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December 2010 Newsletter December 2010

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Happy Holidays from!

The holiday season is in full swing, with trees lit up at every corner and holiday music in every store. We here in New York even had our first real snow this week, though it disappeared too quickly. The bitter cold has stuck around making us all want to hunker down inside. What a great reason to stay inside and curl up with a good book. We know today is the last day of school for many of you, with others starting holiday breaks next week. Soooo happy vacation to all!

If you're a fan of dystopian fiction, and love a good love story, MATCHED is in stores now and will hit the spot. In it, the "Society" chooses who each person is to marry, but on the day of Cassia's Matching Ceremony, not one but two faces accidentally appear on-screen. So which guy is she supposed to be with? Read our review and an excerpt, and see author Ally Condie talk about the book in this video (though she won't give anything away!). I am reading this book in between writing cards and notes and wrapping presents. It's sooooo good and there's so much to talk about in it!

This month we have a great new feature we're happy to be sharing with you --- Sneak Peek: An Early Look Inside a Book...and we do mean EARLY Between now and Tuesday, January 4th at noon ET, you can enter to win one of 30 early copies of BETWEEN by Jessica Warman, a book that won't be in stores until August 2011. We are looking for readers who not only will read BETWEEN; we also want your feedback on it! The contest is open to all our readers in the U.S. and Canada, not just teens. We'd like to hear from teachers and librarians as well.

With the end of the year comes the time for nominations for the Children's Book Council's Teen Choice Book of the Year. And for the third year in a row, we're giving YOU the opportunity to vote for your favorite books of 2010 and help determine the five finalists. How nice is that? Click here for all the details. And we'd love you to share this with your friends and on your personal social networking sites if you can.

Stumped about what to read next? Our reviewers have chosen their favorite books of 2010, so be sure to check out their picks. Or maybe you want to hear what some of your favorite authors have to say about their latest books. Head on over to our roundup of author interviews we've posted throughout 2010. This year's lineup is quite impressive!

We have a great Grab Bag this month, featuring BLESSED by Cynthia Leitich Smith, ENTICE by Carrie Jones, THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney, and WISH by Alexandra Bullen, all of which are must-reads.

We're continuing to feature 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, interview and an excerpt, and don't miss Daisy's recent blog post.

We are truly honored to be spotlighting Mackenzie Bearup in this month's newsletter. Mackenzie is the founder of, a non-profit organization that helps homeless children across the country fill in the emptiness in their lives by giving them books. Read our interview with this very special teen here. We were wowed by her and think you will be too.

Heading to the movies? Then you may want to check out Gulliver's Travels, a contemporary take on Jonathan Swift's enduring classic, which is sure to make a splash on the big screen when it releases on Christmas Day.

If you're still struggling with gift ideas, or looking for some books for yourself, our What to Give, What to Get Holiday Gift Guide is here to help you out. And though the contest is over, our Holiday Basket of Cheer features 10 great titles that you should consider reading any time of year. Congratulations to our five lucky winners!

We've updated our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups. Among the books we're featuring are BLOODY VALENTINE, Melissa de la Cruz's latest Blue Bloods book; REAL LIVE BOYFRIENDS by E. Lockhart, which marks the return of Ruby Oliver, the neurotic heroine of THE BOYFRIEND LIST, THE BOY BOOK and THE TREASURE MAP OF BOYS; CAPTIVATE, Carrie Jones's spellbinding sequel to NEED; and 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.

Last but never least, we have reviews of some highly anticipated books, like THE GIFT by James Patterson and Ned Rust, the second installment in their Witch & Wizard series; ENTICE by Carrie Jones, the sequel to NEED and CAPTIVATE; and VIRALS, which stars the niece of Kathy Reichs's protagonist from her series for adults, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

That's a wrap for December, but you'll hear from us again in 2011. Until then, be sure to answer our poll and question. We want to know how many books you read in 2010. We hope it's a lot! We're also curious about which book --- published for the first time in 2010 --- you consider to be the "Best Book of the Year." And don't forget about Word of Mouth, where we've giving away AWAKENED: A House of Night Novel by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast and DEADLY LITTLE GAMES: A Touch Novel by Laurie Faria Stolarz.

