Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Professor Hoffpauer is obsessed with decoding the mysterious Voynich manuscript that supposedly explains how to create the Lumen Dei, a device that would let some communicate directly with God.  Nora, her best friends Chris and Adriane and her boyfriend Max work with the professor doing Latin translations.  Nora's job is to translate the letters of a girl from the late 1500s, Elizabeth, whose father may have cracked the Voynich manuscript.  Soon Nora begins to realize that Elizabeth is the key to it all.  But there are those who would stop at nothing to get this information, and they're ruthless.  Now Chris is dead, Max is missing and Adriane is catatonic.  With the help of mysterious Eli, Nora makes her way to Prague, where Elizabeth spent much of her life, and begins to put the pieces of the Lumen Dei together.  Literally.

It took a really long time to for this book to get where it was going, and it didn't have to.  I think I would have liked this a lot better if there had been less...I'm not even completely sure.  Just less.  This did not have to be a 352-page book.  Long before the end, I started skimming in places just to get through it.  I was interested in what was happening, and uncovering all the clues and who was going to betray who, but it just took so long for anything of consequence to happen.


Waiting on Wednesday: The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent.

 In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.
(From Goodreads)

Teen archivist/cataloger? Steampunk? Totally on board. The added bits of intrigue and romance are an added plus.

The Unnaturalists comes out on Aug. 14th.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Lucky has put together a list of clothes they feel were inspired by YA books.  It's fun to look at, but as their all designer I won't be wearing any of them any time soon!

Are teens embracing e-books?  From PW.

The future of children's books and publishing.  From NPR.

Fans of Harry Potter start to get restless over delays to the interactive Harry Potter web site Pottermore.  From The Guardian. 

Some updates on Phillipa Gregory's first YA book.  I'm a bit disappointed it isn't based on an actual historical character.  From The

Of course there's a Hunger Game's cookbook.  I'm sure lamb stew is one of the first recipes.  From Food Republic.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Blogger Post: The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

We are delighted to introduce our new guest blogger, Rachel S!

Best friends Colby and Bev are finally doing it. While their classmates head to college, they are jetting off to Europe exactly as they’ve been saying they would since the 8th grade.  The only thing that stands between them and Paris is a week-long tour with Bev’s girl band, The Disenchantments.  As soon as the tour is over, they’ll drop off band mates Meg and Alexa and hit the road.  At least, that’s the plan. Early into the first day of the tour, Bev drops a bombshell: She’s applied to RISD for the fall, and she’s going.  A formerly overjoyed Colby is suddenly broken hearted, angry, and without a plan.  His feelings for Bev have long since ceased to be platonic, but even putting that aside he feels betrayed that his best friend since he was 9-years-old lied to him, continuing to plan the trip while secretly applying to college.  The Disenchantments is the story of a band on the road, but it is also the story of Colby coming to accept Bev’s decision, and to make some decisions of his own.

This book is very very hip.  Colby is an amazing artist with a growing fascination with graffiti.  Bev is a casually bisexual, naturally gorgeous would-be riot girl who rocks impulsively shorn hair, tight white tank tops, and has a savant level proficiency at whittling.  (Yes, I said whittling.)  Meg wears mod dresses and buys Supremes albums on vinyl, while her sister Alexa dresses in hippie garb and has a notebook filled with more than 700 career choices.  Colby and the band are driving around the Pacific Northwest in a vintage VW van named Melinda.  I mean, really.  I think I’ve made my point. 

Personally, I loved the references to Sleater-Kinney, to gay married dads, to Banksy, to tattoo artists, and to French films I’ve never seen.  It reminded me of watching Sex and the City- I knew it was an overblown representation of a niche group of people, but there was certain glamour to it that I couldn’t help but love.  Of course, there are people who hated watching Sex in the City because it was an overblown representation of a niche group of people who they found really very annoying, so if over privileged teenage hipsters press your buttons, this is a book to skip.  

