The cheerleaders and the robotics team become unlikely allies when both of their funding is cut from the high schooWhy I picked it up: YALSA Challenge
The cheerleaders and the robotics team become unlikely allies when both of their funding is cut from the high school.
I liked it. A lot. The main character is the star of the basketball team and I like how he & the robotics president are friends despite their different social circles. Sure, they are neighbors, but you can tell that while that may be the original basis, they like each other. Stereotypes of school archetypes are here but there are some unexpected twists, too. I did think the twins were girls. (They weren’t.) A fun read. As it happens, both my husband and I read it; he enjoyed it as well.
Why I picked it up: I read the cover when it came into the library and thought it sounded interesting. I recently started a challenge to read books deWhy I picked it up: I read the cover when it came into the library and thought it sounded interesting. I recently started a challenge to read books dealing with Latino/a culture or by Latino/a authors and was reminded of this book.
Azael is fifteen. He wakes up in a cell and assumes he is in juvie again. He was in a gang-related fight at a park but can’t remember much past the beginning of the fight. The guards tell him he needs to remember what happened, but all they let him do is watch a white girl he doesn’t recognize. Chapters alternate from “now” which is Azael in the cell to “then” which gives glimpses into Azael’s life outside.
It didn’t work for me. I understand what the author was trying to do. And I in addition to the message I think she was trying to convey, I do acknowledge that we need more books with Latino/a characters and that sometimes those books are going to be harsh. I’m okay with that. But I have a hard time with books that sell themselves as something and then break the rules, and in my opinion that is what happened here. I can’t elaborate without spoilers. It just didn’t work for me.
Contains: language, gang violence; sex; recreational drugs; illusions to sexual abuse
Challenges: Latin@s 2014 Reading Rainbow: Black ...more
Why I picked it up: It looked light and I had just read several heavy titles; I needed hockey for Jessica's scavenger hunt.
Hudson used to be on the paWhy I picked it up: It looked light and I had just read several heavy titles; I needed hockey for Jessica's scavenger hunt.
Hudson used to be on the path to figure-skating stardom. But one day she intentionally bombed a competition and she's never gone back to the sport. Instead, she spends her spare time making up new cupcakes to sell at her mother's diner. She still sneaks out and skates on a nearby river, though, and it's there that she meets a hockey player who asks her to help him with his skating.
I liked parts of it. Half the book or more would have been unnecessary if the characters had a conversation with each other. My favorite part of the book was how the hockey team become Hudson's fierce supporters after she proves herself to them.
Contains: mild language; make-out scene without shirts
Why I picked it up: I loved the author's other series, Hex Hall, and this is a spin-off.
Izzy's family has been trained to fight monsters for generatioWhy I picked it up: I loved the author's other series, Hex Hall, and this is a spin-off.
Izzy's family has been trained to fight monsters for generations. But when her older sister goes missing, her mom moves Izzy to a small town. There have been hauntings at the local high school and Izzy wants to figure out what is happening—her first real assignment on her own.
I liked it. I didn't remember the specifics of the Brannick sisters from the last Hex Hall book, but that didn't really hurt this book for me. It was entertaining.
Why I picked it up: It sounded intriguing and fun.
Maggie is a spy, has spy parents, and has grown up doing spy things. She's also 16. Her specialty isWhy I picked it up: It sounded intriguing and fun.
Maggie is a spy, has spy parents, and has grown up doing spy things. She's also 16. Her specialty is as a safe cracker. She finally has her first solo assignment: go to a normal high school and make friends with a specific boy so she can end up at his house and get files out of his father's safe.
It's predictable. I mean, you can tell from reading the description that she's going to end up falling for the boy. And some things work out way too easily. But it's relatively fun. 2 ½ stars.
A note on the audio: the author reads it. She is not bad, but there are places of dialogue where it is not clear which character is speaking. That annoyed me.
Why I picked it up: This was a re-read for me; I first read it while in grad school.
Bobby comes home on his 16th birthday looking forward to the cakeWhy I picked it up: This was a re-read for me; I first read it while in grad school.
