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October 2005 Newsletter October 2005
This Month on

A Reading Vacation

Series Feature: THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ALFRED KROPP by Rick Yancey Talks to R. A. Nelson, Author of TEACH ME

Heads Up! Teen Read Week is October 16th thru the 22nd

Cool New Books for October

Books Into Movies: IN HER SHOES

Series Update: Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar

Series Update: The Clique by Lisi Harrison

Recent Titles that are Perfect for Teens

Now in Stores: THE KINGDOM KEEPERS by Ridley Pearson

Now in Stores: AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY DEAD BROTHER by Walter Dean Myers

This Month's Reviews
Poll: Celebrating Teen Read Week
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
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A Reading Vacation

October always makes me want to curl up on the couch with hot apple cider and a good book. On this month you'll find information about the books you'll want to get all cozy and comfortable with, as well as updates on series favorites like Gossip Girl and The Clique.

We're also featuring two new interviews on The first is with Rick Yancey, whose novel THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ALFRED KROPP plunges us headlong into a daredevil world of international intrigue where nothing is as it seems. Rick talked to us about his unlikely protagonist, the difference between writing for adults and teens, and taking his family's eye-rolls as constructive criticism.

The second interview is with R. A. Nelson, author of the much-talked-about novel TEACH ME. R. A. opened up to us about taking on controversial subjects in literature, inspirational English teachers, and getting inside the mind of an 18-year-old young woman. We have a feeling you'll enjoy both authors for completely different reasons.

As you know, this week is Teen Read Week and I had the opportunity to attend a very cool event at the Brooklyn Public Library hosted by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). The two featured speakers were Jacqueline Woodson, author of MIRACLE'S BOYS and HUSH, and Q'orianka Kilcher, the 15-year-old actress who stars in the upcoming movie Pocahontas. Both were incredibly different, but equally compelling speakers.

Jacqueline took the stage while her adorable little daughter read and played beside her. She read excerpts from two of her books and talked about the process of becoming and being a writer. To her, "believing I could do it; believing that someone would want to read what I wrote, and actually finishing a book" were the hardest parts of being a writer and she cited Virginia Hamilton, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver and James Baldwin as some of her favorite writers.

Q'orianka read four heart-wrenching and evocative passages from her favorite book, A CHILD CALLED "IT", and talked about appreciating books that were inspiring --- that depicted the process of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. 

The library was beautiful and the Young Adult section had just been renovated. With the sunlight pouring in, surrounded by books and teens who love reading, it was a nice reminder of just what a great place a library can be. The librarians were very excited about Teen Read Week. We hope your library participated as well. If not, you can do something about that. The section below has links and info for anyone interested in organizing Teen Read Week festivities at their school; it's not too early to start planning now!

My older son just took his PSATs and I'm sure you too are all caught up in the fray of working, writing papers and taking tests. But try not to get too stressed out. Remember that when you finish filling out those awful bubble-sheets, add that final period to the sentence, put the equipment back from practice and come home, there's always a book waiting for you.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Carol Fitzgerald for


THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ALFRED KROPP by Rick Yancey (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Alfred Kropp was just trying to survive high school when his guardian uncle gets him roped into a suspicious get-rich-quick scheme that changes his life forever: stealing Excalibur --- the legendary sword of King Arthur. But after Alfred unwittingly delivers the sword into the hands of a man with enormously evil intentions, he sets off on an unlikely quest to try to right his wrong and save the world from imminent destruction. Click here to read a review and an excerpt.

In this interview Rick Yancey talks about THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ALFRED KROPP, which is his first novel for young adults. Yancey explains how his fascination with Arthurian legend infuses his writing, discusses the similarities and differences between himself and his 15-year-old protagonist, and describes his eccentric writing habits.

Click here to read an interview with Rick Yancey and a review of THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ALFRED KROPP. Talks to R. A. Nelson, Author of TEACH ME contributing writer Alexis Burling interviewed R. A. Nelson about the author's controversial debut novel TEACH ME, in which its 18-year-old protagonist is involved in an affair with her high school teacher. Nelson refused to portray the characters' relationship as a black-and-white situation. Initially hesitant to write about such a questionable but socially relevant topic, the author shares surprise and gratitude over the book's positive reception.

TEACH ME by R. A. Nelson (Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Carolina "Nine" Livingston is what most adults would call "a good kid." She excels in school, doesn't drink or do drugs, and gets along with her parents. For most of her life she has lived a fairly normal existence, until the day she locks eyes with her English teacher --- the split second when everything changes forever. Reviewed by Alexis Burling and excerpted.

Click here to read our interview with R. A. Nelson and a review of TEACH ME.


Heads Up! Teen Read Week is October 16th thru the 22nd

Hey, teens: don't forget to celebrate Teen Read Week on October 16-22, 2005! is one of the sponsors of this event so we want you to join us in getting the word out about Teen Read Week to your friends, teachers and librarians. The event officially began on Sunday, October 16th and you can go here and vote.

