Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 2010

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

Reviews and Excerpts
WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green and David Levithan (Fiction)
You aren’t alone. Try it --- Google your name. The difference is that they’re not you, and you’re not them. Which is why a chance meeting between two radically different Will Graysons shouldn’t change the world. But it does. Life. Friends. Identity. Truth. Even the most fabulous high school musical of all time. Nothing stays the same when you make it about love. Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON.

RUNAWAY: An Airhead Novel, by Meg Cabot (Fiction)
Emerson Watts is on the run: from school, from work, from her family, from her friends, from herself. With everyone she loves furious with her for something she can't explain, and nothing but the live Stark Angel fashion show on New Year's Eve to look forward to, Em has reached the end of her rope. But when she discovers the truth about Nikki's secret, she knows there's only one person she can turn to. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from RUNAWAY.

THIRTEEN DAYS TO MIDNIGHT by Patrick Carman (Mystery/Suspense)
After the death of Jacob Fielding's foster father, he and his friends discover that he possesses a latent superpower. The three teens use Jacob's power to try to change the world for the better, but in altering people's destinies, they find that Jacob's ability is more a curse than a gift. Any preconceived ethical notions about the benefits of superhuman abilities are erased in this striking and wise allegorical warning about the dangers of excessive power. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.
- Click here to read Patrick Carman’s blog post, “Expect the Unexpected.”

THE SIX RULES OF MAYBE by Deb Caletti (Fiction)
When nice girl Scarlet's older, not-always-so-nice sister, Juliet, moves home, she's packing a couple of big surprises: a baby bump and a husband who turns out to be nearly irresistible to Scarlet. What Scarlet eventually discovers about the possibilities in life changes her outlook forever. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE UNWRITTEN RULE by Elizabeth Scott (Fiction)
Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He's easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he's paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna's boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah's best friend. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.
- Click here to read Elizabeth Scott’s blog post, “Elizabeth Scott on Lost Friendships.”

THE TIME PIRATE: A Nick McIver Time Adventure, by Ted Bell (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
After fixing up his father’s old World War I fighter plane, Nick McIver learns how to fly. He then takes to the skies, spying on the invading Nazi armies and even daring a night raid to bomb their camp. Meanwhile, his old enemy, Pirate William Blood, travels forward in time to 1940, kidnaps Nick’s little sister and takes her back to the year 1781. Nick has no choice but to dig out his own time machine to rescue her. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Fiction)
This latest series installment finds the two main characters from Susan Beth Pfeffer’s previous books coming together in an unexpected twist to the story. Although life has been all about survival since the course of the moon altered the climate, the struggle intensifies as relationships become complicated and Mother Nature hasn’t finished wreaking havoc. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE BATBOY by Mike Lupica (Fiction)
Brian Dudley has every baseball kid’s summer dream job: he’s a batboy for his hometown’s major league team, the Detroit Tigers. Even more exciting, his idol, Hank Bishop, is returning to the sport after a 50-game suspension to play for the Tigers. Will Bishop be able to make a comeback after the steroids scandal that nearly ended his career? Will Brian find the hero he so desperately needs? Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

Kevin has no complaints about his baseball team --- they’re headed to the playoffs! He has other problems, though, like the fact that his girlfriend doesn’t understand him, he might have feelings for someone else, and his father is seeing a new woman. Writing poems seems to be the only thing that helps. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.
- Click here to read Ron Koertge’s blog post, “Ron Koertge on his Long Writing Road.”

CENTER FIELD by Robert Lipsyte (Fiction)
As the star pitcher of Ridgedale High's baseball team, Mike Semak is infatuated with the game. He believes in success at any cost, but pressures on and off the field are becoming too exacting. After instigating a fight with a "puke" from the cyber club, Mike is punished with community service. His subsequent experiences help him discover a world that is bigger than his own view of center field. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson (Fiction)
Anguish mingles with love and desire for 17-year-old Lennie Walker. She has just lost her 19-year-old sister, Bailey, to an arrhythmia caused by a heart defect. Attempting to stay afloat in her grief, Lennie feels torn between the affections of two guys. While Bailey's boyfriend Toby displays a desperate, raw attraction toward her, the charismatic Joey Fontaine begins pursuing her with a quiet intensity. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE LIFE OF GLASS by Jillian Cantor (Fiction)
Before he died, Melissa’s father told her that the brightest stars weren’t always the most beautiful --- that if people really looked at the smaller ones, at the true essence of the star, they would find real beauty. To make sure she doesn’t lose her father completely, Melissa spends her time trying to piece together the last of his secrets and completing a journal he began --- one about love and relationships and the remarkable ways people find one another. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

