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August 2011
August 2011

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Wrapping Up the Summer in Style

We know this time of year can be tough for many of you, as you’re thinking about school supplies, class schedules, new teachers and homework. School is back in the swing of things for many of you, and others are gearing up for the school bell ring. If you are like my son, who is going to be a junior in high school, you also may be thinking about the summer reading you still have left to do. Last he reported in, he still had OUTLIERS and THE FOUNTAINHEAD to get through by September 8th!

So we’re hoping to take your minds off all that (at least for a little while) with this month’s update, which will give you many reasons to smile.

First of all, we have reviews of a number of standout books that are now in stores. The long-awaited second installment in Pittacus Lore’s Lorien Legacies series, THE POWER OF SIX, is finally here. The first book, I AM NUMBER FOUR, was made into a hit movie earlier this year, and we’re sure you’ll be hoping for the film version of this latest release after reading it.

Catherine Fisher’s summer series, Relic Master, concludes with the final book in the quartet, THE MARGRAVE. Galen and Raffi's quest has brought them to the Pits of Maar. There, below the surface of the world, a most evil thing is waiting for them to come.

Michelle Zink’s Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy wraps up this month with CIRCLE OF FIRE. Along with our review of the book and an excerpt, we’ve created a series feature where you can read about all three books, learn more about the author, and visit the official website of the series.

The Cruisers series continues with CHECKMATE, which explores the world of competitive chess as seen through the eyes of a group of middle school misfits. We were fortunate enough to chat with author Walter Dean Myers about the book, his own experiences playing chess, and his sixth-grade crush. Click here to read our interview, which was conducted by Donna Volkenannt, whose review you can read here.

Other notable releases include NEVER HAVE I EVER, book two in Sara Shepards The Lying Game series; UNDERDOGS by Markus Zusak, a single volume that collects the first three novels about the Wolfe brothers (including THE UNDERDOG, which is being published for the first time in the U.S.) and CLEOPATRA’S MOON, Vicky Alvear Shecter’s debut novel, which brings to life the personalities and passions of one of the greatest dramas in history.

Don’t miss our latest Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups. Among this month’s highlights are THE GRAY WOLF THRONE, Book Three in Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series; THIS DARK ENDEAVOR by Kenneth Oppel, a story about the twin brothers Frankenstein; and VIRALS, Kathy Reichs’s YA debut starring Temperance Brennan’s niece and her band of teenage “sci-philes.”

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, which inspires our new poll and question. We’d like to know if you have a library card and, if so, how often you use it. And we’re curious about which books you’ve borrowed from the library more than once.

Last month's poll asked what you thought of the final Harry Potter film. 54% of you absolutely loved it, while 23% of you thought it could've been even better. Click here for the full results.

Tell us what you’re reading in our Word of Mouth feature for your chance to win EVERY YOU, EVERY ME by David Levithan and GOLIATH, the conclusion to Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy. And a big congratulations to the winners of our two contests that have just wrapped up: THE EMPIRE OF GUT AND BONE and ASHES, ASHES. We hope you enjoy your prizes!

Here’s wishing you a fun and relaxing Labor Day weekend --- and here's to a great year at school! By the way, does your English teacher and school librarian know about If not, let them know about us!

Carol Fitzgerald (


Now in Stores: THE POWER OF SIX by Pittacus Lore
THE POWER OF SIX by Pittacus Lore (Science Fiction)
In the beginning there were nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorians. The Mogadorians caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. They killed them all. John Smith is Number Four, he has just met Number Six, and he knows the survival and the fate of Lorien --- and Earth --- now rest in their hands. Reviewed by Ben Boche.
Click here to read a review of THE POWER OF SIX.

Now in Stores: THE MARGRAVE by Catherine Fisher
THE MARGRAVE: Relic Master, Book Four by Catherine Fisher (Fantasy)
Galen and Raffi's quest has brought them to the Pits of Maar. There, below the surface of the world, in the deepest darkness, a most evil thing is waiting for them to come. THE MARGRAVE is the startling conclusion to Catherine Fisher’s Relic Master series, where the travelers must confront knowledge about the origins of their world and the truth about themselves. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

Click here to read a review of THE MARGRAVE.

New Series Feature: Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy by Michelle Zink (Fantasy)
Twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe have just become orphans. They have also become fierce enemies. As they discover their roles in a prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other, the girls find themselves entangled in an age-old battle that could have consequences of biblical proportions.

