Teen readers will be fascinated by this behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the last of the Romanovs. Tsar Nicholas had a childhood of indulgence aTeen readers will be fascinated by this behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the last of the Romanovs. Tsar Nicholas had a childhood of indulgence and neglect, as his father didn't bother to ensure he had any of the skills he would need to rule effectively. That pattern continued with his own children with Tsarina Alexandra - the four grand duchesses and Tsarevich Alexei - where their formal education was nearly nonexistent and they led such sheltered lives they could hardly function in general society. Their opulent, over-the-top lives are contrasted by stories interspersed in the narrative about how the Russian peasants and lower classes lived lives of starvation, desperation, and worse. Fleming builds readers' suspense up to the events of WWI and beyond, deftly switching between the gossip among the masses about the royal family's secluded lives and contrasting this with the abject poverty of the average Russian. Readers will be left wanting to know more about this period in world history, no easy feat for historical nonfiction aimed at this age group. ...more
Sunny lives in Nigeria and feels like she doesn't belong anywhere. Born and partially raised in America, she has little in common with her peers. HerSunny lives in Nigeria and feels like she doesn't belong anywhere. Born and partially raised in America, she has little in common with her peers. Her albinism also makes her stand out- as a target for cruel classmates and to those who might see her as a sacrifice for dark doings. Everything changes when she discovers she can work magic, and finds peers who are challenged by her power as she is by them. Together, they form an alliance and set out to work powerful juju that will stop a killer... And hopefully not harm themselves in the process. Okorafor breathes life into a complex world unseen by ordinary "lamb" Nigerians: the magical "leopard" world holds wisdom and danger in equal measure, and tests young Sunny in ways she never dreamed possible. A great read for those feeling like an outsider, in whatever way....more
Willowdean sets out to upend the town's beauty pageant (run by her mother, of course) by entering the contest herself. While her after-school fast fooWillowdean sets out to upend the town's beauty pageant (run by her mother, of course) by entering the contest herself. While her after-school fast food job and struggles with her bestie Ellen ring true, her strange fascination with a hottie private school guy and (nearly) cruel rejection of an earnest guy version of herself seems unusually sad. While there's plenty to like here, especially the normalization of a plus-sized heroine, I personally prefer books like Artichoke's Heart by Supplee and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Mackler. ...more
When the Alpha come ashore, the people of Coney Island freak out! Apparently the ocean has been harboring many races of beings below the surface and tWhen the Alpha come ashore, the people of Coney Island freak out! Apparently the ocean has been harboring many races of beings below the surface and they've decided to do a little land-based takeover... and in the middle of it all is Lyric, a teen girl, and her family (who has secrets of their own). Living in a military controlled zone next to the Alpha, Lyric is assigned to befriend a teen Alpha male (I know, I know) and sparks fly. Of course, this could be because Lyric has discovered she's half Alpha herself! Thriller-type setting bridging into romance territory, with a subplot about a friend who lives in an abusive family thrown in. Will be popular, so keep a copy in your teen section....more
Tegan is a normal Aussie teen, except for that whole waking up 100 years later because she was cryogenically frozen after being randomly killed thing.Tegan is a normal Aussie teen, except for that whole waking up 100 years later because she was cryogenically frozen after being randomly killed thing. She wasn't the intended target of the assassin's bullet, but in this new future she's definitely the target of politically motivated factions that believe the "Living Dead Girl" has no soul, is a crime against humanity, and is not entitled to citizenship because she comes from another time. Large, meaty political issues abound but are tempered by Teagan's well-rounded life, including pangs from her past history, new friendships, and her love of music (each chapter is the title of a Beatles song). Quick, compelling read....more
This was hands down the most compelling galley I brought home with me from ALA – the story of a kid who is dogged through adolescence by his childhoodThis was hands down the most compelling galley I brought home with me from ALA – the story of a kid who is dogged through adolescence by his childhood “participation” in a (fake) reality TV show not unlike Supernanny. Gerald is the “Crapper,” who defecated on tables, in handbags, and various Barbie accessories when he was a preschooler/elementary schooler. The British nanny (who isn’t who she seems) is brought to help Gerald & his two sisters when his mother writes a desperate letter to the show. Gerald’s dad is just as unhappy as the rest of them, and the whole family is miserable. We see Gerald’s mother struggle with a son she considers “retarded,” a younger sister who feels completely out of place, and an older sister whose behavior grows more and more erratic and disturbing with time.
We join Gerald long after the cameras were packed away and the lighting dismantled, but the show haunts him at every turn. His therapist has recommended boxing, but this is only encouraging Gerald’s violent tendencies. He’s invented a fantasy world called Gersday, where he can spend time doing only the nicest things with characters who are kind and sweet to him, but escaping to Gersday is getting harder and harder. As if that wasn’t enough, Gerald has met a compelling young lady at his afterschool job slinging hot dogs at the local coliseum. He figures that nobody’s going to want to date The Crapper – who’d want to be associated with that?
