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February 2012
February 2012

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Will March Come in Like a Lion or a Lamb?

WHOA --- we’ve almost marched right into March! And just think --- if it weren’t a leap year, the new month would be coming EVEN sooner. I have a few friends who are born on February 29th, and every four years they have a party on the right day, while on the others they are juggling whether it is celebrated on the 28th or March 1st. It’s been such a mild winter here in New York that I am betting it's going to be a very lamb-like beginning of March, but let’s see.

We have a few BIG pieces of news this month:

1) Thank you for your patience. We know some of you may have experienced some difficulty accessing the site lately. Well, that’s because there were just soooo many of you trying to log on at once that our server couldn’t handle it! (Who knew there could be issues with being too popular?) Over the weekend we upgraded our servers, which we expect will better accommodate you all. It’s been a crazy month as we were working on a solution, and I am glad this is behind us now.

2) BIG news…..ahem, I think this needs a drumroll….the Ultimate Reading List has been updated with over 50 new additions! This means the list now has more than 400 titles on it. The new books that we added were 2011 and early 2012 books you definitely won’t want to miss. Check them out here.

3) One of your FAVORITE features,'s Grab Bag of Books, is baaaaack! In this month’s contest, five lucky readers who enter by Friday, March 23rd at noon ET will win a tote bag filled with the following seven books: BALTHAZAR: An Evernight Novel by Claudia Gray, DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth, THE EDUMACATION OF JAY BAKER by Jay Clark, PANDEMONIUM by Lauren Oliver, PARTIALS by Dan Wells, PRETTY CROOKED by Elisa Ludwig, and SLIDE by Jill Hathaway. Sign up now for your chance to win!

4) TODAY we launched a new website for readers who are in college or in their twenties, May we ask you to share this link with your family and friends who fall in this age range? Now we have a whole new group of people to share books and authors with!

Thanks so much to those of you who voted for your favorite books of 2011 in the Teen Choice Book of the Year. The finalists have been announced! CLOCKWORK PRINCE: The Infernal Devices, Book Two by Cassandra Clare, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor, DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth, PASSION: A Fallen Novel by Lauren Kate, and PERFECT by Ellen Hopkins will all be heading to another runoff round of voting, which will open on Wednesday, March 14th. We will post the link on and our Teenreads Facebook page as soon as it goes live. The winner will be announced at the Children’s Choice Book Awards event in New York on Monday, May 7th.

Heads up Suzanne Collins fans --- The Hunger Games movie hits theaters soon: March 23rd, to be precise. Mark your calendars now! We will be hosting a contest in honor of the new movie in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for your chance to win some Hunger Games movie- related prizes! Also, we will be running TWENTY (20!!!) blogs about THE HUNGER GAMES starting on March 3rd, a great way to count down to the movie.

We have a number of reviews of some great new books that you will definitely want to add to your bookshelf right now.

In PINK SMOG by Francesca Lia Block, a prequel to the oh sooooo popular bestselling WEETZIE BAT, Louise wants to change her name --- and, along with it, her life. Her father has left, and Louise needs a new identity. Yet her decision to change proves to be a battle harder than she ever imagined.

BZRK, a new book by Michael Grant, also tells the story of a battle --- this one on a nano scale. A group of teen hackers must combat a dark conspiracy and a hacking team called BZRK in order to preserve humanity’s free will.

Also, we now have a review of the much-acclaimed memoir from Gaby Rodriguez, THE PREGNANCY PROJECT, which is Gaby's story of her own experiment pretending to be pregnant.

As the daughter of a teen mom --- and a sister to two of them --- Gaby was expected to become a teen mom. Instead, she only pretended to be one, and then recorded the response of her friends, family and community. The result is a telling exploration of how one acquires the strength to overcome stereotypes. Fans of THE PREGNANCY PROJECT should check out staff member Dana Wilson's blog post about her experience meeting Gaby! Read it on the blog here.

Heads up --- this Friday is Read Across America Day! This is a national celebration of reading throughout all of America’s communities. Though it occurs but once a year --- on Dr. Seuss’s birthday --- it reminds all of us about the importance of reading, and encourages us all to revel in the moments when we get to steal away with a good book. Click here to read about the celebration.

