Thursday, October 22, 2009

Messed Up

by Janet Nichols Lynch

With his biological parents out of the picture, R.D. lives with his grandmother and her long-term boyfriend Earl. Life seems simple enough until R.D.'s grandmother leaves town with another man, leaving R.D. in the care of Earl. R.D. and Earl have a great relationship, but life soon changes. Earl dies, and R.D. is left on his own. R.D. is faced with difficult decisions, and he knows that he cannot let anyone know Earl is dead. If anyone finds out, he'll be forced to live in a group home. How will R.D. overcome this situation?

Personal Thoughts: I really enjoyed Lynch's novel! While the situation is heart-breaking, R.D.'s voice and sarcasm remain on target! I found myself crying and laughing at the same time.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Cupcake Queen

by Heather Hepler

After being forced to leave Manhattan and spend the summer in her mother's hometown, a seaside community, Penny didn't think it could get worse. But it does! Her mother decides to permanently relocate to Hog's Hollow and open up a cupcake shop. Penny spends the remaining part of the summer working in her mother's shop, and after enrolling in the local high school, Penny uses the shop as an excuse to not make friends.

However, a chance meeting on the beach provides Penny with new friends and a possible romance.

Personal Thoughts: Penny's frustrations surrounding the new move and friendships are believable. I loved discovering more about Penny as the book continued. You will love Penny's honesty and humor!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Artemis Fowl

by Eoin Colfer

With his father missing and his mother ill, twelve-year-old Artemis continues the family's criminal pursuits. In the series' opening novel, Artemis searches for the fairy's book, eventually hoping it will guide him to fairy gold. Although well thought out, Artemis' plans must change as he encounters trolls and elves.

Personal Thoughts: What a wonderful novel! I listened to the audiobook of Artemis Fowl and enjoyed every minute of it.

A Great and Terrible Beauty

by Libba Bray
The novel opens as Gemma Doyle walks the streets of Bombay, India. Shortly thereafter, Gemma has a vision and her mother mysteriously dies. As the novel continues, Gemma becomes enrolled in London's Spence Academy. With the assistance of classmates, Gemma learns about her powers, as well as the powers of ancient sorceresses that controlled different realms.

Will Gemma find the connection between her powers and her mother's past?
Is the young man following her a help or hindrance?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Princess Ben

by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

After her mother is assassinated and her father disappears, Princess Benevolence becomes heir to the throne. Princess Ben, as she prefers to be called, must learn her new role under the guidance of her aunt, Queen Sophia, whose grueling daily routine for Princess Ben consists of dance and embroidery lessons. Because Princess Ben proves to be a less than willing student, Queen Sophia locks her in a tower. While living in the tower, Princess Ben spends her days under the watchful care of Queen Sophia, yet she spends her nights discovering more about the tower's magic.
Personal Thoughts: What a wonderful story! Princess Ben is an intelligent, caring, and strong female character.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Peace, Love & Baby Ducks

by Lauren Myracle

Peace, Love & Baby Ducks tells the story of two sisters. Upon returning from a summer wilderness camp, Carly must accept her family's wealth along with her sister's grown-up appearance. Myracle's novel examines the relationship between Carly and Anna with truth.

Personal Thoughts: Having a younger sister of my own, I related to Carly and her struggles with her younger sister. Carly is open and honest with her feelings, making her a believable character. She is confused between who she wants to be and who she is.

Dead is the New Black

By Marlene Perez

Nightshade, California, is an interesting place, especially after Samanta Devereaux, a high school cheerleader, shows up with a "new" look. Daisy Giordano, one member in a family of psychics,is determined to get to the bottom of Nightshade's strange happenings.

Personal Thoughts: As a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I enjoyed every minute of this novel. The stories of Daisy and Samantha contain just enough humor, romance, and mystery.

Don't forget to check out the sequels:

Dead is So Last Year and Dead is a State of Mind

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

by Jacqueline Kelly

Eleven-year-old Calpurnia is the middle child of seven siblings. In fact, Callie Vee, as she prefers to be called, is the only girl. Kelly's novel takes place in the summertime, 1889, in Fentress, Texas. Calpurnia's mother believe that Calpurnia's life will be fulfilled if she learns how to cook and sew, as well as make a formal debut into society. Callie Vee, on the other hand, finds fulfillment in spending time with Darwin and her grandfather, an interesting man who studies plants, bugs, and the uses of pecans.

Will Calpurnia learn to balance her life, or will she turn to what society expects of her?

Personal Thoughts: As a character, Calpurnia is humorous and believeable. Watching her struggle between two worlds - what she wants and what society expects - proves humorous and amazing!

Monday, August 31, 2009

North of Beautiful

by Justina Chen Headley

From first glance, Terra Cooper is beautiful. However, she does not feel beautiful, because behind the makeup, Terra's face houses a large birthmark. Terra's life is ruled by a controlling father, who doesn't want her to attend a college out of town and who claims her artwork is anything but artistic. Headley's novel discusses Terra's life, family problems, love, friendship, travel, and the meaning of inner beauty.

