Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg. JANES IN LOVE

This is the sequel to the fantastic PLAIN JANES. Everything seems to be going well for the Janes. They continue their P.L.A.I.N. activities. Valentine’s Day is coming up, so people begin obsessing about getting a date for the dance. Then a few curves balls are thrown at the group. An encounter with the police makes Jane question whether or not to continue P.L.A.I.N. Also, a few scary events bring back haunting memories from the violence in Metro City. Will Jane ever feel hopeful again about her friends and the future?
There are so many events and issues in this deceptively slim volume. Even though it’s intense, it isn’t depressing. After reading, you feel like you’ve been on a beautiful journey. The artwork is spectacular! The story and the images are merged perfectly.
Highly Recommended!

Here is the author's website

Here are two interviews with illustrator Jim Rugg:
This one is about first book PLAIN JANES
This one is about the sequel JANES IN LOVE

This is the type of graphic novel that I use to illustrate why graphic novel are so important and serve a huge purpose in library collections and classrooms.

Here are two more of my current favorite works of literature art:

Please share some of your favorite graphic novels!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Denise Vega. CLICK HERE: to find out how I survived seventh grade

Erin Swift is entering 7th grade with several things freaking her out. She’s now in middle school, which means lots of new people. Plus, she’s being separated from her best friend for the first time since Kindergarten. They were put in different tracks at school. How will she navigate the halls of the enormous school and deal with 8th graders without her best friend Jilly? Then soon after school starts, some things begin to make her hopeful. For example, there’s the cute boy in her homeroom and Intranet Club that she’s beginning to like “more than a friend.” However, when he meets her friend Jilly, Erin is afraid he’ll like her, which is so typical! A few major dramas happen to Erin in her 7th grade year before she learns to really stand up for herself. Oh, and all these major dramas (and the minor ones) are chronicled in her own personal, private blog. Only you, the reader, gets to see it.
This was so much fun! Erin is an adorable character who you’ll root for. Jilly is a completely realistic best friend. I cracked up in many parts, and I related to the sad parts. Who hasn’t been in a position where they never wanted to show their face again at school?
Any middle-schooler will enjoy this! And I think a lot of them at my school will be reading it soon, because, we're lucky enough to have the author, Denise Vega, come visit us in May! How cool is that! Yay :)
For more on Denise Vega and her other books click here for her super cool website.

The sequel is out July 1st.

Pre-order it now!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Carrie Jones. NEED

Wow what a cool book!
Ever since Zara White’s father died, she hasn't been herself. She no longer feels like doing anything. Her mother fears that she is deeply depressed and worries so much about her that she sends her off to live with her grandmother. She hopes that a change will help Zara return to her spunky self again. It works. Zara begins to see this creepy man following her. It peaks her curiosity, but it also introduces her to a whole new world that she never even wanted to know existed.
I loved this book! It has romance, friendship, adorable characters (Issie), humor and danger.
(and gold dust – always a nice addition)
Here’s one of the many funny pieces of dialogue:

He shouts to me, “Pixies have to be invited in, like vampires. I read it on the Internet.”
“Well, there you go,” I mutter. “Then it must be true.”

Maybe it's just my sense of humor, but I found that hysterical. There’s a lot more funny dialogue, but I can’t say more without spoiling the story for you. It is an exciting story full of supernatural beings. I won’t tell you all of them here, but I will say that it involves pixies. Before reading this, all I knew about pixies were pixie sticks (yummy, but totally not the same thing) and Tinker Bell (not even close). So this was my first foray into the world of Pixies. It was most excellent! I can feel a sequel coming & I can’t wait.
Read it – you won’t be sorry!
More about the author here

Oh and here's the book trailer for it:

Addendum: I knew that character was named after Devyn – the fantastical blogger/author! So I looked it up & yes, it was indeed named after him. How lovely to have a character named after you in a book. Anyone wanting to name a character after me, please, please feel free.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

David Hernandez. NO MORE US FOR YOU

I love when I find a new author! I was browsing a the library & this was on display. (I fell for my own marketing tactics - both books I selected were from the display!) The title is what grabbed me. How sad, right? Anyway...
Isabel lost her boyfriend in a car accident almost a year ago. Carlos has just been dumped by his girlfriend. They meet through a new girl at school, Vanessa. So far, you’d think this was a typical girl-meets-boy book. But, it’s far from that. Isabel has some serious issues with death. She is obsessed with imagining how everyone around her will die (car wrecks, fires, plane crashes, etc.) Carlos works in a museum and eats red licorice all day. The two of them end up on a double date with Vanessa and a Carlos’s friend Snake. It looks like things may work out for them when tragedy strikes. Typically, this event would cause them to “bond,” but this is not a typical story. It has a somber mood throughout, but it’s not depressing. In the hands of a different writer, I would not have enjoyed the story at all. But the writing is so beautiful and engaging that I wanted to stay with these characters. Some scenes were so intricate that I felt like I was watching a scene in a movie. Anytime I find myself post-it-noting page after page, I know that’s some awesome writing. Here’s one of my many bookmarked snippets:

“I left Snake leaning by himself on the fence and made my way across the quad, students cutting in front of me from the left, the right. Two gulls fought on top of an empty table for a bag of potato chips, pecking and squawking and flapping their gray wings. By the time I reached Mira, the other guy was gone, the note was open in her hands. It was a long letter. So much ink it had to mean trouble.”

Don't you have a crystal clear image in your head?
But, it’s not just the writing that I admire; the characters are real, endearing, and you care about them. Highly Recommended!

I was not surprised to find out that David Hernandez is also a poet. Check out his website here. I look forward to more from him.
Here's his first novel: