Monday, January 31, 2011

January 2011

BLOODY VALENTINE: A Blue Bloods Book, by Melissa de la Cruz (Urban Fantasy/Romance)
Steamy love triangles and relentless drama have continued now for five installments of theBlue Bloods series, building in momentum with each new volume without becoming tedious. This sixth book is a quick read, a novella that is actually vital to the main love story, organized in three short stories that each centers on a familiar character. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.
THE RUNNING DREAM by Wendelin Van Draanen (Fiction)
Sixteen-year-old Jessica lives to run, and the track team is her second family. So when a tragic bus accident leaves her with an amputated leg, her entire world screeches to a painful dead end. But with the help of her friends and a hidden strength discovered deep within, she just may find the courage --- and the means --- to run again. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman and excerpted.

» Click here to watch Wendelin Van Draanen talk about THE RUNNING DREAM.
SAPPHIQUE by Catherine Fisher (Fantasy)
In this thrilling sequel to INCARCERON, Finn is struggling to fit into the outside world as the long-lost Prince Giles. When another claimant emerges, Finn’s identity is cast into doubt. Incarceron, the prison, also has plans of its own and has built a body to finally escape and take control of the Outside. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.
THE LOST GATE by Orson Scott Card (Urban Fantasy)
Orson Scott Card gave readers a brave, young hero with Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. Now he’s back with a new protagonist, Danny North, in a brilliant, original fantasy novel --- the first installment in his Mither Mages series --- that will appeal to teens and adults alike. Reviewed by Ray Palen.
DEADLY LITTLE GAMES: A Touch Novel, by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Paranormal Romance)
Camelia begins to sense danger once again. This time, her friend Adam is receiving mysterious crossword puzzles with threatening clues. She tries to help him, but they can’t seem to find any answers, plus it’s causing her boyfriend Ben to worry about their relationship. What good is having the extrasensory perception of psychometry if she can’t save her friends in time? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.
THE FOUNDLING’S TALE, Part Three: FACTOTUM by D.M. Cornish (Fantasy)
Rossamund Bookchild begins his new role as factotum for Europe, the Duchess-in-waiting and professional monster hunter, filled with anxiety and doubt. Besides the fact that he struggles with killing monsters in the first place, Rossamund has to deal with the realization that he may be a monster himself. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.
THE BIG CRUNCH by Pete Hautman (Fiction)
June is not swept off her feet when she first meets Wes, and Wes is not struck dumb upon first sight of June. Instead, their love story follows the natural rhythm of many relationships. A happy ending isn’t necessarily guaranteed, but it’s romantic in its own special way. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.
JUMPSTART THE WORLD by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Fiction)
When Elle must move into her own apartment at age 15, she is filled with rage at the situation. She is definitely not looking for friends or a love interest. Yet she makes such an emotional connection with Frank, her nice neighbor, that she finds herself developing a crush on him. Needless to say, her world is rocked when she discovers that he's transgender. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.
THE LAST FULL MEASURE by Ann Rinaldi(Historical Fiction)
Tacy is facing the biggest challenges of her young life as the armies of the North and South collide in her hometown of Gettysburg. Not only is she desperately worried for her older brothers and father, who are out on the battlefield, she’s confused about her other brother, David. David used to be her friend, but now he’s always angry and downright mean. Life will never be the same for those who manage to survive one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.
WISHFUL THINKING by Alexandra Bullen(Urban Fantasy)
Adopted as a baby, Hazel has always been alone --- and has always yearned to find out where she comes from. So when she receives three enchanted dresses, each with the power to grant one wish, she wishes to know her mother. Suddenly she finds herself living another life. But will Hazel’s search for her past forever alter her future? Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis(Science Fiction/Thriller)
The spaceship Godspeed is on a 300-year journey across the stars to form a new settlement on Earth-Centauri. Amy has been cryogenically frozen with her parents to awake once the journey is completed, but something has gone wrong and she's awoken 50 years too soon. Someone is deliberately unplugging the cryogenic containers, and it's up to Amy to find out what's happening before the killer strikes again. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.
FALL FOR ANYTHING by Courtney Summers(Fiction)
When Eddie Reeves’s father --- a legendary photographer --- commits suicide, her life is consumed by the question of why? So when she meets Culler Evans, her father’s former student, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems like he can unlock the mystery of her father’s death, but are some questions better left unanswered? Reviewed by Elizabeth Bruce.
FAMOUS by Todd Strasser (Fiction)
All Jamie Gordon wants to do is take pictures of celebrities --- and now she has the chance of a lifetime. She’s been invited to spend a week with Willow Twine, taking pictures of the teen star’s chaste life. But when Jamie gets her hands on some sensational shots, she’s suddenly in too deep. The pictures could make her career…and destroy Willow’s. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins (Fiction)
When Anna Oliphant is shipped off to a boarding school in Paris her senior year of high school, she meets Étienne St. Clair --- cute, funny, smart and unavailable. Romance may be out of the question, but that doesn’t mean friendship is, and the two forge a relationship neither saw coming. Will Anna get her French kiss? Reviewed by Jordana Frankel.
Graphic Novels and Manga
X-FORCE, Volumes 1-3 written by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, illustrated by Clayton Crain
Facing extinction, the mutant race is being hunted down and murdered by a group of radical extremists called the Purifiers. The X-Men live in a world that hates and fears them; with their numbers dwindling, it's time to take a stand. Assembled by Scott Summers and led by Wolverine, the black-ops team known as X-Force is going to take the fight to their enemies and kill every last one of them. Reviewed by Michael Hicks.
At last, the Prince of Power takes the fight to his evil stepmother Hera and the Olympus Group --- just as she unleashes the most terrifying threat the Marvel Universe has ever seen! A battle of epic proportions begins, and everything points to a single question: "What is CONTINUUM?" Unless Hercules can stop it, the answer will alter the course of the MU forever. Reviewed by Collin David.
SOUL EATER, Volume 4 written and illustrated by Atsushi Ohkubo
At Maka's request, she and Soul meet with Doctor Stein for an intensive training session. If they fail, they may never resonate again, but Maka is desperate to become stronger so that Soul can’t get hurt. Soul's nightmares, however, have made him reluctant. With their soul wavelengths pulling apart, can they overcome the danger of their next assignment? Reviewed by Casey Brienza.
TEGAMI BACHI, Volume 1: LETTER BEE written and illustrated by Hiroyuki Asada
In Amberground, a dangerous terrain where a man-made star casts a permanent twilight, young Lag Seeing aspires to become a Letter Bee: a postman entrusted to deliver the hearts of people separated from the ones they love. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.
I AM HERE!, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Ema Toyama
Invisible to her classmates, Hikage Sumino is an eighth grader with no self-esteem. Her only friends are the visitors to her Internet blog. Then one day, the most popular boy in the grade suddenly talks to her. Encouraged by this twist of fate, Hikage determines to transform her life. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.
Adult Books You Won't Want To Miss: 2011 Alex Award Winners
BREAKING NIGHT: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard, by Liz Murray (Memoir)
Written in the vein of THE GLASS CASTLE, BREAKING NIGHT is the stunning memoir of a young woman who was born to loving but drug-addicted parents. Taunted for her dirty clothes and lice-infested hair, Liz Murray skipped so many classes as a child that she was put into a girls’ home. At age 15 she was sleeping on the streets…and two years later, she found herself at Harvard. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.
THE LOCK ARTIST by Steve Hamilton(Thriller)
Marked by tragedy, traumatized at the age of eight, Michael, now 18, is no ordinary young man. Besides not uttering a single word in 10 years, he discovers the one thing he can somehow do better than anyone else. Whether it's a locked door without a key, a padlock with no combination, or even an 800-pound safe, he can open them all. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
In Aimee Bender’s second novel, a young girl discovers a strange power that helps her cope with the secrets of her troubled family. THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE is an affecting story of the ties that bind us and the stresses that drive us apart. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.
THE RADLEYS by Matt Haig (Fiction)
The Radleys are a typical family. Except Peter and Helen are vampires, and they’ve abstained from blood-chasing so that their children could lead normal lives. But when their daughter commits a shocking act of violence, the police launch an investigation that uncovers an unknown history --- and leads to a visit from their malevolent Uncle Will. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
ROOM by Emma Donoghue (Fiction)
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
2011 ALA Youth Media Awards
Each year the American Library Association (ALA) honors books and media for children and teens. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, ALA awards --- including the Newbery, Caldecott, Sibert and Coretta Scott King Book Awards --- guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media.

