Karen Vera has been transported from her fabulous position atop a cheerleader pyramid to DEAD High. She'd known there were risks to being a "flyer," b...moreKaren Vera has been transported from her fabulous position atop a cheerleader pyramid to DEAD High. She'd known there were risks to being a "flyer," but she didn't imagine that she'd die -- let alone become "genetically undead." Now Karen has to deal with things like her weirdo roommate who mostly cries and performs goth-y rituals under a blanket. And then there's the snacking on animal brains to prevent rot. And, oh yeah, someone in school has been harvesting her fellow student's brains and way too many signs are pointing to crushworthy Gavin. This hilarious mystery will have you hooked from page one, with its fabulously imagined world in which the teenage undead can play, complete with plenty of zombie puns. I'm really hoping that Stacey Jay will continue Karen Vera's story as a series, even if I'm not inclined hang out at the DEAD High campus any time in the near future.(less)
This satyric take on the undead in teen fiction is hysterical from page one, with an alpha-girl protagonist — Ice Queen Alley Rhodes — and her circle...moreThis satyric take on the undead in teen fiction is hysterical from page one, with an alpha-girl protagonist — Ice Queen Alley Rhodes — and her circle of gossipy friends from the school paper judging anyone who might walk by their cafeteria table — be he human or not. In Alley’s world, the posthumans have all come out of the coffins, as it was recently discovered that a large chain-store was creating zombies and using them as stock room slaves. When Alley is assigned to review a local band’s show at a local hangout, the last thing she expects to find is Doug, the cute goth kid with an ethereal voice and a working knowledge of Alley’s 1930’s crush, Cole Porter. When she finds out Doug isn’t just dressing goth, but is actually among the undead, her only way to stay out of the gossip blogs is to break up with him. But Doug’s hard to ditch, and the school’s vampire clique aren’t exactly supportive of their relationship. Alley will have to change her Ice Queen ways to defend her love, but old habits are hard to break, and in the posthuman era, well, there are a lot of pressures on a girl! I KISSED A ZOMBIE is a sweet, quick read, sure to delight fans of the recent paranormal trend, and, due to it’s tongue-in-cheek narrative, readers who wish vampires would just go away are likely to fall in love as well. The writing is sprinkled with geeky references to goth music and campy horror, and in its sincerity, even an Ice Queen like Alley Rhodes is rendered sympathetic. Get this book on your shelf before Alley trashes you in the school paper.(less)
Jonah has always taken care of his brother, Jesse. Jesse has severe allergies — so severe that trips to the hospital are regular occurances in their h...moreJonah has always taken care of his brother, Jesse. Jesse has severe allergies — so severe that trips to the hospital are regular occurances in their house. And when Jesse & Jonah’s oft-arguing parents bring home a new baby, everything gets worse. So is it completely unexpected that Jonah finds his new obsession — his mission to break every bone in his body and make himself stronger — the perfect release? His best friend, Naomi, thinks so, and films every event for a documentary. But as Jonah’s attempts escalate, and his brother and not-girlfriend, Charlotte, begin to realize that his injuries are no accident, Jonah’s control slips away and he is forced to confront the real issues that make him want to break. What I loved most about this book was the voice. Jonah is a real person to me, and that makes his self-destructive tendencies so much more of a visceral experience. His relationship with Jesse is beautiful and inspiring, and I found Naomi to be a realistically selfish best friend character who breaks the mold. BREAK is definitely worth picking up if you’re looking for strong characters and an “issues book” that goes far beyond the “issue.”(less)
This book has garnered multiple awards and much praise in its native Germany, but the only reason I even know about it is that in my past job as a boo...moreThis book has garnered multiple awards and much praise in its native Germany, but the only reason I even know about it is that in my past job as a bookseller I saw it in a catalog. Only 29 people on LibraryThing have it, and to me, that's a travesty. It's a beautiful story of first love, told in the quirky voice of Miriam, a self-described plain fifteen-year-old girl in a small town who dreams, like many of us, of getting out and living a fabulous big-city life. She wishes she were beautiful and popular and spends every morning commiserating in the girls' restroom with her two best friends, Ines and Suse. Then enters Laura, with her wild black hair and carefree attitude, who rolls her own cigarettes and goes to clubs. Miriam is instantly enchanted, and begins to feel something she's never felt before, especially for a girl. GIRL FROM MARS is beautifully written, and rife with genuine emotion. This is a book that should not be ignored, and I urge anyone who can to track down a copy. It will make your heart ache in all the right ways.(less)