Have a happy holiday season and here's to an amazing New Year!

Carol Fitzgerald (


Now in Stores: MATCHED by Ally Condie

MATCHED by Ally Condie (Dystopian Romance)
Cassia has always trusted the Society. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he’s the one…until she sees Ky Markham's face before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it’s a glitch, but when Cassia begins to doubt them, she’s faced with an impossible choice: between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from MATCHED.
-Click here to see Ally Condie talk about MATCHED.


Click here to read a review of MATCHED.

Introducing's Sneak Peak Feature: An Early Look at an Upcoming Book --- Our First Featured Title: BETWEEN by Jessica Warman

At, we always have our hands on the latest books before they're published. How else would we know what to recommend? Now, with our Sneak Peek Feature and Contest, we are offering you a chance to read one of our early picks --- and share feedback on it. We know that readers champion books that they love, and we want you to be part of the excitement of upcoming releases as early as possible.

We kick off our Sneak Peek Feature with BETWEEN by Jessica Warman, which releases in August 2011. It's about your average, über-popular, teen-queen mean girl and her journey as she learns how to really live. Only, she had to die first. We have 30 specially formatted early reader editions of BETWEEN to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and share their comments about it.

We really want to hear what you have to say about BETWEEN, so if you will have time to read it and answer some questions by Tuesday, February 1st, please enter this contest. If not, don't worry! This won’t be the last time we'll be giving you a sneak peek of a great book that hasn't been released yet.


Click here to read all the contest details.


Nominate Your Favorite Books of 2010 for the Children's Book Council's Teen Choice Book of the Year

In association with the Children’s Book Council (CBC), is giving you a very special opportunity to let your voices be heard by telling us your five favorite books of 2010. The five titles that receive the most votes will serve as the finalists for the CBC’s 2011 Teen Choice Book of the Year. Once the five finalists have been determined, we will tell you where you can go vote for them. The winner will be announced in May 2011.

Click here for all the details. Reviewers Pick Their Favorite Books of 2010

Recently, we asked our reviewers to provide us with a list of some of their favorite books from 2010. Though it was difficult to narrow down, each reviewer chose up to 10 books that he or she enjoyed the most this year. Take a look and see if any of their selections match yours --- and which titles you may want to consider reading in the future. Please note that due to personal and professional commitments, some reviewers were not able to participate in this feature.

Click here to see our reviewers' favorite books of 2010.'s Author Interviews of 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, we invite you to take a look at the author interviews that were featured throughout the year on This is a great way to catch up on the discussions you may have missed --- and to re-read what some of your favorite authors had to say about their books.

Click here to see our roundup of 2010 interviews.'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 BLESSED by Cynthia Leitich Smith, ENTICE by Carrie Jones, THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney, and WISH by Alexandra Bullen. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, January 18th at noon ET.

here for the winners of our past giveaways.

Click here to read all the contest details. Talks to Mackenzie Bearup, Founder of

Mackenzie Bearup is a courageous 17-year-old who has been sharing her passion for reading with others through Sheltering Books, a non-profit organization that helps homeless children across the country cope with the pain in their lives by giving them books. In this interview with’s Carol Fitzgerald and Jordana Frankel, Mackenzie opens up about the neurological disorder that gave her the idea for, elaborating on how the organization got started and what she has done so far to make her dream of donating 1.35 millions books to homeless shelters nationwide come true. She also talks about the one book that she wishes she could share with every child, reveals a few of her favorite book characters, and lets teens know about what they can do to help her make a difference.

Click here to read our interview with Mackenzie Bearup, Founder of


Special Feature: THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney

A new media producer, reporter and Web show creator by day and a novelist by night, Daisy Whitney is the author of THE MOCKINGBIRDS, a page-turning account of an all-star student named Alex, who is date-raped at a boarding school for exceptionally gifted --- and supposedly honorable --- teens. In this interview with’s Usha Rao, Whitney talks about what motivated her to address the issue of date rape in her debut novel, elaborating on the effectiveness of student-run justice systems and the pressures teens face in their everyday lives. She also offers advice on what readers can do if either they or a friend has been a victim of sexual assault, addresses the discrepancies between what’s expected of highly successful students and their actual behavior, and reveals how Harper Lee’s timeless classic found its way into her book.

