Skip to main content

Early March 2008 Newsletter Early March 2008
This Month on

Spring Forward!

Special Feature: GOSSAMER by Lois Lowry --- Now Available in Paperback

Book Giveaway: GAMMA GLAMMA by Kim Flores

Coming Later in March:'s Grab Bag of Books Contest!

Now in Stores: AIRMAN by Eoin Colfer

Now in Stores: GAME by Walter Dean Myers


Now in Stores: GAMMA GLAMMA by Kim Flores

Books into Movies: Jumper and The Other Boleyn Girl

Enter the 2008 Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Award Contest!

Cool New Books for February

February's New in Paperback Roundup

February's Reviews

Poll and Question of the Month: Reading Speed and Books You Can't Get Enough Of

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
Subscribe to the Newsletter

Spring Forward!

This weekend we turn the clocks ahead one hour. Can spring really be so close? It was pretty chilly when I was in Florida last week --- but that didn't keep me out of the pool! In two weeks I'm going to Minnesota, where there will probably be three feet of snow. Luckily, they know to build pools indoors there. Oh well... While I'm waiting for the weather to warm up, I can always curl up with a good book.

Recently I got to have lunch with the legendary Lois Lowry, winner of TWO Newbery Awards. We had a great chat about her upcoming title, THE WILLOUGHBYS, which will be in stores on March 31st, but I had read an advance copy the previous weekend. It's a very amusing tale that features references to some very well-known fairy tales and classic stories. You will find yourself wanting to re-read it to catch every nuance and reference. As we ate our salads Lowry shared some drawings that she had done that inspired the story (she illustrated the book). As I was writing this newsletter opener I went to her website to see if she had added this drawing there. While I did not find the drawing, I did find her blog, and on it there is a reference to the beet salad that she ate at lunch. Scroll to the post for January 23rd to see a picture of it. For the record, I did not eat the beet salad. I do not like beets. But it WAS very pretty.

I confess that there were a few moments when I was thinking, "Whoa this is the woman who wrote THE GIVER and we are having lunch and chatting." Yes, I still do have these kinds of moments even after meeting MANY authors over the years. And what were we talking about for a chunk of our time together? Football. Yes, Lowry is a huge fan of the Patriots, and as this was pre-Super Bowl, we were chatting up touchdowns and perfect seasons. When the Giants won while we were whooping it up at our house, I did have a second when I thought about Lowry and my other author friends from the Boston area and their presumed disappointment over this loss. Then I went back to cheering.

Not a Newbery winner, but a wonderful book nonetheless (sometimes they have to give the award to someone else for a change!), Lowry's GOSSAMER is being re-released in paperback. If you don't already know the story, it's about the creatures that create dreams and run into some trouble with those creatures that create nightmares. The battle gets tangled up in the unlikely friendship between a troubled young boy and an old woman. If you're a fan of Lowry's other novels or fantasy in general, be sure to check this one out --- or read it again!

This month, I want to clue you in to two great books. Both have to do with guys --- one from the past and one from the present --- who are dealing with some tough issues. AIRMAN by Eoin Colfer will be a huge hit if you're into historical fiction and books packed with action. The main character lives in the sovereign Saltee Islands, off the coast of Ireland. He discovers a plot to overthrow the king...and that's only the beginning of his troubles. If you're more a fan of contemporary fiction, check out GAME by Walter Dean Myers. In this story, the protagonist lives in Harlem and dreams of escaping his rough neighborhood through playing basketball. I'm a huge fan of both these authors, and I'm sure you'll enjoy their new books.

We know how much you all love contests, so we wanted to make sure you're aware of what's going on at In addition to giving away 20 copies of GAMMA GLAMMA by Kim Flores, we're awarding AIRMAN to the winner of our Word of Mouth contest. Poets, take note: the annual Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Award Contest is underway. You could win $500 and get your winning poem published! Later this month we'll be launching the Grab Bag of Books Contest, where you'll have the opportunity to win a book bag filled with some of the hottest books currently in stores --- and maybe advance copies of some that aren't out yet!

On February 4th, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) announced the finalists for this year's Audies® Awards, the only Awards program in the United States devoted entirely to celebrating spoken-word entertainment. Check out the nominees in the teen category here.

And last, but certainly not least, we'd like to point out that March is Read Across America Month. There are lots of ways that teens, kids and parents can celebrate, not only in March but throughout the year as well. Click here to learn more. Of course you can always get lots of bookish suggestions in our Cool New Books, New in Paperback and review roundups!

March came in like a lion...may it leave like a lamb. I say this line since my two sons who are 13 and 18 still tease me about a couple of years ago when I wrote in a newsletter that I wanted it to be a lamb/lamb month. I am happy that I still amuse them. Here's to your finding something to amuse YOU this month on Bring on spring.

Carol Fitzgerald (


Special Feature: GOSSAMER by Lois Lowry --- Now Available in Paperback

Lois Lowry has written over 30 books for young readers, including the Newbery Award-winning novels NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. In this interview with's Alexis Burling, Lowry recalls the painful yet intriguing event that inspired her 2006 work of fiction, GOSSAMER (now available in paperback), and explains what "stereotypes" her characters are meant to represent. She also draws parallels between one of the book's main themes and that of a previous title, and shares a few objects from her own home to which her fictional dreamgivers would pay special attention.

GOSSAMER by Lois Lowry (Fantasy)
Littlest One is a tiny creature slowly learning her job of giving dreams to humans. Each night she and her teacher, Thin Elderly, visit an old woman's home where she softly touches beloved objects, gathering happy memories, and drops of old scents and sounds. Littlest One pieces these bits together and presents them to her sleeping human in the form of pleasant dreams. But the dreaded Sinisteeds, dark fearsome creatures that plague their victims with nightmares, are always at work against the dreamgivers. When the old woman takes in John, an angry foster child with a troubled past, the Sinisteeds go after him with their horrifying nightmares. Can Littlest One, and her touch light as gossamer, protect John's heart and soul from the nightmare of his dark past?

-Click here to read an excerpt from GOSSAMER.
-Click here to read our interview with Lois Lowry.
-Click here to read Lois Lowry's bio.


Click here to read a review of GOSSAMER.


Book Giveaway: GAMMA GLAMMA by Kim Flores

To celebrate the release of GAMMA GLAMMA by Kim Flores, in which a freshman risks losing her best friend, her crush and her reputation on national TV with one fateful science project, is offering 20 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. To enter, please fill out this form by Monday, April 21st.

Click here to read all the contest details.


Coming Later in March:'s Grab Bag of Books Contest! is excited to announce a brand-new contest that starts later this month. Every month five readers each will be awarded a Grab Bag of Books, which will have some of the hottest new books --- and may even include a sneak peek at titles that haven't been released yet! These lucky ducks will need something to keep all that loot in, so they'll also win a signature book bag.

To be eligible to win each month, all you will have to do is fill out a form. Check back soon on --- the first contest starts later this month!


Now in Stores: AIRMAN by Eoin Colfer

AIRMAN by Eoin Colfer (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
In the 1890s Conor Broekhart and his family live on the sovereign Saltee Islands, off the Irish coast. But his idyllic life changes forever the day he discovers a conspiracy to overthrow the king. When Conor tries to expose the plot, he is branded a traitor and thrown into jail on the prison island of Little Saltee. There, he has to fight for his life as he and the other prisoners are forced to mine for diamonds in inhumane conditions. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.


Click here to read a review of AIRMAN.


Now in Stores: GAME by Walter Dean Myers

GAME by Walter Dean Myers (Fiction)
Living in Harlem, Drew Lawson witnesses crime, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty and despair every day. But Drew has a dream and is working his tail off to accomplish his goals. He's aiming for college and then the NBA with his love for and talents in basketball. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

Click here to read a review of GAME.



