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April 2006 Newsletter April 2006
This Month on

National Poetry Month....And Our Newest Feature Talks to Markus Zusak, Author of THE BOOK THIEF

Author Talk: Sarah Dessen, Author of JUST LISTEN

Now in Stores: PARTY PRINCESS by Meg Cabot

New in Paperback for April

Books Into Movies: Hoot

Enter the 2006 Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Contest!

Cool New Books for April

This Month's Reviews

Manga Reviews

Christian Fiction Reviews

Recent Titles Perfect for Teens
Question of the Month: Books on Film
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 1,800 reading guides
Read a new quote everyday here. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here.

National Poetry Month....And Our Newest Feature

It's National Poetry Month. For those of you who are poets, take note of the Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Contest where the prize is $500 and publication of the winning poem in the literary journal HANGING LOOSE. Also, this month all of the Quotes of the Day on are taken from poems. So for those of you who want a poem to inspire you each day, check it out.

This month we're featuring interviews with Markus Zusak, author of THE BOOK THIEF, and Sarah Dessen, author of JUST LISTEN. Zusak talks about surfing, writing and what makes HIM want to pick up a book. Dessen offers up her thoughts on being an outcast, what she listened to in high school and what book inspires her.

PARTY PRINCESS, Meg Cabot's seventh Princess Diaries novel, came out March 28th. Not only do we have the review, it's also our Word of Mouth prize!
We're so excited to be launching our New in Paperback feature this month. We know many of you only read paperbacks, so we're happy to be passing along info about what's hitting the shelves in this format each month. The hottest release is THE DA VINCI CODE, which is just out in paperback after three years in hardcover. 

Speaking of THE DA VINCI CODE, it's the subject of our Poll this month. Have you read it? Do you plan to read it? Are you planning to see the movie?

Along with our Cool New Books feature and our regular reviews, we have reviews of Manga, Christian titles, and Titles that are Perfect for Teens.

Spring break may have come and gone, tests and papers may be looming large, but take a deep breath --- is the perfect place to stop and re-energize yourself with a book.

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all of you celebrating this weekend.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Markus Zusak, Author of THE BOOK THIEF

Markus Zusak is the award-winning author of four young adult novels: THE UNDERDOG, FIGHTING RUBEN WOLFE, GETTING THE GIRL and I AM THE MESSENGER. In this interview with contributing writer Brian Farrey, Zusak discusses the appeal of reading and writing, and describes his experience in Germany while researching his latest novel, THE BOOK THIEF. He also addresses the similar threads that run through his work and even shares a poignant childhood memory.

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak (Historical Fiction)
Living in Germany during World War II, young Liesel Meminger scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist --- books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids. Reviewed by Brian Farrey.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BOOK THIEF.

Click here to read our interview with Markus Zusak and a review of THE BOOK THIEF.


Author Talk: Sarah Dessen, Author of JUST LISTEN

Sarah Dessen has written several critically acclaimed and award-winning books such as THIS LULLABY, THAT SUMMER, SOMEONE LIKE YOU and KEEPING THE MOON. Her latest effort, JUST LISTEN, contains the same trademark poignancy, wisdom and honesty that struck a chord with her young adult audience. In this interview, Dessen discusses the insecurities everyone experiences in adolescence and what she hopes her readers will take away from this novel. She also talks about her eclectic tastes in music and the book that ignited her passion for writing.

JUST LISTEN by Sarah Dessen (Fiction)
Last year, Annabel Greene was the girl who had everything (at least that's the part she played in a television commercial). This year, she has nothing --- or so she thinks. With help from a reformed bad boy, Annabel must learn how to stop running away from her past, be honest with herself, and finally slow down and listen to her heart. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Click here to read an interview with Sarah Dessen and a review of JUST LISTEN.


Now in Stores: PARTY PRINCESS by Meg Cabot

PARTY PRINCESS: The Princess Diaries, Volume VII by Meg Cabot (Fiction)
In Meg Cabot's seventh Princess Diaries novel, the student government over which Mia presides is suddenly broke --- and it's all her fault. Grandmère has an elaborate scheme to simultaneously raise money, catapult Mia to theatrical fame, and link her romantically with an eligible teen bachelor. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PARTY PRINCESS.