Bobby comes home on his 16th birthday looking forward to the cake he knows his mom has baked for him. He’s glad to see his girlfriend, Nia, sitting on the steps waiting for him. Then she tells him she’s pregnant.
This book is told from Bobby’s 1st person perspective (with the exception of one very short chapter). Chapters alternate between “then”—when Bobby finds out about the pregnancy and forward, and “now”—after the birth of Feather. Chapters are short and sometimes that can be confusing, especially when dealing with two different time tables, but it is not a problem here. First-time readers will wonder why Nia is absent from the “now” narrative but know that you do find out. An honest and beautiful short read. ...more
Why I picked it up: I was looking for something on the lighter side and this seemed to fit.
Piper’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day, so everyone gives hWhy I picked it up: I was looking for something on the lighter side and this seemed to fit.
Piper’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day, so everyone gives her heart stuff and assumes she is all for the holiday, but Piper is a cynic about love. She’s seen too many relationships fall apart and she doesn’t believe in love. Someone starts leaving gifts in her locker; can this secret admirer make her change her mind about love?
I liked it. Piper works at a chocolate shop after school and I like the way a hodge-podge group of high school kids and the owner of the chocolate shop form such a strong bond. It’s not super deep and it’s a little bit predictable, but it’s fun. I also liked that the high school students seemed like kids I would have hung out with. They had a good time and they had problems, but they were content to party with each other and pizza; Piper sincerely likes her younger siblings; and the kids have no trouble being around adults.
Contains: nothing objectionable
Challenges: YA-MA Seasons of the Year: Winter ...more
Why I picked it up: I read related title Catching Jordan and enjoyed it.
High school senior Parker seemed to have it all together. She was the star ofWhy I picked it up: I read related title Catching Jordan and enjoyed it.
High school senior Parker seemed to have it all together. She was the star of the softball team, she is headed to Vanderbilt in the fall, and she’ll graduate as the valedictorian. But she quit the softball team last year because softball reminds her of her mom, and her mom came out as in love with a woman and moved away last year, and Parker feels like this basically ruined her life. Beyond taking softball from her the people at her church don’t treat her well and she has been dropped by her best friends. Then Parker becomes the statistician for the boy’s baseball team and feels a strong connection with the twenty-something assistant coach.
I liked it okay. It wasn’t deep or anything, but it grew on me. Parker’s struggles seemed real. She doesn’t always think beyond a pretty narrow world, but that feels realistic. At first, the parts that included her church really bothered me and almost felt forced, but by the end, it was one of the elements that really stood out for me. The love story with the older coach seemed off to me. This is set at the same school as Catching Jordan though it isn’t a sequel. I liked seeing those two main characters, though they were pretty much sideline characters.
Contains: sexual activity
Challenges: YA-MA Seasons of the Year: Spring
Quote: "I drop the f-bomb at least twice a day. To tell you the truth, I kinda love the word. It’s so versatile. It can be an adjective, a noun, a verb." P 35...more
Why I picked it up: I was intrigued by the band road trip element.
Colby and his best friend since the age of 9 Bev have had a plan for after graduatioWhy I picked it up: I was intrigued by the band road trip element.
Colby and his best friend since the age of 9 Bev have had a plan for after graduation for years: tour for a week with Bev’s girl band, then go to Europe for year and see everything. No college, no SATs, just travel. On the first day of the road trip with the band, Bev reveals that she isn’t going to Europe and she is going to college. For Colby, this is the ultimate betrayal—to apply and get recommendations and write essays, Bev must have known for months, yet she never told him. He wants to go home, but the band has gigs booked to the road trip continues.
I liked it. It was much deeper than I expected, and I really liked some of the side characters. The side plot about the tattoo from Colby’s dad’s band’s album cover I found to be particularly cool. And I really liked the note to the bike owners in Portland. 3 ½ stars.
Contains: language, underage drinking; sex
Challenges: YA-MA Seasons of the Year: Summer...more
Note: I read an Advance Reader's Copy. Content could change for the published version.
Why I picked it up: The ARC came across my desk and when I was lNote: I read an Advance Reader's Copy. Content could change for the published version.
