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February 2007 Newsletter February 2007
This Month on

Books To Beat the Gray Zone

Special Feature and Book Giveaway: THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick

Introducing Kimani TRU: Novels For, By and About Teens --- First Featured Title: INDIGO SUMMER by Monica McKayhan

Now in Stores: CUPCAKE by Rachel Cohn

Now in Stores: SO NOT THE DRAMA by Paula Chase

Enter the 2007 Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Award Contest!

Cool New Books for February

February's New in Paperback Roundup

This Month's Reviews

Manga Reviews

Christian Fiction Reviews

Recent Titles Perfect for Teens

Poll: Are YOU a Book Concierge?

Question of the Month: What Book is YOUR Must-Read?

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading and You Could Win A Book!

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Books To Beat the Gray Zone

New York has been danky gray. Lots of rain, cloudy skies and gray. Gray has become my least favorite color as a result. We’ve resorted to drinking huge mugs of hot cocoa to keep warm. And yes, we're reading books, LOTS of them, in between dreaming of warm places. In the spirit of keeping away the wintry blahs that plague us here in the Northeast, brings you some pretty cool special features, promotions and a couple of contests thrown in for good measure. All are bound to ease your winter blues, no matter where you live.

We are excited to be sharing THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick, which hit stores on January 30th. It blends amazing illustrations and a cinematic plot. Our reviewer, Norah Piehl, calls THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET “a real breakthrough in storytelling technique.” My son, Cory, who read this one when he was down with a cold, appreciated the way it held his attention on a day when he was not into concentrating on much. You can read the full review here and we are offering five lucky readers the chance to win a copy of the book. You can enter by simply sending your name and mailing address to by Tuesday, March 20th.

Calling all aspiring poets! Be sure to read up on how to enter the Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Contest. It’s open to all high school students across the country. The nice thing --- at a time when all sorts of required tasks are asked by school and others --- is that the subject matter for your poem is up to you. The prize is $500 cash and publication of the winning poem in the literary journal HANGING LOOSE. Submissions are due by June 1st and you can click here for all the details.

Along with our roundup of Cool New Books and New in Paperback titles for February, we are spotlighting CUPCAKE by Rachel Cohn (also our featured Word of Mouth Contest prize), SO NOT THE DRAMA by Paula Chase and INDIGO SUMMER by Monica McKayhan. INDIGO SUMMER is the first in the Kimani TRU series --- a new line of books written for, by, and about teens. The books are available as regular books, digital audio books and ebooks, and a new one is published every month. Stay tuned to as we’ll be featuring a new Kimani TRU book each month.

We have TONS of reviews for you --- regular reviews and features, Manga reviews, Christian fiction reviews and titles perfect for teens. Think YOU are an expert on what to read? Answer our Question of the Month and tell us what you have been recommending lately. Also, be sure to weigh in on our poll and let us know if you play “book concierge” to your friends and family.

The whole staff here at remembers growing up and learning to read with Dr. Seuss. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of his classic THE CAT IN THE HAT.
Did you know that Dr. Seuss used only 236 different words to write THE CAT IN THE HAT? Random House Children’s Books and Dr. Seuss Enterprises have partnered with First Book --- a nonprofit organization founded to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books --- to launch a national literacy initiative called Project 236, which promotes a nationwide read-aloud of THE CAT IN THE HAT on Friday, March 2nd (the anniversary of Seuss's birthday) at 2:36 PM EST in schools, bookstores, libraries and homes. Click here to learn more about Project 236 and other Seuss-related events. And may we suggest that you read this classic to a child that afternoon?

Seems like just yesterday that we were reading Seuss, but the reality is that my older son is a junior in high school and I’m sure you all know what that means --- college visit time!! We’ve been on and off the road, touring various campuses and listening to overly-chipper admission folks and talkative young tour guides pitch their schools. Luckily both of us have managed to maintain our sanity. I think having a sense of humor is key to dealing with a potentially stress-filled act of embarking on the college admissions process.

It’s an exciting time for him; he’s smart and a big reader just like all of you. I'm sure that wherever he ends up he’ll be both happy and successful (although I’m not ruling out a few bumps in the road). I have similar faith in you, our readers. Whether you’re just beginning to think about college or can’t seem to think about anything else, here’s what I can offer as “Carol’s Words of Wisdom” --- I know it’s majorly stressful, but try to smile, take a deep breath, believe in yourself and your dreams, and, most importantly, don’t be afraid to laugh.

Here's to lots of brilliant reading this month. To chase the gray away.

Carol Fitzgerald (


Special Feature and Book Giveaway: THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick

To celebrate the release of THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick, which hit stores on January 30th, has teamed up with Scholastic to offer five readers the chance to win a copy of the book. To enter, simply send your name and mailing address to by Tuesday, March 20th.

THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick (Fiction)
Twelve-year-old Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the train station, Hugo's undercover life and most precious secret are put in jeopardy. Cinematic, suspenseful and full of heart, Brian Selznick's ingenious, imaginative new novel brings together magic, movies and machines, and is a true achievement in storytelling. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an interview with Brian Selznick.
-Click here to read a review of THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET.

Click here for contest details.

Introducing Kimani TRU: Novels For, By and About Teens --- First Featured Title: INDIGO SUMMER by Monica McKayhan

INDIGO SUMMER by Monica McKayhan
Fifteen-year-old Indigo Summer's world finally seems to be going in the right direction: She hooks up with the star linebacker on the high-school football team, gets a date for homecoming and makes the high-school dance squad all in the same week. But sometimes things are just too good to be true. After football star Quincy Rawlins abruptly dumps her for a girl who is willing to put out, Indigo's popularity and self-esteem take a nosedive. When her perfect world falls apart, Indigo turns to the one person who seems to have his head on straight --- her next-door neighbor, sixteen-year-old Marcus Carter. The problem is, now that Indigo realizes what a great guy Marcus really is, so does someone else.

INDIGO SUMMER is available in 3 formats: Book, Digital Audio and ebook.

-Click here
to read more about INDIGO SUMMER.

Click here to read more about Kimani TRU.

Now in Stores: CUPCAKE by Rachel Cohn

CUPCAKE by Rachel Cohn (Fiction)
Rachel Cohn's third novel featuring sassy Cyd Charisse finds the recent high school grad back in the Big Apple, looking for a fresh start after letting true love slip through her fingers. But when her destiny --- in the form of a surfer dude named Shrimp --- appears on her doorstep, will CC choose to go forward...or back to San Francisco? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CUPCAKE.

Click here to read a review of CUPCAKE.

Now in Stores: SO NOT THE DRAMA by Paula Chase

SO NOT THE DRAMA by Paula Chase
High school is just four years...popularity is FOREVER. In exactly one hour, eighteen minutes and thirty-five seconds, Mina Mooney starts Del Rio Bay High...nothing will ever be the same. Don't miss SO NOT THE DRAMA by Paula Chase!

-Click here to see the Reading Group Guide for SO NOT THE DRAMA.
-For more about Paula Chase, visit her website


Click here to read more about SO NOT THE DRAMA.


Enter the 2007 Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Award 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, 2007.


Click here for all the details.


Cool New Books for February

February's roundup of Cool New Books includes THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, an entirely new kind of reading experience from Caldecott Honor artist Brian Selznick that brings together elements of the picture book, the graphic novel and film; SPLIT SCREEN, a companion to GEOGRAPHY CLUB that's actually two books in one, as Brent Hartinger shows how two separate stories affect each other; HARMLESS, Dana Reinhardt's second work of fiction (following A BRIEF CHAPTER IN MY IMPOSSIBLE LIFE) that answers the question, "How much harm can one lie do?"; and NOW YOU SEE HER, Jacquelyn Mitchard's first novel for teens in which she takes readers into a world where appearance is everything and nothing is exactly as it seems.


Click here to read our Cool New Books feature.


February's New in Paperback Roundup

February's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes ROAD OF THE DEAD, a shocking novel from Kevin Brooks that focuses on two brothers who leave home to find out the truth about their sister's death; BROKEN SONG, Kathryn Lasky's deeply moving companion to THE NIGHT JOURNEY, winner of the National Jewish Book Award; PROM ANONYMOUS by Blake Nelson, in which a high school junior quickly regrets her decision to attend the prom; and BLUE NOON, the final book in Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters trilogy, a tale of pulse-pounding danger and a race against time that may require the ultimate sacrifice.


Click here to read our New in Paperback roundup.


This Month's Reviews

FLORA SEGUNDA by Ysabeau S. Wilce (Fantasy)
In Ysabeau S. Wilce's exuberantly inventive and elaborately realized debut fantasy novel, a young woman who lives in one of the four great Houses (comprised of 11,000 rooms) must learn to assert her Will even in the face of her powerful, overbearing mother and the legacy of her storied, warlike family. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from FLORA SEGUNDA.

THE PHANTOM ISLES by Stephen Alter (Fantasy)
A late-night excursion to a New England public library by three youngsters turns into a ghostly adventure with unpredictable consequences. While THE PHANTOM ISLES is written primarily for middle-grade students, the subject matter of this creative and visually appealing novel also will interest teens and adults. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE PHANTOM ISLES.

IMPULSE by Ellen Hopkins (Fiction)
Three teenagers who each attempted suicide now have a second chance. With one another's help, perhaps they can find their way to a better life --- but only if they're strong and can fight the demons that brought them to Aspen Springs psychiatric hospital in the first place. Reviewed by Carlie Webber.

