Thursday, September 30, 2010
Release Date: 10/19/2009
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About the Book: Blake has a girlfriend and a friend that's a girl. There's a delicate balance between the two, but everything seems to going OK. But when Blake takes a photo of a homeless woman and finds out that it's his friend Marissa's long-lost meth addicted mom, their friendship slowly starts to change. Blake finds himself caught between two girls-one who needs him and one who loves him-and finds himself learning who he is in the process.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Alright I'm warning you-there will be gushing in this review!! I LOVED Flash Burnout-like totally and completely fell head over heels for this book loved it. This book had everything I could want-a great narrator that I could relate to and an authentic male teen voice, a delicate dance of friendship and romance, a bit of mystery, fantastic character growth, and one of the best YA family's I've read about in a long time.
I think I have a book crush on Blake. His voice is just so authentic and real and he's easy to relate to. He has a great sense of humor and his wry observations about life are great to read. I love that he wants to be a comedian and keeps track of how many times people laugh at his jokes-it's just another fun characteristic that made Blake really stand out to me. Major kudos to the author (who if you didn't know is a girl) for pulling off such a convincing male narrator.
I really liked that while there are two girls in this book that Blake is dealing with, it's not really a love triangle. It really is the story about Blake, his girlfriend, and his friend that's a girl and the delicate dance of relationships they all deal with. The author makes all three characters likeable and you feel for Blake as his dilemma grows. There are moments when I wanted to yell at him because I knew what was coming-I was so invested in his relationship with both Marissa and Shannon.
Blake's family is amazing! It's so hard to find a great family in YA-either the parents aren't there, they're too embarrassing or quirky and the teens don't like them, or they never talk to their teens. OK, so maybe that's not a huge thing for a lot of teen readers, but as an adult who reads YA that's a big deal to me-I like seeing positive adults in YA. Blake's parents are quirky and yes, he's embarrassed by them, but he also wants to talk to them. And they're involved in his life, but not overly protective. He has a very realistic love/hate relationship with his older brother. You knew this was a family that liked each other, valued each other and their time with each other, and that really made the book stand out. I had the same type of relationship with my parents as a teen (I still do) so it's refreshing to see a narrator in a YA novel that spends time with their parents and parents that make time for their teens. Blake's parents are going into my "parents I want to be like when I have teenagers" collection.
The only thing I didn't like was that I read this book just recently. I was at ALA when L.K. Madigan was signing books fresh off her Morris win, but wasn't able to stop by. Now I'm sad I missed her-I hope I can meet her at a future ALA!
Overall, Flash Burnout is a fantastic read. Blake's story is one that once you start, you won't want to stop. I wanted to finish it in one sitting but also wanted it to draw out so it wouldn't end. Seriously, if you haven't read this one, get your hands on it. This is a perfect example of how YA contemporary novels should be written.
Book Pairings: Pair this with any of John Green's titles, fans of John Green's books should enjoy Blake's voice, this could also pair well with Gordon Korman's Born to Rock-both feature characters coming into their own
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook purchased from Audible
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
How to Grow Up and Rule the World by Vordak the Incomprehensible
If you have not read this book, you need to get your hands on it ASAP! This is one of the funniest tween books I have read and this is topping my gift list for tweens-you know what I'm getting them for Christmas! I've even had teens on my teen library council read it and love it, so it has a wide age appeal. It will appeal to the Wimpy Kid crowd and there's a layer of humor that parents and adults will appreciate.
I'm delighted to have Vordak the Incomprehensible visit GreenBeanTeenQueen!
Welcome Vordak-thanks for doing an interview. I know you're busy taking over the world.
What tips do you have for librarians (like me) that want to be a librarian supervillain?
Wear an intimidating mask, unleash your Evil Laugh as frequently as possible (“That will be due back on October 17th. MUAHAHAHAHA!!”) and have at least one tank of bloodthirsty piranha on hand to intimidate your patrons into total silence.
I'm so going to do that! I'll work on perfecting my evil laugh!:) If you were stranded on an island, what five books would you take with you to read?
For the sake of your blog readers, I will agree to accept the premise of this question, even though the very thought of Vordak the Incomprehensible being stranded ANYWHERE is utterly preposterous.
I would bring four copies of my own Epic Opus, How to Grow Up and Rule the World, so that as one wore out, I would have another to replace it. My fifth selection would be a manual on book maintenance and repair, which would enable me to keep the final copy of my book in acceptable reading condition for as long as necessary.
Do you think libraries can help your minions in taking over the world?
Absolutely! The greater the number of children exposed to my Glorious Guide, the better the chances that one of them ends up conquering the planet. However, every library must meet certain requirements in order to carry my Prestigious Publication:
- Your library must install a V-731 Priceless Object Display Vault to hold the book—one vault per copy. Vaults are available directly through me for $75,000 each, batteries not included.
- No other books may be shelved within twenty-five feet of my own venerable volume. Inferior words, sentences, and paragraphs must not be allowed to permeate the pages of my prodigious publication.
- Life-size statues of me, Vordak the Incomprehensible, must be placed at all entrances to your building. Contact me directly for a list of preferred sculptors in your area.
- Due to its priceless nature, young patrons who check out a copy of How to Grow Up and Rule the World! must leave something substantial, such as their parent’s automobile or a younger sibling, as a deposit.
I also recommend that libraries organize groups where children can gather and discuss all things Vordak and get to work creating their diabolically evil names, developing their blood-curdlingly evil laughs and designing their outlandishly evil costumes. Remember, if a child from your particular community ends up ruling the world, you want him/her viewing the library as helpful in his/her ascent.
Of course I can, but why anyone would care in the least is beyond me. In fact, the task of chronicling this pair’s chronic lack of achievement is so far beneath me that I will simply regurgitate their bios from the publisher. Feel free to stop reading at any time should the contents of you stomach begin to turn on you.
Scott Seegert was selected to transcribe Vordak’s notes based on his ability to be easily captured. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and, in a former life, was an engineer. Then a stay-at-home dad. Then an engineer. Then a stay-at-home dad. Since “joining” Vordak, he has completely forgotten what fresh air smells like and has learned to subsist on a diet of beetles, shackle rust and scabs. He hasn’t brushed his teeth in over seventeen months. As far as he knows, he still has a wife and three children living in southeast Michigan.
John Martin had the great misfortune of being chosen by Vordak to illustrate this book. He is a graduate of The College of Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan and has a degree in Graphic Communication/Illustration. He worked for a prominent design studio for ten years prior to starting his own freelance illustration business. But that is all in the past, now. John hasn’t seen the sun in three years and spends his free time counting down the months to his annual change of underwear. He is deathly afraid of the dark and spiders, which is unfortunate considering his situation. The last he heard, he also had a wife and three children living in southeast Michigan.
You've entered the literary world and I think you are doing good taking it over. What book do you think is the biggest competition that you need to take down?
Without question my Arch Book Nemesis is the Wimpy Kid. And, unfortunately, he is about 40 million copies ahead of me at the moment. Imagine—a stick-legged little middle school slacker ahead of the Heinously Helmeted Handsomeness that is ME, Vordak the Incomprehensible! But this I promise you—Wimpy Kid won’t help any young person achieve total conquest of the planet. Well, unless they were to stand on a stack of them to reach the copy of How to Grow Up and Rule the World on the top shelf.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
Release Date: November 23, 2010
Need to Know: Orson Scott Card has a readership among teens and adults, so expect his new series to have wide appeal. Rigg is a boy who can see the path’s of people’s paths, but when his father dies, Rigg learns secrets that were kept from him and the fact that he can change his past-and his future.
What if it’s not in: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix, The Softwire by P.J. Haarsma, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Release Date: September 21, 2010
Need to Know: The horror offering of the “Penguin Five”, Brenna Yovanoff is Maggie Stiefvater’s (of Shiver fame) critique partner and Maggie offers a blurb on the book which is sure to help it sell. The two along with their other critique partner Tessa Graton, have a website, The Merry Sisters of Fate, where they post short stories, that has a strong fanbase. Add the need for great YA horror stories and this one should do well.
What if it’s not in: Dark Secrets by Elizabeth Chandler, Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link, The Midnighters by Scott Westerfeld, The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding,
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Need to Know: Jennifer Donnelly’s first YA novel, A Northern Light, won a Printz Honor Award. Now seven years later she has another YA novel that combines two girls from two time periods-Andi in current day Brooklyn and Alexandrine in Paris 200 years ago. Their stories begin to weave after Andi discovers Alexandrine’s diary.
What if it’s not in: The Explosionist by Jenny Davidson, Illyria by Elizabeth Hand, Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Release Date: October 5, 2010
Need to Know: Zombies are becoming more and more popular in YA. Rot and Ruin is set in a zombie infested post-apocalyptic America and the main character has just gotten an apprenticeship as a zombie hunter.
What if it’s not in: The Enemy by Charlie Higson, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon, How to Be a Zombie by Serena Valentino, Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
Virals by Kathy Reichs
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Need to Know: Kathy Reichs joins the adult authors writing for YA trend with Virals, the first in a new YA series. The series mixes mystery with science and teens with animal instincts (ala Maximum Ride). I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one have adult fans as well as teens-give this to the same readers who are waiting for the next Maximum Ride book.
What if it’s not: The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen, The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, Double Helix by Nancy Werlin
You by Charles Benoit
Release Date: August 24, 2010
Need to Know: The ARC of this book has tons of buzz and advance praise from authors. Charles Benoit has authored three adult mysteries and this is his first YA novel. The buzz surrounding it says it’s a realistic and emotional read, so readers looking for great realistic fiction should pick this one up.
What if it’s not in: Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson, Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes, novels by Chris Crutcher, Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas
Z by Michael Thomas Ford
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Need to Know: Zombies combined with video games. Josh is the best zombie torcher in his virtual reality zombie hunting game. But Josh finds an underground gaming league that’s isn’t virtual and all reality.
What if it’s not in: For zombie fans, see list for Rot and Ruin. For gaming fans, try Z. Rex by Steve Cole, Bunker 10 by J.A. Henderson, Epic by Conor Kostic
Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Release Date: September 21, 2010
Need to Know: Zombies Vs. Unicorns started as an online debate between authors choosing one team or another and has morphed into a short story collection with YA authors debating which side is better.
What if it’s not in: Readers should check out the titles by the various authors listed in the anthology. For readers wanting more short story collections from YA authors, try The Eternal Kiss, Geektastic, Love is Hell, Prom Nights from Hell, Vacations from Hell
Friday, September 24, 2010
-I love this post in Entertainment Weekly about celebrities tweeting about The Hunger Games. Also, be sure to check out Mockingjay.net for great videos featuring Abigail Breslin and Kristin Chenowith and their thoughts on being in the movie. And in more Hunger Games movie news, Lionsgate has an official Hunger Games movie Facebook page.
-There's a live action Goosebumps movie in the works. Carl Ellsworth is writing the screenplay. The books and DVDs are so hugely popular at my library with the tween crowd, I know they'll be thrilled with this news. OK, can I admit that even though I'm an adult that series still manages to freak me out??? Thanks to Cynopsis Kids for the news.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Release Date: 5/5/2009
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About the Book: Poor Bella Kirkwood. She's been made to move from New York City, where she was popular, had a best friend, a loving boyfriend and Daddy's credit card, to boring Oklahoma all thanks to her mother getting remarried. Bella is not happy with the move and doesn't know how she's going to survive small town life. Now she has to deal with no stores close enough to shop at, a stepfather that has a secret, two stepbrothers, and a journalism editor that assigns Bella stories on school trash. This is so not happening.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I've been a big fan of Jenny B. Jones for a long time now (I love her blog-if you're not reading it, you need to do so!), so when I found out about this series I knew it would be a great read. But you know, I typically hate Christian fiction and what it was overly sappy? I didn't think Jenny would do that to me, but I'll admit, I was nervous. So I put off reading So Not Happening for awhile because I didn't want to hate something that was from someone I consider a friend. And I really didn't want to hate a book written by my friend!
I should have known better. I know Jenny better than to think she would write a sappy message into her story. Instead, this is fun laugh out loud chick-lit This book was actually my comfort book when I ended up having to go to the hospital twice this summer for various things (and I'm fine, no worries!) But having a book that made me laugh and took my mind off where I was was just what I needed and So Not Happening delivered just that.
Bella is hilarious! She rants about Oklahoma and farm life and she gets into the craziest situations. She's dramatic and has an overactive imagination, which leads to some very funny moments. When she suspects there's something more going on with the football team and their secret parties, Bella turns detective and while she's not the perfect sleuth, her adventures are a blast to read about.
There's romance and mystery and chick-lit readers who love their romance with a side of humor will love this one. I did get annoyed at Bella for taking a long time to realize things that I saw coming (she can be a little dense!) but I still had a blast reading about her. The mystery kept me guessing and I didn't see the ending coming. Yes, it is Christian fiction and there's going to be talk of faith, but it's not hitting you over the head with it. I think even readers who don't normally like Christian lit would enjoy the Charmed Life series.
Book Pairings: Pair it with Lisa Samson's Hollywood Nobody series.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from personal library copy, which was sent by the author who is a friend of mine (book was sent as a gift, not for review, but I'm reviewing it anyway).
