Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nancy Werlin. RULES OF SURVIVAL

Matthew’s mother is crazy. And she is the kind of unpredictable crazy where he and his sisters are always on edge wondering when she will explode. Matthew and Callie do their best of take care of their younger sister most of the time, since their mom is away a lot. Sometimes she comes home and acts “motherly” and cooks dinner, but other times she comes home angry and mean. Things finally come to a point where Matthew decides to take action. Their mother has chased off the only decent boyfriend she’s had after he found out how crazy she is, and this has brought her evil and madness to a whole new level. Matt asks for help from the only adults around, and he hopes that something will change. He wants more than anything to get them away from his mother or someone won’t survive.
This is one of those stories that sticks with you for a long time. The saddest thing in the world is when someone who is supposed to protect kids is actually their worst enemy.

The author has written some other really great books. Check her out here:
http://www.nancywerlin.com/index.htm

Monday, February 18, 2008

Siena Cherson Siegel & Mark Siegel. TO DANCE

Here’s a brand new selection from our coming soon Graphic Novel section, TO DANCE. This is a memoir of Siena Siegel’s life as a ballerina. It begins when she is a very young girl who loves to dance. She skipped, twirled and danced every where she went, because “A big, empty space is always an invitation to dance.” After attending a performance of the Bolshoi Ballet from Russia, Siena is forever changed. She dreams of being a ballerina. She works hard on her dream and makes it into the esteemed School of American Ballet and later performs with the New York City Ballet.
This is a beautiful way to read about her life in the ballet. I couldn’t imagine this story without the artwork, done by her husband, Mark Siegel. You feel the fluid illustrations almost dancing across the page. You really feel as though you have been a part of the dancing world. This is a real treat!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Melissa Kantor. CONFESSIONS OF A NOT IT GIRL

I had forgotten how funny Melissa Kantor is! I had read IF I HAVE A WICKED STEPMOTHER, WHERE’S MY PRINCE and thought it was hysterical, but it’s been a while since I read that one. So, I was pleasantly reminded how funny she is with this, her first novel, CONFESSIONS OF A NOT IT GIRL.
Jan Miller, senior in high school, is convinced that she has the least fabulous life a girl can have. Making matters even worse, her best friend, Rebecca, has been named “It Girl” in a popular fashion magazine. Jan feels that Rebecca is prettier, skinnier, and just way more sophisticated then she is. Rebecca is even able to snag an awesome, older boyfriend, while Jan seems to continually make a fool out of herself around the boy she likes, Josh. It begins when they act out a scene from Romeo & Juliet in English class and she humiliates herself. It continues with virtually every interaction she has with him afterwards. Will she ever become an It Girl or will Jan live out her life as an old maid with five cats? This was a hilarious love story complete with misunderstandings, embarrassing predicaments and some sweet scenes as well. Definitely a joy!

Her other two books:


IF I HAVE A WICKED
STEPMOTHER, WHERE'S
MY PRINCE? my review is here



THE BREAKUP BIBLE











The author's website: http://www.melissakantor.com/


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Libba Bray. A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY

Gemma Doyle just lost her mother in an unexplainable situation. Gemma foresees her mother’s death in a vision that becomes true only a few minutes later. With her mother gone, her father sends her to a boarding school in London. After having grown up in India, the boarding school is quite a change. It’s 1895 and The Spence academy prepares girls to be proper wives, who know their place. One night Gemma is led to a secret diary written by a Spence girl about 20 years earlier. She shares it with her friends and they become entranced by the stories of magic and the mystical order of women. They decide they’ll be the next “order” of women and attempt to enter this other realm. Then when Gemma discovers that she can enter this realm and see her mother there, she takes the other girls there. Each of them is enamored by the power they have in the realms. Gemma wants nothing more than to continue to spend time with her mother. Pippa enjoys the company of a handsome knight, while Ann becomes beautiful and Felicity becomes a huntress. Things get a little tricky when the girls try to take the magic out of the realms into the school. They may have inadvertently brought back dark spirits into the world. And when one of the girls’ lives is threatened, Gemma must find way to save her, if she can.
This one is difficult to describe in a paragraph, because there is so much depth and dimension to this book. There’s adventure, magic, mystery, and danger. I thoroughly enjoyed all of it and will be reading parts 2 and 3 soon. And did I mention the author is originally from Texas? (that always scores points with me).

More about the author, Libba Bray http://www.libbabray.com/

Her blog http://libba-bray.livejournal.com/

Part 2 and 3 of the trilogy:


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Orson Scott Card. A WAR OF GIFTS

Another novel about Ender, one of the most intriguing characters of all time-how could I resist?
This story takes us back to Battle School during the holiday season. Since there are kids from all over the world, the leaders have banned any celebrations of religion, because it would be disruptive and cause hostility. However, a few of the students find a way to celebrate the secular tradition of giving gifts in December. They make the argument that Santa Claus is a nationalist secular, tradition, rather than a religious one. But Zeke Morgan, an extreme religious student, who thinks Santa Claus is a satanic symbol, stirs up trouble by arguing that the school is allowing these kids to practice religion. This is a short but satisfying visit back to the Battle School. If you know & love Ender, this is for you. If you don’t know him, get to know him!
Here’s the first four:
ENDER’S GAME
SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD
XENOCIDE
CHILDREN OF THE MIND

If you’re a fan of OSC and haven’t seen his website, it’s worth a visit.

If you haven’t heard, OSC just won ALA’s Edwards award for lifetime achievement in young adult literature for ENDERS’S GAME & ENDER’S SHADOW.

And plus, he’s written so many other great ones…I could go on forever.

He's one amazing writer!