Thursday, July 29, 2010

YA Movie News

-A movie version of tween book 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson is in the works. The news from Shelf Awareness mentioned that all three books in the series were in the works-I'm not sure if the movie would cover all three books or would be three movies. I'll keep you posted!

-The movie version of Hugo Cabret has added two more cast members:
Emily Mortimer and Michael Stuhlbarg. The movie is currently filming and will be released December 2011.

-This news isn't book related but might be interesting for other teen librarians. TeenNick is launching a special called The Nightlife, which features specials hosted by Nick Cannon. The shows will feature fashion, entertainment news, celebrity guests and interviews, music and dance performances. The specials will air on Thursday evenings in August.

-Suzanne Collins has finished writing the screenplay for The Hunger Games. I hope the movie gets picked up and made soon-I want the movie now!!

-Check out this video for the upcoming movie (and book) I Am Number Four.

And more I Am Number Four news from MTV-they are signed on for six movies to go with the six books, so this could be the next big franchise!

Official Mockingjay 13 District Blog Tour

I am so excited for the upcoming release of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (out August 24!) and I'm sure many of you are too. Which is why I'm thrilled to announce GreenBeanTeenQueen is part of the Official Mockingjay 13 District Blog Tour!

GreenBeanTeenQueen is a member of District 4 (home to Finnick and Mags-yes, I'm a proud district four member!), so on Monday August 9, be sure to stop by the blog for an exclusive Hunger Games giveaway! (I can't tell you what-I have to keep you in suspense, but I will say it's very cool and you'll want to check it out!)

In the meantime, you can check out the new Official Hunger Games Facebook Page-there are polls, sample chapters from the first two books, and my favorite part, you can gift supplies to your friends! Are you excited? Any predictions for what will happen in Mockingjay? And of course, the question on everyone's mind-Team Peeta or Team Gale? (Team Peeta!!)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grace by Elizabeth Scott

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Dystopian

Release Date: 9/16/2010

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About the Book: Grace was raised to be an angel-a suicide bomber who would honor her mission. But Grace can't die for the cause so instead she's on the run trying to get to a new life of freedom. She escapes to a train where she hides in plain site with her strange traveling companion Kerr, who has secrets of his own.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Grace is a stunning book that proves to me that Elizabeth Scott can write anything! Grace is a dystopian book that doesn't feel like a dystopian. It's a raw and powerful read that is chilling because readers can see the events easily unfolding today. Grace comes from a society that is blindly following Keran Berj and is part of a group that opposes his rule. Keran Berj's rule is frighteningly familiar and terrifying. Just look at history to see how a ruler like this could take over and it's easy to believe in Grace's tale.

The reader is thrown right into the story of Grace's escape. We are not given a background to understand what's happening, we're thrown right in and at first this is a little jarring. But I love this because it's up to the reader to figure out what's happening instead of being told the entire story upfront. Events unfold and we're given new details slowly throughout the novel-the plot unfolds in subtle layers and it's something as a reader you want to savor. There are moments when we come to a realization or discover something the same time Grace does-and I love those moments when reading! There are also moments that made me gasp in shock and surprise-I truly felt like I was there with Grace and going through everything with her.

Grace is different from other dystopian novels that I've read in that this one is not action packed and full of adventure. This is a quieter sort of dystopian that's more pensive-Grace is on the train thinking about her actions and the choices she's made and the outcome and path before her because of these choices. Grace is a look at one person's choices and how much power just one person can have, even if they don't realize it. The ending is something I can't wait to discuss with my teens because I'm curious to see if they view it differently than I do. Grace screams to be discussed-with other readers, in book clubs, in schools. Make sure you read this one with someone so you can talk about it after.

Grace is an amazing addition to the young adult dystopian fare and will stay with you long after you read it. I read this one a month ago and my thoughts are still haunted by Grace's story. A must read release for 2010!

Book Talk Ideas: What if you were asked to give up everything? To die for a cause you weren't sure you believed in? Could you do it or would you try to escape? Grace has made that choice-she can't bring herself to be the suicide bomber she was raised to be. Now she has to try to escape-but escaping your fate isn't as easy as it seems.

Book Pairings: Grace is a pretty unique addition to YA dystopian lit, but I think it could pair nicely with The Giver and The Hunger Games-all three feature characters who have to stand up for what they believe

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher for review

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tween Tuesday: Tween Romance

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme to highlight great reads for tweens hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen. Join in the fun and post your own Tween Tuesday post and include the link in the comments.
If you're a reader of my blog, you most likely know that I love romance in my books! As a librarian, I get asked for good tween romances a lot-tween readers want romance and parents are sometimes nervous about their tween reading books with romance. So for my tween romance readers, here's a list of some of my favorite tween romances. (And I know often when you mention romance it makes tween boys turn up their noses (and hey, guys like romance too!), but these all have romance plots but they're not central to the story and you can easily talk up another angle of the story to the guys.)

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger-Is origami Yoda real or a hoax? Tommy really needs to know-because if he follows origami Yoda's advice and it's wrong, he could just end up making a fool of himself in front of the girl he likes. A hilarious quick read, this one will have readers cheering for Tommy and wondering for themselves if origami Yoda was real all along. The author captures middle school perfectly and tween readers will relate to each of the stories presented about Yoda in the quest to discover if he's real or not.

The Secret Identity of Devon Delaney by Lauren Barnholdt-Devon has made up a life at school that she's told her summer friend Lexi-she's popular and dating uber-cute Jared. But when Lexi moves to Devon's school, Devon can't bring herself to tell Lexi she lied about everything-so now she just has to make her story come true. The story is tons of fun and the romance is so sweet and cute and will leave tweens (and non-tweens) swooning.

Shug by Jenny Han-Annemarie,"Shug", has a crush on best friend Mark. But growing up changes people and Mark is drifting away-will Annemarie be able to save her friendship? I often think of this book as the perfect tween read. Author Jenny Han perfectly captures what it's like to be twelve and in love and the trials that come with growing up. A must have for tween libraries.

Rapunzel's Ravenge and Calamity Jack by Dean and Shannon Hale-Thought you knew the story of Rapunzel? This Rapunzel is a kick-butt western steampunk girl and when she meets up with Jack (from Jack in the Beanstalk) sparks fly. The romance isn't central to the plotline, but the banter between Rapunzel and Jack is witty and fun and there's plenty of crush worthy moments.

No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman-When Wallace Wallace gets in trouble for questioning why dogs always die in books, he has to help work on the school play-based on a classic dog dieing book. He butts heads with drama queen Rachel, but the two help each see how they can work together and make the school play the best it can be. If you can Glee fans, give them No More Dead Dogs-they'll love it! The romance isn't a main plot and there's more narrators than Wallace and Rachel, but it's fun to see our characters go from dislike to like as they work on the school play.

