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November 2011
November 2011

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Thanksgiving Means...A LOOOOOOONG Weekend!

Happy almost-Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all have great things planned for this looooooong holiday weekend. Are you and your relatives cooking up a feast? I think there’s something great about a holiday that centers on food, family and lots of free time. We at are very much in the holiday spirit, and have we got some exciting things to share with you!

First…and this deserves a drum roll. I hope you have had the chance to take a look at the NEW site. It’s been completely redesigned! If you haven’t seen it yet, click on over there now. The site has a whole new visual look, and we also organized things to make it easier to find your favorite features, as well as reviews, author interviews, contests and, well, everything! We are very excited about the great feedback we’ve gotten about it so far, but would love to hear what YOU think! Write us here.

Each month, besides seeing new features on the homepage of, you also can see them on our This Month on page. It can be another “go to” place besides the homepage to find the information you want.

Wondering where a favorite feature of yours is? Then click here.

Just so you know, we are planning on moving ALL the features from the old site to the new site, including the much sought-after “Ultimate Reading List.” We have a cute little moving van graphic noting that the feature is “on the move.” Two weeks ago, when we did our beta launch (which means we took the new site live to make our final tweaks), we started getting MANY emails asking where the “Ultimate Reading List” was.

We knew it was a well-read feature, but we had no idea how many readers consult it daily or weekly! As a result, we have moved reworking that feature to the top of our list. Our goal is to have it done by December 15th. We are building pages for each of the 400(!) titles on that list; none had been built before. Thus you can see why this is taking sooooooo much time.

There are some other lists that are still to come as well. You will see them noted too. If you have any questions or concerns about the new site, please email

Speaking of features, one feature we have brought back is our annual holiday promotion; this year it’s called Holiday Bundle of Cheer. From now through December 16th at noon ET, you can enter to win one of the FIVE big bundles of books, goodies and cheer that we are giving away. The titles in each bundle include THE ALCHEMYST by Michael Scott; ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin; CURSE OF THE SHAMRA, SHAMRA DIVIDED and CHAOS UNLEASHED, which are books one, two and three in The Shamra Chronicles by Barry Hoffman; THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson; THE GRAY WOLF THRONE by Cinda Williams Chima; JULIET IMMORTAL by Stacey Jay and SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi. Click here to get in the holiday spirit and enter!

Last month, we featured a contest for the inspiring and true book THE EIGHTY-DOLLAR CHAMPION by Elizabeth Letts. 100 winners were lucky enough to be awarded this title; click here to see if you are one of them. Congratulations to all!

Heads up movie-lovers --- this month TWO BIG movies based on books are in theaters: Breaking Dawn and Hugo. Twihards clearly are excited for Breaking Dawn --- I read that the box office brought in $139,500,000 last weekend! And that is only for part one of the final installment of the movie series. You have a whole 'nother movie to look forward to.

Last night, I got to see an early screening of Hugo, based on Brian Selznick’s popular THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. All I can say is WOW! It's spellbinding and one of the best 3-D movies I ever have seen. It also is sure to be another huge hit --- a great outing for you, your friends and your family when you're all recovering from your Thanksgiving food coma, perhaps.

November has also been a busy month. A number of great new books are hitting stands, including Christopher Paolini’s long-awaited INHERITANCE, the story of Eragon, a dragon rider, and his dragon Saphira, as they confront a critical battle. Our review will be coming in the next week or two. I was in Miami for the Miami Book Fair but missed Christopher’s appearance there, which people said was really terrific. The way he imagined the world of Alagaesia and conceptualized this story when he was just a teen makes his story all the more interesting. To think that he’s only 29 and already has four mega-bestsellers under his belt. Hmmmm…

MASTIFF, the new Tamora Pierce novel, is now in stores. In this final installment of The Legend of Beka Cooper trilogy, Beka and her friends are on a hunt to find the heir to the kingdom before order disintegrates. Will they be able to trounce their enemies and find him in time?

We at have loved Carolyn Mackler for years, and so we are really excited to share that she has a new book out; this time she wrote with Jay Asher. The book, THE FUTURE OF US, is about two kids who discover a portal into their future selves through Facebook. As they "refresh" and "reload," they grapple with how the decisions they make now will affect them in the future. I look forward to reading it!

Our Cool & New Books roundup has been updated. Please note that this feature now includes hardcovers, paperback originals, and paperback reprints.