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
You see, last week I got a very large box with a card that read "An Invitation":
And I when I opened that box, inside was a flower wrapped in book pages and it matched the cover of Nightshade!
Ok, so getting a flower is nice and all (thank you Shay!) but I didn't know there was anything else until I looked more and found this key:
The key was actually a USB so I put it into my computer and author Andrea Cremer popped up on my screen saying "Hi Sarah" (Yes I squeeled!) and that she had seen Journey live singing "Don't Stop Believin" (she said not to be jealous, but I'm sorry Andrea, I just can't help it-that's so not fair!!) She then told me about this awesome new video series that one of Nightshade's characters is creating. Check out Shay's first video blog:
Shay also has a Facebook page where you can leave comments for Shay. Shay's also got his vidoes posted at Nightshadebook.com You can even send texts to Shay's phone.
But that's not even the coolest part!! All of Shay’s adventures will become an official Nightshade prequel written by author Andrea Cremer. Help Shay, and you could find yourself a character in the story! How cool is that? An interactive Facebook page and website with a fictional character who sends me flowers and then a chance to become part of his story? Um, yes please!!! Isn't this one of the coolest book marketing plans ever? I love it!
Now off to watch Shay's videos and comment on his Facebook page. (And if any of you start to crush on him too, just let me remind you-he sent me flowers!) Don't forget Nightshade hits bookstores October 19th!
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Need to Know: Halo is written by an Australian teen author making her US debut. The story involves three angels who visit Earth and one of the angels finds herself drawn to a human boy. There’s a planned trilogy, so paranormal fans will be eagerly awaiting each volume. I’ve had guys and girls read this one and rave about it.
What if it’s not in: Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Fallen by Lauren Kate, Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens, Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Release Date: October 18, 2010
Need to Know: Dystopian meets issue driven. The first in a series, Hunger is the story of an anorexic girl who is the new Horseman of the Apocalypse, Famine.
What if it’s not in: For realistic issue driven novels try: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, novels by Ellen Hopkins, Sweethearts by Sara Zarr, For dystopian try: Feed by M.T. Anderson, The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen, Skinned by Robin Wasserman
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Release Date: August 3, 2010
Need to Know: Pittacus Lore is the pseudonym of James Frey and Jobie Hughes and I Am Number Four is another trying to be big series with six books planned. Think of this as Twilight with aliens, a big screen movie with star power behind it (Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg are producing) is due in theaters in February.
What if it’s not in: Old Magic by Marianne Curley, Dancing with an Alien by Mary Logue, Roswell High by Melinda Metz, The Doom Machine by Mark Teague, Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn
Jane by April Lindner
Release Date: October 11, 2010
Need to Know: A contemporary re-telling of Jane Eyre, the tag line is “what if Jane Eyre fell in love with a rock star?”
What if it’s not in: Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle, The Heights by Brian James, Wuthering High by Cara Lockwood, Beauty by Robin McKinley, Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman, Impossible by Nancy Werlin
The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
Release Date: December 7, 2010
Need to Know: The TV series based on Pretty Little Liars has a big following, and with that book series over, readers will be eager to get their hands on this one. It’s being billed as a cross between Pretty Little Liars and The Lovely Bones.
What if it’s not in: She’s So Dead to Us by Kate Brian, Top 8 by Katie Finn, The Luxe by Anna Godbersen, Paper Towns by John Green, Deception by Lee Nichols, Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag, The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
Matched by Ally Condie
Release Date: November 30, 2010
Need to Know: Matched is the book to know this Fall and is the dystopian offering of the Penguin five. Sold in a seven figure three book deal at auction, Matched is the story of a future society where people are “matched” together-but Cassia falls for someone other than her “match.” Matched has buzz about it being the next big thing.
What if it’s not in: Candor by Pam Bachorz, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson, The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan,
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Need to Know: Themis Academy is a boarding school with a secret society known as The Mockingbirds who make it their job to right the wrongs of their peers. There has been a lot of buzz building online for this debut author.
What if it’s not in: I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter, The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy, Alphas by Lisi Harrison, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Release Date: October 19, 2010
Need to Know: The paranormal offering from “the Penguin five” Nightshade is a werewolf love story.
What if it’s not in: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin, Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne, Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson, Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Need to Know: Don’t let the dark cover fool you-this one is a lighter chick lit take on the Paranormal. There’s mystery and romance and lots of humor and with Kiersten White’s online fan following, this one will have lots of readers. (Update: I wrote that before the book debuted on the NY Times Bestseller List! I'm feeling somewhat psychic!:)
What if it’s not in: Bite Me! by Melissa Francis, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey, Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley, Stupid Cupid by Rhonda Stapleton
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The Magnificent Twelve: The Call by Michael Grant
About the Book: Twelve-year-old Mack MacAvoy suffers from a serious case of mediumness. Medium looks. Medium grades. Medium parents who barely notice him. With a list of phobias that could make anyone crazy, Mack never would have guessed that he is destined for a more-than-medium life.
