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March 2005 Newsletter March 2005
This Month on

Spring Break! Talks to Catherine Stine, author of REFUGEES

Author Talk: Natasha Friend, Author of PERFECT

Missing Persons series: THE UNSUSPECTING GOURMET by M. E. Rabb

Cool New Books for March
PROM by Laurie Halse Anderson


Three Titles You Want to Grab From Your Parents' Shelves has been updated for March Author Bibliographies

James Joyce Essay Contest

This Month's Reviews
Poll: Your School Library or Media Center
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 1,580 reading guides

Spring Break!

I always love Spring Break. It's the prelude to the BEST vaca of the year --- Summer Vacation. It gives you time to practice just having fun for a change. Many of you will be on Spring Break next week...some are on a break this week...others have it to look forward to later in April.
What do we want you to think about doing while you are on your break? Can I hear you tell me LOUDLY? R-E-A-D-I-N-G!!!! This is a great opportunity to sit down with a book you have wanted to read, to discover a book you never thought about and to for once not read something assigned for school. Okay, that's three things to do.
Even if you are not headed someplace on a special vaca over your break, remember that you can head anywhere you want --- with a book.
Happy reading...
Carol Fitzgerald for Talks to Catherine Stine, author of REFUGEES

REFUGEES, by author Catherine Stine, is the fictional story of the unusual friendship between an American girl and an Afghan boy who flee their respective homelands in search of a better life. In this interview conducted by reviewer Alexis Burling, Stine talks about the significance of music in the book, the research she conducted for the Afghani portions of the story, and some of the important lessons that can be learned from reading this deeply affecting novel.

REFUGEES by Catherine Stine (Fiction)
In Catherine Stine's tragically bittersweet yet ultimately uplifting story, two young people on opposite sides of the globe --- an American girl and an Afghani boy --- flee everything they know. In a world turned upside down by tragedy, they are refugees. Reviewed by Alexis Burling and excerpted.


Read our interview with Catherine Stine and review of REFUGEES here.


Author Talk: Natasha Friend, Author of PERFECT

In this interview Natasha Friend, author of PERFECT, talks about her personal experiences with eating disorders --- which is central to the storyline of her debut novel --- and explains what she hopes young people will learn from reading this important, true-to-life story. She also discusses certain aspects of the writing process, offers advice to aspiring authors, and gives us a sneak peak at her second novel.

PERFECT by Natasha Friend (Fiction)
Although PERFECT is about a girl struggling with bulimia, it's so much more than just a "problem novel." It also explores the intersections between family history and personal problems, as well as the differences between outward appearances and the complex emotions that lie beneath the surface. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


Read an interview with Natasha Friend and a review of PERFECT here.

Missing Persons series: THE UNSUSPECTING GOURMET by M. E. Rabb

Sophie and Sam, two funny and bright girls on the lam, take on another mystery in this fourth installment of the Missing Persons series when Wilda, the owner of the local diner, vanishes with a famous television chef personality. What's cooking here? Is it a wild romance, or something much more ominous? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Read a review of MISSING PERSONS Case #4: THE UNSUSPECTING GOURMET by M. E. Rabb here.

Cool New Books for March
March's roundup of cool new books is full of familiar characters returning for more adventures. They include Russel Middlebrook, the proud young man who we first met in GEOGRAPHY CLUB; Cyd Charisse, the star of the highly anticipated sequel to GINGERBREAD; and the five teenagers collectively known as The Midnighters, who all appear in the second installment of Scott Westerfeld's riveting trilogy. We're also introducing a fun new series from Simon Spotlight Entertainment called "Stake Your Destiny," in which readers assume the role of Buffy Summers and have the ability to determine what happens to the Vampire Slayer and the gang throughout each novel.

Read Cool New Books for March here.

PROM by Laurie Halse Anderson
PROM by Laurie Halse Anderson (Fiction)
High school senior Ashley Hannigan seems to be the only one in her urban Philadelphia high school who doesn't care about prom. But when the faculty advisor gets busted for taking the prom money, Ashley suddenly finds herself with the huge responsibility of putting together a gala dance on an extremely low budget. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.
Read a review of PROM here.


THE ORDER OF THE POISON OAK by Brent Hartinger (Fiction)
In Brent Hartinger's sequel to GEOGRAPHY CLUB, sixteen-year-old Russel Middlebrook is now openly gay and working as a summer camp counselor with his two friends. Russel must earn the respect of his ten-year-old campers and deal with his feelings for fellow counselor Web Bestian. Reviewed by Carlie Webber.

Read a review of THE ORDER OF THE POISON OAK here.