Why I picked it up: The ARC came across my desk and when I was looking for something light and escapist, I was pretty sure Simone Elkeles would not let me down and I was particularly drawn by the girl kicker on the football team.
Derek gets kicked out of his boarding school for taking the fall for a group prank. His dad is on a military submarine, so that leaves Derek with his not-much-older-than-him stepmother and her 5-year-old son moving to Chicago to live with step-relatives he’s never met. Ashtyn longs to connect with her distant father, the parent she lives with since her mother left but who is pretty absent. To have something in common with him, Ashtyn started to play football. Now, the summer before her senior year, she is the kicker on her team and is shocked to be voted captain by her teammates. Her boyfriend, the egomaniac quarterback, is shocked, too. When Ashtyn’s older sister returns home after walking out 9 years ago, Ashtyn doesn’t expect her to bring a stepson the same as Ashtyn with her.
It was exactly what I needed in the moment I read it. It was hot. Steamy. The sexual tension was exactly like the beginning of an exciting new relationship. This is exactly what I would have wanted to read as a teenager. Characters who are good people, funny quips, and great romantic tension. Plus I have always loved “girls on the boys sports team” books. Derek and Ashtyn do not want to be attracted to each other. I found some of the characters too much of a caricature (like the quarterback boyfriend) but the main characters are well flushed-out. I found the last third to be a tiny bit of a let-down, but part of that was my break-neck reading. Note: this book opened my eyes to the existence of synchronized trampolining, which I didn’t believe was a real thing. It is.
Contains: language, under-age drinking; sex
Challenges: YA-MA Seasons of the Year: Summer...more
Note: I read an Advance Reader's Copy. Content could change for the published version.
Why I picked it up: I got an ARC through the Debut Author ChalleNote: I read an Advance Reader's Copy. Content could change for the published version.
Why I picked it up: I got an ARC through the Debut Author Challenge
A seventeen-year-old boy wakes up in Penn Station in NYC with no memories and only a copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Since he doesn’t know his name, he takes Henry David (Hank for short) as his name. Not knowing where else to go, Hank heads to Walden Pond in Massachusetts.
Enh. I didn’t love it. The characters didn’t really feel memorable (no pun intended!) with the exception of the burly, motorcycle-riding, history-loving librarian. (Yay for positive librarian characters!) Parts seemed far-fetched. It just didn’t really speak to me.
Contains: drug use; discussions of abuse; violence/fights
Why I picked it up: On next year’s middle school battle of the books list and was a contender for the annual collaborative book discussion at the middWhy I picked it up: On next year’s middle school battle of the books list and was a contender for the annual collaborative book discussion at the middle school.
Cap (short for Capricorn) Anderson has lived his entire life on a commune with pretty much just his grandmother for company. When Rain (grandma) falls while picking fruit and has a lengthy hospital stay, he ends up staying with a social worker and going to the public middle school. The school has a tradition of nominating and electing a complete loser, by 8th grade standards, as class president. When Cap shows up, the self-declared king of 8th grade makes sure Cap is that president. But Cap and his odd hippie ways eventually start to win over students. Told from multiple points of view.
I liked it. Cal was cool, and though I’m sure dealing with him could be frustrating, it would also be refreshing. That the social worker happened to have lived on the same commune back in the day was convenient but necessary, so it didn’t bother me. Seeing how the former school misfit interpreted events was particularly interesting, as he was sorry to see Cal targeted but realized that if it weren’t Cal, it would be him.
Why I picked it up: YALSA challenge, and Snow told me she thought I’d like it.
Maggie has been homeschooled, but tradition in her house is that you goWhy I picked it up: YALSA challenge, and Snow told me she thought I’d like it.
Maggie has been homeschooled, but tradition in her house is that you go to the local high school, so it is now her first day of 9th grade and her first day of public school. She has three older brothers, all of whom have gone through the homeschool to high school tradition and all of whom are still at the high school: senior Daniel and twins Lloyd and Zander. (An homage to Lloyd Alexander, perhaps?) Other than her brothers, Maggie doesn’t know anyone at the school but she quickly becomes friends with the punk-loving Lucy and her mohawked brother Alistair.
