Teen Tuesday – What SCARES you?

Are you afraid of ZOMBIES?  Who isn’t—because not only are they undead, they might be undead people you know. . .

Jacket.aspx-3  Jacket.aspx-2 jacket.aspx-5    or not. . .  Dead Reckoning

. . .or worse, it’s you!  Jacket.aspx-4        What about VAMPIRES?

Not the sparkly kind, but the hypnotic bloodsuckers we’re unwillingly drawn to. . .

Jacket.aspx-7   Jacket.aspx-8   or *shudder* become!  Jacket.aspx-9   Jacket.aspx-8

Or maybe, you’re afraid of WITCHES. . .  

Jacket.aspx-14    Jacket.aspx-15      Jacket.aspx-17  . . . or MONSTERS   Jacket.aspx-8

Jacket.aspx-13    Jacket.aspx-12   that come out of the cold. . .   Jacket.aspx-6

or that lurk in the water  Jacket.aspx-9  . . . or the forest. Jacket.aspx-5   Jacket.aspx-16

GHOSTS?  Did you say GHOSTS?  Murderous ghosts. . .

Jacket.aspx-17   Jacket.aspx-16  or historical specters. . . Jacket.aspx-4  Jacket.aspx-3

or both?   Jacket.aspx   Jacket.aspx-7        What about DEMONS?

Before evil spirits possessed them, they were your sister. . .

Jacket.aspx-18  or your brother. . . Jacket.aspx-19  or your cousin. . . . Jacket.aspx-6

You may even discover (the hard way) the merits behind exorcism. . . .

Jacket.aspx-20   Jacket.aspx-7        EVIL FAIRIES can be frightening. . . .  

seeing them. . . Wicked Lovely   being cursed by them. . .   Jacket.aspx-18

. . .having them swap you out for someone else.  Jacket.aspx-22   Jacket.aspx-11

What?  Supernatural beings and gruesome creatures will never freak you out?!                  Okay then—what about psycho killers who also happen to be YOUR DAD?!

Jacket.aspx-12   Jacket.aspx-11   Jacket.aspx-10    Or. . . your dad as

a demented scientist. . .  Jacket.aspx    Jacket.aspx-2    or

a brilliant detective and a psycho killer?   Ripper

Of course, Dad’s not the only sociopath in the family . . . .

Jacket.aspx-15    Jacket.aspx-14    Jacket.aspx-13

In fact, in most families the scariest person is. . . YOUR MOM!    Jacket.aspx-4




Teen Tuesday – Back from the Dead: a review of Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Every year around this time the blog, Someday My Printz Will Come, run by Karyn Silverman and Sarah Couri over at the School Library Journal website, reviews and debates potential contenders for the Printz award, one of young adult literature’s highest honors.  They’ve selected a daunting list of fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels published this year.  I’ve followed their blog for a while now and count on their insightful reviews to craft my fall reading list and make sure there aren’t any books that have completely fallen off my radar.  That said, I am ashamed to admit that of the 80+ books on their current list, I’ve read a grand total of nine.  Check here for this year’s list and their criteria for inclusion.

Between my Kindle, my desk, and my bedside table, I have at least a dozen or so books from the list already at hand–titles I’ve been meaning to read which were, nevertheless, pushed aside for newer, flashier offerings.  One of those neglected books was John Corey Whaley’s Noggin which came out last spring.  Why was I so hesitant?  I loved his first book and the cover of this one is very appealing I think.  Maybe it was my assumptions that this would be some teenage Frankenstein story dealing with medical ethics and religious dogma.  But when Noggin was longlisted for the National Book Award for Young Adult Literature, I finally hunkered down, read it in a day and . . . absolutely loved it.

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Teen Tuesday – The Whispering Skull

whispering skull  Lockwood and Company is back!  Up against some spectacularly scary phantoms (ghost rats, anyone?), grave robbers, and a rival agency with a bet to drive them out of business, Lucy, George and the indomitable Anthony Lockwood are on the case of a missing artifact.  The item in question is a mirror that shows its viewer “the other side.”  What that looks like, however, is a mystery because those who gaze into the mirror die.

The Whispering Skull is the second book in the Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud, which began last year with The Screaming Staircase.  I absolutely fell in love with that book.  You can read my gushing review here.  Happily, book two continues the ghastly adventures of this cool and courageous trio, who boldly go about their spectral business with a dash of humor and a spot of tea.  Be warned, there’s enough references to jam donuts that readers may develop a craving. . . this one sure did! Continue reading

Teen Tuesday – The Fourteenth Goldfish


Sixth-grader Ellie is a perceptive and bright narrator who brings an unbiased and comic look at the crazy situation her family is thrown into when her grandfather discovers an antidote to aging and turns himself into a teenager.  Now, despite his Harvard education, his two PhD’s and a fan club in Finland, cranky grandfather Melvin is going back to middle school, all the while scheming with Ellie on the best way to break into his lab and reclaim his research.

Jennifer Holm’s latest book, The Fourteenth Goldfish, takes a historical quest–mankind’s never-ending search for the fountain of youth–and shrinks it down to the problems of one family.  As if Ellie didn’t have enough to worry about, what with middle school to navigate and the increasing distance she feels between her best friend, now her grandfather is going to her school!   And that turns out to be . . . not so bad.  Continue reading

Teen Tuesday – Now You See Her, Now You Don’t

JacketCAVCCBVMRare side effects from a vaccine meant to stop a pandemic create an elite group of people called the “immunes.”  In Emily Lloyd-Jones’ sci-fi thriller, Illusive,  a small group of “immune” criminals find themselves battling government agents and a powerful crime syndicate in a race to uncover a secret the vaccine’s creator left behind.