As always, all of our regular features have been updated. We have a new roundup of Cool & New Books for February, and a whole new lineup of Adult Books You Want to Read. Scroll down to read more about the books on these lists, and keep an eye out for these roundups as you browse the site.

We also have a new poll and question for you this month. This time we want to know ALL about your TV habits. Which shows are your favorites? Which programs do you wish were still on the air? Weigh in and let us know! We are curious about what you watch when you are not reading.

And if you enter our Word of Mouth contest by telling us what you are reading, you will automatically be entered to win TWO books: PANDEMONIUM by Lauren Oliver and BENEATH A METH MOON by Jacqueline Woodson. Both of these books look totally awesome, so enter by Friday, March 23rd at noon ET for your chance to win!

Well, here’s to a happy leap year! Hope you used the extra day to log some quality time with a good book!

Carol Fitzgerald (

The Ultimate Reading List Has Been Updated!
One of our goals each month is to inspire you to read --- and to keep reading. We have found that required reading lists for school --- especially summer reading lists --- are not exactly inspiring. Thus we have created what we think is the Ultimate Teen Reading List --- over 400 titles that we believe are perfect choices for reading and discussing. Our dream is that schools will use this list to help them make their own for summer reading or, even better, suggest that students just read what they want from this list.

How did we create our list? We compiled entries from readers who weighed in with their selections, and we also asked our staffers for suggestions. Titles range from young adult books to adult books that we think would be enjoyed by teens. As part of our commitment to staying current and keeping on top of the latest trends, we overhauled the entire list in February 2011. Now, one year later, we've updated the feature with over 50 books that have released in the past year. They include a mixture of fiction and nonfiction, plus graphic novels and manga titles.

Click here to see our updated Ultimate Reading List for teens.'s Grab Bag of Books Contest is Back!
Each 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 BALTHAZAR: An Evernight Novel by Claudia Gray, DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth, THE EDUMACATION OF JAY BAKER by Jay Clark, PANDEMONIUM by Lauren Oliver, PARTIALS by Dan Wells, PRETTY CROOKED by Elisa Ludwig, and SLIDE by Jill Hathaway. The deadline for entries is Friday, March 23rd at noon ET.

Click here to read all the contest details.
Announcing the Finalists for the Teen Choice Book of the Year
We at are thrilled to announce the finalists for the Children's Book Council's 2012 Teen Choice Book of the Year. The five books that were chosen most frequently by our readers as their favorites of 2011 are CLOCKWORK PRINCE: The Infernal Devices, Book Two by Cassandra Clare, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor, DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth, PASSION: A Fallen Novel by Lauren Kate, and PERFECT by Ellen Hopkins.

Many thanks to the more than 7,800 people who participated!

Now it's time to make your voices be heard again. Beginning March 14th, you can vote for your favorite book, author and illustrator of 2011 by visiting The winners will be announced on Monday, May 7th during Children's Book Week.

In Theaters March 23rd: The Hunger Games
After the worldwide phenomenon of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy, the first book in the series finally makes its big screen debut on March 23rd (or, for the die-hard fans, March 22nd at midnight!). In a bleak future, the United States has been reduced to a dictatorship with 12 districts. Every year, in order to prevent uprisings, the ruling Capitol forces one boy and one girl from each district to fight each other to the death in a nationally televised arena --- and only one will survive.
Click here to read more in our Books on Screen feature.
Now in Stores: PINK SMOG by Francesca Lia Block
PINK SMOG: Becoming Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block (Fiction)
PINK SMOG is a prequel to Francesca Lia Block’s groundbreaking Weetzie Bat series, in which a 13-year-old girl comes of age in 1970s Los Angeles. When Weetzie’s father leaves her family, it feels like all the magic has gone out of her world. But after an angel saves her mother from drowning, she begins to make new friends and becomes re-enchanted with the City of Angels that is her home. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: BZRK by Michael Grant
BZRK by Michael Grant (Dystopian Thriller)
The war for human control and manipulation has moved to the next level: Nano technology. This microscopic technology has the ability to alter the brain and ultimately take away free will, but there are people out there fighting to stop this. Let’s just hope they’re not too late. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE PREGNANCY PROJECT by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer

THE PREGNANCY PROJECT: A Memoir by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer (Memoir)
Gaby Rodriguez was repeatedly told that she would end up a teen mom like her mother. As a high school project, she faked her own pregnancy to find out how her community would react. What she learned changed her life --- and made international headlines in the process. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gomez.