I liked it. I liked it more than I expected. It was really nice to see the dynamics between the siblings, especially Maggie and Daniel. I liked that the obvious conflict was explained before too long and the resolution wasn’t too easy. I liked that some things weren’t resolved. It felt real in a way that not everything does, both in terms of family dynamics and school dynamics. Two complaints: I have never heard of a high school boy’s volleyball team. Picky? Maybe, but it seemed odd, especially as those seem to be the jocks who rule the school. (It also doesn’t mean they aren’t out there, just that I haven’t encountered one.) And Two: the ghost. I liked Lucy’s obsession with ghosts and such, and that rang true to me, but didn’t really get the point of the ghost Maggie could see. Not enough to ruin the book for me, just enough to make me scratch my head. That element seemed out of place with the rest of the book. Three and a half stars, rounded up because I like Daniel the big brother so much.
Contains: Nothing objectionable
Challenges: YALSA 2013 Challenge: Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten ...more
Why I picked it up: I was home sick and found comfort in re-reading this favorite series.
This book picks up not long after Dairy Queen ends. DJ is nowWhy I picked it up: I was home sick and found comfort in re-reading this favorite series.
This book picks up not long after Dairy Queen ends. DJ is now on the football tea, but she gets injured. It’s not enough to stop her from playing football, but it could be enough to harm her ability to play basketball. She & Brian are now dating, but Brian doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge that or her when they aren’t alone. And as she’s grappling with that, her brother Winn is injured on national television.
I’ve said before how much I love this series and much of it is because I love this family. Seriously, the Schwenks are some of the most real, complex family stories that I’ve read. This can be a difficult read, more so than the others because of the subject matter, but it is handled so brilliantly. If you enjoyed Dairy Queen, keep reading about the Schwenk family!
Why I picked it up: It’s on next year’s Battle of the Books list and is one the middle school media specialist & I are considering for our annualWhy I picked it up: It’s on next year’s Battle of the Books list and is one the middle school media specialist & I are considering for our annual collaborative book discussion. But in order to pick, one of us has to read it!
Mo lives in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, population 148. She arrived there as a baby, blown in by a hurricane. She lives at the local café with the The Colonel and Miss Lana. The summer Mo is a rising 6th grader, trouble finds Tupelo Landing as a sheriff from Winston-Salem comes to town.
I enjoyed it. The citizens of Tupelo Landing are awesome; absolutely made me want to live there. I love small towns and quirky characters, so this was right up my alley. Dale, Mo’s best friend, is a great character, too, and I love how he points out the way the town is Mo’s family. A fun read.
Contains: man who beats his family (we know it happens and we see it in one scene, but it is not graphic) ...more
Kayla is a teenager who works at a local pizza place. One night she goes out with a delivery and never comes back.Why I picked it up: YALSA challenge
Kayla is a teenager who works at a local pizza place. One night she goes out with a delivery and never comes back. Kayla does not usually work on Wednesday nights; she asked her coworker, fellow high-schooler Gabie, to switch with her that week. The man who called in the delivery that led to Kayla’s disappearance asked if the girl with the mini-cooper was delivering that night. Gabie drives a mini-cooper.
It was a quick read that has a good amount of suspense without being overwhelming. I enjoyed it. I liked how Gabie really grew as a character, and I liked how her friendship with co-worker Drew developed. The end was a little far-fetched, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
Contains: underage drinking; recreational drug use; making out with some clothing removed
Why I picked it up: on the list for the YALSA challenge
Carlos lives in New York City. His passion is make-up and he dreams of being a famous make-up aWhy I picked it up: on the list for the YALSA challenge
Carlos lives in New York City. His passion is make-up and he dreams of being a famous make-up artist for the stars and therefore being able to afford a better life for him, his mom, and his older sister. When Carlos gets a job at a make-up counter at a department store, he knows it is just a matter of time before he is discovered and on his way to stardom.
