Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 2010

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

Reviews and Excerpts
THE CARDTURNER by Louis Sachar (Fiction)
In THE CARDTURNER, Louis Sachar --- New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Newbery Medal for HOLES --- tackles perhaps one of the most unexpected topics ever for a young adult novel: bridge. Like the card game itself, Sachar’s latest offering is both skillful and surprising. Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE CARDTURNER.

THE CARRIE DIARIES by Candace Bushnell (Fiction)
Did you ever wonder about Carrie Bradshaw's teen years? Smart and witty Carrie lets us in on her senior year: the guys, the family, the fashion, the writing dreams, and (naturally) the best friends. Carrie's early story not only is true to the character we know and love, but also makes for quite the stay-up-all-night type of excellent read. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE CARRIE DIARIES.

FOR THE WIN by Cory Doctorow (Science Fiction/Action & Adventure)
FOR THE WIN dives deep into the world of online gaming and reveals a complex system that sets players up for failure while mistreating its workers. The Webblies, a rebel group against the big companies controlling the games, have a plan that could potentially crash every virtual world --- and the real one! Reviewed by Benjamin Boche and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from FOR THE WIN.

THE PRINCE OF MIST by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Horror)
Max Carver’s family moves from their home in the city to a small coastal village, where his father believes they will be safe from the growing threat of the Second World War. But from the minute they cross the threshold, strange things begin to happen. As Max, his new friend Roland, and his sister Alicia attempt to unravel the mystery that haunts the town, they encounter a terrifying evil that threatens their lives. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

GIMME A CALL by Sarah Mlynowski
What-ifs. We all have them. What if we made this choice instead of that one? Would my life be different? Better? For 18-year-old Devi Banks, the protagonist --- and antagonist --- of Sarah Mlynowski’s latest novel, a freak accident with her cell phone allows her to test her own what-ifs and choices. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

LIVING HELL by Catherine Jinks
(Science Fiction/Thriller)
When the spacecraft Cheney and more than 1,000 others have called home for generations is exposed to rogue radiation, the ship changes into a living organism. The creature's immune system must track down and kill off the humans inside it. Can Cheney survive in space inside a hostile, savage host? Is it even possible for the human species to be saved? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

WATCH FOR ME BY MOONLIGHT: A Midnight Twins Novel, by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Mystery)
In the final book of the Midnight Twins trilogy, Mally and Merry’s supernatural dream visions are put to the test when their baby brother is kidnapped by someone who has grown very close to the Brynn family. Meanwhile, Meredith is distracted by the strange new boy in town. But there’s one problem with her new romance: he’s a ghost from the past. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

BULLET POINT by Peter Abrahams (Suspense)
Wyatt never really thought much about his dad, a lifer in prison. But when he meets a girl named Greer with a criminal dad of her own --- who happens to be in the same jail as Wyatt’s dad --- Greer arranges a meeting. Wyatt immediately connects with his father and believes him when he says he’s been framed. However, Wyatt’s decision to help his father escape may possibly be the worst decision he's ever made in his life. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

RIVALS: A Baseball Great Novel, by Tim Green
Josh’s middle-school team finds itself in the Baseball Hall of Fame Tournament, which many insiders consider to be even more prestigious than the Little League World Series. But all is not well in Cooperstown, New York: Josh and his friends soon suspect one team of bribing the head umpire, and there’s a star pitcher who threatens to steal more from Josh than just the trophy! Reviewed by Joy Held.

GUARDIAN OF THE DEAD by Karen Healey (Urban Fantasy)
Seventeen-year-old Ellie is just like any other teenager at her New Zealand boarding school. She hangs out with her best friend Kevin, she obsesses over a cute bad boy, and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. That is, until a mysterious older woman sets her sights on Kevin, who is Maori, and has more than just romantic plans for him. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE HEART IS NOT A SIZE by Beth Kephart (Fiction)
Georgia and Riley have been best friends since they were children. Over the years they have shared good times, bad times, and lots of secrets. During the summer before their senior year in high school, they spend two weeks helping to build a community outside of Juarez, Mexico. The trip transforms their lives, tests their friendship, and nearly costs a life. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

