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November 2010 Newsletter November 2010

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Books to Be Thankful For

It's finally here! Our favorite witches and wizards are back on the big screen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1, the penultimate Harry Potter film. I’m both thrilled and a bit sad. That’s how it is with great books --- you just never want them to end. But thankfully it’s not over yet. Last month, we asked whether or not you’d be re-reading HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS before seeing the movie. Over 40% of you said "Yes", which is just fabulous. Click here to see the final tally. We also asked you which Hogwarts professor you would want to be your teacher, and most of you said you would want Professor Lupin, despite his tendency to turn into a raging beast from time to time.

Want to know who the runner-up was?

Snape! Apparently you all are willing to put up with a lot for the sake of education --- when you’re learning about potions and dark arts, that is.

On December 10th, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader --- the highly anticipated follow-up to Prince Caspian --- will be joining the boy wizard in theaters. With cold weather hitting, it'll be the perfect time to grab a friend and sit down with some popcorn at the movies.

Great books like the Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia series aren’t all to be thankful for. A congratulatory shout-out is in order for Paula from Jemison, AL, who won 20 copies of THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS by Dana Reinhardt for her reading group, the JHS Book Club.

There is always a way to win books on, so keep entering our contests. With the start of the holiday season, we are full of ways to celebrate. Our annual Holiday Basket of Cheer is filled to the brim with some great goodies, not to mention 10 of the hottest reads out now. Looking for some gift ideas for your friends? Or maybe you want a book for yourself this season. Check out our What to Give, What to Get feature where we have recommendations for everyone.

A really brilliant book that we’re thrilled to be telling you about is THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney, about a young girl who wakes up in a boy's dorm room without any memory of the night before. When she discovers she was date raped, she enlists the help of The Mockingbirds, an underground student-run judicial system known for keeping the Themis Academy student body in line. Read our review and an excerpt, and don't miss Daisy's recent blog post.

We're continuing to give away 15 copies of REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly, in which a troubled teenager named Andi meets Alexandrine, a young woman from the 18th century, by way of the diary she has left behind. Andi discovers how the tumultuous time of the Revolution affected Alexandrine, and from Alexandrine’s powerful words, learns to take control of her own life. Read the review, an excerpt and our interview with the author.

You can also win THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL by Risa Green; we’re giving away 30 copies! When Erin inherits a plastic crystal ball and a set of cryptic instructions, she and her two best friends discover that this particular ball has a knack for being accurate. But as with all magic, nothing is as simple as it seems. Check out all the contest details here, and read an excerpt.

We're still featuring RUINED by Paula Morris, now available in paperback. When Rebecca is forced to move to New Orleans, she gets the cold shoulder from nearly everyone in town --- excluding two very different inhabitants: cute-boy Anton and a ghost. Read our interview with the author, plus our review and an excerpt.

MOON SPUN by Marilee Brothers is a fun, wild read. Allie Emerson's first boyfriend, an ex-gangbanger, helped her survive after she was thrown into the world of magick. Now she learns she's a fae princess and warrior, and it's up to her to save her faery grandmother's kingdom. Be sure to read our review, an excerpt and our interview with the author.

Among the notable titles we're reviewing this month are LUKA AND THE FIRE OF LIFE, a stand-alone sequel to Salman Rushdie's 1990 fable, HAROUN AND THE SEA OF STORIES; MISGUIDED ANGEL, Melissa de la Cruz's fifth Blue Bloods novel; and NIGHT STAR by Alyson Noël, book five in The Immortals series. We'll be awarding NIGHT STAR, along with ENTICE by Carrie Jones, to one lucky reader who tells us what he or she is reading in our Word of Mouth feature.

Don't forget to check out our Cool New Books feature, along with all the great reads that are New in Paperback. And lastly, we would like you to weigh in on this month's poll and question. We want to know if books are on your wish list this holiday season, and if so, which ones are you hoping you'll get.

Happy reading...and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Carol Fitzgerald ('s Fifth Annual Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest and Feature

Celebrate the season with's Fifth Annual Holiday Basket of Cheer contest and feature! From now through December 13th, you can enter to win a "Basket of Holiday Reading and Fun."