The Disenchantments does have more going for it than its commitment to a métier.  Instead of the typical will they/won’t they dynamic of most teen books, we learn fairly quickly that they won’t, so instead of spending the book in a tizzy of suspense, readers are surprised by the turns the characters take with one and other.  LaCour’s characters explore whether or not romantic love can last, and how that question affects both families and young couples. She also delves into the issue of how our perception of people and events often differ greatly from reality, something that it is all too easy for teens and adults alike to forget.

All said, The Disenchantments is a unique and well done YA book.  It will appeal to older teens with artistic interests, or to those who see themselves as falling somewhere outside of mainstream American culture.

Rachel is a YA services librarian at a public library in MA.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Alison's family was artistically innovative and emotionally repressed. Her memoir is not only the story of her life but also a study of the man who was her father. His passion for literature shaped her own, and when she came out to her parents her father was outed by her mother. An amazing look at how a parent's involvement in a child's life can affect you in ways that bring you closer and push you farther away.

This was absolutely genius. Alison Blechdel is the author of Dykes to Watch Out For and an Eisner Award winner. But I think more importantly, she is an absolutely gifted storyteller and artist. Her memoir is told in an almost frenetic pace, jumping from subject to subject, but it all mingles into a beautiful storyline that gives you an full scope of what it was to grow up in her family and shaped her into the person she is today. Her artwork is kind of awesome, very distinctive and amazingly detailed in parts (by kind of I actually mean astoundingly). It all adds to the ambiance of her memoir and gives you greater insight as to who everyone is in the book and the personalities that they all have.

I've discovered that, after having read quite a few graphic novels, I really like graphic memoirs. I think they are probably the best representation of what a memoir and a graphic novel can be, and this is one of the best that I've read.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Let the parade begin!

It has just been announced that J.K. Rowling is writing a new book! Get out your ticker tape and let the balloons fly.Though no details have been released yet, there is confirmation that this will be an adult book. Ian Ranking, another Scottish author, thinks that it will be a mystery. I could see it happening. J.K. Rowling definitely has experience with dark mysteries. I am wicked excited for this. It should be amazing right?

New York Times has more information.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I feel like I need to update a previous post I did about the Hunger Games movie. I wrote my commentary before we saw the pictures, before the entire cast was announced, and before we saw the trailer.

Sigh. I'll admit, I am still not holding my breath for it to be Lord of the Rings amazing, but I am hoping it will be better than the Twilight series. It can't be all bad if Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, and Lenny Kravitz are in it, right? And my friend Laura has assured me that Jennifer Lawrence is a very gifted actress (and I believe everything that Laura tells me. She is much smarter than I am). So I guess I have to say that I am cautiously optimistic that it won't suck.

So there we go. It could be awesome but we'll just have to see.

After School Nightmare by Hokago Hokenshitsu

Mashiro seems to live a charmed life- he participates in kendo, is polite to everyone, and is popular with girls. Unfortunately Mashiro has a secret, while his upper half is male his lower half is female. This means he must keep everyone at arm's length, including his frustrating rival Sou and the cheerful androphobic Kureha. Mashiro isn't the only one with a secret, he discovers that the only way to graduate from his school is to participate in a game that is played through dreams. Players must find a key, but must fight and sometimes kill the other players. In this dreamscape, players are revealed as their 'true selves' and unfortunately for Mashiro his alternate dream form is a girl!

This was a trippy story. Some great horror elements, amazing sub-plots, back-stories, and characters. While this is considered a shojo (a piece of literature intended for high school girls with elements of romance and beautiful boys in it) Hokago Hokenshitsu twists all the themes and makes them more thought provoking, or at least makes you stop a moment and go "Huh." This is a dark story line, and nothing is as it seems. Which I guess is why I like it. I've read through volume two, and it's rather fascinating to see Mashiro's struggle between wanting to be seen as a boy, with all the societal empowerment that comes with being male, and taking care of Kureha; to his conflicting romantic feelings for Sou whom he has always considered a rival. Fascinating.

This manga series was published in America by Go! Media Entertainment and finished in volume ten back in 2008.

Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler

Myra is a doormat, people walk all over her and all she does is welcome them in. She can't help it though, people rely on her. Howard, her horrible boss; her chaotic family; and Erik, her perfect boyfriend. Myra is content to take care of everyone until Erik breaks up with her so he can get laid, Myra's genius older sister drops out of college because she has an unplanned pregnancy, and Myra gets fed up with Howard and walks out. With more pressure from her parents for Myra to take care of her four younger brothers and make money to help support her family, she finds a mental escape in applying for a research opportunity in the Galapagos Islands. She finds herself empathizing with the flightless cormorants and evolving from a doormat to scientist with the help of her grad school mentor Pete. But as her senior year comes to a close, Myra isn't sure if her newly found confidence will carry her through to the end, or if she will fall into her old habits and let people walk all over her.

I think I liked this? Myra was a really interesting character. She obviously has self-esteem issues brought on partially by her relationship with Erik and partially from her family's dependence on her. She has some rather disturbing OCD traits that I think someone should tell her to seek psychological help for. She is a doormat, and yet not a fatalistic doormat. She doesn't whine a lot about it, I think she truly does things for others out of the goodness of her heart which is rather endearing. Her family interactions rang true, and even at the end there were still issues that needed to be worked out. Everything wasn't wrapped up in a pretty bow which I appreciated. The themes of self-actualization and evolution were handled really well. Not too over the top and yet they weren't dropped half-way through.

P.S. Spoilers ahead.

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

Daniel's soul has been around for a very long time.  And he remembers every life.  In each life, he searches for his one love, Sofia, who, like most people, does not remember her past lives and cannot recognize him.  While Daniel and Sofia are drawn to each other in each life, they have always been painfully separated.  Now Daniel has found her again, and this time he's determined to keep her.

Poor Lucy (that's Sofia in her current life).  Daniel has been screwing up her life from the very beginning when he burned down her house.  If you really think about, he's done nothing but cause her pain every single life, whether he actually finds her or not.  Lucy is doomed to wait around for Daniel, who very rarely gets there, and when he does, he dies.  And then Lucy either feel unsatisfied and doesn't know why for the rest of her life, or wants to die herself because she briefly had what she was waiting for and now it's gone.  Depressing.

The audio was OK.  There were two readers, Lincoln Hoppe and Kathe Mazur.  Mazur's reading was uninspiring and kind of flat (which actually fit the Lucy that I was picturing).  When Lincoln Hoppe started his first section I thought, "Is that Doug Swietec?!"  And it was.  Since I'd just listened to Okay for Now, which I loved and thought Hoppe was an awesome voice for Doug, I had a little trouble excepting him as Daniel, who is a very different character.  Daniel is intense.  Like, super intense, and Hoppe's voice didn't fit that picture well for me.  Still, it wasn't painful to listen to or anything.

I didn't realize when I was listening to this that it was the first book in a trilogy.  Knowing this now, the pacing makes a lot more sense.  The first half of the book was very slow.  We get Daniel's background through all the lives he remembers finding Sofia and what happened.  This is intercut with Daniel in the present day stalking Lucy but not talking to her, and Lucy trying to remember more things and both of them being completely mopey and miserable that they can't be together but convinced the other one doesn't want them anymore.  It dragged.  But now that I know it was all set up for another two books I feel better about it.


Waiting on Wednesday: The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny.

 Gabriella Mondini is a rarity in 16th century Venice: a woman who practices medicine. Her father, a renowned physician, has provided her entrée to this all-male profession, and inspired in her a shared mission to understand the secrets of the human body.

Then her father disappears and Gabriella faces a crisis: she is no longer permitted to treat her patients, women who need her desperately, without her father's patronage. She sets out across Europe to find where-and why-he has gone. Following clues from his occasional enigmatic letters, Gabriella crosses Switzerland, Germany and France, entering strange and forbidding cities. She travels to Scotland, the Netherlands, and finally to Morocco. In each new land she probes the mystery of her father's flight, and open new mysteries of her own. Not just mysteries of ailments and treatments, but ultimate mysteries of mortality, love, and the timeless human spirit.