SPLIT SCREEN: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies / Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies by Brent Hartinger (Fiction)
Brent Hartinger returns with two books in one! In ATTACK OF THE SOUL-SUCKING BRAIN ZOMBIES, Russell must choose between his long-distance boyfriend and a close-to-home ex who wants to get back together. Then flip the book over to read BRIDE OF THE SOUL-SUCKING BRAIN ZOMBIES, in which Min struggles to accept her new girlfriend's decision to stay in the closet. Reviewed by Brian Farrey.

BEING by Kevin Brooks (Fiction)
When 16-year-old Robert Smith arrives at the hospital for a routine endoscopy, he doesn't expect the anesthesia to wear off during surgery. Or to hear more doctors called in. Or to see men on guard with holstered pistols. Why are all these people here? And why are they muttering, "What the hell are you?" Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens.

UN LUN DUN by China Miéville (Fantasy)
Umbrellas that walk, giraffes that eat meat, Ninja garbage cans, strange creatures with too many arms, legs and eyes, and a pair of innocent 12-year-old London schoolgirls are all pulled together in the fantasy world of Un Lun Dun, whose countless bizarre inhabitants need someone who can rescue them from the troubles that hide behind every dark corner. Reviewed by Simon King.

TAMAR: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal by Mal Peet (Historical Fiction)
Tamar and Dart are spies who parachute into The Netherlands during the "Hunger Winter" of 1944 to unify fragmented resistance groups against the Nazi occupation. This is the story of their mission, uncovered more than 50 years later by a young woman who shares Tamar's name. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

PRICE OF ADMISSION by Leslie Margolis (Fiction)
As the daughter of a famous Hollywood producer, Jasmine Green is living a life right out of the pages of US Weekly and People magazine. Things go awry, however, when Jasmine writes her diary in screenplay format --- and it ends up being optioned by her father's studio! Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

WILDWOOD DANCING by Juliet Marillier (Historical Fantasy)
For several years, Jena and her four sisters have crossed over into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom during the Full Moon. However, when their father becomes sick and their sinister cousin tries to take over the household, Jena realizes she must save her family and the Other Kingdom before it's too late. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

THE STONE LIGHT: Dark Reflections, Book 2 by Kai Meyer (Fantasy)
Kai Meyer's Dark Reflections trilogy takes on new scope and depth in this sequel to THE WATER MIRROR, as Merle and Vermithrax travel to the center of Hell and encounter its sinister ruler. Meanwhile, Serafin remains in Venice, where the gorgeous sphinx Lalapeya recruits him into a plot to assassinate the pharaoh. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE WHITE DARKNESS by Geraldine McCaughrean (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Fourteen-year-old Symone is in love with Capt. Lawrence "Titus" Oates, one of the explorers lost in Robert Scott's doomed Antarctic expedition. Sym's Uncle Victor feeds her interest in Antarctica, eventually taking her on a trip to "The Ice" where Sym must choose between trusting her uncle and listening to the inner voice she has always regarded as imaginary. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

ANATOMY OF A BOYFRIEND by Daria Snadowsky (Fiction)
In the spirit of Judy Blume's FOREVER, Daria Snadowsky's debut novel offers an authentic look at 17-year-old Dominique Baylor's first real relationship and the emotional and sexual journey that comes along with it. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

THE NEW POLICEMAN by Kate Thompson (Fantasy)
As a birthday gift to his mom, J.J. promises to find her more time. Following a neighbor's suggestion, he searches in the underground rooms scattered throughout his village in Ireland. There, he stumbles into the amazing land of the fairies, discovering a time leak that could lead to the destruction of both worlds. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

MAGIC CITY by Drew Lerman (Fiction)
Anyone who has struggled with a boyfriend or girlfriend will recognize the feelings Henry has for Becca. On top of those indecisions, though, Henry suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Add a new friend who appears to have all the answers and an old one who seems to have none, and Henry's life in Miami has just gotten a lot more complicated. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

Click here to read our reviews and features.

