Skip to main content

July 2006 Newsletter July 2006
This Month on

Diving Into Summer at

Special Feature: STARTLED BY HIS FURRY SHORTS: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #7 by Louise Rennison

Special Feature: The Kiki Strike Series by Kirsten Miller

Special Feature: The Gatekeepers Series by Anthony Horowitz and a Special Contest Talks to Jonathan Stroud, Author of The Bartimaeus Trilogy

TOKYOPOP'S POP Fiction Advance Reader Copy Giveaway

The Ultimate Summer Reading List

Coming in August: Win a SIGNED Copy of HOW TO BE POPULAR by Meg Cabot!

This Month's Reviews

Manga Reviews

Christian Fiction Reviews

Recent Titles Perfect for Teens
Poll: Summer Reading
Question of the Month: Your Summer Reading Pick
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

Diving Into Summer at

We are so excited by the number of suggestions that we've received for our Ultimate Summer Reading List at our mailbox. It's exciting to see your recommendations. A number of you mentioned A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY by Libba Bray, THIS LULLABY and JUST LISTEN by Sarah Dessen; there were an equal number of classics like 1984 by George Orwell and THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger as there were current titles like MY SISTER'S KEEPER by Jodi Picoult and the Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. Haven't weighed in yet? Be sure you write to and tell us what your "Ultimate Summer Reading List" would be. We have something special planned for the end of the summer when we compile all these entries.

We continue to spotlight our series features for The Gatekeepers by Anthony Horowitz and Kiki Strike by Kirsten Miller, and have added an interview with Jonathon Stroud, author of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, and our newest TOKYOPOP POP Fiction ARC Giveaway title. We're also featuring Meg Cabot's newest title --- HOW TO BE POPULAR --- with details of a VERY special contest for Meg and the book, coming in August.

Our July New in Paperback titles include I AM THE MESSENGER by Markus Zusak --- author of the bestseller THE BOOK THIEF --- about an underage cab driver who becomes an all-important messenger after receiving an Ace of Diamonds playing card; John Feinstein's LAST SHOT, in which eighth graders Stevie and Susan Carol (reporters at the NCAA Final Four) have just 48 hours to figure out who is blackmailing a star player...and why; and ANGELS IN PINK: KATHLEEN'S STORY, the first book in Lurlene McDaniel's inspirational trilogy featuring three best friends who find that volunteering at the local hospital changes their lives in unexpected ways.

July's roundup of Cool New Books includes BITTERSWEET SIXTEEN, Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman's story of filthy rich and snobby girls who attend an exclusive New York City prep school on Manhattan's elite Upper East Side; BLIND FAITH, a novel in which Ellen Wittlinger explores questions of belief, the mother-daughter bond, and how death affects those who are left behind; I DON'T WANT TO BE CRAZY by Samantha Schutz, the harrowing and remarkable true story of one girl's struggle with anxiety disorder; and the latest additions to the Alias and Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.

Summer is in full swing here in New York, and it's hot hot hot! So dive into this month's update where the books are cool and there's no sunblock required.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Special Feature: STARTLED BY HIS FURRY SHORTS: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #7 by Louise Rennison

STARTLED BY HIS FURRY SHORTS: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #7 by Louise Rennison (Fiction)
This seventh book continues the hilarious series about British teen Georgia Nicolson and her "ace gang" of friends. Georgia has given Masimo, her current "Luuuurve God" an ultimatum about being his exclusive girlfriend, and he told her he will let her know in a week. She fills the time with her friends, family and "Macbeth" rehearsals while pining, though Dave the wonderful kisser continues to confuse her. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

-Click here to read a review of STARTLED BY HIS FURRY SHORTS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from STARTLED BY HIS FURRY SHORTS.
-Click here to read a Q&A with Louise Rennison.
-Click here to visit

Click here to read more about Louise Rennison and STARTLED BY HIS FURRY SHORTS.

Special Feature: The Kiki Strike Series by Kirsten Miller

Kirsten Miller is the creator of a new series about a group of girls who protect New York's secret underground world, the Shadow City. In this interview with contributing writer Chris Shanley-Dillman, Miller discusses how she first became fascinated with the idea of life under the streets and explains where the names for her band of characters came from. She also defines her own conception of "girl power" and details some of her own adventures --- both real and imagined --- in unusual locations.