What’s it all about, Jon & Jayne? It's about what we like, what we need and how we cope. It's about laughing, venting, socializing and all the other “ing” things. Mostly, it's about being ourselves.

In JON & JAYNE’S GUIDE TO MAKING FRIENDS & "GETTING" THE GUY (OR GIRL), we invite you to share in the stories, advice, drama, Internet-active features and more. We hope you learn something about being yourself and making a good impression. Visit and share what's important to you. See you there!

Click here to read more about JON & JAYNE'S GUIDE TO MAKING FRIENDS & "GETTING" THE GUY (OR GIRL).


Now in Stores: GAMMA GLAMMA by Kim Flores

GAMMA GLAMMA by Kim Flores (Fiction)
In her freshman year at Gamma High, Luz Santos has been chosen to enter the regional science competition. The only problem is, it’s taking place the same weekend as the Homecoming Dance. Luz’s solution: devise a scientific experiment so hideous it will knock her out of the science contest and leave her free to attend the dance.


Click here to read more about GAMMA GLAMMA.


Books into Movies: Jumper and The Other Boleyn Girl

Now that the holidays have come and gone, and the weather is as temperamental as ever, it's pretty easy to catch a case of the blues this time of year. Luckily, the two films in February's Books into Movies feature promise to transport cinephiles to different times and places, offering the perfect escape from the winter doldrums. With flicks like Jumper, the big-screen adaptation of Steven Gould's YA novel about a young man gifted with the ability to teleport, and The Other Boleyn Girl, a juicy historical fiction tale from Philippa Gregory about two sisters vying for the affections of King Henry VIII, luckily you won't have to travel any farther than your neighborhood theater to visit Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Fiji, Egypt and even 16th-century England.
Click here for more details about these films.


Enter the 2008 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, 2008.

Click here to read all the contest details.


Cool New Books for February

February's roundup of Cool New Books includes BRATFEST AT TIFFANY'S, the ninth installment in Lisi Harrison's bestselling Clique series; THE MISSING GIRL, a haunting psychological thriller in which Norma Fox Mazer offers a rare glimpse into the mind of a predator; PREY by Lurlene McDaniel, a thought-provoking novel about a teacher who starts paying extra attention to one of her students and soon becomes romantically involved with him; HURRICANE, Terry Trueman's powerful story of a young boy's fear and courage in the face of a force of nature too huge to even imagine; and THE BOY WHO DARED, in which Newbery Honor Book author Susan Campbell Bartoletti explores the life of a heroic German youth who dared to stand up against the Nazis.
Click here to read our Cool New Books feature for February.


February's New in Paperback Roundup

February’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes 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; BEING, a heartstopper from Kevin Brooks about a boy who finds out during a routine endoscopy that he’s not 100% human; KING DORK, Frank Portman’s debut work of fiction told from the point of view of a character who doesn’t realize that his discovery of a copy of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE will change the world as he knows it; and 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.

Click here to see what's New in Paperback for February.


February's Reviews Reviews:

POSEUR by Rachel Maude (Fiction)
Charlotte Beverwil, Janie Farrish, Melissa Moon and Petra Greene attend exclusive Winston Prep in the Hollywood Hills. But that's all they have in common. So when these four sophomores are forced into a class to create their own fashion label, they clash in a major way. Reviewed by Carlie Webber.

