Showing posts from June, 2010


by Isabelle Carmody is a series book that, I can tell, really requires reading the whole series to "get." It was recommended highly, so I'm going to try book 2, Farseekers, as well. While Penguin published it in Australia, here it's under the auspices of the publisher Tor, which is usually home to more adult stuff in the states. It's a post-nuclear-holocaust world, we think, although the forbidding of all things from before has made it difficult to tell exactly what happened. Some of the children born since the disaster known as The Great White have unusual mental powers. However, the religious sect that is the current law of the land has forbidden all such powers, condemning people who have them to death or banishment to Obernewtyn, a place rumored to do experiments on those banished. Our young heroine, Elspeth Gordie, is unsure about the powers she has, and her process of finding out what she can do also becomes the reader's process. This bogs down oc

Bite Me not an instruction for any blog readers that may be out there. No, it's the title of Parker Blue's teen vampire novel. This is more Buffy than Twilight, and in fact heroine Val references Buffy in her own vampire-slaying adventures, as a fictional story (whereas hers is the real thing, of course). Val is a tough heroine who becomes sympathetic right away when, on her 18th birthday, her mother and stepfather kick her out of the house. This really isn't her fault, however. It has to do with the fact that her father was a part-incubus, and Val is part-succubus. Val's vampire-slaying has been, primarily, a way to slake her inner demon's lust. But Val's mother only sees the bad influence on her other, non-demon daughter Jen. The drama here isn't her survival, which is assured relatively quickly and easily due to the interventions of other part-demons who have been watching out for her. And, luckily, she lands a job with the San Antonio police, who

Diana Wynne Jones

Juliana just let me know that she's heard through the blog-grapevine some sad news about Diana Wynne Jones, which is that she has recently opted to cease chemotherapy ( ). Here's a blog post about sending fan mail, which now would indeed be a good time to do: I sent my own little heartfelt note today. However, it seems to me that anytime is a good time to send fanmail to Diana Wynne Jones! In my note, I pointed to The Lives of Christopher Chant and Dark Lord of Derkholm as my two personal favorites, the former because it details a situation in which a child has to learn to be skeptical of adult motives and the latter because it offers metal-level commentary on the tropes of fantasy while also being emotionally engaging and having a rousing good plot. I also love having almost-too-many characters to keep track of, as long as the author gives us good reason to ca

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

I have always been a fan of wacky tales of bunches of kids together. I am also a long time fan of stories of kids with Special Powers, among them the original Witch Mountain books by Alexander Key (the movies were just ok). What I enjoy about this sequel to The Mysterious Benedict Society is that it combines both of these features. Four kids with extraordinary (and complementary) talents have to save the world, this time by saving Mr. Benedict himself from his evil twin. Author Trenton Lee Stewart writes in self-consciously unrealistic style, which always helps me with the suspension of disbelief (that I was complaining about in reading City of Ember). Because, if the author knows it's just a story, somehow I get very free and easy with belief/disbelief. And the kids are fun to read about. The four stunningly gifted characters are back, again, and if the first book was Reynie's book, this one belongs to Sticky if it belongs to anyone. Reynie is still the central probl

The Boyfriend League

Why is it that I find it so much harder to remember to blog stuff I read on my kindle? It's probably the way that physical objects, like library books that need returning, beg for my attention in a way that hidden bundles of digital text do not. Speaking of attention, Rachel Hawthorne's bubblegum page-turner of a YA novel, The Boyfriend League , will not keep one's attention for long, but it's the perfect beach read for your fave preteen. Dani and her friend Bird are baseball fans, so they convince their families to host players from a college team for the summer. Hoping, of course, to find themselves boyfriends. Which (wait for it, big shocker coming) they do. Interestingly, it's Dani's apparently predictably shallow sister Tiffany who actually provides some of the more surprising content, not by becoming deep, but simply by refusing to over-dramatize the boy troubles that threaten to come between her sister and herself. Dani at first hooks up with Mac, w