Graphic Novels and Manga
RESISTANCE, Book 1 written by Carla Jablonski and illustrated by Leland Purvis
Paul, his sister Marie, and their Jewish friend Henri decide to join the French Resistance to fight back against the Germans during World War II. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

ALICE IN THE COUNTRY OF HEARTS, Volumes 1-2 written by QuinRose and illustrated by Soumei Hoshino
Alice of ALICE IN WONDERLAND gets recreated as a manga character. While sharing many similarities with the original Alice, there are some marked differences. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

BOKURANO: OURS, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Mohiro Kitoh
Fifteen middle-school students are offered the chance to play a game using a giant robot to fight invading aliens, but the cost of that game is greater than they know. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

CLICK, Volumes 1-4 written and illustrated by Youngran Lee
Joonha has a unique trait in his family genes: after turning 16, he becomes a girl. His parents forgot to tell him how that runs in the family. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

ANGEL DIARY, Volumes 1-10 written by Lee YunHee and illustrated by Kara
The princess of Heaven runs away from her engagement to the King of Hell and hides out on Earth disguised as a boy. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

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.

Beach Bag of Books Contest
It's time to think about Summer Reading --- and we're not talking about the list of books you’ll be receiving for Required Summer Reading from school. What we're talking about are the kinds of books that you're glad you now have time to kick back with and enjoy. The way we see it, it wouldn't be summer without sun, surf, and great reading. You supply the beach chair, and we'll provide the fantastic fiction in our Fourth Annual Beach Bag of Books Contest.

From May 14th thru July 14th, you can enter to win a " Beach Bag of Books." Five winners each will receive a beach bag that includes 14 books: BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver; THE CARRIE DIARIES by Candace Bushnell; CARTER'S BIG BREAK by Brent Crawford; THE GARDENER by S. A. Bodeen; GIRLS IN LOVE: A Summer Girls Novel, by Hailey Abbott; THE KARMA CLUB by Jessica Brody; LIES: A Gone Novel, by Michael Grant; THE LIFE OF GLASS by Jillian Cantor; NUM8ERS by Rachel Ward; PASSING STRANGE: A Generation Dead Novel, by Daniel Waters; RADIANT SHADOWS: A Wicked Lovely Book, by Melissa Marr; RUNAWAY: An Airhead Novel, by Meg Cabot; STOLEN by Lucy Christopher; and SWIM THE FLY by Don Calame.

Along with the books, winners will find their striped canvas beach bag stocked with an assortment of summer goodies.

Feature and Contest
Win a Copy of COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles
Featuring a captivating story interspersed with footage from 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, COUNTDOWN by award-winning author Deborah Wiles is a documentary novel that will put you right alongside 11-year-old Franny Chapman as she navigates a dangerous time in both her history and our history. It is an experience you will never forget, and is giving 10 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, July 6th at noon ET.

COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles (Historical Fiction)
It’s 1962, and it seems the whole country is living in fear. When President Kennedy goes on television to say that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba, it only gets worse. Eleven-year-old Franny Chapman doesn’t know how to deal with what’s going on in the world --- no more than she knows how to deal with what’s going on with her family and friends. But somehow she’s going to make it through.
- Click here to read more about COUNTDOWN.
- Click here to read an excerpt from COUNTDOWN.
- Click here to read Deborah Wiles’s bio.

Special Features
THE ENEMY by Charlie Higson (Horror)
In the wake of a devastating disease, everyone older than 16 is either dead or a decomposing, brainless creature with a ravenous appetite for flesh. The group of kids living at Waitrose supermarket is beginning to run out of options. When a mysterious traveler arrives and offers them safe haven at Buckingham Palace, they begin a harrowing journey across London.
- Click here to read more about THE ENEMY.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE ENEMY.
- Click here to read our interview with Charlie Higson.
- Click here to read Charlie Higson’s bio.