Click here to read our review of PARTY PRINCESS.

New in Paperback for April

Each month, will be spotlighting some of the books that are newly available in paperback. This is the perfect opportunity to catch up on the titles you may have missed when they originally released in hardcover --- or re-read past favorites.

April's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes GIFTS, a darkly compelling fantasy from Ursula K. Le Guin about the cruelty of power and the difficulties of growing up; THEN HE ATE MY BOY ENTRANCERS, the sixth entry in Louise Rennison's hilarious Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series; and the long-awaited release of THE DA VINCI CODE, Dan Brown's controversial thriller that has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, in addition to an illustrated version of the novel.

Click here to read our New in Paperback feature.

Books Into Movies: Hoot

On May 5th, the movie version of Carl Hiaasen's HOOT hits theaters. Packed with surprising plot twists, quirky characters and offbeat humor, the book is a favorite among many readers and the film promises to be silly, screwball fun.

But May holds more in store. With the May 19th release of The Da Vinci Code, an epic battle between the Owls and the Code ensues. Which are you more excited about? Stay tuned to for details about this highly anticipated movie, our Da Vinci Code roundup and the opportunity to tell us what YOU thought of the film!

Click here to read our Books into Movies feature.


Enter the 2006 Claudia Ann 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, 2006.


Click here to read all the details about the Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Contest.


Cool New Books for April

Mia Thermopolis is in her sophomore year of high school, and in Meg Cabot's seventh Princess Diaries novel, the Princess of Genovia is trying her best to balance the student budget and prove to her boyfriend that she can be a "party girl." April's roundup of Cool New Books also includes JUST LISTEN, a captivating novel by Sarah Dessen about a girl who must learn how to stop running away from her past and be honest with herself; HEAT, Mike Lupica's heartwarming tale of a 12-year-old boy who dreams of pitching in the Little League World Series; and IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, a poignant yet humorous look at teenage depression by BE MORE CHILL author Ned Vizzini.

Click here to read our Cool New Books feature.

This Month's Reviews

SOME LIKE IT HOT: An A-List Novel, #6 by Zoey Dean (Fiction)
In their sixth book, the A-Listers return for a Hollywood-style prom that will take place on the film set of Sam's father's remake of Ben Hur. This prom is sure to be glamorous, scandalous, and occasionally downright shocking! It's just the kind of night the A-List crew will never forget. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

THE DREAMWALKER'S CHILD by Steve Voake (Fantasy)
Fifteen-year-old Sam Palmer has been hit by a car. His mangled body lies in a coma --- but his conscious self struggles in a world called Aurobon, fighting to save Earth's humans. Even if his quest is successful, can he return to his old life with his family? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

FOLLOW THE BLUE by Brigid Lowry (Fiction)
When Bec's parents leave for six weeks, she can literally feel herself changing from the steady, dependable person she has always been to someone else entirely. Life becomes more and more complicated for the Australian teen in this impossible-to-put-down read, full of intelligent humor, quirky yet complex characters, and poetic narration. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (AND A FEW WHITE LIES) by Justina Chen Headley (Fiction)
Fifteen-year-old Patty Ho struggles with being half-Asian and half-white, not quite fitting into either world, and must deal with her ultra-strict Taiwanese mother and Harvard-bound big brother. But can an unwelcome month at Math Camp teach her that one half plus one half equals a whole? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

ENDGAME by Nancy Garden (Fiction)
Despite a new town and a new school, 14-year-old Gray Wilton soon realizes that nothing is going to change --- there are bullies in every school, and he's always their punching bag. Feeling trapped in a world where he has no control and no support systems, he enters the halls of Greenford High School one fateful day with his father's semiautomatic in hand. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

WEEDFLOWER by Cynthia Kadohata (Historical Fiction)
Twelve-year-old Sumiko and her family are sent to a Japanese internment camp in the Sonoran desert after the outbreak of World War II. There, amidst the grief and distress of an uprooted life, they do their best to rebuild their lives and form a community. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

DREAMHUNTER: Book One of the Dreamhunter Duet by Elizabeth Knox (Fantasy)
The Place is an unfathomable land that fosters dreams of every kind and is inaccessible to all but a select few, the Dreamhunters. Laura and her cousin Rose are eligible to test themselves at the Place and find out whether or not they qualify for the passage. But nothing can prepare them for what they are about to discover. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

SURRENDER by Sonya Hartnett (Psychological Thriller)
In a mesmerizing psychological thriller, Sonya Hartnett creates a searing portrait of a troubled young man named Gabriel. Told from the main character's deathbed, this story in flashbacks proceeds relentlessly to its violent, haunting conclusion. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Click here to read this month's reviews.

Manga Reviews

The following reviews are courtesy of the graphic novel review website for teens No Flying No Tights:

ARK ANGELS by Sang-Sun Park (Tokyopop, 2005)
When three magical girls --- Shem, Hamu and Japheth --- arrive to rescue endangered species before they disappear forever, wackiness, some stunning animal costumes, and environmental awareness ensue. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

BRIGADOON, Vol. 1 by Nozomi Watase (Tokyopop, 2003)
Growing up without her parents is hard for Marin, but she's happy in her adopted grandparents' modest home until a strange mirror-image world called Brigadoon falls from the sky. For some reason Marin is being chased by Monomakia, a horde of creepy mechanical spies from Brigadoon who seem determined to kill or capture her. Luckily a new friend has also fallen from the sky to protect Marin --- someone strong, chivalrous! Reviewed by Alison Kotin.

DESCENDANTS OF DARKNESS [Yami No Matsuei]: Volume 5 by Yoko Matsushita (Viz, 2005)
It's a grand ole time at the Count's annual tea party in the Hall of Candles, and it seems that the whole Ministry of Hades is there. Hisoka, Tsuzuki's partner, runs into Tatsumi, another Guardian of Death, and learns some startling secrets. Meanwhile, Tsuzuki finds a study containing a strange book. The kind that sucks you in --- literally. Reviewed by Alison Kotin.

DESCENDANTS OF DARKNESS [Yami No Matsuei]: Volume 6 by Yoko Matsushita (Viz, 2005)
After an accident destroys a new building, the Ministry of Hades Summons Department sends shinigami Tsuzuki and Hisoka to Okinawa to keep them out of trouble. While the partners squabble and try to solve the mystery of a haunted inn, we learn that their nemesis, Dr. Muraki, has resurfaced and is ready to make trouble again. Reviewed by Alison Kotin.

FULL MOON WO SAGASHITE, Vol. 1 by Arina Tanemura (Viz Media, 2001)
Mitsuki is determined to become a great singer, but when throat cancer threatens her singing and her life, only two powerful gods can help her achieve her dreams. Reviewed by Jack Kotin.

GALS! Volume 1 by Fujii Mihona (CMX, 2005)
Meet Kotobuki Ran and her fellow kogals --- the fashion-obsessed, cell-phone loving, boy-torturing girls who once ruled the streets of Tokyo's trendy Shibuya. Ran, rebellious daughter of a family of cops, dispenses her own unique brand of justice among Shibuya's warring cliques. Reviewed by Jen Webb.

GODCHILD, Volume 1 by Kaori Yuki (VIZ Media, 2006)
Mix Sherlock Holmes's talent for deduction, a devil's deviousness, a soldier's loyalty, an unfortunate talent for getting wrapped up in gruesome murder investigations, and a truly stunning teenage guy, and shake well. Meet Lord Cain Hargreaves. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

GUNSLINGER GIRL, Volume 1 by Yu Aida (ADV Manga, 2003)
If you've been horribly injured, the Social Welfare Agency is here to help. They'll use state-of-the-art cyborg prosthetics to get you on your feet again. In return, you'll become a government assassin. Reviewed by Jen Webb.

THE ONE I LOVE: Watshi No Sukinahito by Mick Nekoi and Nanase Ohkawa (Tokyopop, 2004)
Short and very sweet, THE ONE I LOVE should be a quick mood-lifter for any diehard romantic. In these twelve vignettes by Mick Nekoi and Nanase Ohkawa, the women of CLAMP reflect on romance. Reviewed by Jen Webb.

-Click here to read our Manga reviews.

