Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Meme - fun!

I've been tagged by TerriClark. And let me say up front, after that 25 things meme on Facebook, this is way easier!

6 Things that make Me Happy

1. My son's singing
2. My husband
3. Sunshine on a snowy day (great combo)
4. Finishing a long run
5. Reading a good book
6. When a new order of books arrives at the library (you should see my jumping up & down!)

Here are the Rules for this meme: Link to the person who tagged you. Post six things that make you happy along with these rules. Then tag six others (letting them know, of course). Let the person who tagged you know when your entry is complete.

I tag: The Unquiet Librarian, Ms. Yingling, Beckybooks, Alexwrites, Melissa, JenLibrarian

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Holly Black & Ted Naifeh. THE GOOD NEIGHBORS.

What an awesome graphic novel! I got this one totally on the reputation of the wonderful Holly Black. She’s well known for SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES, TITHE, VALIANT and IRONSIDE. I was not disappointed!
Rue Silver’s mom disappeared a while back and her father is being blamed for her death. At the same time, Rue has begun to see strange things things all around her – weird looking creatures. She begins remembering how “crazy” she thought her mom was and wonders is she is now going crazy herself. After digging around in her past, she discovers some unusual truths about herself and her kin. Her mom is a faerie and she's in danger.
Wow! This was suspenseful, mysterious, wonderful world of faeries, friendship and family. The artwork is spectacular! The illustrator is Ted Naifeh. This is a perfect example of how the artwork in a graphic novel is such an essential part of the story. For example, on the bottom of page 99, Rue is standing with her back to us, alone in a pile of feathers with three small boxes of text. It is stunning! It’s is like a mini-movie. But while reading a graphic novel, you have time to process & enjoy each page – while a movie flies quickly across the screen. I did enjoy, actually I cherished each page! I wish I could show the artwork here, but if you go to Amazon, you can take a peek inside the book. Although, you have to see it in person – you must! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
I anxiously await the sequel!

More on Holly Black

More on the illustrator Ted Naifeh

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tonya Hurley. GHOSTGIRL

What a very cool book. Part of the appeal is the packaging, not to take away from the writing – which is witty and funny. The book is black & pink with a coffin on the front. When you open the first page, it has an illustration of ghostgirl. Then between each chapter is another clever illustration with quotations. Really, you have to see it to appreciate it.
The story is quirky and yet realistic too, in its own creepy way. Charlotte was determined that this would be her year. She would finally become popular. In a moment of serendipity, she is assigned to be lab partner to her major crush Damon Dylan. At the end of class, after agreeing to help tutor Damen and therefore make him fall in love with her in the process, Charlotte chokes on a gummy bear and dies. Just when her life was turning around, Charlotte dies. She’s not happy at all at this turn of events.
After getting orientated to her new way of life at DeadEd, an alternative school for dead kids, she’s determined to find a way to spend more time in her old life. Then she realizes that one girl can actually see her. She uses this as a way to intermingle with her old life. She refuses to accept her status as no longer living. This angers the other non-living and they set out to stop her.
This is a funny, satirical and heartwarming story. Publisher’s Weekly called it Beetlejuice meets Heathers. I agree with that description. The characters are unique and fun and the dialogue is sharp! I really enjoyed it and was pleased to see the sequel is due out in July. It’s on my list!

The author is intriguing. She's been a screenwriter for film and TV. If you’d like to read more about her, click here for her website.

Here’s the cover for the sequel due out in July.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gordon Korman. THE JUVIE THREE

Gordon Korman is one of those authors where I grab each new book & read it without even knowing or caring what it’s about because I simply know I’ll love it. There are some authors where I read a book or two by them, feel I know what they’re about and I’m done. I can match them to students & that’s that. But other authors, I absolutely have to read everything by them – and Korman is certainly near the top of that list. One thing I admire is his diversity. Wow. He does action (Kidnapped & the Falconers series), comedy (Schooled, Born to Rock, Son of the Mob), adventure (Island series), realistic fiction (Jake Reinvented & Juvie) and more. He just writes a lot of great books!
So this new one – THE JUVIE THREE: It’s about three boys: Gecko, Terence and Arjay. Gecko & Terence are in juvenile detention and Arjay is in prision. Each one is visited by Douglas Healy, who offers them a second chance. He says he can get them out of lockup, but they have to live with him in a halfway house, which is part of a new experimental program. They will live with him, go to school, do community service and attend counseling. It doesn’t leave much time for a social life, but the boys are prepared to agree to almost anything to get out of lockup.
Shortly after settling into their new lives, Douglas is involved in an accident that threatens their entire lives. The boys have to continue living as though everything is normal. Any little screw up will have them thrown back in prison or juvie. But events continue to threaten their secrets. Gecko meets a girl, Terence gets mixed up with some gangbangers, and Arjay starts playing guitar in a band. Clearly, none of those activities would be allowed under the original arrangement. How long will they be able to keep their secret and therefore their freedom?
This was so different from all the comedies that I’ve read lately from Korman.The characters were rich and lively. The story was compelling and so suspenseful at the end that I literally could not put it down!I highly recommend it!

For more on Gordon Korman click here for his website.

I've reviewed many of his books here. Click for the review SCHOOLED or BORN TO ROCK

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Debbie Reed Fischer. SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS

Peyton Grady is a junior in high school who has just made it to the varsity cheerleading squad. She’s thrilled that might be able to finally hang out with the Alphas at school. The Alphas are the in-crowd at Beachwood Preparatory Academy, the private school Peyton attends on a scholarship. She’s never really felt like she belonged, but now Peyton is beginning to think that this will be her best year yet. Then one day, a new girl names Ellika arrives and without a try-out or anything, the principal sticks her on the varsity cheer squad. Ellika is not what you’d think of as the average looking cheerleader. She is uncoordinated, overweight, and dorky. The girls are all fuming, but most of all, the captain Lexie Court is livid. Lexie is the most popular, beautiful, perfect girl in school. And she basically gets whatever she wants, but when she can’t get Ellika (or Smellika as they begin to call her) off the squad, she cooks up her own way to get her off. It’s called Operation Smellika. They begin their operation with small practical jokes and continue with bigger and bigger cruel hazing rituals. Peyton begins to hesitate as the stakes get higher, but then Lexie pressures her and she relents. When the final act looks like someone may get seriously hurt, Peyton must decide whether she is comfortable swimming with the sharks or not.
Wow, what a shocking portrayal of how mean teens can get. Perhaps I’ve blocked most of the bad parts out, but I don’t remember people being that mean in middle or high school. But I can relate to that feeling of being afraid to stand up to someone who is pressuring you to do something you know you shouldn’t do. I admire those teens today who seem to have the strength to do what’s right, no matter what others think. That was a hard one for me as a teen.
Anyway, this is a funny, sad, moving, and gripping novel about a girl who grapples with her identity and how to do what’s right, especially when it’s difficult. Debbie Reed Fischer is an awesome new author. I really enjoyed her writing. Her descriptions are witty and lively, and so is the dialogue! I laughed out loud, when I wasn’t cringing over the meanness.
If you’d like to find out more about her or other books, check out her website here.