Pretend you live in Manhattan, across the street from a little park. Now pretend you wake up one nightReviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com
Pretend you live in Manhattan, across the street from a little park. Now pretend you wake up one night and the park has sunken into the ground and left a big hole. Wait, it gets weirder! Pretend you see a mud-covered creature climb up out of the hole using a rope, and it waves at you. What would you do? If you're twelve-year-old Ananka Fishbein, you sneak out of the house and climb down the hole. Once down the hole, you might find a secret room. (I say "might" because I'm not sure which park you're imagining, but for the sake of argument let's assume you live across from the same park.) In that room you would find a trap door that leads to what appears to be a never ending hallway of closed doors. This, my friends, is the Shadow City.
The Shadow City is entirely underground. No one knows how far it runs, how many rooms there are, or even where it all leads. Most people don't even know it exists, except for Ananka, and the mud-covered thing that waves like British royalty. Ananka has about a million questions about the Shadow City, the mud creature, and the new girl in school that no one has ever seen before, the one and only Kiki Strike.
Who is Kiki Strike? She's not about to tell. But she has put together an amazing assortment of girls. The Irregulars are misfits, borderline delinquent, unappreciated, Girl Scout rejects, and they've never met until Kiki came along. Ananka is curious and courageous, and has access to a vast peculiar library that her parents call home. Luz Lopez is a mechanical genius, she can design pretty much anything and make it work. DeeDee Morlock is a chemistry whiz, explosives and poisons are her specialties. Betty Bunt is a master of disguise who hasn't been seen, as herself, in four years. Oona Wong is the best hacker and forger in Manhattan. Kiki Strike is, well, Kiki; no one ever seems to get around to figuring out why or what she's masterminding. Together these girls will explore, map, and ultimately control the Shadow City.
I loved this book! After awhile, you get so wrapped up in the intrigue and adventures you forget, like the rest of the girls, to ask why all of this is happening. It's exciting, confusing, and completely absorbing. I didn't want to put it down, and my sister kept getting mad at herself for falling asleep while she was reading, even though she was completely exhausted. One of the most fun parts of this book, aside from the story itself, are the interesting and surprisingly useful lists at the end of each chapter. They include things like "How To Take Advantage of Being a Girl," "How to Catch a Lie," "How to be a Master of Disguise," and "How to Kick Some Butt." It also includes information about other underground cities, various New York City landmarks, and more. KIKI STRIKE is definitely geared towards girls, but far from too girly for a boy to appreciate.
The story, while complete in and of itself, is still a bit open-ended. I hope that means we get to see more adventures from Ananka, Kiki, and the rest of the Irregulars. Kudos to Kristen Miller, and can I join? ...more
THE LINE is a novel for all those band geeks out there. If you are a percussionist, you'll feel rightReviewed by Cana Rensberger for TeensReadToo.com
THE LINE is a novel for all those band geeks out there. If you are a percussionist, you'll feel right at home as the Forrest Hills High School drum line prepares for a new season of football games and competitions.
Lucy has spent weeks preparing for her audition to be a member of The Battery. Once she makes it, she finds out that being the only girl on the line has special challenges. Especially when the hot cymbal player she's been crushing on leaves no doubt that he's interested in a relationship. Lucy will have a boyfriend to take her to the homecoming dance!
But, of course, it's not that simple. Lucy has also met another guy and can't stop thinking about him. That fact that he's the Captain of the rival drum line makes the situation even more complicated. Is it possible to date two guys from different schools? Should she tell them about each other? What if they find out that they are competitors, not only for Lucy, but on the drum line competition field as well?
Once Lucy opts for truth, she realizes it's not fair to the boys who both want to date her exclusively. Who will she choose? Nevada, the flashy cymbal player from her own line? Or Sam, from the rival line, who liked her even after finding out who she was? Will Lucy find out the secret that has fueled the rivalry between the two drum lines? And who is that mysterious cyber-buddy that's always on-line for her?