Carlos is extremely self-centered and he justifies a lot of things he knows are wrong and will hurt people. Then he gets upset when he isn’t forgiven. This made both Carlos and the book really hard for me to like. Though I was thrilled when a character called him out on his behavior. The problem: Carlos didn’t change. Others may be able to get past Carlos and enjoy the story; I was not able to.
Contains: an abusive boyfriend and a girl who lies to cover for him
Challenges: YALSA challenge 2013: Popular Paperbacks Top Ten ...more
Why I picked it up: Within the YALSA challenge, I’m trying to read at least one from every award/list. This is the only book on the list for the SchneWhy I picked it up: Within the YALSA challenge, I’m trying to read at least one from every award/list. This is the only book on the list for the Schneider Family Book Award, so I needed it.
High school senior Ben Bright is exactly that: bright, with a bright future. He has a long-term girlfriend, a family who supports him, and is quite smart & talented. When he decides to enlist in the Army instead of going to college, he does so almost sneakily so that no one can talk him out of it. While in Iraq, he suffers a traumatic brain injury and returns to the US.
I was underwhelmed by this one. First of all, it covers a year and a half in 148 pages. Too many things are just not given the attention that they deserve. We start as Ben has just gotten his orders to report for boot camp as soon as school gets out, then we are very briefly in Iraq, then there is the explosion, then he’s at Walter Reed in DC, then in California. It’s too much in too brief a time. The story doesn’t even begin to skim the surface of the subject matter here. And I liked the characters, especially best friend Niko, but they didn’t get the attention they deserved because there wasn’t time. It’s a quick read because it’s so short, but I’m not convinced there is enough here to make it worth it.
Odd note: this is probably an “I’m completely crazy” thing, but I swear that girlfriend Ariela’s college is modeled after my own Kenyon. It’s in Ohio. The closest major airport is Columbus. There is a nearby town called Mount Morris that has a Mount Morris College of the Nazarene that the students call The Naz. (Mount Vernon/Mount Morris.) Ariela’s roommate wants to try out for an a capella group called the Creeks. (Owl Creeks/Creeks.) Running through campus is Center Path. (Middle Path/Center Path.) Ariela takes a drama class her freshman year; it is referred to as Baby Drama. There is an Environmental Center down a hill from campus. And if that’s not enough to convince you, the physical descriptions of the campus match, as do the descriptions of seeing familiar faces everywhere due to the small size of the student body. And the kicker: the fictional college is Chase College; Kenyon’s founder was Philander Chase. I checked and as far as Wikipedia can tell me, neither Harry Mazer nor Peter Lerangis went to Kenyon. But there are just too many things that are the same or almost the same for it not to be.
Contains: underage drinking; war
Challenges: YALSA Challenge: Schneider Family Book Award ...more
Why I picked it up: on the list of the YALSA challenge and set in Australia. Two birds, one book.
Fifteen-year-old Amelia gets a job at a supermarket.Why I picked it up: on the list of the YALSA challenge and set in Australia. Two birds, one book.
Fifteen-year-old Amelia gets a job at a supermarket. Chris is a twenty-two year-old uni student and is put in charge of her training. The two chat and tease and laugh at work; Amelia develops quite a crush on Chris. This is told from both points of view, so we spend time in Amelia's head and in Chris's journal.
I liked it okay, but I didn't love it. I liked Amelia. She reminded me a bit of myself as a teen: naïve and a little young for her age in terms of social age, but intelligent, and she seems to truly like the learning parts of school. While I have no problem with multiple points of view, I wasn't crazy about how it was done here. Each person had large chunks of time, so we'd see like 4 months from Amelia's perspective, then back up four months and see the same chunk of time through Chris's journal entries. The back and forth in time thing didn't really work for me. It was interesting to see two people who genuinely liked each other, and you know that if they had met ten years later and still both been single, they probably would have ended up together. But 25 and 32 is a different story from 15 and 22, and that was kind of the point.
Contains: language; sex; recreational drug use; drinking (though I don't know what the legal drinking age is in Australia)
Challenges: My geography challenge: Australia YALSA Challenge 2013: Morris finalist...more
Why I picked it up: I’m doing a Bluford book group with some middle school students and read several in the series so I would be familiar with them anWhy I picked it up: I’m doing a Bluford book group with some middle school students and read several in the series so I would be familiar with them and could pick one title for us to focus on.
