Reviews on our favorite and newest teen and tween books!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teen Speak

Check out what our teens had to say about some of their favorite books!

Breaking Up (Fashion High) by Aimee Friedman
Genre: YA Graphic Novel
Published: 2007

Request This Title!

Breaking Up is the story of four high school girls who have been best friends since they were little. There’s Chloe, the artist; Mackenzie, the drop-dead gorgeous, daring diva; Isabel, the talented self-assured type of person; and Erika, the sweetheart of the group. The story mainly takes place at Georgia O’Keeffe School of the Arts (aka Fashion High), during the girls’ junior year. The problem Chloe faces is that she is noticing that her relationship is starting to change with her three best friends.

I liked how the characters react to some of the situations that happen in the book. Chloe is a very likeable character and everything that happens in the story is easy to relate to, though I never would have guessed what was going to happen in the book. If you like this book them, I recommend Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia and Smile by Raina Telgemeier.

     --- Posted by Chandala W.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Robot Stole My Hairbrush

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1) by Kady Cross
Genre: YA Steampunk
Published: May 2011

It may be 1897, but Finley Jayne is no Victorian miss. At sixteen, she has more to deal with than the average teenager. With her inability to hold down a job and a seriously dark alter ego that comes out unbidden whenever she’s threatened, Finley doesn’t know if she is insane or what. So when her employer, known for making untoward advances to his maids, crosses the line, Finley gladly puts him in his place. Which happens to be on the floor, unconscious, with a broken nose. Afraid she’ll be sent to Bedlam, Finley makes a run for it…right into the pathway of a velocycle.

Taking in a stranger wasn’t exactly what Griffin King, Duke of Greythorne, had in mind. But when you hit a girl with your steam-powered bike, you can’t exactly leave her lying in the road. Sadly, Grif has bigger problems to deal with - namely catching ‘the Machinist’ who nearly killed his friend and is responsible for a slew of seemingly random crimes across London. However, with a penchant for taking in strays (Emily – the brilliant inventor, Sam – the protector, and Jasper – an American cowboy), Griffin decides to help Finley learn how to control her other self.

I received this book as an ARC to review from NetGalley, and I have to say, this is my favorite YA steampunk novel to date. Finley’s Jekyll/Hyde personality really brought the book to life. The story was told from alternating perspectives (which I usually can’t stand), but Kady Cross made the transitions so smooth that you didn’t even notice. By writing in this way, the characters become so much more 3-D than if it was solely written from Finley’s perspective. The only (small!) problem I had with the book was that there wasn’t much focus on setting. I knew they were in London, but beyond that the description was fairly basic. Nevertheless, this book is fantastic and a wonderful debut for Kady Cross.

For those of you who haven’t read steampunk before, this is definitely a great book to start with. Steampunk is alternative history science fiction set in Victorian times. Kady Cross’s website says it best “History, Twisted.” The gadgets are cool, the heroes/heroines have attitude, and the clothes are awesome. If you like Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices or Frank Beddor’s Looking Glass Wars, you will love The Girl in the Steel Corset.

Check out this awesome book trailer put together by Harlequin:

Posted by Ashley D.

Monday, June 6, 2011

There's an Alien in Home Ec.

I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies, #1) by Pittacus Lore

Request This Title!

Genre: YA Science Fiction
Published: 2010

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore is the first book in a science fiction series featuring teens with super powers. Following the destruction of the planet Lorien, nine teens with extraordinary abilities and their guardians are sent to earth to hide from the enemy alien race, the Mogadorians. Under the protection of a charm that makes them imperious to harm when separate from the others, the nine hide to develop their capabilities. The only catch is that if they are killed in order of their number, they can be strategically taken down. As the title suggests, the story follows the life of number four, John Smith. John and his guardian, Henri, settle in the town of Paradise, Ohio to live a normal life without attracting the attention of the Mogadorians and the human media. When John finds out that the first three of the nine have been killed, it is more important than ever to develop his powers and stay off the radar. The story follows his struggle to balance a normal life at school and his alien past. A mix of science fiction, action adventure and a touch of romance, this story is good for anyone who likes a quick, light science fiction read.