And then, one day, something incredibly strange happens to Mack. A three-thousand-year-old man named Grimluk appears in the boys’ bathroom to deliver some startling news: Mack is one of the Magnificent Twelve, called the Magnifica in ancient times, whatever that means. An evil force is on its way, and it’s up to Mack to track down eleven other twelve-year-olds in order to stop it. He must travel across the world to battle the wicked Pale Queen’s dangerous daughter, Ereskigal—also known as Risky. But Risky sounds a little scary, and Mack doesn’t want to be a hero. Will he answer the call?
About the Author: MICHAEL GRANT is nothing like Mack MacAvoy. He travels all over the globe, he has a bit of a sarcastic streak, and he secretly suffers from belonephobia, a fear of needles. Seriously: Do not invite him to a sewing bee. Or a tattoo parlor. Okay, fine, maybe he’s a little like Mack MacAvoy.
Michael is the New York Times bestselling author of the Gone series and has written a total of 150 books (yes, you read that right: one hundred and fifty). He wrote most of his books with his wife, Katherine Applegate (K.A.), but the action-packed thrillers in the Gone series are all his. As is his newest series, the Magnificent Twelve, in which he delves into his inner (or, some might say, not so inner) child to create Mack, the unlikeliest of heroes. When Michael isn’t busy writing, he likes to travel, stare blankly at the TV, waste hours clicking aimlessly around the internet, listen to rock music and sing along in a nasal voice, complain, and go out to eat.
The book also has an interactive website that is very cool and worth checking out!
I started reading The Magnificent 12 and it's full of action and humor and I think young tweens will love it!
Want to win a copy?
CONTEST DETAILS: (1) Official SIGNED HARDCOVER BOOK of THE MAGNIFICENT 12
-Winner must be in the US and have a non PO box shipping address
-Winner must claim the prize within 14 days of contest end date
-Contest ends September 28
-Fill out form below to win
Add your own Tween Tuesday post and join in the Tween Tuesday fun!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Release Date: 9/14/2010
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About the Book: (From Goodreads) Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands of years before down to the last detail—and abuse has never been a part of it. But when thirteen-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend has suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her community try to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Hush is a powerfully haunting book. The author is writing under a pseudonym and by writing this book is giving a voice to all those who have remained silent, and with Hush I believe she does.
The book flashes back and forth between the past and present for the first half, which works really well. You get to understand Gittel and how much keeping silent has tortured her which really makes the reader feel for her and with her. I felt Gittel’s pain and while I might not like that she’s remained silent for years, because there are glimpses into her past and her life in Borough Park, in some ways I understood why. I think that’s what makes this book stand out. We are seeing the Chassidim and Borough Park through Gittel’s eyes and we get to experience their way of life, as different as it may be from our own.
Normally I like a lot of dialogue in my books, and while Hush has dialogue, it’s much more of a narrative. And while that isn’t my usual style and I get irritated and flip to where there’s more dialogue, Hush is written in a way that pulls you in and it’s hard to put it down. Once I finished I couldn’t stop thinking about it-like Gittel, I was haunted by the story.
Yes, it’s heartbreaking, but also has moments of humor and is not just a book about religion and abuse, but is a coming of age story about a girl who starts to question what she’s known. Hush is a must read book of 2010 and a book that readers won’t soon forget.
Book Pairings: The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Want to win a copy of Hush? Fill out the form below. Contest is for 13+, ends September 30
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher for Blog Tour
Friday, September 17, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Please welcome author Kathryn Lasy to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Kathryn Lasky is the Newbery Honor author of over one hundred fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults. She lives with her husband in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can visit her online at http://www.kathrynlasky.com/
A meditation on heroes, superheroes and anti-heroes
I have always been fascinated by the hero’s journey which became
Soren’s journey in Guardians of Ga’Hoole. To my mind there are three kinds of models for hero characters in fiction writing -- the super hero, the anti-hero, and the everyday ordinary hero. I have a definite preference for the third model. The super hero’s extraordinary powers—X-ray vision, iron clad suit, or outrageous muscles—may be exciting for some, but not so believable for me. The anti-hero is often deeply attractive because he or she is so completely antithetical to the heroic criteria that one can begin to identify with such characters. But the ordinary hero, without the advantage of any special powers, seems to me to be the most courageous.
