Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Title: Under the Mesquite
Author: Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Publisher: Lee and Low Books
Pub Date: 10/1/2011
Reviewed from: ARC received from the publisher
Grades 9 and up


Oh, I'm a sucker for a good novel in verse. And this is a really good novel in verse. Lupita, the eldest of eight, is having a year full of changes. She's getting very involved in drama at her high school, her friends are telling her that the fact that she's losing her accent means she's loosing sight of who she is and where she comes from, and then Mami gets diagnosed with cancer. Papi all but moves into the cancer center and leaves Lupita in charge of her family.

Lupita is finding her voice and the free verse she shares that voice with us is evocative and beautiful.

good for

Fans of novels in verse like The House on Mango Street or Diamond Willow. Also good for fans of novels that make you cry and cry like The Fault in Our Stars.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin

Title: The Trouble with Chickens
Author: Doreen Cronin
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pub Date: 3/1/2011
Reviewed from: library copy
Grades 2 and up


J. J. Tully is a world weary dog recently retired from the search and rescue business. All he wants is some peace and quiet. But then a chick comes into his doghouse and he just knows this chick spells trouble. And so do the other chicks. But J. J. Tully is on the case! A baby chick is missing and he is just the dog to help out - assuming the promised cheeseburgers do indeed appear.

good for

Fans of Chet Gecko and other animal noir (is animal noir a genre? It is now. And I love it. Film Noir - film + middle grade novel + animals = Animal Noir) will be clamboring for this one. I've also recently given this book to two different children who have recently started keeping chickens who wanted novels about chickens and both of them loved them and wanted more exactly like it.

other rambles

For full disclosure, The Trouble with Chickens is similar to Delirium in that I was sent an eGalley back when I was going through a bit of a TIME and I didn't get around to reading the ARC before it expired but I did devour the print copy when it came into my library. So while I read my library's copy, there was the initial offer of a free galley from the publisher that i feel I need to acknowledge.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTEEN
Pub Date: 2/1/2011
Reviewed from: So technically I recieved an ARC from publisher but then I completely forgot to read it and it expired (because eARCs do that) then I borrowed a copy from the library.
Grades 7 and up

So when I first got this I didn't read it right away because I had just read a whole bunch of distopian fiction and I was getting bored of it. But then I read it and OH EM GEE I am glad I did.


Love is a disease. A plague. A scurge upon humankind. Good news, though! Scientists have fixed that little love problem! When you turn 18 the government mandates that you get the cure. Lena is only 90 days away from turning 18 and oh how she has longed for that cure! Her mother is one of the few tragic people that the cure didn't work on and Lena knows all too well how love can ruin a life. And then the unthinkable happens. Lena falls in love.

Oh mah goodness you are going to love this book. This is what distopian fiction was like before the hype - before it became formulaic and "lets just get all these out there on the shelf because that's what the people want!" The society sucks you in and tries to seduce you with it's logic and it's order all while there is a part of you screaming, "BUT LOVE! I LOVE LOVE! DON'T TAKE LENA'S LOVE AWAY!" And then as the cracks in the society begin to show and the action takes off and your pulse starts pouding ... suddenly you'll realize that it's 2 am and you were just going to read one more page but that was 400 pages ago.

This book is for fans of: Dystopian novels, Romance with a side of breaking and entering and plotting to defy the government, and tragic pasts that inform but don't define characters.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Entwined - Heather Dixon

Title: Entwined
Author: Heather Dixon
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pub Date: April 2011
Reviewed from: copy I bought for myself

Grades 7 and up

Earlier this evening (in a review that won't be published for a few months because it was an ARC and I don't want to be too cruel in my booktalks) I created a new genre. Princesses who get dirty. You know the type. These are those sorts of princesses. And there are 12 of them. Twelve! Twelve kick-ass princesses who are not afraid to get dirty. And being royalty they get to refer to the time they all fell asleep outside while spying on their parent's royal ball and then attacked the Prime Minister with snowballs as "the Great Rosebush and Snowball scandal." I mean seriously. Don't you want to sit down and spend a few hundred pages with these princesses?


