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April 2004 Newsletter April 2004
This Month on
Great Reading for April
Author Talk: Lois Lowry, Author of MESSENGER
Author Talk: Ellen Sussman, Author of ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS
2004 Claudia Seaman Poetry Contest
HOVER CAR RACER by Matthew Reilly
Cool New Books for April
This Month's Reviews
Question of the Month
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading and You Could Win a Book
Links You'll Love
Word of Mouth
Question of the Month
Over 1,340 reading guides
Search here. Check out the Magazine Newstand. How to start or run a book club with your friends.
Great Reading for April
There are some months when the lineup of new books just makes me say WHOA! This is one of them. I dare you to not find something you want to read in this month's update. I know I have a stack of books already lined up after reading all these reviews.

It's National Poetry Month. But you knew that already, right?

Last month we announced the 2004 Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Contest. Many of you have participated in this competition in previous years and we hope to see the same kind of response this year. For details see below, and please share this with your friends, teachers and librarians.

It's FINALLY spring in New York. I feel like we have been waiting forever for sun, blue skies and warmth!

Have a great month....

Carol Fitzgerald for (

Author Talk: Lois Lowry, Author of MESSENGER
In this interview Lois Lowry discusses why she wrote MESSENGER, the difficult decision she made that impacts one of the main characters in the story and the universal appeal of her Newbery Award-winning novel THE GIVER.
Read our interview with Lois Lowry and a review of MESSENGER here.
Author Talk: Ellen Sussman, Author of ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS
First-time novelist Ellen Sussman reveals how a surprise visit from her husband's old high school friend inspired her to write ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS.
Read an interview with Ellen Sussman and our review of ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS here.
2004 Claudia Seaman Poetry Contest
The Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Award is open to all high school students across the country. Each young writer may submit two poems on any subject and in any form as long as their submission does not exceed 10 pages in length. The deadline for entering this annual contest is June 1, 2004.

The award was established in 1983 in Poughkeepsie, New York, by the Seaman family in honor of their daughter and sister, Claudia, a young poet. With the help of the Community Foundation of Dutchess County and the website, the award, a national competition open to all students in grades 9 through 12, is held each year to encourage, support, and promote young writers. With a $500 cash prize and publication of the winning poem in the literary journal HANGING LOOSE, it is hoped that the Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Award will help keep interest in reading and writing poetry alive and well at the high school level. We hope that English and writing teachers and librarians and other mentors working with young people will use the award as an incentive and as evidence of the viability of a literary life.
Read about the 2004 Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Contest here.
HOVER CAR RACER by Matthew Reilly
Matthew Reilly, the #1 bestselling author in Australia, is best known for his suspense novels for adults. Now he is launching an online serial novel called HOVER CAR RACER that will be available to readers free of charge. In this interview Matthew talks to about the plot of HOVER CAR RACER and why he is releasing it as a FREE e-book.
Read our interview with Matthew Reilly and more about Hover Car Racer here.
Cool New Books for April
Three critically acclaimed and bestselling authors are featured in this month's roundup of cool new books. Lois Lowry makes her triumphant return to the teen scene with MESSENGER, the highly anticipated companion to THE GIVER (which was awarded the 1994 Newbery Medal) and GATHERING BLUE. Meg Cabot appears to have another winner on her hands with PRINCESS IN PINK, which continues her popular Princess Diaries series. And last but certainly not least, Zoey Dean has written the sequel to her debut novel THE A-LIST, the funny and "stylish" GIRLS ON FILM.
Browse our Cool New Books for April here.
This Month's Reviews
PRINCESS IN PINK: The Princess Diaries, Volume V by Meg Cabot (Fiction)
In this hilarious fifth installment of Meg Cabot's bestselling Princess Diaries series, Mia wants more than anything to attend this year's prom with Michael. Unfortunately, Michael doesn't want to go --- and to make matters worse, a service workers strike threatens the very existence of the prom. Reviewed by Amy Alessio and excerpted.

MIDNIGHTERS #1: THE SECRET HOUR by Scott Westerfeld (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
Ancient secrets, mystical powers and fast-paced danger are all elements of this thrilling new trilogy by talented author Scott Westerfeld. In the first installment, readers are introduced to a group of teenagers who call themselves Midnighters. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts and excerpted.

