Friday, August 20, 2010

August 2010

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

Reviews and Excerpts
DANIEL X: DEMONS AND DRUIDS by James Patterson and Adam Sadler (Science Fiction)
Daniel X's hunt to eliminate each and every intergalactic criminal on Earth is always relentless, but this time, it's getting personal. Number Three on the List of Alien Outlaws takes the form of raging, soul-possessing fire. And fire transports Daniel back to the most traumatic event of his life --- the death of his parents. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.

THE THIN EXECUTIONER by Darren Shan (Fantasy/Horror)
In this daring adventure inspired by a well-known classic, a scrawny young man seeks to become the high executioner of his people --- an esteemed title achieved through trial in battle. Jebel Rum's best hope for winning is in gaining invincibility, and herein lies his story of a year-long quest to the mountain of Tubaygat, where he searches for the herculean gifts bestowed on those willing to sacrifice a slave's life --- in Jebel's case, a friend. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

I AM NUMBER FOUR by Pittacus Lore
(Science Fiction)
WE may be walking past you right now. WE are watching as you read this. WE may be in your city, your town. WE are living anonymously. WE are waiting for the day when WE will find each other. WE will make our last stand together. If WE win, WE are saved, and YOU are saved as well. IF WE LOSE, ALL IS LOST. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE GRIMM LEGACY by Polly Shulman (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library --- a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That’s where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime --- or captured by the thief. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

BRILLIANT by Rachel Vail
BRILLIANT, the final book in Rachel Vail's critically acclaimed sisterhood series, which includes LUCKY and GORGEOUS, follows Quinn through a summer of change as she discovers that while letting go is never easy, hanging on can be even harder. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

GLIMPSE by Carol Lynch Williams (Fiction)
Twelve-year-old Hope's life is turned upside down when her older sister, Lizzie, becomes an elective mute and is institutionalized after trying to kill herself. Throughout the course of this lyrical and heartbreaking narrative, readers and Hope discover that the mother is prostituting Lizzie, and it’s up to Hope to bring the truth to light to save her sister. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

VAMPIRE KISSES 7: LOVE BITES by Ellen Schreiber (Paranormal Romance)
As a mortal girl dating a vampire, Raven knows that love isn't always easy. Now that Alexander's parents have returned to Romania, Raven and her dreamy vampire boyfriend are happy to resume their cryptic romance. But soon another visitor comes knocking: Sebastian, Alexander's best friend, arrives for a stay at the mansion. Reviewed by Usha Reynolds.

FAT VAMPIRE: A Never Coming of Age Story, by Adam Rex (Fiction)
Doug Lee is not your typical vampire. He is short, overweight, and feeds on the blood of cows. It doesn’t help that he can’t score with any high school girl, especially the new exchange student, or that the host of “Vampire Hunters” is desperate to hunt him down to improve ratings. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE FOOL’S GIRL by Celia Rees (Historical Fiction)
Young and beautiful Violetta may be of royal blood, but her kingdom is in shambles when she arrives in London on a mysterious mission. Her journey has been long and her adventures many, but it is not until she meets the playwright William Shakespeare that she gets to tell the entire story from beginning to end. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE WAGER by Donna Jo Napoli (Fiction)
In this retelling of an old Sicilian fairy tale, the eruption of Mount Etna destroys a village and reduces a nobleman's station in life. The man becomes a beggar and lives off the land for a time, but the coming winter leaves him seriously exposed. In this opportune moment, the Devil materializes to strike a deal: The man will be provided with boundless riches in exchange for the willing surrender of his beauty. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

BRUISER by Neal Shusterman (Fiction)
Tennyson wants his twin sister, Bronte, to stay away from “the Bruiser,” the resident bad boy. Brewster, though, has a reason for being an outcast, and the truth will change Bronte and Tennyson forever. Told from four different viewpoints, BRUISER is a chilling look at the impossible coming to life. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

NOMANSLAND by Lesley Hauge (Dystopian Fantasy)
After the world has been scarred by war, a group of women seclude themselves on a remote island, perceiving their survival as totally dependent upon solidarity and isolation from men. But one day a company of female trackers comes across a dwelling containing forbidden objects, and the troupe becomes fascinated enough to dare question the foundations they've created to protect themselves. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

Graphic Novels and Manga
The final volume of Scott Pilgrim's adventure is here. Will his heroic side win out over his nefarious one? Or will he suffer the heartbreak of never knowing real love? Reviewed by Traci Glass.

DEATH NOTE, Volumes 1-4 by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
Light Yagami believes the world is a corrupt place and thinks he knows how to fix it: killing off all the criminals, one by one. He has in his possession a Death Note, a notebook that allows him to kill people by writing down their names. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

RATMAN, Volume 1 by Inui Sekihiko
Fifteen-year-old Shuto has high hopes for being a hero. But when he signs a contract without reading it, he ends up having to do the bidding of a villainous group. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

YOU’RE SO COOL, Volumes 1-6 by YoungHee Lee
Clumsy, dorky Nan-Woo thinks her dreams have come true when she starts dating the classy Seung-Ha. But the real Seung-Ha is more of a jerk than a Prince Charming. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith

Author Talk
Suzanne Collins
Suzanne Collins’s newly released MOCKINGJAY is the third and final installment in the hit series The Hunger Games, and follows reluctant revolutionary Katniss Everdeen in her fight against the ruthless Capitol. In this updated interview, Collins talks about how easy it was to return to the dystopian setting of Panem and describes her involvement with the screenplay for an upcoming big-screen adaptation of the first book in the series. She also explains what prompted her to take on weighty topics in the books, like poverty and oppression, speculates on the current fascination with reality TV, and muses on what’s next for her now that the trilogy has come to a close.

