Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tween Tuesday: Tween Dystopia

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen. Tweens need great reads too, so this meme highlights great books for tween readers. Join the fun and post your Tween Tuesday post in the Mister Linky below.

After reading Mockingjay, I was talking to a co-worker who said she thought the The Hunger Games was good for tweens, while Mockingjay was more for older readers. With the rise in popularity of dystopian fiction, I thought I'd share some great tween dystopian reads.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner-Thomas wakes up in an elevator lift with no memories and in a strange new place called The Glade. Some of the teens in The Glade are runners, who run through a maze, but you don't want to be there after dark. Maybe if you find a way out of the maze, maybe the Gladers will find answers to who they are and why they're there.

-The City of Ember
by Jeanne DuPrau-The lights in Ember are beginning to fail. When Lina finds an ancient message, she believes it holds the answers to what's happening in Ember-and how they can save the city.

Gone by Michael Grant-Everyone is gone-everyone except those under the age of fourteen. No adults, no rules, no help-now what?

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix-Luke has lived his life in hiding because he is a forbidden third child. But when he discovers there more be more like him, will he be able to stop living in secret?

Epic by Conor Kostick-What if everything in life was decided by video games?

The Giver by Lois Lowry-Jonas lives in an ideal society. On career assignment day, Jonas is chosen to be the Reciever of Memories. As Jonas studies, he learns that his society wasn't always perfect-shouldn't those memories be shared?

Have any more tween dystopias? Please share!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: 9/7/2010

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About the Book: Jacinda is a draki, meaning she is descended from dragons. She lives with her family with her draki pride and is the only known fire breather in generations. The pride has Jacinda's future planned out-marry the pride prince, mate and have fire breather babies. But Jacinda wants more and is always pushing the boundaries. When she goes too far, her mother makes the decision to leave the pride for good and escapes to a dry desert town in hopes that the dryness will suffocate Jacinda's draki once and for all. But Jacinda is drawn to Will, a dangerous draki hunter, who is the one person that may be the key in keeping her draki alive.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I loved the premise of this book and thought it sounded incredibly unique, but unfortunately the story fell short. It started out with a lot of action, which I loved, and I really liked reading about Jacinda and her pride. But after a few chapters, this unique story about draki's turned into a "new girl in town meets hot distant boy at school" story and it lost all uniqueness it had going for it. The new girl storyline has been done so many times! I was more interested in the draki pride and I wanted this book to be more about that then a school story about a teen with a supernatural talent.

The bits we got about the pride, I loved, and I really wish that had been the main focus of the book. But we barely even get to see them or find out much about them which I found disappointing. Jacinda is the narrator and her story mainly revolves around Will, how she's attracted to him but shouldn't be, and how she doesn't want to lose her draki. She's a pretty whiny character throughout and she waffles back and forth in her decision making which is frustrating for the reader.

I didn't find any of the characters well rounded and I felt we never got to know anyone-even Jacinda. Her twin sister Tamra and her mom felt like she was just there for Jacinda to whine about. There were several characters that were mentioned, talked about a bit or even talked to in one scene but never did much. It felt like they were just there as an idea in the first draft but then forgotten about and never full developed. I would have liked to see more from Xander, Will's cousin-we're told to be afraid of him, but never really are shown why. And I thought there was potential to develop a great relationship between Jacinda and her elderly neighbor, but that's only hinted at and not delved into any further.

But my biggest problem is that Firelight is a lust story, not a love story. There is no relationship developed between Will and Jacinda. Why do they like each other? They're both hot. They never talk, and when they do it's very brief, yet we're supposed to believe Will is in love with Jacinda and that Jacinda loves him so deeply she'd do anything for him. They spend more time making out than getting to know each other. Jacinda mentions that Will knows everything about her but I never got that at all. I like my relationships more developed and believable. I want to see why the characters fall for each other and I love to see how they fall for each other. Will and Jacinda are just two teens in lust with one another.

Even with it's flaws, the draki idea was original and I really liked what there was about the draki mythology. That was what kept me reading. It's obviously setting up a sequel and not much is resolved or answered. But Firelight is a quick engaging read, and I'm sure fans of star-crossed romance will devour it.

Book Pairings: For some reason I kept thinking that this would pair well with Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers Series and possibly Crave by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

Full Dislosure: Reviewed from ARC picked up at ALA

Friday, August 27, 2010

I knew there was a reason I liked Kristen Bell

I've been a Kristen Bell fan since Veronica Mars. And now that I've discovered she loves The Hunger Games, I'm an even bigger fan! Check out these tweets she's written about her love for The Hunger Games at Entertainment Weekly. She tweets about her choice between Peeta and Gale, how she loves Katniss, and how excited she was when the book arrived-she even posted a picture of Mockingjay. Not only has she tweeted about the book, she's sharing it with friends, talking about it in interviews, and reading the series multiple times! Thanks Kristen for spreading the word about the series and reading-you rock! What do you think, Kristen Bell for an ALA READ poster??

YA Movie News

-Jim Carrey will take the role of Mr. Popper in Mr. Popper's Penguins. There were rumors of other actors (I was excited for Ben Stiller) but I think Jim Carrey will do a decent job. According to Cynopsis Kids “The movie will be somewhat different from the book, with Carrey's Mr. Popper a high-powered NYC business executive that inherits a small group of six penguins. Life changes for Popper as he becomes attached to the penguins, now living in his fancy NYC apartment, a big deal goes awry and he almost winds up in jail. In the end he discovers the importance of family.” I'm already planning on being annoyed by the movie with its modern updates and slapstick gross-out comedy that family movies all seem to have now.

-Cartoon Network has a 15-minute animated show airing in September based on MAD magazine. I'm always surprised at how well MAD is read at my library, so I'm sure the show will find an audience. Thanks to
Cynopsis Kids for the news.

-American Libraries Direct had a great interview with Rob Reiner, director of the movie Flipped which is based on Wendelin Van Draanen’s novel of the same name. Flipped is out this weekend!

-Love zombies? The Walking Dead, a new series based on Robert Kirkman's graphic novels, will premier on Halloween on AMC. Not a teen series, but with the rise in zombie popularity, this might end up with a teen audience as well. Thanks to IMDB for the news.

-Thank you to Betsy Bird at A Fuse #8 for alterting me that there is a movie version of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life in the works. I agree with Betsy though, I don't know that I'd call the book "very popular"-but I do think a movie version could be good.