Candy Apple Series by Various Authors-This series put out by Scholastic is tween chick-lit. There's a book for everyone with plots from popularity, cheerleading, fashion, and crushing on the boy next door. There's a cute romance storyline and they're sweet and perfectly tween friendly. A great choice if you have young tweens wanting to read about the middle school years.

What's your favorite tween romance?

Monday, July 26, 2010

So You Want to Be a Teen Librarian?

Growing up, my family went to the library weekly-sometimes daily-and we were always reading and surrounded by books. I attended storytimes, children's book sales, children's programs and participated in the summer reading program. But when my teen years came, there wasn't as much for me at the library. There was a small section of books (with SVH, Fear Street, Nancy Drew Files, and Sunfire Romances) but no programs or librarian specifically for me as a teen. I had such a hard time finding something to read and spent many days wandering aimlessly through the library stacks coming away with nothing. I really wanted someone to recommend a good book, but I was too shy to ask.

I tell you this because I think this experience is why I am so passionate about library service to teens. Teens belong in the library, just like every other age group, but very often they don't feel accepted or like the library has anything to offer them. Being a teen librarian may sound easy, and while it's a fun job, there's a lot that goes into it. Here's what I think it takes to be a teen librarian:

-Enjoy working with teens. This sounds like a no brainer quality, but sadly, there are many libraries who assign someone to be the "teen" or "youth" person, yet that person really doesn't care about that age group-and teens know it. If you don't like working with teens, then why would you be a teen librarian? If you enjoy what you do and enjoy the age group you work with, it will show and it will go a long way in making teens feel appreciated and liked at the library.

-You need to be an advocate for teens. As the teen librarian, not only is it your job to provide library service to teens, but you also need to be an advocate for why the library needs to serve teens. Not everyone loves working with teens (just like not everyone loves working with children or adults), so you'll come across staff members who don't think teens are important to the library-and it's your job to advocate for the teens. They have a place in the library just like everyone else. You also need to be prepared to advocate for teens to library patrons. You might need to ask people to leave the teen space if they are not with a teen and you'll need to advocate for the teens and their space. If you don't show support for teens, why would they come to the library?

-Be accessible but also an authority figure-and give them respect. You're a teen librarian, not a parent, not a teacher, not a pastor. Be accessible to teens-be available to talk to them, but don't be so distanced that they don't feel accepted. Don't go around telling them their noisy or rude or glaring at them. My teens know me, they know that I fight for them and that I fight hard for their teen space. I'm happy to see them when they come to the library and they know that. I respect them and they respect me. I'm there in the library and I talk to my teens. Yes, I have things to do, but if I teen comes into my office and wants to talk for thirty minutes about school, life and books-I'll let them-that's my job and my teens are my number one priority. Because of this relationship, my teens take it much better when I have to tell them to stop running around or turn the music down. That's not to say that I never have to lay down the law-I do-but when that happens my teens respect me for it.

-Know teen literature. Reader's advisory (or suggesting book for patrons to read) is a core service when it comes to teens. Contrary to popular belief, teens  do read! In fact, at my library branch, I have over 950 teens participating in the summer reading program and my shelves in teen space are very picked over all summer long. I'm always amazed when I meet someone who works with teens, but doesn't read or know teen lit! How can you suggest books, give school visits and booktalks, and order books for your collection if you're not familiar with teen lit? Do you have to read every teen book published-no. But do you need to know what a teen is talking about when they come in looking for Cirque du Freak or a book with vampires, or the next thing to read after Percy Jackson-yes. I actually think reading teen lit should be a requirement for teen librarians-it's such an important part of your job and one of the main reasons you do what you do. I mean, we expect other specialized library staff to fully know their specialization (business, medical, law), why not teen librarians? This also comes with knowing what books are up and coming and being buzzed about, what books are going to have huge hold lists because there's a movie coming, and what books everyone will be looking for that aren't in so you can find something else to suggest. So read blogs, read book reviews, and read teen lit! You'll be better at your job if you do.

-Know teen trends/pop culture. Again, does this mean you need to watch Jersey Shore, Pretty Little Liars, go see every Twilight movie made and listen to Lady GaGa? No, but you do need to have knowledge of teen pop culture. Knowing what a teen likes and what they're talking about can go a long way and make a teen feel like you're someone who understands. When I gave a school visit and asked the teens if they watched Deadliest Warrior and booktalked a book that was similar, my cool quotient went up. Teens like knowing that you care about what they care about. Now, just because you walk up to a teen and start talking about Snookie and The Situation doesn't mean they're going to think your cool automatically-teens know when you're trying too hard. But I can't tell you how embarrassed I am if I teen comes into my library and asks someone for the latest Taylor Swift CD and you don't know what they're talking about. I love the
VOYA pop culture quiz and of course, talk to your teens and find out what's popular. Every few months I have a Teen Library Council meeting where they fill out a "hot/not" list and we watch YouTube videos. I call them my "teen brain" and they give me insight into what's cool, what's not cool and what's popular with my teens.

-Get advice from your teens. Teens love to share their opinions and will happily tell you what they like and don't like. So when you're planning teen programs, making a booklist or ordering new books for your collection, ask your teens. I have a formal Teen Library Council that meets once a month and gives feedback and helps me plan programs. I also talk to the teens in my department and ask them for ideas and suggestions. I've handed out paper surveys and asked teens when I'm at their school for a school visit what they would like to see at the library. If the teens tell you they want something-try your hardest to make it happen. I can't do everything my teens want-I can't host a haunted library as big as they want because of that horrible word budget. But I can plan an anime mini-con, Teen Night after hours, and other events they've asked for.

-Join YALSA, state library associations and network. I'll admit it-sometimes being a teen librarian can be hard and sometimes lonely. If you're the only teen staff at your library it can sometimes feel like fighting a battle that no one else cares about. I was at a conference once where the speaker said that teen librarians are moody and emo and love to complain that "no one understands them"-and that stereotype can sometimes feel true. That's why it's so important to network, network, network! And YALSA is the best for that. Join the YALSA-listservs and get advice and feedback from other teen librarians. When I have a programming problem or I want to know how other libraries handle adults in the teen space, I can post on the YALSA-listserv and get feedback and support from others who understand. If you can attend conferences (state or national) and talk to people-hand out business cards, attend events, volunteer for committee work. These are people you can turn to for advice and who will have your back when you need support for teen services.

Being a teen librarian is not a cushy job and it's not easy-it's a responsibility to provide library services to teens, to advocate for teens, and to build the next generation of library patrons. But I absolutely love what I do and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Any advice from other teen librarians? Or are you teen-what do you want your teen librarian to know?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Help me make GreenBeanTeenQueen better!

