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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: ya, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,615
1. Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

 

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Magnolia is a hard book to rate.  For the most part, I really enjoyed this Shakespeare inspired YA romance.  It’s Romeo and Juliet in reverse.  Jemma and Ryder have been at odds ever since the 8th grade, when a misunderstanding drives them apart.  Too bad their families keep pushing them together!  Nothing would make their parents more happy than if they became a couple, and their mothers have been doing everything in their power to make that happen.  From the time they were babies, they have shared cribs, vacations, and countless meals, but Jemma’s had enough.  While once Ryder lit up her world, his cruel words have driven them apart, and Jemma can’t wait to get away from tiny Magnolia Branch so she doesn’t have to deal with him anymore.

Second chance at love is my favorite trope, so I was looking forward to reading this.  After overhearing Ryder talking to his friends about her, Jemma’s young heart is crushed.  While she has developed a huge crush on him, she thinks that he’s only being nice to her to please his over-controlling mom.  She’s done everything in her power to avoid him for the last four years, but she seethes with anger every time she sees him.  Worse, they usually end up arguing about the stupidest things, which makes her even more upset.

In her senior year, Jemma has big dreams for the future.  She has a secret plan; she wants to attend film school in NYC, far away from her family and friends.  And far away from Ryder.  When her sister, Nan,  is diagnosed with a life threatening illness, her dreams are derailed.  Her parents have to fly to Houston with her sister for her treatment, leaving Jemma alone and confused.  Frightened for the well-being of her one daughter, her mother refuses to even discuss letting Jemma apply to a school as far away as NYC.  Worried and resigned that Nan’s future is more important than hers, Jemma waits at home, alone, for word of her sister’s progress.

While everyone is out of town, the worst hurricane since Katrina barrels down on Mississippi.  This was my favorite part of the book, because the author captured the intensity of the storm so vividly.  Howling winds, pelleting rains, surging floods – you name it, and Jemma and Ryder had to face these terrible threats alone.  The whole storm sequence was engrossing and I couldn’t put the book down.  Jemma and Ryder are forced to put their differences aside and work together to make it through the storm.  They arrive at a truce, and maybe something more, until life returns back to normal in the aftermath of the hurricane.  Then they are at odds again, but for entirely different reasons.

This is where the story fell ever so slightly off the rails for me, but I don’t want to go into detail because it’s a pretty major spoiler.  Suffice it to say, this latest roadblock to true love seemed very contrived and I just didn’t buy into the tragedy.  And, to be honest, it’s kind of hard to beat the tension and fear of eminent death brought on by the hurricane, so anything that happened after it blew itself out of town was kind of anticlimactic.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Jemma and Ryder are far from friends—until a storm stirs up their passion in this contemporary southern romance from New York Times bestselling author Kristi Cook.

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, The Cafferty and Marsden families are practically royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when the families finally have a baby boy and girl at the same time, the perfect opportunity seems to have arrived.

Except Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen—oh, and also? They hate each other. Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would prefer it if stubborn-headed Jemma didn’t exist. And their communication is not exactly effective: even a casual hello turns into a yelling match.
But when a violent Mississippi storm ravages through Magnolia Branch, it unearths feelings Jemma and Ryder didn’t know they had. And the line between love and hate just might be thin enough to cross…

The post Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. RANDOM by Tom Leveen {Review}

"Review My Books" Review by Krista Random by Tom Leveen Hardcover, 224 pages Expected publication: August 12th 2014 Simon Pulse Goodreads | Amazon Who's the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of Before I Fall and Thirteen Reasons Why. Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It's a wrong number. But the caller

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3. Maybe Too Much Going On?

I like books that stay on task, as I always put it. It may be that as a reader I get distracted if there are too many different things going on. I found the cookery part of Getting the Girl, A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance, and Cookery by Susan Juby distracting.

Sherman Mack is a wonderful character, like a younger, less raunchy, undamaged Seth from Home to Woefield. The mystery he's investigating, who singles out girls to be turned on by the general population, is a serious one, if maybe a little over the top. Sherm's interest in cooking ties in to the mystery by the end, but it seems unconnected until then. Same with his out-there Mom and the neighbor guy who serves as a father figure for Sherm.

Juby does a couple of interesting things here. First, she does a neat twist on the cliched mean girls stereotype. She also has created a world in which every popular kid in school, whether they earned their popularity with their looks, their athletic prowess, or something else, isn't hateful. They certainly aren't heroic or particularly positive in their behavior, but, again, they aren't the evil stereotype we're used to seeing.

