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July 2008 Newsletter July 2008
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Bullies, Bloggers and Bizarre Birds

New Special Feature: LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL by Olivia Gardner, with Emily and Sarah Buder

Author Talk: Cory Doctorow, Author of LITTLE BROTHER

Books into Movies: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2's Beach Bag Contest: Win a Beach Bag of Books Valued at $275 --- Contest Ends July 31st!

Win a Copy of CATHY'S BOOK for Your Reading Group!'s Grab Bag of Books Contest

Series Update: The Clique Summer Collection by Lisi Harrison

Don't Miss: APPETITE FOR DETENTION by Sloane Tanen and Stefan Hagen

Now in Stores: THE MAGICIAN: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 2 by Michael Scott

Cool New Books for July

July's New in Paperback Roundup

This Month's Reviews

Poll and Question: Vacation Reading

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

Links You'll Love


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Bullies, Bloggers and Bizarre Birds

Oh, summer vacation! Soon I will be at the beach with my family and will get some much-needed "me time." A big part of this will be catching up on all the books I've been meaning to read. I think this is what summer is about.

Ever dealt with bullies? I really despised them when I was growing up, and I despise them just as much now. I have to tell you that bullying is an old problem with a lot of new methods. It's not just getting beat up on the playground. Bullying today happens through gossip and teasing, and often even occurs online. I'm sure a lot of you at some point have been a victim, a bystander or a bully. LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL is full of perspectives from all sides, in the form of letters addressed to Olivia Gardner, a teenager who experienced bullying from her classmates for more than two years. We had a chance to interview the two sisters who initiated the letter-writing campaign to Olivia, Emily and Sarah Buder, and author Barbara Coloroso, who wrote the Foreword. Find out what they have to say about this issue, and how they think this book will change the hearts and minds of anyone who reads it. And if you have ever been a bully, I hope you think twice the next time!

This month, we also feature an interview with Cory Doctorow, author of the bestseller LITTLE BROTHER. Anyone with even a passing interest in computers will eat this book up. You will learn so much about how companies and the government can watch you --- and ways to get around them. The story follows a fairly typical teen and his friends as they circumvent the police state that arises after a terrorist attack on San Francisco. Doctorow is one of the editors of Boing Boing, a blog you might be familiar with. Click here to read the interview.

I want to point out a few titles we're reviewing this month. The Clique Summer Collection has a new installment, KRISTEN. This book features a soccer star who finds an unexpected crush on the older brother of the kid she's tutoring. The much-anticipated sequel to THE ALCHEMYST: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott is finally here. In THE MAGICIAN, the adventure continues as the twins race to find the secret to immortality. Will their relationship survive bitter jealousies and doubts? Read to find out! And now for something completely different... APPETITE FOR DETENTION is a picture book of hilarious dioramas of tiny, fuzzy chicks acting out high school dramas. It's bizarre, but you'll love it.

We have several great contests that are continuing this month. Check out all the best books for the beach, and enter to win them all --- and a whole lot of other goodies --- in our Beach Bag of Books contest. The contest ends July 31st, so be sure to fill out that entry form soon! You still have time to enter the HUNGER GAMES contest, which ends on July 29th. Find out more about this much-talked-about fantasy and check out the book trailer on the HUNGER GAMES website. If you're part of a reading group, you can enter to win a free copy of CATHY'S BOOK. We also have another great lineup of books in our Grab Bag of Books contest. You can check it out here and see our past winners. Tell us what you're reading in our Word of Mouth feature, and you could win a copy of BLACK RABBIT SUMMER by Kevin Brooks.

Congratulations to the winners of our CATHY'S KEY and iPod Giveaway. We really think you'll love discussing all the book's plot twists with your friends.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 will be in theaters on August 6th. In this highly anticipated sequel to the 2005 adaptation of Ann Brashares's enormously popular novel, the four best friends tackle their first year at college and the summer following. Read more about the film in our Books into Movies feature.

As always, you can find more reading suggestions in our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups, as well as our most recent reviews. And don't forget to answer this month's poll and question about vacation reading.

Happy matter where you are!