Manga Reviews

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

AFTERLIFE, Volume 1 by Stormcrow Hayes and Rob Steen (TOKYOPOP)
Forget everything you've ever heard about what happens after death. There is no heaven or hell, or even oblivion. There is only the Afterlife --- and it's disintegrating. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

BLOOD ALONE: Volumes 1 and 2 by Masayuki Takano (Infinity Studio)
This is not your typical vampire angst tale, and Misaki is far from the average vampire girl. She looks to be around 10 years old and lives with Kuroe, a young man who is a writer and a private detective. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

THE EMBALMER, Volume 1 by Mitsukazu Mihara (TOKYOPOP)
Set in Japan, where embalming is considered barbaric and unsanitary, THE EMBALMER focuses on how the practice can gift mourners with one last, poignant goodbye. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

ONE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS, Volumes 1-3 by Jin Seok-Jeon (Ice Kunion)
In this retelling, Scheherazade is reinvented as Sehara, a young man beautiful and desperate enough to take his sister's place, spinning out stories to delay the mad sultan's executions and save lives --- and perhaps the kingdom. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

SCHOOL RUMBLE: Volumes 1-3 by Jin Kobayashi (Del Rey)
Harima Kenji --- loner, biker and all-around juvenile delinquent --- has a big crush on Tsukamoto Tenma. High school junior Tenma --- cute, friendly and dim --- has an even bigger crush on Karasuma Oji, who is, well, just odd. Reviewed by Eva Volin.

ULTRA MANIAC, Volumes 1-5 by Wataru Yoshizumi (VIZ Media)
Reserved but popular Ayu Tateishi wants to catch the eye of Tetsushi, the boy she secretly likes. But when she comes to the aid of awkward Nina Sakura, the new girl in school, her peaceful life is quickly thrown into upheaval. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

Click here to read all our Manga reviews.

Christian Fiction Reviews

Christy Miller
SUMMER PROMISE - Christy Miller Collection: Volume One, Book One by Robin Jones Gunn (Fiction)
As Christy Miller leaves her family's Wisconsin farm to spend the summer at her wealthy aunt and uncle's beach home in Newport, California, she realizes this could be the best summer of her life. But it doesn't turn out as Christy hoped. Suddenly, she is faced with choices she's never had to make before, and the safe world she's always known comes crashing down around her. Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby.

A WHISPER AND A WISH - Christy Miller Collection: Volume One, Book Two by Robin Jones Gunn (Fiction)
Christy is thrilled that her family is moving to California. She'll be right back at the beach with all her friends from last summer. But her dreams of a reunion are dashed when she learns they will be living in an obscure town farther inland. Christy has to start all over again, meeting new people and trying to fit in. Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby.

Becoming Beka
THE PASSAGE: Becoming Beka #3 by Sarah Anne Sumpolec (Fiction)
A church retreat allows Beka Madison to get to know Josh better, but she learns that even though she likes him, his college choice may negatively affect their relationship. So a confused Beka seeks out Mark for solace. When Mark tries getting physical with Beka, she ponders issues of purity. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

MAGGIE'S STORY by Dandi Daley Mackall (Fiction)
In this contemporary retelling of Mary Magdalene's story, Maggie Dale is stuck at a dead-end job in rural Ohio. Her life is on the fast lane to nowhere, until a stranger named Joshua comes to town and shows her that she can be a part of something bigger than herself. Reviewed by Michele Howe.
Click here to read all our Christian Fiction reviews.

Recent Titles Perfect for Teens

A LONG WAY GONE: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (Memoir)
In A LONG WAY GONE, Ishmael Beah tells a riveting story: how at the age of 12, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By 13, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah --- at heart a gentle boy --- found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

-Click here to read an excerpt from A LONG WAY GONE.

DANCING IN THE STREETS: A History of Collective Joy by Barbara Ehrenreich (History)
In BLOOD RITES, Barbara Ehrenreich delved into the origins of our species' attraction to war. Here, she explores the opposite impulse, one that has been so effectively suppressed that we lack even a term for it: the desire for collective joy, historically expressed in ecstatic revels of feasting, costuming and dancing. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DANCING IN THE STREETS.

PATRIOT HEARTS: A Novel of the Founding Mothers by Barbara Hambly (Historical Fiction)
Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison and Sally Hemings wielded their power and influence to shape America's future as they sacrificed everything for the men they loved. This excellent work of historical fiction brings the passions and politics of early America to mesmerizing life through its portraits of these four complex and compelling women. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

ACE OF SPADES by David Matthews (Memoir)
David Matthews recounts his life growing up in the racially divided Baltimore of the 1970s and '80s. Should he align himself with his single black father or with the Jewish mother he never knew? His classmates don't seem to want to see him as anything other than a freak of nature --- or at least as the exact opposite of whatever race they happen to be. Reviewed by Shannon Luders-Manuel.

Click here to read our reviews of recent titles perfect for teens.

Poll: Are YOU a Book Concierge?

Avid readers can be "influencers," people to whom friends and family members turn for suggestions. Are you an influencer?

-Yes, I am an influencer.
-had not thought of myself like that, but I guess I am.
-I am not an influencer.
-I am not sure what I am.

Click here to answer our poll.

Question of the Month: What Book is YOUR Must-Read?

What book have you most recommended to people?

Click here to answer our question.

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 CUPCAKE by Rachel Cohn. (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

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--- Carol Fitzgerald for