Thousands of teens across the country are gearing up to make time to read for the fun of it. This year's theme is "Get Real! @ your library" and the focus is on great nonfiction reads, such as biographies, strange but true stories, how-to books, magazines and much more.

During Teen Read Week you can also:

-Vote for your favorite new books as part of the Teens' Top Ten List

-Help choose next year's theme by voting online.

-Check out the events in your community. Visit your local school or public library to find out what they have planned. If they don't know about Teen Read Week, help them log on to here.

For more information about Teen Read Week, or to vote for your favorite books or next year's theme, log on to

Teen Read Week is an opportunity for teens across the country to vote for their favorite books. It's a great chance to make your voice heard --- to say what YOU like to read --- and to advocate reading in your community.

-Click here to read a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Teen Read Week.

Click here to vote!


Cool New Books for October

October's roundup of Cool New Books is chock-full of fabulous additions to some of your favorite series titles. In NOTHING CAN KEEP US TOGETHER --- Cecily von Ziegesar's eighth Gossip Girl novel --- the winds of change can be felt at the Constance Billard School for Girls, and LIVE BAIT is a continuation of Francine Pascal's Fearless FBI series. This month also marks the debut of LORD LOSS, the first book in The Demonata horror series by Darren Shan, who has written the bestselling Cirque du Freak books. Stand-alone fiction includes Julie Hearn's SIGN OF THE RAVEN, an intriguing mystery from the author of THE MINISTER'S DAUGHTER, and TWILIGHT, a love story with a vampire twist from debut novelist Stephenie Meyer.

Read our Cool New Books feature here.

Books Into Movies: IN HER SHOES

This month we have a particularly tasty offering for our Books Into Movies feature. In Her Shoes is the film adaptation of Jennifer Weiner's sweet and fluffy Chick Lit novel of the same name. While this movie promises to be as irresistible as the book --- with actresses like Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette in the starring roles, and Curtis Hanson, who directed L.A. Confidential and 8 Mile, in the director's chair --- In Her Shoes is just spicy enough, and has more heart and soul than your typical Hollywood trifle.

Click here to read our Books Into Movies feature.


Series Update: Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar

NOTHING CAN KEEP US TOGETHER: A Gossip Girl Novel by Cecily von Ziegesar (Fiction)
Graduation time is approaching, and the lives of the young women at Constance Billard are heating up. Will Blair and Nate's love affair continue? Will Nate and Serena hook up in New Haven and leave Blair alone in the city? And is it really true that Jenny is leaving Constance Billard to attend an elite boarding school? Reviewed by Amy Alessio.


Click here to read our review of NOTHING CAN KEEP US TOGETHER.


Series Update: The Clique by Lisi Harrison

INVASION OF THE BOY SNATCHERS by Lisi Harrison (Fiction)
In Lisi Harrison's fourth Clique novel, Alicia's gorgeous and predatory cousin Nina visits, and the boys are infuriatingly enamored. Massie and her "Pretty Committee" are split between admiration for the newcomer and hatred for her. Can Massie bring down the invincible Nina? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.


Click here to read our review of INVASION OF THE BOY SNATCHERS.

Recent Titles that are Perfect for Teens

MAYBE A MIRACLE by Brian Strause (Fiction)
Brian Strause's debut novel is about an American family transfixed by a series of mysterious events. From a comfortable suburb of Columbus, Ohio, emerges a story of rebellion, faith and hope, bridging the cultural gap between those who believe in miracles and those who wish they could. Reviewed by Jennifer Krieger and excerpted.

THE COLORADO KID by Stephen King (Mystery)
On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues, and it's more than a year before the victim is identified. And that's just the beginning of the mystery. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SON OF A WITCH by Gregory Maguire (Fiction)
Ten years after the publication of WICKED, Gregory Maguire returns at last to the land of Oz. Following the demise of the Wicked Witch of the West, a young man whom some say is her son begins a journey to the Emerald City with Dorothy and the Scarecrow, encountering many hurdles --- good and bad --- along the way. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE TENDER BAR by J.R. Moehringer (Memoir)
Take one part CHARMING BILLY, a dash of Frank McCourt, add a shot of "Cheers," serve straight up, and you'll have the charming concoction that is THE TENDER BAR. J.R. Moehringer fondly reflects on his youth, however misspent, within the cooling shadows of the town's local bar. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

WOMEN'S LETTERS: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present edited by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler (Literary Criticism & Collections)
With more than 400 letters and over 100 stunning photographs, Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler's "anti-textbook" is a work of astonishing breadth and scope, and a remarkable testament to the women who lived --- and made --- history. Reviewed by Jennifer Krieger.