Five winners each will receive a festive basket that includes 10 of the holiday's hottest books --- BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, DEAD BEAUTIFUL by Yvonne Woon, THE IRON KING by Julie Kagawa, LINGER by Maggie Stiefvater, THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB by Elizabeth Eulberg, THE LYING GAME by Sara Shepard, PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White, RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke, STORK by Wendy Delsol, and SUGAR AND SPICE: An L.A. Candy Novel by Lauren Conrad.

Along with the books, winners will find their basket stocked with tons of seasonal goodies: a kit to make a mini gingerbread village, Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate mix, peppermint bark candy, an oversized red and white chenille throw, two pairs of mittens, a snowman ceramic coffee mug, M&Ms in holiday colors, snowman peeps, and cinnamon sticks.

-Click here to see our featured books.


Click here to read all the contest details.

What to Give, What to Get Holiday Gift Guide for Teens

Sometimes deciding what to get is as hard as deciding what to give. So we've created a special What to Give, What to Get Guide --- a list of books just for teens that will give you tons of gift-giving ideas (and maybe a few to put on YOUR list). Happy Holidays!

Click here to see our What to Give, What to Get Holiday Gift Guide for teens.


New Special Feature: THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney

THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney (Fiction)
Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way --- the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds --- a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone --- especially yourself --- you fight for it.


-Click here to read an excerpt from THE MOCKINGBIRDS.

-Click here to read Daisy Whitney’s bio.
-Click here to read more about THE MOCKINGBIRDS on Facebook.


Click here to read a review of THE MOCKINGBIRDS.


In Theaters December 10th: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The holidays are right around the corner, and what better way to enjoy all that extra time off from school than with a trip to the movies?

Our Books into Movies feature is spotlighting the big screen’s latest take on C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, so kick back and celebrate the season by setting sail with Edmund and Lucy Pevensie. The long-awaited and highly anticipated follow-up to Prince Caspian will be in theaters on December 10th. Why not join the dynamic brother-sister duo as they team up with their cousin Eustace and embark on what might be their most dangerous adventure yet? When an eerily life-like painting sucks them onto a Narnian ship, the Pevensie kids find themselves reunited with the charming yet exceedingly troubled King Caspian, whose real problems are apparently just beginning.

Travel with the foursome as they enter a magical world of lost warriors, dwarves and dragons --- and if you find yourself reeling from the siblings’ newest on-screen excursion, don’t say we didn’t warn you!


Click here to read more about The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.


Now in Stores: NIGHT STAR by Alyson Noël

NIGHT STAR: The Immortals, Book 5 by Alyson Noël (Paranormal Romance)

Wars are raging between family and friends in this much-anticipated fifth installment of the Immortals series. Ever’s aunt is going over the edge with worry for her ward. As a result, every time the two meet up at home, a battle erupts. As Ever begins her senior year, she is preparing for a huge confrontation with her former friend, Haven, that promises to be a fight to the death --- which for an immortal means an eternity in Shadowland. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from


Click here to read a review of NIGHT STAR.


Now in Stores: MISGUIDED ANGEL by Melissa de la Cruz

MISGUIDED ANGEL: A Blue Bloods Novel by Melissa de la Cruz (Fantasy/Horror)
At the close of THE VAN ALEN LEGACY, Jack and Schuyler finally had been given the chance to be together without guilt. This fifth installment of the Blue Bloods series affirms the "rightness" of freely chosen love while a larger saga of heaven and earth unfolds, with Schuyler and Mimi assuming new responsibilities for the coven of angels. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

Click here to read a review of MISGUIDED ANGEL.


Now in Stores: LUKA AND THE FIRE OF LIFE by Salman Rushdie

LUKA AND THE FIRE OF LIFE by Salman Rushdie (Fantasy)

This stand-alone sequel to HAROUN AND THE SEA OF STORIES tells the tall tale of 12-year-old Luka in the Nether World, a fantastical realm once visited by his brother, Haroun. Luka is on a quest to rescue his dying father from perpetual sleep and faces nine impossible challenges, all of which must be overcome if he is to steal the Fire of Life. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LUKA AND THE FIRE OF LIFE.
-Click here to see Salman Rushdie talk about
LUKA AND THE FIRE OF LIFE and listen to an excerpt from the book.