-With Mockingjay out, there’s buzz over who should play Katniss. Entertainment Weekly has suggestions up on their Shelf Life page. I wish Ellen Page was younger, I think she’d be good. Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan is voting for Anna Kendrick. Entertainment Weekly readers have a strong vote for Alexandra Daddario. Who do you want to see as Katniss?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 5/25/2010

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About the Book: Olivia couldn't be more thrilled when she is chosen as the winner of a writing contest sponsored by her favorite writer, Father Mark Brenden. As winner, she gets a critique and mentorship by Father Mark himself and is accepted into his exclusive college class. But as Olivia works with Father Mark more, she's drawn into a dangerous relationship that she can't seem to get out of. Father Mark becomes obsessed with Olivia and Olivia doesn't know how to escape.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This Gorgeous Game is vastly different from the author's first outing, The Possibilities of Sainthood. Where Sainthood was a lighter story, This Gorgeous Game is a darker tale of obsession. Even though it's a darker tale, it never felt too heavy and the author weaves an emotional tale.

Olivia was somewhat frustrating for me, but at the same time I think she acted in a realistic way-I believed she was sucked into a situation that she didn't know how to get out of and I really felt her drowning. But what frustrated me, and this is probably coming from an adult reader, is that it took so long for her to say anything, especially with the close relationship with her mom that I thought she had. I also felt like the adults should have seen something earlier than they did-a grown man stopping by unannounced, sending mail, and taking up all Olivia's time and giving gifts? They all thought it was just nice Father Mark, but I found him creepy from the start. But I'm also the reader who knows he's creepy from the start. But still, all the things he does that the adults are aware of don't raise any flags?

I loved that the author pulled all of this off without making it a physical relationship-Olivia wasn't attracted to Father Mark and she didn't flirt with him. I never felt like she led him on, but it was Father Mark's own loneliness and Olivia's awe of him as a writer that pulls him in. I also think there was something in Olivia's short story that attracted him-he saw himself in her and thought they were the same and that made his obsession grow.

Stalking isn't a widely discussed issue in YA, and This Gorgeous Game is heartwrenching and emotional, but a book that needs to be read. I think it could make a great book discussion book as well.

Book Pairings: Something Happened by Greg Logsted isn't as well done, but I think it would make a great pairing, since it's told from a male point of view and deals with teacher relationships/obsession

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopia

Release Date: 8/24/2010

Books in Series: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay

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About the Book: The third and final book in The Hunger Games trilogy. Rebellion is happening, Katniss is wanted to lead it, but she doesn't know if she can. No one is safe as the Capitol and the rebels fight in a powerplay and Katniss is in the middle of it all. Can she save the people she loves? Will the rebellion take down President Snow?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I bought the book at midnight and had it finished five hours later. The story was very engaging and action packed and I had to keep reading-even if it meant staying up all night!!

Mockingjay, and The Hunger Games trilogy in general, are books that beg to be discussed. After Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan read it, we spent an hour and a half talking about Mockingjay, and probably would have talked more if sleep hadn't taken over. I really feel like the books have a wide appeal and would really be great for a multi-generational book discussion-I think different ages will view things differently and I really can't wait to talk to my teens about it.

This one has a different feel than the previous two-there's more war prep and combat than the other two books, but that's to be expected I guess, given that a rebellion is happening. There's also more on-page violence than in the first two books, which was somewhat jarring considering the first book had a lot of off-page violence. But then again, this is more of a war story and in war there are casualties and Ms. Collins never shies away from the pain and realities of war and its affects on everyone. I really loved that there wasn't an easy way out-the author shows that there never is an easy solution and that the path getting to the end isn't going to be easy-nor is the recovery. War will always have an effect on those involved and there's never an easy answer. I also loved the fact that while District 13 was found, they weren't an immediate savior and made everything better-District 13 wasn't perfect and the utopia some might have expected.

The characters are very broken-think of all Katniss has been through leading up to this point-and throughout the book she switches between being strong and letting her broken state weigh her down. To me this made her even more realistic.

There are lots of new characters introduced, but you get to know many of them, even if they are supporting characters. Ms. Collins has a way of writing about the supporting cast that makes you know them and care about them even if you haven't known them the whole series. Plus, she gives main characters who we haven't really gotten to see or know about from the first two books a time to shine, which I really enjoyed.

Overall, I was satisfied with the ending and thought it was a great and realistic conclusion to the series.

Why only 4.5 Stars? MAJOR SPOILERS!! Highlight to see: I really felt one of the main four-Gale, Peeta, Haymitch or Katniss needed to die. I felt by having all of them come out of it all alive, even while damaged, was a little too perfect. I also thought there was just a bit of the of combat training narrative that could have been cut-for me, that dragged the book down a bit.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from personal copy I purchased

Mockingjay Spoiler Post

I loved what The Compulsive Reader did and made a Mockingjay Spoiler post. So those who have read it-spoil away-let's discuss Mockingjay! So you've been warned-there are spoilers here!!! And be sure to check The Compulsive Reader for more Mockingjay discussion!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tween Tuesday: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Tween Tuesday is a Weekly Meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen that highlights great reads for tweens! Join the fun and include the link to your Tween Tuesday post below.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary with some mystery

Release Date: first released in 1967, won the Newbery Medal in 1968

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About the Book: Fed up with her normal life, Claudia Kincaid decides to run away. But this isn't your typical running away, as Claudia and her younger brother Jamie run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They discover the museum during the daytime and hide in it's treasures at night. One day an art mystery lands at the museum in the form of a small angel statue. Could it have been the work of Michelangelo? Claudia and Jamie decide to find out-and they'll need the help of the eccentric Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler to uncover the truth.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I decided to feature my all time favorite tween read as today's Tween Tuesday read. Yes, it's an oldie, but it's such a goodie!! I first read this book (or actually listened) in fourth grade. I checked out the cassette tapes from my library and listened to the book every night before bed for the three weeks I had it.

I wanted to be Claudia. I wanted to run away and live in a museum and uncover the truth about an ancient statue. Of course, there was no way this adventure would happen to me in real life. I was terribly painfully shy as a tween, but when it came to books, I could be whoever I wanted. And when I was Claudia, I was adventurous, brave, solving mysteries and hiding in a museum. I could live out the adventure through Claudia and Jamie. That's a very powerful thing for a reader-especially tween readers-and that's one reason this book meant so much to me.