URSULA, UNDER by Ingrid Hill (Fiction)
Tiny Ursula Wong vanishes down an abandoned mineshaft in front of her horrified parents. The little girl is the culmination of generations of her ancestors, whose fascinating stories over a 2,000-year span form the bulk of this exquisite novel. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

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Now in Stores: THE KINGDOM KEEPERS by Ridley Pearson

THE KINGDOM KEEPERS by Ridley Pearson (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
In this fantastic thriller from the bestselling co-author of PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS, five teens find themselves pitted against Disney villains and witches that threaten both the future of Walt Disney World and the stability of the world outside its walls. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE KINGDOM KEEPERS.

Click here to read our review of THE KINGDOM KEEPERS.


Now in Stores: AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY DEAD BROTHER by Walter Dean Myers

Walter Dean Myers delivers a gripping and brutally honest novel about friendship, loss and loyalty. Nominated this year for a National Book Award, it powerfully addresses issues of race and class, life and death, with a rigor and strength many readers won't find in other contemporary offerings. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

-Click here to read an excerpt from AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY DEAD BROTHER.

Click here to read a review of AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY DEAD BROTHER.

This Month's Reviews



DOUBLE IDENTITY by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Thriller)
It's sometime in the future. Mom and dad drive twelve-year-old Bethany, usually an overprotected only child, to an unknown town and leave her with a stranger. As Bethany learns truths about herself, she realizes just how much of her life is a mystery. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DOUBLE IDENTITY.

TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer (Horror/Romance)
When Bella Swan moves from sunny Phoenix to perpetually rainy Forks, Washington, she discovers friends, danger, and a kind of love she never could have imagined. Stephenie Meyer's sensuous debut novel takes vampire fiction to new levels of sophistication and creativity. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

DRUMS, GIRLS & DANGEROUS PIE by Jordan Sonnenblick (Fiction)
Thirteen-year-old Steven has a totally normal life: he plays drums in the All-Star Jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in the school, and is constantly annoyed by his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey. But when Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven's world is turned upside down. Reviewed by Jennifer Krieger.

THE WATER MIRROR: Dark Reflections, Book One by Kai Meyer (Fantasy)
Unique reworking of classic fantasy figures are at the center of Book One in Kai Meyer's Dark Reflections series, a boldly envisioned novel with a memorable heroine and a wildly original version of Venice. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

PEEPS by Scott Westerfeld (Horror/Supernatural)
One year ago, Cal Thompson was a college freshman more interested in meeting girls and partying in New York City than in attending his biology classes. Now, after a fateful encounter with a mysterious woman, Cal is infected by a parasite that has a truly horrifying effect on its host. Reviewed by Carlie Webber.

WILD ROSES by Deb Caletti (Fiction)
Having a stepfather is difficult. Having a famous and crazy stepfather is even more difficult. Having Dino Cavalli, world-renown violinist and composer, as your stepfather is nearly impossible. This is the challenge that seventeen-year-old Cassie Morgan faces. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

ART GEEKS AND PROM QUEENS by Alyson Noel (Fiction)
Being the new girl is tough --- just ask sixteen-year-old Rio Jones. A New York transplant, Rio gets a lesson in the highs and lows of popularity at her fancy new private school when her family moves to Southern California. Reviewed by Carlie Webber.

LOVE, CAJUN STYLE by Diane Les Becquets (Fiction)
Soon-to-be high school senior Lucy Beauregard learns about the many faces of love during one long, hot summer in her not-so-sleepy Louisiana town, where passions can get as hot as Tabasco. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read our Reading Group Guide for LOVE, CAJUN STYLE.

LOVESICK by Jake Coburn (Fiction)
A crippling drunk-driving accident has cost basketball star Ted his college scholarship and forced him into AA. But then a second chance comes in the form of a shocking offer: keep private-school princess and struggling bulimic Erica under surveillance for her wealthy father, and enjoy a free ride. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

When Lucy Norton and her newly-remarried father relocate from San Francisco to Long Island to live with the new stepfamily, Lucy's life is turned upside down. The more time she spends in her new environment, the more Lucy begins to feel like Cinderella --- overworked, under-appreciated, and hopelessly alone. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

MINERVA CLARK GETS A CLUE by Karen Karbo (Fiction)
In this fun-filled novel, Minerva Clark --- formerly a typical 13-year-old girl --- has a jolting experience that changes her forever. She transforms from a highly self-conscious girl to one who is almost "unself-conscious." Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

WRECKED by E. R. Frank (Fiction)
In this haunting novel we meet Anna, a girl who feels guilty about a horrific accident that leaves her brother's beautiful and popular girlfriend dead. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, she agrees to an unusual method of therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Reviewed by Ashley Hartlaub.

Read this month's reviews here.
Poll: Celebrating Teen Read Week

Did your local library or school library celebrate Teen Read Week?

Yes, we did at school.
Yes, we did at my local library.
Both my school and local library celebrated.
I did not know it was Teen Read Week until I received the newsletter.
I have no idea what Teen Read Week is.


Click here to participate in the poll.
Question of the Month

Share a story of how someone inspired you to read.

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 TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer. (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