ANASTASIA’S SECRET by Susanne Dunlap
(Historical Romance)
Anastasia is a grand duchess, the youngest daughter of the powerful Russian tsar. Her world is safely wrapped up in a luxurious package, tightly bound with family love. But then war and revolt wrack the country, and Anastasia’s world begins to crumble. She desperately clings to the only things she has left: her family’s love, and the secret friendship and budding romance with the guard named Sasha. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

Graphic Novel Review:
TWILIGHT: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, Volume 1 written by Stephenie Meyer and illustrated by Young Kim
Gorgeous artwork lifts the graphic-novel adaptation of Twilight to great heights. This retelling of the mega-popular first book in the series is well-rendered from its source material, but the stunning artwork is what really steals the show. Reviewed by John Hogan.

FOILED written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mike Cavallaro
Aliera Carstairs just doesn’t fit in. She’s always front and center at the fencing studio, but at school she’s invisible. And she’s fine with that…until Avery Castle walks into her first period biology class. Avery may seem perfect now, but will he end up becoming her Prince Charming or just a toad? Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

SMILE written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Raina Telgemeier documents her teen years, good times and bad, after a chance accident leaves her two front teeth severely injured. Years of surgeries and other treatments follow, making her high school years awkward and sometimes painful…yet always hopeful too. Reviewed by John Hogan.

Manga Reviews
BLACK GOD, Volume 7 written by Dall-Young Lim and illustrated by Sung-Woo Park
Black God comes to a dramatic climax in Volume 7, but the rush is far from over. Kuro and her bonded friend Keita learn the psychotic Hiyou's ultimate plan, which could destroy the world unless they stop him. Meanwhile, Kakuma desperately tries to find a human to contract with in order to save Makana from a band of tribal ends who will use her power to break the seal of the world's last soul stone. Reviewed by Courtney Kraft.

LUCKY STAR, Volumes 1–4 written and illustrated by Kagami Yoshimizu

In the Lucky Star series, paneled artwork shows the life of high school girls as characters discuss eating habits, anime, and how to avoid homework. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

THE WORLD I CREATE, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Ayami Kazama

At one special high school, students with the right abilities can learn to be "projectionists" --- but only if they can master themselves first. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

DEADMAN WONDERLAND, Volume 1 written by Jinsei Kataoka and illustrated by Kazuma Kondou
Ten years have passed since the Great Tokyo Earthquake, and the people's memories of the disaster have faded. Ganta Igarashi, a middle school evacuee, has finally begun to live a normal life --- until the day "Red Man" appears at his school and Ganta's fate is changed forever. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

Recent Titles Perfect for Teens
THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON by Sarah Addison Allen (Fiction)
Have you ever felt quieted and contented in the aura of a place, lulled into its sights and scents, acutely aware of its currents? If so, then you should take a good look at Sarah Addison Allen’s THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON, set in a small town with exactly that kind of quality. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE WEED THAT STRINGS THE HANGMAN’S BAG: A Flavia de Luce Mystery, by Alan Bradley (Mystery)
Flavia de Luce is a dangerously brilliant 11-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders. This time, Flavia finds herself untangling two deaths --- separated by time but linked by the unlikeliest of threads. Alan Bradley’s second novel featuring Flavia continues to reinvent the English country house mystery with wit and warmth. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THIS BOOK IS OVERDUE!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, by Marilyn Johnson (Social Science)
Marilyn Johnson celebrates libraries and librarians, arguing that the work they do is more important than ever. She follows a new breed of visionary professionals --- cybrarians --- who use the web to link people and information, and bridge the gulf between those who have the tools and resources they need and those left behind by economics, education, or the latest computer upgrade. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

Author Interviews
Philip Reeve’s Sarah Wood recently spoke with Philip Reeve about his latest work, FEVER CRUMB --- a prequel of sorts to his bestselling Mortal Engines Quartet that follows a young, orphaned girl as she is called upon to save the city of London and uncover the truth about her mysterious past. In this interview, Reeve explains why he chose to revisit the world he created in his previous series (albeit centuries previous) and discusses the various elements he incorporated into its futuristic, post-apocalyptic society. He also elaborates on the book’s theme of rationality vs. emotion and instinct, reflects on his preference for science over magic in his fantasy novels, and shares details about where this new series is headed over its next two installments.