Weigh in about author interviews on video --- or ones you read --- in our poll. Which do you like more, or do you not have a preference? For our question, we want to know which authors you would most like to see interviewed. And, of course, we have a new Word of Mouth contest, where you can win the aforementioned THE FUTURE OF US, along with WITCH & WIZARD: THE FIRE by James Patterson and Jill Dembowski. In fact, we are so chock-full of great features and books --- not to mention holiday cheer --- that we can hardly contain it in this opener. Check out the rest of this newsletter --- and visit the site --- for all the latest content.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving! When you are recovering from tryptophan shock on Thursday night (if you don’t already know, tryptophan is a chemical in turkey that makes you really tired. Weird, huh? It’s not only you who finds Thanksgiving exhausting!), consider curling up with a good book. There’s no better way to rest and relax.

Carol Fitzgerald ('s Sixth Annual Holiday Cheer Contest and Feature
Celebrate the season with's Sixth Annual Holiday Cheer contest and feature! From now through December 16th, you can enter to win a "Bundle of Holiday Reading and Fun." Five winners each will receive 9 books you'll want to read any time of year, along with tons of seasonal goodies: Peeps Marshmallow Snowmen, green rock candy, 12 peppermint candy canes, a Wilton Holiday Peppermint Bark Kit, Lotsa Lites! Flashing Holiday Necklace, and a snowman stocking.

Our featured titles are:

-THE ALCHEMYST: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 1 by Michael Scott
-ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin
-CURSE OF THE SHAMRA: Book One of The Shamra Chronicles by Barry Hoffman
-SHAMRA DIVIDED: Book Two of The Shamra Chronicles by Barry Hoffman
-CHAOS UNLEASHED: Book Three of The Shamra Chronicles by Barry Hoffman
-THE GRAY WOLF THRONE: A Seven Realms Novel, Book Three by Cinda Williams Chima
-SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi

Click here to read all the contest details.
Now in Stores: INHERITANCE by Christopher Paolini
INHERITANCE by Christopher Paolini (Fantasy)
Not so very long ago, Eragon --- Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider --- was nothing but a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders. The critical battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read more about the book.
Books on Screen for November: Breaking Dawn and Hugo
The long-awaited next installment of Stephenie Meyer’s The Twilight Saga is now in theaters. Although BREAKING DAWN concludes the book series, all you “Twihards” out there know that this final novel will be split into two different films. In Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Bella Swan and Edward Cullen are finally married. But during their honeymoon in Rio de Janeiro, Bella becomes pregnant and her life is suddenly thrown into terrible danger. The pregnancy sets in motion a deadly chain of events that pits the Cullens against their worst enemies and threatens to destroy everything they know. Packed with fantasy, suspense and passionate love, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 will have you anticipating Part 2 --- which doesn’t release until November 16, 2012!

Also in theaters is Hugo, based on Brian Selznick’s bestseller THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. Hugo is a young orphan boy who is secretly living inside the walls of a busy Paris train station in the 1930s. In his time there, he has mastered the inner workings of the station’s clocks and has become their secret caretaker. But when he meets an eccentric new friend and discovers a mysterious mechanical man, Hugo must risk everything in a desperate mission to uncover the truth.

And now available on DVD is the final Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, and Sarah's Key, the film adaptation of Tatiana de Rosnay's novel of the same name.

Click here to read more about November’s films.
Now in Stores: MASTIFF by Tamora Pierce
MASTIFF: The Legend of Beka Cooper, Book Three by Tamora Pierce (Fantasy)
Beka and her friends will face their greatest and most important challenge ever when the young heir to the kingdom vanishes. They will be sent out of Corus on a trail that appears and disappears, following a twisting road throughout Tortall. It will be her greatest Hunt --- if she can survive the very powerful people who do not want her to succeed in her goal. Reviewed by Joy Held.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler (Fiction)
It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been best friends for their whole lives --- at least up until Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when a free AOL CD reveals their futures to them via Facebook --- which hasn’t been invented yet --- they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: CROSSED by Ally Condie
CROSSED by Ally Condie (Dystopian Romance)
Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky, only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues behind. During her quest, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: DARK EDEN by Patrick Carman

DARK EDEN by Patrick Carman (Fantasy/Horror)
Will Besting suffers from a crippling fear, and no amount of traditional therapy has helped at all. So he and six other teens with various phobias decide they have no choice but to take it to the next level. They travel to a remote location to undergo an intensive alternate therapy. But something isn’t right, and Will doesn’t trust the system. What he discovers is way beyond his darkest nightmares. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.


Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: WITCH & WIZARD: THE MANGA, Volume 1 by James Patterson, Gabrielle Charbonnet and Svetlana Chmakova
WITCH & WIZARD: THE MANGA, Volume 1 written by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet, illustrated by Svetlana Chmakova (Manga)
Whit and Wisty Allgood have sacrificed everything to lead the resistance against the merciless totalitarian regime that governs their world. Its supreme leader, The One Who Is The One, has banned everything they hold dear: books, music, art and imagination. But the growing strength of the siblings' magic hasn't been enough to stop the One's evil rampage, and now he has executed the only family they had left. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

Click here to read a review.
Find Your Favorite Features on the NEW has a new look! With the new look comes a new way of organizing our content to better meet the needs of you --- our readers!

To make that transition easier --- and to help you find your favorite features quickly, as well as some surprises --- we have created an index page that will take you directly to the specific features you are trying to find.

Still not seeing your favorite feature? Send us a note at

Click here to find your favorite features.
Cool & New Books for November

November's roundup of Cool & New Books includes INHERITANCE, the long-awaited final installment in Christopher Paolini's The Inheritance Cycle; THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, in which two friends discover their futures through Facebook --- long before it was ever invented; THE ALWAYS WAR, Margaret Peterson Haddix's story of a strong-willed girl in a war-torn dystopian world; and Deborah Heiligman's CHARLES AND EMMA, a 2009 National Book Award Finalist (now available in paperback) that chronicles Charles Darwin's struggle with his wife's strong religious beliefs, which directly conflicted with his groundbreaking theory of evolution.

Click here to read November’s roundup of Cool & New Books.
This Month's Reviews
BEAUTIFUL DAYS: A Bright Young Things Novel by Anna Godbersen (Historical Romance)
In this sequel to BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS, Anna Godbersen continues the story of Cordelia, Letty and Astrid, three girls caught up in the glittering parties and speakeasy raids of Jazz Age New York. Cordelia is now at the helm of a bootlegging enterprise, while Letty is determined to make her Broadway dreams come true at any price. And Astrid is torn between marriage and continuing to live the uninhibited life of a single girl. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

A WEB OF AIR by Philip Reeve (Fantasy/Science Fiction)
Fever Crumb narrowly escaped London with her life. After two years with a traveling theater, she arrives in the city of Mayda, where she befriends Arlo Thursday, an eccentric recluse who's working on a flying machine. But someone wants to destroy Arlo's discovery, and Fever finds herself caught in a web of intrigue that threatens their work and their lives. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

DOWN THE MYSTERLY RIVER by Bill Willingham (Fantasy/Mystery)
Max “the Wolf” is a top notch Boy Scout and a master of being prepared. So it is a little odd that he suddenly finds himself with no recollection of his immediate past, lost in an unfamiliar wood. Even odder still, he encounters a group of forest creatures who all can talk, and who are as clueless as Max. Before long, Max and his friends are on the run from a relentless group of hunters and their deadly hounds. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

EVE by Anna Carey (Dystopian Romance)
Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and 200 other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But then, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school’s real purpose --- and the horrifying fate that awaits her. Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

LIFE: AN EXPLODED DIAGRAM by Mal Peet (Historical Fiction)
In the fall of 1962, human beings came extremely close to blowing the world up during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And even though teenagers Clem and Frankie are completely wrapped up in their forbidden relationship, they too are worried that there may not be many more tomorrows left. Neither one wants to die a virgin, so during the final culmination to World War III, they make their own plans for the ultimate countdown. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

BETWEEN by Jessica Warman (Mystery)
Elizabeth Valchar --- pretty, popular and perfect --- wakes up the morning after her 18th birthday party on her family's yacht, where she had been celebrating with her six closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, what she finds will change everything she thought she knew about her life. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

TRUE BLUE by Jane Smiley (Fiction)
When the owner of a dappled gray horse dies in a car accident, Abby Lovitt and her father take over ownership and begin training him. The horse is beautiful and knows the basics, but Abby feels there’s something different about him. He is a bit spooky and notices everything around him --- including the ghost of his former owner. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE LOST SONGS by Caroline B. Cooney (Fiction)
Caroline B. Cooney investigates a number of different perspectives in THE LOST SONGS, giving readers an in-depth portrayal of a Southern community. As the book progresses, all of the characters’ lives intertwine as they each face their own different --- but related --- problems. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