That’s why I wrote Soren the Barn owl in Guardians of Ga’Hoole as an ordinary hero. He skirts close to many anti-hero models but does not quite cross over. He is outwardly ordinary like the characters in several heroic stories that I loved as a child. But these characters possess something that makes them responsible in spite of themselves, and it is this that sets them apart. Soren’s closest friends are three other owls of different species—Gylfie, Digger and Twilight. They too are flawed and must find their own heroic arc. My late editor Craig Walker once wrote me a wonderful editorial letter and here is a condensed version:
“Of our four heroes, Soren and Gylfie are at the heart of the story. It is their special bond that holds the four together. Each has a special gift… The story, after we establish that these four are "the chosen," progresses as a quest for the tools to combat the evil. It is complicated by the fact that Soren's brother, Kludd, is on the dark side and further complicated because Eglantine, their sister, is a pawn between the two. She really represents what is to be saved—the ordinary, blameless owls who just want to live peacefully and without fear. Her fate, like the owl kingdom itself, depends on the victory of good over evil.
At the same time, our heroes are not totally on their own. There is a history of owl wisdom—perhaps a golden age of owls…a lost kingdom that is now only a Camelot kind of memory. But, it was a time of enlightened, heroic individuals that our four can take inspiration from. The repository of this great past, or all that's left of it, is now found in the almost legendary Great Ga'Hoole Tree. It is a kind of Valhalla—maybe real, maybe a dream, but a source of all that is good and wise about owls. It is the ideal that our heroes, once inspired by, must take to their hearts, must make their own. It is the source of that rare thing that has always set owls apart—it is the feeling in the gizzard that makes them more than they are. And, it represents a past and a future worth preserving, worth fighting for, no matter what the consequences.”
One of the many things that really thrills me about Zack Snyder’s film LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS, based on the first three books, is Jim Sturgess’s wonderful interpretation of Soren. Jim’s performance has no bluster and he has managed to capture Soren’s vulnerability. That to me makes Soren a believable hero.
Zack Snyder has worked brilliantly with the actors, bringing out amazing performances. For nearly ten years I have lived with all of these characters’ voices in my head and then to hear them voiced by a great cast of actors that includes Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, was overwhelming to me. I started crying. Writing the Ga’Hoole series was a long and personal experience, so strangely, I almost felt as if I had been away—lonely and away for a long time— and I was now back and being welcomed by long lost friends—even the bad guys!
Support your nocturnal reading habit with a combination travel pillow/ reading light and a copy of Guardians of Ga’hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky!
-Must be 13+ US Address to win
-Fill out Google Doc
-Contest ends Sept. 29 at midnight central time
Genre: Fantasy/Animal Story
Release Date: 2003
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About the Book: Soren is a young barn owl who has grown up hearing legends of knightly owls from Ga'Hoole. When Soren falls (or is he pushed?) from his nest and ends up being captured by a school for orphaned owls, St. Aggie's. But St. Aggie's isn't as good as it seems and Soren and his new friend Gylfie must discover a way to escape and find out if the legends of the guardians are true.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I'm not a big fan of animal fantasy, but Guardians of Ga'Hoole is a series that I could really get into and enjoy. Kathryn Lasky's writing makes the owls so believable and Soren is a reluctant hero that you want to cheer for.
This is the first book in the series, so while it has a story on it's own, it's also setting up the rest of the series and Soren's journey. All the characters are well written and fun to read about and I really liked the owl mythology.
Sensitive readers should also be warned that this isn't a nice little story about animals-there are mean characters and some casualties. But the story is engaging and entertaining and fans of animal fantasy are sure to find a series to get hooked on.
Book Pairings: The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins, Warriors Series by Erin Hunter
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook CD from library
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Release Date: 1/1/2008
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About the Book: When Franny's younger sister Zoe meets politician Martha Evergood, Ms. Evergood suggests that Zoe would be a perfect candidate for a private boarding school she is on the board of, Allbright Academy. Allbright was founded by two Nobel Prize winning scientists and the program is for the best and the brightest and tailored to their skills and learning style to give them the best education. Zoe's condition of acceptance is that her siblings have to join her. So all three Sharp siblings are accepted to Allbright. But while at Allbright, Franny and Zoe start to change. Their younger brother notice it as well as Franny's best friend back home. But is being perfect such a bad thing? Or is there something more going on at Allbright Academy?