Overall, I did enjoy the book. I kept on wanting to know what was going to happen next or what happened in John’s past. I appreciated the flashbacks because it gave a greater depth to the story and helped explain past events. Unlike some books that utilize flashbacks to explain the history of the story line and generally cause confusion for the reader, these actually worked. I also liked a majority of the characters. Some were quite stereotypical, but they served their purpose. The only thing I didn’t care for was the romance aspect, which came off as stereotypical. Good looking boy meets good looking girl, they fall in love, phone calls and family dinners ensue. I felt that had the dialogue been better, the relationship between John and Sarah would have been more convincing. Upon occasion John did exhibit the usual annoying character tendencies, such as blatantly ignoring sound advice, but apart from that, John was a likeable main character.

I am not a science fiction connoisseur, but for those who like I am Number Four, I would highly recommend Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

Posted by Lauren G.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Teen Speak

Check out what our teens had to say about some of their favorite books!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Genre: YA Dystopian
Published: 2011
Request This Title!

This is a book about a seventeen-year old girl named Lena whose world is controlled by the government and love is not allowed. When she falls in love, Lena starts to see the flaws in her perfect world. As she learns of a new world, she challenges the old one. Lena’s character changes from being withdrawn to standing up for what she wants. I could identify with Lena when she was grappling with the problem of breaking the rules to fight for what she believes in. The end of the book is sad and challenging in a good way. If you like this book, you will like Matched by Allyson Condie.
               --Posted by Natalie & Sabrina

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Genre: YA Fiction
Published: 2010

Request This Title!

One night, driving home from a party, Samantha and her friends crash her car and she dies. After her death, Samantha gets seven chances to right her wrongs before she can finally let go. If you like books about getting second chances, then you’ll like this book.


             --Posted by Natalie R.

Sabriel (Abhorsen, # 1) by Garth Nix
Genre: Juvenile Fantasy
Published: 1995

Request This Title!

Sabriel is a fantastic adventure through a mysterious world of old magic and necromancy. Sabriel, the daughter of Abhorsen, has kept herself away from the Old Kingdom, but now her father is missing and she is out to find him. The final showdown is amazingly well done and will leave you happy for the heroes. If you enjoy a good tale of heroism and love, then this is the book for you.


               --Posted by Brandon E.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Request This Title!

YA Fantasy

Entwined is one of the many spin-offs of the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
Azalea is the eldest of twelve sisters and destined to be heir to the throne of a formerly enchanted kingdom. After her mother’s death, the king bans dancing in observance of mourning. Determined to continue to dance in a way to stay close to her late mother, Azalea and her sisters discover a secret passage to a magical pavilion where they dance every night under the observance of a mysterious gentleman named Mr. Keeper. Although the dancing allows the sisters to abandon the stiffness of mourning, it is soon made clear that Mr. Keeper has ambitions of his own that could spell trouble for Azalea and her family.

Entwined offers readers a good mix of classic fairy tale charm and the innocence of romance. First off I must say that the reason I picked up this book was due to the beautiful cover. I also must admit that after reading several renditions of this story, it was not my favorite; however, it was good in its own right. The integration of the specific dances really brought to life the desire of the sisters to dance and gave the story a sense that the author did research in order for the story to come to life. The brief interchanges between the sisters and the suitors really made the book as enjoyable as it was. All of the male characters were likeable as many of them had a sweet innocence or a witty charm that was agreeable to the reader. Although I did like the fairy tale aspect of the story, Entwined did have two main shortcomings. Even though Dixon does make an attempt to develop the characters in the books, there were just so many that she tried to build up that the characters were rather two dimensional for most of the story. Also, the immaturity of Azalea did grate on my nerves throughout the entire book.

Despite these shortcomings, the book did serve as a fun, easy read. If the reader goes in reading the book with the expectation that it is a cutesy, princess story, it will be much more enjoyable. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good princess oriented fairy tale.
For those who like Entwined I would recommend Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier and Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

--Posted by Lauren--