TUNNELS by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
When 14-year-old Will's father disappears and the police fail to find any leads, Will takes it upon himself to search for clues. That's when he and his friend, Chester, discover the tunnel hidden behind the bookcase in the cellar. So begins their nightmarish quest, uncovering deeply hidden secrets and running for their lives. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE MISSING GIRL by Norma Fox Mazer (Psychological Thriller)
A man watches the Herbert sisters, obsessing over them, as the reader gets to know the girls. The suspense grows almost unbearable in this page-turner peopled with a family so real, you'd swear you've known them for a long time. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

SHE'S SO MONEY by Cherry Cheva (Fiction)
In order to pay off a sudden crushing fine on her family's restaurant, Maya agrees to do uber-hot, uber-popular Camden King's math homework for cash. But what she doesn't factor into the equation is that everything has a price --- especially falling in love. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

GIRL OVERBOARD by Justina Chen Headley (Fiction)
Everybody thinks that Syrah is the golden girl. But as she reveals in her manga journal, most of what glitters in her life is fool's gold. Her half-siblings aren't very fond of her, her best friend's girlfriend is threatening their friendship, and a snowboarding accident exiles her from the mountains --- the one place where she feels free and accepted for who she is, not what she has. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

PREY by Lurlene McDaniel (Fiction)
When Ms. Lori Settles starts giving her student, Ryan Piccoli, extra attention, he's feeling more than happy --- at first. One day after school, the friendship with Lori goes farther than he ever expected. Soon, Lori is making demands and Ryan begins to feel overwhelmed, but he refuses to even admit anything is going on. Reviewed by Carlie Webber.

STARCROSS: A Stirring Adventure of Spies, Time Travel and Curious Hats written by Philip Reeve and illustrated by David Wyatt (Science Fiction/Action & Adventure)
In this Victorian alternate universe sequel to LARKLIGHT, Art and Myrtle Mumby travel with their mother to Starcross, an asteroid resort hotel. There, they hurtle into a right jolly adventure complete with time-travel, mind-controlling headwear, dastardly villains and heroic exploits. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE CASTAWAYS by Iain Lawrence (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Adrift at sea, Tom Tin and his four convict companions are only too glad when they come upon a deserted ship. The boys clamber aboard, not knowing whether they've been saved or set on a course toward doom. But after rescuing two men stranded on a melting iceberg, Tom begins to suspect that these unsavory sailors are dangerous castaways from this very vessel. Reviewed by Joy Held.

THE GLASS WORD: The Dark Reflections Trilogy, Book Three by Kai Meyer (Fantasy)
When they emerge from Hell, Merle, her friend Junipa who has mirrors for eyes, and Vermithrax the flying stone lion find themselves in Egypt. With THE GLASS WORD, Kai Meyer's spellbinding conclusion to the Dark Reflections fantasy trilogy, the story takes its characters --- and its readers --- to new extremes. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE TIDE KNOT by Helen Dunmore (Fantasy/Mystery)
Even though her family has moved away from their seaside cottage, Sapphire refuses to forget her vow to locate her missing father. She continues her visits to the underwater world of Ingo and the Mer people, looking for answers and finding it harder and harder to return to the air. But danger is approaching, for both Ingo and Sapphire's village. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

WAITING FOR NORMAL by Leslie Connor (Fiction)
Twelve-year-old Addie's mother is a complete mess, even disappearing for days on end. Addie adores her stepfather, but then her mom divorces him, too. Despite all of the hardships she suffers, Addie always tries to keep hope in her heart. Someday life will get better. Won't it? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE KING'S ARROW by Michael Cadnum (Historical Mystery)
Some mysteries never get solved. The year is 1100 A.D, and 18-year-old Simon Foldre is invited to join the King on the Royal Hunt. What he sees deep in the forest --- disloyalty, conspiracy, treason, murder --- changes his life forever, especially when it leaves him with two options: flee or die. Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens.

THE OTHER BOOK by Philip Womack (Fantasy)
Edward Pollock lives an ordinary life at his ordinary boarding school, where the food is bad and the teachers are way too serious. But one day he is inexplicably drawn to a strange and powerful book, and suddenly the boarding school isn't quite so ordinary anymore. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read our reviews.