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Although not a really a dystopian novel, The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy, could be a good introduction for tweens. There are defiantly some eerie things going on at Allbright and this is a book about tweens against evil adults.
The book itself is a fast read and the mystery is interesting enough to hold young readers. As an adult reader, I wish the mystery had been a bit more fleshed out and not so easily solved (it felt a bit Nancy Drew-ish and too easy). I also thought some of the pop culture references were a bit odd and I wasn't sure if many tweens will get them. But I think if they don't they'll just overlook them and enjoy the mystery and rebelling against bad adults storyline.
This one is good for young tween mystery readers (the main character is in eighth grade, but I think the appeal is actually younger). I'm sure many tweens will look at this book and wonder if something similar could be going on at their own school!
Book Pairings: Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene, Sammy Keyes by Wendelin Van Drannen, and Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from library copy
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: December 2, 2010
Need to Know: A new addition to the popular YA romance, this one has a girl shipped off to boarding school in Paris. Lots of authors are promoting this one and author Stephanie Perkins has a large online fan base.
What if it’s not in?: Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti, Sea by Heidi Kling, Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald, The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott, The S.A.S.S. series by various authors will appeal to readers looking for tales of romance overseas
Avalon High by Meg Cabot
Release Date: 2007
Need to Know: Meg Cabot’s getting another Disney makeover, this time with her popular Arthurian legend re-telling. The made for TV movie is set to air on Disney channel sometime in the Fall, so expect a new tween following for the book, ala The Princess Diaries.
What if it’s not in: The Revenge of the Shadow King by Derek Benz, The Avalon High Graphic Novels by Meg Cabot, The Squire’s Quest by Gerald Morris, Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve, Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell, I Am Morgan le Fay by Nancy Springer
Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
Release Date: August 24, 2010
Need to Know: YA Science Fiction/Dystopian seems to be taking off, and with a blurb from Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) this one is sure to find a readership. The story is about a group living on Mars and early reviews are calling it “action packed and fast paced.” (Starred Review, Booklist)
What if it’s not in?: Spacer and Rat by Margaret Bechard, The Softwire by P.J. Haarsma, Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson, The Doom Machine by Mark Teague
Bright Young Things by Anna Gobersen
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Need to Know: Anna Godbersen (The Luxe) is back, this time with a tale of scandal in the 1920’s. Fans of The Luxe and Gossip Girl-style reads will be eager to pick this one up.
What if it’s not in?: For readers looking for historical fiction try What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell, Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher, A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson, Vixen by Jillian Larkin (out in December), A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
Release Date: August 10, 2010
Need to Know: One of the “Penguin Five” (five big YA books Penguin is marketing together each releasing a different month August-December) and marketed as the “romance” title. Kirsten Miller has a fanbase from her Kiki Strike books, but this title is older and has more a paranormal storyline.
What if it’s not in: Evernight by Claudia Grey, Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey, The Immortals Series by Alyson Noel, Raven by Allison van Diepen
Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Need to Know: Nancy Werlin’s first paranormal title, Impossible, was marketed to YA and adults and has good crossover appeal. Extraordinary marks her second paranormal outing, this time with faeries.
What if it’s not in: Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog, Lament and Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater, The Tree Shepherd’s Daughter by Gillian Summers, The New Policeman by Kate Thompson
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Need to Know: Debut author featuring a fantasy star crossed romance about a girl descended from dragons and a boy who is a dragon hunter.
What if it’s not in: Graceling and Fire by Kristen Cashore, The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, The Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent, The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott
Glee: The Beginning by Sophia Lowell
Release Date: August 3, 2010
Need to Know: Following the success of Glee’s first season comes the Glee prequel which tells the story of the shows characters before the Glee club started. A second novel, Glee: Foreign Exchange is out in February.
What if it’s not in: Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford, My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger, No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman (it’s my go-to Glee read-alike!), Dramarama by E. Lockhart, The Drama! Series by Paul Ruditis,
Grace by Elizabeth Scott
Release Date: September 16, 2010
Need to Know: Elizabeth Scott is continually surprising readers and she can write anything. This is her first outing into a dystopian novel, although Grace is quieter than other popular dystopian lit and takes a thoughtful look at the power of one.
What if it’s not in: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Declaration by Gemma Malley, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien
Part two and three to come!
Friday, September 10, 2010
-Stardoll has teamed up with Random House to create an interactive paranormal story online called Mortal Kiss. The story is a collaboration between authors, editors and artists at Stardoll and the main characters will have dolls on Stardoll as well. Thanks for Cynopsis Kids for the news.