Filled with medical lore and sensuous, vivid details of Renaissance life, The Book of Madness and Cures is an intoxicating and unforgettable debut.

The Book of Madness and Cures comes out April 3, 2012.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


So there's some controversy about YALSA's "Booze for Books" fundraiser.  Mainly the word "booze."  Also if money is being raised for young people drinking should not be involved.  My personal feelings: Raising money for at-risk kids is good.  People who work in the library field are going to be of legal drinking age.  Most people can handle drinking responsibly.  "Booze" maybe wasn't the best word choice, as of course it's going to make people clutch their pearls in distress.  From SLJ.

Gender swap comic book covers.  Really interesting.  Makes the point pretty clearly.  From The Beat.

The Oscars are this Sunday, and there are six book-to-movie adaptation up for best pictures.  Find out what the authors are working on now.  From PW.

School libraries are in danger of major budget cuts in 2013.  From SLJ.

Happy 50th birthday to the ever fabulous A Wrinkle in Time.  From PW.

If you've never read A Wrinkle in Time, check out Faith Erin Hick's comic of it to get caught up.  From

Parent & Child magazine selects the top 100 children's books.  It's an interesting mix, especially since the age ranges from infants to 11+.  From Scholastic.

Daniel Radcliffe shares writing tip and tells us his favorite childhood book.  

10 reasons nonreaders don't read - and how to change their minds.  From Scholastic.

A little more on Newbery winner Jack Gantos.  From

Top 10 young adult fantasy books you should read.  By "you" they mean "adults."  From The Huffington Post.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

Willa and her mother have always moved around, but now that her mom's started to sell her paintings, they can live a more comfortable life.  For the first time, Willa is living in a fancy house and going to an exclusive private school.  It isn't long until Willa starts noticing how much some students have, and how little others do.  Willa decides to level the playing field.

This was ridiculous.  Like, totally ridiculous.  Willa falls in with the super popular crowd, who at first she thinks is all nice but in fact turns out to be terrible, terrible people who take great pleasure in online bullying.  In particular, they pick on a trio of Mexican scholarship students.  Willa decides there is only one thing to do: steal from the mean rich people and then use the money to buy the scholarship kids really fancy clothes, and then they will fit in and everyone will want to be friends with them.

What?  That is the stupidest idea ever.  It's not their lack of fancy clothes that makes them targets, although it is something to make fun of them about, it's the fact that they are not wealthy and not white.  And duh, of course when the crimes are discovered they're going to think it's those scholarship students that everyone still hates but have suddenly started coming to school in designer clothing.  Damn Willa. You may have a 3.8 but you are not very bright.  And did not think this through very well.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout.

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarre connection. I’ve sworn him off even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But against all common sense, I’m falling for him. Hard.

Our relationship issues aren’t out biggest problem…

The Department of Defense is here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And when a new boy shows up a school with a secret of his own, things get complicated fast. I need to choose between my own instincts and Daemon’s.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. Daemon’s never going to stop searching until gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies
. (Summary by Goodreads)

The sequel to Obsidian, I know quite a few people have listed this as their Waiting for Wednesday and I have to jump on the bandwagon. I am crazy excited about this book. Strong female lead, great writing, and aliens! Awesome.

Onyx comes out May 15th.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Award-wining author Bill Wallace succumbs to lung cancer at 64.  From SLJ.

Have you seen the new Hunger Games adds featuring the men of the Capital?  Kind of creepy.  In an awesome way.  From

You must check out Holly Laurent's (of Second City) spoof of Lana Del Rey's "Video Games."  It is now, of course, "Hunger Games."  From Slate.

Yay!  A new Lemony Snicket autobiography series is coming out!  From PW.

LeVar Burton is reviving Reading Rainbow.  In an app.  I hope it's good, it was very sad when Reading Rainbow ended.  That show was awesome.  If I was very wealthy, I would totally fund it.  From Mashable.

Cybils award winner announced.


Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard

Bria Sandoval needs a change.  Her relationship is over; she's given up art and hasn't even bothered sending in her college housing forms.  Off she goes on a Global Vagabond tour of Central America that turns out to be made up completely of middle aged people.  When Bria gets a chance to travel the real way, with two backpackers, Starling and Rowan, she takes it and ends up on a journey that could either make her forget all about her past or help her face it.

This was a highly readable book.  I wanted to keep going to find out what happened.  There was a will-they-won't-they question throughout the whole book, although I wasn't really wondering.  I knew they would.  It was just a matter of how and when they (they being Bria and Rowan) were going to get together.  And then what would happen when they did.

We learn that Bria is coming out of an emotionally abusive relationship, and that no one knew it was abusive.  Not her friends or her parents, or even herself, for a while.  Bria use to love to draw and was going to go to art school, but because of her now ex-boyfriend, she let it all slide away until the only place she can go is to the state college.  Bria is angry at her ex, and her friends and family for not noticing and helping her, but she's mostly mad at herself for letting this happen.  Rowan is running from his own past as well, but where Bria is trying to break out of her shell and live a more exciting life, Rowan is trying to do the opposite.  Both Rowan and Bria have secrets they're hiding from each other, and both are reluctant to let down their walls and trust someone new.

Hubbard is a travel writer and backpacker, and she was able to bring that authenticity into her writing.  Bria and Rowan travel to islands off the beaten path, taking chicken buses to get there.  We get beautiful descriptions of the scenery and the wild life, as well as the crappy hostels and hotels they stay in. Bria is starting to draw again, and her sketches accompany the story.

One thing I would just like to say is a "kids don't try this at home" warning.  Bria has never traveled in her life and yet she's waltzing across Central America eating food off street carts and drinking the water.  Seriously kids, don't do that.  You will get so, so sick.  I can maybe buy that Rowan could do that, as he's been traveling around Central America for two years and could have built up a tolerance, but sorry Bria.  No way you could eat like that and not suffer the consequences.

I seem to be reading a string of books where I didn't quite buy the ending.  I guess the point is that Rowan is ready to give up his wanderlove for Bria, even though we've learned through this book the dangers of building your life around another person.  At least Bria didn't make that same mistake again.  While she extended her trip a little longer, she was firm on going back to start college.  That was very cool of her.  I hope everything works out with Rowan, Bria.  Best of luck.

Wanderlove comes out March 13, 2012.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout

Katy has just moved to to Ketterman, WV, aka the back-end of nowhere, and she is desperate for any distraction while her mother gets an internet hook up so she can write on her book blog (she mentions Waiting on Wednesday which is bananas foster awesome). After having a truly horrific interaction with the stunningly gorgeous rude next door neighbor Daemon, the first friendly face that Katy comes into contact is Dee the ridiculously beautiful and sweet twin sister of douchebag Daemon. After the rather off-putting induction to her new town Katy starts to notice that things don't quite add up. What are the flashes of light in the sky? Why are girls going missing? Why is Daemon allowing Katy to see glimpses of someone sweet, wonderful, and sexy under his ass hat exterior? It could be because of the small fact that Dee and Daemon are aliens, and Katy is about to get more involved with saving them than Elliot did with E.T.

Man, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this. It was kind of rockstar. I mean, it had so many great aspects to it: awesome back story, well developed culture, fantastically developed secondary characters, and the cherry on top were Daemon and Katy. Daemon was described as so fantastically good-looking and yet such a snarky pill: awesome. And I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful Katy was. She was a strong female character. Not a victim, not a Mary-Sue; she had depth and personality. She has fantastically hysterical reactions to Daemon and life in a small town, she also happens to be kind and thoughtful. I really enjoyed actually seeing a well done character-driven book. Because let's be honest while there was some action, there was more exposition and relationship development going on than anything. I'm expecting more of a plot-driven story in the sequel Onyx.

Jennifer Armentrout does a rather fantastic job of creating memorable characters that you devour and paints a literary picture that is really worth getting into. That is all. You should read it, if you don't I will be heartily disappointed in you.

