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August 2008 Newsletter August 2008
This Month on

Last Gasps of Summer...and Starting Up the School Year

Our Review of BREAKING DAWN, the Conclusion to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga

Special Feature: LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL by Olivia Gardner, with Emily and Sarah Buder's Beach Bag of Books Feature's Grab Bag of Books Contest

Series Update: The Clique Summer Collection by Lisi Harrison

Now in Stores: THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Now in Stores: BLACK RABBIT SUMMER by Kevin Brooks

Now in Stores: CRUEL SUMMER by Alyson Noël

Now in Stores: A NOT-SO-SIMPLE LIFE by Melody Carlson

Cool New Books for August

August's New in Paperback Roundup

This Month's Reviews

Poll and Question: Midnight Madness

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

Links You'll Love


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Last Gasps of Summer...and Starting Up the School Year

As we write, some of you already have been back to school for a week or so, while others of you are gearing up for the big day. We do not start until after Labor Day in our town, so things here still are pretty relaxed. School supplies are bought, but the paper has not yet found its way into the binder, and we are off to the beach this week to squish some sand between our toes.

The big news in the YA world this month was the publication of BREAKING DAWN, the final book in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. I’m sure most of you have read it already and are discussing the end of the series with your friends. What did you think of the book? Find out our reviewer’s thoughts and share your own in our Word of Mouth feature (where you can win a copy of IDENTICAL by Ellen Hopkins).

Did you attend a midnight madness event for BREAKING DAWN? Will you attend one for the September 20th release of BRISINGR, the third book in Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance series? Let us know by responding to this month’s poll. Our question asks about midnight madness parties that YOU would be responsible for organizing. Which book would you celebrate, and what kinds of activities would you plan for the festivities? We’re looking forward to reading all your creative responses!

Congratulations to the winners of our CATHY’S BOOK – Book Club Giveaway. I hope you and your book group have a blast unraveling the mystery! We have also selected five lucky readers to win our Beach Bag of Books, but you can still find out all about this year’s great summer reads in the feature.

Looking to win a few books? Along with entering the Word of Mouth contest, be sure to check out this month’s Grab Bag of Books. The bag features five titles with a focus on contemporary fiction and fantasy. By turns you’ll be creeped out and inspired. And of course, all the winners will receive a signature tote bag. Good luck to everyone who enters!

What else is new on the shelves this month? Well, the fifth and final installment in Lisi Harrison's The Clique Summer Collection, CLAIRE, has been released. This series has been a fluffy summer indulgence, and the last book is no exception. On the opposite end of the fluffy spectrum (spiky?), we have THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X. This science fiction novel by uber-bestselling author James Patterson will keep you up at night with its page-turning thrills. BLACK RABBIT SUMMER by Kevin Brooks follows a group of friends through some seriously spooky circumstances. Mamma Mia! and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 have really given me an itch to visit Greece. CRUEL SUMMER by Alyson Noël is no help either! The romantic story unfolds on the heavenly beaches there, though the main character takes some convincing that she’s arrived in paradise. Hey, I’m convinced. Where do I sign up?

If, like me, you don’t have a Grecian vacation in your near future, check out some bookish escapes in our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups, as well as our most recent reviews.

And don’t forget, September is Library Card Sign-up Month. If you happen not to have a library card, this would be the perfect time to get one. If you do, make sure to put that card to good use --- which shouldn’t be a problem now that school will be starting up again. And ummmm it might be a good time also to pay some fines if you have them. I know my sons have had some doozy fines through the year as they failed to return items on time.

Wishing you happy reading in the final days of summer. We'll "see you in September."

Carol Fitzgerald (


Our Review of BREAKING DAWN, the Conclusion to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga

BREAKING DAWN by Stephenie Meyer (Horror/Romance)
Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for vampire Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, a tumultuous year of temptation, loss and strife have led Bella Swan to the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hang. Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unfathomable, consequences. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Visit the official website of the Twilight series,

Click here to read our review of BREAKING DAWN.


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.'s Beach Bag of Books Feature

Looking for some cool reads before summer officially ends? Here are 10 titles you'll want to consider. They are books that teens will love --- 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.

-Click here to see the winners
of the Second Annual Beach Bag of Books Contest.

