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Random House Books for Young Readers – January 27, 2009

Liza didn’t witness the war between the humans and the Faeries, but she lives with the after effects.

In Franklin Falls, a town devastated like all the others during the war, the townspeople are fearful of magic.  Since the war and all the death caused by the Faeries, they fell nothing good can come from it. 

When Liza’s baby sister was born with eyes as silver as moonlight and faerie-pale hair as clear as glass, her father did what was expected.  He took her up on a hillside and abandoned her.  He said, “If the faerie folk want her, let them take her.”  Liza slipped out of the house later that night in an attempt to save her sister, but it was too late – the animals got there first.

Three weeks after losing her sister, Liza’s life changes forever.  Strange visions keep popping into her head.  The visions scare her and lead her to believe she has magic inside of her just like her sister did.  Liza runs from everything she’s known.  She runs away from Franklin Falls and into the woods she’s been warned against all her life.   Her only companions are her cat and a boy named Matthew – who has secrets of his own.

Together they make their way through dangerous terrain hoping to find answers to the many questions they have.  What they find out leaves them questioning everything they’ve been taught.

BONES OF FAERIE is a fast-paced story.  As a reader, it is easy to get attached to the characters.  Liza’s visions are marked by italics for easy identification throughout the story and the language is clean which makes this appropriate for even young fantasy fans. 

Click here to visit the BONES OF FAERIE website.

Be sure to stop by Janni Lee Simner’s page too.

As a bonus, here is a short story set in the same world as BONES OF FAERIE.





Bones of Faerie





Little, Brown Young Readers – May 1st, 2008

Imagine, in the blink of an eye, in the flash of a blue light, you and every other human on the planet are reduced to less than six inches tall.

Imagine what it would be like in the world where nothing else was reduced in size.  All the animals, insects, food, and shelter remained their regular size.  Your backyard literally becomes a jungle.

IN THE SMALL presents just that scenario.  Survivors struggle to make it to the safety of the home of their make shift leader, picking up stragglers along the way.  Word has it, there are demons in their midst so Mouse, the leader, does his best to keep everyone together until they they make it to the safety of his home where he is hoping he’ll find his mother, sister, and grandfather alive. 

The story moves very fast and anyone who enjoys reading about the post-apocalypse and survival will love this graphic novel.  It is scheduled to be made into a movie in 2010.





In the Small

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Walker Books for Young Readers – April 29, 2008

Someone created a deadly virus.

Someone let it loose on their enemy.

Someone didn’t realize how powerful it was.

The creators didn’t know that the virus would spread and kill everyone in its path. Including themselves.  The virus killed everyone except for the children.

On a day like any other, families made their way to the Isles of Wonder. The Isles of Wonder is a gigantic theme park consisting of five islands, each specializing in a certain type of entertainment.  The kids that showed up on this particular day didn’t realize they would have to call it home after their parents and older siblings dropped dead in the middle of the park without warning.

Josh, along with his sister Maddie, are just two of the thousands of children left wandering the islands alone after the catastrophe.  It takes a couple of days for them to snap out of the shock of losing their parents and older sister, but when a voice booms from the top of the Palace calling everyone to listen, Josh and Maddie go to listen to what the speaker has to say. 

Milo, whose father used to be in charge of the sound system at the Isle of Wonder decides it’s time to get people organized.  Taking on the persona of King Neptune, he attempts to enlist vounteers to serve as a committee to make decisions for the larger group.  Soon, children are pulling together to dispose of the dead bodies, take care of the children that are too young to care for themselves, and make sure there is enough food and supplies to last them a long time.

Everything seems to be working.  People are getting along, no one is going hungry, and kids are working themselves into a comfortable rhythm of day to day tasks.  But, the question that many people have is, “What is outside the park?”  When Josh and his friend Zoe witness lights in the distance, they decide to tell Milo, hoping he’ll put together a scouting party to see if there is anyone else alive. 

Can everything stay perfect in their fairy tale world?  Will King Neptune allow people to leave the Isle of Wonder?  How far will people go to remain in power?

NEPTUNE’S CHILDREN is a fascinating page-turner.  The author creates a relatively safe world for the setting.  The children never face hunger, lack supplies, or have to deal with harsh weather.  The story relys on the interactions between the characters.  Josh, the main character, isn’t always in the core group of decision makers, so the reader has to suffer right along with him when he doesn’t know what is going on around the park.

NEPTUNE’S CHILDREN would be a good suggestion for someone who enjoyed GONE by Michael Grant.  There are many similarities.  GONE is just categorized as a fantasy and involves supernatural elements whereas NEPTUNE’S CHILDREN does not.  This is a great choice for anyone that enjoys the post-apocalyptic/survival genre.





Neptune’s Children



The Chicken House – April 1, 2009

It’s been forty-three years since the Animal Plague forced everyone to move behind the safety of The Wall. Every animal on the planet was effected by the plague, causing them to turn viscious and kill anyone that got in their path. People still have nightmares and are afraid to even look at pictures of animals.

Space is definitely a problem since the construction of The Wall. Only about a third of the planet is available for living space since everything outside The Wall is dead from the poison gas used to kill the animals and their habitats. Every available space is covered with concrete to make room for people. There isn’t any “real” food anymore since animals don’t exist and there isn’t any place for food to grow. People have to live on top of each other and those unfortunate enough to live on the lower levels have to battle the mold that grows everywhere because of the moisture and lack of sunlight. Life is dreary in the Shadows (the lower levels).

