Tuesday, May 31, 2011

President Snow Cast!

It's official. Donald Sutherland has been cast as President Snow in The Hunger Games Movie. Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan and I were eagerly awaiting this casting, and we both think this is pretty much perfect (well, Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan says perfect as an actor, but he pictured Snow to look a bit different). I'm very excited about the whole cast and I can't wait for the movie!

What do you think?

Guest Post: Uma Krishnaswami

Please welcome Uma Krishnaswami, author of The Grand Plan to Fix Everything! I love hearing about libraries, especially libraries around the world-I hope you do too!

In Praise of Two Libraries, Forty Years and Half a World Apart

Libraries were not a part of my early childhood. I grew up in several cities in various parts of India and public libraries were not as central to communities are they are in the US. We had a lending library in one of the neighborhoods we lived in, where you paid a small fee for each book you borrowed. It dealt mostly in comic books, which I borrowed from time to time despite the fact that my parents disapproved of them heartily. I had a small collection of children's books that I just read over and over. When I got tired of them my parents were quite willing to buy me more. They didn't buy me everything I ever asked for, but they never said no to books.

I was 15 when a library became a part of my life. We had moved to the mountain state of Himachal Pradeah, to a town called Simla. Its name has now been changed to a more accurate Indian spelling--Shimla--but back then the Anglicized names from the British Raj were still around. After getting settled into temporary housing, my mother and I set out to see the town. It was winter and there was snow on the ground--a thrilling novelty to me, coming from India's hot plains to this hill town. At one end of a wide open space known as The Ridge stood a confection of a building, all beams and peaked roof, next to a neo-Gothic church. The mock Tudor building was a library.

"Let's go in and see what they have," my mother said. We did, and I was hooked! In the next few months, I read all of Jane Austen's novels. They had the lot, all on one shelf, musty and beautiful with flimsy, crackling pages. I read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mark Twain and Dickens. I read the Victorian poets, who all sounded vaguely familiar and somewhat alike--until I came to Yeats, and sensed the magic of shaping language to have an emotional effect. I read Tagore's Gitanjali with a foreword by that very same Yeats, and began to get a faint glimpse of the fellowship among writers.

The librarian was an elderly man who was delighted by my enthusiasm. He was used to local retirees coming in to read the newspapers and magazines, with an occasional student or recreational reader wanting to check books out. You could only take out two at a time, so I walked a lot to the library and back, and every time I came in he'd have suggestions for me. I don't remember his name (maybe I never knew it in the first place) but I owe him a great debt.

Today the Internet informs me that the Tudorbethan building is home to the State Library of Himachal Pradesh. I'm happy to hear that it's still a library. I wonder if they still have a Jane Austen collection.

Fast forward forty years to the public library I use the most: Farmington Public Library in San Juan County, New Mexico. Without this library, I literally could not live in this relatively remote place and do what I do. It is my lifeline to the world of books. I use it constantly. I'm grateful for it. I marvel at it. It is an astonishing place staffed by people who love and know books, and who are committed to connecting patrons with the material and information they need. The Youth Services people are special heroes in this department. They reach out to a huge service area. They run a teen room. They brought graphic novels into the collection when the form was still being seen by many as a passing fad. I could happily lose myself anywhere in this place, but the children's section is a particular delight.

Sometimes it saddens me that there are places where people are hungry for books and learning and don't have access to them. Then I hear about projects like Ethiopia Reads and Room to Read and Boi Gari. And I know there's hope.

Here's to libraries, past and present, and the dedicated people who staff them, support them, and make them possible.

Uma also created a video of her library in Farmington and I'm so glad she did! It's so fun to see other libraries and I hope to visit the Farmington library someday. Be sure to check out the storyhour room doors-they're amazing!!

There's also a contest!!

A Grand Giveaway! Three lucky Grand Prize winners will each receive one copy of THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING along with a starry assortment of bangles and trinkets that Dolly Singh, famous famous Bollywood movie star, would adore! An additional 3 runners-up will receive a copy of THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING. To enter, send an e-mail to GrandPlanGiveaway@gmail.com. In the body of the e-mail, include your name, mailing address, and e-mail address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 6/30/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 7/1/11 and notified via email.

Tween Tuesday: The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Kishnaswami

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

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 5/24/2011

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About the Book: Dini's parents have just announced that they're moving to India for two whole years! Dini can't believe her parents are making her move away from her best friend Maddie and now she has to miss out on the Bollywood dance class she and Maddie were going to take. But India is home to Dini and Maddie's favorite movies and their favorite Bollywood star, Dolly Singh. Dini's parents aren't moving to Bombay, the movie capital of India, but instead to a small town called Swapnagiri. Surprises are ahead for Dini as she discovers that her favorite star might be closer than she thinks-and Dini has a plan to meet her idol.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Our summer reading theme this year for the kids program is One World, Many Stories, and I can't wait to highlight The Grand Plan to Fix Everything as a great read for our theme! Ms. Kishnaswami transports readers to Swapnagiri and throws us right into a storyline that is a wonderful nod to Dini's favorite Bollywood films.

I did think at times Dini seemed a bit younger than an eleven-year-old and at the beginning the narration seemed a bit simplistic. But it picked up and got better as the story went on, so maybe I was just being a bit picky at first.

The story is mainly about Dini, but there are many supporting characters that appear and we learn about their stories as well. It's a somewhat silly story and you have to suspend some belief, but that's the charm of the book. The book really does read like a script for a Bollywood film complete with some zany and charming characters, a romance, random happenstance and coincidence-I even expected the characters to break out into song!

Dini might be eleven, but I would hand this one over to early tween readers looking for a funny, light story that will take them to a new part of the world. The book has fantastic illustrations that accompany the story and the book is fast paced-I read it in one sitting. There's plenty of humor and madcap fun to keep readers engaged.

Book Pairings: Dini reminded me a lot of Allie Finkle, so I think fans of Meg Cabot's tween series would enjoy this book. I'd also pair with the Popularity Papers: Book Two by Amy Ignatow, which also features best friends separated by a move to a new country.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

YA Movie News

I know, I know-late on the movie news, but forgive me OK?:)

-The biggest news this week was that Lenny Kravitz was cast as Cinna in The Hunger Games movie. I'll admit, I pictured Cinna younger, but I'm pretty happy with this choice!

-OK, if this poster doesn't get you incredibly excited about the upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 movie, I don't know what will!! The Neville poster is awesome as well:

-Deadline.com posted a teaser poster for Breaking Dawn: Part 1. Not the most exciting poster, but hey-it's movie news, right?:)

-Summit Entertainment has a director, Matt Reeves, and a writer, Jacob Estes, attached to the adaptation of Kennth Oppel's upcoming YA novel, This Dark Endeavor. The novel is a prequel to Frankenstein. Thanks to Cynopsis Kids for the news!

-MTV is reporting that Lindsey Lohan is up for the lead role in the remake of Stephen King's Carrie.

-MTV also reports that the movie version of Max Brooks book World War Z is set for a summer production start. The film stars Brad Pitt and I'm sure I'll have teens who can't wait for this movie-they're all about zombies now and even though the book isn't YA, it sure is popular with my zombie fan teens!

I am getting so excited about ABC Family's upcoming series The Nine Lives of Chloe King!! Anyone else think the series looks awesome? I need to get ahead and read the books first!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hardcover to Paperback

I was browsing through upcoming YA releases and thought I'd do another post about hardcovers to paperbacks. This time though instead of posting about hardcovers to paperbacks that made me want to pick up the book, I thought I'd post about books where the cover change seemed to change the focus of the book.

First up: The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Here's the hardcover-which to me reflects the premise of a girl who likes a friends boyfriend (or at least the cover says she likes a boy that maybe she shouldn't, or it's secret, etc):

Now the paperback:

This to me doesn't reflect the book at all. It's a cute cover and I like it as a cover in general but not for this particular book. I also think it looks too much like the covers for the Ruby Oliver series.

Next up: The Mark by Jen Nadol.


-While the book has somewhat of a paranormal aspect to it, it's more of a philosophical book than it is paranormal. I also really like this cover, although I do think it's a tad misleading about the books plot. But at least it's not as misleading as the paperback:

-This makes it look even more paranormal. It reminds me of Meg Cabot's Mediator series. I do like that the cover shows the vision and "mark" the main character sees, I just think the overall feel of the book is more mystery and paranormal than is actually in the book.

Crusade by Nancy Holder


-I like this hardcover cover because I think it has a gender neutral feel to it. I also like the school gates-it looks mysterious. But I can see where it might be a bit boring and my teens would pass on it.

So the paperback:

-To me, this looks like a cross between Vampire Academy and The Hunger Games. (I think she just looks kick butt like Katniss). I think more of my teens at the library would pick this cover up and the focus is more on the main character and her attitude than the hardcover cover.

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern


-I love this cover! Maybe I love it because it's nerdy cute or maybe it's because it's pink and black, my all time favorite color combination. But if you don't know the story or anything about D&D, you might not get the cover.


-The paperback cover has a different take on the nerd part of the story. I really love the attention to the details on the main character-one of her hobbies is sewing skirts out of fun fabric, so I love that that's reflected on the cover. I do think this cover changes the focus to make it look more like a romance, and while there's romance in the story, it's also a story of friendship, self discovery and coming into your own. I still think this cover is nerdy cute though!