I've had my blog for 2 1/2 years now and I feel like I need some reader feedback. Would you please help me out and take my reader survey? I would really appreciate any feedback you can give-thanks!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blog Tour: Author Interview with Holly Cupala

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

I was so thrilled when I got to meet Holly Cupala at ALA this year! She's a ton of fun and super sweet and now I have the chance to host her here at GreenBeanTeenQueen! This author interview is part of Holly's worldwide blog tour-check out the next stop Monday, July 26 at The Undercover Book Lover

Holly is hosting a contest as part of her tour, she check out Holly's blog and be sure to comment on the tour posts for entries!

Welcome to GreenBeanTeenQueen Holly!

Thank you for having me, Sarah! And can I just tell you, I love to say Green Bean Teen Queen? I’ve been looking forward to this forever.

What was your favorite book as a teen?

I spanned the continuum between SVH (oh yes, I pondered the ways of Elizabeth and Jessica with the best of them) and the classics. I had an unstoppable collection of teen romances. My parents must have thought they were pretty harmless…they were anything but! Mean girls, bad boys, monumental dilemmas…these things imprinted themselves on my consciousness for life. (In fact, I’d written two teen romances by the time I graduated from eighth grade, which my friends—and frenemies—read with rapt attention.)

I switched to a bigger school in 10th grade, and my perception of the universe cracked wide open. I always wanted to write, but who knew a person could write like F. Scott Fitzgerald? And who knew actual teen romance would be so incredibly painful…? Well, the characters in Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar did. So that might explain why Tell Me A Secret embraces the mundane and the sacred with equal fervor!

Oh yes, Elizabeth and Jessica-I read my way through Sweet Valley Kids and Sweet Valley Twins in late elementary/early middle school! What literary character (one of yours or someone else's) would you say was most like you and why?

Ack! The impossible question. So much of character (or how we define character) is shaped by circumstances. Would Melinda in Speak have unearthed her own strength if she hadn’t experienced those very events? I think it’s probably fair to say there’s a little piece of me in each of the TMAS characters—I tend to think everything is meaningful and connected like Miranda, be a little goofy and truthful like Essence, serious like Kamran, hopeful like Nik. All of those emotions come from very real places, even if the events are fictional. I guess that makes sense, considering they all came out of my brain and heart! Both of the primary antagonists were difficult to write until I realized they had secrets, too—secrets that drove their actions and were keys to much of the story.

You know I'm a librarian, so I have to ask, what do you love about libraries/librarians?

Librarians are the most awesome people in the world! (I think so too!) My favorite conferences are with librarians—how can you go wrong with ten thousand people who adore books as much as you do? Plus they are champions of literacy and knowledge. My little one was just a baby when I wrote much of Tell Me a Secret, so I hired a sitter for one day a week and walked to my local branch of the Seattle Public Library to work. The librarians there were so supportive and fantastic, and now they are thrilled to see that book on the shelves! Every librarian I’ve met since then has been equally wonderful—including you, Sarah!

Aww..thanks!:) I love hearing stories from authors about how they went to the library to write-what better place to visit? What was the easiest part of your novel to write, and what was the hardest?

Easiest…that would have to be the first few pages—except the circumstances were anything but easy! I’ve always heard about writers who say, well, my character just started talking and blah blah blah. Which is sort of odd and a little bit annoying, right?? Then it happened to me. In the middle of the night, when I had a new baby and was totally sleep deprived. I think the sleep deprivation may have been key here, because I didn’t have the presence of mind to tell Miranda to shut up until morning! I was just getting to sleep when I heard in my mind, It’s tough living in the shadow of a dead girl. I realized if I didn’t write it down, I would lose it. So I got up, wrote a few pages, and those ended up being the first few pages of the novel.

Hardest…probably the second to last chapter. In the hero’s journey, it’s usually when the protagonist fights his last battle, basically everything you’ve set up as the big problem from the very beginning (in Miranda’s case, that’s the death of her sister, and how that’s impacted everyone in her family). I hate conflict—you’d never know this from a book that spirals from one conflict to the next, but in real life I hate conflict. I knew it was going to be very emotional and challenging to take the story into some kind of resolution. So for the first draft I skipped it! Of course I had to go back later, but by that time I knew the characters much better and could see how all of the secrets could cascade into one final truth. Boowahaha.

What has been the best experience about being published?

Without a doubt, the amazing connection with readers. People write me to say how invested they are in Miranda’s story and how emotionally impactful it is for them, which honestly stuns me. It warms me to the soul. This novel came out of a very difficult personal experience, and to see that it has meaning for others—that there is hope in tragedy…I really can’t think of anything better.

Thank you so much, Sarah, for inviting me to Green Bean Teen Queen!

Thanks for visiting Holly and I hope your tour has been a blast! Don't forget to enter Holly's tour contest!

TELL ME A SECRET Tour Contest Entry Rules

• Leave comments at any official tour stop or Holly’s blog ( throughout the tour! Each comment counts as an entry (one comment per post*).
• Tweet about the tour (@hollycupala) and tell us what you think!
• Post about the tour, then leave a comment at my blog.
• Prizes available to US/Canadian shipping addresses only.

Each week's prizes will be announced at Holly’s blog the following week - check back to see if you've won and contact us at the contact link at (we will hold prizes for 2 weeks).

* Comment calculation: for instance, during week one you can comment once at every official stop, and once on any of my posts for that week to be entered in that week's prize drawing.

Blog Tour: Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

Check out Holly Cupala's blog for tour info including a chance to win prizes! Comments here count towards weekly prize drawings!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 6/22/2010

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About the Book: Miranda has spent the past five years living in the shadow her sister, who died and left Miranda as part of a family that is falling apart. Her mother has always told her not to end up like her sister, but when two pink lines appear on a pregnancy test, Miranda's perfect daughter act is up. Her boyfriend has left her for her best friend, who might not really be a friend at all, she ditched her former best friend and now she won't talk to her, and all Miranda wants is her sister to help her through it all. Miranda searches for more about her sister's past and in the process finds out secrets about her sister-and discovers some she was hiding from herself.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I wasn't sure what to think of Tell Me a Secret. It combines two big topics familiar to "issue novels"-dead sibling lit and teen pregnancy lit-and how exactly were these two going to work together? At first I wasn't sure where the book was taking me-the first couple of chapters left me feeling lost and I was sure if it was past or present, but I soon got the feel of the book which alternates between flashbacks and present day to tell the whole story.