I have another one of Juby's books here that I hope to get to in the next few weeks. 


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4. OF METAL AND WISHES by Sarah Fine {Quick-Fire Review}

Review by Andye OF METAL AND WISHES by Sarah Fine Hardcover: 336 pages Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (August 5, 2014) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon This love story for the ages, set in a reimagined industrial Asia, is a little dark, a bit breathless, and completely compelling. Sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic, housed in a slaughterhouse staffed by

0 Comments on OF METAL AND WISHES by Sarah Fine {Quick-Fire Review} as of 7/28/2014 2:36:00 AM
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5. JUST CALL MY NAME by Holly Goldberg Sloan {Review}

"Review by Books" Review by J  Just Call My Name  (I’ll Be There #2)  by Holly Goldberg Sloan Page Count: 352 Genre: YA/Contemporary Rating: 4.5/5  Goodreads | Amazon The happily-ever-after of Holly Goldberg Sloan's acclaimed debut, I'll Be There, is turned on its head in this riveting, emotional sequel about friends, enemies, and how those roles can shift in a matter of moments.

0 Comments on JUST CALL MY NAME by Holly Goldberg Sloan {Review} as of 7/25/2014 2:14:00 AM
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6. Interview with Kat Kruger, Author of The Night is Found and Giveaway!

Please give a warm welcome to Kat Kruger!  Kat’s here to answer a few questions, and then you can enter for a chance to win her Magdeburg Trilogy (digital). 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Hi, Kat!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Kat Kruger] Geek-girl, online-junkie, pizza-enthusiast, nature-lover, walking-paradox. (I hyphenated to cheat the word count.)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Night is Found?

[Kat Kruger] It’s the third book in The Magdeburg Trilogy about 17-year-old Connor Lewis who gets a scholarship to study in Paris and winds up in the middle of a werewolf war. In this final book, he’s had to take on a leadership role to help stop two separate groups who threaten the existence of all werewolves. He returns home to NYC to seek out help from the New World packs who are rumored to have united. Meanwhile, the girl he’s crushing on gets mixed up with the enemy overseas.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Kat Kruger] This is a tough one because there was so much “closure” in this book and a lot of spoilers if I talk about any of it. The epilogue for sure is my fave. I’ve had that scene in my head since well before I started writing this book but, again, I feel like I can’t talk about it.

There’s a Madison chapter called Absolution where she ‘s running from the enemy with Josh. She’s been a divisive character for some readers who fall either in the love or love-to-hate camps. What unfolds in the chapter is a resolution of their post break-up angst. I won’t lie. I cried a lot writing this scene.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the series?

[Kat Kruger] This book. For real. As I mentioned already, there’s a lot of closure that had to happen in this final book so I felt a lot of pressure (mostly self-imposed) to do right by all of the characters and readers. I had a couple of false starts writing the first draft and cut at least 5,000 words from the beginning before I got a really clear picture of where to begin. The rest was about finding the right way to end things between everyone. There also had to be a ramping up of stakes and action happening at the same time. It was an exhausting book to write, more so than the other two put together, but with the help of a great editor and trusted beta readers I’m really happy with the outcome.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Kat Kruger] My iPhone. It has everything. My calendar, my music, my notes, my games, and a means of communicating with people.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Kat Kruger] The paperback edition of Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock. A sketchbook. My iPhone.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Kat Kruger] Zooey Deschanel. She would be my quirky spirit animal if there was such a thing. I like how she’s one of the women behind HelloGiggles and that she’s a positive role-model for girls. I’d like to know what makes her tick and what it’s like to be her for a day. During my day as her, I’d also try to sneak in a lunch date with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Kat Kruger] I guess there are two ways I could answer. One is the altruistic route where I’d ask for telekenisis and make the evildoers of the world see the error of their ways and put an end to the terrible things that people in power can do. Seems like a tall order for one week though.

The other option for me would be to just take teleportation and visit destinations around the world that are out of my travel range (price- or other-wise). That would reduce my carbon footprint though so it’s not entirely selfish…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Kat Kruger] I’ve actually had “reader’s block” for a while now. Between all the deadlines for the series and working freelance writing gigs during the day it’s been a struggle to get back into reading, which is a first for me. Usually I’m a voracious reader. That said, I recently picked up The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova. It’s the first in a trilogy about a merdude. Loved it and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

I also lifted a self-imposed werewolf book embargo now that I’m done writing my own series so I just started Kathleen Peacock’s Hemlock trilogy and am really enjoying it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube.