The book opens with Ben’s mom announcing she is getting married. The marriage means Ben and his mom will no longer live with Aunt Fay and Ben has to change schools. Larry, the new step-dad, isn’t used to kids and isn’t very nice to Ben. But what starts as threats to stay out of the way quickly turns into physical beatings. With Aunt Fay out of town and a mom who seems to have given up, Ben feels stuck.
This was the second book I used with students. They seemed to like it; even the kids who said reading is boring wanted to know what happened next. That’s the real beauty of this series. I found it predictable but Ben is likeable and it was good to see some of the allies he has, even when he doesn’t always realize it.
A word about the audio: We listened and read along during class. I noticed a few times where the wording on the audio was a tiny bit different than what was in the printed book. Nothing major, but it was a little bothersome, as I always assume I’m getting exactly the same book when I listen.
Why I picked it up: I really liked Smile and I suspected Drama would be on the “Great Graphic Novels for Teens” list this year. I was right, plus it wWhy I picked it up: I really liked Smile and I suspected Drama would be on the “Great Graphic Novels for Teens” list this year. I was right, plus it was on several other lists.
I lettered in Drama in high school, but I was only on stage for one play. Instead, I did mostly behind-the-scenes (and under the stage) stuff, including running the box office for two years. But the stage crew kids don’t usually get much notice. It was super awesome, then, to see the stage crew get most of the spotlight in Drama. The characters were fun, believable, and age-appropriate. I enjoyed the characters and watching each of them do their thing, and I really admired Callie for her determination to get the cannon right. (My favorite scene is (view spoiler)[when they go to the cafeteria and do a scene and the cannon goes off, then all the students eating lunch immediately leave and get in line to buy tickets.) (hide spoiler)]
I read an ARC and while I suspect the content remained the same for the final book, mine had only one chapter in color. This didn’t bother me, and in fact I didn’t really notice it until I finished. But I checked out the published edition and confirmed that the actual book does indeed have color illustrations all the way through.
Rain Telgemeier is now officially my favorite graphic novel writer. I don’t know if this is only because the subject matter of both books so match my own teen experiences or if there is more to it. But Raina, if your next book is about pit orchestra or marching band, I’m yours for life!
Contains: Nothing objectionable
Challenges: Jessica's Scavenger Hunt: Food YALSA Challenge: Stonewall Honor, Great Graphic Novels, Popular Paperbacks ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Why I picked it up: It will be the next community read for my library (Spring 2014).
Clay is a web designer in San Francisco and he is out of a job. WhWhy I picked it up: It will be the next community read for my library (Spring 2014).
Clay is a web designer in San Francisco and he is out of a job. While wandering the streets, he sees a help wanted sign in the window of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Clay meets the unusual requirements and he becomes the night shift. The customers at Mr. Penumbra’s are unusual and Clay realizes that there is more to the bookstore than meets the eye.
I liked it. It was fun, it was intelligent, it was about books, it had characters I wanted to hang out with. Oh, and the cover glows in the dark! (Really. We totally tested it. In a supply closet at work. Of course that’s not weird!) It’s also interesting that it’s about the power of both books and technology and how the two can be combined, something I think people don’t realize is possible. (I’ve been told since I entered the library field that “libraries are dying” and “we have computers, who needs books” and “it’s all electronic now” and yet I am still a librarian employed in a library.) One thing that bothered me, though, was that the first person narrator would think things, and then other characters would answer as though he had spoken, but the thought was never in quotation marks, indicating it had never been spoken out loud. It happened several times.
Three and a half stars, but I will round up because I kept thinking about it after I read it and I liked the characters to much.
Quote: "I have waited my whole life to walk through a secret passage built into a bookshelf." Page 143
Why I picked it up: Honestly? We were picking up take-out to eat with my in-laws and the evening was going to involve watching football, which I don'tWhy I picked it up: Honestly? We were picking up take-out to eat with my in-laws and the evening was going to involve watching football, which I don't care about, and I forgot my book, so since there was a Barnes and Noble next door to the take-out place, I went in and looked for a paperback. I had heard of this one and was intrigued and, as required, it was in paperback and therefor cheaper, plus they didn't have the one I was looking for in stock, so I bought Speechless and read it while A and his family watched football.