This lovely and memorable debut by Alyssa B. Sheinmel contains many of the hallmark themes found in young adult literature --- friendship, coming of age, finding a place to belong, and overcoming the death of a loved one. Emotionally moving from start to finish, THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN introduces a strong new voice to the genre, a voice with a long future ahead of it.
- Click here to read more about THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN.
- Click here to read our interview with Alyssa B. Sheinmel.
- Click here to read Alyssa B. Sheinmel’s bio.
- Click here to read Alyssa B. Sheinmel’s blog post, “A Day in the Life - Senior Year of High School.”

DARK FIRE by Chris d’Lacey
(Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
Bestselling author David Rain was lost in the Arctic for five years. Now, his daughter, Alexa, has brought him back, but a lot more has returned to Earth with him. Dragons are back as well. And with them is a hidden trace of dark fire, the deadliest force in the universe. Life hangs in the balance as David, Lucy and the Pennykettle dragons must destroy the dark fire before it’s discovered and used to birth a darkling.
- Click here to read more about DARK FIRE.
- Click here to read an excerpt from DARK FIRE.
- Click here to read our interview with Chris d’Lacey.
- Click here to read Chris d’Lacey’s bio.

STOLEN by Lucy Christopher (Fiction)
Sixteen-year-old Gemma is on layover at Bangkok Airport, en route with her parents to a vacation in Vietnam. She steps away for just a second, to get a cup of coffee. Ty --- rugged, tan, too old, oddly familiar --- pays for Gemma's drink. And drugs it. They talk. Their hands touch. And before Gemma knows what's happening, Ty takes her. Steals her away. The unknowing object of a long obsession, Gemma has been kidnapped by her stalker and brought to the desolate Australian Outback.
- Click here to read more about STOLEN.
- Click here to read an excerpt from STOLEN.
- Click here to read our interview with Lucy Christopher.
- Click here to read Lucy Christopher’s bio.

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 our interview with Philip Reeve.
- Click here to read Philip Reeve’s bio.

Series Books
PERCHANCE TO DREAM: Théâtre Illuminata, Act II by Lisa Mantchev (Fantasy)
Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn’t know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world. But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.
- Click here to read more about PERCHANCE TO DREAM.
- Click here to read an excerpt from PERCHANCE TO DREAM.
- Click here to see the book trailer for PERCHANCE TO DREAM.
- Click here to read our series feature for The Théâtre Illuminata Trilogy.

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 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.

- Click here to read all the contest details.
- Click here to read our series feature for The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod.
- Click here to read our interview with Heather Brewer.

Cool New Books
May’s roundup of Cool New Books includes THE CARDTURNER, Louis Sachar’s novel about a high school student who becomes intrigued by the game of bridge when he spends the summer being his great-uncle’s cardturner; FOR THE WIN, a prophetic and inspiring call-to-arms for a new generation from Cory Doctorow (of LITTLE BROTHER fame), who this time focuses on macroeconomics, video games and the labor movement; THE PRINCE OF MIST by THE SHADOW OF THE WIND author Carlos Ruiz Zafón, in which a mysterious house harbors an unimaginable secret; THE NECROMANCER, the fourth book in Michael Scott’s The Secrets of Nicholas Flamel series, which finds the twin protagonists questioning their ability to trust Nicholas Flamel (or anyone else for that matter); and WHITE CAT, Holly Black’s gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love --- or death --- and your dreams might be more real than your memories.

New in Paperback
May’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes TWENTY BOY SUMMER, a compelling debut novel from Sarah Ockler about friendship, first love and letting go; BLOODHOUND, the second volume in Tamora Pierce’s trilogy featuring Beka Cooper, a medieval equivalent of a police officer with magical powers; PEACE, LOVE, AND BABY DUCKS, in which Lauren Myracle dives into the tumultuous waters of sisterhood and shows that even very different sisters can learn to help each other; GIRL STAYS IN THE PICTURE, the first installment of Melissa de la Cruz’s Jet Set Chronicles, the story of three teens in the South of France who work in the movie industry; and THIRTEENTH CHILD, which kicks off a new trilogy from Patricia C. Wrede, who creates an alternate history of westward expansion.

Click here to read the full newsletter.