I re-read this book for my children's lit class last year and it had the same charm and adventure that I remembered. Some of the references are outdated for today's reader (Claudia and Jaime get coins from the fountain and eat for very cheap and there's no way a stunt like the one Claudia and Jaime pull off could happen in today's high tech and security filled world) but that can easily be overlooked. I love the fact that while there's a mystery in the story, this isn't a mystery book, so it's accesible to all sorts of readers, even those who don't typically enjoy mysteries. Reader's will be swept away on an adventure and you'll never look at a museum the same way again.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from library copy checked out many many years ago but yes, now I own a copy:)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mockingjay Chapter One Preview

I can't wait!!! Everyone else excited??

Library Programs: Moonlight Masquerade Ball

I love that my teen library council helps me plan programs, but sometimes they give me a program idea that sounds great but I have no idea what to do with it! That was the case with the Moonlight Masquerade Ball. The TLC group suggested we have a paranormal masquerade ball and I loved the idea, but none of us knew what that would include. Even when teens, parents, or other library staff would ask me what a paranormal masquerade ball was I would respond with "I don't really know, we'll find out after we have one!"

I planned the ball for the end of May-still when school was session but right before summer got into full swing. I held it on a Saturday night at 7 in our big auditorium at the library. I asked staff for any Halloween decorations or Christmas lights and was given some great black fabric, a black wreath, and a spooky ghost. With the help of the pages we hung lights all around the room, and put the black cloth on the tables and hung some of it on one of the walls. I bought red and black tablecloths and placed tables around the corners of the room leaving the center open as our dance floor. I had some teen volunteers blow up black and red balloons and place them around the room. I turned off all the lights except for the dimmers and the Christmas lights gave the room a cool effect and the room felt like a ballroom.

I had various "stations" set up for those who didn't want to dance. Of course we had a mask making station! I used the mask cuttout and our Ellison machine and put out various crafting supplies-sequins, feathers, ribbons, glitter paint and popsicle sticks to hold the masks up. The masks were the hit of the evening and everyone made one. I also had a station with a worksheet I made to match the characters to their paranormal book. I served cookies and red punch. And of course, being a librarian and a library program, I had a display set up with paranormal reads and this display was picked over at the end the program.

The teens loved the dancing and spent most of the evening on the dancefloor. Lady Gaga and the Cha-Cha Slide were the most popular requests. Since Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan and I had made our own playlist for our wedding reception we still had a lot of the music on our iTunes, so we sorted through our dance songs and make a masquerade ball playlist. I made sure to included Thriller and Monster Mash to go along with the theme!
About halfway through the event, I had the teens play a game of "pin the tale on Jacob." I printed out a big picture of Jacob and the teens made tails out of construction paper. I had candy bars for the winners and all the teens that played had a good laugh over the game.
At the end of the event I had a prize drawing. A few days before I visited Borders and stocked up on New Moon bookmarks and key chains which were discounted to 75% off-great for an event with a budget!!
Overall the event was a huge hit-especially with the middle school crowd who don't get to attend any big school dances. I planned it to be at the end of my summer reading school visits, so I got to talk the event up to every class I visited and got them excited about it. The only complaint I had was that I didn't have more boys show up! (I think I might have had more if one of the schools hadn't had an event at Jump Mania, a local indoor inflatable playground!)
I'm planning another dance event for next year and the TLC and I are thinking of making it a "Geek Prom." I can't wait to host another event like this. It took a lot of setup, but the event was worth it and the teens loved it-besides, who wouldn't love the library after dancing to Lady Gaga in it?

Friday, August 20, 2010

YA Movie News

-Margo from The Fourth Musketeer posted about her experience at the Artemis Rocks tour with Eoin Colfer and Artemis Fowl. Tour dates for the Artemis Rocks show have been posted on the Artemis Fowl site, so be sure to check if the tour is coming by you.

-Ivan Reitman has the upcoming YA novel The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel in development as a movie. The book comes out September 14 and is about Ingrid and her cousins who have to sit at the "kid table" at family functions, but when one of them gets promoted to the "adult table" each cousin comes up with a plan to get promoted as well. Thanks to Cynopsis Kids for the news.

-I Am Number Four the book was released on August 3 (read my review) and I Am Number Four fans can participate in games and challenges and win points on the I Am Number Four fan website for a chance to win a trip to the movie's premiere. Thanks to Publisher's Weekly Children's Bookshelf for the news.

-Peter Cameron's YA novel Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You has a movie in the works and starts filming next month. Check out the casting information from Hollywood Reporter. I really love that Hollywood is not just buying up film rights to big name novels, but that a lot of YA books are getting the film treatment.

-Vampire Diaries has a season two trailer up on Entertainment Weekly that sadly I can't embed here-so you'll have to click over to watch it. I'm so behind on that show and I need to catch up!!

-I went and saw Scott Pilgrim last weekend and LOVED it! If you haven't seen it yet, go do so-it's awesome. They really made it a graphic novel come to life so perfectly. If you've seen it, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

-Someone on YALSA-BK posted that they went and saw a screening of Tomorrow When the War Began in Australia and they really enjoyed it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a US release!

That's it for this week! Any other great YA movie news?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Rating: 3.75/5 Stars

Genre: Science Fiction

Release Date: August 3, 2010

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About the Book: The planet Lorien has been destroyed by a group of aliens called the Mogadorians. Nine young Lorien's escaped along with their Gardes (who are guardians of sorts) and fled to Earth. The Mogadorians are searching for the nine who have been living in hiding. A special charm makes it so the nine have to be killed in order. Three have been killed and John is number four.

John has lived his life on the run, changing names, moving from town to town. His latest move leads him to Paradise, Ohio, where he finally gets a chance to make friends and meets a girl named Sarah who he can’t stop thinking about. But the Mogadorians are after John and they're closing in-and he has to be ready to fight, no matter what.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I was very excited to read I Am Number Four because I was a huge alien and science fiction fanatic as a teen. I read Roswell High, watched the Roswell TV show, and was obsessed with X-Files and Star Trek. So this book seemed like it would be right up my alley-teen book with aliens and romance, seemed perfect right?

But I think I may have hyped the book up too much in mind. I liked it, but there were also things I didn’t enjoy. So I’m going to break this review into two parts-the pros and cons because I feel like that's the easiest way to organize my thoughts on this one.

