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July 2009 Newsletter July 2009

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Planes, Trains & Books

While many of you are probably relaxing and enjoying your vacation time, my July has been filled with conferences, conventions, award ceremonies and a LOT of traveling. This month I've been to Washington D.C., Chicago, and now I am in San Diego for Comic-Con. More on that in a sec. One morning last week the phone rang with a wakeup call. When I answered I wanted to ask, “What city am I in?” It’s been that kind of a month.

The hit today at Comic-Con was a preview of the new Twilight film due out in December...and yowser was there excitement about that! Fans had been camping out to get a good place in line since yesterday. I confess that I neither camped nor caught this preview as I had a lot of other panels to cover. If any of you were there, drop me a line and let me know what YOU thought of it --- and the experience of being part of something this big.

Earlier this month I saw Laurie Halse Anderson accept the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement. I loved her first book SPEAK and met her at the National Book Awards the year it was nominated as a finalist. I just read WINTERGIRLS, and it's definitely one of the most moving books that I have read in a while. A completely powerfully written story.

Have you taken our 2009 Reader Survey yet? If not, what are you waiting for? wants to give you the chance to win free books while allowing us the opportunity to learn more about you, our readers. Take the survey now and you could win one of the 27 titles being given away. All respondents can enter our random drawing, and 775 readers will win! Click here for more details and be sure to enter before Monday, August 31st.

Speaking of surveys, we are running a survey on as well. If you know any children 6-12 (perhaps some you babysit for), can you let them know about it? The survey can be accessed by clicking this link, Again, it will not take long, and yes, they too can win free books!

We have some great book giveaways this month. Twenty lucky readers will win a copy of Nancy Werlin's IMPOSSIBLE, a riveting novel about a family curse that combines suspense, fantasy and romance. After receiving the book, winners will be able to share their thoughts and comments about IMPOSSIBLE on We want to hear from you, so enter the contest by filling out this form by Wednesday, August 5th. is also giving away five copies of SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater, a new paranormal romance novel. To enter, read the excerpt here and fill out this form by Tuesday, September 15th. And if you didn't enter the contest last month, three copies of the special anniversary edition of David Almond's award-winning SKELLIG are being given away to celebrate its 10th year in print.

Enter our Grab Bag of Books contest for your chance to win new books and one of our signature bags. This month's titles include EYES LIKE STARS by Lisa Mantchev, L.A. CANDY by Lauren Conrad, A MAP OF THE KNOWN WORLD by Lisa Ann Sandell and A SWEET DISORDER by Jacqueline Kolosov.

For our Word of Mouth feature, one teen reader will be randomly chosen to win a copy of WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead. To put your name in the hat, submit your current reading list and ratings by completing the form here.

Congratulations to all the winners of the CATHY'S RING and iPod Giveaway! Click here to see if you were one of the lucky seven.

Ever been curious about YA titles from the past? Well, Lizzie Skurnick highlights some classics that YA lovers of all ages are sure to enjoy in her new book, SHELF DISCOVERY: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading. This collection of oldies but goodies will surely trigger old memories and spark new loves. Read an excerpt and our review, and then find out the inspiration behind her book column on and SHELF DISCOVERY in our interview with Lizzie.

Some other great poolside reads include the summer romance story TWENTY BOY SUMMER; the Shakespearian fantasy novel EYES LIKE STARS; and the dystopian thrillers GONE and HUNGER. You can also check out IT'S A GREEN THING and IT IS WHAT IT IS, as well as AFTER THE MOMENT, an unforgettable story about a complicated first love.

Keep up to date with the Blog, our new feature that brings you even more book and author news every week. Check out a Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie review by reader Kelly O'Brien. You can also read about fan and guest blogger Mary Stargis and her adventure to author Ally Carter's book signing. Also, the Blog is posting the new releases that will be showing up in bookstores each week (so you'll know before everyone else!). If you're interested in submitting a piece for the blog, please fill out this form; we'd love to hear from you! And keep up-to-date with the Facebook fan page for more great contests and book news updates, as well as a chance to chat with other readers.

Be sure to take a look at all our Beach Bag of Books for more great summer reading options. And, as always, we have our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups (not surprisingly, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS is our major New in Paperback highlight for this month), along with our reviews, which include both graphic novel and manga titles.

And don't forget to vote in our poll and question about summertime reading. We love hearing your feedback.

Happy reading!

Carol Fitzgerald (

Click here to take part in the 2009 Reader Survey.