“A superb series from start to finish that, like the best musical mashups, takes something old (werewolf mythology) and makes something completely fresh out of its source material.” — Charles de Lint, award-winning author of The Newford series

When they tried to kill a prince, they made a king

In the aftermath of his pack leader’s assassination Connor Lewis is ready to take control. Rodolfus de Aquila’s plan before he died was to unite the European werewolf packs against their common enemies: the Hounds of God who make the laws and enforce them ruthlessly with questionable motives, and the Luparii, an intergovernmental group of werewolf hunters now bent on the extermination of his kind. The uneasy alliance between these two factions has fallen apart, and now a battle wages leaving the pack werewolves scrambling to escape bio-chemical warfare on one side, and total domination on the other.

After hearing rumors of a union between the American packs Connor returns with Amara to his home city of New York to learn how to bring the Old World packs together. Werewolf society in the New World has taken a very different course from that of Europe, but when Connor meets the American leaders he begins to question if their ways are, in fact, the path forward.

A world away from Madison, Arden, and all those that he is trying to protect, Connor must discover the secret to uniting and leading the packs under one final charge, or else risk extinction for their entire species in the epic conclusion to The Magdeburg Trilogy.

“When they tried to kill a prince, they made a king.”

The Night Is Found, the final book in Kat Kruger’s popular Magdeburg Trilogy, is now available for pre-order

Enter to win a digital copy of the entire Magdeburg Trilogy! The Night Has Teeth, The Night Has Claws, and The Night is Found!  Thanks to Fierce Ink Press for making this giveaway possible!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Kat Kruger, Author of The Night is Found and Giveaway! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7. Strobe Edge

Strobe Edge Io Sakisaka

I’m just going to review this entire (finished) series because I devoured them all together and it’s too hard for me to separate out each volume, especially as the review part (as opposed to the plot summary part) would basically be a copy/paste job from one volume to the next.

All the girls at Ninako’s school are in love with the quiet and elusive (and totally hot) Ren, but he’s turned them all down. Ninako doesn’t get it, until she ends up next to him on the train home one day. They end up together on the train a lot and become friends, until Ninako’s feelings turn to something more.

Ren rejects Ninanko romantically, because he already has a girlfriend, but the two stay friends as she tries to quash her feelings. Meanwhile, Ren’s former best friend has come to their school and falls for Ninanko. She likes Ando as a friend, but can’t return his love.

I loved Ninanko. She was a little hyper and a lot of fun. She's a bit taken aback when guys like her, but not because of a "but I'm so plain and boring" thing we usually see, but more that she's been too busy being awesome and having fun that she hasn't really noticed guys in that way before, so she's a bit bemused that guys have been noticing her. but she's a great friend and has a good outlook on life--it's not hard for the reader (and her friends) to see why guys like her.

I also like that she actually liked Ren in a way we don’t often see. So halfway through the series, Ren and his girlfriend break up (for reasons I won’t spoil). Everyone tells Ninanko to go for it because now’s her chance, but she doesn’t, because she see Ren’s hurting and he needs her as a friend right then. She really did understand Ren (because they were actual friends) and her love for him isn’t selfishly focused on her--it’s genuine love for him.

I also liked the depth that Sakisaka was able to give to some of the side characters (something you can do over 10 volumes). There are a few bonus stories at the end of volumes that often deal with side characters or something that happened before the series began.

In her many intro letters, Sakisaka says she wanted to capture that heady feeling of falling in love and that moment everything could change (she called the series strobe edge because she compares the feeling to being on the edge of a strobe light, which I really like.) Overall, I think she really succeeds. The series does drag a bit in the middle, which is something I may not have noticed if I hadn’t been binge-reading.

One thing I noticed with this series that I haven’t seen with others* is that we get a lot of letters from the author--both at the start of each volume, but also some random sidebars. I thought it was a fun touch and a behind-the-scenes look at her process and life.

Overall, a fun series that I enjoyed. (Also, shout-out to Drea, who when I asked her which of the Great Graphic Novels for Teens I should read first, pointed me in this direction. THANK YOU DREA!)

*Not that I’ve read a lot of other manga, especially shojo, this just might be a new thing for me

Book Provided by... my local library

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8. The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth - a review

Bruce Coville has done wonderful adaptations of several Shakespearean plays for a young audience, while staying faithful to the mood and dialogue wherever possible.  Now, however, there's a new, edgier, funny Shakespeare in town.  You may have seen many adaptations for the works of Shakespeare, but you've never seen them done like this. 

I present The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue. I was laughing out loud on the very first page!