Hands down, one of my favorite "grown-up books" of the past year was THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING-STRIKE SURVIVORS by Michele-Young Stone. It's a story...moreHands down, one of my favorite "grown-up books" of the past year was THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING-STRIKE SURVIVORS by Michele-Young Stone. It's a story from two perspectives, that of Becca Burke, a young girl who has been struck by lightning, whose family believes she has imagined it, and of Buckley Pitank, who lost his mother as a child in a terrifying storm. Both characters' stories are interwoven as Buckley begins research for a book that shares its title with this novel and Becca works hard to distance herself from an alcoholic mother and a father who is just out of her reach. This lyrically written novel is as much about recovery as it is about survival -- about overcoming childhood, which for many, is something we work to do every day. I fell in love with this novel as I was reading it, and it hasn't left me since.(less)
I love stories about sisters. I’m sure that this is partly because I have a sister, who is six year younger than me. I wish we were closer, but it’s h...moreI love stories about sisters. I’m sure that this is partly because I have a sister, who is six year younger than me. I wish we were closer, but it’s hard when we live so far apart (she’s in Maine, I’m here in Texas). So when I read stories about sisters who are close in age and get have adventures and party and angst together, I think about what it would be like if me and my sister had been closer in age growing up.
Recently I read THE EXTRAORDINARY SECRETS OF APRIL, MAY & JUNE by Robin Benway. This book is quite an achievement, telling a story in three — count ‘em: three! — unique voices. April, the oldest, is the good girl, the caretaker, the one who has it all together. May, the middle sister, is the jaded one, the art freak, the girl who is pretty okay with being a loner. And June, the youngest, is starting high school this year, and is on a quest for popularity. These sisters couldn’t be more different, it seems. And yet, something happens on the way to school one day that proves they share something weird — something extraordinary — that will change their lives forever.
I love how this book uses a touch of magic realism to deal with seemingly mundane issues — divorce, dating, sisterly bickering — that aren’t really that mundane at all. Sure, a lot of people deal with their parents splitting, but when it happens to you, it’s freaking huge. This book is powerful, and I wish I could tell you more, but one of the best parts about THE EXTRAORDINARY SECRETS OF APRIL, MAY & JUNE is all the surprises, the twists and turns around every corner. So I’ll leave you with this: go find a copy, and read it with your sister (or a best friend who may as well be).(less)
In one of his first poems, Jack writes about a blue car, upon which so much depends, in the style of William Carlos Williams. When asked for an explan...moreIn one of his first poems, Jack writes about a blue car, upon which so much depends, in the style of William Carlos Williams. When asked for an explanation, he refuses to divulge any information. He also does not want to write about pets, as he no longer has one. But Miss Stretchberry eventually coaxes a story out of him, and as Jack's confidence grows, he finds himself sharing work with the class, and even writing a poem-letter to Walter Dean Meyers, his new favorite writer. Love That Dog chronicles a year-long assignment completed by Jack, a student in Miss Stretchberry's class, who does not want to write poetry. This is a novel-in-verse composed by Jack, who address his teacher at first with reluctance, and then with curiosity as he finds that he enjoys some of the poetry that Miss Stretchberry reads in class. The voice of Jack is perfect, and Creech cleverly implies a dialogue with just his work. Jack's story is touching, fun, and encouraging - it's perfect for a classroom discussion or a rainy day on the couch.(less)