Manga Reviews:

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

DRAGON VOICE, Volume 1 by Yuriko Nishiyama
All Rin Amami wants is a chance to prove himself as a singer and dancer. The Beatmen need a new gimmick to keep their popularity. Is this a match made in heaven? Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

GAKUEN ALICE, Volume 1 by Tachibana Higuchi
When her best friend is sent off to a school for supernaturally talented students, Mikan decides that a long-distance friendship is just not going to work for her. What she doesn't know is that she's just as magical as her best friend, and the school is set to recruit her next. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

LOVE ATTACK, Volume 1 by Shizuru Seino
It's only the beginning of Chiemi's high school career, and already she has been suspended twice for fighting. Her guidance counselor makes her an offer: if she gets bad-boy Akifumi Hirata to quit fighting, then her record will be wiped clean. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

PET SHOP OF HORRORS: TOKYO, Volume 1 by Matsuri Akino
It's been several years since the bizarre Chinese Count known only as D left L.A.'s Chinatown. In that time, life has returned to normal in the world and the nightmares associated with Count D's pet shop of horrors have ceased. But across the Pacific, amidst the bright lights of Tokyo, a mysterious Chinese man has been spotted, and he seems to be opening a new shop. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

-Click here to read our Manga reviews.

Christian Fiction Reviews:

The Secret Life of Samantha McGregor

PAY BACK: The Secret Life of Samantha McGregor, Book Four by Melody Carlson (Fiction)
This fourth and final installment in The Secret Life of Samantha McGregor series brings Samantha her biggest challenges yet, as she works against the clock to stop a mass murder, help a troubled youth and save her mother from making a terrible mistake. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Sierra Jensen

HOLD ON TIGHT: Sierra Jensen Collection - Volume Four, Book Ten by Robin Jones Gunn (Fiction)
Sierra can't wait to join her brother and a few friends on a road trip as they visit a university in Southern California and spend a day at an amusement park. But right from the start, things go wrong. And suddenly Sierra's trip is full of more twists and turns than any rollercoaster. Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby.

CLOSER THAN EVER: Sierra Jensen Collection - Volume Four, Book Eleven by Robin Jones Gunn (Fiction)
Paul is coming home and will be attending Sierra's graduation party. Plus, Sierra and Randy are accepted into Rancho Corona University. Sierra couldn't be happier --- until she hears Vicki hasn't received an acceptance letter. But the worst news of all comes on graduation night. Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby.

-Click here to read our Christian Fiction reviews.

Recent Titles Perfect for Teens:

THE SECRET BETWEEN US by Barbara Delinsky (Fiction)
Deborah Monroe and her daughter, Grace, are driving home from a party when their car hits a man running in the dark. Grace was at the wheel, but Deborah sends her home before the police arrive, determined to shoulder the blame for the accident. Her decision then turns into a deception that takes on a life of its own and threatens the special bond between mother and daughter. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SECRET BETWEEN US.

WHAT I WAS by Meg Rosoff (Fiction)
Crossing over to adult fiction, celebrated young adult author Meg Rosoff still focuses on young people --- viewed through the lens of an old, world-weary narrator --- in WHAT I WAS, a most unusual coming-of-age novel about friendship and humanity. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE LODGER SHAKESPEARE: His Life on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl (Biography)
For hundreds of years, scholars and critics have pondered the influences that provided William Shakespeare with the materials for the plays that bear his name. While we know much about his work, we know little about the person whose words and plays are read by so many around the world. In THE LODGER SHAKESPEARE, Charles Nicholl provides readers with a detailed glimpse into a brief moment in the life of a man considered by many to be the greatest playwright ever. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

-Click here to read the titles perfect for teens.


Poll and Question of the Month: Reading Speed and Books You Can't Get Enough Of


Do you consider yourself a fast reader?
Not sure

-Click here to answer the poll.


Name up to three books that you just could not put down.

-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 teen reader will be randomly chosen to win a copy of AIRMAN by Eoin Colfer. See the official rules here. To put your name in the hat, submit your current reading list and ratings by completing the form here.
Click here to see the most recent Word of Mouth comments.


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