Win a Copy of IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin --- and Send Us Your Thoughts! is running a special contest for IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin, a riveting novel that combines suspense, fantasy and romance for an intensely page-turning and masterfully original tale. We have 20 copies of the paperback edition (which releases on August 11th) to give away to readers who would like to read the book and comment about it. To enter, fill out this form and answer the following questions by Wednesday, August 5th at 11:59PM.

How old are you?

If selected as a winner, would you be able to read the book and give us your feedback?

IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin (Romantic Suspense/Fantasy)
Lucy Scarborough is 17 when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or fall into madness upon their child’s birth. Unless she can complete these tasks, Lucy will go mad, just like her mother and all the Scarborough women before her. But Lucy is the first girl who won’t be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents and her childhood friend Zach beside her. As they struggle to make sense of the puzzle in the ballad and play by the dangerously important rules, time is slipping away and Lucy’s fate hangs in the balance. Do they have love and strength enough to overcome an age-old evil?

-Click here to read a review of IMPOSSIBLE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from IMPOSSIBLE.
-Click here to read our interview with Nancy Werlin.
-Click here to read Nancy Werlin’s bio.


Click here for all the contest details.


Win a Copy of SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater

Move over vamps and pixies! Maggie Stiefvater's supernatural romance SHIVER brings the werewolf back into the spotlight. Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. And one yellow-eyed wolf --- her wolf --- is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. is giving five readers the chance to win a copy of SHIVER. To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Tuesday, September 15th at 11:59PM.

What state are Grace and Sam from?

You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater
(Supernatural Romance)
For years Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf --- her wolf --- is a haunting presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human…until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears and the temperature drops, Sam must fight to stay human --- or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.


Click here for all the contest details.


New Special Feature: SHELF DISCOVERY: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading, by Lizzie Skurnick

Author/poet/blogger Lizzie Skurnick's new book, SHELF DISCOVERY, is a collection of essays that sprung from a column she writes for the women's blog Jezebel, in which she revisits and deconstructs old favorite YA books from her childhood and adolescence. In this interview with's Sarah A. Wood, Skurnick discusses the origins of the column and explains why she chose the specific novels she included in the book. She also muses on the positive messages she hopes young girls can learn from both these older teen reads and current YA titles, shares her thoughts on how the act of reading in general can enrich people's lives, and offers advice for those aspiring toward careers in writing and publishing.

SHELF DISCOVERY: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading by Lizzie Skurnick (Memoir)
Remember that book you read at that time in your life when everything seemed to be going crazy --- the one book that brought the world into focus and helped soothe your raging teenage angst?

From Laura Lippman’s Foreword
“Some people are baffled by re-reading. What’s the point? There’s so much else to read. With these essays, Lizzie Skurnick has answered those questions. It’s as if a kindly psychiatrist suddenly appeared with a sheaf of missing brain scans. Do you giggle when someone tells you to ‘sit here for the present’? You are channeling Ramona Quimby, who turned those simple words into a daunting challenge. Does the mere mention of a mink-trimmed coat make you secretly swoon, even though you are rabidly anti-fur? You have ‘A Little Princess’ complex. Do you long to cover your enemies with leeches? You’re having a ‘Little House’ flashback…. So stretch out on Dr. Lizzie’s couch and find out why you think it would be kind of cozy to be locked up in an attic with your brother. Or learn to dissect the subtle class consciousness of Judy Blume’s New Jersey. Ponder the way that Lois Duncan’s characters come into unexpected powers, natural and supernatural alike, as they enter adolescence.”

And most of all, enjoy.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SHELF DISCOVERY.
-Click here to read our interview with Lizzie Skurnick.
-Click here to read Lizzie Skurnick’s bio.

-Visit Lizzie Skurnick’s official website,
-Click here to visit the publisher’s website.

Click here to read a review of SHELF DISCOVERY.


Win a Copy of SKELLIG: 10th-Anniversary Edition, by David Almond

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of SKELLIG by David Almond, a poignant and magical tale of love, life and death, is giving away three copies of the special anniversary edition, which features a new cover and includes an exclusive new story about Mina. The book has won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature and is an amazing addition to any reader's library. To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Wednesday, August 19th at 11:59PM.

Where does Michael's mum tell him to stay out of?