Chelsea is a gossip. She's also best friends with the It Girl of her school, Kristin. When Chelsea sees something at a New Year's Party at Kristin's house, she tells everyone. Other students who hear Chelsea's gossip commit a hate crime that puts a boy in the hospital. Chelsea realizes that her actions helped lead to the crime, so inspired by a National Geographic article about a Monk who has taken a vow of silence, Chelsea goes quiet so she can start to think before she speaks.
I liked it. A lot. Chelsea is pretty self-absorbed at the beginning, but not to an unreasonable level, and I liked being inside her head. I liked her slowly realizing what and who mattered, and I really liked her realizing that she needed changes in her life. I also like how the subject matter was handled. The high school pettiness and meanness felt realistic. And I loved, loved, loved the gang at Rosie's. I want to work there. I want to eat there! I really liked the friendships Chelsea develops after she starts her vow. A thought-provoking read.
My one complaint: I want the recipe for Sam's famous tuna melts!!!
Challenge: YA-MA New, New, New Jessica's Scavenger Hunt: Egg...more
This review does not spoil the events of Dark Frost but does contain spoilers for previous books in the seriesWhy I picked it up: Continuing a series.
This review does not spoil the events of Dark Frost but does contain spoilers for previous books in the series.
Gwen, Daphne, & Carson go to a local museum to look at artifacts as a part of a school assignment during winter break. While at the museum, Reapers attack, including the Reaper girl who killed Gwen's mom.
I continue to enjoy the series, though the repetitiveness of some things is really annoying. Reminds me of when I was a big fan of the Baby-Sitters Club books and I'd always skip the pages and pages of recap about who each sitter was and how they formed the club in the first place. Seriously, assume your readers have some memory! Anyway, the mystery part wasn't very mysterious and Gwen does a few really stupid things, but I find the books enjoyable and will continue to read the series for now.
This book starts a few weeks after Touch of Frost ends. Gwen is settling in to Mythos academy and now has someWhy I picked it up: Continuing a series.
This book starts a few weeks after Touch of Frost ends. Gwen is settling in to Mythos academy and now has some friends. Daphne convinces Gwen to attend the annual winter carnival at a nearby ski resort. Gwen goes partly becuase she needs to be near people to be protected; someone wants her dead and is starting to show it by making attempts on her life.
I liked it. The writing can be really repetitive, but the story is interesting, though the mystery in this one was a lot easier to figure out than the mystery in Touch of Frost. But the premise is fun and I enjoyed while I was reading it. I still have a problem with all the labels (slut and can we find something to call Carson other than a band geek?) at least the characters are getting flushed out a little.
Why I picked it up: I like mythology, I had heard good things, and I needed a book set in North Carolina to finish my reading challenge.
Gwen Frost isWhy I picked it up: I like mythology, I had heard good things, and I needed a book set in North Carolina to finish my reading challenge.
Gwen Frost is a Gypsy with the gift of learning things from touching people and objects. She is a new student at Mythos Academy, a specialty school for the descendents of mythical gods & goddesses, like Amazons and Valkyries and Spartans. Gwen doesn't have any friends at the academy and she is dealing with the recent death of her mother, plus she feels like she doesn't belong at Mythos. Not to mention, she doesn't actually believe that the myths are real.
I liked it and will keep reading, but had one major problem with it that is resulting in my 2-star rating (see following rant for details). The writing is not fantastic, and I don't usually notice stuff like that, but the premise is interesting, I liked both Gwen and Daphne, and I like that this is built on mythology, especially as it mixes multiple mythologies.
My problem is that there is a character who is continually referred to as a slut. Now, I don't particularly care for some of Morgan's behavior, but we have got to stop referring to girls who enjoy sex as sluts. It is not okay. Logan is also referred to as a man-whore, another term that bothers me. Let's get the s-word and the w-word out of our vocabulary, okay? Not an okay example to set. It is not okay to label anyone a slut, no matter what the behavior. Not okay at all. Knocked down what would have been a three star read to a two star rating.