My heart broke for Miranda. She's so lost and lonely and some of the choices she makes-namely her friendships-are so horrible to read about. You know she's traveling down a bad path, but she doesn't and it's hard to read about it. You want to reach in and warn her and hug her and help her see the truth. And her mother is one of the worst mother's I have read about-she's awful which made scenes with her hard to get through. It did give the book an interesting twist, with the father as the submissive one and the mother the stronger parent who is feared.

There were moments of this book that were so emotionally heartbreaking that I had to pull myself away for a moment. I had to take a few days after I read it to full digest the whole book too. It's an emotional read but also not so emotional that it's hard to read. There's hope and that's what I love about YA-even when life is at it's bleakest, there's hope and that shows through in YA novels more than any adult book I've read.

I thought the story was going to be predictable and I thought I knew where things were going. And while I had some things figured out, other's I didn't, so I was glad that the author could keep me guessing. I did feel like I would have liked to know more about Xanda, Miranda's sister, but I guess we got what we needed to know about her and this to be Miranda's story. I also had a hard time forgiving some of the characters, but was glad to see that things were trying to work out. I did like that the ending is not a nice tidy little bow-this is realistic fiction and there are consequences to Miranda's choices. It does end happier than it could have, but I didn't think it felt like an out of place fairy tale ending.

I plan to give Tell Me A Secret to my teens who ask for realistic fiction-I think the story will be something they'll be excited about. I would love to pair it with The Sky Is Everywhere for a book discussion or lit circle. It'd be interesting to look at how the two main characters handle grief.

Full Discloure: reviewed from ARC sent by publisher for review as part of blog tour

TELL ME A SECRET Tour Contest Entry Rules

• Leave comments at any official tour stop or Holly’s blog ( throughout the tour! Each comment counts as an entry (one comment per post*).
• Tweet about the tour (@hollycupala) and tell us what you think!
• Post about the tour, then leave a comment at my blog.
• Prizes available to US/Canadian shipping addresses only.

Each week's prizes will be announced at Holly’s blog the following week - check back to see if you've won and contact us at the contact link at (we will hold prizes for 2 weeks).

* Comment calculation: for instance, during week one you can comment once at every official stop, and once on any of my posts for that week to be entered in that week's prize drawing.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Genre: Paranormal

Release Date: 8/31/2010
About the Book: Sixteen-year-old Evie hasn't ever really know what normal is. Her best friend is a mermaid, she can see through paranormals glamours, and she has a job bagging and tagging paranormals for IPCA-the International Paranormal Containment Agency. When an unknown paranormal goes on a killing spree, Evie is on the case to figure out what's going on. She meets a mysterious boy who might have the answers she seeks-as well as new information on IPCA that may make her question everything she's ever know. And all Evie wants is to be a normal teen-is that too much to ask?
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Paranormalcy is fun, fun, fun! With shelves already full of paranormal YA reads, Paranormalcy stands out for being a lighter take on the paranormal genre and never taking itself to seriously. There's no brooding or over the top drama, which is a breath of fresh air.
I loved Evie-she's spunky and sassy and can take down a paranormal with her sparkly pink rhinestone taser. She's exactly the kind of fun kick butt girl I love to read about. She will leave readers laughing too-she dreams so much of a normal life that seeing a school locker is a big thrill. Plus, I can't help but love a character who shares my obsession with pink!
The book seemed to jump around a bit and at times it felt like the story was changing-first it was about Evie at IPCA, then about Evie and the boy she liked, then about a new group of parnormals and info on Evie's and IPCA's past-there was so much going on. It sometimes felt like I was reading a new book because the story had changed. But that didn't stop me from reading every chance I got.
Paranormalcy has a lot going for it that will make it a hit with teens. There's a cute, sweet romance that's tame enough for younger readers to pick up but will still appeal to older teens. Evie is a kick-butt heroine that readers will cheer for and laugh with. The paranormal cast of characters is unique and even though we get the usual werewolves, vampires and fey folk, there's new paranormals that make the book stand out (and I can't share too much without giving a lot away). There's mystery but also the story of a girl growing up and coming into her own. And of course, there's the amazing cover which will sell the book all by itself. Trust me-I showed the cover to my Teen Library Council and every single one of them, all ages, guys and girls were intrigued and wanted to read it even before they knew what the book was about. The cover will catch their attention and the unique story will keep them reading. No booktalking needed-this one will fly off the shelves into reader's hands-and they'll be happy to find the package inside is as fun and exciting as the cover.
Full Disclosure: reviewed from e-galley from publisher provided at ALA (and read in true Evie style on my pink ereader)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Karma Club by Jessica Brody

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 4/27/2010

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About the Book: When Maddy's boyfriend of two years cheats on her with uber-popular and perfect Heather Campbell and nothing bad happens to him, Maddy decides to take matters into her own hands. She forms The Karma Club with her two best friends and the goal is to right the wrongs of the universe and take revenge on those who have done them wrong. But when you start to mess with Karma, it starts to mess back.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: The Karma Club is such a fun read! Maddy and her friends have the guts to pull of the sort of plans that anyone who has been hurt might wish to happen. There's a blurb on the back of the book that says this a book to read after you get dumped. I agree-the revenge and girl power are fun. Of course not all of their plans work out and some are pretty mean, so I felt the girls deserved what happened when they realize what they'd put into motion with their club.

Maddy is a great character and pretty easy to relate to-she loves gossip mags, hears E! news monolouges about her life, and follows the lives of the popular people, and she's also smart and tutors other students. But I think Maddy is the only character we fully get to know-the other characters we get glimpses of, but never really get to know them. I would have liked to see them more fleshed out-especially Maddy's two best friends and Maddy's new love interest.

While the book is fun, I thought it could have ended about three pages earlier-the very end with the "magazine article" and call to girls to volunteer and do what's good is a great idea, but just felt out of place with the rest of the book. I felt it got put there to include a "message" at the end and I didn't think we needed an additional message at the end. I would have been happier with a page at the end advertising The Karma Club website instead of including it as part of the book. It just added a cheese factor to the story and I couldn't help but roll my eyes.

The book itself is a fun feel good read and I hope Ms. Brody keeps writing for YA because I loved her writing style. I'm looking forward to book talking this one to my teens and I think pairing The Karma Club and The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg would be a fun booktalk or book club discussion.

