Sunday, March 30, 2008

Alex Flinn. BEASTLY

If you know me at all, you know I love Alex Flinn. I have multiple copies of all her books in the library, but they’re never on the shelf because I’m constantly booktalking them. But somehow I couldn’t warm up to this one- until now. It never appealed to me. Flinn’s written such wonderful realistic fiction that I wasn’t sure about her doing fantasy. Boy, was that a stupid idea. I finally read it & it’s awesome! It’s a modern twist on the Beauty and the Beast. It begins with a privileged teen named Kyle Kingsbury. Kyle has everything. He’s rich, good-looking, and the most popular kid at school. He’s even elected Homecoming prince. But, he only cares about himself and treats anyone who can’t do something for him really crappy. In fact, he even seems to enjoy hurting people. Then one day, he pulls a prank on the wrong person. His life changes dramatically. She places a devious spell on him that he must find a way to break.

I couldn’t put this down. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I should never have doubted the great talents of Alex Flinn. I look forward to her branching out into whatever directions she wants as an author. I’ll read it all!

Here's her website: http://www.alexflinn.com/

Here are some of her other great books:


Friday, March 28, 2008

Sara Zarr. SWEETHEARTS

Cameron is the only friend Jennifer had in elementary school. They were social outcasts together and become very close. They knew and understand each other better than anyone else. One day Cameron disappears without any explanation or goodbye. Jennifer hears rumors of his death. She’s devastated. Years later, after moving to a new school, she reinvents herself, makes new friends, and changes her name to Jenna. Although she seems to have a pretty normal life without Cameron, she never feels like anyone really knows her like he did. When Cameron mysteriously shows up again at her new school, Jennifer is surprised and grateful to have him in her life again. But can she keep him from disappearing again? The author portrayed the unusual closeness of Jennifer and Cameron extremely well. Also, the weaving together of the past and present were written with enough mystery to keep me turning the pages. I really like this one.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pheobe Stone. DEEP DOWN POPULAR

Jessie Lou has had her heart set on popular Conrad Parker Smith for years. But he hasn’t paid much attention to her. In fact, his popularity has grown to the point where everyone loves him and he can do no wrong. On the other hand, Jessie Lou’s popularity hasn’t exactly taken off at all. She doesn’t even have any real friends, as Jessie Lou puts it, she has “not-now-maybe-later-friends.” Then a few months into the fall semester, Conrad starts having trouble with his leg. He has to quit soccer and ends up wearing a leg brace. His popularity drops like a rocket. People are nice to him, but he is no longer worshiped like before. Jessie Lou is assigned to help him get home everyday afterschool. Suddenly, they become friends and begin doing things together. Jessie Lou can’t believe her luck. But when Conrad mentions that he will be undergoing an operation to fix his leg, Jessie Lou worries that she’ll lose him again. This is a sweet and achingly realistic book about first love and heartbreak with quirky and fun characters. The author did such a wonderful job with the setting that I could feel the atmosphere of this small town seeping out of every paragraph.

More about the author, Pheobe Stone: http://www.phoebestone.com/

Friday, March 21, 2008

Libba Bray. REBEL ANGELS

REBEL ANGELS is a worthy sequel to THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY. It’s the holiday season at Spence Academy. The girls are getting ready to go home to London to stay with their families. Also, the replacement teacher for Miss Moore begins teaching. Gemma and her friends become suspicious of her after finding some interesting items in her room. Gemma begins to think that this teacher is Circe, the leader of the dark spirits from the realms. In the midst of all the festivities of the holidays (dances, tea at the club, etc.), there is trouble in the realms. Gemma is charged with finding the temple to bind the magic, but she isn’t sure who she can trust to help her. This sequel has even more going on than the first book. There’s romance, mystery, magic and plot twists. I may even like this one more than the first!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Jay Hosler. CLAN APIS

In preparation for our new graphic novel collection, I’ve been previewing mangas, comics, and other graphic novels. This one stood out as a winner for such a wide audience. It’s about a clan of bees, called Clan Apis (Apis is bee in Latin). Nyuki is a baby still in the larvae stage when the story begins. An older bee befriends him and explains how things are and what he should expect at the next stage of his life. The story goes on to each fascinating stage in a bee’s life. This may sound dry, by the characters are quite lively. I laughed out loud several times. Who knew learning about bees could be so much fun? I sure didn’t. I also got a whole new appreciation for bees. The way they do everything for “the hive,” rather than themselves, is pretty cool. In fact, they even die when they sting something while protecting the hive. How noble. This was written by a biology professor who has been working with bees for years. He adds an additional mini-comic at the end where he tells the story of how he found out he was allergic to bee venom after getting stung. I highly recommend this one! You’ll enjoy it so much that you won’t realize how much you’re learning.

The author is an intriguing combination of Biologist & Cartoonist. You can even see some of his comics on his website here: http://www.jayhosler.com/

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ellen Raskin. THE WESTING GAME

This is a gem of a mystery that won the Newbery award. And somehow, I’m just now discovering it. When millionaire Sam Westing dies, he gathers sixteen people together for the reading of the will. He calls these people his “heirs” although none appear to actually be related to him. The will states that one of the sixteen heirs killed him, and the first person to solve the mystery will inherit his 200 million dollars. The sixteen are paired off into teams and each given a set of clues. The clues are a set of words. Each team has a different set, and they have to decide to work together or compete to win the millions. What a great mystery! The clues are puzzling, the characters are intriguing, and it was a lot of fun trying to piece it all together.