Lendler, Ian. 2014. The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth. New York: First Second.
(Advance Reader Copy)

A hilarious, graphic novel version of "Macbeth" as performed and attended by the denizens of The Stratford Zoo after the keeper has left for the evening. 

Join them in their seats (avoid the skunk!), grab a snack of rotting carrion from the vendors, and enjoy the play!  Panels featuring frequent audience commentary are done in darkened tones to denote the dim lighting of audience seating.  The play's action onstage is presented in bold color.

Intermission occurs when the zookeeper makes an unexpected late-night sweep of the zoo's grounds.

If you're a humor or comic book fan, Lendler and illustrator, Zack Giallongo, present this Shakespeare classic "as you like it" - brief, humorous, and to the point. Teachers and parents, this is a perfect introduction to Shakespeare for the young people in your life.  

(Alternatively, read it yourself and then head out to see some Shakespeare in the park this summer! I'll be seeing Shakespeare by the Sea.)

Due on shelves in September. This is the first in a series.  Look for "Romeo and Juliet" next.

0 Comments on The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth - a review as of 7/25/2014 12:44:00 AM
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9. Review of Like No Other

lamarche like no other Review of Like No OtherLike No Other
by Una LaMarche
Middle School, High School    Razorbill/Penguin    347 pp.
7/14    978-1-59514-674-8    $17.99    g

How’s this for a meet cute? New York teens Devorah and Jaxon get stuck in a hospital elevator during a hurricane. Though their encounter is a fairly brief one, it’s also intense, and both come away with that love-at-first-sight feeling. Here’s where things get complicated. Devorah is a Hasidic Jew, and a frum one at that (“basically the Yiddish equivalent of ‘hopeless goody two-shoes’”). Jaxon is black. They live in present-day Crown Heights; and although, as Jaxon says, “the neighborhood has become so gentrified that I’m more likely to get hit by an artisanal gluten-free scone than a bullet, let’s be real,” tensions can still run high, especially within Devorah’s ultra-conservative family. Even though Devorah’s menacing brother-in-law, a member of the Shomrim (Orthodox neighborhood watch), is on to them, she still can’t resist accidentally-on-purpose bumping into Jax at his work and accepting the cell phone he sneaks (in a grand romantic gesture) into her yard. The story is told from the teens’ alternating perspectives. While Jax is a little too good to be true, Devorah, whether agonizing over her love life or sharing informative details about Hasidic daily life and religious philosophy, is believable and engaging. Her struggle between tradition and modernity, filial duty and personal fulfillment, is complicated and realistic; just because she doesn’t want an arranged marriage doesn’t mean she’s ready to turn her back on her family and her culture. This leads to a conclusion that, while bittersweet, is still hopeful.

From the July/August 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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The post Review of Like No Other appeared first on The Horn Book.

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10. Yaqui’s text set

medina yaqui delgado1 Yaquis text set Since I wrote recently about using a text set built around the idea of respect and the title Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina, a few people have asked what other texts we used alongside it. Our* essential question was “What makes someone worthy of respect?”

We were aiming for a set that spanned genres, and so the resulting set was both too big to use in our short time but also made of texts that weren’t only from the YA world. It included the some of the following:

  • Poems like “The Ballad of the Landlord” by Langston Hughes and “Ex-Basketball Player” by John Updike
  • A series of quotes about respect from famous people
  • The short story ‘Chuckie’ by Victor LaValle
  • A couple of articles about bystanding and upstanding when bad things happen to others
  • Lou Holtz’s famous first locker room speech at Notre Dame
  • A couple of pieces from the This I Believe collection having to do with self-respect (thisibelieve.org)
  • Several anecdotes from the book Discovering Wes Moore about choices, misunderstandings, and facing adversity

This group of texts are all related to the idea of respect and who gets it and who doesn’t, and the different readings allowed us to consider respect from a variety of vantage points as we tried to put ourselves in the shoes of Piddy and Yaqui in the anchor novel.  They also gave us lots of time to dabble in writing different genres.

Text sets are such a fun way to really think hard about important stuff, and I’m excited to keep adding to this set about respect.

*This curriculum for the BGA/BU Summer Institute was developed in collaboration with my awesome friends Marisa Olivo and Lucia Mandelbaum from BGA and Scott Seider from BU. 

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The post Yaqui’s text set appeared first on The Horn Book.

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11. A Book for All Readers



I Kill the Mockingbird
by Paul Acampora
Roaring Brook Press, 2014
review copy from the public library, but I'll be buying a copy so I can transfer all my dog-eared pages



We rarely review YA books, but exceptions can be made.