Click here to read more about these books.'s Grab Bag of Books Contest

Every month in our Grab Bag of Books contest, five readers are 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 CREEPERS by Joanne Dahme, THE FRUIT OF MY LIPSTICK by Shelley Adina, A NOT-SO-SIMPLE LIFE by Melody Carlson, THE SUMMONING by Kelley Armstrong and UNDONE by Brooke Taylor.

-Click here to see our past winners.

Click here for all the contest details.             


Series Update: The Clique Summer Collection by Lisi Harrison

CLAIRE: The Clique Summer Collection #5 by Lisi Harrison (Fiction)
After returning to
Florida for the summer, Claire Lyons's vacation isn't the roaring good time she had hoped it would be. Her Florida friends make catty remarks about her and the Westchester Pretty Committee, especially Massie. The one ray of hope for the summer is Kissimmee's annual Miss Kiss pageant. But when competition heats up, friendship and loyalty are put to the test. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

-Click here to see The Clique series feature.

Click here to read a review of CLAIRE.


Now in Stores: THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Science Fiction)
Daniel X is the protector of the earth, the Alien Hunter, with a mission beyond what anyone could imagine. From the day that his parents were brutally murdered, he has used his unique gifts to hunt down their assassin. Finally, with the help of The List bequeathed to him in his parents' dying breath, he has located the killer. Now, on his own, he vows to take on his father's mission --- and to have vengeance in the process. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X.

Click here to read a review of THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X.


Now in Stores: BLACK RABBIT SUMMER by Kevin Brooks

BLACK RABBIT SUMMER by Kevin Brooks (Mystery)
In this eerily suspenseful thriller, Pete and his old buddies get together for one more night. Their reunion leads to hurt feelings, resentment and disequilibrium --- not to mention missing persons, police investigations, murder and the uncovering of exceedingly dark secrets. Readers should hang on tight and prepare for an unsettling but irresistible ride. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BLACK RABBIT SUMMER.

Click here to read a review of BLACK RABBIT SUMMER.

Now in Stores: CRUEL SUMMER by Alyson Noël
CRUEL SUMMER by Alyson Noël (Fiction)
Having recently discarded her dorky image --- and the best friend who went with it --- Colby Cavendish is looking forward to a long hot season of parties, beach barbeques and, hopefully, more hookups with Levi Bonham, the hottest guy in school. But her world comes crashing down when her parents send her away to spend the summer in Greece with her crazy aunt Tally. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CRUEL SUMMER.

Click here to read a review of CRUEL SUMMER.


Now in Stores: A NOT-SO-SIMPLE LIFE by Melody Carlson

A NOT-SO-SIMPLE LIFE: Diary of a Teenage Girl -- Maya, Book 1 by Melody Carlson (Fiction)
Fifteen-year-old Maya Stark seems to have it all --- fame, fortune, a Beverly Hills
lifestyle and a rock star dad. But looks can be deceiving, and on the inside, Maya is miserable and insecure. Sent to live with her cousin for the summer, Maya is labeled a snob despite her efforts to fit in. Maya’s candid journal entries reveal her struggle with her identity and her faith as she discovers that the key to the real “simple life” lies in giving her heart to God.
Click here to read more about A NOT-SO-SIMPLE LIFE.


Cool New Books for August

You don't need to be a diehard fan of the Twilight series to figure out the major highlight of August's Cool New Books roundup. The publisher estimates that an astounding 1.3 million copies of BREAKING DAWN, the fourth and final book in Stephenie Meyer's vampire love saga, were sold on August 2nd after being released at 12:01 a.m. Although not coming anywhere close to achieving such astronomical numbers, the titles in this month's feature are sure to captivate and entertain readers just as much. They include IDENTICAL by Ellen Hopkins, the story of a father's twisted obsession for one of his twin daughters; THE GHOSTS OF KERFOL, an enthralling work of Gothic suspense from Deborah Noyes; CLAIRE, the last entry in Lisi Harrison's Clique Summer Collection; and ALL WE KNOW OF LOVE, Nora Raleigh Baskin's young adult debut about a girl who journeys through love and loss to find her mother --- and discovers that everyone has a story to tell, including herself.
Click here to read our Cool New Books feature for August.


August's New in Paperback Roundup

August's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green, the story of a child prodigy who has been dumped by 19 girls named Katherine; ENDYMION SPRING, Matthew Skelton's debut work of fiction in which an unlikely hero finds a long-lost book with the power to change the world; NAOMI AND ELY'S NO KISS LIST, the second collaboration between Rachel Cohn and David Levithan following NICK & NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST; SONG OF THE SPARROW by Lisa Ann Sandell, a brilliant, gripping retelling of Arthurian legend; and DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS?, Randa Abdel-Fattah's funny and poignant first novel about a girl who decides to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.

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


This Month's Reviews Reviews:

STOP IN THE NAME OF PANTS!: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #9 by Louise Rennison (Fiction)
Three maybe-boyfriends is a lot for any girl to handle --- red-bottomed or not. Robbie the Sex God is back from Kiwi-a-gogo land wanting to "get coffee", Masimo the Luuurve God says things like "Ciao, Georgia, see you later" and her mate Dave the Laugh snogs her in a pond. It's enough to make any girl mad. Now that she has tearfully eschewed Robbie the Sex God with a firm hand, Georgia is left with two potential snoggees to choose from. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez and excerpted.

THE MIDNIGHT TWINS by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Mystery)
Meredith and Mallory Brynn are identical twins who even share the same dreams --- that is, until recently. Now Mallory's dreams are predicting the future, and Meredith dreams of the past. It sounds like an awesome talent to have, but then the dreams begin to reveal frightening, evil deeds performed by someone they know. Interfering could possibly save a life but would most definitely endanger their own. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE GHOSTS OF KERFOL by Deborah Noyes (Gothic Suspense/Short Stories)
A beautiful young woman is accused of murdering her jealous husband when he is found dead on the stairs of his ancestral home. His body has been savaged by dogs, though there are no living canines at Kerfol. THE GHOSTS OF KERFOL reveals revenants and reverberations of these events in five new tales based on Edith Wharton's ghostly classic. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

THE EYES OF A KING by Catherine Banner (Fantasy)
Fifteen-year-old Leo North's prospects in life are limited. He attends military school, lives with his fearful grandmother and looks after his brother Stirling. He resists his innate powers, because those who demonstrate any sort of magical ability are considered enemies of the state. But when he finds a blank book in the snow, his typical indifference melts away. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

DREAM GIRL by Lauren Mechling (Fiction)
Claire Voyante has had strange visions ever since she was little. They never led to anything but silly stuff, like imagining her brother holding an umbrella with a frog on it and then later actually seeing him with that same umbrella. But on her 15th birthday everything changes when Claire's fashionista grandmother Kiki gives her a special black-and-white onyx cameo necklace. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

SHADOWS IN THE TWILIGHT by Henning Mankell (Fiction)
Joe will soon be 12, and he thinks nothing is going on in the small community where he lives. But he's wrong. One day, an incident that could easily have been a catastrophe turns into a miracle. Now Joel believes he owes the world a good deed, to prove that he deserved what might have been divine intervention. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

Fifteen-year-old Antonia has two great goals in her life so far. First, she wants to become the first living saint in the history of the Catholic Church, and she diligently writes to the Pope every month to make suggestions in areas that are lacking saint representation. Her second goal is to finally get her first real romantic kiss. 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

ATOMIC ROBO: Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne by Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener, Ronda Pattison and Jeff Powell
Atomic Robo, a robot created by Nikolas Tesla in 1923, tangles with everything from a marauding pyramid to Nazis. He and his colleagues are just the kind of folks anyone would want to see out there defending us from nefarious inventions. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

OH MY GOD!, Volume 1 by Natsuho Shino
Yuto's family may have been powerful sorcerers in the past, but the present generation is made up of hacks and charlatans. So imagine Yuto's surprise when not only does he find a god trapped in a sword, he discovers he has the power to set the god free. Reviewed by Eva Volin.

RUNAWAYS: DEAD END KIDS by Joss Whedon, Michael Ryan and Christina Strain
When a heist goes horribly awry, the Runaways end up struggling with the Punisher, Kingpin and ninjas(!). Just when things couldn't get any worse, the time-travel device they were meant to collect activates, and the whole team ends up stranded in 1907. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

When their harsh adoptive father Hargreeves dies, his funeral is the one thing that will bring all seven superpowered children, once known as the Umbrella Academy, home to pay their respects (or to make sure he's dead). A new threat is already growing, however, and one of their own siblings is smack at the heart of it. Reviewed by Robin Brenner.

-Click here to read our Manga reviews.

Christian Fiction Reviews:

All About Us

THE FRUIT OF MY LIPSTICK: All About Us, Book 2 by Shelley Adina (Fiction)
Gillian Chang thought that life with her overprotective New York family was stressful. But when she flies thousands of miles away to attend the elite Spencer Academy, a whole new set of problems comes her way. In THE FRUIT OF MY LIPSTICK, the second book in Shelley Adina's All About Us series, loud-mouthed science whiz Gillian realizes that there's one problem even hours of studying can't solve --- love. Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby and excerpted.

The Shadowside Trilogy

TRION RISING: The Shadowside Trilogy, Book One by Robert Elmer (Science Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Oriannon is living the good life on the bright side of Corista, a small planet circling three suns. But things get crazy for the teen when a new music teacher arrives at her school with strange songs and even stranger ideas. Soon Oriannon is pressured to spy on her teacher, Jesmet, by using her powers to record everything she sees and hears. Could Jesmet really be a faithbreaker, like Oriannon's friend Margus says? Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Legends of Karac Tor

THE BOOK OF NAMES: Legends of Karac Tor, Book One by D. Barkley Briggs (Fantasy)
Teen brothers Hadyn and Ewan Barlow are forced to adjust to a depressing new life when tragedy strikes their home. Then a secret viking runestone opens the door to a world in peril, and they discover a crisis larger than their own pain. In the Hidden Lands of Karac Tor, names are stolen from the young and darkness spreads. Hadyn and Ewan become targets of war, forcing them to make a reluctant choice: join the battle or risk losing each other and their home forever. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Lauren Holbrook

MISS MATCH: Lauren Holbrook, Book 1 by Erynn Mangum (Fiction)
Lauren Holbrook is a happily confirmed bachelorette. The protagonist in Erynn Mangum's debut novel is 23 years old, living with her father in a sleepy Colorado town and couldn't be happier about it. Unlike other twentysomethings on the hunt for love, Lauren is more concerned with finding the perfect mates for her friends. And she's convinced that she has a God-given talent for it. Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby. 

-Click here to read our Christian Fiction reviews.

Recent Titles Perfect for Teens:

BOOKS: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry (Memoir)
In Larry McMurtry's memoir, the Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winner describes not his writing life, but his life as a book dealer. For half a century, he has worked as an antiquarian bookseller when not producing bestsellers of his own. BOOKS gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at this little known world of rare books. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

ROME 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World by David Maraniss (Sports History)
Critically acclaimed and bestselling author David Marannis, who knows his sports as well as his history and politics, has painted a magnificent portrait of the 1960 Rome Olympics --- the precursor to the modern Olympic Games --- and their place in sports history. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

THE BEST GAME EVER: Giants vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL by Mark Bowden (Sports)
Whether the December 28, 1958 championship battle between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants is the greatest football game ever played is a subject for debate. Regardless of one's view, there is no question that it changed the way Americans viewed professional football. THE BEST GAME EVER recounts in glorious detail that game and many of its participants, a veritable who's who of professional football. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

A FEW SECONDS OF PANIC: A 5-Foot-8, 170-Pound, 43-Year-Old Sportswriter Plays in the NFL by Stefan Fatsis (Sports)
As players report to training camp for the 2008 National Football League season, sportswriter Stefan Fatsis offers gridiron fans a penetrating and insightful look behind the scenes. He portrays the modern NFL as a multi-billion dollar industry in which players, coaches and owners work towards one goal: winning. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

-Click here to read the titles perfect for teens.


Poll and Question: Midnight Madness


Did you attend a midnight madness event for BREAKING DAWN, the final book in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series?

No, but I wish I did.
No, I had no interest in this.

Did you attend a midnight madness event for any of the Harry Potter books?

No, but I wish I did.
No, I had no interest in this.

Will you attend a midnight madness event for BRISINGR, the third book in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series, when it releases on September 20th?

No, but I wish I could.
No, I have no interest in this.
Not sure

-Click here to answer the poll.


If you could organize a midnight madness event for any book that either already has been published or has yet to be released, which would you choose? What kind of activities would you plan for it?

-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 IDENTICAL by Ellen Hopkins. 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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