-Click here to read an interview with Kirsten Miller.
-Click here to read a review of KIKI STRIKE: INSIDE THE SHADOW CITY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from KIKI STRIKE: INSIDE THE SHADOW CITY.


Click here to read our Kiki Strike series feature.


Special Feature: The Gatekeepers Series by Anthony Horowitz and a Special Contest

Author and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz has created two popular series for children and young adults: Alex Rider and The Gatekeepers. He recently spoke with contributing writer Stephen Hubbard about his latest release, EVIL STAR, the second Gatekeepers installment. Horowitz discusses how his predecessors in the epic fantasy genre have influenced him, the introduction of a female heroine in upcoming books, and the direction in which the series is headed.

-Click here to read a review of EVIL STAR.
-Click here to read an excerpt from EVIL STAR.
-Click here to read an interview with Anthony Horowitz.

To celebrate the publication of EVIL STAR, Scholastic will be awarding a free copy of the book to 15 lucky winners. Interested? To enter, all you have to do is answer the following trivia question: Unscramble the name of the top secret organization that is watching over Matt as he fights the Evil Ones --- HET XSUEN.

Send your answer to with the subject line EVIL STAR by Tuesday, August 1st. To be eligible for the prize you must be 13 years of age or older. Note that if you are under 16, you will need to have parental consent to supply us with your mailing address.

-Click here for more contest details.

Click here to read our Gatekeepers series feature. Talks to Jonathan Stroud, Author of The Bartimaeus Trilogy contributing writer Brian Farrey interviewed Jonathan Stroud, author of the bestselling The Bartimaeus Trilogy. Stroud discusses some of the technical aspects of creating a series and his aim to appeal to several different age groups. He also touches upon the challenges of writing fantasy in a post-Harry Potter world, mentions some of his recent enjoyable reads, and shares details about future projects.


Click here to read our interview with Jonathon Stroud and more about The Bartimaeus Trilogy.

TOKYOPOP'S POP Fiction Advance Reader Copy Giveaway

In anticipation of the October 2006 launch of TOKYOPOP's new POP Fiction line for young adults, is sponsoring a very special giveaway. Every two weeks, from June 22nd through August 17th, we will be offering advance reader copies of a POP Fiction title to 20 interested readers who would like to read the book and share feedback on it. Once you have given your feedback on the featured advance giveaway title, you will be entered to win one of five sets of the four titles in the launch line --- MAGIC MOON, KINO NO TABI: Book One of the Beautiful World, WITCHES' FOREST: The Adventures of Duan Surk, and SCRAPPED PRINCESS: A Tale of Destiny.

Our third featured title is WITCHES' FOREST: The Adventures of Duan Surk, by Mishio Fukazawa. Duan Surk is a 16-year-old Level 2 fighter who gets lost in the spooky Witches' Forest, along with two other adventurers: Agnis, a beautiful 16-year-old witch, and Olba, an older, highly skilled fighter. The trio embarks on the quest of a lifetime --- battling mythical creatures, outwitting evil sorceresses, and attempting to rescue Agnis' mother from an evil spell.

If you would like to be one of the 20 readers to preview the book and comment about it, please send your name and mailing address to by Thursday, August 3, 2006. Note that if you are under 16, you will need to have parental consent to supply us with your mailing address.

Click here to learn more about TOKYOPOP's new POP Fiction titles.


The Ultimate Summer Reading List

At a May 2006 book conference in Washington, D.C., Laurie Halse Anderson --- author of SPEAK, CATALYST and PROM --- said this about the classics titles that often dominate a school's summer reading list: "Classics were written for middle-aged people a century ago." She went on to talk about how books like these do not foster a lifelong love of reading.

With this in mind we want to create what you think would be the perfect summer reading list. We will compile your entries and from them create the Ultimate Summer Reading List. Want to weigh in? Think about what book or books (up to three) that you would pick for your school's summer reading list and drop us a note at We want to hear your selections --- and why you chose the book(s) that you did.

Coming in August: Win a SIGNED Copy of HOW TO BE POPULAR by Meg Cabot!