This is a book for book lovers.

Three good friends on the brink of high school hatch a fake conspiracy to ensure that everyone will actually read their summer reading assignment -- To Kill a Mockingbird.

There's a romance subplot, a cancer subplot, and a poke-mild-fun-at-Catholics subplot. There are literary allusions to children's literature right and left (the three good friends are, and have always been Readers).

Oh, and there's a teaching subplot. Mr. Nowak, Fat Bob, has these words of wisdom before he dies of a massive coronary:
"It's not enough to know what all the words mean," he continued. "A good reader starts to see what an enritre book is trying to say. And then a good reader will have something to say in return. If you're reading well," he told us, "you're having a conversation." 
I raised my hand. "A conversation with who?"
"With the characters in the book," said Mr. Nowak. "With the author. With friends and fellow readers. A book connects you to the universe like a cell phone connects you to the Internet."
Mr. Nowak's the one who inspires the three culprits who hatch the I Kill the Mockingbird plan. And in the end,
"All the teachers are talking about it...If you're a teacher, you dream about having students who will try to change the world someday because of something you do or say in the classroom."
Indeed.



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12. EXILE by Kevin Emerson {Review}

"Review by Books" review by Angela @bitterheartss EXILEExile #1by Kevin EmersonHardcover: 320 pagesPublisher: Katherine Tegen Books (April 29, 2014)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon Catherine Summer Carlson knows how to manage bands like a professional—she’s a student at the PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High, where rock legends Allegiance to North got their start. Summer knows that falling

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13. SAY WHAT YOU WILL by Cammie McGovern {Review}

"Review by Books" review by Paola SAY WHAT YOU WILL by Cammie McGovern Hardcover: 352 pagesPublisher: HarperTeen (June 3, 2014)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and

0 Comments on SAY WHAT YOU WILL by Cammie McGovern {Review} as of 7/14/2014 1:15:00 AM
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14. Khristine’s Mad Skillz (And a side review of the Audiobook for Dreams of Gods and Monsters)

Audiobook review by Elisa  DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERSWritten by: Laini Taylor Narrated by: Khristine Hvam Length: 18 hrs and 11 mins Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Book 3 Format: Unabridged Release Date:04-08-14 Publisher: Hachette Audio Program Type: Audiobook Audible In this thrilling conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Karou is still not ready to forgive Akiva

0 Comments on Khristine’s Mad Skillz (And a side review of the Audiobook for Dreams of Gods and Monsters) as of 7/11/2014 1:01:00 AM
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15. ONE PAST MIDNIGHT by Jessica Shirvington {Review}

Review by Andye ONE PAST MIDNIGHT(Previously Between the Lives)by Jessica ShirvingtonHardcover: 352 pagesPublisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (July 22, 2014)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon Sabine isn’t like anyone else. For as long as she can remember, she’s had two lives. Every twenty-four hours she ‘Shifts’, living each day twice. In one life, Sabine has everything: popular friends,

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16. It's Summer Throwdown Time!

It's year 3 of the #summerthrowdown, y'all!  What is the summer throwdown, you ask? Well, it started as a friendly competition between teachers and librarians to see who could get the most reading done in a month. Over the years it has morphed into a read-o-rama, where we all try to read as much as we can to inform our readers advisory skills.

When I do the #summerthrowdown I tend to read across age groups so that I can recommend books to all constituents in our school - from the 4 year olds to the 15 year olds to parents and care givers.  So while you will be hearing about the tween titles more fully here, I am going to give a couple brief synopses of some of the books I have read and enjoyed that fall out of the tween age group.

First off we have Noggin, by John Corey Whaley.  Travis Coates opted for a radical treatment to his cancer - having his head removed and placed in a cyrogenics lab to await a possible body donation sometime in the future.  But the future comes sooner than anyone can imagine.  After only 5 years, Travis is still 16 and his best friend and girlfriend seem to have moved on, his parents are off and he feels like a freak.  How will he make it through this transformation?






Next, we have Alex London's follow up to Proxy called Guardian.  The Rebooters have taken over and the Reconciliation has placed Syd (Yovel) at its head, given him a bodyguard and are trying to reform the world.  Power, however, is an interesting thing and perhaps the leanings of those in charge of the Reconciliation aren't where they should be.  Larger than life characters and constant action will keep fans of the first installment wanting more.