Full Discolsure: Reviewed from final copy sent by publisher for review

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tween Tuesday: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme to highlight great reads for tweens! Join the fun, post a tween review, and add your link in the comments.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 4/1/2010

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About the Book: Is Origami Yoda real or just a hoax? That's the question on Tommy's mind as he tries to discover the truth about Origami Yoda. Tommy is having girl problems-he likes Sara but doesn't know if she likes him back-and Origami Yoda has given him advice, but before he follows it he wants to know if Yoda is real or not. Origami Yoda is a finger puppet made by Dwight. Dwight has always been the strange kid at school and surely he's not smart enough to give the wise advice that Origami Yoda has given. So is Origami Yoda magical and real and should Tommy listen to him?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This is a short, fast, and fun read that has great tween appeal as well as appeal to all ages. I'm sure teens and adults would get a kick out of this The Strange Case of Origami Yoda as well. As Tommy tries to discover the truth, he compiles a case file with reports and stories from people who have asked Origami Yoda for advice. Tommy also makes a case for why Dwight isn't smart enough to be giving out the wise Yoda advice on his own.

The middle school sixth grade relationships and friendships are so well drawn and realistic and tweens will relate. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is one of those books that has a great cover and a great premise that makes it easy to booktalk to any age and any gender-girls will enjoy this as much as boys. I could see this one easily getting passed around the middle school library.

I especially liked that while the characters all thought Dwight was strange and odd, they never totally dismissed him. He sat at their lunch table, they talked to him, and believed in Origami Yoda. That made the book even more realistic to me because they weren't one way or the other about Dwight-they were all trying to figure him out and decide for themselves what they believed about Dwight and the Origami Yoda.

If you work with tweens, be sure to include The Strange Case of Origami Yoda on your bookshelf-and don't be surprised if Origami Yoda's start showing up and giving advice!

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from library copy

Monday, July 19, 2010

Guest Post: Jenny Meyerhoff

Photo Credit: Mindy Garfinkle
Please welcome author Jenny Meyerhoff to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Jenny is the author of Queen of Secrets. I asked Jenny to share a story about libraries and I love what she has to say!

A lot of people think I’m crazy because I pay to have a library card. The town I live in doesn’t have a library and none of my taxes go to support a neighboring town’s library, so unless I pay a fee for a library card, I won’t have one. Most of the people in my town do not pay this fee. It costs about $200. I guess to them it seems like a lot. After all they could buy themselves around 6-20 (or more) new books a year with that money, and since most people only read a couple of books per year anyway, it’s not such a great deal.

But for me it’s a bargain, and not just because as a group my family probably checks out more than 20 books a month. (And movies too!) Libraries are a vital community center. When I go to the library, I always run into someone I know. I’m a pretty introverted person, and besides, I guard my alone time (when my kids are at school) fiercely for my writing, so I love those little social moments I get. When my kids were little, the children’s section was ideal for this. Books, toys and other children (and other parents for me to commiserate with) what more could we want in a morning or afternoon?

I could go on and on about the other services libraries offer that have meant so much to me. The drama program I did at my childhood library (West Bloomfield Public Library in Michigan,) the mentor-volunteer program my daughter does at our current library (Deerfield Public Library in Illinois) to help new readers, the fantastic speakers I used to attend all the time when I lived in Evanston (Evanston Public Library in Illinois.) But of course, for me, it’s mostly about the books.
I don’t know if there are many other places I feel so at home, so settled, as when I’m walking down the stacks of a library. The sense of possibility, the anticipation of a delicious read, is pure joy. It’s not the same feeling as browsing the aisles of a bookstore (though I love bookstores too) because when you are in a library every book is yours for the taking. Every single one.
So no, I’m not bothered by paying a fee for a library card. I’d even pay much more if I had to, because the cost of not having a library? Now that, I couldn’t afford.

Thanks Jenny! We have the same thing I my library-out of county residents have to pay for a library card and it's so great to see someone who supports libraries-no matter the cost!

Follow Jenny's blog tour to Young Adult Books Central where she'll be visiting July 20th!

Blog Tour: Queen of Secrets by Jenny Meyerhoff

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 6/22/2010

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About the Book: Shy sophomore Essie Green believes this will be the year her life changes. She's made varsity cheerleading and maybe popular football quarterback Austin King will finally notice her.

Essie starts to make friends and Austin asks her out, but Essie is hiding a secret-the new boy Micah is her cousin. Micah and his family are observant Jew and everyone at school makes fun of Micah. But if Essie admits that they're related, won't everyone make fun of her too? When the teasing turns to hazing, Essie has to decide what she wants to stand up for.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Queen of Secrets is loosely based on the Book of Esther. Knowing that as I read it, I liked picking out the parallels and seeing how the author gave this Biblical story a modern twist. That's not to say it's religious fiction, this is more realistic fiction with a religion in the story. Really this is Essie's story about growing up and figuring out who she is.

It's a fairly slow moving story and there's not a ton of action, so readers who don't mind quiet books would enjoy Queen of Secrets. I felt at times Essie was immature and acted younger than she was supposed to be, but then again, I know some sophomores that are much like Essie, so I guess it depends on the reader's background on how well they relate to Essie. I also would have liked to see the romance more developed. I never really saw why Essie and Austin liked each other.

I would give this to readers who like stories about finding your identity and stories about religion. I think fans of Melody Carlson would enjoy Queen of Secrets. Although the religion is more subtle than in Carlson's books, I could see the readers who enjoy Carlson's realistic fiction liking Essie and her struggle to do what's right.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from final copy provided by publicist for blog tour

Thursday, July 15, 2010

YA Movie News

-The Ghost Huntress series by Marley Gibson has been optioned for a film by Shoulder Hill Films. I haven't read this series yet, but the premise sounds like it could make a great movie.

-Rights for a Vampire Academy movie have been sold, so the movie is a step closer to making it to the big screen

-Fox 2000 has picked up the rights to Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Thanks to Cynopsis Kids for the news!

Remember when I was part of the Pretty Little Liars Secret Keeper game? My prize for winning was to have Shay Mitchell, aka Emily on the show, to answer a question. Here's her video:
(and if you can, check out the other secret keepers videos!) Don't forget to catch Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday nights on ABC Family. Watch Tuesday's epsiode for a special cameo by series author Sara Shepard! Check out this sneak peak photo of Sara on the Pretty Little Liars set!

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: 7/13/2010

Books in Series: Shiver, Linger

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About the Book: Last winter Sam was a wolf. But this year he's still human. But there are new wolves that were brought to the pack and one wolf, Cole, keeps changing early. As Sam tries to figure out his new role as pack leader, human boy, and what's happening with Cole, Grace is noticing changes in herself and feels as though her time is short.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: (Warning, this review may contain a lot of gushing!!!) Loved it, loved it, loved it! If I had a golden green bean award to give to books, I would give it to Linger. I wanted to read this in one sitting, but I made myself stop and put it down so I could savor it (which ok, I savored over two days instead of one-I couldn't help myself!)

I read a lot of books and while I enjoy many of them and love a few, it's a rare book that makes me want to go back and re-read it again and again. But when I turned the last page of Linger, I knew I had to open it up again and start all over. I'm even getting it on audio so I can listen to it! Yep, I'm in love.