Through flashbacks mixed with present-day scenes, Gerald invites us into his world and shows us what it’s like to drown in the misconceptions of others. And honestly, that’s really what this book is about – the hidden stories behind carefully crafted narratives, public personas vs. private ones, and what happens when your expectations are shattered by a reality you didn’t want and didn’t ask for. Like Gerald’s therapist reminds him, we all project our own experiences and expectations on other people to a certain extent – whether it’s making assumptions about a reality TV show family or the new coworker in the next cube. As Gerald peels back the curtain on his experience, the reader starts discovering more and more of the truth behind the screen – and it’s both more and less shocking than you may expect. This is a a book right in step with our times, perfect for an age in which we grow closer and simultaneously further apart using screens and social media with the ability to edit our stories down to a version of the truth that skims the surface of our lives like a fancy veneer atop particle board furniture.
I anticipate many reality TV memoirs in the next ten years, as kids like the Duggars, Gosselins, SuperNanny families, and others age up to the point where they feel compelled to share their stories in another medium. Some will do it for money, sure, but others will do it so that people can hear more about what their shows didn’t show. I won’t be surprised if their stories are as compelling as Gerald’s....more
Even better than the first installment - Tucker discloses the the story of the time traveling diskos to a stranger in a strange land, while we learn tEven better than the first installment - Tucker discloses the the story of the time traveling diskos to a stranger in a strange land, while we learn the complete background of Lah Lia, who becomes Yar Lia after trials and tribulations. Raised as a Pure Girl to be sacrificed for peace and harmony, she learns survival strategies from the Yar sisters in the convent connected to the palace near the Cydonian Pyramid. Lah Lia knows that her blood moon will arrive soon and she must keep her wits about her to avoid certain death at the hands of the priests. But which disko will she be thrown through? And what will she find on the other side? Tucker and Lah Lia have radically different pasts, but their future definitely depends on the choices of the other. Riveting sequel, can't wait for more. ...more
Hautman's exploration of time-traveling teens, community cohesion, and religion is a hit. The technology to invent both time travel and incorporeal coHautman's exploration of time-traveling teens, community cohesion, and religion is a hit. The technology to invent both time travel and incorporeal consciousness has been invented, and the son of a preacher and a Pure Girl from the future collide when they fall into (and out of) each other's times. Amazing start to a new series....more
If you delight in a bit of steampunky girl fun, then new student Sophronia's misadventures at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young LadIf you delight in a bit of steampunky girl fun, then new student Sophronia's misadventures at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality will definitely suit. Sophronia is fourteen, and just not all that interested in keeping a clean hanky on her person - she'd rather tear apart a bit of machinery or dirty her hands, and that simply won't do. So her mother sends her off to a most unorthodox finishing school, where the girls learn how to turn their feminine wiles into intelligence-gathering, mechanical servants contrive to prevent dashing adventures, and the students dream fondly of the day they are able to poison their first husbands! Of course Sophronia is not able to simply apply herself to her studies. An unpleasant encounter with a group of flywaymen (highwaymen who use dirigibles, of course) on the way to school leads to an alliance between Sophronia & Dimity, both new students, and a suspicion that failing student Monique is not what she seems - a missing communications prototype is linked to Monique, and the twosome persist in discovering the snooty older girl's secret.
Filled with delightful puns and funny, light details about life in an alternate Victorian England filled with fascinating devices and mysterious alliances, you can recommend this book to fans of similar books like Fever Crumb, Sorcery & Cecelia, or A College of Magics. Fans of the Parasol Protectorate series (Carriger's books for adult readers) will like this as an expansion of that world. ...more
Frothy Austen-esque fun with a spunky heroine determined to marry well, save her family's dilapidated castle, and live happily ever after. A quick guiFrothy Austen-esque fun with a spunky heroine determined to marry well, save her family's dilapidated castle, and live happily ever after. A quick guilty pleasure read that many teens will adore. For a more modern take, try the Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love. Recommended for Austen fans, Regency lovers, will-he-won't-he tale aficionados, and those who like their historicals peppered with hilarious moments. (The anti-Darcy scene is to die for!) ...more
Good for older children or younger teens, this debut by Diana Renn is going to help lots of young folks become fans of Japanese culture. 16 year old oGood for older children or younger teens, this debut by Diana Renn is going to help lots of young folks become fans of Japanese culture. 16 year old otaku Violet loves manga and is trying to create her own story (Kimono Girl) when she is thrust on her father for the summer. He's an artist on commission for the well-off Yamada family, who's just been robbed of some valuable van Gogh sketches. There is rumored to be a finished painting connected to the sketches, and the Yamadas are being threatened with violence unless the missing van Gogh can be located. Like her mystery-busting heroine Kimono Girl, Violet becomes determined to crack the case.
The details that Renn weaves into the story are fun - Kimono Girl has a magic kimono that allows her to jump in and out of paintings, and while working through storyboarding her first manga Violet thinks through the complexities of the case. However, plot points are rather heavily telegraphed so more experienced mystery/thriller fans may be a little put out. Similarly, don't hand this to your J-pop mad teens, because they may become frustrated by Violet's explanations of everything Japan to the reader. While there is some romance in the book, it's all hugely G-rated and so I feel this could appeal to 5th - 7th graders with ease. Violet's passion for Japanese culture and for the joy that art can bring to people's lives will surely rub off on readers, who will find many jumping-off points from this nicely written first novel....more