Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Teen Tuesday: Cress by Marissa Meyer

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Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

Reviewer Giselle says this about Cress:  "What a wild ride! In this 3rd novel of the Lunar Chronicles series, we meet Rapunzel Cress and embark on her unplanned journey to earth. This novel is easily my favorite in the series thus far - and funnily, Rapunzel is also my favorite fairytale princess! We are just meant to be!"

Rumor has it the fourth book in the series, called "Winter" will be about Snow White....

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Teen Tuesday: This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl

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A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.

This Star Won't Go Out is a glimpse into Esther's life, via a scrapbook-like biography told through Esther's own drawings, diary entries, handwritten notes, stories from her family, and a letter from one of her doctors. There is a beautiful and heartfelt introduction to the book by John Green:
"Esther's story belonged to her, and fortunately for us she was an extraordinary writer, who in these pages tells that story beautifully. I find comfort in that, but make no mistake: I am still pissed off that she died. I still miss her. I still find her loss an intolerable injustice. And I wish she'd read The Fault in Our Stars. I am astonished that the book has found such a broad audience, but the person I most want to read it never will."

Esther's parent's also had an introduction in the book. 

"From the time she was little, Esther was certain she was going to be a writer.  And we believed her.  She loved words, felt their power, and believed in the magic of story.  Her writings now belong to you, the reader." 

A 16=-year-old Goodreads reviewer named April had this to say about the book:

"I know it’s cliché to say this, but I truly have never been more thrilled to receive a book in the mail. Esther is up there with J. K. Rowling and Evanna Lynch on my list of supreme role models. I’ve never spoken to Esther, but the way her friends, family, and even those like me speak about her is inspiring. She passed away from thyroid cancer when she was my age, sixteen. In those sixteen years, she left a legacy of a loving, caring, and empathetic person. In the words of her friend Teryn, “Esther was not perfect, but she was the epitome of how to be imperfect.”

 My usual problem with nonfiction — biographies in particular — is how impersonal they can feel. But the Earls, as they say of Esther, are welcomers. This book isn’t just sentence after sentence of facts about Esther’s life. It’s all the emotions and experiences of her, her family, and her friends." 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Middle School Monday: The Giver by Lois Lowry

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The Giver is a classic dystopian novel by Lois Lowry, that will be in theaters this summer.  According to IMDB, it opens on August 15th.  To see the cast of the movie, click HERE.  An interview with Lois Lowry on the Scholastic website summarizes why she became a writer, and what she thinks is important about her books.

"From the time I was eight or nine, I wanted to be a writer. Writing was what I liked best in school; it was what I did best in school.

I was a solitary child, born the middle of three, who lived in the world of books and my own imagination. There are some children, and I was this kind of child, who are introverts and love to read — who prefer to curl up with a book than to hang out with friends or play at the ball field. Children like that begin to develop a feeling for language and for story. And that was true for me — that's how I became a writer.

My books have varied in content and in style. Yet it seems to me that all of them deal, essentially, with the same general theme: the importance of human connections."

In case you have not read The Giver, here is a brief summary:

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and now Son, published in October 2012.

I really enjoyed The Giver, and definitely promote reading the book before you see the movie!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Teen Tuesday Pick: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

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They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

The fourth book in the Hundred Oakes series: 

Ambur on Goodreads says "I am seriously so smitten with this series...and with each book I grow to love it more and more! :D While I loved the three previous books, I definitely have to say that Racing Savannah is my favorite so far!! :D I absolutely LOVED IT!!!"

Monday, March 10, 2014

Middle School Monday Pick: My Life in Pink & Green by Lisa Greenwald

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Twelve-year-old Lucy Desberg is a natural problem solver. After the local homecoming queen shows up at her family’s struggling drugstore with a beauty disaster that Lucy helps to fix, Lucy has a long line of makeover customers for every school dance and bat mitzvah. But all the makeup tips in the world won’t help save the pharmacy. If only she could find a way to make the pharmacy the center of town again—a place where people want to spend time, like in the old days. Lucy dreams up a solution that could resuscitate the family business and help the environment, too. But will Lucy’s family stop fighting long enough to listen to a seventh-grader?

This book is a funny and sweet debut featuring an unforgettable narrator who knows what she wants, whether it’s great makeup, a killer business plan, or a better world.

Jennifer says "Put together "green" living to save the earth, the trials and tribulations of being a 7th-grade girl, and the financial stress of running a family business, and you have a real page-turner."

Read this book and come see the author, Lisa Greenwald, at the Rochester Teen Book Festival May 17, 2014 from 9-5 at Nazareth College! In the meantime, here are five fun facts about Lisa:

1. I won a radio contest the summer before 9th grade and won $1000.
2. I can wiggle my ears up and down.
3. I am insanely afraid of mice.
4. I hate peas.
5. My favorite candy is peanut M&Ms.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Teen Book Festival Author Profile: Laurie Halse Anderson

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For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

Author Laurie Halse Anderson feels you should read her newest book because "It is my best book ever".  Considering Ms. Anderson is the creator of such classic Teen books as Speak, Fever 1793, Prom, Twisted, Wintergirls, Chains, Forge, and Catalyst, this is quite the claim to fame!  I know both Speak and Twisted have been on school reading lists for a few years.  Be sure to check out at least one of Laurie Halse Anderson's books, and come see her at the Teen Book Festival at Nazareth College on Saturday, May 17th from 9:00 - 5:00.  In the meantime, here are five fun facts about Laurie Halse Anderson!

1. I can cut down trees with a chainsaw.

2. I can also split logs with an axe.

3. My homemade macaroni and cheese has magical healing properties.

4. The stray dog I adopted used a Jedi mind trick to tell me his name.

5. I am quite good at cursing in Danish.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday: Timebound by Rysa Walker

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When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence.

Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows.

Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost, however—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?

I am midway through the book, and on Goodreads there are mixed reviews on this book.  I am fascinated by time travel, so this book appeals to me on that level.  Without spoiling too much, Kate is attracted to both a guy in her present, and also someone she sees in the past.  It seems like love triangles have become a staple in Teen fiction, whether you like the trend or not.  My vote on this so far is read it if you love history, time travel intrigues you, and you enjoy sequels.  My guess is Chronos Files #2 will be in our future! Timebound was the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for Young Adult Fiction, and Grand Prize Overall Winner in 2013.