Pros: So I liked that there was a romance, but it wasn't the main focus of the story. Sure it was there and it was important, but it wasn't what the plot hinges on. John makes friends, he has people outside of Sarah that he talks to and confides in, and I really liked that he built a support group and that his friend Sam played a pretty big role in the book and was my favorite character of the story. The story is pretty entertaining. It's a long book and there are a few parts that seem bogged down, but for the most part it's an engaging read. I like the history of Lorien and learning about the nine's legacies (special powers), the history of their planet, and more about their race. I also liked that there was a lot of action, which I think will appeal to adventure readers. There's less focus on the teen angst and more the action of the story.

Cons: I felt like it was written too simplistically. There were parts that reminded me of a story my husband wrote when he was twelve (and this happened, and then this happened and what's that-oh it's this!) I felt like the authors didn't quite understand writing for teens and writing YA. The ARC I read suggests the book for ages 14 and up, but aside from a few cuss words and the mention of a fire being started by drugs, I didn't think it was anything middle school readers couldn't read. For a 14 and up book, the writing felt more middle school. The action scenes were somewhat muddied and hard to follow, but that could just be my reading style-I like my action scenes more thought and spelled out I guess. I think the big battle at the end was somewhat odd to read because we aren't told much about the bad guys, but suddenly we're supposed to understand what these beasts are that are attacking. The book was a little long and slowed down in parts that really could have been cut. I also felt some of the things that happened were a little too convenient-oh and by the way, we have this magical power or item that we're revealing right now because it's convenient to the plot!

Overall I did enjoy I Am Number Four and I'm curious to see how the story will continue especially since there are supposed to be six books total in the series. The book reads like a movie, so I'm not surprised to see this one becoming a big blockbuster film. I do hope the writing gets better as the series goes on. I can see this one gaining a good fanbase of teens and I really think science fiction is on the rise in YA. I would expect this one to rise in popularity once the movie releases next year.

Book Pairings: These are old so may be hard to find: Roswell High by Melinda Metz, Dancing with an Alien by Mary Logue, Old Magic by Marianne Curley, Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC that I picked up at ALA

Mockingjay District Four Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the Mockingjay District Four contest! The winner of the contest is:

Erica O
The winner has been notified and I hope she loves her new Mockingjay hoodie! Congrats and thanks again to everyone who entered and commented!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crave by Laura J. Burns Melinda Metz

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Paranormal

Release Date: 9/21/2010

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About the Book: Shay has always been the 'sick girl' due to a rare blood disorder. Shay has to have blood transfusions to help through her day and all she longs for is to be a normal girl. Her step-father and doctor Martin has a new type of blood that he's trying that makes Shay feel better than she's ever felt-she can run, swim and has more energy than she's ever had. But the blood that Martin is giving her isn't human and Shay begins to have visions of a life as a vampire named Gabriel-and Gabriel just might be closer than she thinks.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: OK, for full disclosure and fair warning and all, I am a HUGE Melinda Metz fangirl. I read her series Roswell High in high school and was obsessed and I loved Fingerprints when I was in college. So when I received an ARC of Crave I did the biggest happy dance possible. But I was also nervous about reading this one. I knew Melinda and Laura had written together on the TV version of Roswell, which I also loved, but what if I didn't end up liking this one? What if my fond memories of those previous series were set too high for me to enjoy Crave?

I didn't have to worry-Crave won me over and transported me back to sixteen. (And I mean that in a good way!) My teen self took over and I was fangirling all over again. Vampires and paranormal stories are showing up everywhere so I really liked that Crave had a fresh take to it. Shay needs Gabriel's blood to live and I really liked the dynamic that created between the characters. It does take awhile for the story to really get going-you know as the reader that Gabriel is going to come into play more, but it takes a good amount of the book to get there as the author's are setting up Shay's life and backstory. I would have liked a little less about her school life, but that might be due to the fact that the back of the book gave away too much of the plot so I knew what was coming.

I loved the flashbacks to Gabriel's vampire life and family and liked how we got to know him before we met him. It did take awhile for Gabriel to actually come into the story but the flashbacks helped develop his character and I really liked reading about him. I also loved his family and the vampire backstory and how his family was created. I have conflicting feelings about his father figure, Ernst, and I'm interested to find out more about him. I want to know more about Gabriel's vampire family!

Shay on the other hand would alternately drive me crazy and make me like her. I understood her motivations, she'd never been able to do anything and always had to be the 'sick girl' but man she mad some stupid decisions! I think part of my frustration with Shay was my adult self yelling at her for not being smart. But I understood why she did what she did and I felt it made her realistic. She wanted to live her life fully because she'd never had the opportunity to before. Even though there were times I wanted to yell at her, Shay also had moments where she really shined and I really did like reading about her. She's sensitive and thoughtful but also flawed and frustrating and that's what makes her a great character to read about.

The romance has a great push and pull to it-they want to be together but they don't and that makes for a great romance. Plus it has enough love/hate dynamics and build up that it makes the romance aspect pretty hot.

The whole story kind of read like something that could easily be turned into a TV show or movie, and I think that comes from the author's TV writing background. The ending felt fast and rushed and ends on a terrible cliffhanger, so I'm needing the next book ASAP! But even though there's more story to tell, I liked what I read in Crave that I wasn't terribly frustrated about the setting up for a sequel. Crave is an addicting read with great characters and fresh approach to the vampire genre that is sure to win readers over. I can't wait to read more-I'm so glad these writers are back!

Book Pairings: Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey, Echoes by Melinda Metz (previously Fingerprints, now re-published), Boys that Bite by Marianne Mancusi

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by author for review (and yes, I fangirled when she sent it to me!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tween Tuesday: Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens and middle grade readers. Join the fun and post the link to your Tween Tuesday post below.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Historical/Adventure/Steampunk