Sequels often worry me, since many times they don't live up to the first book, but Linger surpassed my expectations and I liked it even better than Shiver. But it is a sequel, and while there is some recap, you really need to read Shiver first. Linger is told in four alternating voices-Grace and Sam, which we know from Shiver, yet this time around we have new wolf Cole, and Isabel, who has more of a starring role. I felt each of the characters had distinct voices and I could hear each character in my head as I was reading.

The writing is tremendous and beautiful and magical. Maggie Steifvater has a way of pulling the reader in and evoking the character's emotions so perfectly that the reader feels them so strongly with each page turn. None of these characters are perfect, they are damaged and have flaws-and the writing lets you feel that with them. There are scenes that are so vivid (especially one involving Cole and a deer) that I don't know if I will ever forgive Ms. Stiefvater for because I can't get the image out of my mind. There were many points I was so caught up in the emotion of the novel I was close to tears-and I don't cry at books!

I also like that we got to have four voices in this one. It's still Grace and Sam's story, but it's more than that. They are part of a bigger picture-the focus is not just their relationship and that's what makes the book work so well. Yes, this is a romance, but it's so much more. Isabel and Cole are interesting and add another depth to the story-especially Cole's background and past. Cole is a very flawed character, yet I'm intrigued by him. Isabel can be an ice queen, but she has a softer side she rarely lets anyone see, and she's a good compliment to Grace's perfect and organized personality.

While the ending is given lots of foreshadowing throughout, the race to get there and figure out what is happening is so heartbreaking and beautiful and real, I didn't mind that I knew what was coming. My biggest gripe is the major cliffhanger ending, which is so not fair and I would have thrown the book across the room in frustraion if I hadn't wanted to turn the front and start all over. That's what's so great about Linger-I'm so wrapped up in the story that I can love it and hate it all at the same time.

I'm even more excited for the third book, Forever, to be released next year!

Since music plays a big role in the novel, I'm including my pick for the Linger soundtrack, Please Don't Go by Barcelona (who perfectly are a band that I learned about from Maggie Steifvater via Twitter!)

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from copy purchased at Borders

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What's Your St@tus by Katie Finn Review PLUS Givaway!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 7/1/2010

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About the Book: Sixteen-year-old Madison still loves logging on to Friendverse to see what her BFFs and her cute new boyfriend Nate are up to. But the latest social networking craze is Status Q, which is all about rapid-fire status updates. When one of Mad’s friends has to pull off a high-pressure heist, the gang relies on Status Q to send code messages to each other…all in the middle of a school dance! Will up-to-the-minute social networking save the day…or lead to good old-fashioned disaster?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I was happily surprised by this novel! Sure, it's fluffy and somewhat chick-litty, but I like that sort of thing, so I enjoyed What's Your St@tus. It was a quick read and loads of fun. The beginning of each chapter is told in Status Q updates, so I think it could have appeal for readers who like books written in chat, text, e-mail style. I wasn't expecting a lot going in and I was surprised at how much fun I had reading this book!

There's romance, mystery, and a great James Bond/Ocean's Eleven style heist the group has to pull of a prom night heist to take back was it rightfully theirs and stolen from a rival school. (I don't want to say too much because I don't want to spoil it!) The whole feel of the book was fun and it's something I could see easily being turned into a movie. There's lots of laugh out loud moments and even though the whole prom heist is somewhat unrealistic, it's still fun to read about. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but after a few chapters I got used to it and I had a blast reading this one.

What's Your St@tus is a sequel to Top 8, but it's not necessary to read the other book first, as the author does a job of catching the reader up so they don't feel lost and What's Your St@tus can stand on it's own. I'll be recommending this one to my teens! It's perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars, mysteries, chick lit, or readers looking for books about prom.

Want to win a copy of What's Your St@tus?

One lucky winner will recieve A $10 Starbucks gift card and a copy of What’s Your St@tus!
-Open to U.S. addresses only
-Ages 13+
-Contest ends July 31st at midnight central time

To enter:
-Since the book is all about social media and a Twitter-like service, this is a Twitter contest!
-Leave a message for @greenbeanblog on Twitter telling me your best prom theme (can be anything you want-funny or serious)
-If you don't have Twitter, leave a comment on the blog or sign up for a free Twitter account!
-For one extra entry, Tweet about this contest-include @greenbeanblog!
-Remember-you have to include me (@greenbeanblog) in your tweets or I won't see them and they won't count!:)

For more info:
Check out the This Is Point website for a sneak peak!
Author Katie Finn's website

About the Author:
Katie Finn is the author of Top 8 and What’s Your St@tus?. She lives and writes in Los Angeles. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @katiefinnwrites and visit her online at

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent for contest

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tween Tuesday: This Is Me From Now On by Barbara Dee

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme started here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens. Join in the fun and leave your Tween Tuesday link in the comments.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 4/27/2010

About the Book: Evie's life is about to get a lot more interesting, thanks to Francesca. Francesca is the niece of Evie's neighbor and she's a whirlwind. Francesca can be a bit dramatic and says she left her old school because they tried to "suppress her spirit." Evie doesn't want to be friends with Francesca, but when they get paired up in a school project, Evie finds herself drawn to Francesca's crazy life. But Evie can never quite tell if Francesca is telling the truth and their project isn't going as well as Evie would like. Plus, Francesca is trying to play matchmaker between the girls teachers, which could only end up in disaster. One thing is for sure-this will be a school year Evie will never forget.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This book is so perfectly tween! It's such a cute read and it a ton of fun. Francesca is a great character and I love how the author keeps the reader guessing about Francesca all along. We, like Evie, are never really sure what to think about her which makes reading about her that much more fun.

The back of the book makes it seem like this is a story about two girls playing matchmaker, but that's more a side plot. This Is Me From Now On is more a story about tween girls, friendships, and how things can change as you get older. There's also a touch of a "be who you are" theme, which I think is always great for tweens to read.

My only complaint is that I felt like the story never really new what it wanted to be, so it jumped around a little. Was it a story about matchmaking? Was it a book about friendship? These two storylines come together, but it felt a little jostled at times.

But tween girls will love it. Francesca reminded me somewhat of a younger Stargirl (from Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli) Give this one to tween readers who enjoy realistic fiction and don't be surprised if they have it finished in one sitting.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from final copy sent by author for review

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary/Sci-Fi

Release Date: 5/25/10

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About the Book: TroDyn is the company that runs the small community that Mason lives in. But TroDyn has many secrets and Mason is about to get involved in a big one. While helping his mom at the nursing home she works at, Mason plays a video of his Dad reading The Runaway Bunny to a group of comatose teens. The video is the only knowledge Mason has of his father. During the reading, one of the teens wakes up and tells Mason they have to run and he needs to help her. Mason can't leave her so he helps her leave. Soon Mason discovers this girl is part of TroDyn's biggest, and most gruesome, secret.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I really liked S. A. Bodeen's other novel, The Compound, and while The Gardener had a similar feel and a mystery to unravel, I didn't think it was quite as thrilling.

Try not to read the back cover or any synopsis of the book because it gives away the big secret that Mason uncovers. That information isn't revealed until about midway through the book, but the cover and blurb pretty much give it all away. The story is somewhat slow moving to start, but it is pretty action packed. There's a creepy overtone of "could this really happen" that adds to the suspense of the book.

I had a couple of things I didn't like though. First, I thought the book ended too quickly. Everything was resolved fairly soon and I wished there had been just a bit more. So much of the story is leading up to Mason discovering the big secret and that takes so long to happen that there's not much left once he does. I also thought the "romance" between Mason and Laila was somewhat silly. She barely talks throughout the book and the whole thing takes place over the course of about two days. Yet he's so in love with her by the end of the book? I just didn't buy it.

The book isn't incredibly fast paced, but has enough of an interesting plot to keep reader's engaged. It is an interesting look at ethics and what lengths people will go to to survive. It could lead to an interesting discussion. Reader's who enjoy mysteries, thrillers and dystopian would most likely enjoy The Gardener.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher for review

Friday, July 9, 2010

YA Movie News

Only one bit of movie news this week and it's not fun:

-Sadly, Beastly the movie has been pushed back to 2011! I am very excited for this movie and was really looking forward to seeing it this summer, but we'll have to wait until March 18, 2011 before it hits theaters. Hopefully there's lots of promotion for between now and then so lots of people read the book and see the movie.

Anyone else hear anything to share?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

YA Characters Reading YA Books

After reading and reviewing Wish I Might and complaining about characters in books who read up, I got to thinking about YA characters who are also YA readers.

Maybe I just notice this more because I'm a librarian and an avid reader, but I love when a character in a book is a big reader. But it annoys me when I read YA (or children's books) and the avid reader character talks about their love of reading but then only goes on to mention classics and the typical required reading at school. Why can't these YA characters who are also readers mention YA books?

I fight very hard for YA literature. I fight with Lexile reading levels all the time. I fight to have teens read what they want, no matter what it is and who cares if it's a classic literary novel. Who cares if it's below your reading level, if you enjoy it, read it. As someone who sees how amazing YA lit is, it can be very frustrating to come across a character in a book who is a teen and also a reader, but then only reads "high literature and high quality books"-you know, classics, New York Times bestselling adult fiction, and Oprah's book club picks. (gag!) It just seems so wrong to me to have a book written for YA and in the YA section, but the characters are "above" YA reading. It's like the YA genre can't support YA in it's own books and say "hey, you're a teen and you can read YA." Instead, it makes me think, "I'm reading this YA book, but really I should be reading more literary and high quality-this book is just fluff. I mean the teen readers in this book are reading such high literary novels that I've never even read!"

Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan pointed out that maybe it's a copyright thing and you can't mention certain books, so that's why classics are always mentioned. Or maybe authors don't want to or can't promote a book in their book that's not by their publisher. Or maybe they don't want to play favorites among authors. Or maybe classics are more generally recognized. Maybe if a current book is mentioned it could date the book (although there are many books that mention pop culture and technology that can easily date a book the same way). (If there are any authors out there who can chime in as to why it's always classics mentioned, please let me know!

Maybe I just read too much into it, but does this bother anyone else? Why does Bella only read classics? Why does Lennie in The Sky is Everywhere who says she's a "road reader" and reads while taking walks down her street only read Wuthering Heights? Why does Willa's Pix list in The Wedding Planner's Daughter series, which is targeted for ages 8-12 continuously feature classic authors way above tween level like Hemingway, Frost, and Dickens?

So can you think of any character in YA (or in a children's book) that is an avid reader or mentions reading and is reading something more contemporary and actually from YA fiction? There's When You Reach Me, which has a great character tie-in with A Wrinkle in Time, although some might say that's a classic. And there's Into the Wild Nerd Yonder which features avid reader (and audiobook reader even!) Jessie who reads Elsewhere, Life As We Knew It, Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging and a short story by Margo Lanagan. (And yes, author Julie Halpern is a librarian, so maybe that's why she featured more current books-she's passionate about YA lit from a librarian point of view as well as an author). My fabulous librarian friend Drea also mentioned that Tweetheart has a character who mentions a current YA novel-yay!

More from Twitter: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares mentions The Strand and Fat Hoochie Prom Queen, Terri Clark's Sleepless mentions several YA authors

Can you think of anything else? And I am overreacting to the character readers or does anyone else notice this too?

And FYI-I don't mind teens who read up and read adult books and read classics, etc. I just think it's odd that in the YA genre, there's not a lot of YA character readers who actually read YA fiction. You would think they would because obviously the person reading the book is reading YA, so why not the character too?

Lauren Baratz-Logsted-The One Question Tour

In promotion for her newest book, The Education of Bet, Lauren Baratz-Logsted is answering one question a day on various blogs around the blogosphere. Today is my day to host Lauren and here's my question:

If you had to travel back in time and spend time with Will and Bet, what modern convenience would you take with you that you couldn't live without?

Lauren: My little TV. I'd introduce Will and Bet to General Hospital. Once they realized that the people inside the box can't get out of the box, I'm sure they'd agree with me that the trial of Sonny for killing his wife - with no less than three people who know him on the jury! - is the most ridiculous thing they've ever seen. Will and Bet are wise that way.

Love it! I was hooked on GH in college and when Lauren talks about it on Twitter, it makes me want to go back and get hooked all over again. I love Sonny-that trial sounds crazy!

Want to follow Lauren's One Question Tour? Check out some of her other stops:

July 6: Elizabeth McCullough: When you write a novel with a historical setting, how much research do you do, when do you do the bulk of your research, what are your favorite sources and research aids, and how do you organize the information?

July 8: Nicole Where did the inspiration for this novel come from, and did you encounter any difficulty when trying to create Bet as a believable boy?