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski


-This cover is simple, but I like it. I think it reflects the story well-a girl is able to call her past self and give advice.


-This is a cute cover in general, but I'm not a fan of it for this book. Something about it strikes me as historical-not sure why-I think it's the phone and the shoes. I like it as a cover, but it just doesn't seem to fit this book.

So what do you think? Am I too picky? Do you want the cove to reflect the books contents and plot? Any other covers that changed that seem to change the focus of the book?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tween Tuesday: The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens! Join the fun and add your link below!

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Historical/bit of fantasy

Release Date: 10/1/2010

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About the Book: Frederick is an apprentice in a clockwork shop who is secretly working on his own clockwork man in the hopes of making journeyman.

Hannah is a maid working at a hotel trying to raise money for her family and sick father. When she hears of the possibility of a treasure, Hannah decides to seek her fortune.

Giuseppe was kidnapped from his home in Italy and works as a street musician. He dreams of returning home and when he finds a green violin, he wonders if it holds to key to his passage.

The stories weave together and the three learn that they must work together to help each other solve their problems.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: The Clockwork Three was a book I picked up at ALA last year and even heard the author read from, but nothing about it really sparked my interest. Then I had to read it because of committee reading, so I picked it up.

I liked the book to start and I really enjoyed all three characters. They were engaging and interesting. I did listen to part of it on CD and I was a bit annoyed by the narrator's voice for Frederick-he made him sound "nerdy" which was somewhat distracting. But I think that only came through on audio since I didn't get that when I read portions of the book.

I really liked how the author ended up weaving all three storylines together, although it did take awhile for it to happen, so readers might need some patience to get there. I also felt the ending sort of fizzled out. The explanation of Hannah's treasure, the clockwork man Frederick has been working on, and Giuseppe's green violin all seemed to contrived and coincidental. This annoyed me since I thought once the book got going, it was really interesting and I was eager to see how everything turned out. Instead it just sort of quietly ends and in some ways it felt like the author was trying to wrap things up too quickly (which is odd for a book that's 400 pages long!) I would have liked less build up and a more fleshed out ending.

I do think The Clockwork Three would be a great book for tweens who are "reading up" and looking for something a bit heavier to read. I also think it might hold interest for young readers starting to become interested in steampunk. While this isn't necessarily steampunk, the storyline with automatons and the clockwork man might be of interest to steampunk readers.

Book Parings: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, Larklight by Phillip Reeve, and maybe even Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore for readers who enjoy automatons.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audibook CD I checked out from my local library

Monday, May 23, 2011

Win an ARC of Wither AND Feaver!

You guys remember how much I loved Wither right? It sucked me in and I couldn't put it down! Well, the amazing Lauren DeStefanos is hosting the most amazing contest. Not only is she giving away an ARC of Wither (all personalized, signed, everything you want!) but also an ARC of the sequel, Feaver (which isn't even out yet as an ARC, so you'd be one of the first ones to get your hands on the freshly printed ARCs!) How awesome and amazing is that? Check out Lauren's blog for the details on how to win. And if you win, please promise to share Feaver with me??:)

Tornado Update

Some of you have asked about the tornado that hit last night in Missouri. I'm about an hour away from Joplin, so no damage here, but we are feeling the effects of the storm. Many people have come from Joplin for shelter and have been transferred to local hospitals. The whole area is still in shock over everything and everyone is looking for ways to help.

If you want to help, both Red Cross and Convoy of Hope have texting options to donate:

You can help us respond in #Joplin &continue our work in other states. Txt REDCROSS to 90999, or online: http://bit.ly/eZJDoJ

Donations can be made at www.convoyofhope.org. You may also donate $10 by texting “Convoy” to 50555 Additional texting charges my apply.

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 5/1/2011

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About the Book: Three days before her drama club's trip to Italy, Jessa stumbles in on her boyfriend with Natalie aka "the boob job." Now taking off to the most romantic city in the world. Jessa has a front row seat to Natalie and Sean's relationship. To help her move on, her best friend Carissa has sent along twenty envelopes titled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," that Jessa is supposed to open along her trip. Each envelope includes instructions that are supposed to help Jessa get over Sean and maybe find herself along the way.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I had high hopes for this book. The premise sounded cute and reminded me of Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes or maybe even P.S. I Love You. Unfortunately, the book ultimately fell flat for me.

I know Jessa is heartbroken, but the book is so full of her angst and not being able to get over Sean, that it grows a bit old. Maybe I would have felt sorry for her, but instead I felt she was a flat character who was whiny, annoying and she never seems to notice she's in Italy! I would love to travel to Italy and instead of enjoying her trip, Jessa spends the trip wallowing in self pity. I just couldn't feel any sympathy for her. I also never knew exactly why she was in Italy. She was there with her drama club, but why? What reasons did they have for going to Italy and what was the point of the trip? I guess I wanted more backstory and more details.