Click here to read a review of LUKA AND THE FIRE OF LIFE.


Special Feature and Contest: REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly

In REVOLUTION, Jennifer Donnelly --- author of the award-winning novel A NORTHERN LIGHT --- artfully weaves two girls' stories into an unforgettable account of life, loss and enduring love, vividly depicting the eternal struggles of the human heart.

To celebrate the release of this highly anticipated novel, is giving 15 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, December 15th at noon ET.

REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly (Fiction)
BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She's angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she's about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights' most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn't want --- and couldn't escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine's diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession.

-Click here to read more about REVOLUTION.
-Click here to read a review of REVOLUTION.
-Click here to read an excerpt from REVOLUTION
-Click here to read our interview with Jennifer Donnelly.
-Click here to read Jennifer Donnelly's bio.


Click here to read all the contest details.


Special Feature: RUINED by Paula Morris


Writing for a YA audience for the first time, native New Zealander Paula Morris brings the mystery and excitement of one of America’s oldest cities to life in her novel, RUINED, which follows a lonely teen named Rebecca through the streets of New Orleans as she gets shunned by almost everyone --- except for a ghost and a gorgeous guy named Anton. In this interview with’s Norah Piehl, Morris talks about the places and people that inspired her to write a book like RUINED, elaborating on how living in a new place has helped her “go undercover” as a writer and the culture shock she experienced upon moving to “The Big Easy.” She also reveals why she modeled the cliques at Rebecca’s school after ancient Roman society and offers tips on how teens can help her adopted home recover from Hurricane Katrina.

RUINED by Paula Morris (Supernatural Thriller)

Rebecca Brown couldn’t feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year. She’s staying in a creepy old house with her Aunt Claudia, who reads tarot cards for a living. And at the snooty prep school, the filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she’s invisible. Only gorgeous unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he’s got a hidden agenda.

-Click here to read more about RUINED.

-Click here to read a review of RUINED.

-Click here to read an excerpt from RUINED.

-Click here to read Paula Morris’s bio.

Click here to read our interview with Paula Morris.



When her beloved, albeit kooky, aunt is killed in a freak lightning storm, Erin Channing’s world is thrown upside down when she inherits a magical pink crystal ball that has the ability to change the future --- often in very unpredictable ways. As Erin and her friends struggle to control their futures, events quickly spiral out of control in THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL --- a hilarious new YA novel with the perfect supernatural twist. Risa Green, author of NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY (the book that spawned two seasons of a series by the same name airing on ABC), is back with this fabulously original, warm and funny novel that follows a trio of best friends as they navigate adolescence with the help of a pink crystal ball.

To celebrate the release of THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL, is giving 30 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, December 15th at noon ET.


When Erin inherits a plastic crystal ball and a set of cryptic instructions from her free-spirited aunt, she and her two best friends laughingly give it a try and discover that this particular ball has a knack for being accurate. But as with all magic, nothing is as simple as it seems. Unless Erin and her friends can fix the damage, the magic will turn on them. The crystal ball gave them answers about love and life…but at what price?

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL.

-Click here to read Risa Green’s bio.

-Check out the trailer on YouTube!

-Find out more about Risa Green at

Click here to read all the contest details.


Special Feature: MOON SPUN by Marilee Brothers

The fantastical Marilee Brothers is back with MOON SPUN, the third installment of her Unbidden Magic series, which follows Star Seeker (and newly-pronounced faery princess) Allie Emerson as she tries to navigate the relentless horrors of high school and save Boundless, the magical realm of faeries, from a threat that’s even more menacing than the vindictive Trimarks. In this interview with’s Usha Reynolds, Brothers discusses the people and places that inspired these books, elaborating on what it was like to grow up in rural Washington and the stories she witnessed as a high school counselor. She also reveals why she decided to set the current novel in the faery world, reflects on Allie’s journey as a character, and talks about the Irish myths behind her YA fantasy series.