You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

SKELLIG: 10th-Anniversary Edition by David Almond (Fiction)
Ten-year-old Michael was looking forward to moving into a new house. But now his baby sister is ill, his parents are frantic, and Doctor Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then he steps into the crumbling garage…. What is this thing beneath the spiders' webs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never before seen? The only person Michael can confide in is his new friend, Mina. Together, they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael's world changes forever.

-Click here to read a review of SKELLIG: 10th-Anniversary Edition.


Click here for all the contest details.


Special Feature: TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler

In this interview with's Sarah A. Wood, Sarah Ockler discusses the true stories behind both the title and plot of her debut novel, TWENTY BOY SUMMER, and elaborates on some of its major themes, like friendship, honesty, peer pressure and keeping secrets. She also muses on why it's sometimes easier to trust strangers more than best friends, provides information on an organization near and dear to her heart, and shares details about her upcoming book, FIXING DELILAH HANNAFORD, which is due out next summer.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler (Fiction)
A debut novel about friendship, first love and grief that will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen.

For 16-year-olds Anna Reiley and Frankie Perino, their 20 day-long, minimally supervised California vacation will be the "Absolute Best Summer Ever." And according to Frankie, if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance that Anna will get her first real boyfriend.

Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie --- she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Written in lyrical, accessible prose, TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone and what it truly means to grieve, and perhaps most importantly, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

-Click here to read an excerpt from TWENTY BOY SUMMER.
-Click here to read our interview with Sarah Ockler.
-Click here to read Sarah Ockler’s bio.
-Visit Sarah Ockler’s official website,


Click here to read a review of TWENTY BOY SUMMER.


Special Feature: GONE and HUNGER by Michael Grant

Michael Grant's latest supernatural sci-fi project, the Gone series, introduces a new world in which everyone over the age of 15 has disappeared, and children and teens must learn to survive and fend for themselves amidst near chaos. In this interview with’s Chris Shanley-Dillman, Grant talks about why he chose that particular age as the bridge between childhood and adulthood, and gives readers a sneak peak into the world of the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) by explaining his motivation for creating talking animals and characters with superhuman qualities. He also discusses his need to balance the books' entertainment with a sense of realism, provides "advice" to those looking to change themselves for the better, and hints at what is to come in the third installment of the series due out next year.

GONE by Michael Grant (Science Fiction)
Now Available in Paperback

In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.

Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. And just as suddenly there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to figure out what’s happened. And no way to get help.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents --- unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers --- that grow stronger by the day.

It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you will disappear just like everyone else.

HUNGER: A Gone Novel by Michael Grant (Science Fiction)
It's been three months since everyone under the age of 15 became trapped in the bubble known as the FAYZ.

Three months since all the adults disappeared.


Food ran out weeks ago. Everyone is starving, but no one wants to figure out a solution. And each day, more and more kids are evolving, developing supernatural abilities that set them apart from the kids without powers.

Tension rises and chaos is descending upon the town. It's the normal kids against the mutants. Each kid is out for himself, and even the good ones turn murderous. But a larger problem looms. The Darkness, a sinister creature that has lived buried deep in the hills, begins calling to some of the teens in the FAYZ. Calling to them, guiding them, manipulating them.

The Darkness has awakened. And it is hungry.

-Read reviews of GONE and HUNGER.

-Browse inside GONE and HUNGER.
-Click here to read our interview with Michael Grant.
-Click here to read Michael Grant’s bio.


Special Feature: IT'S A GREEN THING by Melody Carlson

Melody Carlson is an award-winning Christian author who has penned almost 200 books for both adults and young readers, such as the True Colors and The Carter House Girls series. In this interview with's Michele Howe, Carlson talks about her most recent book, IT'S A GREEN THING --- the second installment in the Diary of a Teenage Girl: Maya series --- and sheds light on some of the main characters’ thoughts and actions, such as her struggle with faith and her concern for the environment. She also explains why readers are attracted to this confessional format, elaborates on the hopeful message found at the end of the novel, and shares what she has in store for her characters next.

IT’S A GREEN THING: Diary of a Teenage Girl: Maya, Book 2 by Melody Carlson (Fiction)
With her mother in jail for drug possession and her pop-star father away on his comeback tour, 16-year-old Maya Stark’s new life with her uncle Allen and cousin Kim is coming together. Summer vacation is just beginning and things are finally starting to look up. But that doesn’t mean life is about to get any easier. Maya is still devoted to living Green, and her uncle offers her a Green column in his newspaper. But can Maya balance her newfound faith with her save-the-planet convictions?

-Click here to read more about IT’S A GREEN THING.
-Click here to read an excerpt from IT’S A GREEN THING.
-Click here to read our interview with Melody Carlson.
-Click here to read Melody Carlson’s bio.

Click here to read a review of IT’S A GREEN THING.


Series Feature: The Theatre Illuminata Trilogy by Lisa Mantchev

Lisa Mantchev's debut, EYES LIKE STARS, is the first installment in a new YA fantasy series, The Théâtre Illuminata Trilogy. In this interview with's Alexis Burling, Mantchev discusses what inspired her to stage much of the book's plot in the form of a play and elaborates on the messages she hoped to relay from the characters and dialogue. She also imagines the perfect musical score to accompany the novel's prominent scenes, reveals some of her dream roles, and talks a bit about what readers can look forward to in Acts II and III of the series.

EYES LIKE STARS: The Théâtre Illuminata, Act I by Lisa Mantchev (Fiction)
Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theatre. She's not an orphan, but she has no parents. She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own. Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book --- an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family --- and she is about to lose them, and the only home she has ever known.

Lisa Mantchev has written a debut novel that is dramatic, romantic and witty, with an irresistible and irreverent cast of characters who are sure to enchant the audience.
Click here to read our series feature for The Theatre Illuminata Trilogy.


Now in Stores: AFTER THE MOMENT by Garret Freymann-Weyr

AFTER THE MOMENT by Garret Freymann-Weyr
From the Printz Honor-winning author of MY HEARTBEAT, Garret Freymann-Weyr, comes an unforgettable story of a complicated first love and a glimpse into the male mind to see what love means to a boy, and how he knows when it is real.

Maia is pretty, smart, brave, and a self-proclaimed train wreck. Leigh is smart, popular, polite, and completely in love with Maia. Their love begins like a romance novel --- full of hope, strength and passion. But their love may be doomed, for when Maia needs him the most, Leigh betrays both her trust and her love.

-Click here to read a review of AFTER THE MOMENT.


Click here to read more about AFTER THE MOMENT.


Now in Stores: IT IS WHAT IT IS by Nikki Carter

IT IS WHAT IT IS: A So For Real Novel by Nikki Carter
Gia's got to face the good, the bad, and the new, but she's psyched for the start of her junior year at Longfellow High. She's co-captain of the Hi-Steppers dance squad, she's back on good terms with her cousin Hope, and her best friend Ricky has achieved hottie status as the school's new first-string quarterback. Now all the girls are after him, including Valerie --- Gia's co-captain --- and Hope. They both want Gia's help to score a date with Ricky, but how is Gia supposed to choose between them? If that wasn't enough, she also has to deal with a new dad and an annoying 14-year-old stepsister. It's going to take every ounce of faith Gia has to flip this script and make her junior year one to remember.
Click here to read more about IT IS WHAT IT IS.'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 peek at titles that haven’t been released yet!

This contest period’s winners will each receive a copy of EYES LIKE STARS: The Théâtre Illuminata, Act I by Lisa Mantchev, L.A. CANDY by Lauren Conrad, A MAP OF THE KNOWN WORLD by Lisa Ann Sandell and A SWEET DISORDER by Jacqueline Kolosov. All you have to do to enter is fill out the form found here by Tuesday, August 11th.

-Click here for the winners of our past giveaways.

Click here for all the contest details.


Cool New Books for July

July’s roundup of Cool New Books includes WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead, a thought-provoking and compelling novel in which four mysterious letters change a sixth-grader’s world forever; BLUE MOON, the highly anticipated sequel to Alyson Noël’s EVERMORE, which finds Ever Bloom eager to learn everything she can about her new abilities as an Immortal; BOYS R US, the 11th installment in Lisi Harrison’s Clique series that deals with the consequences of the Pretty Committee’s announcement deeming its boyfast null and void; THE TREASURE MAP OF BOYS by E. Lockhart, a companion novel to THE BOYFRIEND LIST and THE BOY BOOK; R. A. Nelson’s DAYS OF LITTLE TEXAS, a ghostly love story that centers on Ronald Earl, who at the age of 10 became the electrifying “boy wonder” preacher known as Little Texas; and SIDESHOW, a collection of 10 original tales edited by Deborah Noyes in which freaks, magicians, psychics and the passing strange take center stage.

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

July's New in Paperback Roundup

Internal and external struggle, and, eventually, peaceful resolution, are the key ingredients in the heady potion that is HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. The final installment in J. K. Rowling’s classic series is now available in paperback.