Carol Fitzgerald (


New Special Feature: LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL by Olivia Gardner, with Emily and Sarah Buder

When sisters Emily and Sarah Buder read a news article in 2006 about Olivia Gardner --- a teenage girl who had been the victim of excessive bullying for over two years --- they launched a letter-writing campaign at their school in hopes of offering her words of comfort. Their local project managed to take on a life of its own, and some of the thousands of letters and e-mails they received worldwide have been compiled and published in LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL: Messages of Healing and Hope. In this interview with's Alexis Burling, Emily and Sarah describe what inspired this undertaking, share their personal favorite messages, and offer ideas on how to reduce and prevent this growing problem. Alexis also spoke with bullying expert Barbara Coloroso, who wrote the book's Foreword, about the effects of media technology on children today, and the measures needed by parents and teachers to stop these acts of violence from occurring.

LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL: Messages of Healing and Hope written by Olivia Gardner with Emily and Sarah Buder (Self-Help)
Olivia Gardner, a northern California teenager, was severely taunted and cyber-bullied by her classmates for more than two years. News of her bullying spread, eventually reaching two teenage girls from a neighboring town, sisters Emily and Sarah Buder. The girls were so moved by Olivia's story that they initiated a letter-writing campaign to help lift her spirits. It was a tender gesture of solidarity that set off an overwhelming chain reaction of support, encouragement and love.

In LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL, Olivia and the Buder sisters share an inspiring selection of messages that arrived from across America --- the personal, often painful remembrances of former targets, remorseful bullies and sympathetic bystanders. LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL examines our national bullying epidemic from a variety of angles and perspectives, and includes practical guidance from bullying expert Barbara Coloroso, author of THE BULLY, THE BULLIED, AND THE BYSTANDER. Though addressed to Olivia, the letters speak to all young people who have been bullied, offer advice and hope to those who suffer, and provide a wake-up call to all who have ever been involved in bullying.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL.
-Click here to read our interview with Emily and Sarah Buder, and Barbara Coloroso.
-Click here to see bios of Olivia Gardner, and Emily and Sarah Buder.

Click here to read a review of LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL.


Author Talk: Cory Doctorow, Author of LITTLE BROTHER

In this interview, science fiction author Cory Doctorow discusses what inspired LITTLE BROTHER, his first book for young adults, and explains how his concerns about vanishing civil liberties in the face of advancing technology in a post-9/11 society fed the plot of the novel. He also describes some of the seemingly unrealistic technologies featured in the book, elaborates on the story's overall message and reveals what he hopes readers will take away from it.

LITTLE BROTHER by Cory Doctorow (Science Fiction/Action & Adventure)

In Cory Doctorow's thought-provoking new novel, a computer-savvy high school student named Marcus Yallow (a.k.a "w1n5t0n") takes on the Department of Homeland Security when they turn San Francisco into a police state following a devastating terrorist attack. Reviewed by Brian Farrey.

-Click here to read a review of LITTLE BROTHER.
-Click here to read an excerpt from LITTLE BROTHER.


Click here to read an interview with Cory Doctorow.


Books into Movies: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

Those of us who weren't quite ready to say goodbye just yet to Bridget, Carmen, Lena, Tibby and their magical pair of jeans are in for a treat this summer, as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 arrives in theaters on August 6th. This highly anticipated sequel to the 2005 adaptation of Ann Brashares's hugely popular novel is actually based on the fourth and final installment in the series, FOREVER IN BLUE (while showing flashbacks of events from books two and three). Catch up with the famous denim-clad quartet as they tackle new challenges in life and love while moving on to newer, unfamiliar paths toward adulthood.

Click here for more details about this film.'s Beach Bag Contest: Win a Beach Bag of Books Valued at $275 --- Contest Ends July 31st!

It's time to think about Summer Reading --- and we're not talking about the list of books you may have received for Required Summer Reading from school. What we're talking about are the kinds of books that you're glad you now have time to kick back with and enjoy. The way we see it, it wouldn't be summer without sun, surf and great reading. You supply the beach chair and the sunblock, and we'll provide the fantastic fiction in our Second Annual Beach Bag of Books Contest.

From June 23rd thru July 28th you can enter to win a " Beach Bag of Books." Five winners each will receive a beach bag that includes 10 books --- THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX by Mary E. Pearson, BLACK RABBIT SUMMER by Kevin Brooks, GENERATION DEAD by Daniel Waters, HOW TO BE BAD by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski and Lauren Myracle, RUMORS: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen, SAVVY GIRL by Lynn Messina, SUNRISE OVER FALLUJAH by Walter Dean Myers, THAT'S WHAT'S UP!: A Del Rio Bay Clique Novel by Paula Chase, UNBELIEVABLE: Pretty Little Liars #4 by Sara Shepard and WHAT WAS LOST by Catherine O'Flynn.

Along with the books, winners will find their oversized green and turquoise nylon bag stocked with the coolest summer goodies --- including a towel with a flip-flop decoration, plaid flip-flops, an ice shaver for snow cones, syrups for the ice shaver, snow cone cups and holders, an EZ-Freeze Bottle, a plaid picture frame, Coppertone Sport Sun Spray Lotion, a movie-sized box of Starburst, a beach ball cookie and an AIRHEAD t-shirt.


Click here to enter the contest.                    


Win a Copy of CATHY'S BOOK for Your Reading Group!

Calling all book clubs! Looking for a great book that is sure to generate lots of discussion in your reading group? Then check out CATHY'S BOOK. You and your fellow members will be abuzz with finding all the clues --- hidden within the book, on the phone and online. You can also debate different theories as to what's really going on with Cathy, her mysterious boyfriend and the puzzling death of Cathy's father. To get you started, is giving away one copy to 15 different book clubs. All you have to do is fill out this form by Tuesday, August 19th.

CATHY'S BOOK: If Found Call (650) 266-8283
Things weren't so peachy in Cathy's life before Victor broke up with her. Her father died unexpectedly, she's failing school and her best friend is mad at her. But when Cathy decides to investigate Victor's reasons for ending their relationship, things suddenly go from bad to worse as her findings produce more questions than answers.

Through Cathy's unique and irresistible voice --- and lots of proof in the form of letters, photographs, date book entries, telephone numbers readers can call, websites they can access, as well as secrets only a careful reader will be able to decipher --- readers will enter a strange and fascinating world where things often aren't how they appear.

-Click here to see the discussion guide for CATHY'S BOOK.
-Click here to read a review of CATHY'S BOOK.


Click here for all the contest details.'s Grab Bag of Books Contest

We at are THRILLED with the response we’ve been getting to our brand new Grab Bag of Books contest. Every month five readers will be awarded a signature tote bag filled with some of the hottest books --- and may even include a sneak peak at titles that haven’t been released yet. This contest period’s winners will each receive a copy of AIRHEAD by Meg Cabot, CATHY’S KEY: If Found Call (650) 266-8202, THE MESSAGE: 100 Life Lessons from Hip-Hop's Greatest Songs by Felicia Pride, MORIBITO: GUARDIAN OF THE SPIRIT by Nahoko Uehashi, SHORTIE LIKE MINE by Ni-Ni Simone and SOVAY by Celia Rees.

-Click here to see our past winners.

Click here for all the contest details.


Series Update: The Clique Summer Collection by Lisi Harrison

KRISTEN: The Clique Summer Collection #4 by Lisi Harrison (Fiction)
Kristen Gregory is an intellectually gifted soccer star who's stuck in Westchester for the summer. With her Pretty Committee friends off enjoying themselves, Kristen's vacation is looking like a total wipeout --- until she begins tutoring nine-year-old Ripple Baxter and meets Dune, Ripple's "perfect hang ten" surfer/skater brother. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

-Click here to see The Clique series feature.

Click here to read a review of KRISTEN.

Don't Miss: APPETITE FOR DETENTION by Sloane Tanen and Stefan Hagen
APPETITE FOR DETENTION written by Sloane Tanen and photographed by Stefan Hagen (Fiction)
How do you like your chicken? In this Monty-Python-meets-Mean-Girls sendup, hilarious and poignant dioramas featuring toy chickens in high school evoke the day-to-day anxieties and dilemmas of a group of teens. Unrequited crushes, unsympathetic gym teachers, schoolyard bullies, unfortunate incidents with self-tanners, squirm-inducing parental behavior --- they're all in this delightful picture book by Sloane Tanen. Reviewed by Usha Reynolds.
Click here to read a review of APPETITE FOR DETENTION.


Now in Stores: THE MAGICIAN: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 2 by Michael Scott

THE MAGICIAN: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 2 by Michael Scott (Fantasy)
Legendary twins Josh and Sophie Newman's mentors, Perenelle and Nicholas Flamel, are aging fast --- and without the secret of immortality in the Book of Abraham, they'll soon die. Sophie's powers have been awakened, but Josh's have not and he's begun to doubt Nicholas's goodness. Worse than that, though, he's getting jealous of his sister. Can their relationship survive the desire for power? Or can they simply survive, period? Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE MAGICIAN.

Click here to read a review of THE MAGICIAN.


Cool New Books for July

July's roundup of Cool New Books includes STOP IN THE NAME OF PANTS!, the ninth installment in Louise Rennison's hilariously entertaining Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series; SHADOWS IN THE TWILIGHT, a companion novel to A BRIDGE TO THE STARS, in which Henning Mankell details the surprising changes in Joel Gustafson's existence; KRISTEN, the continuation of Lisi Harrison's Clique Summer Collection; and BLACK RABBIT SUMMER by Kevin Brooks, a compelling mystery and a profound exploration of the many subtle influences that can change --- and end --- relationships.


Click here to read our Cool New Books feature for July.


July's New in Paperback Roundup

July's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes CUPCAKE, Rachel Cohn's final book starring Cyd Charisse, who has just graduated from high school and is looking to start life anew in Manhattan; IRONSIDE, Holly Black's third dark faery tale and the second to feature Kaye, a changeling pixie who grew up thinking she was a human girl; MASQUERADE, the thrilling second installment in Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods fantasy/horror series; and BULLYVILLE by Francine Prose, a gripping work of fiction about grief, frustration and healing following 9/11.

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


This Month's Reviews Reviews:

NICK OF TIME: An Adventure Through Time by Ted Bell (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
It's 1939, and Nick McIver has lived his entire 12 years on an island just off the coast of England. His dad asks him to help spy on the roaming Nazi submarines, suspecting a second world war is about to erupt. While keeping an eye out for the enemy, Nick discovers a mysterious golden orb of a time machine sent to him by a distant ancestor --- and soon finds himself battling pirates with his great-great-grandfather. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman and excerpted.

-Click here to read an excerpt from NICK OF TIME.

Marley Z is a hip, outgoing and confident New York City kid just starting eighth grade. When Marisol is accused of stealing a priceless violin on display at The Juilliard School, Marley steps in to prove her best friend's innocence. Suspects and motives appear and vanish, but intrepid Marley won't stop until she has the right answers. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

-Click here to read an excerpt from MARLEY Z AND THE BLOODSTAINED VIOLIN.

HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE by Dana Reinhardt (Fiction)
Following a life-changing year, in which her dad gets a divorce from her beloved stepmother and she loses her stepsister in the process, Harper decides to escape by joining a volunteer program to build a house for a family in Tennessee who lost their home in a tornado --- even though she knows nothing about construction. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

MARIAH MUNDI: THE MIDAS BOX by G. P. Taylor (Thriller/Fantasy)
Orphaned 15-year-old Mariah Mundi prepares to board a London train heading north for a job at the incredible Prince Regent Hotel. Among his bizarre encounters is a nervous traveler who hands him a package to transport, and a man named Black who speaks of a magic box that will change anything into gold. But the most disturbing fact of all is that the last few fellows who held his position at the hotel have all disappeared. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

OUTSIDE BEAUTY by Cynthia Kadohata (Fiction)
Thirteen-year-old Shelby has the line memorized: "My mother had four daughters by four different men." She and sisters Marilyn, Lakey and Maddie all define themselves that way, but it's not a source of embarrassment; in fact, it's a source of pride. Then a late-night phone call unexpectedly shreds the family apart, catapulting the girls across the country to live with their respective fathers. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

Orphan Rossamünd Bookchild has been sworn into the Emperor's service --- his duty is to light the lamps along the Emperor's highways and protect travelers from the ferocious bogles that live in the wild. But he's found it no easier to fit in with the lamplighters than he did with the foundlings, and his loneliness continues no matter how hard he tries to succeed. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

HIGH DIVE by Tammar Stein (Fiction)
Arden has a plane ticket to Sardinia to say goodbye to her family's beloved vacation home after her father's sudden death and her mother's deployment to Iraq as an army nurse. Lonely for her father and petrified for her mother's safety, Arden dreads her trip to the house in Sardinia --- the only place that has truly felt like home to her. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

SHIFT by Jennifer Bradbury (Fiction)
Immediately following high school graduation, longtime friends Chris and Win set out on a bicycle trek across the country. They long for freedom and adventure, a last huge experience together before they go off to separate colleges. But then, near the end of the trip, Win disappears. Chris makes it home and heads off to school. Win never does. The next thing Chris knows, he's being questioned by the FBI. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

GONE by Michael Grant (Science Fiction)
Thirteen-year-old Sam Temple is sitting in the middle of history class when his teacher suddenly disappears. In fact, everyone 14 and older in their California coastal town vanishes. While the remaining kids struggle to survive hunger, fear and dangerous bullies intent on taking control, Sam can only guess what will happen to him on his birthday, just a few days away. Will he disappear too? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

-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

DEJA-VU: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter – A Love Story by Youn In-wan
From an ancient Korean landscape of strife and magic to a World War II prisoner-of-war camp, from a hip-hop immigrant kid in San Francisco to a man created in a lab to repopulate a decimated world, the characters in Youn In-wan's romance anthology follow a cycle of meeting, falling in love, dying, and meeting again in the next life. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

KIELI, Volume 1 written by Yukako Kabei and art by Shiori Teshirogi
Kieli has always been able to see ghosts, making her skeptical of what she's been taught by the all-powerful Church. When she learns that a new acquaintance, Harvey, is an Undying (an immortal soldier created to fight and then banished for his trouble), the two realize they might find out more by working together. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

SHIRLEY, Volume 1 by Kaoru Mori
When 13-year-old Shirley Madison answers an advertisement for a maid, gentlewoman Bennet Cranley is skeptical of her skills, not to mention the wisdom of hiring someone so young. Still, she is unable to turn away such a sincere young woman. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

SHOULDER-A-COFFIN KURO, Volume 1 by Satoko Kiyuduki
Join Kuro, a traveler who carries only a coffin strapped to her back, as she takes in two rambunctious cat-girls and wanders the countryside in this four-panel comics collection. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

ZOMBIE-LOAN, Volume 1 by Peach-Pit
Michiru sees lines no one else can see on the necks of people around her. The darker those lines are, the closer that person is to death. But when she sees that same ring on two classmates who miraculously survived a horrible accident, she is drawn in to a dangerous world where every decision is potentially lethal. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

-Click here to read our Manga reviews.

Christian Fiction Reviews:

Hollywood Nobody

ROMANCING HOLLYWOOD NOBODY: Hollywood Nobody Series, Book 3 by Lisa Samson (Fiction)
Life is gradually coming into focus for 16-year-old Scotty Dawn. Now that they've been reunited with her father, who was presumed killed by the mob, she and her grandmother can stop running. But the trio continues their nomad lifestyle, setting out in search of answers about faith, possible romance…and Scotty's mother. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Sweet Seasons

THE SUMMER OF COTTON CANDY: A Sweet Seasons Novel by Debbie Viguie (Fiction)
Candace Thompson's plans for a fun-filled summer come to a screeching halt when her parents tell her what every teenager dreads to hear: "It's time to get a job." In THE SUMMER OF COTTON CANDY, Candace must give up a carefree summer with best friend Tamara to work at The Zone, a local amusement park. Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby.

The Knights of Arrethtrae

SIR KENDRICK & THE CASTLE OF BEL LIONE: The Knights of Arrethtrae, Book 1 by Chuck Black (Fiction)
Sir Kendrick, a brave and loyal Knight of the Prince, finds his patience tried when Sir Duncan, an overly confident, impetuous young knight, is put into his care for training. In SIR KENDRICK & THE CASTLE OF BEL LIONE, the first book in Chuck Black's Knights of Arrethtrae series, Duncan and Kendrick's friendship will be tested. Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby.


-Click here to read our Christian Fiction reviews.

Recent Titles Perfect for Teens:

A WOLF AT THE TABLE: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs (Memoir)
The autobiographical RUNNING WITH SCISSORS was about growing up with an older brother with Asperger Syndrome, a mother with mental illness who retreated from conflict, and a father who was an alcoholic. Augusten Burroughs managed to mine that potentially horrific set of circumstances for nuggets of skewed humor. In A WOLF AT THE TABLE, however, he gives up the struggle to find amusement there and tells it like it was. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott and excerpted.

WHAT WAS LOST by Catherine O'Flynn (Fiction)
From the notebooks of a little girl playing detective to the inner lives of disaffected workers in an urban mall, this absorbing, meticulously observed first novel from Catherine O'Flynn is a mystery story of sorts, told in a fresh, ironic voice. WHAT WAS LOST is a truly astonishing debut. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

MOOSE: A Memoir of Fat Camp by Stephanie Klein (Memoir)
MOOSE is acclaimed writer and photographer Stephanie Klein's reminiscence of her lifelong struggles with her weight through the prism of a teenage summer spent at fat camp. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.


-Click here to read the titles perfect for teens.


Poll and Question: Vacation Reading


If you are going away for a week of vacation, how many books do you bring?
More than 10

-Click here to answer the poll.


What book are you planning to take with you on vacation? Name up to three. 

-Click here to answer the 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 BLACK RABBIT SUMMER by Kevin Brooks. 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!

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