Mika is a good kid, but He has been having a tough time lately though because he can’t get over the fact that his twin sister, Ellie, has disappeared. It’s been a year and everyone thinks she is dead – except Mika. He refuses to believe Ellie is gone.

Mika has even more to think about when the government introduces a new game and fitness program in the schools. He has an unexplainable distrust of anything to do with the Fit For Life program, but when he learns that participating in the games might lead him to Ellie, he puts everything he has into winning.

Emma Clayton does a great job of creating this post-apolcalyptic world for the reader. Science Fiction elements like Pod Fighters, space travel, and mental telepathy quickly draw the reader into the story. Mika is a loveable character and you’ll be on the edge of your seat as he and his gaming partner, Audrey, navigate their way through a sinister plan cooked up by an evil government.

The ending definitely leaves room for a sequel.







Delacorte Press – April 14, 2009

Mary’s world is surrounded by the moans and shuffles of the Unconsecrated.  The Unconsecrated look for ways to breach the fences that protect her village.  They try to find weakness in the metal links.  They reach through trying to grab hold of anyone unfortunate enough to walk too close to the fence.  Mary’s world is based in fear.  Fear that the Unconsecrated will one day break through and devour everyone in the village.

Mary’s mother goes to the fences everyday to look into The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  She is searching for a glimpse of her husband who disappeared in the Forest months ago.  Mary’s mother is the only one that remains hopeful that he’ll come back to her unharmed.  Mary and her brother Jed, a Guardian, makes sure their mother never goes to the fences alone – afraid she’ll get too close if she sees her husband.  When Jed is off on a fence repair mission and Mary gets held up doing laundry, her mother does the unthinkable.  She gets too close to the Forest and is bitten by an Unconsecrated.  

The ramifications of this disastrous event leave Mary with no choice but to live with the Sisters.  The Sisters hold the knowledge of the village and make the rules for the community.  They never marry, but instead devote their lives to the Scriptures.  Mary must decide if she can settle for a life with the Sisters or if she is going to keep faith in the stories of a life outside the village and beyond The Forest of Hands and Teeth that her mother always told her about. However, after a major fence breach, her decision is made for her as she must brave the Forest along with Jed and his wife, Mary’s best friend, the man Mary loves, and the man who loves her.  Emotional complications just add to the stress of staying alive when they are surrounded by the Unconsecrated.

THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH is an enthralling post-apocalyptic masterpiece.  Carrie Ryan’s description of the unrelenting Unconsecrated comes through loud and clear to the reader.  At times, the suspense will cause you to put the book down for fear of what you might read next only to pick it up again because you can’t wait to find out.  You’ll be able to feel the boney fingers of each and every Unconsecrated reaching for you as you turn page after page of this amazing novel.  The ending definitely leaves the reader begging for the next installment in this amazing series.





The Forest of Hands and Teeth

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Things aren’t getting any easier in the FAYZ (Fall-out Alley Youth Zone) since the big Thanksgiving Battle against Caine and the other Coates Academy kids.  In fact, everything seems to be going from bad to worse.  Sam, the appointed leader of Perdido Beach, is feeling the pressure of all the day to day decisions.  The biggest problem that everyone is facing is starvation.  With the fear and confusion that followed the disappearance of everyone 15 and over, the kids that were left did what they wanted – including eating what they wanted. Nothing was done to preserve food for the future, so meats and vegetables went bad, leaving food in short supply.  The kids in Perdido Beach and Coates Academy are left eating what canned food is left.  One day it might be asparagus for breakfast, wax beans for lunch, and hot dog relish for dinner.  No one is in good spirits and when Caine recovers from his encounter with The Darkness and makes another move for power, things only get worse.

Sam is suffering from all the stress, Little Pete’s powers are getting scarier every day, some of the kids that haven’t developed powers are beginning to start trouble, and important people are switching sides.  Danger is at its all time high.  Death seems imminent.  

Michael Grant has produced a very satisfying sequel.  The tension and excitement in the story is palpable.  Character development continues to be a strong point.  The new characters that are introduced add to the plot, but our favorites from GONE continue to play a large role in the story.  HUNGER is the second book in a six-part series.  Michael Grant is currently working on the third which will be titled LIES.  HUNGER will be released June 2009, but be sure to read GONE first, you’ll need the backstory to really appreciate the sequel.

After the floods, Earth Mother created sheltered environments on the islands that remained.  Honor’s family is relocated to Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea.  The island has been enclosed with a barrier that is supposed to protect against wind and rain.  The light is placed in the sky by a projector – a different color to represent every hour.

Honor and her family don’t fit in.  Her parents stay out past curfew, they don’t teach her things other people on Island 365 know – they didn’t even name her right.

Eventually Honor meets Helix, a kind boy her age.  After their parents disappear, they begin to realize that Island 365 has a terrible secret and together they begin the process of uncovering the truth.

Allegra Goodman has created an interesting addition to the post apocalyptic genre.  You’ll be hoping for a sequel as soon as you get to the end of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISLAND.