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August 2006 Newsletter August 2006
This Month on

A Bookish Ending to Summer...

New Contest: Win a Signed Copy of HOW TO BE POPULAR by Meg Cabot...and Read our Review and Interview!

Coming Soon: Be the First to Read CATHY'S BOOK...and Leave it in a Secret Location!

Coming in September: Win an Autographed Copy of SOLD by Patricia McCormick! Talks to Frank Portman, Author of KING DORK

Series Update: TWO New Titles from The Clique by Lisi Harrison

August's New in Paperback

Cool New Books for August

This Month's Reviews

Manga Reviews

Christian Fiction Reviews

Recent Titles Perfect for Teens
Poll: Summer Reading
Question of the Month: Most-Borrowed Books
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 Bookish Ending to Summer...

Does the end of summer, and the arrival of the three big S's --- September, school and stress --- have you down? (Not to mention the return of my own personal pet peeve --- the alarm clock set for 6AM!) We know some of you are back into the school routine already and others head there these next few weeks. 

At, we totally feel your pain; none of us is looking forward to the end of lazy days, perfect for reading in the shade. And it's for that very reason that we've made this update extra-special, with contests, interviews, reviews, roundups and previews of some VERY cool upcoming contests that are sure to ease your way into fall.

Our contest for Meg Cabot and HOW TO BE POPULAR is up and running. To enter to win a signed (!) copy of Meg's funny and honest look at what it takes to be popular, all you have to do is send your name and mailing address to by Tuesday, September 12th. Despite being one of the sweetest, smartest, coolest (and let's be honest --- prettiest) authors out there, Meg swears she wasn't popular in high school and she brings those memories of being an outsider to her depiction of smart and cynical Stephanie's attempts to join the ranks of the in-crowd.

Like contests? Then you'll love in the next few months, when we launch two incredibly cool contests --- one for CATHY'S BOOK and one for SOLD by Patricia McCormick. Everyone here at is pretty much obsessed with CATHY'S BOOK and all the cool interactive features it comes with --- letters, photographs, date book entries, telephone numbers you can call and websites you can access to learn more about the story --- it's absolutely amazing and unlike anything you've ever read/seen/heard of. Because the book is unique, we figured the contest should be too, so on August 30th you will be able to enter to win TWO copies of CATHY'S BOOK --- one to keep and one to leave in a mystery location (Curious about why we want you to leave a book? Then check back on the 30th.) Contest winners will be asked to write back and tell us what they think of the book and give us clues as to where they left their second copy. We think CATHY'S BOOK is going to be a phenomenon and we can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Our second contest is for SOLD by Patricia McCormick, a serious and powerful book that deals with the politically relevant and compelling issue of human trafficking. Along with an interview of Patricia and our review of SOLD, we will be launching an Exclusive Contest where readers will have the chance to win one of 20 autographed copies of SOLD. You can read more about SOLD and listen to an exclusive audio clip here.

The reader comments for MAGIC MOON and KINO NO TABI are posted now as part of our TOKYOPOP POP Fiction Advance Reader Copy Giveaway. Be sure to check out what Advance Reader Copy winners had to say about the other two featured titles, WITCHES' FOREST and SCRAPPED PRINCESS, in the weeks to come. All four books will be in stores on October 30th.

We're also featuring a hilarious interview with Frank Portman --- the author of KING DORK and the singer/songwriter and guitarist of the popular San Francisco-based punk band The Mr. T. Experience. In his interview, Frank talks about why he likes writing for teens and the upside to the horror of high school. His book is as irreverent, honest and funny as he is.

Along with our jam-packed lineup of reviews --- everything from Manga to Christian Fiction to titles that are perfect for teens --- we're featuring reviews of the two newest titles (5 and 6) in the wildly popular Clique series --- THE PRETTY COMMITTEE STRIKES BACK and DIAL L FOR LOSER. Want more? We also have our regular roundups of Cool New Books and New in Paperback.

If you haven't already weighed in with your picks for our Ultimate Summer Reading List, don't wait! Drop us a note at and let us know what books you would feature if YOU were in charge of picking your school's Summer Reading Lists. (At we think you should have your chance to make your voice heard; after all, you're the one who's going to be reading the books!) We all met and the list is looking pretty fabulous right now. We will post it with our September update so you will have time to share it with those in charge at your school for NEXT summer.

Have a great end of summer and be sure to make the most of the THREE-DAY Labor Day weekend.

Carol Fitzgerald (

New Contest: Win a Signed Copy of HOW TO BE POPULAR by Meg Cabot...and Read our Review and Interview!

To celebrate the publication of Meg Cabot's HOW TO BE POPULAR, which hit shelves July 25th, we are offering readers the opportunity to win one of five SIGNED copies of HOW TO BE POPULAR --- a funny, sweet and playful look at being, and staying, the Queen Bee. To enter, simply send your name and mailing address to by Tuesday, September 12th.

-Click here to read our review of HOW TO BE POPULAR.
-Click here to read our interview with Meg Cabot.
-Click here to visit Meg Cabot's website.


Click here to read all the contest details.

Coming Soon: Be the First to Read CATHY'S BOOK...and Leave it in a Secret Location!

CATHY'S BOOK is a unique and suspenseful story of one girl's attempts to unravel a mystery that keeps getting bigger, in a strange and fascinating world where things often aren't as they appear. CATHY'S BOOK is unlike anything you have ever read because it's interactive. It features letters, photographs, date book entries, telephone numbers you can call and websites you can access to learn more about the story.

The book hits shelves on October 2nd, and on August 30th we will launch a contest where we will give teen readers the chance to win TWO copies of CATHY'S BOOK --- one to keep and one to leave in a secret location. Winners will be asked to write back and tell us what they think of the book and give us clues as to where they left their second copy. We will post their comments and the clues, and the search is on! Stay tuned to for all the details.


Click here to read more about CATHY'S BOOK.


Coming in September: Win an Autographed Copy of SOLD by Patricia McCormick!

In September we will be featuring Patricia McCormick (author of the best-selling CUT and MY BROTHER'S KEEPER) and her newest novel, SOLD, a searing portrait of a young girl forced into prostitution. This powerful novel, which comes out September 15th, renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs. Along with an interview of Patricia and our review of SOLD, we will be launching an Exclusive Contest where readers will have the chance to win one of 20 autographed copies of SOLD. Stay tuned to for all the details!

-Click here to visit Patricia McCormick's website.
-Click here to hear an Audio Excerpt from SOLD.
-Click here to read more about SOLD. Talks to Frank Portman, Author of KING DORK

Frank Portman, singer and guitarist for the punk band The Mr. T. Experience, has written his debut novel, KING DORK, which is told from the point of view of a character who writes several songs through the course of the book. In this interview with contributing writer Brian Farrey, Portman gives us a glimpse of his own self-deprecating internal monologues and explains how lessons he learned penning tunes have influenced his novel writing. He also shares his thoughts on the current state of YA literature and describes what he feels is the best and worst part of being a teen.


Click here to read our interview with Frank Portman and a review of KING DORK.

Series Update: TWO New Titles from The Clique by Lisi Harrison

THE PRETTY COMMITTEE STRIKES BACK: The Clique #5 by Lisi Harrison (Fiction)
The Pretty Committee goes on a class camping trip with a fabulous bonus: the Briarwood boys. The girls are packing plenty of baggage (in more ways than one). Will they survive the wilderness, both outside and within? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read our review of THE PRETTY COMMITTEE STRIKES BACK.

DIAL L FOR LOSER: The Clique #6 by Lisi Harrison (Fiction)
Three members of The Pretty Committee head to Hollywood to try out for one part in a movie. Will being chosen change the life of the new movie star? How about the two who don't get the part? Will TPC ever be the same? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read our review of DIAL L FOR LOSER.

Click here to read our Clique series feature.