Their mother's pregnancy has been very hard but when she dies giving birth to princess number 12 it is a shock to all of them. More of a shock is their father's subsequent harshness. He stops eating dinner with them, stops talking to them, and even (seemingly) rushes off to war just to get away from them! Their only happiness comes from dancing but since custom dictates they must be in full morning for a year, they can't even do that!

And then they discover a secret magical room in the castle and a man named Keeper who gives them a secret spot to dance. But Keeper isn't telling them much about him. Is he to be trusted? Or is he leading the girls on a path unimaginable?

Give this book to: Fans of fairy tale retellings (the 12 dancing princesses, natch), lovers of formal dancing, readers who want their romance (there are 3 complete and satisfying romances hidden inside this book) with a side of dashing and adventure, and fans of (obvs) princesses who are not afraid to get dirty.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Saving June - Hannah Harrington

Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Pub Date: May 2011
Reviewed from: ARC received from publisher
Grades 10 and up

June was always the perfect daughter and Harper was always the screw up. June's suicide - a week before her high school graduation - is a shock to everyone. Harper's divorced parents decide to split June's ashes but Harper, knowing June's ardent desire to go to California, takes off with her best friend Laney and Jake. Along the way they go to a protest, a concert, and, hokey as it sounds, learn a lot more about themselves. I know. I KNOW! That last line is hokey. But sometimes that's exactly what you need.

And Jake. Let me tell you about Jake. Gorgeous. Music obsessed. June was tutoring him. But they were just friends, right? But there's a lot more to his story than he's telling.

This book is perfect for: someone who needs a good cry, someone who loves reading about awesome music, fans of good road trip stories, fans of slow-burn romances, and someone who wants to read about some awesome friendships.

Also - if you've read this let me know. Because I need to talk to someone about this book. The ending. I just have to say something but I can't say it to you because you haven't read this book.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Dancergirl - Carol M. Tanzman

Title: Dancergirl
Author: Carol M. Tanzman
Publisher: Harlequin
Pub Date: 11/2011
Reviewed from: ARC received from publisher
Grades 10 and up

Ok, so this is one of those books that I started right before bed and ended up staying up way too late to finish it. And then I had to start another book before sleeping because it had freaked me out too much.

Alicia is an amazing dancer and one day her friend captures a video of her dancing at a concert and it goes viral. So they do another video. And another. And then another video goes up of her dancing along in her room that her friend didn't film. And she didn't film. And her world is thrown into a nightmarish reality where she's afraid to be alone at her dance studio, afraid to walk down the street. Is she going to have to give up her dream of being a professional dancer because of some creep? Or will she overcome?

This book is for patrons who: like pulse pounding creepiness (the creep factor is high but more realistic than ghosts), love reading about dancing (ooooh, the descriptions of dance! This book made me miss being a dancer), or are interested in the viral nature of the internet.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Show Me A Story

Title: Show Me A Story: Why Picture Books Matter: Conversations with 21 of the World's Most Celebrated Illustrators
Author: Leonard S. Marcus
Pub Date: 4/24/2012
Publisher: Candlewick Press

I think I've told y'all before that authors are my rock stars. I mean - it's probably like that for most everyone in the kid-lit-osphere but really. Authors. Unf. And illustrators? Those people who take words and perfectly encapsulate them into art? UNF! So when I saw this book was coming out I got super excited. SUPER excited. This book has interviews with:
Mitsumasa Anno
Quentin Blake
Ashley Bryan
John Burningham
Eric Carle
Lois Ehlert
Kevin Henkes
Tana Hoban
Yumi Heo
James Marshall
Robert McClosky
Helen Oxenbury
Jerry Pinkney
Chris Raschka
Maurice Sendak
Peter Sís
William Steig
Rosemary Wells
Mo Willems
Vera B. Williams
Lisbeth Zwerger

OH EN GEE how perfect does this sound? I can't wait to read it.