A Time to Dance, by Padma Venkatraman is a stunning account of dancer Veda's journey as a dancer.  She has always wanted to dance, has breathed rhythm and feels strongly enough to go against her mother's wishes for her education.  Where a terrible crash leaves her an amputee, Veda has to find a way to dance again. Beautifully written, this story is a must read.







And finally Toms River, by Dan Fagin.  I am still working on this one, but this account of small towns and industrial pollution has this former resident of Niagara captivated.  I keep having to read bits aloud, because I simply cannot believe what was going on unbeknownst to most residents of Toms River in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.  Fascinating and horrifying all at once.







So head on over to the Summer Throwdown and get reading!










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17. SINNER by Maggie Stiefvater {Review}

Reviewed by Elisa SINNERA Shiver Novelby Maggie StiefvaterSeries: Shiver (Book 4)Hardcover: 368 pagesPublisher: Scholastic Press (July 1, 2014)Goodreads | Amazon A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story.

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18. The Taming of the Tights

The Taming of the Tights Louise Rennison

Tallulah is back at school, ready to put Cain and the kissing behind her. Even if Charlie has a girlfriend. She also has bigger issues--Dother Hall is still very financially unstable and while it’s not in danger of closing, it is very much in danger of falling down. And while Sidonie recognizes Tallulah’s talent, not everyone else does and the more she tries to prove herself, the more hilariously she fails in the eyes of her teachers (but never to us, dear reader.) And there is still the Cain thing. Tallulah may be willing to ignore the kissing, but Cain has no problem telling others about it.

I love Tallulah and her craziness. I like that only some of her drama is self-invented. I love the insanity that is Dother Hall and the Dobbinses and the Tree Sisters and her fun size pal and the crazy dog Ruby. Overall, very hilariously funny. I don’t think it gets near as much love as Georgia, which is too bad.

Book Provided by... my local library

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19. Review: Knockdown by Brenda Beem

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Knockdown piqued my interest because it’s a survival story, and it takes place on a sailboat.  The mega-tsunami threatening to destroy every coastline in its path also seemed pretty interesting.  I haven’t read a post-apocalyptic story like this before, so I was game to give it a shot.  I really enjoyed it!

Toni’s at dive practice when her father sends her a text message to hurry to the marina where the family sailboat is docked. She’s worried and confused when he won’t answer his phone, and neither will the other members of her family.  She hears from teammates that disaster is headed in their direction. Mega-tsunamis are rushing toward the Pacific coastline, created after historic seismic events in Indonesia.  They have 18 hours until the tsunamis hit the Oregon coastline.  They have 18 hours to evacuate before the monster waves crush everything in their path.  Only when she gets to the boat, her parents aren’t there.  Only her twin brothers, and some of their friends, are waiting at the dock.  Toni doesn’t want to leave without her mom and dad, but they left strict instructions to head out to the ocean if they didn’t arrive by a certain time, and when they are no shows, the teens have no choice but to brave the open waters without them.

Goodness! Up until the tsunamis knockdown the sailboat, I was on the edge of my seat.  Literally.  The pacing is fantastic; it’s unrelenting and tense, and I could hardly breathe.  I didn’t understand how Toni and her small band of friends were continuing to function.  There is a raging wall of water bearing down on them, and their only hope of survival is to get far enough out to sea, seal up the boat, and hang on as the waves toss it about, flipping it over like an angry child with an unwanted toy.  Having once been caught in rough waters in a disabled boat, I could easily imagine how helpless Toni felt as their vessel was batted to and fro.

I was worried that after the tsunami raged by, the story would slow to a crawl.  That did not happen.  Though the teens survived the waves, they still had to survive the new world they found themselves in.  Coastlines all around the world were ravaged, island nations wiped clean, and most modern conveniences a thing of the past.  With the little group struggling to survive, suddenly the teens find themselves in need of water and provisions.  Worse, as the climate begins to change, sliding towards a new Ice Age, they must find ways to keep warm.

Toni is a capable narrator.  She easily conveys her feelings and fears, her dreams and hopes.  The boat is overcrowded, and tensions and personality conflicts begin to pick away at morale.  When tragedy strikes, it seems that the team will unravel into chaos, and Toni wonders how they will survive afterwards.  She worries that she’ll never see her parents again, and knows that the life she once had is long gone.  I really liked her and found it easy to relate to her.

I didn’t realize that Knockdown was the first in a series, or I might have passed on it.  I’m glad I didn’t.  The ending is satisfying, and I knew that Toni had found a temporary shelter from the destroyed world around her.  I liked the characters and I want find out what happens next, so I’ll be looking forward to Toni’s next adventures.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A sail boat can tip over and come back up again. Sailors call this a knockdown.