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Christian Fiction Reviews

TrueColors series

TORCH RED: COLOR ME TORN by Melody Carlson (Fiction)
With the possible exception of Callie Price, Zoe Stepanovich feels like the only virgin on Earth. The new girl in school, Shawna Frye, has all these stories about sex, but they only make Zoe more confused. "Am I ready for sex and everything that goes with it?" Reviewed by Michele Howe.

PITCH BLACK: COLOR ME LOST by Melody Carlson (Fiction)
If Morgan Bergstrom thought her life was tough before --- with her drug-addicted kleptomaniac brother, an absentee dad, and a grandmother who took off to sow her wild oats in her later years --- it just got worse. Last night, her close friend Jason took his own life, and an emotionally devastated Morgan is struggling to cope with this shocking news. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Payton Skky series

SAVED RACE: Payton Skky, #3 by Stephanie Perry Moore (Fiction)
On the verge of graduation, Payton Skky encounters racial discrimination on a level previously unknown to her. She struggles to figure out where these prejudices come from and find effective ways to overcome them while loving everybody as God commands. Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby.

SWEETEST GIFT: Payton Skky, #4 by Stephanie Perry Moore (Fiction)
Payton Skky has finally arrived at college. In no time she's facing the same pressures and stresses most college students face; she's still conflicted about boyfriends and studies are difficult. When an unexpected event sends her life spiraling out of control, Payton is eventually jolted back to the basics of her faith. Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby.

Click here to read our Christian reviews.

Recent Titles Perfect for Teens

EAT, PRAY, LOVE: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert (Memoir)
Despite a big beautiful house, a husband and an incredibly successful career, Elizabeth Gilbert was consumed with panic, grief and confusion. After going through a long, painful divorce, a deep depression and another failed romance, she found herself in need of change. EAT, PRAY, LOVE is Gilbert's deeply personal chronicle of the year she spent living in three different countries in order to better understand herself and her ultimate place in the universe. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

-Click here to read an excerpt from EAT, PRAY, LOVE.

THE BOY WHO FELL OUT OF THE SKY: A True Story by Ken Dornstein (Memoir)
In this stunning, emotionally charged memoir, Ken Dornstein interweaves the moving story of his own coming-of-age with the promise of greatness his brother never lived to fulfill. THE BOY WHO FELL OUT OF THE SKY is a heartbreaking but profoundly hopeful book about finding beauty in the midst of tragedy and making sense of it. Reviewed by Shannon McKenna.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BOY WHO FELL OUT OF THE SKY.

WHEN CRICKETS CRY by Charles Martin (Fiction)
In a small town square of a sleepy Georgia town, a spirited seven-year-old sits at her lemonade stand, raising money for her own heart transplant. As a beat-up bread truck careens around the corner, a strong wind blows Annie's money into the road. A bearded stranger looks up in time to see Annie's yellow dress fluttering in the wind as she runs into the road. What happens next will change both of their lives forever. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WHEN CRICKETS CRY.

TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE by Mary Higgins Clark (Thriller)
In this chilling new thriller, worldwide bestselling suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark weaves

the mystery of twin telepathy into a mother's search for a kidnapped child, presumed dead. She tells a spellbinding and timely tale that takes us deep into the minds of her characters while lifting us to the heights of suspense. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

WHITE GHOST GIRLS by Alice Greenway (Historical Fiction)
During the steamy summer of 1967 Hong Kong, American teenage sisters Kate and Frankie's devastating personal drama plays out against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. The suspense builds almost unbearably in this dreamlike novel written in a graceful and lyrical voice. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE BEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD by Justin Tussing (Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Thomas Mahey and his lover (who is also his high school teacher), along with the town eccentric, flee his hometown to live in an abandoned house in Vermont. Free of the rules from his old world, Thomas glories --- and struggles --- within his new family. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Click here to read more about the titles that are perfect for teens.


Have you read THE DA VINCI CODE?

No, but I plan to now that it's out in paperback and the movie is coming out.
No, I am not interested in reading this book.

Do you plan to see the movie version of THE DA VINCI CODE when it hits theaters in May?

Not sure

Click here to participate in the poll.
Question of the Month: Books on Film

Name up to three of your most or least favorite books into movies and explain why you like or dislike them.

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 lucky teen reader will be randomly chosen to win a copy of PARTY PRINCESS: The Princess Diaries, Volume VII by Meg Cabot. (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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