Release Date: first published 2004, paperback out 2005

Books in Series: Airborn, Skybreaker, Starclimber

About the Book: Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on a huge passenger airship (think the Titanic in the sky). One night while he is on duty, his ship intercepts a small one person airship carrying an old man. The old man's ship has been badly crashed and beaten and as the man is dying, he tells Matt of beautiful creatures who were flying in the sky. Everyone thinks the old man is crazy and Matt isn't sure what to think. A year later when the man's granddaughter shows up claiming she has her grandfather's journal and she wants to find the same beautiful creatures, Matt finds himself on a action packed adventure. Are the creatures real? And can Matt and Kate find them?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Airborn is such a great read! (Or in my case listen, since I listened to the audiobook). But no matter how many times I booktalk it, tell my teens about it, and try to really sell it to readers, it still remains a hard book to convince them to take. I'm not sure if that's because the old cover which we have in the library and maybe the paperback cover is helping to remedy that.
I often describe this book as Treasure Island meets Around the World in 80 Days which sometimes will get a reader's attention. With the rise of steampunk, I could see readers looking for more in the genre and picking this one up.
But if you can find a way to get this into reader's hands and get them to read it, they'll love it! Once I've convinced a reader to pick this one up, they come back raving about it. There's action, adventure, mystery, romance, pirates and strange creatures in the sky. I loved the audiobook because it was done by Full Cast Audio so each character had a different voice and it really made the book feel like a movie. Airborn would make a great classroom or family read aloud because there is something for everyone in the book. It gives such a great nod to the old classic adventures that readers of all ages should enjoy it. There are two sequels so Matt and Kate's adentures do continue, but Airborn wraps things up nicely that it can be read on it's own.
Airborn is a perfect all ages adventure story that will excite readers and leave them wanting more.
Book Pairings: Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Larklight by Philip Reeve

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mockingjay Reminder & A Message from Suzanne Collins

Hey everyone! Don't forget today is your last day to enter the Mockingjay 13 District Blog Tour here at GreenBeanTeenQueen. If you haven't already entered, be sure to do so so you have a chance to win an awesome Mockingjay hoodie!

Also, I wanted to share this very important message from Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games.

One of the most important things to me is that everyone in the world is going to be able to experience the final book of The Hunger Games all at the same time, and be able to discover what happens in the book without hearing about it elsewhere first. Word will certainly travel fast, but I urge you – before or immediately after August 24th – to please respect the other Hunger Games fans worldwide and avoid sharing any spoilers, so that the conclusion of Katniss’s story can unfold for each reader the way it was meant to unfold.

I can only echo the plea for spoiler free conversations and reviews-and I mention this from experience. I've been burned by spoilers before, so please don't let that happen to someone else! Be careful what you post and what you say. We're all excited to share in the final chapter of Katniss's story so please take Ms. Collins advice and be careful of spoilers.

Friday, August 13, 2010

YA Movie News

-The Hub is a new kid/family network that is set to premiere October 10 on the channel that is currently Discovery Kids. I'm pretty excited about this new channel because they have some great shows lined up including a new TV series based on the board game Clue and R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour. I know my tweens who grab every Goosebumps DVD we have in the library will be thrilled with this news!

-The Spider-man musical Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark is set for a Broadway debut. The show has been delayed and most of the original cast have backed out. But it's back and I still think it could be cool. The show is directed by Julie Taymor, of The Lion King on Broadway and Across the Universe fame, and the score is written by U2's Bono and the Edge. Thanks to Cynopsis Kids for the news.

-I've mentioned before that Wendelin Van Draanen's tween book Flipped is heading to the big screen August 27. To help promote the movie, Random House has published an enhanced e-book for Flipped, which includes behind the scenes videos, interviews, and three original songs written by the author. And FYI for anyone reading the book and seeing the movie-the book is set in current day but the movie moved the setting to 1960's. Thanks to Publisher's Weekly for the news.

-The finale of Pretty Little Liars was the number one telecast of the show for the entire season, with 3.07 million viewers. I love that this show is doing so great and it's getting more people to read the books. I know requests for the series at my library have been huge and I've got a read-alike display set up right now. Thanks to Cynopsis for the news.

-SyFy channel has requested a script from Bryan Fuller (of Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, and yes Star Trek fame). The pilot is based on a novel called The Lotus Caves by John Christopher. Cynopsis says the novel is about "rebellious colonists who go exploring beyond the rigid boundaries of their lunar colony and then discover caves ruled by a highly intelligent alien species" With dystopian and science fiction taking off in YA lit, I wouldn't be surprised to see more science fiction shows like this start to show and gain a teen audience. What do you other YA librarians think? More sci-fi in TV and books?

-Hey anime fans! Adult Swim has you covered this weekend with the airing of the Bleach movies on Saturday August 14. They'll be showing Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody and Bleach the Movie 2: The Diamond Dust Rebellion. My teens are always complaining about the lack of anime on Cartoon Network anymore so I'm hoping this is a good sign that they'll start airing more.

-Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is in theaters this weekend-I hope to get a chance to see it. Who else is planning a trip to the theaters for Scott this weekend? I love this review from Entertainment Weekly that calls the movie "“the first rock & roll kung fu videogame youth love story”-yep, that will get my teens there!:)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Librarian's Job is Never Done

I've been working at my library for almost four years now. One thing about being a librarian that continues to surprise me is how my job doesn't always end when I leave work for the day. When people find out where I work, they want to ask me questions, get my opinion, and talk to me about books and the library. I love my job and I'm very passionate about what I do, so I'm always happy to talk to people about my job even when I'm not at work. And I'm glad that people see the library as a vital part of the community. So what sort out of the library encounters have I had?

-After a teller at my bank found out I worked at the library, he proceeded to tell me about how his son hid a book from him and kept it out so it become very overdue. He was told he had to pay the late fees and charge for the book since it was lost and never returned and wanted to know if this was true. I told him yes, he would have to pay the late fees, but if he did find the book, he could bring it back in and the charge for the book would be waived.

-My elderly neighbor asked me if I could check out some Hawaiian music CDs to go with a themed birthday party he was going to. I happily looked for some music he could check out from my branch.

-I was grocery shopping when a couple of teens saw me and said "hey-you're the library lady!" I had just done summer reading school visits and so I laughed and said yep, that's me! I think of that as my librarian celebrity moment!:)

-I was purchasing duct tape for a teen program at Wal-Mart and when I gave the cashier my tax exempt card, she looked at me and said "they use duct tape at the library?" I told her yes we do and she was curious and wanted to know what I was using all the duct tape for. I told her all about my teen night after hours program and how I was the teen librarian and we were going to be making crafts out of duct tape. She was very impressed and I was glad to share that the library is more that just books and Internet.

-My friends are always asking me for book recommendations. I love it, but it's always funny to me how when they need a book to read, I'm the one to ask. I've even been sent messages on Facebook from friends I haven't talked to in awhile who find out I'm a librarian and need book suggestions for their classroom, kids, gifts, friends, and themselves.