In eighteen hours a mega tsunami will hit the Pacific Coast. It will leave in its wake massive destruction and the threat of an ice age.
Sixteen-year-old Toni, her brothers, and their friends race the clock as they sail Toni’s family boat far out to sea. They must get beyond where the wave crests, or the boat will be crushed.

Without their parents to guide them, the reluctant crew improvises. Romances bloom and tempers flare. There is no privacy. Cell phones won’t work. The engine breaks down. They are running out of time.

Even if they survive the wave, there is nowhere in this ravaged world to go. When disaster strikes, it is up to Toni to find the strength to lead the crew when her brothers cannot.

The post Review: Knockdown by Brenda Beem appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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20. In Case You Were Wondering . . .

This week I've done a lot of reading (for me), but with exception of ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, they've all been books that either (1) I didn't finish, (2) ended a series, or (3) weren't Young Adult.  So I thought I'd catch you up on some things I liked, and one that I didn't. * * * IN THE END is the second book in the IN THE AFTER duology.  I really, really liked IN THE AFTER, so I

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21. IDOLS by Margaret Stohl {Review & Giveaway}

Welcome to today's stop in the IDOLS blog tour!  IDOLS is book 2 in the Icons series. About The Book By: Margaret Stohl Published by: Little Brown To Be Released on: July 8, 2014 Series: Icons #2 Add it to GoodReads Purchase it From: Find A Retailer/Book Story near you The Icons came from the sky. They belong to an inhuman enemy. They ended our civilization, and they can

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22. THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E Pearson {Review}

Review by Elisa  THE KISS OF DECEPTIONby Mary E Pearson Series: Remnant Chronicles (Book 1)Hardcover: 496 pagesPublisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (July 8, 2014)Goodreads | Amazon In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a

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23. Christina Farley on writing YA, GILDED and SILVERN, plus advice for aspiring YA authors

I met Christina Farley through my critique group, the MiG Writers. Christy's one of the most productive writers I know, and she recently left her teaching job so she could write fulltime.

Christina's contemporary fantasy novel for young adults, GILDED, launched from Skyscape earlier this year. Its sequel, SILVERN, launches on September 23rd, 2014. You can read the first chapter of SILVERN here.

Other places to find Christy:

Website - Twitter - Facebook - YouTube - Tumblr - Pinterest

Synopsis of GILDED:

Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting into a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she's next.

But that’s not Jae’s only problem.

There's also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae's heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae's been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she's always been looking for.

Q. What was your writing process for GILDED? 

Coming up with ideas for books can be a challenge, but the idea for GILDED stemmed from the Korean myth of Haemosu and Princess Yuhwa. It left me wondering what happened after Princess Yuhwa escaped Haemosu’s clutches.

The what ifs inspired me to write the story of GILDED. But to writing a full length novel isn’t easy.

1. First I plotted out the story.

See my plot grid for GILDED here:

I also did a blog post on more specifics on how to plot out books here and you can use my templates to get you started here.

 

2. Next, I prepare to write the book.

I often use aromatherapy (a scented candle) to write as well as create a soundtrack for each book. I love keeping a journal for each book as well. This will have all the names of my characters in it, nuisances, research I’ve done on the book, notes, and illustrations. The journal became extremely useful when I went to write the sequel and had to remember all the small details for characters or the rules of my world. For more ideas, you can check this video I made here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3chpYaMLYxg
 

3. Once everything is prepped, then I write my first draft. It’s sloppy and a complete wreck, but the structure of the book is in place.

For GILDED I had to do a lot of research of Korean mythology. I also found that since Jae Hwa was a martial arts expert, I had to learn Korean archery and taekwondo because I wanted the book to be as authentic as possible.

4. Revision is where the book comes to life. I revised GILDED so many times I’ve lost track. But each time, I strengthened the book’s structure, working on characterization, description, subplots and the arc of the book.

5. After I think the book is in good shape, I have my critique partners take a look. Debbie Ohi and I are part of the MiG Writers ( www.migwriters.com). I’m indebted to her and the rest of the group for their hard work in helping GILDED shine.

Q. How did GILDED get published?

Finding an Agent:

Once I finished GILDED, I realized I needed an agent for this book. So I did my research mainly on querytracker. I’d look up agents in my field and then research everything I could on them before I queried them. My agented friend’s warned me that a bad agent is worse than no agent, so I when I received offers of representation from agents, I made sure I had a phone conversation with them to see if they were the right fit. I talk more about that here: http://youtu.be/5Kebg57lUJs

Finding a Publisher:

I like to say it was tough work, but my agent, Jeff Ourvan of the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency, LLC, is completely responsible for selling GILDED. He found the perfect editor for me and I’m thrilled to be working with Miriam Juskowicz.