August's New in Paperback

August's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE CONVICTS, the first book in an intriguing trilogy by Iain Lawrence about a boy who is convicted of a murder he did not commit; BOUND, a thrilling retelling of the Cinderella story from award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli; BOY KILLS MAN by Matt Whyman, in which two kids try to get by in a dangerous, lawless South American town; and BOY PROOF, Cecil Castellucci's fun and thought-provoking novel about a girl whose sheltered life has the potential to change dramatically thanks to the arrival of a certain young man.


Click here to read our New in Paperback feature for August.

Cool New Books for August

August's roundup of Cool New Books includes HOW TO BE POPULAR, a stand-alone novel from Meg Cabot about a teenage girl determined to become popular --- even if it means turning her back on the people who care for her the most; NEW MOON, the sequel to Stephenie Meyer's bestseller TWILIGHT and another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist; JUST IN CASE by Meg Rosoff, who won the Michael L. Printz Award for her debut work of fiction, HOW I LIVE NOW; and DIAL L FOR LOSER: A Clique Novel, the sixth book in Lisi Harrison's bestselling series about Westchester County's most exclusive private-school girls.


Click here to read our Cool New Books feature.

This Month's Reviews

MONSTER BLOOD TATTOO - BOOK ONE: FOUNDLING by D.M. Cornish (Fantasy)                              
Set in the world of the Half-Continent, the Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy is a world of predatory monsters, chemical potions and surgically altered people. FOUNDLING begins the journey of Rossamund, a boy with a girl's name, who is just about to start a dangerous life in the service of the Emperor. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

-Click here to read an excerpt from MONSTER BLOOD TATTOO.

BLIND FAITH by Ellen Wittlinger (Fiction)
Award-winning author Ellen Wittlinger is known for her emotional and poignant teen novels like SANDPIPER and Printz Honor Book HARD LOVE. In her latest effort, Wittlinger delivers yet again with a tale of loss and new beginnings as she explores how a loved one's death impacts those who are left behind. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

IN THE COMPANY OF CRAZIES by Nora Raleigh Baskin (Fiction)
Nora Raleigh Baskin's latest book for young readers dances around the subject of what it means for a child to be "troubled" compared to other kids, and how sometimes shuffling them off to boarding school so that other adults can "fix" them isn't always the best --- or most effective --- solution. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

LETTING GO OF LISA by Lurlene McDaniel (Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Nathan Malone has led a sheltered life, but is suddenly thrust into a strange new world when he enrolls in one of Atlanta's largest high schools for his senior year. He has a lot of hard lessons to learn about love and loss in this heartwarming novel from Lurlene McDaniel. Reviewed by Renee Kirchner.

RAIDERS NIGHT by Robert Lipsyte (Fiction)
The whole town is expecting the Nearmont High School football team to win the State Championship. That's before a freshman initiation ritual goes bad in ways that might compromise their entire season, blow cover on the players' underground steroid use, and ruin the seniors' chances at college scholarships and a potential trip to the pros. Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens.

INGO by Helen Dunmore (Fantasy/Mystery)
Eleven-year-old Sapphire and her older brother Connor refuse to accept their father's death. They know he's still alive and vow to find him. Their search leads them down to the seaside cove where they discover a couple of unusual friends. These tailed ocean-dwellers invite Sapphire and Connor to visit their underwater world, with all of its beauties, its secrets --- and its dangers. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

VAMPIRE KISSES 3: VAMPIREVILLE by Ellen Schreiber (Mystery/Romance)
It's time to revisit Dullsville with Goth girl Raven, who's pretending to be a vampire so that she and her boyfriend can run the dangerous twins Luna and Jagger out of town before they turn others into vampires. She's also dealing with a best friend who feels neglected and an enemy who she must save from becoming a vampire. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

Being inside the mind of a boy is every teen girl's dream. It's the perfect solution to finally understand what they're thinking and why they do what they do. In this page-turner, a female narrator (whose identity remains a mystery until the end of the novel) wakes up one morning and hears the thoughts of Gideon Rayburn echoing around her head. And there's nothing she can do but listen and learn. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

JOKER by Ranulfo (Fiction)
Ranulfo's JOKER is a modern version of HAMLET set in contemporary Australia with a 17-year-old boy playing the role of the melancholy prince. Matt had everything before his best friend was killed and his mom divorced and remarried. All that's left is Joker... Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

PUCKER by Melanie Gideon (Science Fiction/Fantasy)
Thomas Quicksilver (a.k.a. "Pucker") has always been an outsider. The secret of his family's strange origins and the terrible scars on his face from a childhood fire are the things that have kept Thomas isolated and alone. Now, at 17, a quest to save his dying mother takes Thomas back to his birthplace, an alternate world from which he and his mother were exiled years earlier. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

PARENT SWAP by Terence Blacker (Fiction)
Danny Bell's problems can be summed up in three simple words: Mum and Dad. So when Danny hears about ParentSwap, a secret London agency that helps kids find the parents they deserve, it doesn't take him long to contact it. But why does Danny have this strange feeling that there is more to ParentSwap than meets the eye? Reviewed by Carlie Webber.

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:

CAFE KICHIJOUJI DE, Volume 1 by Yuki Miyamoto (DMP, 2005)
Cafe Kichijouji is an ordinary neighborhood restaurant...except for the voodoo dolls in the kitchen, the sinister cafe cat lurking in the shadows, and the nonstop wackiness of its employees. Reviewed by Jennifer Webb.

CROSSROAD, Volume 2 by Shioko Mizuki (Go! Comi, 2006)
Kaijitsu may be swept away by her new calligraphy teacher Akai, whose smooth moves could hide a more sinister motive. But when Natsu is summoned back to his foster family, will the piecemeal family that the three almost siblings have created fall apart? Reviewed by Eva Volin.

THE DEMON ORORON, Volume 1 by Mizuki Hazake (TOKYOPOP, 2004)
Chiaki stops to help a beautiful, wounded stranger on the street, and her life changes irrevocably. Ororon, the man she helps, is the AWOL King of Hell, the top of the heap of demons. Ignoring all instincts to the contrary, the two find a fragile peace with each other. The tough part will be staying together with all legions of heaven and hell determined to rip them apart. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

HOT GIMMICK, Volume 1 by Miki Aihara (Viz, 2003)
A good girl, the good girl's secretive brother, a controlling jerk, and a mysterious pretty boy. Put these four characters together, add a little revenge, mistaken identity, parental scheming and a dash of sexual tension, and the result is pure soap opera. Reviewed by Eva Volin.

NEVER GIVE UP, Volume 1 by Hiromu Mutou (TOKYOPOP, 2006)
Everyone wants to be beautiful, right? If you had a slender body, graceful walk, and a face that makes people stop and stare, life would be a piece of cake. Kiri is stunning --- except that she's inherited not the lush beauty of a woman but the lanky, chiseled hotness of her father's male model looks. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB, Volume 1 by Bisco Hatori (Viz, 2005)
Made up of the six richest, handsomest boys in the school, the Host Club caters to female students burdened by a surfeit of leisure time. After breaking a vase worth $80,000, poor scholarship student Haruhi is forced to dress as a boy and join the Host Club in order to repay the debt. Reviewed by Eva Volin.

TSUBASA, Volume 3 by CLAMP (Del Rey Manga, 2004)
With Sakura awake, the group travels to a world ruled over by a greedy despot resisted by one young girl --- guess who has to help her out? Characters share a bit more of their secrets, and the dimension-hopping adventures lead readers deeper into the fantastic world CLAMP has created. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

TSUBASA, Volume 4 by CLAMP (Del Rey Manga, 2004)
As Syoran struggles to keep his sense of loss hidden from Sakura, who can't remember his stalwart friendship and love, the travelers are sent into a world straight out of Grimm's fairy tales, complete with a golden-haired princess and a magical curse. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.



-Click here to read our Manga reviews.

Click here to visit

Christian Fiction Reviews

The Veritas Project Series

HANGMAN'S CURSE: The Veritas Project, Volume 1 by Frank Peretti (Thriller)
Frank Peretti introduces readers to the Springfield family, who travels the country aiding the FBI and other organizations in breaking drug rings and solving mysteries. In HANGMAN'S CURSE, the family goes undercover at a small town high school --- where a mysterious curse has turned several of the star football players into raving lunatics. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

NIGHTMARE ACADEMY: The Veritas Project, Volume 2 by Frank Peretti (Thriller)
As a follow-up to HANGMAN'S CURSE, NIGHTMARE ACADEMY is a frightening thrill-ride that takes a realistic look at right and wrong, as Elijah and Elisha seek to find the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of two runaways. The twins go undercover and end up in a strange academy where Truth is continually challenged. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Real TV Series

CHANGING FACES: Real TV, Take One by Wendy Lawton (Fiction)
As part of a promotional event, high school senior Olivia O'Donnell wins a total fashion makeover on the hot new reality TV show, "Changing Faces." After her whirlwind trip to Hollywood, she comes home sporting a polished, uptown look and must deal with the changed attitudes of those around her. Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby.

FLIP FLOP: Real TV, Take Two by Wendy Lawton (Fiction)
Best friends Channing "Chickie" Wells and Briana Harris know everything about each other --- at least, that's what Chickie thinks. But Briana keeps her biggest fears locked away. She can't even bring herself to tell her best friend. What can a girl do when her whole messed-up life is about to be revealed on national television? Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby.


Click here to read our Christian reviews.

Recent Titles Perfect for Teens

On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son is perfectly healthy, but his daughter is born with Down's syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect his wife, David makes a split second decision that will alter all their lives forever. Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton.

HEAT: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford (Memoir/Cooking)
When the opportunity arose for Bill Buford to train in the kitchen of Mario Batali's three-star New York restaurant, Babbo, he grabbed it. HEAT is the chronicle of his time spent as Batali's "slave" and of his far-flung apprenticeships with culinary masters in Italy. Reviewed by Colleen Quinn.

In her final year of high school at the elite (and unusual) St. Gallway School in Stockton, North Carolina, Blue van Meer falls in with a charismatic group of friends and their captivating teacher, Hannah Schneider. But when the drowning of one of Hannah's friends and the shocking death of Hannah herself lead to a confluence of mysteries, Blue is left to make sense of it all. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

DRAGON'S FIRE by Anne McCaffrey & Todd McCaffrey (Science Fiction/Fantasy)
Anne McCaffrey and her son Todd return with their second collaboration, following 2003's DRAGON KIN. As Pern prepares to pass the Red Star and face the fury of Thread once more, the future of the planet is in doubt as a power play threatens to extinguish the flames of the dragons who protect the world. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

THE FOURTH BEAR: A Nursery Crime by Jasper Fforde (Mystery)
The Nursery Crime Division is hunting a savage killer, but its top detective is trying to solve a seemingly separate case. Can Jack Spratt, with the help of his assistant Mary Mary, complete both tasks in enough time to save the lives of countless innocents? Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

COCKEYED: A Memoir by Ryan Knighton (Memoir)
At the age of 18, Ryan Knighton was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a congenital, progressive illness that begins with diminished night vision and degenerates into total loss of vision. Currently, he has access to only 1% of his eyesight. Yet, instead of wallowing in his predicament, he has written a pithy, moving and delightfully snarky memoir that chronicles the ups and downs of his 15-year relationship with blindness. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

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

Poll: Summer Reading

September is Library Card Sign-up Month. Do you have a library card at your local or school library?

-No, but I plan on getting one
-I'm not sure.

How often do you use your library card?

-About once a week
-About once a month
-Several times a week
-Less than once a month
-I don't have a library card.

Click here to participate in the poll.
Question of the Month: Most-Borrowed Books

Name a book (okay, up to 5 books) that you've borrowed more than once from the library.

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 NEW MOON 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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