So why do I mention all this? Because as a librarian, I represent the library, even when I'm not physically in the building. People recognize me and know that I work for the library, so I need to know about what's happening at the library, events and policies and procedures, so I can answer these questions even when I'm not at work. And as a librarian, I'm expected to know about books and be able to recommend great reads-so I better keep up with current literature and make sure my reader's advisory skills are sharpened, because I'm asked by all sorts of readers for suggestions.

Being a librarian really is a full time job and it's something you better love doing, because your job as a librarian is never done. Your attitude about the library outside of the library reflects on the library itself and if you have a positive attitude about your job and are helpful and happy to answer questions about the library-even when you're not there-you're going to leave the public with a positive impression about your library-and that's exactly what we want.

Have you ever had any outside of work work moments as a librarian, teacher, or another profession?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Paranormal

Release Date: 3/2/2010

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About the Book: Sophie Mercer is different. No, really-she's different. She's a teen witch, and not in a Sabrina the Teenage Witch sort of way. Sophie's a teen witch without any training, so when a love spell at prom goes terribly wrong, Sophie is sent to Hex Hall, a boarding school for deliquent Prodigium (fairies, werewolves, witches, and oh yeah, one vampire roommate). During her first day, Sophie makes enemies with a dark coven of witches finds out her roommate was accused of killing the coven's fourth member last year. When Sophie learns that a mysterious creature is still roaming the halls, it's up to her to prove her roommate is innocent.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: If Harry Potter married Samantha from Bewitched and had a chick lit baby, with a smidge of A Great and Terrible Beauty, and a dash of Nancy Drew’s mystery solving, you would get Hex Hall. Interested? Hex Hall is the perfect example of why I love the blogosphere. The book looked cool, but then when I started seeing rave reviews of this one, I knew I had to pick it up and I'm so glad I did. Yes, Hex Hall is paranormal, but it's a great mix of mystery and a lighter take on the paranormal theme that I found it refreshing.

Sophie is a lot of fun and I really liked her voice. She's a bit sarcastic, which I always love, and she's got a great sense of humor. OK, there were a couple of things I thought she could have figured out a little sooner, but hey, she's still working on her detective skills. There were some twists that Ms. Hawkins threw in that surprised me which always makes for an interesting read-I love when I come across something unexpected and Ms. Hawkins pulls it off nicely.

This is a first book in a series which means the ending doesn't wrap up everything and leaves a lot of things unanswered. But I did like the fact that the main mystery that takes place is wrapped up, so at least there's some closure. I can see Hex Hall having appeal to paranormal and non-paranormal fans alike because this isn't a teen angst paranormal, but a light mystery that happens to take place in a boarding school filled with paranormals. I can't wait to read the next book in the series and see where Sophie's adventures take me next.

Book Pairings: Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede, The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Full Dislosure: Reviewed from final copy I purchase with my hard earned librarian money

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Note and a Thank You

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who filled out the GreenBeanTeenQueen survey! Your kind words and feedback were so helpful and made me smile!

I wanted to let you know of a couple of changes coming to GreenBeanTeenQueen thanks to your feedback.

-I will start adding book pairings to the titles I review, since this seems to be helpful to readers, teachers and librarians. These aren't always read-alikes and a copy of the book reviewed, but instead books I think that would pair nicely in a book club or book discussion or things I think a reader of the reviewed title would also like. Most of these suggestions will be books I have read (and hopefully reviewed) on GreenBeanTeenQueen, but some might not have gotten reviews yet or are older reads, or are books that I have had suggested to me by my teens or other bloggers and I trust their opinions.

-I asked if you'd like to see Book Talk Ideas, but then when I started adding them to my reviews, I realized I was just repeating my "About the Book" section. So I'm going to tweak my "About the Book" a bit and try to make that something that you could copy and use as a book talk if needed. Hopefully that's helpful to my fellow librarians and teachers.

-There's lots of mixed opinions on book ratings, and since I haven't found the perfect system and I like it and several of my readers like it, I'm keeping my book ratings as is and will continue to rate books. I'll give half ratings and sometimes a .25 or .75 because it is really really hard to find the perfect rating. But I'll round up on Goodreads and Amazon and my rating scale meanings will remain 1-5.

-I got Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan to serve as a Reader Selector for the Gateway committee, so that means he'll be reading more YA-(haha-sucker....I mean-yay, what a great husband!) so I hope to get his reviews of the books he reads. Plus, you guys can help me pester him into reading more YA-any suggestions for a great YA fantasy series he should read and review?

-Look for more posts on life as a teen librarian, my adventures in the library, and programs that I run at my library. I love these posts and it seems that my readers do too-yay!-so I'll start including more library related info.

Thanks for all the feedback and thanks a million for being a reader of GreenBeanTeenQueen-you guys rock!

Tween Tuesday

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens. Join the fun and leave the link to your Tween Tuesday post below.

Today I have a special guest post from Margo from
The Fourth Musketeer. (Go visit her blog-she has great historical fiction reviews and she rocks!!) Margo was lucky enough to attend a show called Artemis Rocks featuring Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer interviewing his character Artemis and I was thrilled when she said she'd write up a post about the event!

With the release of the newest adventure of teen criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl, The Atlantis Complex (Disney Hyperion,2010),
Irish author Eoin Colfer has taken Artemis himself--in his first public appearances--on the road in a promotional tour. I was lucky enough to catch their show, Artemis Rocks, in Pasadena, California, along with several hundred other Artemis fans.

While Artemis Fowl has never reached the stratospheric popularity of the Twilight or Harry Potter franchises, the comic fantasy/adventure series has been very popular with the tween crowd, selling 20 million volumes around the world since it debuted in 2001. Boys and girls alike have been drawn to the story of Artemis, a tremendously likable anti-hero, child genius and criminal mastermind who strives to outwit the fairy folk. In fact, Artemis is on a roll at the moment, having just been chosen by British children as their
favorite Puffin of all time ahead of classic titles such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The Artemis Rocks show featured music inspired by the Artemis books (
you can listen on Colfer's site) performed live by musician Josh Fix. Colfer himself interviewed Artemis, a young man who looked very much like the Artemis in the graphic novel version of the books (although he didn't have much of the Irish accent I expected--could he have actually come from Hollywood??) Here's some of the banter between them:

Eoin: What do you hope to be remembered for?
Artemis: I've done a lot of things in my life, some good, some bad, but I hope that some day I'll be remembered as the first step in peaceful coexistence between humans and fairies. A close second would be to be remembered for my witty insults.

Eoin: If you could live a normal teenage life, what would you want to do? Would you wear a hoodie?
Artemis: I tried one once and I didn't like it. Normal is a relative term, but one thing I've always wanted to do is...go to a school dance.

Artemis also revealed that in the future, he might be going "straight," adding that "The Fowls need to make a mark in a legitimate business." Colfer quipped that it would make for a boring book, however.

After the interview, the pair took questions from the audience, and then autographed books. As is often the case, the Q&A were the highlight of the event. One young fan suggested a plot line for a future book, and Colfer answered, "I like to take ideas from people, put them into books, and then pay them nothing."

Another young reader wanted to know their opinion about fan fiction. Colfer stated:
"I really like it; it's a great tribute. Fan fiction has always been around, I wrote it myself, but there was nowhere to put it. Now there's the internet and you can post it and get comments from your friends. I don't see any negative effect--I think it's fantastic and it's a great stepping stone for young readers. Sometimes I take a little look but it's a bit embarrassing, like Googling yourself."
Artemis added that he'd like to send a message to fan fiction writers out there:
"PLEASE stop writing about me and Holly Short. She's a different species, she's almost 70 years old--it's just not meant to be." Colfer added that interspecies romance only works with vampires and werewolves.

Asked about time travel, Artemis remarked that if you have the option to time travel, don't! Colfer added that he'll never go back in time again, since it was very difficult for the author to keep track of everything.

Colfer confirmed what he had announced at the end of July in the U.K. newspaper the Guardian--the next book in the series, as yet untitled, will be the
last of Artemis' adventures, tying together loose elements of the series. Colfer did hint, however, that future books might use the characters of Artemis' twin brothers, who appear in the later volumes.

For those who'd like to
watch Colfer's entire show, an archived webcast of an earlier performance is available online.
The tour is scheduled to go through August, so when I find information on dates, I'll post it here on GreenBeanTeenQueen!

Monday, August 9, 2010

13 District Mockingjay Tour: District 4

Hello and welcome to District Four. I'm sorry that Finnick isn't here to be your host. I know as a member of District Four I should be cheering for my own tribute, but after watching the last two Hunger Games play out I have fallen in love with Peeta Mellark!

Why do I love Peeta? He's smart, he's funny, and he's charming. He stands up for what he believes, he's loyal and he's not afraid to do what's right. He's sensitive and caring but can also be strong and kick butt. He fights for Katniss and with Katniss. Peeta is a great diplomat and he knows how to bring people together. He can also be sneaky to get what he wants. Plus, did I mention he can bake? And he's hot!!

But it's not just me! We have an underground club of sorts here in District Four-Seafaring Librarians for Peeta! Here's what some of our members had to say about their love for Peeta:
-Team Peeta!! I love their relationship because they balance each other perfectly. Where she is rough and tough, he is soft and gentle. Where she uses her head, he uses his heart. Peeta puts others' first but he's also a strategist and knows when to fight. Their personalities compliment each other very well, and you can tell with Suzanne's wonderful writing.-A

Team Peeta Rocks! Peeta is a bred-in-the-bone hero and a great match for Katniss. He shows grace and courage under fire, yet he is unafraid to reveal his tender side. Sometimes it seems as if he knows Katniss better than she does herself. His heart is honest and true.

Peeta is intelligent and strong enough to smooth some of Katniss's rougher edges. He's selfless despite being a fierce competitor. His love for Katniss has no bounds, and you know he would gladly die for her. And did I mention he can cook?
What more could you ask for?-C

Have we convinced you yet?:)

Ok, so even if you're not Team Peeta, I still have a great giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive this Exclusive Mockingjay hooded sweatshirt!
-Open to US addresses only
-Contest ends August 16

To enter, all you have to do is fill out this simple form with your and e-mail! No bonus points, no extra questions and only one entry per person!!

Also, please leave a comment and let me know if you're Team Peeta or Team Gale (or maybe Team Katniss or Team Finnick!)

Check out The Official Hunger Games Fan Page on Facebook

Don't forget to follow the tour to Dear Author!

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Friday, August 6, 2010

YA Movie News

-Check out the new movie stills for the Disney Channel movie Avalon High based on the Meg Cabot book by the same name. Thanks to YA Book Nerd for spotting them! Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like the tall guy in the back (the professor guy) should be Giles from Buffy?

-Another YA novel is heading to Disney Channel. Lemonade Mouth is in production and is based on the novel of the same name by Mark Peter Hughes. The novel is about a group of teens who form a band and the movie is set to be a "music-driven movie." Thanks to
Cynopsis Kids for the news!

-Diablo Cody (Juno) has a script about a YA author who returns home and stalks her ex-boyfriend. Charlize Theron is signed on to star and Jason Reitman is set to direct. I'll be really disappointed if the author aspect of the story is mentioned briefly and then never touched on again, especially since the movie is called Young Adult! It'd be fun to see the YA genre get some movie time. Thanks to
ComingSoon for the news.

-Release dates for Breaking Dawn 1 & 2 are set-part one will release November 18, 2011 and part 2 is set for November 16, 2012. Thanks to
Cynopsis Kids for the news.

-Speaking of Twilight have you seen the trailer for the Twilight spoof, Vampires Suck? It actually looks pretty funny (and I normally find the spoof movies not that great).

-Another trailer to add (thank you Tiff!) This is for It's Kind of a Funny Story based on the book by Ned Vizzini. (I always forget this one is based on a novel, because I haven't read the book and we don't have it at my library. We'll have to order it soon!)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Paranormal

Release Date: 6/5/2010

Book in Series: Hearts at Stake, Blood Feud

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About the Book: The Drake family is dealing with the aftermath of Helena Drake becoming vampire queen and fighting off Montmartre. Allegiances are made, including one with the Hounds, vampires who have been rescued after they were turned and left to die. Isabeau St. Crox, a girl who was turned during the French Revolution, is the delegate from the Hounds is sent to the Drake coronation. When Logan Drake and Isabeau uncover a plot that could destroy both their families, they work together to fight the common enemy.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I'm addicted to The Drake Chronicles-I just love this family! Blood Feud is told in the point of view of Isabeau and Logan, although the narrators don't change as frequently as they did in Hearts at Stake and this really is Isabeau's story more than anything else.