The beginning of this book is a little slow starting, with a fair amount of telling. But don't let that discourage you. Lucy will draw you in. The fun tension between the drum lines and the boys will make you want to read on. You will inevitably pick who you want Lucy to choose and you won't be disappointed. It took me back to my band days, those bus trips, the pranks in the band room, and the rush you feel when you compete with high honors. My 12-year-old daughter took this book away from me and read it in a day. She and I agree that this book was a fun read with a highly satisfying ending. ...more
Jessica has always known she is adopted. Her parents, the Packwoods, have told her the story of how thReviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com
Jessica has always known she is adopted. Her parents, the Packwoods, have told her the story of how they, as anthropologists, were studying her family in Romania when they were attacked. Jessica's birth parents begged the Packwoods to take their daughter to safety. Eventually, Jessica's birth parents and many others of her family are killed and the Packwoods return to the United States with a new baby.
Jessica hates the story. She hates the fact that her parents were the kind of freaks that anthropologists wanted to study in the first place and how her birth name sounds so ethnic and strange. Antanasia - what kind of name is that?
Jessica starts to get a little freaked out when she sees a strange and mysterious guy watching her from afar. At the same time, she starts hearing her birth name whispered in the air. Antanasia... When the same strange and mysterious guy shows up at school, she doesn't know what to think. It turns out he is an exchange student named Lucius Vladescu. When Jessica points him out to her mother and tells her how he gives off a weird vibe, she doesn't seem too surprised to see him. Jessica's mother even invites him home for dinner to talk.
All of this happens within the first 17 pages of the book.
Jessica (Antanasia) is a Romanian vampire princess who was betrothed to Lucius when they were born. The promise of their marriage has held their two clans, the Dragomirs and the Vladescus, in a tentative peace for years. If the wedding doesn't take place, there will be a large-scale war which will most likely lead to the destruction of the Dragomirs.
Jessica has a difficult time believing any of this. She has a hard time believing anything that can't be explained logically. Lucius attempts to win her over, while Jessica attempts to live her life like normal - pretending she isn't a vampire princess.
Both Jessica and Lucius go through major changes in the novel. They have time to examine their true feelings about family and duty. Beth Fantaskey does an excellent job keeping the reader guessing until the very end. You will constantly be reassessing your opinion about how the story will end. Personally, I found myself getting very nervous as I was getting toward the end of the book and I still thought there was so much that needed to happen.
Luckily, Fantaskey does a brilliant job tying up loose ends. JESSICA'S GUIDE TO DATING ON THE DARK SIDE could easily be the beginning of a series (I don't know if there will be a sequel or not), but it can also work as a great stand-alone novel.
JESSICA'S GUIDE TO DATING ON THE DARK SIDE has become one of my new favorite young adult vampire novels. I know I'll be reading it again....more
Fifteen-year-old Alfrieda Emerson already had enough to deal with before finding out she has freaky pReviewed by Allison Fraclose for TeensReadToo.com
Fifteen-year-old Alfrieda Emerson already had enough to deal with before finding out she has freaky psychic powers.
Crammed into a one bedroom trailer with her mother on her half-uncle's property, Allie's life has been pretty miserable since her mom decided (thanks to Oprah) that she has fibromyalgia and can't work anymore. Every Thursday, her mother's lawyer, "Big Ed," comes to spend the night, and Allie has to escape to her creepy neighbor's opulent home.
The eccentric Kizzy keeps telling Allie that she has the Gift, but Allie never believed her until a fall from a ladder into the bull pasture triggers something strange in Allie's brain, and she's suddenly able to keep the bull from charging her with a mere thought. Later that night, a hippyish ghost named Trilby appears out of nowhere, claiming to be Allie's spirit guide.
Apparently, Allie has passed "the first test," but Trilby refuses to tell her anything more, except that Allie is part of an ancient prophecy.
Things get weirder when Kizzy gives Allie a moonstone pendant that has been in her family for generations, saying that Allie is meant to have it. If this piece of jewelry means even more magic, Allie wants nothing to do with it. But despite her reluctance, she finds herself in the middle of a magical tug-of-war between those who would misuse the power of the moonstone and those who would see the prophecy fulfilled.
It's time for her to live up to her destiny as "The Maiden Who is Strong of Mind" so she can protect the people that she loves.
This first book in the new UNBIDDEN MAGIC series starts off with great promise, and draws the reader into Allie's world, where ancient conspiracy and magic meet the most common of circumstances. Watching the main character grow to take charge of her life and deal with her new role left me itching to read the next book and find out what happens to her. ...more