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September 2005 Newsletter September 2005
This Month on

Fun Reading For Fall

Our Review of ELDEST: Inheritance, Book II by Christopher Paolini Talks to Gabrielle Zevin, Author of ELSEWHERE


Cool New Books for September

Series Update: FEAR STREET NIGHTS by R.L. Stine

Now In Stores: READY OR NOT: An All-American Girl Novel, by Meg Cabot

Now in Stores: REBEL ANGELS by Libba Bray

Now in Stores: FLUSH by Carl Hiaasen

HARRY POTTER --- Check Out Our Newest Updates! Has Been Updated

This Month's Reviews
Poll: Teachers and Reading
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 1,620 reading guides
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Fun Reading For Fall

Summer's officially over, school's back in session and it's easy to get bogged down with homework and stress. That's why this month is especially chock-full of special features, updates on your favorite authors, and cool new books.

Our interview this month is with Gabrielle Zevin, whose book ELSEWHERE, a thoughtful and unexpected look at the afterlife, is generating major buzz. Gabrielle opened up to us about her own thoughts concerning the afterlife, what we can learn from dogs, and a new screenplay of hers that is in the works.

We've updated our Books into Movies feature to include September's two very tempting offerings: Oliver Twist and The Outsiders. Both are totally different, but both are definitely worth checking out. Oliver Twist may be a familiar story, but the newest version, directed by Roman Polanski, is decidedly dark and creepy --- definitely not your frumpy English Teacher's Oliver Twist. The Outsiders is also a familiar story, and the film is actually a DVD re-release of the 1983 version, which features some of your favorite current stars at the height of bad '80s fashion --- big hair, tight jeans, shoulder pads --- it's pretty amazing. It also has special features galore, and since it's a DVD, you can gather your friends and make your own popcorn just the way you like it.

We're also featuring our review of Christopher Paolini's newest book ELDEST this month. Speaking of Christopher, my son plowed through ELDEST and ERAGON during our vacation a few weeks ago. I think we should have renamed our trip The Christopher Paolini Marathon.

Congratulations to our Reader Survey winners! Our grand prize winner was Judy from Peoria, AZ who won a $100 Amazon gift certificate --- pretty sweet. Our first prize winners --- Grace from San Francisco, CA; Anthony from Lakeland, FL; and Ryan from Springfield, OH --- all won $25 Amazon gift certificates. We had 10 additional book prize winners: Kenneth from Elkins, WV won THE CRY OF THE ICEMARK by Stuart Hill; Rebecca from Seven Hills, OH won GIRLS IN PANTS: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood, by Ann Brashares; Paul from Saint Paul, MN won I AM THE MESSENGER by Markus Zusak, Heather from Manahawkin, NJ won IF WE KISS by Rachel Vail; Brennan from Wayzata, MN won LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green; Corey from Manchester, CT won MAXIMUM RIDE: THE ANGEL EXPERIMENT by James Patterson; Paula from Claremore, OK won THE MINISTER'S DAUGHTER by Julie Hearn; Bonnie from Tularosa, NM won PROM by Laurie Halse Anderson; John from Scotch Plains, NJ won RAVEN'S GATE: Book One of The Gatekeepers, by Anthony Horowitz and Farrell from Coeburn, VA won THE SLEDDING HILL by Chris Crutcher.

So don't start singing the back-to-school blues just yet. It's still beautiful outside and you can still spend the weekends seeing movies with your friends or simply losing yourself in a good book.

Carol Fitzgerald for

Our Review of ELDEST: Inheritance, Book II by Christopher Paolini

In Christopher Paolini's highly anticipated second book of the Inheritance Trilogy, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training as a Dragon Rider. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle --- one that might put Eragon in even graver danger. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

-To read an excerpt from ELDEST, click here.