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the ALA, also announced its 2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults, Great Graphic Novels for Teens and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. Click on the links to see which books made these lists.

Nominate Your Favorite Books of 2010 for the Children's Book Council's Teen Choice Book of the Year!
In association with the Children’s Book Council (CBC), is giving you a very special opportunity to let your voices be heard by telling us your five favorite books of 2010. The five titles that receive the most votes will serve as the finalists for the CBC’s 2011 Teen Choice Book of the Year. Once the five finalists have been determined, we will tell you where you can go vote for them. The winner will be announced in May 2011.

» Click here for all the details.

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 PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ by A.S. King, SHIP BREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi, WISHFUL THINKING by Alexandra Bullen, and WORDS IN THE DUST by Trent Reedy. All you have to do to enter is fill out this form by Thursday, February 17th at noon ET.

» Click here for all the contest details.
» Click here for the winners of our past giveaways.

Win a Paperback Copy of ONCE WAS LOST by Sara Zarr for Your Book Club
Looking for a great read that will get you and your friends talking in your book club? Then you’ll definitely be interested in ONCE WAS LOST by Sara Zarr, about a young girl who, in the midst of personal and public tragedies, questions the beliefs she has long held to be true. With a father for a pastor, faith has been a matter of course for Samara Taylor. But when her mother lands in rehab after a “run-in with a fence post,” Sam and her father are on their own. Then, with the kidnapping of one of Sam’s friends, Sam begins to wonder if she’s even more alone than she thought, as her ties to faith and family are called into question. is giving away up to 25 copies of ONCE WAS LOST, which is now available in paperback, to the winning book club. The deadline for entries is Thursday, February 17th at noon ET.