Heather Brewer
Heather Brewer is the author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, a five-book series about a less-than-popular teenager’s struggles to survive the ups and downs of high-school life, all while trying to keep a certain little secret about himself under wraps. In this interview with’s Sally M. Tibbetts, Brewer explains how these books surprisingly stemmed from the old “write what you know” adage and reveals her main character’s “real-life” counterparts. She also credits a librarian for her decision to become a writer, reflects on the constant popularity of vampires in pop culture, and shares details about her new spin-off series, The Slayer Journals, which is due out next year.

Author Talks
Hal Friedman
Best known to teen audiences for his thrillers like the Maximum Ride series, James Patterson’s latest book, MED HEAD, is a young adult adaptation of 2008’s AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE, which captures the personal struggles of Cory Friedman, who has suffered from Tourette’s Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder since the age of five. In this interview, Hal Friedman --- who co-wrote the book with Patterson --- discusses the process of writing from his son’s perspective, reflects on their highs and lows during their 13-year ordeal, and offers advice to families dealing with similarly challenging circumstances.

Cory Friedman
Best known to teen audiences for his thrillers like the Maximum Ride series, James Patterson’s latest book, MED HEAD, is a young adult adaptation of 2008’s AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE, which captures the personal struggles of Cory Friedman, who has suffered from Tourette’s Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder since the age of five. In this interview, Cory describes the surreal experience of reading about his own life in narrative form and explains how his battle with these illnesses has affected his outlook on life.

Feature and Contest
Win a Copy of MED HEAD by James Patterson and Hal Friedman
AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE riveted adults with the page-turning drama of one teenager's courage, sacrifice and triumph in confronting an agonizing medical condition. Now this deeply personal account of Cory Friedman's intense struggles with Tourette's Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- as well as depression, anxiety and alcohol addiction --- is available for teen readers. is giving 10 readers the chance to win a copy of MED HEAD by James Patterson and Cory’s father, Hal Friedman, the heart-wrenchingly honest and inspiring YA adaptation. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, May 18th at noon ET.

MED HEAD: My Knock-down, Drag-out, Drugged-up Battle with My Brain, as told by James Patterson and Hal Friedman (Memoir)
Rejected by peers, misunderstood by adults, and dangerous to himself, Cory's life has been a living hell. Confounding every doctor's analysis, he endures countless combinations of medications in wildly varying doses that only complicate the turmoil. Cory and his family are determined to reverse a downward spiral and survive against all odds --- even when those odds are constantly stacked against them.
- Click here to read more about MED HEAD.
- Click here to read an excerpt from MED HEAD.
- Click here to read James Patterson’s bio.
- Click here to read Hal Friedman’s bio.

Special Features
FEVER CRUMB by Philip Reeve (Science Fiction/Fantasy)
Fever Crumb is a girl who has been adopted and raised by Dr. Crumb, a member of the Order of Engineers, where she serves as apprentice. Soon though, she must say good-bye to Dr. Crumb --- nearly the only person she’s ever known --- to assist archaeologist Kit Solent on a top-secret project. As her work begins, Fever is plagued by memories that are not her own, and Kit seems to have a particular interest in finding out what they are.
- Click here to read more about FEVER CRUMB.
- Click here to read an excerpt from FEVER CRUMB.
- Click here to read Philip Reeve’s bio.

SPLIT by Swati Avasthi
Sixteen-year-old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret. He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind --- his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret. At least so far.
- Click here to read more about SPLIT.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SPLIT.
- Click here to read our interview with Swati Avasthi.
- Click here to read Swati Avasthi’s bio.
- Click here to read Swati Avasthi’s blog post, “Swati Avasthi on What Happens After.”