MOON SPUN: Book Three of Unbidden Magic by Marilee Brothers (Fantasy)
Allie Emerson's first boyfriend was an ex-gangbanger who helped her survive after she was thrown into the world of magick. Her second boyfriend was half demon. Her newest BF can turn into a hawk.

Things are definitely getting weirder in Allie's life. Which was tough enough already as a wise-cracking nobody in Peacock Flats, Washington, where she lives in a camping trailer with her not-quite-normal mother.

Now she learns she's a fae princess and warrior. It's up to her to save her faery grandmother's kingdom. And survive high school, too.

-Click here to read more about MOON SPUN.
here to read a review of MOON SPUN.

-Click here to read an excerpt from MOON SPUN.
-Click here to read Marilee Brothers’s bio.

Click here to read our interview with Marilee Brothers.


Cool New Books for November

November’s roundup of Cool New Books includes THE RING OF SOLOMON, the fourth installment in Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus series, which finds the wise-cracking djinni traveling back in time for a new string of misadventures in the court of King Solomon; NIGHT STAR by Alyson Noël, an Immortals novel that follows Ever and Damon as they face down bitter rivals, jealous friends, and their own worst nightmares --- all in the hope of being together forever; VIRALS, Kathy Reichs’s highly-anticipated YA debut starring Temperance Brennan’s niece and her band of teenage “sci-philes”, who accidentally expose themselves to a life-changing, canine parvovirus that gives them extraordinary physical powers; PATHFINDER, the first book in Orson Scott Card’s trilogy about a boy with a strange talent for seeing the paths of other people’s pasts; and LUKA AND THE FIRE OF LIFE, Salman Rushdie’s long-awaited, spellbinding sequel to his 1990 classic, HAROUN AND THE SEA OF STORIES.

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

November's New in Paperback Roundup

November’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes Cecily von Ziegesar’s I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU, a Gossip Girl novel that follows Blair, Serena, Nate, Dan and Vanessa as they head home for the holidays, unleashing a whole new series of post-college scandals and even more drama than ever before; DAWN by Kevin Brooks, a groundbreaking book about a teenage girl who has convinced herself that she lives in a cave, just so she can escape the horrors of high school and the ravages of her family’s broken home; CLAIM TO FAME, Margaret Peterson Haddix’s spellbinding story of an ex-child star who has developed a dangerous sense of ESP; THE DAUGHTERS by Joanna Philbin, which follows the adolescent daughters of a celebrity supermodel, a media mogul and a chart-topping music icon as they try to navigate their way through their first year of high school; and Margot McDonnell’s TORN TO PIECES, the gripping tale of a 17-year-old who must solve the mystery behind her mother’s sudden disappearance.

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


This Month's Reviews

THREE QUARTERS DEAD by Richard Peck (Supernatural Suspense)

Kerry is chosen by the coolest clique in school and thinks that life has finally begun. But everything feels like it’s over when three of her friends are killed in a shocking car accident. Or are they? Only weeks after the wreck, Kerry receives a text from one of the girls: We’re all 3 here at my aunt’s in the city. Take the 3:50 train. B there. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE GENIUS WARS by Catherine Jinks (Thriller)

Boy-genius Cadel Piggot has a new name, a new family, and a new life. This means he’s done with illegal hacking, false identities, and (most importantly) Prosper English. But when his best friend Sonja is attacked, Cadel is dragged back into the depths of criminal activity --- and forced to come face to face with Prosper English once again. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

TWELFTH GRADE KILLS: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Book 5 by Heather Brewer (Fiction)

As a teenage vampire, Vlad has spent the last four years trying to handle the pressures of school while sidestepping a slayer who’s out for his blood. But now that he’s a senior, Vlad must confront the secrets of the past, find out who he really is, make decisions about his future, and face his greatest enemy. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

-Click here to read our series feature for The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod.