July’s roundup of New in Paperback titles also includes REVELATIONS, the third installment in Melissa de la Cruz’s spine-tingling series that finds the Blue Bloods dealing with darker forces as the danger of the Silver Bloods lurks; IVY by Julie Hearn, an engrossing odyssey into gritty 19th-century London that introduces the youngest in a family of thieves, con artists and roustabouts; THE RESTLESS DEAD, an anthology of creepy stories edited by Deborah Noyes guaranteed to make readers think twice about every bump in the night; and Marcus Sedgwick’s MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING, in which a woodcutter's son in 17th-century Europe must solve the riddle of his father's mysterious past to save a nearby village when the dead begin returning from the grave.


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


This Month's Reviews Reviews:

WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead (Fiction)
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda's mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda begins receiving mysterious notes that will change her life forever. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WHEN YOU REACH ME.

L.A. CANDY by Lauren Conrad (Fiction)
BFFs Jane and Scarlett just moved to glamorous L.A. Pretty, good-girl Jane will intern for a top event planner, while gorgeous, smart Scarlett will attend U.S.C. But their plans take a wild turn when they're recruited to star in a hit reality TV show. Now the girls have to cope with cameras, backstabbing co-stars and crazy new relationships. Will fame change them for better or worse? Reviewed by Meredyth Temple

-Click here to read an excerpt from

BLUE MOON: The Immortals, Book 2 by Alyson Noël (Paranormal Romance)
Just as Ever Bloom is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him. As Ever's powers are increasing, Damen's are fading --- stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his life. Desperate to save him, Ever travels to the mystical dimension of Summerland. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE TREASURE MAP OF BOYS: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon --- and Me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart (Fiction)
In E. Lockhart's third novel starring Ruby Oliver (following THE BOYFRIEND LIST and THE BOY BOOK), the lovably neurotic high school junior organizes a bake sale, tries to negotiate rocky romantic terrain, and, as always, wants desperately to do the right thing. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

GORGEOUS by Rachel Vail (Fiction)
In a town where everyone is rich and beautiful, Allison Avery is starting to stand out. Unlike her gorgeous sisters, Allison is "interesting looking" --- according to her grandmother --- and now with her mom's lucrative job on the line, it looks like her family's privileged life is over too. It's time for things to change, but how far is Allison willing to go? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

ANGRY MANAGEMENT by Chris Crutcher (Fiction)
Ever wonder what happened to Sarah Byrnes? What about some of the minor characters in WHALE TALK? The influential counselor Mr. Nak is back to lead a new Angry Management group as Chris Crutcher revisits some of his most infamous characters in three new novellas. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

VAMPIRE KISSES 6: ROYAL BLOOD by Ellen Schreiber (Paranormal Romance)
Summer break is over, and Raven is hardly eager to be returning to Dullsville High. Not only does school mean daily interaction with preppy pest Trevor Mitchell, but her sleep-filled days and romantic nights with her immortal boyfriend, Alexander, must come to an end.
Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

THE WATERS & THE WILD by Francesca Lia Block (Fiction)
Thirteen-year-old Bee has never felt like she's belonged, and her isolation has led to loneliness and depression. One day her feelings are confirmed when she wakes up and finds an exact double of herself standing in her room. The stranger whispers "You are me" and then she disappears. But Bee knows she'll be back. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

LOVE YOU HATE YOU MISS YOU by Elizabeth Scott (Fiction)
Seventy-five days after the tragic death of her best friend, Amy struggles to figure out how she can go on without Julia. She is also fresh out of Pinewood, a rehab center, where she spent some time following the car accident. Now sober, sad and friendless, Amy must figure out how to live her new life and deal with her overwhelming guilt. Reviewed by Kristi Olson.

VACATIONS FROM HELL by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Mlynowski (Fantasy/Horror Anthology)
In this collection, five popular authors --- Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson and Sarah Mlynowski --- tell supernatural tales of vacations gone awry. From light and funny to dark and creepy, these stories have something for everyone.
Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

DAYS OF LITTLE TEXAS by R. A. Nelson (Fiction)
Sixteen-year-old Little Texas is facing his biggest challenge as a young charismatic revival preacher --- evil itself. Will a mysterious ghost of a girl he failed to heal be able to help in his mission? Or will this experience reveal what Little Texas is most afraid of --- that he's a fraud? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

