Archive for the ‘YA Books’ Category

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Today marks the release of Maureen Johnson’s delicious new Jack the Ripper novel, The Name of the Star. It’s the first book in Johnson’s new Shades of London series, and it is an absolutely perfect October read.

Rory Deveaux is a Louisiana teenager from an eccentric Southern family. When her parents decide to move to Bristol, England at the start of her senior year, Rory enrolls at a London boarding school named Wexford. The academics are intense, learning to maneuver a big city in a foreign country is intense, and things get really weird for Rory after a near-death experience in the school cafeteria. She begins to see things her friends don’t.

To make things even crazier, the day Rory arrives in London is the anniversary of the first Jack the Ripper murder. And a new series of Ripper-style murders breaks out near Rory’s school, which just so happens to be smack in the middle of Ripper territory. As Rory makes new friends and snogs her face off with campus cutie Jerome, she could also be in very serious danger.

Like I said…perfect October read. It’s such a departure from Johnson’s previous books, but her signature humor is all over it.  This book is just creepy and scary enough to keep you up at night, but the typical teenage experiences of school and boys keep it charming and completely lovable. Rory is the perfect heroine, only slightly fazed by the supernatural busting out around her after a lifetime spent with the likes of Cousin Diane and her Healing Angel Ministry. She’s obviously fascinating to her British classmates, and she is the perfect fish out of water in England. London itself is a drizzly, atmospheric counterpoint to her.

This is what great YA lit is made of: an extremely clever, literate novel with huge popcorn appeal. Love it, can’t wait for the next in the series.

Summer’s Over

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

It’s the first day of September, and for me the summer is over. But August had a lot of sweater days this year, surprisingly. Maybe that’s my own crazy body temperature, I’m not sure.

Anyway, the teachers report back on the 6th, the kids the following day. But in the meantime, I’ve gone from bailing out the basement post-hurricane to working up a storm at school getting the library ready. My mom, my niece, and my nephew all came in with me today to help process books and move stuff around after some library changes at the end of the last school year. They were such a huge help, I don’t know how I would have done it without them. I had terrible luck going in early this year: last Wednesday my mom came with me, we had to leave an hour later so the floor could be waxed. Next day Adam was off from work so he came to help, but my carpet was being shampooed. Then the hurricane. Now I’m running out of time, and I’ve got to get stuff DONE!

It’ll all be good by the first day of school.

Go Enter!

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Tahereh Mafi, debut author of the upcoming YA novel Shatter Me, is having a contest on her site. She’s giving away ARCs of her book, Ally Condie’s Crossed, and Stephanie Perkins’s Lola and the Boy Next Door (follow-up to Anna and the French Kiss, which I adored). These are all hot titles with a lot of buzz that will be released this fall. You have until this Wednesday if you’re interested in trying to win an advanced copy. Click here to get to the contest, and good luck!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

If you haven’t read this book yet, go buy it.

Right now, I’ll wait.

Okay, do you have it? Good, because this is the most feel-good concoction of summer perfection I’ve ever read. I actually read it 2 months ago, and I’m still sad that I will never again have that “My God, this is amazing!” feeling of a first-time read of Anna. I envy you for just settling down with it, meeting Anna and Etienne for the first time. My friend Julie gave me a copy for my birthday in February, she was wild about this book. When I finally sat down to read it, I was so smitten I stayed up all night to finish it. I literally went to bed at 7am on a Sunday morning because I was wide awake with it and couldn’t stop reading. I can’t remember the last time that happened.

Alright, let’s get down to brass tacks. Anna Oliphant is a major film geek living in Atlanta and getting ready for her senior year of high school. She has a great best friend, a possible boyfriend on the horizon, and life is good. Then her dad, a Nicholas Sparks-like writer, decides to ship her off to boarding school in Paris so she can become more cultured. Anna is miserable and terrified of all things French, until she the French love of all things cinema. And Etienne St. Clair, the boy of her dreams–who has a girlfriend. Will it work out for Anna and Etienne in the end? I’ll give you 2 guesses, but all the fun is getting there.

This book is so winsome. Honestly, it’s my new favorite YA title. And Stephanie Perkins is a former librarian! It doesn’t get better than this, so if you’re looking for the perfect beach read this summer get this one. It’s made of win.

48 Hour Book Challenge Finish Line

Monday, June 6th, 2011

So, my 48 hours in MotherReader’s 48 Hour Book Challenge were up as of 9pm last night. And here’s what I read this weekend, and for how long:

  • Read all of my ARC of Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck. It was absolutely gorgeous in every way, and it took 3 hours to read.
  • Listened to 3 hours of the audiobook of Clare Vanderpool’s Newbery winner Moon Over Manifest. More than halfway through that one now.
  • Read my ARC of Joe Schreiber’s prom night disaster book Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick. I loved this one, it took 4.5 hours (nonconsecutive) to read.
  • The #YAsaves vs. Wall Street Journal war broke out last night on Twitter. I spent a good 3 hrs reading about and responding to the ridiculous WSJ op-ed piece.
  • I spent 1 hour book blogging.

All in, that’s 14.5 hours this weekend towards books and book blogging/social networking. I think that’s pretty great for my first year out, especially considering trips to NYC and a local street festival were thrown in there, too. More on those later.