It took me a bit to warm up to Isabeau and there were several chapters that flashed back to her life in France before she was turned. I found her life interesting, but these chapters were just a little too long for me-I wanted more of the Drakes! Because of Isabeau's past and growing up during the French Revolution, I found her character to be a little stiff. (she kind of reminded me of Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager for anyone who gets that reference!) But she grew on me and she's so perfect for Logan. I do wish we would have gotten more chapters from Logan's perspective-he's entertaining and a blast to read about.

I love that this book took place right after the events of the first, but that we got the story from new characters. It's interesting to read about the same events from another perspective. Luckily, for fans of Hearts at Stake, the Drake family make appearances in Blood Feud as well and we get fun cameos from Solange, Kieran, Lucy and Nicholas.

The story is just as kick-butt as the first book and there's plenty of action and romance to keep readers turning pages. The Drake Chronicles are perfect for a lighter take on the vampire genre. I can't wait to read more about the Drake family!

Book Pairings: I'd love to see these paired up with some of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer books-the girls all kick butt! For a lighter look at vampires, try Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley, Boys That Bite by Mari Mancusi, Bite Me by Melissa Francis

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher for review

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Traveling to Teens: Y.S. Lee Author Guest Post

Please welcome author Y.S. Lee to GreenBeanTeenQueen!

Be sure to find Y.S. Lee on Twitter and her website. This tour is part of Traveling to Teens, so you can find the tour schedule on the site! And don't forget my reviews of A Spy in the House and The Body at the Tower!

Welcome to the second installment of the Body at the Tower blog tour! It’s lovely to be back here at GreenBeanTeenQueen – like visiting a friend. If you missed my first essay, on American firebrand Victoria Claflin Woodhull, it’s up at the Story Siren. And stay tuned for 6 more profiles of Notorious Victorians over the next 2 weeks.

Today’s Notorious Victorian is Annie Besant: author, birth-control educator, socialist, and anti-colonial campaigner. She was born in 1847 and received an unusually good education for a girl of her time. At nineteen, she married a clergyman with whom she had two children. They came to disagree on nearly everything. After attempts to reconcile, Besant eventually left him and went to London.

Besant’s intellectual life flourished once she was her own. In 1877, she and close friend Charles Bradlaugh published a book by American birth-control campaigner Charles Knowlton. Their position was that to be happy and financially secure, working families had to be able to decide how many children to have. The book triggered massive public debate – as well as the arrest of Besant and Bradlaugh. Although the case against them was eventually thrown out on a technicality, the furore surrounding Besant had personal repercussions: arguing that Besant was unfit to be a mother, Besant’s husband took full custody of their two children.

Besant campaigned on behalf of poor Londoners, working closely with playwright George Bernard Shaw and members of the social-campaigning Fabian Society. She was elected to the London School Board, and struggled to win better wages and working conditions for match-factory and dockyard workers. As someone who’d always been proud of her Irish background (at a time when the Irish were often regarded as racially inferior to the English), she believed in Home Rule in Ireland and made the logical leap to India, too: her public lectures, articles, and demonstrations in favour of Indian independence were a very real part of the movement’s success.

Like Victoria Woodhull, Besant’s interests were strongly influenced by her own experiences – a failed marriage, marginal ancestry, a loss of Christian faith. However, Besant’s passionate interest in the poor and the politically oppressed also guided her towards direct political action against government. Both Woodhull and Besant, though – firebrands in the brightest, strongest sense of the word - flouted conventions of gender, social class, and polite behaviour to fight for what they so deeply believed to be right.

Do I still have your attention? If so, follow the tour tomorrow to Lizzy’s Cornucopia of Reviews when my attention shifts from deliberate firebrands to reluctant revolutionaries.

Traveling to Teens Tour: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Genre: Historical/Mystery

Release Date: 8/10/2010

Books in Series: A Spy in the House, The Body at the Tower

Add to Goodreads

Visit Traveling to Teens

About the Book: Mary Quinn, detective for The Agency, is back! A body has been found at St. Stephen's Tower-was it an accident or foul play? In order to find out the truth, Mary goes undercover as twelve-year-old working boy Mark Quinn. Disguised as Mark, she hopes to get closer to the men at the worksite and find out what happened. But Mary's disguise as a boy might not be working as well as she thought, she's not sure who she can trust, and James is back-and just might prove to be a big distraction.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I was a huge fan of the first book in this series, A Spy in the House, and when I love a book that much, the sequels make me nervous. But I didn't need to worry because The Body at the Tower proves that Y.S. Lee is a master storyteller who rules the historical mystery.

The banter I loved from the first book between Mary and James was back-and with things heating up between them, I kept the pages turning and I think James may be a new book crush! I still adore The Agency and I want to know more about them. I'd be OK with The Agency spin-off novels about Anne and Felicity, the women who rule the female detective operation!:)

Because this job requires Mary to disguise herself in boy's clothing, we get a peek into Mary's past. I thought her hesitancy about taking the job were believable and I liked getting to more about her life before The Agency found her. We also get to see Mary's struggle with her heritage and culture, which I think gives these books an extra twist and makes them stand out. Even though Mary says she's going to hide her past and her heritage, I think there's more to learn there, so I'm hoping we find out more about her father in the next book.

I did have a harder time getting into the mystery in this book than I did the first one, but I think that was due to the fact that the mystery took place on a building site, which is something I'm not familiar with. So there were a few times that I felt a little lost in the setting because I was having to learn about Victorian building sites and equipment on top of figuring out Mary's mystery.

Even if you're not a fan of historical fiction, these books will pull you in. I love that author Y.S. Lee adds historical details and facts without making me realize it-she's so sneaky about that stuff and I love it! I've already recommended A Spy in the House to many of my teen readers and I can't wait to do the same with The Body at the Tower. Another great read and I can't wait for more of Mary (and hopefully James!)

Book Talk Ideas: Need a mystery solved? Call The Agency, a group of female detectives in Victorian England who will go undercover and solve the case. When a body is found at St. Stephens Tower, Mary Quinn is undercover as a young boy to figure out if it was murder.

Pair it With: I love historical fiction when paired with a mystery! Check out The Case of the Missing Marquess (Enola Holmes Series) by Nancy Springer The Diamond of Drury Lane (Cat Royal Adventures) by Julia Golding, The Season by Sarah MacLean, and The Ruby in the Smoke (Sally Lockhart Series) by Philip Pullman
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