All of the characters suffered from being underdeveloped and there were too many of them to keep track of. So many of the characters and the plotlines seemed to start and then go nowhere. Things were thrown in, mentioned briefly, but then never developed or touched on again. Jessa is supposed to bond with another girl on the trip who finds her boyfriend cheating, but this never goes anywhere and is only mentioned a couple of times. There's a mean chaperon from the group Jessa's school is paired with, but her storyline never seems to have a point. She comes in, complains, and then leaves. Other characters are introduced, barely spoken to, and then be part of a major plot device that happens because they showed up. This never worked for me because I felt like I never knew any of the characters and never cared enough about any of them. I also felt the plot wandered around so much it never found its groove to really make it work. There were so many moments that fade out and stop just when the action is about to start. Overall I thought the plot had too much that was trying to happen and ended up getting lost along the way.

Carissa's notes and letters could have been fun, only they ended up being cruel and rude. Most of her reasons ended up not having anything that really would be to help Jessa (at least I thought) but instead pointed out what a jerk Sean was. Then we find out secrets Carissa has been keeping from Jessa about Sean. Honestly, at this point, I thought Carissa was a horrible friend, but instead we're supposed to forgive her and cheer on the power of girl friendship instead.

I also had issues with the suggestions that maybe Jessa made Sean cheat on her and she brought it on herself because she's ambitious and "busy". Jessa believes this line and part of her thinks that she deserved to be cheated on because she couldn't be everything Sean wanted or make enough time for him. This just really bugged me, especially since Jessa never seems to come to any sort of self discovery, but instead seems down on herself the whole time. I never felt like she came out of the trip or the experience any stronger than before.

Of course, there's supposed to be a bit of romance with a boy she meets on the trip, but there was hardly any interaction with them, I just couldn't believe it. I never saw anything that would make Jessa interesting let alone attractive to him. He's hardly in the book and I just didn't believe any possible relationship developing with them. Really, I only kept reading because I had hopes it would get better and I wanted Jessa to end up with her best guy friend who was delivering her letters.

This book might work for readers who like contemporary novels with a exotic location, but it just wasn't for me.

Book Pairings: Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, Four Things my Geeky-Jock-Of-A-Best Friend Must Do In Europe by Jane Harrington

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC received from publisher for review

Thursday, May 19, 2011

YA Movie News

-The biggest movie news this week is that the Entertainment Weekly issue out this weekend features Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss on the cover. I think she looks great and exactly like I pictured Katniss! What do you think?

I also love this interview with Jennifer about the movies-I think she's going to do a fantastic job!

-Shelf Awareness reports that R.L. Stine's latest book, It's the First Day of School...Forever has been optioned as a movie. Goosebumps books and DVDs check out constantly at my library, so I'd love to have more to add to the collection!!

-A movie version of Scholastic's popular 39 Clues series is in the works, with Stephen Spielburg as a producer and Brett Ratner directing. Stephen Spielburg also has a couple of other book to movies coming this year with War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin

-Cynopsis Kids reports that there was a bidding war over the rights to an upcoming YA fantasy novel, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. The book will release on June 7 and I'll keep you posted on any movie news!

-TV networks released their Fall lineups this week, with The CW adding The Secret Circle, a series about a group of witches, based on the novels by L.J. Smith.

-YPulse has a great roundup of possible shows with teen appeal that are coming this Fall.

-And don't forget about Pretty Little Liars and The Nine Lives of Chloe King coming to ABC Family on June 14!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Graphic Novel

Release Date: 5/1/2011

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About the Book: Paige has just moved to New York City and she's feeling a bit lost. She's trying to make sense of her life. Is she an artist? Is she outgoing? How can she make new friends and find herself in such a book city? Paige decides to take her Grandmother's advice and following her drawing rules, she's going to keep a sketchbook. The sketchbook becomes Paige's way of expressing herself and finding who she is. She opens up to new friends, embraces her art, and learns how to be Paige.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Page by Paige is a fantastic graphic novel! Although it's fiction, it reads like a memoir and reminded me a lot of Pedro and Me and in some ways, Blankets only with a more coming of age high school story. I would also pair it up with Plain Janes, as the characters are very pro-art and they have secret art projects they do in the city.

Reading Page by Paige is like taking a peek into someones diary, only a graphic novel version of their diary. It's a fantastic coming of age story and readers will relate to Paige and her journey of figuring out who exactly she is. I struggled with being shy in school and I could relate to Paige's journey of coming out of her shell, learning to be brave and put herself out there. This is also Paige's journey of learning to accept her artistic self and embrace that fact that she is an artist.

