aka YA Literature

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Melissa de la Cruz Series

According to EW, Melissa de la Cruz is planning a new adult paranormal series called The Witches of East End that will have appearances by some of her Blue Bloods characters. The students will be excited, I know. I haven't read Blue Bloods yet, so maybe it's finally time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

So Punk Rock by Micol Ostow

Ari Abramson is a junior at Leo R. Gittleman Jewish Day School in New Jersey. Ari's parents' priority is for him to study incessantly for school and the SATs so that he can get into their alma mater, Brandeis. Ari's priority is to convince his best friend, Jonas Fein, to start a rock band with him. He needs Jonas in this endeavor because (a) he needs band members, and (b) Jonas is pretty popular, especially with the ladies. He has one of those outgoing personalities that can use a smile to get just about anything he wants. And he has the personality of someone used to using his smile to get just about anyone/thing he wants. Ari, unlike Jonas, is more the shy and retiring average-but-not-dorky guy. He likes the beautiful, popular, and, naturally, unattainable Sari Horowitz, and Ari believes that starting a band will get her to notice him. In addition to enlisting Jonas in his band, he also has to convince the very dorky and devout Yossi Gluck to join the band because he is the only person at Gittleman who owns a drum set. In convincing Yossi to join, Ari ends up agreeing to let Yossi's younger sister Reena also join as a (good!) singer. After a while, it turns out that the band actually comes together and has some success both in creating music people want to listen to and in establishing the popularity Ari hoped for. Of course, that popularity doesn't go quite the way Ari hoped, but he has a good time and learns some important things about himself (not in any after-school special way, though).

I don't remember what possessed me to pick up this book since it's not really my usual type of read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's very funny, and there are hilarious little black-and-white cartoon sketches that supplement the plot scattered throughout (done by David Ostow). I'm not sure that it's humor that would appeal to everyone, especially since some of the humor relates to Jewish words and customs. (Still, I found it all easily accessible even not being any particular expert on Judaism.) I think it would be great for males and females, and maybe even for middle school. The only remotely objectionable thing would be some cussing, but it is always done like "f&*$%." (Does that make it less objectionable? I don't know; I'm so glad I'm not a middle school librarian.) Anyway, I'm very happy to have another funny book to recommend. The book is told in first-person from Ari's POV, and he has a great voice. I also thought his thought-processes were realistic, funny, and well-developed. This wasn't a stunning book of enormous import and consequence, but it was (for me) well above average and very entertaining.

The Official Trailer from The Official Website:

[Note to authors and publishers: PLEASE make trailers available in formats besides YouTube so kids can watch them at school! You can post it the same way on SchoolTube even.]

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stephenie Meyer on Oprah

SM Friday on Oprah

And to think I used to see her and get her autograph at library conferences...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

The final book in D.J. Schwenk's Dairy Queen trilogy, I read it one day, one sitting. I cried at the end because the ending is (1) so satisfying and perfect, (2) incredibly moving, and (3) the end of her story. I love D.J. I can't get even my good readers who trust my recommendations to read it because of the title and the cover of the first book, but I adore this character and her books. Plus, the secondary characters are all fully realized, complex, interesting, and distinct. I had to skim the basketball descriptions because I'm just not that interested in the plays and drills and games, but I still loved the book.

Intertwined by Gena Showalter

Aden has recently moved to a home for troubled (male) teens. Since when he enters graveyards, the bodies exhume themselves and he ends up having to dismember them in defense, authorities tend to think he's a grave-robber/body desecrater. Plus, there are souls that live inside of him, so he often appears schizophrenic. He meets good-girl Mary Ann Gray and feels compelled to be with her since being around her appears to quiet the souls inside of him. But he doesn't like her in "that way;" she just has a desire to hug him "as though he should be mussing her hair and teasing her about boyfriends" (subtle!). Victoria, the vampire princess who appears because of the recent mystical forces Aden's been stirring up, is the one Aden's attracted to. Her wolf bodyguard, Riley, is Mary Ann's hot boy love-interest. They're all trying to figure out why Aden's suddenly stirred up these forces and how it's possibly connected with Mary Ann.

I wanted and expected to like this book, and I did for a while. But to be honest, I didn't finish it and it's been like an albatross around my neck for a few weeks now. Since I couldn't bring myself to finish it, I haven't really been able to move onto any other books. I think these were my issues: Everything seemed so telegraphed from the very beginning. Also, there were so many characters with so many different powers, the world-building just fell apart for me. I just didn't care about the characters or the plot after a while.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Two of My Favorite Things

I LOVE "Ace of Cakes" on Food Network. On the last episode, they made cakes for two YA-related events: the Harry Potter movie premiere and a Tanya Hurley Ghostgirl party at NYPL. See Tanya's pics of it here. Really puts all my past YA-related baking to shame.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Two days ago, I posted about how the likes of Amazon and PW are already coming out with their "Best of 2009" lists. To me, this is sort of like how my grocery store is already playing Christmas music, and we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet. We have two months left of the year! I'm sure reviewers for those outlets have already gotten access to all the major books being published this year, but it just seems a little premature for me. I like to read those kind of things when the year is coming to an end and I'm thinking about New Year's Resolutions and reflecting on my year. And they are including books like Beautiful Creatures that haven't even come out yet. It would be like nominating a movie for an Oscar when it hasn't even premiered yet. And the rest of us still have 2 months left of reading before we get to decide what we liked best this year!