PEGASUS by Robin McKinley (Fantasy)

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pegasi, Princess Sylviianel is bound to a Pegasus named Ebon on her 12th birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, although they have to rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians to communicate. But Sylvi and Ebon can understand each other, and when they grow close, their bond threatens the status quo --- and possibly even the safety of their two nations. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

ZOMBIES VS. UNICORNS edited by Holly Black and
Justine Larbalestier (Fantasy/Horror Anthology)

It's a question as old as time itself: which are better, zombies or unicorns? In this collection of stories edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, several bestselling authors make strong arguments for both sides. Some portray the strengths of unicorns, while others show the really cool side of zombies. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

HALF BROTHER by Kenneth Oppel (Fiction)

Thirteen-year-old Ben Tomlin isn’t sure what to think of the newest addition to the family --- a baby chimpanzee named Zan. Ben’s family is conducting an experiment to see whether or not Zan can learn sign language, but they never expected to love Zan as one of their own. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

EMPTY by Suzanne Weyn (Science Fiction)

Ten years from now, the world is dangerously close to running out of oil. Supplies, especially those made from petroleum, are getting scarce, and fresh produce is too expensive to ship from foreign farms. When a category 6 hurricane hits, leaving the East Coast in a disaster zone, three very different teens work together to survive in this new world. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

GRACE by Elizabeth Scott (Fiction)

Grace’s entire life has been in preparation for her death. She is trained to be a suicide bomber --- to strap a bomb to her leg, infiltrate the enemy, and set off the bomb, all in the name of freedom for her people. But Grace decides she doesn’t want to die. So she runs for the border. And she has nothing to lose. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

ENCHANTED IVY by Sarah Beth Durst (Fantasy)

Lily Carter and her mom are accompanying her grandfather for his big alumni weekend at Princeton University. Unbeknownst to Lily, he has arranged for his granddaughter to take a secret Legacy Test that if passed will ensure automatic acceptance to Princeton. But the test is something out of Lily’s biggest dreams and nightmares, and includes living gargoyles, dragons, fairies, a handsome were-tiger, and a second, secret Princeton --- a magical one. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

GIRL, STOLEN by April Henry (Thriller)

Sixteen-year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the car while her mom is at the pharmacy. Before she knows it, their car is stolen --- with her inside. Griffin didn’t mean to kidnap her. But once his dad discovers that her father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes. Now there’s a reason to keep her, but what Griffin doesn’t realize is that Cheyenne is blind. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

Graphic Novels:

X-MEN: MESSIAH COMPLEX written by Ed Brubaker, Peter David, Craig Kyle, Chris Yost and Mike Carey; illustrated by Marc Silvestri, Billy Tan, Scot Eaton, Humberto Ramos and and Chris Bachalo

In HOUSE OF M, Wanda Maximoff said, "No more mutants." With that, she wiped out nearly the whole mutant race. A year later, the first mutant birth is detected, and a bloody war for the future of both mutants and mankind hangs in the balance. X-MEN: MESSIAH COMPLEXis an epic and thrilling chase story that recalls the glory days of Marvel's X-franchise and lays the groundwork for a larger saga that promises to change the X-Men forever. Reviewed by Michael Hicks.

SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE written by J. Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Shane Davis

J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of “Babylon 5,” joins forces with rising star artist Shane Davis (SUPERMAN/BATMAN: THE SEARCH FOR KRYPTONITE) to create this original graphic novel that gives new insight into Clark Kent’s transformation into Superman and his first year as The Man of Steel. Reviewed by John Hogan.

Adult Books You Won’t Want to Miss:

THE DINOSAUR HUNTER by Homer Hickam (Mystery)

Montana ranches come with more than their share of trouble. The people who live there expect it, and some --- like ex-homicide detective Mike Wire --- even enjoy it. So when a paleontologist comes to dig for dinosaur bones that might be worth a fortune, Mike senses trouble. Because once those bones are discovered, they won’t stay buried. And with a murderer on the loose, he’ll have to fight to save the land he loves. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

THE WAVE: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey (Travel/Adventure)

The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of people as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport: a 100-foot wave. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

BEFORE YOU SUFFOCATE YOUR OWN FOOL SELF by Danielle Evans (Fiction/Short Stories)

Striking in their emotional immediacy, the stories in BEFORE YOU SUFFOCATE YOUR OWN FOOL SELF are based on a world of inequalities --- where adolescent insecurities and community tensions complicate people’s identities and the choices they make. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

Have a great month...and make some time each day to read something you enjoy!

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