Special Features
THE CRUISERS by Walter Dean Myers (Fiction)
Zander and his friends --- Kambui, LaShonda and Bobbi --- start their own newspaper, The Cruiser, as a means for speaking out, keeping the peace, and expressing what they believe. When the school launches a mock Civil War, Zander and his friends are forced to consider the true meaning of democracy and what it costs to stand up for a cause. The result is nothing they could have expected, and everything they could have hoped for.
- Click here to read a review of THE CRUISERS.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE CRUISERS.
- Click here to read Walter Dean Myers’s bio.

GIRL PARTS by John M. Cusick (Fiction)
David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David’s parents present him with a hot Companion bot designed to encourage healthy bonds and treat his "dissociative disorder," he can’t get enough of luscious redheaded Rose --- and he can’t get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock. Parted from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up, knowing Rose isn’t real. With Charlie’s help, the ideal "companion" is about to become her own best friend.

In a stunning and hilarious debut, John Cusick takes rollicking aim at Internet culture and our craving for meaningful connection in an uberconnected world.
- Click here to read an excerpt from GIRL PARTS.
- Click here to read our interview with John M. Cusick.
- Click here to read John M. Cusick’s bio.
- Click here to watch a trailer for GIRL PARTS.
- Visit the book’s official website,

Series Features
PERFECTLY DATELESS: A Universally Misunderstood Novel, by Kristin Billerbeck (Fiction)
Daisy Crispin has 196 days to find the right date for the prom. There’s only one problem --- her parents won’t let her date or even talk to a guy on the phone. Oh, and she’s totally invisible at school, wears lame homemade clothes, and possesses no social skills. Okay, so maybe there’s more than one problem.

Can she talk her parents into letting her go to the prom? Or will they succeed at their obvious attempts to completely ruin her life?
- Click here to read a review of PERFECTLY DATELESS.
- Click here to read an excerpt from PERFECTLY DATELESS.
- Click here to read the discussion guide for PERFECTLY DATELESS.

THE REINVENTION OF SKYLAR HOYT Series by Stephanie Morrill (Fiction)
Welcome to the world of Skylar Hoyt, a high school senior whose exotic Hawaiian looks have propelled her to the height of the “in” crowd, but who’s no longer sure that’s where she really fits. New friends, old friends, a reluctant romance, and a family crisis swirl around Skylar as she tries to keep it together and figure out who she really wants to be.

Grab Bag of Books Giveaway
Every month in our Grab Bag of Books contest, five readers are awarded a signature tote bag filled with some of the hottest books --- and may even include a sneak peek at titles that haven’t been released yet!

This contest period’s winners will each receive a copy of ACCOMPLICE by Eireann Corrigan, THE DEMON KING: A Seven Realms Novel by Cinda Williams Chima, PERFECTLY DATELESS: A Universally Misunderstood Novel by Kristin Billerbeck, ROSE SEES RED by Cecil Castellucci, and RUINED by Paula Morris. All you have to do to enter is fill out the form found here by Tuesday, September 14th at noon ET.

Beach Bag of Books Feature
Looking for some cool reads this summer? Here are 14 titles you'll want to consider. They are books that teens will love --- 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.

Congratulations to the five readers who were selected to receive a beach bag that includes the 14 books listed above and assorted summer goodies.
- Click here to read more about our featured books.
- Click here to see the winners of the Fourth Annual Beach Bag of Books Contest.

Books into Movies
February is a long ways away, but love is in the air this month, as’s Books into Movies feature is spotlighting two films sure to satisfy your cravings for sweet --- albeit quirky --- summer romance. Flipped, based on Wendelin Van Draanen’s acclaimed YA novel, centers on the unrequited love affair between Juli and fellow second grader and typically girl-phobic Bryce, who needs a bit more time --- try six years --- to discover how he really feels about his wannabe girlfriend. In the comic-book adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a 22-year-old slacker antihero takes on a feat of epic proportions in the hopes of winning the heart of a girl way out of his league.

Cool New Books
The major highlight of August’s Cool New Books roundup is, of course, MOCKINGJAY, the final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy, which will be available at the stroke of midnight on August 24th. Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. Other notable releases this month include THE THIN EXECUTIONER, in which Darren Shan takes readers on a thrilling, fast-paced journey into a nightmarish world where compassion and kindness are the greatest crimes of all; THE CLOCKWORK ANGEL, the first book in The Infernal Devices series, Cassandra Clare's brand new prequel trilogy to The Mortal Instruments; and I AM NUMBER FOUR by the mysterious Pittacus Lore, the launch of a gripping, action-packed series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future --- and live a normal life on Earth.

New in Paperback
August’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes BREAKING DAWN, the conclusion to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga, which illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic; MELTING STONES, another suspenseful tale from bestselling fantasy author Tamora Pierce, who brings readers back to the world of the Circle of Magic quartet; THE MAZE RUNNER, a post-apocalyptic thriller by James Dashner in which a 16-year-old wakes up and finds himself surrounded by other boys of various ages --- trapped within a maze; LEVIATHAN, a departure from Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series that he describes as “a steampunk-zombie-airship adventure” set during World War I; and LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW by David Levithan, a novel of loss and grief, but also one of hope and redemption, as the lives of three teens are altered forever following the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Click here to read the full newsletter.