In August we will be featuring Meg Cabot, bestselling author of The Princess Diaries series, and her newest book HOW TO BE POPULAR --- a funny, sweet and playful look at being, and staying, the Queen Bee --- which hits shelves July 25th. Along with the feature, which will include an interview with Meg and our review of HOW TO BE POPULAR, we will be launching an Exclusive Contest where readers will have the chance to win one of five SIGNED copies of HOW TO BE POPULAR. Stay tuned to for all the details!

-Click here to read more about HOW TO BE POPULAR.
-Click here to visit Meg Cabot's website.

This Month's Reviews

THE AU-PAIRS #3: SUN-KISSED by Melissa de la Cruz (Fiction)
Get ready for another hot summer in the Hamptons with Mara, Eliza and Jacqui. This time the ladies have all graduated high school and are contemplating their futures. They each start their break with one idea of what the fall will bring, and end with another. But first there is the summer filled with jobs, friends, boys and much more. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SUN-KISSED.

INFERNAL DEVICES: Book Three of the Hungry City Chronicles by Philip Reeve (Science Fiction/Fantasy)
Longing for a life of excitement away from the stationary settlement of Anchorage-in-Vineland, Wren steals the Tin Book, one of her city's treasures, hoping it will gain her passage to adventure. Instead she is kidnapped and sold into slavery in this third installment of Philip Reeve's The Hungry City Chronicles, an action-packed series about the city-eat-city world of Municipal Darwinism. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

-Click here to read an excerpt from INFERNAL DEVICES.

This companion to Dyan Sheldon's CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE DRAMA QUEEN is a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud romp as Lola Cep and good friend Ella Gerard rip through Dellwood trying to get noticed by famous Hollywood director Charley Hottle, whose movie is filming tantalizingly close to home. Reviewed by Joy Held.

WAIT FOR ME by An Na (Fiction)
An Na, author of the Printz Award Book A STEP FROM HEAVEN (2001), has written an intriguing story of two sisters, Mina and Suna, who grow up in a Korean household with a demanding mother, a quiet father, and expectations that are nearly impossible to meet. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

TALE OF TWO SUMMERS by Brian Sloan (Fiction)
A 10-year best friendship is put to the test when Chuck and Hal spend their first summer apart falling for two questionable mates. As Chuck heads off to summer theater camp and Hal stays in their hometown, they keep in touch via blogging, reporting to each other about their suddenly separate lives and often ridiculous romantic entanglements. Reviewed by Brian Farrey.

THE DEATH COLLECTOR by Justin Richards (Horror/Mystery)
What starts as an ordinary pick-pocketing incident in Victorian London unites three teens against a madman. When a man is murdered over a mysterious diary, it's up to his co-worker to find out who is responsible --- and why the diary is so important. Reviewed by Carlie Webber.

I DON'T WANT TO BE CRAZY by Samantha Schutz (Poetry/Memoir)
Samantha Schutz's grueling memoir and first published work chronicles her experiences with her psychological disorder from the time she was diagnosed at 17 to age 22. Written in verse form, the passages in the book paint a harrowing portrait of what it must feel like to live in constant fear of the next looming panic attack. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

THE FULL SPECTRUM edited by David Levithan and Billy Merrell (Nonfiction Anthology)
David Levithan and Billy Merrell have collected original poems, essays and stories by young adults in their teens and early 20s. THE FULL SPECTRUM includes a variety of writers --- gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, transitioning and questioning --- on a number of different subjects: coming out, family, friendship, religion/faith, first kisses, break-ups, and many others. Reviewed by Brian Farrey.

FROGS & FRENCH KISSES by Sarah Mlynowski (Fiction)
When magic goes wrong, it can go so very wrong. Rachel's witch sister Miri casts a spell to save cows from becoming hamburger, unwittingly jinxing Rachel's chance to go to the prom with her crush's brother (?!). But that's just one of the many magical snafus in this hilarious and endearing sequel to BRAS & BROOMSTICKS. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

MISSING IN TOKYO by Graham Marks (Thriller)
When his older sister Charlie vanishes while traveling through Asia, Adam decides he can do more to find her than the nonchalant police and his distraught parents. Without telling his family, he boards a plane for Tokyo. Will he learn the truth about his sister's disappearance before it's too late? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