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 more about THE MOCKINGBIRDS.
-Click here to read a review of THE MOCKINGBIRDS.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE MOCKINGBIRDS.
-Click here to read Daisy Whitney's blog entry.

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


Click here to read our interview with Daisy Whitney.


In Theaters December 25th: Gulliver's Travels

If you’re looking for some 3D fun this holiday season, then our Books into Movies feature is here to help. We’re currently spotlighting Gulliver’s Travels, giving bookworms and theatergoers alike the gift of an exciting adventure infused with a long-time favorite. A contemporary take on Jonathan Swift’s enduring classic, the film will be making a splash on the big screen beginning Christmas Day. Join Jack Black as he adds his own special brand of humor to the legacy of Lemuel Gulliver, who makes his way from the mail room of a New York newspaper to the fantastical land of Lilliput. There, Gulliver will find new friends, fight battles and learn what it really means to be a giant among men. So be sure to check it out, because this is a tall tale you definitely won’t want to miss!

Click here to read more about Gulliver's Travels.


Cool New Books for December

December’s roundup of Cool New Books includes WITCH & WIZARD: THE GIFT by James Patterson and Ned Rust, in which Whit and Wisty continue to struggle against the New Order and try to figure out what Wisty’s supposed “Gift” might mean for the Resistance; Carrie Jones’s ENTICE, the highly anticipated follow-up to CAPTIVATE that tells the story of newly appointed pixie queen Zara’s search for her true soul mate, Nick; REAL LIVE BOYFRIENDS by E. Lockhart, which follows the perpetually love-struck Ruby Oliver’s quest to find out why her boyfriend has been acting like a lobotomy patient; and DEADLY LITTLE GAMES, the latest book in Laurie Faria Stolarz’s series about two psychometric teens who can sense things through touch --- and who must use their powers to mend an unresolved tragedy before it’s too late.


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


December's New in Paperback Roundup

December’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead, the story of a sixth-grader who has to unlock the secret behind a series of mysterious notes while navigating the dangers of New York City life; CAPTIVATE, Carrie Jones’s spellbinding sequel to NEED that follows Zara’s continuing struggle against the evil pixies and her attempts to avoid becoming their next queen; MORPHEUS ROAD: THE LIGHT, the first installment in D.J. MacHale’s trilogy about two kids who find themselves caught between the worlds of the living and the dead; WISH by Alexandra Bullen, in which a heartbroken girl is given a mysterious magic dress --- and uses it to bring her twin sister back to life; and CLAUDETTE COLVIN, Phillip Hoose’s real-life account of an impassioned teen who risked everything to challenge the laws of segregation.

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


"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.'s Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest --- Announcing the Five Lucky Winners!

Our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest has ended. Thanks to all who entered, and congratulations to our winners!

Even if you weren't a winner, may we suggest you take a look at our featured titles? These are books you'll want to read any time of the year.

-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

-SUGAR AND SPICE: An L.A. Candy Novel by Lauren Conrad

Click here to read more about the titles spotlighted in our Holiday Basket of Cheer feature.


This Month's Reviews

WITCH & WIZARD: THE GIFT by James Patterson and Ned Rust (Fantasy/Supernatural Thriller)
When the New Order imprisoned Whit and Wisty, they barely escaped with their lives --- and now they’re sacrificing everything to save the teens who are being kidnapped. But the One needs Wisty, “The One Who Has the Gift.” Their quest to find out what this means will lead them on a suspenseful adventure, and ultimately to a jaw-dropping climax and conclusion. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WITCH & WIZARD: THE GIFT.
-Click here to see James Patterson talk about WITCH & WIZARD: THE GIFT.

THE RING OF SOLOMON: A Bartimaeus Novel by Jonathan Stroud (Fantasy)
Bartimaeus, the snarky djinni, is up to his usual antics in this latest addition to the bestselling Bartimaeus series. With the aid of a powerful ring, King Solomon rules Jerusalem. Commanded by Asmira, one of Solomon’s enemies, Bartimaeus has one little job before he’ll be set free: steal the ring. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE RING OF SOLOMON.