Many times creative teens struggle with how to be creative or don't think they really are creative and Paige deals with the same issues. I love that her group of friends call themselves "Agents of Whimsy" and have secret art projects around the city. I would love to do something similar!

A funny, charming and very touching coming of age story. I loved Paige and I hope she has more of her story to tell.

Book Pairings: Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci, Good As Lily by Derek Kirk Kim, Pedro and Me by Judd Winick

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC I picked up at ALA

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tween Tuesday: Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg

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

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Non-Fiction/Biography

Release Date: 4/4/2011

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About the Book: Annie Taylor is finding that no one is attending her charm school classes anymore and she's bored. Convinced that there is fame and fortune waiting for her, this 62-year-old woman decides to have an adventure. She comes up with the idea of floating over Niagara Falls inside of a barrel. The barrel makers think she's crazy at first, but Annie shows them her detailed plans and believes she's found a way to survive. With a publicist hired, Annie travels to New York and excites the crowd about her upcoming journey. Will she survive the trip over the falls?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: May means school visits to promote the summer reading program at my library. As part of my visits, I take books along to booktalk to the students and I'm always looking for something that's new and will get the tweens and teens excited. When I heard about Queen of the Falls I knew it would be one of those great booktalk books that would get the students talking.

Queen of the Falls is a short non-fiction. The illustrations are great, as can always be expected from Chris Van Allsburg. He brings Annie to life and gives the illustrations so much detail, they're easy to pour over-and great to show off during booktalking! The fact that the story is non-fiction and based on an event that no one has heard much about-if at all-adds to story. The premise sounds like it's a made up, tall tale, but the fact that it's true adds to the allure. I think this is especially true for tweens whose eyes seem to grow wide when I mention it's true!

I wish there had been a bit more to the book and maybe a bit more detail added about
Annie Taylor's life. This might be a case where there just wasn't enough source material to really flesh the story out more and Chris Van Allsburg does a fantastic job with what he does have. The book is entertaining and engaging and a memorable read.

While an easy non-fiction, the story is something that I think will have wide-appeal and I plan on booktalking it all the way up to high schoolers. Each time I talk about the question is always "but does she survive?" and I love when a book really engages the audience like that! Annie Taylor has quite a story and she's an amazingly daring woman and I'm glad her story has been told!

Book Pairings: Pair this one with biographies of other showmen and daredevils like The Great and Only Barnum by Candance Fleming and Escape! The Story of the great Houdini by Sid Fleischman

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What Your American Girl Doll Says About You

I love this article about the American Girl dolls!

Did anyone else want an American Girl doll but never get one? My parents thought the price was too much for a toy, but that didn't stop me from pouring over the catalogs and trying to figure out if there was something small I could buy. I always liked Samantha, mostly because she was in the Victorian time period, which I loved as a kid, and she had a muff, which I really, really wanted. Molly was my second favorite because of her time period as well and because she was a bit like me. I'm still a little bitter I never got my Samantha doll and muff!

Thank you to my friend Kelly for posting this one Facebook!

Blogging Vacation

Remember the other week when I was telling you about the exciting good news that's happened in the last week? Well, it also means I'm very busy and in the middle of school visits at the library to promote the Summer Reading Program. So I've decided to take a short blogging vacation. I plan on being back on Monday!

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby PLUS Giveaway

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 5/3/11

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Moonglass Book Site

About the Book: (from cover) When Anna was little, she and hermother used to search for sea glass, but since they looked at night, theycalled it moonglass.

Now, ten years after her mother'smysterious death, her father is working as head lifeguard on the same beachwhere her mother grew up and her parents first met and fell in love. Reluctantto get close to anyone (including her father) and not pleased about having tostart at a new school, Anna begins to spend more time alone, running the lengthof the beach and wondering about who her mother really was. After meeting alifeguard named Tyler,she slowly lets her guard down and together they start exploring the abandonedhouses that dot the beach.

But when learning more about hermother's past leads to a painful discovery, Anna must reconcile her desire forsolitude with ultimately accepting the love of her family and friends.Moonglass is a dazzling debut from an undeniable talent.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Moonglass is a contemporary debut about a girl searching for answers about a mother she hardly knew. It's an emotional story and one I would hand over to fans of Sarah Dessen and contemporary romance.

There is some romance, but it's not central to the storyline, so it doesn't feel like it's only a contemporary romance. This is more Anna's journey to discovering the truth about her mother and coming to terms with her past. Anna is a likable main character. I liked that she was strong and smart, yet also had awkward moments when it came to Tyler or making new friends. She just felt normal and real, which I liked. I also loved that I never found her to be whiny or complaining-instead her emotions felt real and they never felt over the top which I appreciated.

