Point – May 13, 2008

Em Watts is smart, confident, and happy with who she is – even if she doesn’t fit into the popular crowd at school.  She is content to spend time with her best friend, Christopher, and play Journeyquest until the wee hours of the morning.  She doesn’t pay much attention to fashion or pop culture unless her little sister is shoving it down her face in her latest ramble of “why Em is such a dork.” 

Everything changes on the day Em takes her little sister to the grand opening of a mega-store where the latest music sensation will be singing and signing autographs.  One freak accident later and Em isn’t Em anymore.

Without any time to adjust, Em is thrust into the world of beauty and fashion.  Where how she looks determines if people keep their jobs.  Who knew being beautiful was so much work?  How will Em survive without her usual comforts – especially Christopher?

AIRHEAD was a nice surprise.  Meg Cabot did a great job of weaving in the story of family and friendship.  This is a great choice if you are looking for a tame version of SKINNED by Robin Wasserman and it could even be paired with THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX – both deal with medical ethics.  What would you be willing to do in order to stay alive?











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Teen Libris – March 2009
(Borders Exclusive)

Will Hunter is no stranger to moving.  He has been to five schools in three years.  You might think his parents are the ones uprooting him all the time, but you’d be wrong.

Will is a demon hunter like his father and grandfather before him.  He has developed a way of making enough money to support his development of new weapons while at the same time providing a cover for his mother being “transferred” wherever he needs to go next.

Will spends his time monitoring demon activity, constantly looking for the tell-tale signs of evil.  His latest stop is Harrisburg, WA.  This once quiet town has recently suffered from disappearances, instances of severe bullying, and outright deviant behavior.

The only trustworthy person Will meets is Natalie.  Natalie’s sister is one of the teens to recently disappear.  She has always had a feeling something sinister was involved and once she sees the things Will deals with on a daily basis, her suspicions are confirmed.

In spite of his better judgement, Will decides to let Natalie into his world.  Never before has he trusted someone with his secret.  Doing so would put an innocent person in danger and as his feelings for Natalie grow, he realizes just how dangerous it can be.

Will and Natalie face the ultimate evil on their journey to find the people they’ve lost.  Will is confronted with knowledge that threatens his sense of self and is forced to make some big decisions.

Can Will face his demons and rid Harrisburg of its evil?

Personal Note:  I had a hard time debating between a 3 glasses rating and a 4 glasses rating.  On the one hand, I don’t think the writing was spectacular, but on the other hand, I wanted to keep reading.  I really enjoyed the story.  So, I went with the higher rating.





David Fickling Books – June 10, 2008

Stopmouth isn’t the most respected hunter in the village, but he is the fastest.  His speed makes him a valuable member of any hunting team because every hunting team must come back with flesh.  Lives depend on it.  The consequences of a failed hunt doesn’t just mean the possibility of starvation.  In Stopmouth’s world, if there isn’t enough flesh, members of the Tribe must volunteer to sustain their neighbors.  If there aren’t enough volunteers, the Tribe leaders choose people for this “honor”.  Stopmouth lives in a brutal world.

Life becomes very complicated for Stopmouth when a beautiful woman named Indrani comes into his life.  She was piloting one of the Globes that fly through the sky when she was attacked by a fellow pilot and forced to crash in the village.  Indrani speaks a different language and is feared by most people in the Tribe.  Only Stopmouth gets to know her and attempts to communicate with her.

After a great betrayal, Stopmouth is forced to run away and leave the home he’s always known, forfeiting his membership in the Tribe.  He takes Indrani with him and together, they face many dangers on their journey to safety.

Stopmouth learns a lot about his world and finds out things aren’t what they seem at all.  He is forced to make difficult decisions that affect him, Indrani, and his entire world.

THE INFERIOR is a fascinating story.  Stopmouth is a wonderful character and it is great to see him grow throughout the story.  He goes from an insecure, young boy to a respected and skilled leader. 

There could easily be a sequel to THE INFERIOR, but at the date of this post, there hasn’t been any word of one being planned.





The Inferior



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.







Speak – May 14, 2009

Every young citizen of the Alliance between the ages of sixteen and seventeen is given the Academy Entrance Exam.  The results of the test determines which Academy the student will attend. Academy 7 is the most prestigious school in all of the Alliance and only the students with the top 50 scores are invited to attend each year.

Aerin Renning and Dane Madousin both receive invitations to Academy 7 and both decide to accept for their own, very different, reasons.  Aerin has some deep, dark secrets that could ruin her chances at the Academy and guards herself against exposure by isolating herself from others.  She spends her time studying about the politics and history of the Alliance in order to excel in her classes so she can secure a return invitation the next year.

Dane is the son of a very powerful man.  Not only is his father a successful General, but he is also on the Council, the small group of people who governs the Alliance.  Attending Academy 7 isn’t Dane’s dream, but in order to spite his father, he decides to make the most of his time there.  Dane soon excels in his studies and holds the number one position in every class except one – Personal Combat.  There is one person that bests him in Combat on a daily basis – Aerin.

After a disciplinary action forces Aerin and Dane to work together, he tries to break through the wall that she has created. Slowly, as they learn more about each other, their secrets come out and, together, they come to terms with their problems.  

Anne Osterlund has created an interesting science fiction world for ACADEMY 7.  Both Aerin and Dane change and grow throughout the course of the story and witnessing their failures and triumphs is interesting.  The story has a satisfying ending and could easily be a stand alone novel, but on the other hand, there are story lines that could definitely continue.  We’ll have to wait and see what the author has in mind.  Click here to visit her website.





Academy 7

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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.

19022411Jenna doesn’t remember who she is.  She has only been awake from a coma for about two weeks and getting used to being around her parents and grandmother, even though she doesn’t know them at all, is tough. 

In hopes of restoring her memory and to give her something to do when she can’t go outside, Jenna’s mother gives her a task to complete.  Just about every moment of Jenna’s life was captured on video – from when she was in the womb until shortly before the terrible accident that put her in the coma.  There are several disks that document her sixteen years on Earth and Jenna makes the decision to watch each and every one of them in order from beginning to end. She is determined to remember who she is, what put her in the situation she is in now, and why, it seems, she and her family are in hiding.

THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX is an enthralling story.  Jenna’s character develops before your eyes as she learns more and more about her past life and gets to explore a little of her new one.  Mary E. Pearson devotes time to creating several well-rounded characters and an extremely satisfying, yet surprising, ending.

If you enjoy THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX you might want to read SKINNED by Robin Wasserman.  They are similar in many ways, but where it looks like SKINNED is the first in a trilogy THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX is a wonderful stand-alone.