Personal Thoughts: Fantastic novel! Terra is a believable character due to her flaws, insecurities, and self-realizations. I loved traveling with Terra on her journey to find love and beauty.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Eon Dragoneye Reborn

by Alison Goodman
An ancient kingdom centers on twelve dragons, and each dragon rules one year within a twelve year cycle. Each dragon works through a DragonEye, a human man chosen by the dragon to harness the dragon’s energy.

Although Eon is crippled, he hopes to be chosen as the Rat Dragon’s apprentice. He has trained for years and has the unusual power to see all eleven dragons in the kingdom. Eon is only able to see eleven dragons because the Mirror Dragon has been missing for several hundred years.

Despite the physical disability of being crippled, Eon has even a larger problem. Eon is not a boy, but a girl – Eona. The secret of Eon’s gender is only known by Eona herself and her master. If the political leaders discover a girl was trying to become a DragonEye apprentice, Eona would be killed. Despite her secret, Eon performs at the Rat Dragon’s ceremony, hoping to be chosen by the Rat Dragon. Eon is not chosen, yet as Eon starts to leave the stadium, the long-missing Mirror Dragon returns and chooses her as DragonEye apprentice.

Eon now holds a place of power in the kingdom and must keep her gender secret. Will Eon be able to keep her secret from other DragonEyes? Why did the Mirror Dragon appear and claim Eon?
Personal Thoughts: Fantastic! I cannot wait to read Eona The Last Dragoneye!

Elijah of Buxton

by Christopher Paul Curtis

Elijah of Buxton, a coming-of-age novel, tells the story of Elijah, the first free-born individual in Buxton, Canada. Although free, Elijah hears the stories of slavery shared by his community and parents. Even though Elijah's parents believe he is "fra-gile," he is forced to make very difficult decisions.

Personal Thoughts: Elijah of Buxton is one of my favorite books! The stories of Elijah's life made me laugh and cry. I was hooked from the first chapter where Elijah played a joke on his mother. Elijah is a believable character, and he shares his struggles, triumphs, and fears with the readers. What a fantastic journey!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


by Nancy Werlin

At the age of seventeen, Lucy becomes pregnant. At the age of seventeen, Lucy also discovers a curse that plagues the women in her family. If Lucy does not complete three impossible tasks and break the curse, she is destined to fall into madness upon the birth of her child. Her child will then suffer the same fate as all of the other women in the family.

Although the tasks seem impossible, Lucy fails to give up. With the help of her foster parents and childhood friends, Lucy works diligently to break the curse. Will she be successful?

Personal Thoughts: Nancy Werlin's novel is full of suspense and romance. I loved watching Lucy discover family secrets, as well as research ways to break the curse. Zach, Lucy's childhood friend, and foster parents teach Lucy the importance of love and family.


by Cornelia Funke
While reading a book one night, Meggie notices an odd-looking individual outside of her window. Her discovery of Dustfinger takes Meggie on an adventure through books and imagination. Mo, Meggie's father, has the ability to "read" characters to life, and as they become part of today's world, the characters bring their world into Meggie's world.
Personal Thoughts: Cornelia Funke's book captured my interest from the start. While it would be exciting to have storybook characters enter our world, what if the characters brought evil?
Remember to check out Inkspell and Inkdeath.


by Kristin Cashore

In a land of seven kingdoms, certain people hold special talents. These "Gracelings" are identified by their eyes, which are two different colors. Katsa, a Graceling working for King Randa, does not enjoy her gift and yearns to escape the rule of the heartless king. Po, another Graceling, faces problems of his own. Together, Katsa and Po form a powerful friendship. However, will their alliance help them resolve their problems?

Personal Thoughts: I love this book! Katsa is a strong female character and remains true to herself and her goals. Po also proves to be a young man who possesses integrity and honor.

I can't wait to read Fire, the prequel to Graceling. Cashore's second novel is set to be released in early October 2009.

Artichoke's Heart

by Suzanne Supplee

After dealing with the rude comments and remarks of schoolmates and family members, Rosemary finally decides she wants to lose weight. Supplee's novel follows Rosemary's journey, a journey where she slowly comes to terms with her weight and her mother's cancer. Rosemary soon discovers the importance of friendships and relationships, as well as the harsh truth about those around her.

Personal Thoughts: I loved this book! Rosie's voice is full of humor and wit, and many readers relate to the problems she faces.

The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones

by Rick Riordan

The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones, the first book in a scheduled series of ten, follows the adventures of Amy and Dan Cahill. These two youngsters are members of the powerful Cahill family and must uncover thirty-nine clues left behind by Grace Cahill. The clues will help them discover the secrets of their heritage.

Personal Thoughts: From the opening sentence, Riordan's book immediately caught my interest. Not only did the novel keep me on the edge of my seat, it seamlessly incorporated history into the storyline.