SHUG by Jenny Han (Fiction)
Annemarie (aka "Shug") is beginning to think there's nothing worse than being 12 years old. And now she has to start junior high! Life is growing up all around her, and all Shug wants is for things to be like they used to be. How is a person supposed to prepare for what happens tomorrow when there's just no figuring out today? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

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:

+ANIMA, Volume 1 by Natsumi Mukai (TOKYOPOP, 2006)
Cooro is an +Anima, or a human born with animal characteristics. A rambunctious spirit who is part boy and part crow, Cooro was lucky enough to be taken in by an order of monks, but as he grew he knew his differences would never be truly accepted. Determined to find more of his own kind, he searches for +Anima and a place where he and his growing party of comrades can find a home in peace. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

AKIRA, Volume 1 by Katsuhiro Otomo (Dark Horse Comics, 2000)
In a post-apocalyptic future, the city of Neo-Tokyo has begun to rebuild after it was obliterated by the world's deadliest bomb at the start of World War III. When an accident near a military base separates two best friends, they are catapulted into the midst of the cover-up of a secret military defense project, the completion of which either means the city's salvation or the end of the world. Reviewed by Alison Kotin.

DESCENDANTS OF DARKNESS [Yami No Matsuei]: Volume 7 by Yoko Matsushita (Viz, 2005)
Something creepy is going on in the basement of Osaka University and it's up to Shinigami Tsuzuki and Hisoka to get to the bottom of it. Along with the Ministry of Death's ditzy alchemist Watari, the two partners head to Osaka to discover the truth behind the disappearance of girls from a local school. Little do they know that their old nemesis Dr. Muraki is waiting for their arrival to spring a terrible trap for Tsuzuki! Reviewed by Alison Kotin.

DESCENDANTS OF DARKNESS [Yami No Matsuei]: Volume 8 by Yoko Matsushita (Viz, 2005)
Guardians of Death Tsuzuki and Hisoka are headed for a final confrontation with the diabolical Dr. Muraki, whose gruesome plan to resurrect the dead is nearly complete. Tsuzuki is in no shape to fight, however --- mentally drained and wracked with guilt after his last battle, he has no defense against Muraki's scheming. Reviewed by Alison Kotin.

DOKEBI BRIDE, Volume 1 by Marley (NETCOMICS, 2006)
Sunbi has inherited a respected legacy --- all the women in her family are shamans, working to negotiate harmony between the human and spirit worlds. At first, Sunbi loves the magic only the women in her family can see, but most of the people in her village know the rumors about her mother and treat Sunbi as a freak. Can she reconcile her two worlds without giving up on people altogether? Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

THE MISSING WHITE DRAGON by Park Young Ha (Infinity Studios, 2005)
Eastern and western fairy tales mingle with the real world in this collection of five magical stories by Park Young Ha. Reading this book not only introduces fans to the culture of Asia, but it also gives readers insight to the bedtime stories Asian parents often tell their children at night. Reviewed by Jennifer Webb.

When Sakura, the princess of Clow, ventures to her childhood friend Syaoran's archeological dig site to declare her love for him, a puzzling symbol is uncovered --- which triggers a remarkable quest. Now Syaoran embarks upon a desperate journey through other worlds --- all in the name of saving Sakura. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

Syaoran, Fai, Kurogane and Mokona venture to the Hanshin Republic to find one of the missing pieces of Sakura's memory, transformed into magically powerful feathers. But with foes like a pop idol who sings words of pain, Syaoran's hunt for feathers is no child's game! Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

X-KAI- Volume 1 by Asami Tohjoh (TOKYOPOP, 2006)
By day Kaito Yagami is a florist, but at night he's a ruthless assassin who is brought orders to kill by a mysterious woman. Kaito marks his targets by bringing them white lilies. Can he keep his dangerous profession from touching the lives of those he loves? Reviewed by Jennifer Webb.



-Click here to read our Manga reviews.

