1/25/2011: A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang (Pocket)
3/1/2011: Betrayal ~Haunting Emma Book Two~ by Lee Nichols (Bloomsbury Children’s)
Why spending my summers on the beach will never be the same: I love how authentic Chase is. I love the portrayal of his family, and I especially love that every family member feels real and alive and developed, even the parents. I love the sparse prose and the hard hitting lines that made me think wow.
4/26/2011: The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless by Allan Woodrow (HarperCollins Children’s)
Why it’s so important to have an evil cackle: Because all of the most famous super villains have them, that’s why! And Zachary Ruthless is well on his way to becoming the world’s greatest, Bwa-ha-ha! The first time I read this manuscript, I just sat at my desk, chuckling, until my boss finally said “WHAT is making you laugh so much?” Allan Woodrow’s writing is perfect for kids 8-12 (or adults who are kids at heart)—it’s like he has a direct line to your funny bone. And come on, who doesn’t love a story with death rays, exploding mustard balloons, and zucchini flavored gum, right?
Why one choice can transform you: We all reach moments in our lives where we are presented with a choice. Should I hang out with those kids, or not? Should I go to this college or that one? Should I listen to my parents, or walk my own path? Each and every choice made shapes our lives. And in Veronica Roth’s debut, one choice can transform you. I flew through this manuscript and then sat there, shocked, and even a little tingly. This book changed the way I thought about my own decisions. And it was a wild ride, too.
Why we all need to meet the Good Knight: Because he’s the sweetest, most chivalrous and caring knight around. And because the baby dragon’s are SO darn cute (see the cover??). This is the sixth Good Knight title by Shelley, and each one is wonderful to read out loud to your little one.
Why my heart melts when I read this story: I thought I was done with love triangles. I really, really did. But then I read Erica’s manuscript and was blown away by the raw emotion of a girl who just lost her best friend, by the hardship of living two secret lives, and by the heartbreak of choosing between two equally dangerous, but equally gorgeous guys. Mo Fitzgerald is stuck between the Chicago mob, and the ancient magical society of the Arcs—it’s up to her to decide where she lands. Erica won this year’s Golden Heart award for the YA category and it couldn’t be more deserved! (cover art not final)
Why book 2 is even better: I love Luc. I love how hot he is. I love that Frannie's a normal teenage girl in an extraordinary situation, that she's tough, and trying to hold her own in a world where she feels out of her league. And most of all I love that she has this untapped talent. And I love that no one is safe in book two.
Why this book should have been around when I was 15: I love Keek. I love her voice. I love how cool she is. I love how she's going through so much, and yet she knows exactly where to turn and how to get through it all--her typewriting and The Bell Jar. I desperately want Keek as a best friend. I love the structure, the poetry, the lines that make me go wow, the characters and the angst. It's perfect.
9/1/2011: Luststruck by Kody Keplinger (Poppy)
Why do I love this book? Because Kody is honest in how she approaches teen life, and in particular here, sex in teen culture. In this book the girls of Hamilton High go on a hook up strike in order to end an old sports rivalry. Along the way they realize that hooking up (or lack thereof) is not the only way we try to control one another—using labels like “slut” or “tease” or “player” or “virgin” can be a way to keep others down. And that friendship and following your heart are more important that control, no matter what the cost. (cover art not final)
12/2011: Zombie Tag by Hannah Moskowitz (Roaring Brook)
Why this book made me fall in love with reading all over again: I love the very first line. I love that Wil feels so real that I’m crushed that he doesn’t really exist. I love that there are so many lines that make me laugh out loud or sit on the edge of my seat in panic or even sob. I love Zombie Tag, the game. And of course, I love the relationship between Wil and Graham, and the portrait of Wil’s grieving—not just because his brother is dead, but because his brother is growing up. (cover art not final)