Main character Ciere Giba, a sixteen year-old illusionist, has spent half her life with Kit Copperfield, a Faganesque character who’s the closest thing she has to a parent.  Living with the memory of her mother’s death at the hands of federal agents, Ciere is used to hiding her ability and masking her identity in fear of capture and recruitment as a government agent.  Instead, she’s a thief for Kit’s network of questionable clients.

When Ciere and best friend Devon, another immune with the power of perfect recall, pull off a bank heist that unwittingly attracts the attention of a new crime Continue reading

Teen Tuesday – Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

UnknownAsk any teen reader to name a book that features teens grappling with cancer and you’re likely to get The Fault in our Stars by John Green.  Whether they’ve read it or not, and most likely they have, The Fault in our Stars has become the one book that now defines a subgenre of realistic fiction–teens coping with terminal illnesses or living with debilitating conditions.

Certainly John Green wasn’t the first to introduce this theme.  Thirty years ago, Lurlene McDaniel cornered the market with books like If I Should Die Before I Wake, I Want to Live and Sixteen and DyingBut today, when a new young adult novel appears that features teens and cancer, the natural assumption is to compare it to The Fault in our Stars.  Which is unfortunate, because a new book should stand on its own merits and Zac and Mia by A. J. Betts certainly does.

Drawing on her own experiences as an English teacher in a hospital oncology ward for kids, A. J. Betts knows firsthand of what she writes.  She’s crafted a clear, straight forward look at the lives of two teens who react to their cancers in completely different ways.  Zac and Mia is a terrific story with plenty of heart and humor.  Set in Australia (the author’s home), it has realistic characters, a strong supporting cast and detailed, descriptive settings, especially in the hospital where this story begins.

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Teen Tuesday – Finishing the Hub Reading Challenge

There it is at last!  My finisher badge!      reading challenge logo - finisher

This year I barely managed to complete the Hub Reading Challenge, squeaking by on the last day with my 25th book–I am the Messenger–one that I own and had previously read.  Like my fellow blogger, Steve, I started off at the beginning of February thinking I’d fly through this.  Twenty five books in five months?  There would be plenty of time to read five books each month.  Then work, and family, and sleep, and other books got in the way and before I knew it, I was scrambling through the Hub’s eligible title list looking for anything I could finish quickly.

I’m well aware that the point of the Hub Reading Challenge is to encourage us to become familiar with last year’s award-winning young adult fiction, nonfiction, and audiobooks.  The exposure to new titles and new authors is a winning proposition no matter how many books one finishes in the Challenge.  And yet. . . once I started, it became a mad dash to the finish, using whatever strategies I could come up with to see me to the end.

I’m not an athlete and I’m not much of a competitor.  I don’t even read fast!  But last year, I finished the Hub Challenge for the first time, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it again.  So this is what I did: Continue reading

Teen Tuesday – Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

letsgetlostDon’t you just hate it when you finish a book that has garnered all kinds of pre-publicity love and glowing reviews and your final reaction is “meh.”

When that happens, my first response is not to blame the book, but rather, myself. What did I miss? Did I read it too fast? Too slowly? Was I not actually in the mood for an “insert genre here” type of book?

Of course, no reader loves everything all the time and sometimes, the book just doesn’t resonate with the person reading it.  Such was my experience with Let’s Get Lost, the debut novel by Adi Alsaid.

I really expected to like this story. It had all the earmarks—a road trip, a diverse cast of characters with stories of their own, and a girl with a mysterious past and an old red car.  Let’s Get Lost joins the long list of books that uses the road trip as a metaphor for growing up, leaving the past behind, and facing the future. All that, and a great cover, too. Continue reading

Teen Tuesday: The Young World by Chris Weitz

The Young World by Chris Weitz“It’s another gorgeous spring day after the fall of civilization.” In The Young World by Chris Weitz, black humor, uniquely diverse characters, and a vividly descriptive contemporary New York setting help push this novel to the front of the post-apocalyptic pack.

It’s two years since a mysterious sickness killed all the children and adults – leaving the teenagers unaffected. At least, that is, until they mature and succumb to the sickness themselves.

With clear memories of life “before,” and struggling to live in the “after,” many of the teens have formed geographical tribes, banding together for protection and survival, and battling others for dwindling supplies of food, medicine and weapons.

Jefferson has recently taken charge of the Washington Square tribe, a motley assortment of teens once led by his older brother. When one of his friends discovers an article that could potentially identify and help cure the sickness, Jefferson leads a band of five on a dangerous trek across the city to that bastion of information, the New York Public Library. Continue reading

Teen Tuesday – Beach Boy Private Eye

princeofvenicebeachRobert “Cali” Callahan is a 17-year-old runaway from Nebraska who’s made Venice Beach his home for the past three years. He has it better than most street kids. He has a tree house to sleep in, friends on the boardwalk, and plenty of time for skateboarding, surfing and basketball. But when he begins cashing in on his natural talent for finding people, his life suddenly gets more complicated.

Cali helps locate a recent runaway and later, a local homeless man, and sees an opportunity to parlay his success into a career. Soon, however, his guilty conscience begins to question the motives of those who’ve hired him to find the missing–especially when the missing don’t want to be found. Take his latest case: beautiful and wealthy Reese Abernathy. Is she really a deeply troubled daughter or is her father a murderer? Continue reading