-Click here to read more about Gaby Rodriguez on the Blog.


Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: BITTERSWEET by Sarah Ockler
BITTERSWEET by Sarah Ockler (Romance)
Ever since a betrayal destroyed her dreams, 17-year-old Hudson stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner. When things start looking up and she gets a second chance --- and a cute, sweet guy walks into her life --- she must decide what she really wants. Reviewed by Molly Horan.

Click here to read a review.
March 2nd is Read Across America Day!
NEA's Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2nd, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. It also provides NEA members, parents, caregivers and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year. In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA's Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages.
Click here to read all about NEA's Read Across America.
Cool & New Books for February

February’s roundup of Cool & New Books includes PANDEMONIUM, the second installment in Lauren Oliver's dystopian trilogy that started with DELIRIUM (which is now available in paperback); BENEATH A METH MOON by Jacqueline Woodson, in which a teen spirals into a terrifying meth addiction in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; and BORN WICKED, the start of Jessica Spotswood’s series about Cate Cahill and her sisters, who have a dangerous secret --- they are witches.

Among the paperbacks releasing this month are ANGEL, James Patterson's seventh Maximum Ride novel, in which the flock's most unlikely heroine must help Max overcome the evil scientists and save the humans from a doomsday cult bent on their destruction; DIVERGENT, Veronica Roth's dystopian debut about a 16-year-old who faces the biggest decision of her life when she must choose which of the five factions of society to join; and DARKEST MERCY, the conclusion to Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series.

Click here to read February’s Cool & New Books roundup.
This Month's Reviews
DOUBLE by Jenny Valentine (Mystery)
Chap is alone in the world. He has no family, friends or identity, and is running from social services. When employees at the shelter show him a photo of a missing teen named Cassiel Roadnight, he is shocked to find they look almost exactly the same. Chap makes the daring and terrifying decision to step into Cassiel’s life --- and stumbles into a mysterious nightmare. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief --- that they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. But that relief doesn’t last, when she is forced to live with her ultra-conservative aunt Ruth and a whole new slew of challenges. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE CHILDREN AND THE WOLVES by Adam Rapp (Psychological Thriller)
Three teenagers --- Bounce, a sharp, well-to-do girl, and two struggling boys named Wiggins and Orange --- are holding a four-year-old girl hostage in Orange's basement. But as the stakes grow higher and the guilt and tension mount, Wiggins starts having doubts about their plan. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Seventeen-year-old Hadley is stuck at JFK airport, late to her father's second wedding to a woman Hadley has never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley is in 18A. Reviewed by Molly Horan.

LIE by Caroline Bock (Fiction)
Skylar Thompson is being questioned by the police. Her boyfriend, Jimmy, stands accused of brutally assaulting two young El Salvadoran immigrants from a neighboring town, and she’s the prime witness. Skylar is keeping quiet about what she’s seen, but how long can she keep it up? Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

Freshman Jay Baker’s life is about to get more complicated when his parents announce they are going to separate for a while. His normal teenage existence slowly begins to crumble even more as he also deals with problems at school, with friends, and the fact that it seems everyone is out to get him. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: SPIDER ISLAND written by Rick Remender and Dan Slott, illustrated by Humberto Ramos and Stefano Caselli (Graphic Novel)
Manhattan is overrun with insects, giving thousands of people Spider-Man-like powers. And while that may be a good thing for some, it’s a dangerous situation for everyone else, one that requires the combined might of many of Marvel’s greatest heroes, including the amazing wall-crawler. Reviewed by John Hogan.