The supporting characters are fun, but I wish some of them could have been fleshed out just a bit more. I would have liked to spend more time with Jillian, Ashley, Andy, and even Anna's father. I would have also liked a bit more about Anna's mother. We get glimpses of her here and there, but I felt like that part of the story could have been drawn out a bit more as well. I think I expected to learn more about her mom since it seemed like there was a big mystery about her, but maybe it not being a huge twist or surprise lends to a more realistic story.

Moonglass is a bittersweet, emotional story and a solid debut from author Jessi Kirby. The ending is powerful without being sappy and the whole book had a nice realistic quality to it, which made me like it even more. I'm sure this one will have fans at my library as soon as I booktalk it! A good pick for libraries looking for contemporary fiction, Moonglass is a debut worth checking out.

Book Pairings: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, Sea by Heidi Kling (Anna and Sienna had a lot of similar qualities to me and I think readers who like Sienna's story will like Anna's), Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from final copy sent by publicist for giveaway review

Want to win a copy of Moonglass?
Two (2) readers will win a copy! All you have to do to enter is fill out the form below.
-Open to US Address only, ages 13+
-Contest ends May 24, midnight, central time

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tween Tuesday

No Tween Tuesday post for me this week! I'm out on school visits and haven't had time to read much. But I'm posting a linky so you can share your own posts. I'll be back next week!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stanley Tucci in The Hunger Games

Announced today, Stanley Tucci will play Ceasar Flickerman, host of The Hunger Games, in The Hunger Games movie. I love this casting and think he's going to be great! What do you think?

Library Programs: Teen Iron Chef

-Marshmallow Sushi with Cheetos Chopsticks, Teen Iron Chef, 2011

I love Iron Chef, so of course I had to make into a library program! I've done this program twice-once it was a bit iffy and the second time was fantastic. I think it works best with a smaller crowd-I've done it with a crowd of seven and a crowd of over 30 and I had better results with the smaller group.

The basic idea is that I set out a ton of "ingredients" and the teens break up into teams (or by themselves if the group is small) and make three "dishes". The first time I did Teen Iron Chef we did "After School Snacks" and the second time around was "Desserts". (My pictures are from the dessert Iron Chef).

Some teens will try to make something edible, others will go for the gross out factor. I've used judges to sample the food, but I really didn't love the idea of subjecting someone to the gross snacks the second time around, so I asked a co-worker to judge on creativity and she awarded all the teens an award (most colorful, I would actually eat that, lives up to it's name, etc). It's a fun program and it's always amazing to see what the teens come up with! So how did I run this program?

First, I purchased supplies. Tablecloths are a must and make for easy cleanup. I used our Storyhour room which has a tile floor to make sure I could clean the floor if there were any major messes.

I've learned it's best to set out the supplies on one table and have the groups come ask for what they want instead of trying to deal things out equally.

For desserts, I purchased raisinets, marshmallows, brownies, starburst, jelly beans, fruit snacks, Hershey Kisses, Whoppers, gummy fruit slices, Fruit Roll Ups, animal crackers, Cheetos, Fruit Loops, kettle corn. I also had some sprinkles from a past program that I put out on the supply table. I laid everything out on the table and gave the teens plates, napkins and silverware. I also asked the teens to make three dessert dishes-one using brownies, one using Fruit Loops, and one using jelly beans. I've used Jello and pudding in the past but wouldn't recommend unless you know you're going to have a small crowd. That was messier than it was worth and I was picking up Jello all over the place! Marshmallows are a good, easy and less messy way of sticking things together.

After washing hands-(make sure they wash their hands! The first time I ran an Iron Chef program I had a room full of teens and noticed several licking their fingers and then touching food again-another reason why I'd be careful having any taste testers!!) the teens were off creating food. I didn't allow any actual cooking so it was more assembling and creating.

The best part is seeing what everyone comes up with!

-This one we decided was a Fairy Land or maybe the witch's house from Hansel and Gretel.

-A creation entitled "Unicorn Vomit"-and yes, the teen chef did eat it!!

-We weren't sure if these looked like something from Star Wars or a Chihuahua, but I love the bottom one with eyebrows!

-My favorite entry, flowers made from smashed Starburst. The blue is crushed up Fruit Loops!

Anything with food is always a hit with my teens and we had a great time talking about the crazy desserts we could create. They also thought it was hilarious I was loading them up on sugar on a Friday night and then sending them home-hey, that's the best part of being a librarian, isn't it?:)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

John C Reilly is Out at Haymitch-so Who's In?

According to E! News, John C Reilly will not be playing the role of Haymitch in The Hunger Games movie. This means the role is still wide open, so who are you hoping is still in the running?

Also, there have been a ton of Tributes cast, so check out the Facebook page for all the photos!