Click here to visit

Christian Fiction Reviews

TrueColors series

BITTER ROSE: COLOR ME CRUSHED by Melody Carlson (Fiction)
Maggie blames her mom for the family's disintegration. "She's driven him away with her constant nagging and complaining and arguing. Honestly, who could stand to live with that woman?" she vents to her friend Claire. However, there's more to the story, and Maggie desperately wants to know the truth --- something nobody seems willing to tell her. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

FADED DENIM: COLOR ME TRAPPED by Melody Carlson (Fiction)
All of Emily's friends seem so perfect. Especially Leah, who, as Emily remembers it, used to be the chubby girl in school. Now Leah is on her way toward becoming America's next top model. Literally. On the flip side, Emily loathes her slightly overweight body, her insecure personality, and sometimes even her "perfect" friends. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Laurel Shadrach series

ABSOLUTELY WORTHY: Laurel Shadrach, #4 by Stephanie Perry Moore (Fiction)
Tormented by dreams of the past, Laurel Shadrach struggles to adjust to college life and reaches out for Christ to give her peace even in her innermost thoughts. Will Laurel come to see her absolute worth in the eyes of God as most important, or will she bow to the pressures of her peers? Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby.

FINALLY SURE: Laurel Shadrach, #5 by Stephanie Perry Moore (Fiction)
All Laurel Shadrach has ever wanted is peace in her soul. But it's been so elusive. In this final book of the series, Laurel finally decides once and for all that she will pursue a Christian life. She must re-evaluate her relationships to conform them to God's requirements. Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby.

Click here to read our Christian reviews.

Recent Titles Perfect for Teens

TWELVE SHARP by Janet Evanovich (Mystery)
While chasing down the usual cast of miscreants and weirdoes Stephanie Plum discovers that a crazed woman who has a mysterious connection to the dark and dangerous Ranger is stalking her. And now, both Stephanie and Ranger are working together to find a killer, rescue a missing child, and stop a lunatic from raising the body count. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt from TWELVE SHARP.

THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER by Elisabeth Hyde (Mystery)
Elisabeth Hyde has taken a powerful moral predicament and constructed around it a richly layered, compulsively readable novel about a murder in a small Colorado town, about the choices we make and the way their unintended consequences ripple through our lives. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER.

NO GOOD DEEDS: A Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman (Mystery)
P.I. Tess Monaghan is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't when her boyfriend Crow welcomes a homeless teen into their home. Little does Crow know that this kind-hearted act will unleash federal agents with threats of felony charges onto Tess unless she releases the boy's name. She, however, must protect his identity because, while he has information on the unsolved murder of a federal prosecutor, his life is also in danger. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE CINDERELLA PACT by Sarah Strohmeyer (Fiction)
In this funny and big-hearted story by Sarah Strohmeyer, author of THE SECRET LIVES OF FORTUNATE WIVES and the Bubbles Yablonsky mystery series, three best friends make a pact to transform themselves into the glamorous women they've always wanted to be. Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton.

LOST AND FOUND by Carolyn Parkhurst (Fiction)
A mother and daughter, two former child stars, two divorced brothers, reunited high school sweethearts, two inventors, a born-again Christian couple, and two flight attendants are reality show participants who are traveling the globe in search of clues that will lead them to a million dollar prize. Can they survive this globe-trotting adventure with their relationships intact? Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

JPOD by Douglas Coupland (Fiction)
Douglas Coupland, most famous for his 1991 novel GENERATION X, once again sets out to capture the zeitgeist in JPOD. This latest work harkens back to his fourth novel, MICROSERFS, which hit shelves 10 years ago, as a group of video game programmers seek deeper meaning in their technology-driven lives. Reviewed by Rob Cline.

THE OBSERVATIONS by Jane Harris (Historical Fiction)
A young Irish girl takes a job at a rundown Scottish manor in the 1860s and finds a perplexing mix of love, fear, madness, mystery --- and possibly a lingering spirit. This powerful story of secrets and suspicions, hidden histories and mysterious disappearances is at once compelling and heartwarming, showing the redemptive power of loyalty and friendship. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

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

Poll: Summer Reading

How many books are you planning to read for pleasure this summer?

- None
- 1-3
- 4-6
- 7-10
- More than 10


Click here to participate in the poll.
Question of the Month: Your Summer Reading Pick

What three books are you most looking forward to reading for pleasure this summer?

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 SPECIALS by Scott Westerfeld. (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!

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

Our mailing address is:
The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107

--- Carol Fitzgerald for