ENTICE by Carrie Jones (Paranormal Romance)
Zara and Nick are soul mates, but things haven’t worked out. For starters, Nick is dead and has been taken to Valhalla. It’s a mythic place for warriors, so there’s a chance Zara can get him back. But evil pixies are devastating Bedford, and war seems imminent. And even if Zara finds Valhalla, there’s one small problem: she has been pixie-kissed. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ENTICE.

PATHFINDER by Orson Scott Card (Science Fiction)
Rigg has been well trained in his special skill of seeing paths from people’s pasts. What he couldn’t see, though, was the trouble he would find himself in after people learned he could be a future king. Following paths won’t help Rigg this time as he struggles to learn his destiny. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PATHFINDER.

HERO by Mike Lupica (Fiction)
Billy Harriman is trying to keep it together. His father recently died in a mysterious plane crash, he’s having trouble with a bully at school, and a strange man tells him he possesses magic. The magic turns out to be incredible powers, and Billy finds himself in an impossible role --- hero. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HERO.

VIRALS by Kathy Reichs (Mystery/Thriller)
The niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, Tory is the leader of a band of teenage “sci-philes.” But when they’re exposed to a canine parvovirus, their lives are changed forever. Now they must use their new gifts to solve a suddenly hot cold-case --- if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE LYING GAME by Sara Shepard (Fiction)
When you’re dead, there’s nothing left to live for. However, Sutton Mercer is about to get a second chance --- thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin she never met. The only way for Emma to find out what happened is for her to become Sutton. But can she keep up the charade when she realizes that Sutton’s murderer is watching her every move? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.


Before Cirque Du Freak, before the war with the vampaneze, and before he was a vampire, Larten Crepsley was a boy. As a child laborer many centuries ago, Larten did his job without complaint --- until the day the foreman killed his brother. Forced to run, Larten is offered protection as a vampire’s assistant. This is his story. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

VIXEN by Jillian Larkin (Historical Romance)
In this first installment of a new series set in the dangerous and exciting world of Chicago’s Prohibition-era speakeasies, an aspiring singer named Gloria embarks on a series of clandestine adventures, ultimately leading her into the arms of a black pianist. Meanwhile, Lorraine is hurt by her best friend’s secrecy and plans on ruining the reputation of Gloria’s country cousin, Clara. But nothing is as it appears: Clara hides a secret life of her own, and Lorraine is getting the attention she craves from all the wrong places. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

-Click here to see the trailer for VIXEN.

EXTRAORDINARY by Nancy Werlin (Romantic Suspense/Fantasy)
In seventh grade, Phoebe Rothschild befriends a strange new girl named Mallory Tolliver. Unknown to Phoebe, Mallory leads a double life and has a secret motive for getting close to her. Over the years, their friendship strengthens as they grow into young ladies --- until Mallory’s brother, Ryland, appears. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.


THE DAUGHTERS BREAK THE RULES by Joanna Philbin (Fiction)
After leaking a story about the family business, Carina Jurgensen’s billionaire father cuts her off. So she snags a job as a party planner for New York's Silver Snowflake Ball. But the committee expects favors from her dad's connections, and Carina must make a choice: Does she face the truth, or pretend she's still the ultimate heiress? Reviewed by Joy Held.


A GOOD HORSE by Jane Smiley (Fiction)
Eighth-grader Abby Lovitt knows there’s no place she’d rather be than her family’s ranch. It’s hard work tending to nine horses, but grooming Jack isn’t a chore at all. When the Lovitts receive a letter stating that Jack’s mare may have been sold as stolen goods, a mystery unfolds --- and it’s more surprising than Abby ever imagined. Will she lose her beloved Jack? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Fantasy)
Light and dark factions fight to alter the balance of power in The Caster Chronicles, a fantastic dark fantasy that began with a New York Times bestseller in 2009. By the close of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, the most infamous witch ever had disappeared from Gatlin, leaving a man dead and a young couple with another year to ponder their fates. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.