MESSENGER by Lois Lowry (Fiction)
Evil shadows Matty's village in this companion book to Lois Lowry's THE GIVER (which won the 1994 Newbery Medal) and GATHERING BLUE. Can Matty somehow help restore goodness to his town? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

GIRLS ON FILM: AN A-List Novel by Zoey Dean (Fiction)
This sequel to Zoey Dean's bestseller THE A-LIST continues the story of seventeen-year-old Anna Percy, who has moved from Manhattan to Beverly Hills and is living with her estranged father for the remainder of the school year while her mother travels to Europe with a friend. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS by Ellen Sussman (Fiction)
In this bittersweet romance, a single mom knows she will die soon and is consumed with worry over what will happen to her 16-year-old daughter. She meets up with an old high school classmate who is heartbroken over his wife's sudden departure from their marriage. The two are drawn to each other, but to what end? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Mary Elizabeth Cep (or Lola, as she prefers to be called) and Carla Santini (Miss Popularity) both adore being in the spotlight, and they battle it out to determine who the "resident drama queen" is at their high school. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

MY PERFECT LIFE by Dyan Sheldon (Fiction)
In this witty and poignant sequel to CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE DRAMA QUEEN, Lola tricks her best friend Ella into running for class president against the wickedly popular Carla. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

STORY TIME by Edward Bloor (Teen Horror/Comedy)
George and Kate are promised the finest education when they transfer to the Whittaker Magnet School, which boasts the highest test scores in the nation. But they soon discover that their school is hiding a number of strange secrets. Reviewed by Carlie Webber.

INVENTING ELLIOT by Graham Gardner (Fiction)
When Elliot Sutton arrives at Holminster High, he is determined to reinvent himself as a boy who is impenetrable and shows no fear. This new Elliot is soon noticed by the Guardians, a group of upperclassmen who terrorize and bully students. Strangely enough, they also want Elliot --- not to terrorize him, but to become one of them. Reviewed by Renee Kirchner.

THE V CLUB by Kate Brian (Fiction)
The V Club is founded when a group of high school students vie for a scholarship to be awarded to the individual who exemplifies "purity of soul, spirit, and body." No one knows for sure what this means, but Mandy, Kai, Debbie and Eva think it may be about virginity. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

SISTERLAND by Linda Newbery (Fiction)
Hilly's grandmother drops clues to incredible childhood secrets affecting the entire family as she succumbs to Alzheimer's. This complex and absorbing novel weaves together past and present racial discord, family connections and forgiveness. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

WALKING NAKED by Alyssa Brugman (Fiction)
As a leader of her high school's most cliquish group, Megan Tuw has always been popular. But when she befriends classmate Perdita, who she and her friends refer to as the Freak, Megan faces a tough choice: Perdita or the group? Reviewed by Melissa Palmer.

WALKING ON AIR by Kelly Easton (Fiction)
It is the Great Depression in America, 1931, and twelve-year-old June is a tightrope walker who performs in her preacher father's revival shows. During her travels, June examines her life and is torn between loyalty to her family and their religion, and the life she might have. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE by Todd Strasser (Fiction)
Maybe is the street name of a teenage runaway who lives with a group of fellow homeless teens. As her friends start to disappear, Maybe tries to help a twelve-year-old girl get off the streets --- if it's not already too late. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.
Read this month's reviews here.
Do you like reading fiction that explores issues and situations that teens confront?

Not sure

Which of the following issues would interest you as the theme of a novel? (Check as many as apply.)

Eating disorders
Cutting and other mutilation
Divorced parents
Getting into college
None of the above

Do you think the books you read about these issues do a good job of capturing them?

Yes, I feel they are true to life.
No, I think they are sensationalized.
Depends on the book.
I am not sure how I feel.
Answer the poll here.
Play Author Trivia Games here. A new Quote of the Day every day.
Question of the Month
Here is our Question of the Month:

Name a book about a teen-related issue that really touched you.

E-mail us and tell us what you think by clicking on the link below.
Post your reply to our Question here.
Search Search Bibliographies of many bestselling authors.
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading and You Could Win a Book
This contest period, one teen reader will be randomly chosen to win a copy of MESSENGER by Lois Lowry. (See official rules below.) To automatically enter to win, e-mail us your recommendations and ratings click on the link below.
Post your Word of Mouth comments here.

Have a great month...and make some time each day to read something you enjoy!

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--- Carol Fitzgerald for