Adult Lit: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Gothic Suspense

Release Date: First published 1938

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About the Book: The novel is told from the point of view of an unnamed narrator. From the beginning we get the sense that the story is a flashback and the narrator is reflecting on a time in her life that continues to haunt her. Her story starts when she is visiting Monte Carlo with Mrs. Van Hopper, who is her employer. The narrator works as a paid companion to the elderly woman who is always keen on gossip. One day while dining, Mrs. Van Hopper notices a man at a table nearby that she recognizes as Max de Winter, the owner of Manderley. His wife recently passed away in a boating accident and rumor is he can’t get over her death. Mrs. Van Hopper intrudes on the man’s meal and thus begins the relationship between the narrator and Maxim de Winter. After spending time together in Monte Carlo, the narrator begins to realize she loves Maxim, even though he is more than 20 years her senior. On the day she and Mrs. Van Hopper are supposed to leave, the narrator cries to Maxim that she will miss him very much and he proposes. After a whirlwind honeymoon, the pair return to Maxim’s home of Manderley. At Manderley, the new Mrs. de Winter is constantly haunted by the presence of Rebecca, Maxim’s first wife. The household staff don’t respect, the people in the community compare her to Rebecca, and Rebecca’s touch on Manderley echoes throughout the entire house. Secrets begin to unravel and the truth about Rebecca is slowly uncovered.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I had always wanted to read this book, so when I had the chance to for class I decided to finally read it. I loved it and am eager to read more of Du Maurier’s work now.

The writing is wonderful and really places the reader into the story. It’s easy to get caught up in the book and get lost in the story. The author puts the reader right into the narrator’s shoes and I felt as though I was upset and haunted by Rebecca just as the narrator is. There were lots of twists and they were surprises which I always like-I hate when I can figure out the story.

It is a chilling, psychological story and I even wish there had been a bit more to it-especially about Rebecca as she’s a fascinating character, especially for not even appearing in the novel! I wouldn’t say this book is the stuff of nightmares, but it is suspenseful and very creepy-the author does a fantastic job of setting up Manderley to be an odd, strange, creepy sort of place. I read the entire book with a sense of foreboding, especially since you never really know the truth or who to trust. I did think it was interesting how at first the author makes you not really sure about Maxim de Winter, but then switches things up and makes you like him at the exact moment you really shouldn’t be liking him!

(SPOILER ALERT) I mean, really, we discover the truth about Maxim and what happened to Rebecca and that he killed her, yet at this point, I didn’t find him creepy and strange anymore. I had been all annoyed at him for never telling the narrator he loved her, yet he confesses everything and says don’t you see, I really loved you all along. I wanted him and the narrator to make things work. How twisted is that? Props to the author for making me suspicious of Maxim and then when I find out the truth, I like him more!

A fantastic book that I'm so glad I finally read-highly recommended!!

Is There Teen Appeal?-Yes, I think this would be great for teens, especially teens who are fans of classics and gothic novels.

Book Pairings: Emily Bronte, The Blind Assasin by Margaret Atwood, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (this one is not my idea, but from a read alike list at my library and I thought it was perfect!)

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from copy I borrowed from my local library

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Susane Colasanti Blog Tour Guest Post & Giveaway

Please welcome Susane Colasanti to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Susane's newest book, So Much Closer, was just released and she's celebrating with a blog tour!

Check out a preview of So Much Closer and keep up with Susane at her website and Twitter. But enough from me-here's Susane to tell you about So Much Closer!

Greetings, friendly neighbors! I’m stoked to share some of the inspiration for my fifth book, So Much Closer.

Realistic fiction is my thing. I like incorporating details inspired by my own experiences to make my books feel as realistic as possible. So Much Closer takes place in my neighborhood, the West Village. I had lots of fun including my fave New York City places and things in this book. For my blog tour, we thought it would be fun to share some of them with you. So here we go!

3. Big Gay Ice Cream Truck

The day Brooke meets John, he’s wearing a shirt that says Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Sounds cool, right? It’s completely real! Big Gay is out and about during the warm months. The truck is usually parked near Union Square. You can tell it’s Big Gay instead of some standard Mister Softee by its colorful banner with a rainbow-striped ice cream cone.

What makes Big Gay special? Its eccentric toppings. Douglas serves up ice cream with olive oil, sea salt, pickles, Nutella, wasabi pea dust, Lucky Charms…if you’ve dared to dream it, he’s already tried it. Follow Big Gay on Twitter for hot tips on what to say when you order to score free toppings. The code phrase usually involves an ep of Seinfeld. Which just proves that Douglas is a true New Yorker. Big Gay all the way!

