisits the theme of mothers and daughters in her work. She also shares her thoughts on such topics as the definition of a "good mother" and the evolving perceptions of teen parents, describes her career change from psychologist to author, and reflects on her transition to writing women's fiction after penning several romances.

Beth Hoffman
Beth Hoffman's debut work of fiction, SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT, is a coming-of-age tale about a recently orphaned 12-year-old girl who finds a new home with an eccentric elderly aunt in 1960s Savannah. In this interview with Teenreads.com's Jamie Layton, Hoffman traces the inspiration for the book's plot back to a childhood memory, as well as her fascination with mother/daughter relationships, and elaborates on some of the pivotal roles played by secondary characters in the novel. She also reveals what prompted her to turn to writing amidst a successful career in design, responds to comparisons made between her work and recent Southern Fiction bestsellers, and shares her whirlwind experiences as a first-time novelist.

Maureen Johnson
Maureen Johnson has followed up her 2008 novel SUITE SCARLETT with its newly released sequel, SCARLETT FEVER. In this interview with Teenreads.com's Sally M. Tibbetts, Johnson explains how her personal experience working with actors in New York inspired protagonist Scarlett Martin's latest adventures. She also discusses some of the timely themes about fame explored in the story and how she turned to writing after working in theater for several years.

Author Talk
Melanie Benjamin
Melanie Benjamin's first historical novel, ALICE I HAVE BEEN, centers on Alice Liddell --- best known as the "real" Alice in Wonderland from the works of Lewis Carroll. In this interview, Benjamin describes what initially drew her to this figure, despite having little previous knowledge of her and the stories she inspired, and explains how her lack of experience in writing historical fiction actually worked to her benefit. She also highlights some of the major events in Alice's life discussed in the novel and shares her thoughts on the impact that classic children's stories had on their infamous real-life muses.

Feature and Contest
THE CLONE CODES by Patricia C. McKissack, Fredrick McKissack and John McKissack (Science Fiction)
The Cyborg Wars are over and Earth has peacefully prospered for more than 100 years. Yet sometimes history must repeat itself until humanity learns from its mistakes. In the year 2170, despite technological and political advances, cyborgs and clones are treated no better than slaves, and an underground abolitionist movement is fighting for freedom. Thirteen-year-old Leanna's entire life is thrown into chaos when The World Federation of Nations discovers her mom is part of the radical Liberty Bell Movement.

After her mother's arrest for treason, Leanna must escape as she is chased by a ruthless bounty hunter. Soon Leanna finds herself living among the Firsts, and nothing will ever be the same again. But what does The World Federation want with the daughter of a traitor? So much is uncertain. Danger hides everywhere. Fear takes over. With help from unlikely sources, Leanna learns the origin of The Liberty Bell Movement and how its members may have answers about her past --- and her new reality.

As family secrets are revealed, Leanna must face startling truths about self-identity and freedom. Through time travel, advanced technologies and artificial intelligence, this exhilarating adventure asks what it means to be human and explores the sacrifices an entire society will make to find out.

To celebrate the release of THE CLONE CODES, Teenreads.com is giving away 10 copies of the book, which Newbery Honor winner Patricia C. McKissack wrote with her husband Fredrick and son John.
- Click here to read all the contest details.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE CLONE CODES.
- Click here to read the McKissacks’ bio.

Special Features
BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I’LL BE DEAD by Julie Anne Peters (Fiction)
Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she’s determined to get her death right. She starts visiting a website for “completers” --- www.through-the-light.com.

While she’s on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, uncovering a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten. When she’s not on the Web, Daelyn’s at her private school, where she’s known as the freak who doesn’t talk.

Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she’s waiting to for her parents to pick her up. Even though she’s made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won’t give up. And it’s too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life…isn’t it?

National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters shines a light on how bullying can push young people to the very edge.
- Click here to read an excerpt from BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I’LL BE DEAD.
- Click here to read Julie Anne Peters’s bio.

SCARLETT FEVER by Maureen Johnson (Fiction)
Ever since Mrs. Amberson, the former-aspiring-actress-turned-agent, entered Scarlett Martin's life, nothing has been the same.

She's still in charge of the Empire Suite in her family's hotel, but she's now also Mrs. Amberson's assistant, running around town for her star client, Chelsea --- a Broadway star Scarlett's age with a knack for making her feel insignificant. Scarlett's also trying to juggle sophomore year classes, her lab partner who is being just a little TOO nice, and getting over the boy who broke her heart.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SCARLETT FEVER.
- Click here to read our interview with Maureen Johnson.
- Click here to read Maureen Johnson’s bio.

WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED by Judy Blundell (Fiction)
Now Available in Paperback
When Evie’s father returned home after World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe’s company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the family secrets that surround him…until he mysteriously disappears. Now Evie must find out what happened…and how far she’ll go to protect her family.

WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED, the 2008 winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, gives us a girl’s-eye view of a dark family history.
- Click here to read an excerpt from WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED.
- Click here to read our interview with Judy Blundell.
- Click here to read Judy Blundell’s bio.

Win a Signed Copy of ALL UNQUIET THINGS by Anna Jarzab
To celebrate the release of ALL UNQUIET THINGS by Anna Jarzab, a psychologically probing debut novel that is both suspenseful and disquieting, Teenreads.com is giving away 10 signed copies of the book.

ALL UNQUIET THINGS by Anna Jarzab (Fiction)
Carly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.

Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.

Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it --- especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.

As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.
- Click here to read an excerpt from ALL UNQUIET THINGS.
- Click here to watch a trailer for ALL UNQUIET THINGS.
- Click here to read Anna Jarzab’s Teenreads.com blog post, “Ten Random Things About Me.”

Win a Copy of THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson
Jandy Nelson's remarkable debut novel, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, is as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, and is a must-read for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti and Francesca Lia Block. To celebrate the book’s March 9th release, Teenreads.com is giving away 15 copies.

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson (Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life --- and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE.

Books into Movies Roundup
Director Tim Burton offers the perfect antidote to the bleakness of this seemingly never-ending winter with his latest quirky, eye-popping fantasy adventure, Alice in Wonderland. This highly-anticipated film --- loosely adapted from Lewis Carroll's classic whimsical tales, plus a little bit of "The Jabberwocky" thrown in for good measure --- promises to take us down quite a rabbit hole with visually stunning effects, an A-list cast including Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman, not to mention all of the...well, just plain weirdness we've come to expect and love from a Tim Burton flick.

Cool New Books Roundup
February’s roundup of Cool New Books includes HEIST SOCIETY, the first book in a new series by Ally Carter that introduces readers to a girl who grew up in a family of high-end thieves and conmen; TOKEN OF DARKNESS, a gripping stand-alone novel from Amelia Atwater-Rhodes about a young man who wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side; ASHES, Kathryn Lasky’s work of historical fiction set in 1932 Berlin, where a teenager’s love of reading is threatened by Adolf Hitler’s book-burning regime; AFTER EVER AFTER, the sequel to Jordan Sonnenblick’s DRUMS, GIRLS & DANGEROUS PIE told from the point of view of Steven Alper’s younger brother Jeffrey, a cancer survivor who has some soul searching to do; and NUM8ERS by Rachel Ward, a sci-fi thriller in which the main protagonist can look into a stranger’s eyes and know the exact date that person is going to die.

New in Paperback Roundup
February’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson, a haunting story of a friendship frozen between life and death; PARTIES & POTIONS, the fourth installment in Sarah Mlynowski’s Magic in Manhattan series, which finds sisters Rachel and Miri debuting at a magical party called a Samsorta, a debutante ball for witches; THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, debut author Carrie Ryan’s post-apocalyptic love story set in our world after a devastating virus spreads that causes the dead to walk and eat the living; DOPE SICK, a compelling novel from Walter Dean Myers about a young man who would do anything to change the last 24 hours after being pursued by cops and getting dope sick from his latest high; and SOMETHING, MAYBE, Elizabeth Scott’s 2009 release that addresses such themes as lost love, found love, shattered expectations, renewed hope, loneliness and failure.

Click here to read the full newsletter.