ONCE WAS LOST by Sara Zarr (Fiction)
When your father's a pastor, it's hard not to buy in to the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Samara Taylor has a lot of reasons to doubt. Her mother lands in rehab after a DUI, and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. When a young girl in her small town is kidnapped, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam's personal one, and the already worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel.

» Click here to read all the contest details.
» Click here to read more about ONCE WAS LOST.
» Click here to read a review of ONCE WAS LOST.
» Click here to read an excerpt from ONCE WAS LOST.
» Click here to see the reading group guide for ONCE WAS LOST.
» Click here to read our interview with Sara Zarr.
» Click here to read Sara Zarr’s bio.

Win a Copy of SEQUINS, SECRETS, AND SILVER LININGS by Sophia Bennett
Three very different girls --- the fashion-forward Nonie; Edie, who’s all about supporting causes; and Jenny, a girl on her way to Hollywood starlet-dom --- take up a cause that they never saw coming. After meeting a Ugandan refugee girl who shares Nonie’s passion for fashion and a talent for designing, they use their individual interests to work toward a goal that really matters.

To celebrate the release of SEQUINS, SECRETS, AND SILVER LININGS, Sophia Bennett’s debut novel, is giving 100 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, March 22nd at noon ET.

Once upon a time in London town, there were three fab “birds”: Nonie is a freak for fashion, bleeding-heart Edie wants to green the planet, and starter-starlet Jenny just finished filming a small part in a BIG Hollywood blockbuster opposite a drool-worthy boy. But when these trendy Brit besties meet Crow, a refugee girl who happens to be an amazing designer, their worldview gets an extreme makeover.

» Click here to read all the contest details.
» Click here to read more about SEQUINS, SECRETS, AND SILVER LININGS.
» Click here to read a review of SEQUINS, SECRETS, AND SILVER LININGS.
» Click here to read an excerpt from SEQUINS, SECRETS, AND SILVER LININGS.
» Click here to read our interview with Sophia Bennett.
» Click here to read Sophia Bennett’s bio.

Special Features

NEVER BEEN KISSED by Melody Carlson(Fiction)
Summer is ending, and for once that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to Elise. She’s hoping that starting fresh at a new high school will turn her first-kiss prospects around. New guys, new friends, and a new lease on life. What she wasn’t counting on was all the new pressure --- to hang with the right crowd, wear the right clothes, and date the right guy. Just when it seems she’s on top of the world, everything comes crashing down. Could one bad choice derail her future?

» Click here to read more about NEVER BEEN KISSED.
» Click here to read a review of NEVER BEEN KISSED.
» Click here to read an excerpt from NEVER BEEN KISSED.
» Click here to read our interview with Melody Carlson.
» Click here to read Melody Carlson’s bio.

TRAPPED by Michael Northrop (Psychological Thriller)
Scotty and his friends, Pete and Jason, are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision…

» Click here to read an excerpt from TRAPPED.
» Click here to read Michael Northrop’s bio.

Books into Movies

The Green Hornet
Get ready to start off the new year with a bang, because we’re spotlighting one action-packed and hilariously funny flick you definitely don’t want to miss. The Green Hornet, the highly anticipated film adaptation of Kevin Smith’s comic book series, is giving both comedy lovers and adventure seekers cause for some serious excitement. The story of a media empire heir turned vigilante, this movie will have you gripping the edge of your seats --- when you’re not in stitches over the laugh-out-loud antics of Seth Rogen and Jay Chou, who have taken on the roles of The Green Hornet and his sidekick, Kato.

» Click here for more details about The Green Hornet.

Cool New Books
January’s roundup of Cool New Books includes SHANTORIAN, the second installment in Patrick Carman’s suspense-filled Trackersseries, about four tech-savvy teens caught in a game of cat and mouse with the world’s most dangerous hacker; THE RUNNING DREAM by Wendelin Van Draanen, the compelling story of a track star’s quest to cross the finish line after losing her leg in a car accident; ALL JUST GLASS, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’s haunting tale of two vampire-hunting sisters who are asked to turn against each other when one is transformed into the very creature her family has been killing for centuries; and OVER THE MOON, an original and hilariously funny musical from Jodi Picoult and Jake van Leer featuring a love-struck moon, her handsome prince and a cross-dressing Hairy Godmother. » Click here
New in Paperback
January’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes FANG, the sixth installment in James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series, in which Max must save her flock from the impending apocalypse and protect her soul mate Fang from an untimely fate; FIRE, the captivating prequel to Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING, which tells the story of a mesmerizing girl named Fire who has to save her king --- and herself --- from the power of her own deadly beauty; THE CLONE CODES, the first installment in a futuristic trilogy from Patricia C. McKissack, Fredrick McKissack and John McKissack about a courageous 13-year-old’s fight against an oppressive, world-wide government; and GOOD FORTUNE by Noni Carter, the heart-wrenching narrative of a young slave who sacrifices everything for freedom. » Click here