Genre Bingo: My State (North Carolina)
Contains: sexual content; underage drinking; references to recreational drugs...more
Why I picked it up: I really liked Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races.
Blue is the only non-psychic in her family, but her presence increases the energy foWhy I picked it up: I really liked Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races.
Blue is the only non-psychic in her family, but her presence increases the energy for those who do have the gift. Blue has been told for as long as she can remember that if/when she kisses her true love, he will die. When Blue meets Adam and his 3 friends from the local boy's prep school, she likes Adam but of course is afraid to kiss him. And that gets complicated by the fact that she knows one of his friends will die in the coming year, she just hopes it is not because of her. It's not an easy plot to summarize.
It was a very slow start for me, but once I got into it, man, I was there. And then there was a moment that made me say a bad word out loud in my car. The bad word that makes my friends Kate & Snow cheer when I say it, as it only happens like twice a year. Interesting characters, interesting premise, and unexpected twists make this a very enjoyable read. Group friendships are always of interest to me, and that was part of the appeal. I liked the group of boys and their dynamic and feelings for each other both before and after Blue gets added to their group. I can't wait for the next one!
A word on the audio: I liked the reader fine, but he does talk a bit slowly. That's not really a problem, as Stiefvater is the sort of writer where you want to savor her prose, plus the book is set in the south where the pace can be slower, but I don't think it helped the slow start for me.
Why I picked it up: I like David Levithan and I’ve heard good things about this book.
A is sixteen and is neither male nor female. A wakes up in the boWhy I picked it up: I like David Levithan and I’ve heard good things about this book.
A is sixteen and is neither male nor female. A wakes up in the body of a different sixteen-year-old every day. One day is all A ever gets in a body, then that person returns to their body and A moves on to someone else, never knowing who they are today. Usually, A tries to make as little lasting impact on the host’s life as possible. But then A is in the body of the boyfriend of a girl named Rhiannon, and A falls in love with her. But how can you have a relationship with someone when you are in a different body every day?
It’s certainly original in premise. It also *really* highlights the need for non-gender specific pronouns in the English language. (I had a really hard time talking about it with my husband for that reason.) I liked it. In order to like it, though, I think you have to be able to get past never understanding why A jumps bodies. If you need explanations for things like that, this is not the book for you. But if you can suspend the disbelief, this is an interesting look at how much the outsides can change or not change the insides of a person. Three and a half stars, rounded up because of originality.
My favorite detail: there is one boy who A wakes up in the body of who is interested in drawing and graphic design. When there is a girl that boy likes, he designs a new font and names it after her. Most adorable show of affection ever. I totally want someone to create a new font and name it after me!
A word on the audio: A has no defined gender, as A is in a different body every day. But the body is always male or female. The reader is a woman. I found this distracting when A was in the body of a male, because I would forget if A was in a male or female body that day, and sometimes that is important to the plot. I know there is no way to fix this problem, if it even is a problem, but it’s something I thought about while listening.
Sophie works in her father’s restaurant and dreams of becoming a respected chef. When her best friend Alex tells herWhy I picked it up: Food fiction!
Sophie works in her father’s restaurant and dreams of becoming a respected chef. When her best friend Alex tells her about a reality TV show called Teen Test Kitchen with a prize of a scholarship to a prestigious culinary school, Sophie auditions. She makes the show, but finds that reality TV is not all about reality.
First of all, let me say that this is true food fiction, meaning the book includes recipes from some of the dishes Sophie makes in the competition. They look pretty good and don’t seem to be dumbed-down for a younger audience. I enjoyed the book. It is predictable and the first third reads almost exactly like Stir It Up, but Sophie is likeable, the friendships she develops with fellow contestants Shelby and Stan (together they are Team S) is cute, and Sophie’s struggles about what she wants versus her father’s expectations are realistic. I could have done without the romance (both of them) and I thought the shenanigans behind the scenes of the show was ridiculous. But overall, a cute, enjoyable read.