Saturday, December 29, 2007

Book News

As you know, I rarely (ok, never) post anything other than book reviews, since this is pretty much a single subject blog. But when there is exciting book news, I can’t help myself.
First exciting tidbit: There is a new series coming out next September called 39 CLUES. It will be written by different authors, but will have one main story arc. The first two books are going to be written by two of my favorite authors, Rick Riordan (THE LIGHTNING THIEF books) and Gordon Korman (SON OF THE MOB & SCHOOLED). The series will have online game tie-ins, blogs written by the characters, maps, puzzles, treasure hunts & videos. Sounds like a pretty big deal.
Here’s more on it:
And what Rick Riordan has to say

By the way THE LIGHTNING THIEF, BOOK 4, called THE BATTLE OF THE LABYRINTH comes out May 2008. can't wait!

Second tidbit is that ALA will be doing a live webcast again this year to announce the big ALA Book Awards. It’s at 5:45am (mtn time) on Jan 14th. Here’s the link for that:
Go early because otherwise the site gets overloaded & you completely miss it. (Like me, last year.)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Susan Beth Pfeffer. LIFE AS WE KNEW IT

I had heard so much about this book that I hoped it would measure up. It surely did.
Miranda, her family, and everyone else on her entire street are out one night watching a meteor that is on a collision course with the moon. It’s an astrological event that people wanted to see up close. Miranda isn’t that interested, but all her teachers have assigned homework about it, so she’s out watching with everyone else. The world gasps as the meteor hits so hard that it pushes the moon much closer to the earth. At first, people aren’t sure what this means. Then in the following days, tsunamis devastate both coasts of the US, as well as places around the world. Entire cities of people have died. Suddenly Miranda’s mom pulls her out of school to go buy all of the groceries in the store. They start stockpiling, because the future is unknown. Volcanoes all over are erupting because of the new gravitational pull from the moon. The sky becomes grey with ash. Schools close. People leave town. This is Miranda’s diary of the events going on. The atmosphere is grim and eerily realistic. It makes you nervous like after watching DEEP IMPACT or some other disaster film.
It also makes you appreciate running water, electricity, and above, all food. It also took me back to the atmosphere in Houston when we had evacuate during Hurricane Rita. People were freaking out on the highways and at gas stations. Yikes! Definitely a must read. No wonder there was so much talk about this book.

WOW! Check out the cover for the companion novel (out in June 08)


How awesome is that cover?

More about Ms. Pfeffer. She's written quite a lot of books:

And her blog is here:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Nancy Etchemendy. THE POWER OF UN

Wouldn’t you love the power to go back in time and “undo” events in your life that? Like a bad or tragic event? Gib is visited by a strange old man, who smells like lightning, one night in the woods. The man gives him a home-made looking device that looks like a remote control. He calls it an “unner.” He tells him to be careful with it and then leaves. Gib is curious, but then goes about his life. A tragic event happens later that night and Gib decides to “undo” it by going back in time. But, things are happening differently and he’s worried he’s changed the wrong events. Will he be able to change the inevitable, or are some things meant to happen? This was one of those suspense filled novels that I couldn’t put down. I had to finish it at once! It’s a great way to sample Science Fiction, if you aren’t sure you like Sci-Fi. You’ll like this one.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Yay! I’ve been waiting to read this sequel for a while. We’re back with Cammie Morgan at her spy school, the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. Cam’s dealing with the fallout of breaking up with her boyfriend Josh from last semester and being debriefed at CIA headquarters when she hears the strangest news of all. There had been rumors, but now they hear that there is, in fact, a spy school for boys too, called Blackthorne. Apparently someone has decided it would be a good idea to have some of the boys come and stay at Gallagher for a semester. The girls aren’t sure what to make of this. Of course, it means dressing differently, acting differently, and who knows what else. Plus, can these boys be trusted? Cam and her friends are certainly going to investigate. This was just a much fun as the first book!

The first book, I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU, has been optioned for a movie (reviewed here April 2006). This doesn't mean that it automatically will for sure be made into a movie, but I sure hope it does. The company who bought the rights also made HOLES, one of my all-time favorite book to movie adaptations. So I have high hopes for this one! If you want to read more about it, check out her cool website:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Adele Griffin. WHERE I WANT TO BE

It’s difficult to say much about this novel without giving too much away, but I’ll try. Jane and Lily are sisters who enjoyed playing together as young girls. As they grew older, they grew apart. Jane has a difficult time around other people. She has a hard time distinguishing between reality and fantasy. Her parents medicate her to help her lead a normal life. Jane really misses her imaginary world and decides to go off her meds, and tragedy strikes. Jane is hit by a car (and I’m not giving anything away, since this info is given to the reader at the very beginning). The story begins with Lily trying to come to terms with her sister’s death while dealing with her own guilt. The story focuses on both sisters, how different they are, and how they relate to each other. It’s an insightful and moving novel.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Chris Crutcher. DEADLINE

Ben Wolf is entering his senior year with big plans. He didn’t plan to just coast and party his last year in school, like most guys. As he put it, “It was my year to read everything I could get my hands on, to speak up, push myself and my teachers to get the true hot poop on the World at Large, so I could hit the ground running.” As it turns out, Ben finds out that he has a disease that gives him only about a year to live. So, he decides to scrap his original plans and dare to take big risks. He’s way too little for it, but he decides to play on the football team at school. After all, what does he have to lose? He also decides to go after the hot girl that he thinks is way out of his league. He doesn’t plan to tell anyone about his diagnosis, so they'll still treat him "normally." But he begins to wonder if it's the right thing to do keeping it from his family and friends. Should he let them prepare?

So, how would you live your life if you only had one year left?

I always enjoy Chris Crutcher’s books, and this one was no different. He deals with major issues with such style, yet without overdoing it. His writing is so distinct and familiar that reading the first page was like being with an old friend again. He has the most awesome way of putting things. Check this out: “Dallas Suzuki may sound to you like a car dealership in Texas, but for the past three years, she has been the single prey in the crosshairs of my Cupid’s bow, and she doesn’t know it because she is way, way out of my league.”
Seriously, what a cool sentence! And the character name, come on- how’d he think that up?
This whole book is full of those kind of awesome sentences (and so are his other books).

Some others to consider by Crutcher:




Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg. THE PLAIN JANES

After a disaster strikes her hometown of Metro City, Jane’s parents are frightened to the suburbs. Jane really misses the big city, but resigns herself to trying to make friends. She finally becomes friends with a few other girls, also all named Jane. Jane decides to shake things up in suburbia. The Janes start an art tribe and try to save the town from the plainness with secret art projects all over town. The cops seem to think they’re defacing property and committing crimes, but the other teenagers are backing them up. Can art really save this town?
I really enjoyed this graphic novel. The art really supports the engaging characters. It was smart & fun!

The author is a pretty cool character herself. Check her out here:
Some of her other books:

Here's the info on the artist:

This is a great addition to my graphic novel collection in the library. I’ll be ordering a lot more soon. I already have some great titles in mind, but if anyone has more great ideas for a middle school library, please let me know.