A PLAGUE YEAR by Edward Bloor (Fiction)
Tom has always been focused on getting out of his depressing coal mining town, which is being devastated by a meth plague. But as bits of his childhood erode around him, he finds it's not so easy to let go. With the selfless heroism of the passengers on United Flight 93 that crashed nearby fresh in his mind, Tom begins to see some reasons to stay. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

DANIEL X: THE MANGA, Volume 1 written by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, illustrated by SeungHui Kye (Manga)
When his parents are murdered by an intergalactic criminal, Daniel X vows to take on his father's role as Earth's sole Alien Hunter. Life isn't easy, though, when you're a young boy on your own, tracking down the galaxy's deadliest outlaws. Luckily, Daniel has a gift: the ability to create anything he can imagine --- including his parents, his sister and his best friends, who are there to help him along the way. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

THE STORY OF SAIUNKOKU, Volumes 3-4 written by Sai Yukino, illustrated by Kairi Yura (Manga)
Shurei Hong, destitute but of noble birth, has always dreamed of working as a civil servant in the imperial court of Saiunkoku, but women are barred from holding office. The emperor Ryuki, however, refuses to take command, leaving everything to his advisors. Shurei is asked to become a consort to the emperor to persuade the ne’er-do-well ruler to govern. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

NAOKI URASAWA'S MONSTER, Volumes 11–13 written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa (Manga)
Tenma discovers two more pieces of the puzzle to Johan's past in Prague --- a story about Johan's mother, a beautiful woman taken away by the secret police, and an old recording of Johan as a child. And Tenma knows all too well that Johan is lurking close by when a brilliant young detective of the Prague Police Department is accused of poisoning three of his superiors...with whiskey bon bons. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.
Adult Books You Want to Read
Throughout the year, we feature books that have been reviewed on, our site for adult readers, that we think will have appeal to teen audiences.

Here are our latest featured titles:

THE BEST OF ME by Nicholas Sparks
High school students Amanda and Dawson were deeply in love. But after unforeseen events tore them apart, the two followed radically divergent paths and became estranged. Now, 25 years later, the funeral of their beloved mentor, Tuck, brings them both back to Oriental, North Carolina. Following instructions Tuck has left for them, Amanda and Dawson are finally forced to confront their painful past. Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton.

THE HOUSE OF SILK: A Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz (Mystery)
The Arthur Conan Doyle Estate has authorized a new Sherlock Holmes adventure, and Anthony Horowitz is definitely up to the task. Holmes and Watson embark on a mission to protect their client from a stalker, and soon find themselves chasing the mysterious House of Silk. As they come closer to discovering what they’re pursuing, they realize that it's worse than they could have imagined. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

OUT OF OZ: The Final Volume in the Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire (Fantasy)
Once peaceful and prosperous, the spectacular Land of Oz is knotted with social unrest. Yet amidst all the chaos, Elphaba’s granddaughter, the tiny green baby born at the close of SON OF A WITCH, has come of age. Now it is up to Rain to take up her broom --- and her legacy --- in an Oz wracked by war. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

I AM HALF-SICK OF SHADOWS: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley (Historical Mystery)
A famous actress is starring in a new movie that’s being filmed at the de Luces’ old English estate. When a body is found on set, strangled to death with a length of film, Flavia knows that a gruesome killer is hiding in plain sight, and she’s determined to find out who it is. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

Click here to see all the adult books you'll want to read.
Poll and Question of the Month


Do you prefer watching an author video or reading an online interview?

I usually prefer watching an author video.
I usually prefer reading an online interview.
Only if I like the author a lot would I prefer watching a video.
If I like the author a lot, I would prefer reading an interview.
I enjoy watching author videos, but dislike waiting for them to load.
I have no preference; I like doing both.
I have no preference; I don’t do either.
I’m not sure how I feel.

-Click here to answer the poll.


Name up to three authors you would love to see interviewed on video or in an online interview.

-Click here to answer the question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Could Win TWO Books!
This contest period, one teen reader will be randomly chosen to win a copy of WITCH & WIZARD: THE FIRE by James Patterson and Jill Dembowski, and THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, December 16th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.
Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.
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