Click here to read our review of ELDEST by Christopher Paolini. Talks to Gabrielle Zevin, Author of ELSEWHERE

In Gabrielle Zevin's inventive and intelligent new novel ELSEWHERE, the afterlife is portrayed as a place where its inhabitants age in reverse until they reach infancy and are then sent back to Earth and reborn. contributing writer Carolyn Juris talked to Zevin about the significance of and inspiration behind this idea, as well as her reasons for choosing to gear the book towards a young adult audience. She also reflects on her own thoughts concerning the afterlife, the wisdom of our canine counterparts, and her dream cast if the novel was ever made into a movie.

ELSEWHERE by Gabrielle Zevin (Fiction)
Fifteen-year-old Liz Hall is looking forward to earning her driver's license, graduating high school, and attending college. But on the way to help her best friend shop for a prom dress, Liz is killed by a hit-and-run driver. End of story? Not even close. In Gabrielle Zevin's witty and wise new novel, Liz awakens on a cruise ship bound for the afterlife. Reviewed by Carolyn Juris and excerpted.

Click here to read our interview with Gabrielle Zevin and a review of ELSEWHERE.



September marks the release of two very different movies based on books. The first is a re-cut version of The Outsiders, based on the novel by S.E. Hinton. Available on DVD, this new version contains a ton of special features. Our second offering is Oliver Twist. While the book by Charles Dickens may be one of the "classics," according to your teachers and parents, the film version is anything but dull.

Click here to read our Books Into Movies feature.


Cool New Books for September

Just because another school year has begun doesn't mean your recreational reading must end. In fact, it would be very difficult to turn down the titles we're spotlighting in this month's roundup of cool new books. They include REBEL ANGELS, a companion to the New York Times bestseller A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY by Libba Bray; Alice Hoffman's THE FORETELLING, the story of a girl coming of age in a long-ago culture that considers men to be the enemy; BACK IN BLACK, the fifth novel in Zoey Dean's A-List series; and FLUSH, Carl Hiaasen's action-packed (and zany) mystery that centers on an unpleasant yet important topic: raw sewage dumping.

Read our Cool New Books feature here.

Series Update: FEAR STREET NIGHTS by R.L. Stine

DARKEST DAWN: Book Three of Fear Street Nights, by R.L. Stine (Horror/Suspense)
The Night People are safe at last. After all the ugly pranks and vicious murders, things have finally returned to normal. It was the ancient spirit of Angelica Fear that caused all the trouble. And now she's been destroyed once and for all, burned in a fire. Or has she? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

Click here to read more about R.L. Stine and the Fear Street Nights series.


Now In Stores: READY OR NOT: An All-American Girl Novel, by Meg Cabot

READY OR NOT: An All-American Girl Novel by Meg Cabot (Fiction)
Everyone thinks Samantha Madison --- who saved the President's life --- is ready: Her parents think she's ready to work part-time, her art teacher thinks she's ready for "life drawing," and her boyfriend seems to think that they're both ready to move to the next level in their relationship. The only person who isn't sure she's ready for any of these things is Samantha herself! Reviewed by Carlie Webber.

-To read an excerpt from READY OR NOT, click here.

Click here to read a review of READY OR NOT.


Now in Stores: REBEL ANGELS by Libba Bray

REBEL ANGELS by Libba Bray (Fiction/Literary Suspense)
In this sequel to A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY, Gemma Doyle must save the Realms by binding the magic before the wrong people gain control of it. Once again, she faces danger and mystery while learning about love, trust, and the perils of Victorian London's high society. Reviewed by Emily Shaffer.

-To read an excerpt from REBEL ANGELS, click here.

Click here to read a review of REBEL ANGELS.

Now in Stores: FLUSH by Carl Hiaasen

FLUSH by Carl Hiaasen (Fiction)
Noah's dad is sure that Dusty Muleman, the owner of the Coral Queen casino boat, is flushing raw sewage into the harbor, but he doesn't have any proof. Noah --- with the help of some unlikely allies --- is determined to prove that Dusty is guilty of this disgusting deed. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

-To read an excerpt from FLUSH, click here.

Click here to read a review of FLUSH.
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HARRY POTTER --- Check Out Our Newest Updates!