The final book in the trilogy, CIRCLE OF FIRE, is now in stores. With time dwindling but her will to end the Prophecy stronger than ever, Lia sets out on a journey to find the remaining keys, locate the missing pages of the Prophecy, and convince Alice to help --- or risk her life trying. There are some secrets sisters aren't meant to share. Because when they do, it destroys them.


Click here to read our series feature for Prophecy of the Sisters. Talks to Walter Dean Myers, Author of THE CRUISERS #2: CHECKMATE
Walter Dean Myers has written more than 85 books for children and young adults, including the award-winning MONSTER, FALLEN ANGELS, SLAM!, JAZZ and HARLEM. Now, in the second installment of his Cruisers series, Myers explores the world of competitive chess as seen through the eyes of a group of middle-school misfits.’s Donna Volkenannt spoke with Myers about his own experience playing chess and how drug usage is handled in CHECKMATE. He also discusses his sixth-grade crush, the essentials of classic literature, gypsy cabs, and what’s in store for the Cruisers.

THE CRUISERS, Book Two: CHECKMATE by Walter Dean Myers (Fiction)
After a middle-school student from Da Vinci Academy gets caught trying to buy drugs, Alexander “Zander” Scott and his Cruiser friends are asked to intervene. Fourteen-year-old Sidney Aronofsky isn’t a typical druggie; he is a star pupil and a master chess player who could ruin his future if he doesn’t get help.

-Click here to read a review of CHECKMATE.

Click here to read our interview with Walter Dean Myers.

Now in Stores: THE LYING GAME #2: NEVER HAVE I EVER by Sara Shepard
THE LYING GAME #2: NEVER HAVE I EVER by Sara Shepard (Fiction)
Just before her 18th birthday, Sutton Mercer is killed. Her friends, family and boyfriend don’t know. Her long-lost twin sister, Emma Paxton, who has just arrived in town and is a dead-ringer for Sutton, knows. But if Emma reveals her true identity, the killer has promised she will be next. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.
Click here to read a review of THE LYING GAME #2: NEVER HAVE I EVER.

Now in Stores: UNDERDOGS by Markus Zusak
UNDERDOGS by Markus Zusak (Fiction)
Award-winning author Markus Zusak's first three novels, about the dynamic and sympathetic Wolfe brothers, are gathered for the first time in UNDERDOGS. Cameron and Ruben are intensely loyal to each other, brothers at their best and at their very worst. But when Cameron falls head over heels for Ruben's girlfriend, the strength of their bond is tested to its breaking point. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Click here to read a review of UNDERDOGS.

Now in Stores: CLEOPATRA’S MOON by Vicky Alvear Shecter
CLEOPATRA’S MOON by Vicky Alvear Shecter (Historical Fiction)
For teens who desire a different experience or anyone who tires of pointless romance, we highly suggest CLEOPATRA’S MOON as an entertaining read that stands apart. This is historical fiction that delivers cerebral images while centering on a strong heroine with modern feminist ideals and unusual strength of character. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CLEOPATRA’S MOON.

Click here to read a review of CLEOPATRA’S MOON.

Now in Stores: INGENUE by Jillian Larkin
INGENUE by Jillian Larkin (Historical Romance)
Gloria and Jerome arrive in New York City and begin searching for work in any and all nightclubs. Both have music in their veins --- Jerome is a talented piano player, and Gloria is a budding singer. But the year is 1924, and life isn’t easy for a biracial couple, especially when they are running from both the law and the mob. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

Click here to read a review of INGENUE.'s Fifth Annual Beach Bag of Books Feature
Looking for some cool reads before summer ends? Here are 16 titles you'll want to consider. They are books that teens will love --- BEASTLY MOVIE TIE-IN EDITION by Alex Flinn, BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray, CLARITY by Kim Harrington, DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth, HEREAFTER by Tara Hudson, I'M NOT HER by Janet Gurtler, THE IRON QUEEN by Julie Kagawa, LOST VOICES by Sarah Porter, A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL by Suzanne Young, NIGHTSPELL by Leah Cypess, PROM AND PREJUDICE by Elizabeth Eulberg, RUBY RED by Kerstin Gier, SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater, STARCROSSED by Josephine Angelini, SUPERNATURALLY by Kiersten White and TEN THINGS WE DID (AND PROBABLY SHOULDN'T HAVE) by Sarah Mlynowski.

Congratulations to the five readers who were selected to receive a beach bag that includes the 16 books listed above and assorted summer goodies. Enjoy your prizes!