Series Books
Win a Copy of ELEVENTH GRADE BURNS by Heather Brewer
High school is tough enough without having to worry about professional vampire slayers/former friends tracking you, or powerful vampires trying to suck your blood. What's an 11th grade half-vampire to do? Vladimir Tod is back in ELEVENTH GRADE BURNS, navigating his way through Bathory High and near-death experiences. To celebrate the release of this fourth installment in Heather Brewer’s The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, is giving away 15 copies of the book. The deadline for entries is Thursday, June 3rd at noon ET.

THE CHRONICLES OF VLADIMIR TOD by Heather Brewer (Fiction)
The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod is a series of books about a young half-human, half-vampire boy named Vladimir Tod who is just trying to get out of high school with his life --- and a girlfriend, if he's really lucky.

Feature and Contest
Win a Copy of THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS by Francisco X. Stork is giving away 10 copies of THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS by award-winning author Francisco X. Stork, a touching story of friendship, hurt and healing. The deadline for entries is Thursday, May 13th at noon ET.

Death surrounds Pancho. His father, in an accident. His sister, murdered. His own plans to find her killer. And D.Q. --- a guy Pancho’s age who’s dying of cancer. That is, if he’ll ever shut up. D.Q. is writing “The Death Warrior’s Manifesto,” a guide to living out his last days fully. He needs just one more thing: the love of the beautiful Marisol. But as Pancho tracks down his sister’s murderer, he finds himself falling for Marisol as well….
- Click here to read more about THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS.
- Click here to read our interview with Francisco X. Stork.
- Click here to read Francisco X. Stork’s bio.

Win a Copy of GREEN WITCH by Alice Hoffman
In this spellbinding sequel to GREEN ANGEL, Alice Hoffman shows us how loss and grief can be transformed into action, love and hope. Ten readers will win a copy of GREEN WITCH, the story of persevering Green, who must learn about the "witches" of the past so that she can shape her own present and future. The deadline for entries is Thursday, May 13th at noon ET.

GREEN WITCH by Alice Hoffman (Fiction)
In this powerful, lovely sequel to GREEN ANGEL, Green must learn the stories of a number of "witches" and free her true soul mate from a prison as she grapples with life, love and loss in a post-disaster world.
- Click here to read more about GREEN WITCH.
- Click here to read an excerpt from GREEN WITCH.
- Click here to read Alice Hoffman’s bio.

Series Books
THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR STALKING: The Clique #12 by Lisi Harrison (Fiction)
Change is in the air, and it’s not just the autumn weather in New York. Massie Block has grown bored with Octavian Country Day School and the Pretty Committee’s immature eighth-grade crushes. She has decided it is time for an upgrade, but will the PC go along with her plans? Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.
- Click here to read our series feature for The Clique.

Cool New Books
April’s roundup of Cool New Books includes WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel about two teens --- both named Will Grayson --- whose worlds collide and intertwine, and their lives go in new and unexpected directions; FEVER CRUMB, the long-awaited prequel to Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines Quartet, in which a girl is plagued by memories that are not her own; THIRTEEN DAYS TO MIDNIGHT by Patrick Carman, a nail-biting novel of mystery and dark intrigue about a boy whose astonishing power could become a curse; GIMME A CALL, Sarah Mlynowski's hilarious account of a teen whose life takes a bizarre turn after she drops her cell phone in the mall fountain; MED HEAD, a young adult adaptation of James Patterson’s AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE that details Cory Friedman's intense struggles with Tourette's Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, as well as depression, anxiety and alcohol addiction; and THE CARRIE DIARIES by Candace Bushnell, a teen prequel to SEX AND THE CITY that explains how a small-town girl named Carrie Bradshaw became the Carrie Bradshaw.

New in Paperback
April’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes BEING NIKKI, Meg Cabot’s second Airhead novel starring a former tomboy who now has the body of a teen supermodel thanks to a brain transplant; LITTLE BROTHER by Cory Doctorow, in which a computer-savvy high school student takes on the Department of Homeland Security when they turn San Francisco into a police state following a devastating terrorist attack; THE SORCERESS, book three in Michael Scott’s bestselling fantasy series, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel; CLICK, a collaborative effort from 10 beloved authors --- including David Almond, Eoin Colfer and Gregory Maguire --- who tell the startling tale of the mysterious and enigmatic George "Gee" Keane; 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.

Click here to read the full newsletter.