Christina with her editor, Miriam Juskowicz.

The biggest difficulty I had was decision making. Before signing with Amazon Children’s, there was another unexpected option with a different project. Jeff provided invaluable guidance of what to do for my career long term rather than just signing with the first book offer I was given. I think this all goes back in finding the right agent because the right agent looks out for you not just for the one book, but for your career.

Q. What advice do you have for aspiring YA writers? 

My advice for writers is to focus on your craft. Become not only a master of weaving words, but tap into your creative self. If others are writing it, you shouldn’t. Trend chasing will only leave you frustrated. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Challenge yourself to write outside of your comfort zone because in doing this, you are pushing yourself to become everything you can be as a writer.

Don’t base your success on others. You have your own path to follow. It won’t be all grassy fields and stunning mountain peaks. The writer’s journey is a lot like the path through Mirkwood in the HOBBIT. You may feel lost, confused, trapped in the feelings of depression; and if you, don’t be afraid to take a break. Follow Bilbo’s example and climb a tree, leave the forest behind, and breathe in the fresh air.

As Gandalf says, “DON’T LEAVE THE PATH!”

Q. How did the launch for GILDED go?

My launch was amazing. I actually had two launches, a virtual and a physical launch. The reason I did this is I have so many friends from all around the world, including my critique partners! This allowed me to celebrate this special day with them because they have been there with me every step of this incredibly hard journey. It meant so much to me to have them 'there' after all we've been through together. Link for the virtual launch: http://christinafarley.com/the-dream-team/

For my physical launch, I had it at the Windermere Library since it was the perfect location for all of my friends and family to come together. We had 120 people show up and it was overwhelming how kind everyone was to show their support of the book.

After I did a power point presentation about the history of how GILDED came to be, I read a portion of GILDED and then we ate cake and celebrated! While I was signing books, my husband gave away books and swag. It was definitely a day I will never forget. More photos from the physical launch: http://christinafarley.com/gildeds-launch-party-recap/

Q. What are you working on now? Any other upcoming events or other info you'd like to share?

I’m thrilled to say the sequel to GILDED is coming out this fall! SILVERN delves deeper into Jae Hwa’s world. You’ll find out more about the workings of the Guardians of Shinshi and new twists on the Spirit World.

Currently, I have three projects I’m playing with. I’m revising the third book in the GILDED series, drafting a new YA unrelated to the GILDED series, and researching for an historical adventure MG set in the early 1900’s.

View of Seoul from Christina's desk where she wrote Gilded.

 

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24. Above the Dreamless Dead - a review


Duffy, Chris, ed. 2014. Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics. New York: First Second.
(Advance Reader Copy)

Above the Dreamless Dead is an illustrated anthology of poetry by English soldier-poets, who served in WWI.  They are known collectively as the "Trench Poets."

Poems by famous writers such as Wilfred Owen and Rudyard Kipling are illustrated by equally talented comic artists, including Hannah Berry and George Pratt. The comic-style renderings (most spanning many pages), offer complementary interpretations of these century-old poems. The benefit of hindsight and perspective give the artists a broader angle in which to work.  The result is a very personal, haunting, and moving look at The Great War.

This is the "case" for Above the Dreamless Dead.
This, and many other interior photos at 00:01 First Second.

Look for Above the Dreamless Dead in September, 2014. Thanks to First Second, who provided this review copy at my request.

French soldiers of the 87th Regiment, 6th Division,
at Côte 304, (Hill 304), northwest of Verdun, 1916.
Public Domain image.
Note: Although this is not an anthology for children, it should be of interest to teens and teachers.  It could be particularly useful in meeting Common Core State Standards by combining art, poetry, history, and nonfiction.
Today is Nonfiction Monday.
See all of today's nonfiction posts at the Nonfiction Monday blog.

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25. DEAR KILLER by Katherine Ewell

"Review My Books" review by Caroline @ The Attic DEAR KILLERby Katherine Ewell Hardcover: 368 pagesPublisher: Katherine Tegen Books (April 1, 2014)Goodreads | Amazon Full of "can't look away" moments, Dear Killer is a psychological thriller perfect for fans of gritty realistic fiction such as Dan Wells's I Am Not a Serial Killer and Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why, as well as television's

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