Click here to read more about our featured books.

Cool New Books for August
August’s roundup of Cool New Books includes THE POWER OF SIX, the second installment in Pittacus Lore’s action-packed Lorien Legacies series; THE MARGRAVE, the conclusion to Catherine Fisher’s Relic Master quartet; THE GRAY WOLF THRONE, Book Three in Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series, in which Han Alister makes the shocking discovery that the beautiful girl he knew as Rebecca is actually a blueblood; CLEOPATRA’S MOON, Vicky Alvear Shecter’s debut novel, which brings to life the personalities and passions of one of the greatest dramas in history; and THIS DARK ENDEAVOR by Kenneth Oppel, a story about the twin brothers Frankenstein, whose lives are filled with imaginary adventures --- until the day those adventures turn all too real.
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 the exceedingly popular I AM NUMBER FOUR by Pittacus Lore, which was made into a hit movie earlier this year; BEHEMOTH, the second installment in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan Trilogy, a steampunk story about the fiercest creature in the British navy and the two English Darwinists who must bring the war to a halt; THE EXILED QUEEN, Book Two in the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima, in which Han Alister is hunted by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet he stole from them; and VIRALS, Kathy Reichs’s 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.
Click here to see what's New in Paperback for August.

This Month's Reviews
WHITE CROW by Marcus Sedgwick (Horror)
Rebecca moves to the seaside village of Winterfold where she meets a strange girl named Ferelith, who knows many of Winterfold's secrets. But the one she uncovers with Rebecca dates back to 1798 and a ghastly experiment performed by a rector and a physician bent on finding out what happens in the afterlife. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

DARK SOULS by Paula Morris (Supernatural Mystery)
Miranda arrives in York with a terrible, tragic secret. She is eager to lose herself amid the quaint cobblestones, hoping she won’t run into the countless ghosts who supposedly roam the city. Then she meets Nick, an intense, dark-eyed boy who knows all of York’s hidden places and histories. Soon, Miranda realizes that something dangerous --- and deadly --- is being planned. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

HAUNTING VIOLET by Alyxandra Harvey (Historical Paranormal Mystery)
After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly, because the killer is still on the loose. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

LUNCH-BOX DREAM by Tony Abbott (Historical Fiction)
LUNCH-BOX DREAM presents Jim Crow, racism and segregation from multiple perspectives. In this story of witnessing without understanding, a naïvely prejudiced boy, in brief flashes of insight, starts to identify and question his assumptions about race. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

DREAMS OF SIGNIFICANT GIRLS by Cristina García (Fiction)
Brought together each summer at a boarding school in Switzerland, three girls learn a lot more than just French and European culture. Shirin, an Iranian princess; Ingrid, a German-Canadian eccentric; and Vivien, a Cuban-Jewish New Yorker culinary phenom, are thrown into each other's lives when they become roommates. This is a story of three paths slowly beginning to cross and merge. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

THE BABYSITTER MURDERS by Janet Ruth Young (Fiction)
Everyone has weird thoughts sometimes. But for 17-year-old Dani Solomon, strange thoughts have taken over her life. She loves Alex, the little boy she babysits, more than anything. But one day, she has a vision of murdering him that's so gruesome, she can't get it out of her mind. She confesses her thoughts to keep him safe, which sets off a media frenzy. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE by Matt Blackstone (Fiction)
Fourteen-year-old Rene suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, and he knows it. When he’s not wearing his Batman cape or avoiding cracks on sidewalks, he’s dealing with his dysfunctional family and learning to play it cool with his one and only friend, Gio. He also wants everyone and everything to leave him alone. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

BLOOD & FLOWERS by Penny Blubaugh (Fantasy)
Three years ago, Persia ran away from her drug-addict parents and found a home with the Outlaws, an underground theater troupe that becomes the loving family Persia never had. Life could not be more perfect --- until an enemy with a grudge makes an unfair accusation against the group and forces them to flee the mortal world and hide in the neighboring realm of Faerie. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

Graphic Novel Reviews:

THE HOMELAND DIRECTIVE written by Robert Venditti and illustrated by Mike Huddleston
As head of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Laura Regan is one of the world's foremost authorities on viral and bacteriological study. Having dedicated her career to halting the spread of infectious disease, she has always considered herself one of the good guys. But when her research partner is murdered and Laura is blamed for the crime, she finds herself at the heart of a vast and deadly conspiracy. Reviewed by Collin David.