IN DARKNESS by Nick Lake (Fiction)
"Shorty" is a Haitian boy trapped among ruins when the earth explodes around him. Surrounded by bodies and desperately weak, death seems imminent. But then he becomes aware of another presence --- one reaching out to him across 200 years of history. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

FRIENDS WITH BOYS by Faith Erin Hicks (Graphic Novel)
After an idyllic childhood of homeschooling with her mother and rough-housing with her older brothers, it’s time for Maggie McKay to face the outside world, all on her own. But that means facing high school first. And it also means solving the mystery of the melancholy ghost who has silently followed Maggie throughout her entire life. Reviewed by John Hogan.

MY GIRLFRIEND’S A GEEK, Volume 5 written by Pentabu, illustrated by Rize Shinba (Manga)
After overcoming some of the strangest hurdles and learning to accept Yuiko's fangirl tendencies, Taiga is over the moon that their comical but loving relationship is stronger than ever. But when the fanfic he's been diligently writing for Yuiko brings Taiga some sudden and unwelcome Internet notoriety, will he be able to withstand the onslaught of a zillion Yuikos. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

BAMBOO BLADE, Volume 11 written by Masahiro Totsuka, illustrated by Aguri Igarashi (Manga)
It’s tough for up-and-coming TV personality Ryouko Toda, a cutthroat celebrity, to maintain her cool on-screen persona when she's forced to appear alongside ditzy costar Erina Sawamiya on “Burnish Academy,” where silly, simple Erina manages to best Ryouko in every single sport. To defeat Erina in sports and in the ratings game, Ryouko must call upon her skills not as an actress, but as a master of the kendo ring. Reviewed by David Gromer.

LITTLE WOMEN AND ME by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (Fiction)
When Emily receives an assignment to describe what she would change about a classic novel, she pounces on LITTLE WOMEN. But when she gets mysteriously transported into the 1860s, she discovers that righting fictional wrongs won’t be as easy as she thought. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.
Adult Books You Want to Read

Throughout the year, we feature books from, our site for adult readers, that we think will have appeal to teen audiences.

Here are our latest featured titles:

LITTLE GIRL GONE by Drusilla Campbell (Fiction)
Madora was 17 and headed for trouble when Willis rescued her. She ran away with him, and for five years they have lived alone, in near isolation. But after Willis kidnaps a pregnant teenager and imprisons her in a trailer behind the house, Madora is torn between love and her sense of right and wrong. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

LONG DRIVE HOME by Will Allison (Fiction)
Glen Bauer's life changes forever in one impulsive jerk of his steering wheel. The manner in which his existence is altered invokes a terrifying "this could happen to any of us" horror while compelling readers to turn just one more page, and then another. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

PURE by Julianna Baggott (Post-Apocalyptic Horror)
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. When a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE STARBOARD SEA by Amber Dermont (Fiction)
When his best friend commits suicide during their junior year at Kensington Prep, Jason Prosper is devastated by the loss and transfers to Bellingham Academy. There, he meets Aidan, a fellow student with her own troubled past. When a major hurricane hits the New England coast, the destruction it causes brings with it another upheaval in Jason’s life, forcing him to make sense of a terrible secret that has been buried by the boys he considers his friends. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Click here to see all the adult books we recommend you read.
This Month's Poll and Question


Which of the following television shows do you enjoy on a regular basis? Please check as many as apply.

"30 Rock"
"The Big Bang Theory"
"Boardwalk Empire"
"CSI" (any version)
"Downton Abbey"
"Game of Thrones"
"The Good Wife"
"Law and Order: SVU"
"The Mentalist"
"Modern Family"
"NCIS" (any version)
"Nurse Jackie"
"The Office"
"Rizzoli and Isles"
"The Walking Dead"
I don’t watch television.
Other (Please specify up to three other shows that you enjoy on a regular basis.)

-Click here to answer the poll.


Name up to three television shows that you wish were still on the air.

-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 PANDEMONIUM by Lauren Oliver and BENEATH A METH MOON by Jacqueline Woodson. Tell us what you are reading here and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, March 23rd to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Click here to enter our Word of Mouth contest.
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