To celebrate the release of HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, we've updated our Harry Potter site on where you'll find new lists of people, places and things, a new author biography and an interview with J.K. Rowling, and THREE all-new trivia games! Has Been Updated

These discussion guides are now available on
After the Apple by Naomi Harris Rosenblatt
American Taboo by Philip Weiss
The Art of Uncontrolled Flight by Kim Ponders
The Bastard on the Couch by Daniel Jones
The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch
The Last Run by Todd Lewan
Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
Necklace of Kisses by Francesca Lia Block
The PayPal Wars by Eric M. Jackson
A Perfect Divorce by Avery Corman
Savannah from Savannah by Denise Hildreth
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
The Secret Fruit of Peter Paddington by
Brian Francis
Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
Vita by Melania G. Mazzucco
Click here to read our newest guides on
This Month's Reviews



THE FORETELLING by Alice Hoffman (Fiction)
As the future queen of an Amazon tribe of women warriors, Rain must dig deep to find the courage to lead her people and be herself. But amid the horrors of the battlefield, she continually encounters choices that conflict with the traditional tribal way of life. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE CRY OF THE ICEMARK by Stuart Hill (Fantasy)
A new voice in fantasy bursts onto the scene with debut novelist Stuart Hill's action-packed military fantasy, an epic tale of a northern warrior princess who, following the death of her beloved father, faces the monumental task of defending her homeland from a formidable invader. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

BOY GIRL BOY by Ron Koertge (Fiction)
The acclaimed author of STONER & SPAZ and MARGAUX WITH AN X tells the story of Larry, Teresa and Elliot, an inseparable threesome whose friendship is starting to unravel as they come to the end of high school and the beginning of adult life. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

ME, DEAD DAD, & ALCATRAZ by Chris Lynch (Fiction)
Perpetually perplexed Elvin Bishop, whom readers previously met in SLOT MACHINE and EXTREME ELVIN, is back in this darkly offbeat but emotionally honest novel from versatile author Chris Lynch, featuring an uncle who --- much to Elvin's surprise --- is alive and well. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

BACK IN BLACK: An A-List Novel, #5 by Zoey Dean (Fiction)
Deciding to ditch a trip to Washington, D.C. for the second year in a row, the Beverly Hills High School A-List crew --- with the addition of New Yorker Anna Percy --- finds out more about love, life and gambling than they ever expected. Reviewed by Belinda Williams.

FALCONDANCE: The Kiesha'ra: Volume Three by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (Fantasy)
While the first two books in the Kiesha'ra series dealt with shapeshifter leaders who marry to join their worlds in peace, this third installment focuses on Nicias, a falcon who must learn to control the magical powers he inherited from his parents before it destroys him. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

The third novel in Natalie Standiford's Dating Game series, a humorous and realistic look at life in high school, keeps the story of Holly, Madison and Lina moving while fleshing out several minor characters from the previous books. Reviewed by Melissa A. Palmer.

13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES by Maureen Johnson (Fiction)
When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting will happen. But what she doesn't know is that she will have an adventure that changes her in more ways than one. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

VAMPIRE KISSES 2: KISSING COFFINS by Ellen Schreiber (Mystery/Romance)
This sequel to Ellen Schreiber's popular VAMPIRE KISSES follows goth teenager Raven as she embarks on a dangerous search for her true love Alexander, who she discovers is a vampire, and ultimately faces a life-transforming decision she's not sure she's ready to make. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

DISAPPEARANCE: A Premonitions Mystery by Jude Watson (Mystery)
Gracie has never known her father --- he disappeared when she was little and was never heard from again. Now, after her mother's death, he returns...with some dark secrets of his own. Suddenly Gracie's premonitions are a family matter. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

Read this month's reviews here.
Poll: Teachers and Reading

Do you feel most of your teachers are in touch with what you like to read?

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Question of the Month

What is a book that a teacher steered you towards that you enjoyed?

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 REBEL ANGELS by Libba Bray (Click on the link below for the official rules) 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!

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--- Carol Fitzgerald for