HALO: FALL OF REACH — BOOTCAMP written by Brian Reed and illustrated by Felix Ruiz
Before he was Master Chief, he was John --- a boy stolen from his parents and conscripted into the SPARTAN II program on the fortress world of Reach. These are desperate times in the human colonies, with galactic civil war just a heartbeat away…and only Dr. Catherine Halsey understands the terrible price humanity must pay to keep from destroying itself. Reviewed by Collin David.

Manga Reviews:

A BRIDE’S STORY, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Kaoru Mori
Amir is 20 years old when she marries her husband, a boy named Karluk from a neighboring village. Adjusting to life in a new household can be trying for any young bride, but Amir's husband is eight years her junior! Amir was a strong, sophisticated hunter and horsewoman in her village, but though their villages were next to each other, their customs are very different. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

LOVE*COM, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Aya Nakahara
Risa Koizumi is the tallest girl in class, and the last thing she wants is the humiliation of standing next to Atsushi Otoni, the shortest guy. Fate and the whole school have other ideas, and the two find themselves cast as the unwilling stars of a bizarre romantic comedy duo. Rather than bow to the inevitable, Risa and Atsushi join forces to pursue their true objects of affection. Reviewed by Kyla Hunt.

SKIP BEAT!, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Yoshiki Nakamura
Kyoko always thought that Sho, whose family took her in when she was small, was her Prince Charming. However, when Sho heads for Tokyo to make it big as a musician, Kyoko goes with him and has to quit high school to support his dream. Soon, being in the big city makes Kyoko realize that she has show business ambitions of her own. Reviewed by Kyla Hunt.

SKIP BEAT!, Volume 2 written and illustrated by Yoshiki Nakamura
Kyoko followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he's casting her out now that he's famous enough! Kyoko won't suffer in silence --- she's going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz. Reviewed by Kyla Hunt.

Adult Books You Want to Read:

THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman (Fantasy)
In THE MAGICIANS, a cadre of young wizards --- and the fantasy genre itself --- learn to live in the real world. This fabulously rendered novel manages to completely ensnare readers by their escapist tendencies, then show how our dreams of happiness and magic never quite live up to the real thing. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

THE MAGICIAN KING by Lev Grossman (Fantasy)
THE MAGICIANS took the fantasy world by storm when it released in 2009. Now, in THE MAGICIAN KING, author Lev Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

THE END OF EVERYTHING by Megan Abbott (Psychological Thriller)
Lizzie and her best friend, Evie, are 13 years old and inseparable --- until the day Evie disappears. Lizzie is frantic to puzzle out the mystery behind the disappearance and to bring Evie home. Her desperate quest is entwined with her own coming-of-age story, in an intense and gripping tale of obsession, friendship and family. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB by Melanie Benjamin (Historical Fiction)
She was only two-feet eight-inches tall, but her legend reaches out to us more than a century later. As a child, Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump was encouraged to live a life hidden from the public. Instead, she reached out to the immortal impresario P. T. Barnum, married the tiny superstar General Tom Thumb in the wedding of the century, and transformed into the world’s most unexpected celebrity. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

ONCE UPON A RIVER by Bonnie Jo Campbell (Fiction)
Margo Crane is just 14 years old when her world begins to unravel, starting with the death of her beloved grandfather. When the unimaginable happens, 16-year-old Margo takes a rifle and hits the Stark River in her rowboat. In search of her mother, she discovers much more, in this enthralling page-turner. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

ALICE BLISS by Laura Harrington (Fiction)
When Alice Bliss learns that her father is being deployed to Iraq, she's heartbroken. Alice idolizes her father, and he will miss seeing his daughter blossom from a tomboy into a full-blown teenager. At once universal and very personal, this is a transforming story about those who are left at home during wartime, and a teenage girl bravely facing the future. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.


Poll and Question of the Month: Library Cards

September is Library Card Sign-up Month. Do you have a library card at your local or school library?

No, but I plan on getting one.
I'm not sure.

How often do you use your library card?

About once a week
About once a month
Several times a week
Less than once a month
I don't have a library card.

-Click here to answer the poll.


Name up to 5 books that you've borrowed more than once from the library.

-Click here to answer the question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Could Win TWO Books!
Tell us what books you are reading and loving --- and even those you don't.

This contest period, one teen reader will be randomly chosen to win a copy of EVERY YOU, EVERY ME by David Levithan and GOLIATH by Scott Westerfeld. Tell us what you are reading here and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, September 23rd to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.