About the Book (from Goodreads):
Bet is sixteen, very intelligent, but only knows as much as her limited education will allow. In Victorian England, girls aren't allowed to go to school.
Will is also 16, and though not related by blood, he and Bet act like brother and sister. In fact, they even look like brother and sister. And though they're both raised under the same roof, by the same kind uncle, Will has one big advantage over Bet: He's a boy, and being a boy means he isn't stuck in the grand house they call home. He gets to go out into the world--to school.
But that's not what Will wishes. He wants to join the military and learn about real life, not what's written in books.
So one night, Bet comes up with a plan. She'll go to school as Will. Will can join the military. And though it seems impossible, they actually manage to pull it off.
But once Bet gets to the school, she begins to realize the education she's going to get isn't exactly the one she was expecting.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tween Tuesday: Middleworld (The Jaguar Stones Book One) by J&P Voelkel

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme started here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great middle grade reads for tweens! Join the fun and post your own Tween Tuesday post-add the link in the comments.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Action/Adventure

Release Date: 4/27/2010

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About the Book: Max Murphy is upset when his parents change vacation plans at the last minute to visit Central America-and leave him home. But when a plane ticket arrives and Max is told he needs to join his parents in San Xavier, he sets off on an adventure. When he arrives, Max discovers his parents are missing. With the help of a Maya girl named Lola, Max discovers that many people-his parents included-are after The Jaguar Stones-ancient stones that hold power. Max and Lola set off to find Max's parents and stop the Jaguar Stones from falling into the wrong hands.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This is a rare book that is action/adventure without being too heavy on the fantasy. There are some fantasy elements, but they're worked into the story to be more realistic than fantasy. I think this one will have great tween appeal. It doesn't take too long for the adventure to start and once it does, it doesn't slow down. There's a lot of Maya history packed into the book which I think readers who enjoy facts will appreciate. This might even be a fiction book that your usual non-fiction readers will pick up.

The book is somewhat long (almost 400 pages) and while I thought some of that could have been cut down, my tween readers don't seem to mind long books. The ending wraps some things up, but leaves it open for more and I believe this is set to be a trilogy.

As an adult, I found it somewhat annoying that there were pronunciation's thrown into the text for every Maya word-I would have preferred a glossary, but I can see where this would be helpful to younger readers. Also, I thought some of the adventure was too coincidental, but again, I'm sure younger readers will overlook this and instead be caught up in the adventure of the story.

I liked how the book mixed history with adventure. The blurb on the back calls Middleworld "Percy Jackson meets Indiana Jones" and I have to agree (although I could see this having appeal to the readers who enjoyed The Red Pyramid because of the archeology aspects). It also reminded me a bit of the Journey to the Center of the Earth movie. A fun start to a new series, give this to tweens looking for a new adventure series.

Middleworld was featured as the Al's Book Club for Kids pick in June on the Today Show.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wish I Might by Colleen Murtagh Paratore

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 5/1/2010

About the Book: Willa's summer just got more confusing. A boy has shown up in Bramble claiming that he's Willa's long lost half-brother and that he think their father might still be alive. Does Willa believe him? And if this is true, how will this affect her mom and Sam?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This is a hard review to write because I adored the first three books in this series. But when the series took a turn from being "The Wedding Planner's Daughter" series to "The Life of Willa Havisham" the charm started to fade. I could deal with the last book because there were still glimpses of the charm that I liked. There was the big twist at the end with Willa's brother which was somewhat out of character for the books I thought, but still interesting. But Wish I Might just fell flat for me.

The book itself is only 166 pages, and it takes around 70 pages in before we really get to the story about Willa and her brother. The entire time leading up to that is spent with Willa re-capping the previous four books and being preachy. That was my biggest problem with this volume in the series-it's so preachy about Willa's causes and ideas for change and what she thinks about various issues. For most of the book I felt like I was reading a political message more than a story about Willa. Sure, Willa's always been politically active in the past books, but it hasn't been as much and it's had to do with the plot. This time around I felt it was thrown in there just to get messages out about changing the world, saving money, reading Three Cups of Tea and being inspired to help children, and finding homes for the hard-working poor who can't afford nice homes on the Cape. It didn't further the story.

The parts that have to do with furthering the plot along were OK, but there were only a few chapters that actually dealt with Willa and her brother. The book just felt like it was there because there needed to be another in the series and while it added to the series somewhat, it wasn't as fun and charming as the first three books. I think part of this is because the books are trying to age up and become more teen, but it looses it's charm then. I like tween-centered Willa more.

This might be the librarian in me, but sometimes I get annoyed with Willa's book picks in each book. I love that the main character of the series loves to read and in one book saved the library, but it seems like her books are always classics. The last two lists have had more children's lit on it, but it always seems to be full of the required reading books that I don't know always fit the tween age group who would be reading the series. In a series geared to 8-12 year-olds, Willa recommends The Pearl, Great Expectations, The Old Man and the Sea, Robert Frost, Henry David Thoreau, Leaves of Grass, My Antonia, The Scarlet Letter, There Eyes Were Watching God. It's like Willa can only have serious high brow literature on her lists. Yes, by the fifth book, Willa is fourteen, but she starts the series as twelve, so where are the more tween-friendly books? I'd love to see some newer titles featured and maybe some that aren't so serious. Where is love for The Penderwicks, The Graveyard Book, From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Savvy, No More Dead Dogs, Among the Hidden, Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, Shug-I could go on and on!

I'll still recommend the series to my tween readers because I think the first three books in the series are wonderfully done (and the fourth is pretty good). I just hope the series gets better.

Side Note: The cover has nothing to do with the books and I still prefer the cute cartoony covers of the original titles in the series.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from final copy sent for review

Friday, July 2, 2010

YA Movie News

I'm finally feeling caught up from ALA, but now I have two weeks of YA movie news for you (and I'm sure I'm still missing stuff, so if you see something left out, please let me know!)

-Twilight: Eclipse is off to a huge start. While some of the reviews haven't been the best, the fans don't care and the movie made $
65 million in opening night!

-This year's Newbery winner, When You Reach Me, is closer to hitting the big screen. Amber Entertainment has the rights to a movie version of the novel, and the author will co-produce. I don't know how I feel about a movie version-I don't know how well it will translate to film, but I'm willing to give it a try.

Filming of The Invention of Hugo Cabret started this week. This is another one I'm not sure on how well it will translate to film, but I love the cast and I trust director Martin Scorsese to do a good job. Check out the film's IMDB page for cast info-the move will be out next year. Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the news!

-ABC Family ordered twelve more episodes of Pretty Little Liars, bringing the season total to 22. Also, but on the look out for
author Sara Shepard's cameo as a substitute teacher in episode seven! Thanks to Cynopsis Kids for the news!

-ABC Family's Huge had a great premiere! Huge attracted 1.2 million viewers in the 18-49 market making it ABC Family's second most watched series premier in this demo. I like to think it's because us bloggers and YA readers are so cool and we helped get this show going. TV and Movie makers take note-we like things based on YA books!! Thanks to
Cynopsis for the news.

-And of course, the amazing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows trailer!

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