Read a review of CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? Read a review of VANISHING ACTS Read a review of ME & EMMA

Three Titles You Want to Grab From Your Parents' Shelves

CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? by Sophie Kinsella (Chick Lit)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick (Now in Paperback!)
Emma Corrigan is incorrigible; she has secrets from everyone she knows. So what will she do when a stranger on a plane learns them all --- and spills them?

ME & EMMA by Elizabeth Flock (Fiction)
Reviewed by Shannon McKenna
In many ways, Carrie Parker is like any other eight-year-old --- playing make-believe, dreading school, dreaming of faraway places. But even her imaginative mind can't shut out the realities of her impoverished North Carolina home or help her protect her younger sister, Emma.



VANISHING ACTS by Jodi Picoult (Fiction)
Reviewed by Lourdes Orive
Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father, Delia Hopkins now has a young daughter, a handsome fiance, and her own search-and-rescue bloodhound. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can't recall. And then a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret that changes the world as she knows it. has been updated for March has been updated for March. What's there?

*New Guides for:

Artist of the Beautiful by J.D. Landis
A Changed Man by Francine Prose
The Girl Watchers Club by Harry Stein
The Grandmothers by Doris Lessing
As Hot As It Was You Ought to Thank Me by
Nanci Kincaid
Love and Country by Christina Adam
The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosley
Maternal Desire by Daphne DeMarneffe
Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock
The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck
On A Night Like This by Ellen Sussman
Perfect Madness by Judith Warner
Personal Village by Marvin Thomas, MSW
The Professor's Daughter by Emily Raboteau
The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble
Right as Rain by Bev Marshall
Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
Sissy! by Tom Mach
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Turtle Warrior by Mary Relindes Ellis
Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

*More than 1,580 guides for book discussions

Click here to go to
Read a new quote everyday here. Search Click here to shop and support Author Bibliographies

Want to begin the new year by reading the books by your favorite authors --- in order? The author bibliographies on may help. This is information that is not easily found, but Tom Donadio, our Editorial Manager, updated and revised the bibliographies, complete with copyright dates to help you organize your reading.

Click here to browse through author bibliographies.

James Joyce Essay Contest

The American Friends of James Joyce and The Modern Word are hosting a contest where students in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades have a chance to win great prizes. All they have to do is prepare an essay that answers the question, "How has reading James Joyce helped me to think about my own life?"

Read more about the James Joyce Essay Contest here.

This Month's Reviews

SHRIMP by Rachel Cohn (Fiction)
In this sequel to the hugely popular novel GINGERBREAD, Cyd Charisse comes back home to find the boy of her dreams and winds up learning even more about family, friends, and herself. Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.

MIDNIGHTERS #2: TOUCHING DARKNESS by Scott Westerfeld (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
In the second volume of Scott Westerfeld's riveting trilogy, the Midnighters of Bixby, Oklahoma learn more about the secret hour's twists and turns. They uncover terrifying mysteries woven into the very fabric of their town's history, and a conspiracy that touches both the midnight hour and the world of daylight. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts and excerpted.

SEXY by Joyce Carol Oates (Fiction)
This compelling, masterfully written novel by acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates explores one teenager's search for identity in a complex, deceiving world and the answers he finds in the most unexpected places. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green (Fiction)
Miles "Pudge" Halter is abandoning his fairly normal life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." There, he unexpectedly learns some valuable life lessons. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

STAINED by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (Fiction)
The lives of three characters --- Jocelyn, Benny and Gabe --- intersect with a fourth --- Father Warren, the town priest --- in this riveting story layered with mystery, love, sex and faith. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

LAST DANCE ON HOLLADAY STREET by Elisa Carbine (Historical Fiction)
The year is 1878. Thirteen-year-old Eva doesn't have a family and feels like an orphan --- but she's not. Sadie Lewis, the woman who gave her up at birth, is living in Denver. And Eva, armed with an address, is determined to find her. But this mission holds more surprises than she ever could have anticipated. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

21 by Jeremy Iversen (Fiction)
It's tradition in the PAK fraternity that you have to down 21 drinks on your 21st birthday. And as luck would have it, college junior Bret's birthday happens to be on the night of PAK's biggest party in history. Reviewed by Carlie Webber.


Read this month's reviews here.
Poll: Your School Library or Media Center
Does your school have a library or media center in it?
Do you go there often?
We do not have a library or media center.
Does the library or media center have books that you want to read?
We do not have a library or media center.
Click here to participate in the poll.
Question of the Month

Here is our Question of the Month:

What book that you enjoyed would you want to donate to your library or media center?

E-mail us and tell us what you think by clicking on the link below.


Post your reply to our Question here.
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 PROM by Laurie Halse Anderson. (See official rules below.) To automatically enter to win, e-mail us your recommendations and book ratings.

Post your Word of Mouth comments here.

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

Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend, and make sure to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

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The Book Report Network
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--- Carol Fitzgerald for