Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jump Now!

Steph of the blog Reviewer X is giving away Suzanne Collins' new book Catching Fire, sequel to Hunger Games. What are you waiting for? Jump on it now!


I decided to plunge into the Sarah Dessen summer challenge by going to the library to read my first Sarah Dessen book. It seems inconceivable that this is my first ever read of this prolific YA author, but I've been concentrating on YA lit for boys.

Dreamland is about Caitlin and her mysterious new bad-boy boyfriend Rogerson, green-eyed and troubled. She wants to protect him from the cruel wrath of his father, and in him, she finds a mirror of herself -- the less than perfect, less than stellar younger sibling. But Rogerson soon consumes her in his jealousy and his rage and Caitlin can't separate herself, even when she knows she's losing herself.

As an adult and a parent, this is a scary look into teenage domestic violence, and unfortunately as a teacher and a former teen, it brings back memories of certain teens in the middle of these types of relationships. I can feel the tightness in Caitlin's stomach as she tries to make sure that she is not late when Rogerson picks her up, not talking to anyone that may trigger his anger, not doing anything inappropriate, not talking too long, laughing too loud. . . How do we raise girls that will be strong enough to reach out for help? How do we raise boys who will respect females and release anger and frustration in more productive and creative ways? How do we as parents deal with the guilt of turning away, being blind to the adult problems that teens often face?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Plain Janes

The Plain Janes The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci

I'm not sure if it's true that teen girls that read graphic novels are girls that are on the outskirts of the popularity circle, but this graphic novel, like Skim and Chiggers, is about girls (all named a form of Jane), all from different cliques of the school, who start an underground art rebellion in their town. After the town starts cracking down by enforcing a curfew for all the teens, the whole school starts getting in on the rebellion (including the popular kids)- and isn't that what every teen on the outskirts wants?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sarah Dessen Challenge

Sarah Dessen Challenge

Looking for a great way to start your summer? Em from Em's Bookshelf has a Sarah Dessen challenge. Here's her rules:
1) Read all 9 books by Sarah Dessen.
2) Set your own time frame. Whatever works best for your schedule. Don't stress...this is supposed to be fun! :)
3) Comment on this post or link to this post on your blog. The more people that hear about this, the more people we'll have cheering us on!

And at The Sarah Dessen Diarist, Adele is putting together thirty days of posts(!) from authors, bloggers, and readergirlz in the month leading up to Sarah Dessen's birthday on June 6th.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The 39 Clues Book 3: The Sword Thief

The third installment of the 39 Clues series has Dan and Amy Cahill back on a plane to track down the third clue in Japan and Korea. Along the way they form alliances with the wily Alistair Oh and Ian and Natalie Kabra.

The third book is an even faster read than the other two. Peter Lerangis, author of the Spy X series keeps the action and intrigue flowing smoothly in this book and there's lots of history to keep readers engaged.

Book four is coming out in June, just enough time to reread the first three books.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki tell the story of Kimberly Keiko Cameron, or Skim, a goth girl in an all-girls school in Toronto, circa the early '90s. Skim is pudgy teenager, the classic outsider yearning for some form of acceptance. She begins a brief romance with her English teacher, Ms. Archer, before her teacher leaves the school unexpectedly. She also is helping her best friend through a period of mourning. The dialogue is realistic, but not profound. However, Jillian's artwork sets it apart from other graphic novels. Jillian has a swooping, gorgeous pen line-expressive, vibrant and precise all at once.

This story will appeal to many female comics fans, though readers may, in the end, be slightly turned off by a resolution that awkwardly introduces some odd sunlight into the otherwise dark world. I was a bit taken aback with the end because it didn't compliment the tone of the rest of the book. Perhaps you'll feel differently. This is for older girls in Grades 11-12, but I think girls as young as 8th grade would still enjoy this.


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