FIXING DELILAH by Sarah Ockler (Fiction)
Delilah Hannaford’s life is falling apart. A compromising picture of her is posted on her school’s website, and none of her friends will talk to her anymore. Her grades are falling, she’s just been caught shoplifting, and her grandmother has died. As she, her mother, and her aunt work to clear and repair the family home, Delilah begins to uncover her family’s secrets. Will Delilah find the answers she needs to fix her life? Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

HUSH by Eishes Chayil (Fiction)
Inside the closed community of Borough Park, the Chassidim way of life is determined by an ancient script --- and abuse has never been a part of it. But when Gittel learns that her best friend has been abused by one of her own family members, she is forced to remain silent --- and begins to question everything she was raised to believe. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

LOW RED MOON by Ivy Devlin (Paranormal Romance)
The only thing Avery Hood remembers about the night her parents died is that she saw deadly silver moving inhumanly fast. When she tries to piece her life back together, she develops a deep connection with Ben, a mysterious new boy from school. But when Ben reveals that he’s a werewolf, Avery realizes she’s not the only one who doesn’t remember her parents’ death. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read Ivy Devlin's blog post, "Ten Young Adult Novels I Wish Everyone Would Read Right Now."

Graphic Novel Reviews:

WITCH & WIZARD: BATTLE FOR SHADOWLAND written by James Patterson and Dara Naraghi
In a blink of an eye, their world has changed, with the oppressive New Order declaring all magic as evil incarnate! In this action-packed tale spinning out of James Patterson's bestselling novel, sibling teenagers Whit and Wisty Allgood use their newly discovered magical powers to infiltrate into enemy territory of the New Order to gain control of the inter-dimensional Shadowland. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

X-FORCE/CABLE: MESSIAH WAR written by Craig Kyle, Duane Swierczynski and Chris Yost; illustrated by Ariel Olivetti, Clayton Crain and Mike Choi
Cyclops has complete faith that his son, Cable, will do everything he can to protect the so-called mutant messiah. But he also knows what havoc former X-Man Lucas Bishop has wreaked in the nightmarish future. So now he has sent his black ops team, the X-Force, on a risky, time-traveling mission to save Cable and the child, completely unaware that there's something else waiting for them in the future. Reviewed by Michael Hicks.

X-MEN: SECOND COMING written by Zeb Wells, Mike Carey, Matt Fraction, Craig Kyle and Chris Yost; illustrated by Terry Dodson, Greg Land, Mike Choi and Sonia Oback
What started in HOUSE OF M with the Decimation of mutantkind and erupted with the first new mutant birth in MESSIAH COMPLEX finishes here. In the epic crossover SECOND COMING, Cyclops's faith pays off when Cable returns to the present with Hope, the girl he believes to be the mutant messiah. But will she be the savior or destroyer of mutantkind? Reviewed by Michael Hicks.

Manga Reviews:

DEMON SACRED, Volumes 1-2 written and illustrated by Natsumi Itsuki
A sickness called the Return Syndrome causes people to physically regress toward infancy until they simply disappear. Join Mona, K2, Rina, Mika and Shinobu as they fight against the Return Syndrome, dark company secrets, and enemies (both human and inhuman). Reviewed by Casey Brienza.

BAKUMAN, Volume 1 written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata
Moritaka Mashiro has given up on his dream of drawing professionally. Ever since his manga artist uncle passed away, he knew that his parents would never allow it. He braces himself for a boring future, but when a proposal from a classmate offers to make his dreams come true, Moritaka decides that it's time to throw caution to the wind and go for it. Reviewed by Courtney Kraft.

K-ON!, Volume 1 written and illustrated by kakifly
In an effort to save their high school's memberless pop music club, four high school girls sign up for the after-school jam session. They may have rescued the club, but it's going to take some work for them to crank out any music. Yui Hirasawa loves pop, but she's never played an instrument or read music before. What will her fellow students say when the pop music club performs at the school festival?! Reviewed by Casey Brienza.

SATURN APARTMENTS, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Hisae Iwaoka
Far in the future, humankind has evacuated the earth in order to preserve it. Humans now reside in a gigantic structure that forms a ring around the earth. When Mitsu’s father disappears and is assumed dead, Mitsu must take on his father's occupation. As he struggles with the transition to working life, Mitsu's job treats him to an outsider's view into the living-room dioramas of the Saturn Apartments. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.


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

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