Significance by Shelly Crane

Maggie's life is a mess. Maggie's mother left the family in August, her father has lost his job and emotionally shut down, her long-term boyfriend broke up with her right after Maggie's mom left, and Maggie has become so apathetic that she's surprised that she passed enough of her classes to graduate. She is alone and she feels that there's no what out. This changes right after Maggie saves the life of an attractive boy; their eyes meet and all of a sudden they're connected. Maggie discovers that the Caleb's family is special, when they find their soul-mate, a significant, they 'ascend' and they receive a special magical ability. Maggie is Caleb's significant. As their bond becomes stronger and closer, Maggie must deal with Caleb's cousin's flirtation, her ex-boyfriend's sudden renewed interest, her father's sudden overbearing involvement in her life, and a horrible enemy set out to destroy her and the one she loves.

I would first off like to say THANK MOSES I ONLY PAID 99 CENTS FOR THIS CRAP-TASTIC BOOK! Crap-tacular. Crap-errific. If only it were free... This was ridiculously sappy and teen-angsty in the worst way. I feel like Shelly Crane read Twilight and ripped out the worst parts of it and magnified them. Follow the jump if you dare:

The Glass Collector by Anna Perera

Aaron is one of the Zabbaleen people of Egypt.  The Zabbaleen are the unofficial trash collectors of Egypt.  Each day, hundreds of children just like Aaron go out into the streets of Cairo and pick through the piles of garbage looking for recyclables.  They haul it home, sort it, and sell it.
Their lives are surrounded by garbage.  When Aaron's step family kicks him out, Aaron has few choices.  He can steal, beg, die, or take the worst garbage collection job there is - a medical waster.

So, this was pretty horrific.  I didn't know.  I didn't know there were such people as the Zabbaleen, and that they've been there for a long time, and that they're still there.  It really makes me think about all the other terrible things that are going on in the world I don't have any idea about.

Tonight - After Jane Austen

Tonight at 8 o'clock at Figment authors Shannon Hale (Midnight in Austenland), Elizabeth Eulberg (Prom and Prejudice), and E. Lockhart (The Boyfriend Listchat live about one of their shared loves: the incredible, inimitable Jane Austen. They’ll also be answering questions about reading, writing, publishing, and everything in between, so tune in!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Doug Swieteck (last seen in The Wednesday Wars) and his family have moved to stupid Marysville in upstate New York in the summer or 1968.  Doug struggles to overcome the label of a "thug", with a no-good father and a brother that's getting accused of robberies.  Doug's not like that, but what does it matter if no one gives him a chance?  Luckily, a few people do give him a chance, like Lil Spicer who's in his class at school, and one of the librarians who's teaching Doug to draw. 

This was great.  Super great.  I totally loved it.  And I totally loved the audio version I listened to.  It was read by Lincoln Hoppe and he was excellent.  He didn't actually sound like a 13 year-old, obviously, but his tone and style of speech was just perfect.  I could picture Doug so well when I heard Lincoln Hoppe's voice.  There were lots of parts were I was grinning like an idiot by myself in the car, and there were times when I had to sit in my car to hear just a little bit more to make sure everything was going to OK.

If you're familiar with The Wednesday Wars, you'll remember Doug as being the class bully and often being pretty mean to Holling Hoodhood.  It was great to get to see what Doug was really about.  It's totally different then you'd think from what we learn from Holling.

Okay for Now is an episodic story, kind of like The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.  The story starts during the summer of 1968 and it goes through that whole school year and in to the summer of 1969.  We get vignettes of things that happen in Doug's life.  There are several main storylines running through the whole book the most important being Doug discovering he's a talented artist.  He finds John James Audubon's Birds of America at the public library, and one of the librarians begins teaching him to draw.  Doug learns that pages of the book are sold when the town needs money, and he becomes determined to find all the missing pages and return them to the library. 


Twilight the Musical

In the spirit of "A Very Potter Musical", they have now made a musical about Twilight which Mtv reviews. Sick. I don't care if it's a parody, it's just sick and wrong. I in absolutely no way want to see Bella croon how much she love Edward's crooked smile. Ick.