NO SUCH THING AS THE REAL WORLD by M. T. Anderson, K. L. Going, Beth Kephart, Chris Lynch, An Na and Jacqueline Woodson (Fiction/Short Stories)
What's the line that separates childhood from the "real world"? And what happens when the "real world" is nothing you imagined it would be? Six award-winning authors --- M. T. Anderson, K. L. Going, Beth Kephart, Chris Lynch, An Na and Jacqueline Woodson --- tackle the subject of the "real world" in this collection of pieces about graduation, suicide, pregnancy, death, pain, love and loss.
Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

PRISM by Faye Kellerman and Aliza Kellerman (Paranormal Suspense)
Purple-haired sophomore Kaida Hutchenson isn't looking forward to a class trip to Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico. But after a fiery crash in the desert, Kaida is plunged into a world of darkness then light and wakes up in a parallel universe with a whole new set of problems.
Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

FOOTBALL CHAMP by Tim Green (Fiction)
When Troy White proved his remarkable "football genius" to the Atlanta Falcons, they brought him on board as a team consultant. Now, thanks to Troy's ability to predict winning plays, the Falcons are pulling in victories. Troy is thrilled to have NFL star linebacker Seth Halloway (who's dating Troy's mom) to coach his own Duluth Tigers team on their way to a state championship. But then Troy's perfect world comes crashing down. Reviewed by Joy Held.

SIDESHOW: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists and Other Matters Odd and Magical edited by Deborah Noyes (Fiction Anthology)
While the term "freak" is casually tossed off these days as a minor insult, in the not-so-recent past it had stronger connotations. In SIDESHOW, 10 writers and writer-illustrators explore the oddity and attraction of freaks. Edited by Deborah Noyes, the short stories and short comics in this collection are intriguing, mysterious, clever, sometimes funny and always thoughtful.
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read Deborah Noyes's blog post, "Are You Odd? Step Up!"

Karl Shoemaker's one goal for his senior year of high school is to be normal. He's finding normalcy difficult, though, with an alcoholic mother and a spot in group therapy at school. Will he be able to survive the year --- or the first week --- when abnormal is the way of life? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

-Click here to read our reviews.

Graphic Novel Reviews:

HALO: UPRISING written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Alex Maleev
Building on the enormous phenomenon of the video game, HALO: UPRISING is an action-packed story of humanity's struggle against an invading horde of aliens. Familiarity with the game would probably aid the reader's enjoyment of this book, but it's surprisingly unnecessary: The book is fun with or without previous exposure to the storyline. Reviewed by John Hogan.

FINAL CRISIS written by Grant Morrison, illustrated by J.G. Jones, Carlos Pacheco and Doug Mahnke
The ultimate evil --- Darkseid and his anti-life equation --- has engulfed the earth, taking over even the world's mightiest superheroes. Only a shrinking band of them remains to hold off the onslaught in the epic adventure from DC Comics. Reviewed by John Hogan

INVINCIBLE, Volume 10: WHO'S THE BOSS? written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Ryan Ottley
Probably the most fun and endearing superhero series being published today, Invincible continues its run with a new collection of the monthly books. This time out, the hero is faced with the dark realization that the organization he's been working for may not be as wonderful as he had been led to believe.and he's not happy about that at all. Reviewed by John Hogan.

Manga Reviews:

GANKUTSUOU: THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, Volume 1 by Mahiro Maeda and Yura Ariwara
This is Alexandre Dumas's classic tale of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO as you've never seen it before. Set in a futuristic, sci-fi setting, this book recasts the Count as a charismatic aristocrat from the far reaches of the galaxy. Having been falsely imprisoned 25 years ago, he's returning to Earth to exact his revenge on those who destroyed his life. Reviewed by Courtney Kraft.

BLACK JACK, Volumes 1-5 by Osamu Tezuka
Black Jack is a brilliant surgeon, able to operate successfully on a score of patients in a matter of minutes. But due to a series of conflicts with the medical profession, he remains unlicensed. Instead, he operates outside the law, remaining one step ahead of authorities as he moves from one country to another, charging patients exorbitant rates for his services and remaining cold to their pleas for mercy --- or for a discount. Reviewed by Eva Volin.

13th BOY, Volume 1 by SangEun Lee
Eighth grader Hee-So has gone through 12 boyfriends trying to find "the one." She thought Won-Jun was finally the boy she'd been waiting for, and confessed her feelings on a live TV show. She accepted her proposal then, but even before they had been together a month, he ended things without a good explanation. Was he not the one? Will Hee-So give up now? Reviewed by Casey Brienza.

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