Want to win a copy? I have ONE signed copy to giveaway to one lucky winner!
-US Address only
-Contest ends May 11, midnight CT
-Fill out form below to enter:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Children's Choice Book Award Winners

The Children's Choice Book Awards were announced as part of Children's Book Week (May 2-8). This year there were over 50,000 votes!

The Children’s Choice Book Award winners are as follows:

Author of the Year

Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus,Book 1) (Disney-Hyperion)

Illustrator of the Year

David Wiesner for Art & Max (Clarion/Houghton MifflinHarcourt)

Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year

Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby (Putnam/Penguin)

Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the Year

Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Knopf/Random House)

Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year

The Red Pyramid(The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) by Rick Riordan(Disney-Hyperion)

Teen Choice Book of the Year

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (Dutton/Penguin)

Congrats to all the winners!

Congrats also to Lisa at Garden of Books for winning a set of the Teen Nominees!

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Historical/Novel in Verse

Release Date: 2/22/11

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About the Book: It's 1975 in Vietnam and ten-year-old Kim Ha and her family are praying for her father's safe return. He's been missing for the past nine year and war rages on around them. When the opportunity arises for the family to leave Saigon on a navy ship and come to America, the family decides to take the chance and hopes for a better life.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Inside Out and Back Again is a beautifully written novel in verse debut. The book is partly based on the author's own experience as a child, and it's clear she's writing what she knows and cares deeply about her story.

Kim is a strong, brave character who has a lot of spunk and a great voice to her narration. Her transition to America isn't easy. In Vietnam, she was smart and had friends, whereas in America she is taunted and teased and feels dumb because she doesn't know the language. But she doesn't let that stop her, which I loved about her. She stands up for herself and she was a character you couldn't help but like.

The verse format works well. The verse might be sparse but it fills out the novel in a way that gives us a meaty story. The author also balances characterization with description and we get a good amount of both without ever feeling like one is lacking.

Inside Out and Back Again is getting some early Newbery buzz and deservedly so-it's a touching and memorable debut and well done in verse format.

Book Pairings: Not tween at all, but this book reminded me a lot of Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok and could work well for a parent/tween discussion-adult reads the adult book and tween reads the tween novel and they can discuss the themes in both. It could also pair well with All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg (another novel in verse featuring a Vietnamese character)

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC copy sent by publisher

Monday, May 2, 2011

More Good News!!

I have more good news to share!! I have accepted a position at my library as the Youth Services Department Manager. This is a new direction for my library to have children and teen under one department umbrella and I'm super excited to be part of it. (So for those of you who have libraries that use this model, let me know-I'd love to ask you lots of questions!!)

What does this mean for my blog? Well, I'll still be serving tweens and teens, so no change there to what I'll be reading and reviewing. The biggest change I'm thinking about is adding picture book reviews and maybe including younger kids programs and tween programs when I post about program ideas. Yay or nay on those ideas?

Yep, it's been an exciting few days in GreenBeanTeenQueen-land!:)

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Horror/Fairy Tale

Release Date: 11/11/2010

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About the Book: You might think you know the tale of Hansel and Gretel, but you don't know the rule tale-the true one. The one with gore, violence, witches, devils, evil adults and bad parents, heads chopping off, and dragons. Nine interwoven short stories that tell the true story of what happened to Hansel and Gretel.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: A Tale Dark and Grimm received a lot of buzz late last year, so I was eager to check it out. The book starts out explaining that the fairy tales and stories we know are altered and that the author is going to tell us the true Grimm tales the way they were meant to be told-gory, gruesome, dark and all. And they are that-gory and dark, but they're also brilliantly woven together to tell one large story arc.

The author often interjects into the story to break up some of the tension and "scarier" parts. (But honestly, they weren't too scary-maybe for younger readers, but the author always warns the reader when this are coming-very clever!) I don't think it's anything scarier than any other horror novel for middle grade or young adult, especially if they're at all familiar with the original Grimm Fairy Tales. But even with the violence, there's also lots of snark that the author interjects into his comments which gives the book a lot of humor.

I loved the opening and was hooked from the first page. The way all the stories connect all throughout the book is fantastic. Details from one story spill into the next and everything comes together in the end to make a nice circular narrative. My only complaint was that I felt the last few stories were a bit lagging, especially the story with the dragon. I know the author was trying to pull all the stories together, but the dragon tale was my least favorite-it just didn't have the same spark or snark that the other stories had.

I still think the book is fantastic and I'm eager to read more from Adam Gidwitz! This one won't be for every reader, but for readers who like fairy tales or a good "scary" story, this would be a great read. The opening tells the reader that Hansel and Gretel get their heads chopped off in the first story and after an opening like that, you can easily sell this book to older tweens and teens! I can't wait to start booktalking it to readers-I'm sure they'll snatch it up!

Book Pairings: Coraline by Neil Gaiman, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett, Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from library copy
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