Here's the first part of Twilight the Musical:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sparks: An Urban Fairytale by Lawrence Marvit

Once upon a time there was a girl who looked at those around her and wished for a better life. She was surrounded by family that doubted her and friends that didn't understand. With her journal to comfort her and a wrench to keep her grounded, she eventually gives in to her fancies and creates a 'prince' out of auto parts. Little does she know that her silly playtime is going to create a living being. Eventually the prince will rescue the princess, but not before stopping the evil doers that would end their happiness.

This was quite a lovely story. Sad, romantic, uplifting, heartwarming. I think everyone should read this because it was wonderful. I thought that the artwork was perfect for the storyline - clean lines, almost child-like faces - fantastic for the overall fairytale theme that ran throughout the story. Awesome. This was really quite perfect.

Waiting on Wednesday: The List by Siobhan Vivian

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on The List by Siobhan Vivian.

An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them.It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn't matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, "pretty" and "ugly." And it's also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two

The List comes out April 1, 2012.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Cameron is dying of mad cow disease.  His only hope is to go on a mission laid out to him by Dulcie, an angel.  With his sort of friend Gonzo, a hypochondriac dwarf, and a yard gnome who's really the Viking god Balder, Cameron goes off to find Dr. X, the only man who can cure him.  Cameron's also suppose to save the world while he's at it.

I hated this.  Like, actually hated it.  I can't say I hate a lot of books.  Actually, the only other book I can think of that I actually hated is Ethan Frome.   It's rare that I have such a strong negative reaction to a book, because usually if I don't like a book, I just stop reading it and that's it.  So I think the fact that I made myself go through it, disliking it the whole time, has now turned to bitter, bitter hatred.

I tried to read Going Bovine when it first came out, because I like Libba Bray.  I disliked it enough that a hundred pages in I stopped reading it, because life's too short to read bad books.  Then it won the Printz.  I was outraged.  How the hell did it win the Printz?  My only answer was that the committee was trying to be edgy that year, what with Going Bovine and The Monstrumologist and Punkzilla.

Birthmarked and Tortured by Caragh O'Brien

For those that live next to Unlake Superior, there are those that must struggle to survive and those that live in the walled in Enclave that take care of them. The chosen few that live in the Enclave live in luxury and help the poverty stricken masses that live outside their walls. Of course this comes with a price, every month the midwives outside the wall must 'advance' three babies to the Enclave. The babies' families must trust that their children will grow up with the best and be provided for and that this process is for the good of everyone involved.

Gaia Stone is sixteen and just advanced her first baby that she delivered by herself, her pride at achieving this by herself is overshadowed by the mother's distress at advancing her baby. She is further shaken when she discovers that her parents have been taken for questioning by the Enclave and is not told if they will return. In her fight to try and free her parents, Gaia uncovers the injustice and weakness in the Enclave and their system. With the help of a young mysterious man named Leon, Gaia must decide how far she will go to reconnect with her parents.

When I read the short summaries provided by Good reads or Amazon, I have to admit that I wasn't overly excited about the premise. It sounded like a rather weak plot line with overly done themes. Sweet Moses was I wrong! I completely underestimated how intriguing the characters would be, the depth of the society that Caragh O'Brien had created, and the emotions that the story could evoke. The simplicity worked beautifully, it really made the entire story quite clean and stark. Overall really nice.

P.S. Spoilers ahead

Monday, February 6, 2012


Censorship Battle Flares Up in Tucson School District.  From PW

Well, that didn't take long. FOX options John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.  From PW

An essay on the 50th anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time.  From The New York Times. 

It is now official.  DC will publish Before Watchman.  From The Beat.

SLJ's Battle of the Kid's Books is soon to kick off.  I am especially happy to see OK For Now, A Monster Calls, Chime, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone on the list.  I hope one of them wins! 

School library petition asking the Obama Administration to make school libraries a national priority exceeds 25,000 signatures. From SLJ.

I just don't think sex-themed books at Urban Outfitters are going to be the main place that her teenager might get her "young mind [is] bombarded with hard core sex."  Nice job Dedham police department for not going crazy.  From DedhamPatch.

Do I want the Collected Amethyst Princess of Gemworld when it comes out from DC?  I sure am.  From The Beat.

Friday, February 3, 2012

New Hunger Games Trailer

The Hunger Games trailer number two is here!  I'm so excited.  My hopes are so high.  I'm going to be totally devastated if this movie ends up being crap.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba

How would people remember you if you died at a particular point in your life?  In your 20s?  In your 40s?  As a child?  In this unique graphic novel, we see the obituaries of a man named Bras as they would be if he died at different points in his life.

Wow.  This was pretty incredible.  What a concept.  Daytripper won the Eisner Award for Best Limited Series in 2011.  I think it was well deserved.  You really have to read it.  It's hard to explain.

Through the entire graphic novel, we piece together Bras' life from when he was a small child to an old man, if he should live that long.  The story does not go in chronological order.  The first obituary is when he's 32, then it jumps back to 21, then goes forward to 28 and so on, all over the place.  It's like a whole bunch of little separate stories about some guy, and at the end of each story the guy dies.  But it you piece them all together (minus the dying) you have the story of a single persons' life.

At the end of each story, when Bras dies, there's an obituary.  When he dies as a child, it's about how he wasn't in the world long enough.  When he dies in his 30s, his obituary is about how he was the son of a great writer.  When he dies later in his life, it's about his family he's leaving behind, or his own writing.  It was incredibly poignant seeing his life summarized in just a few sentences, and how different those sentences were depending on when he died.

The last story in the book is when Bras is an old man.  Was that done so we'd be left thinking he didn't really die those other times?  That he got have all his life experiences and die when he's old and satisfied?  Or was it just another story in the book of possibilities.  I'm not sure which it was suppose to be, but I'd like to think that that's what really happened, not the other, often violent or sad deaths that could have happened at earlier points in his life.

The art worked perfectly with the story.  The color was subdued, using a lot of grays and browns and maroons.  For most of the story, the world doesn't really seem like a great place, and the color reflects it.  In the final story, I noticed there was a lot more yellow than in any of the others.

Daytripper was really something.  Check it out.

Takio by Brian Bendis and Michael Oeming

Taki cannot stand her annoying little sister Olivia, who follows her and her friend Kelly around everywhere.  One night, Taki and Olivia go to visit Kelly, and end up in the middle of an explosion caused by Kelly's scientist father.  Now Taki and Olivia have unusual powers, and Kelly's father is after them!  Will the girls fight back and use their powers for good?

Such fun!  I'm really looking forward to seeing where this series goes.  There's lots of mysterious stuff going on beside the main plot.  Taki is adopted, and her mother is incredibly overprotective of Olivia, blaming Taki for anything bad that might happen to her, down to a skinned knee.  Olivia says it's because of their dad.  Where is their dad?  What happened to him?  There are no clues so far.

Kelly's mother has also recently left, seemingly right after her father loses his job again.  It's not clear exactly what Kelly's father was working on before it exploded, or the full reason Kelly's mom left when she did.

Olivia is adorable.  I loved that she was totally in character as the second grader she is.  She's all, "We have superpowers?  Cool!  Let's make costumes!  Can we fight bad guys?"  Taki, on the other hand, is torn up about what to do.  Should she tell their mother?  Do they need to go to a doctor?  As annoying as she finds Olivia, she's pretty protective of her too and doesn't want anything bad to happen.  It isn't until Taki realizes that bad stuff is going to happen anyway (what with a crazy guy after them) that she agrees to embrace her powers and fight against the bad guys!  And let her little sister make costumes.

I don't like the art style that much.  It's very angular and sharp.  At times regardless of whether a character is evil or not, everyone can look warped and creepy.  The color is flat and dingy.

Despite that, I thought this was a great start to the series.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Starters by Lissa Price

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on Starters by Lissa Price.

 Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . .

Starters comes out March 13, 2012.

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