-If you've been in a store that carries toys lately, you might have noticed the dolls for Monster High. The book, written by Lisi Harrison, was released not too long ago and there's a huge marketing line to go along with it. The dolls are like Barbie dolls, only for the characters in the book. (I'm loving the one with the black and pink hair!) There's also a website with short animated videos and a movie in the works. I haven't had any tweens or teens ask about the book yet, but there was a huge display at Target for them, so I'm sure there will be some interest.
-Zap2It has a suggestion of a girl to play Renesmee in Breaking Dawn. I think she looks pretty cute although older than I thought Renesmee aged too. But maybe they're going to make her age faster to make the imprinting thing less creepy?
-I love this TV spot for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One-I can't wait!!
And because Melissa mentioned it, here's the Monster High music video. Thanks Melissa!
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Need to Know: Probably the biggest need to know middle-grade/young adult release of 2010. From the author of the Percy Jackson series, The Kane Chronicles is the story of two teens and Egyptian mythology. With the same mix of adventure and humor, fans will be eager to get their hands on this one. A new Camp Halfblood series is expected in October.
What if it’s not in: Warrior Princess (and sequel) by Frewin Jones, Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner (and sequel), Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy, The Shadow Thieves (and sequels) by Ann Ursu, The Magic Thief (and sequel) by Sarah Prineas, Gods of Manhattan (and sequel) by Scott Mebus
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Release Date: April 13, 2010
Need to Know: The sequel to Perfect Chemistry, these books are perfect for readers looking for contemporary romance. They have a Romeo and Juliet feel and very steamy.
What if it’s not in: Simone Elkeles has other titles-Leaving Paradise and the How to Ruin series, Bloom by Elizabeth Scott, Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Release Date: Volumes 1-5 out now, Volume 6 out July 20, 2010
Need to Know: While not a YA graphic novel series, this one definitely has older teen appeal. Scott is a 20-something who meets and falls for Ramona Flowers. But before he can date her, he has to defeat her seven evil exes. A big screen adaptation starring Michael Cera in the title role hits theaters in August.
What if it’s not in: This one is pretty unique so read alikes aren’t that easy. Suggest some of the Minx comics titles (Plain Janes, Good as Lilly, Clubbing, Kimmie66)
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
Release Date: June 5, 2010
Need to Know: Just when we thought Twilight was over, a new “novella” is released-and just before the Eclipse movie. This is the story of Bree, a human-turned vampire who appears in Eclipse (for all of ten pages, so you might not remember her appearance!) Twilight fans will be asking for this one I’m sure.
What if it’s not in: See previous paranormal lists-might also suggest paranormal short story collections
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Release Date: June 7, 2010
Need to Know: A darker entry into the paranormal lit world. Wolves, sisters, and modern fairy-tale re-telling of Snow White and Rose Red, Sisters Red already has a long list of author blurbs and glowing reviews. Good for paranormal fans looking for darker more suspenseful fare.
What if it’s not in: See previous paranormal lists. For darker reads, suggest Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey, Holly Black, Francesca Lia Block, Laurie Faria Stolarz
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Release Date: March 9, 2010
Need to Know: This book boasts a long list of glowing accolades from numerous YA authors on its cover, and it’s very deserving. This is a stick with you long after you read it book. The story is about Lennie, a girl whose older sister died suddenly and now in her grief finds herself torn between two boys-her sister’s ex-boyfriend and the new boy in town. Beautiful writing and a great cast of characters. It’s heartwarming and a tearjerker all at the same time-great for Sarah Dessen fans.
What is it’s not in: Authors: Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Scott, Sonya Sones, Deb Caletti, Susane Colasanti, Lisa Schroeder Titles: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel, Artichoke’s Heart by Suzanne Supplee
White Cat by Holly Black
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Need to Know: A new series from Holly Black, this paranormal is told from a male perspective. Cassel comes from a family of curse-workers, but he has no magic himself. He believes that he’s the one that murdered his best friend Lila three years before. But now Cassel finds out the whole thing might be a con and that Lila might still be alive.
What if it’s not in: Holly Black has several other titles available, Laurie Faria Stolarz, Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, Ballad by Maggie Stiefavater, Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima, Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Release Date: April 6, 2010
Need to Know: Two NYT Bestselling YA authors together in one novel-this one of course debuted on the NYT Bestseller list. Two boys both named Will Grayson meet one night in Chicago and their lives begin to intertwine.
What if it’s not in: Both author’s have numerous previous books. Going Bovine by Libba Bray, Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart