Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road
by MoiraYoung
459 pages
Teen Dystopian Fiction
Margaret K. McElderry Books (June 7, 2011)

From amazon.com:
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back. Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

An amazing first book by a very promising author. The characters were great! I even liked the bad guys. A real page-turner, the action and tension escalates with each and every page. I can't wait for the next one!  I just hope it is as satisfying as the first! This is a must-read if you enjoyed Hunger Games, The Maze Runner,  and The Knife of Never Letting Go.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Warped


Warped
by Maurissa Guibord
Delacorte Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (January 11, 2011)
336 pages
Teen Fantasy

From amazon.com:
Tessa doesn't believe in magic. Or Fate. But there's something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry she discovers in a box of old books. She finds the creature woven within it compelling and frightening. After the tapestry comes into her possession, Tessa experiences dreams of the past and scenes from a brutal hunt that she herself participated in. When she accidentally pulls a thread from the tapestry, Tessa releases a terrible centuries old secret. She also meets William de Chaucy, an irresistible 16th-century nobleman. His fate is as inextricably tied to the tapestry as Tessa's own. Together, they must correct the wrongs of the past. But then the Fates step in, making a tangled mess of Tessa's life. Now everyone she loves will be destroyed unless Tessa does their bidding and defeats a cruel and crafty ancient enemy.

A fun and magical new entry in the genre of "supernatural" teen romances. Having loved unicorns as a child this book brought back their magic to me. Tessa is a completely believable young heroine who is swept up into a chaotic twist of events. Will is a dashing young love interest that will capture your heart as he struggles to adjust to his new time and place in the fabric of life.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Enclave

Enclave
by Ann Aguirre
New York : Feiwel and Friends, 2011
young adult futuristic fiction
259 pages

Product Description from amazon.com

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE In Deuce's world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed 'brat' has trained into one of three groups-Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear--to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She's worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing's going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce's troubles are just beginning...

A wannabe Hunger Games doesn't quite meet the mark. Enclave has a promising storyline that seems to borrow a lot from other post-apocalyptic fiction yet doesn't mesh it all together very well. I found it a bit boring and repetitive at times though the character of Fade was enough to keep me intrigued throughout. The main girl, Lina, was not my favorite. If you like to read anything and everything post-apocalyptic (especially for teens) then this book is a good one. If you are more discriminatory than that you might want to bypass it for others that are more well-written. The ending does leave room for another, but it is absolutely not necessary.

between shades of gray

between shades of gray
by Ruta Sepetys
New York : Philomel Books, 2011
young adult historical fiction
344 pages

From amazon.com, product description:
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously - and at great risk - documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

I had to borrow the description from amazon as I couldn't say it better myself. Lina is an amazing character complete with flaws and some attitude. So many of the side characters prove to have layers as well that it is an amazing group of people to hope with, love with, suffer with, mourn with and rejoice with throughout the novel. A must-read novel that covers a time and place in world history that is generally overshadowed by Hitler's craziness. A beautiful and impressive first novel for the author.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Zoe and Robot, Let's Pretend!

Zoe and Robot, Let's Pretend!
by Ryan Sias
A Balloon Toons Book
Maplewood, NJ : Blue Apple Books : Distributed in the U.S. by Chronicle Books, 2011
unpaged comic book

Zoe struggles mightily to get her friend Robot to play with her. She quickly learns that his mechanical mind is too literal for make-believe, or is it?
Another great comic book for beginning readers. The illustrations are fabulous and the story does a fantastic job of showing what one child can do with just their imagination.

Doggie Dreams

Doggie Dreams
by Mike Herrod
A Balloon Toons Book
unpaged comic book
Maplewood, NJ : Blue Apple Books, 2011

Have you ever wondered what your dog dreams about when he sleeps? I mean, dogs must have lots of dreams considering how much they sleep. Jake's person wonders this very thing and let me tell you, it is quite the enlightening few chapters that follow. Jake dreams of eating, singing and being a hero. But they are not any dream you would expect a dog to have. Bright but uncluttered illustrations accompany this perfect comic book for early readers. The last page is particularly adorable.

A Call for a New Alphabet

A Call for a New Alphabet
by Jef Czekaj
Watertown, MA : Charlesbridge, c2011
unpaged informative graphic novel (?)

The Letter X is quite discontent with his placement in the alphabet. He stirs up trouble and mischief in Alphabet City trying to rally the other letters to his cause. Eventually he contemplates (or has nightmares about) all the responsibility each letter has. He realizes that there is a purpose to everyone and that maybe he should be happy with who, and where, he is. The illustrations are hilarious, look closely at them as each letter sports several things that begin with that letter; for example "P" is a "pirate" in a "pool" and "B" has a "beard" and is wearing a "beanie" while "bouncing" a "ball". A fun and very informative book. So many grammar rules are covered that it could've been confusing, yet in this story-format it made learning fun and easy.

small as an elephant

small as an elephant
by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2011
juvenile realistic fiction
275 pages

From amazon.com:
Ever since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, sometimes loving and fun, other times caught in a whirlwind of energy and "spinning" wildly until it's over. But Jack never thought his mom would take off during the night and leave him at a campground in Acadia National Park, with no way to reach her and barely enough money for food. Any other kid would report his mom gone, but Jack knows by now that he needs to figure things out for himself - starting with how to get from the backwoods of Maine to his home in Boston before Social Services catches on. With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins the long journey south, a journey that will test his wits and his loyalties - and his trust that he may be part of a larger herd after all.

Jack is an amazingly tough yet tender-hearted  little boy. He knows his mother is not "normal" but he feels he has to keep their secrets so they can stay together. I won't be a bit surprised to see this on the Newbery lists next year. It has several elements that seem to reappear in many winning titles, the family troubles, the independent child testing his survival skills, and some brief but powerful encounters with secondary characters.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Dad, My Hero

My Dad, My Hero
by Ethan Long
unpaged picture book
Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, c2011

An adorable picture book where a young boy describes the many ways his father is not a superhero. "He cannot shoot webs out of his wrists...And I know he can't bend steel with his bare hands." The big question is whether or not the boy is okay with not having a superhero for a father. Brightly colored, full-page illustrations are reminiscent of a comic strip from the Sunday funnies. The large text and simple yet effective sentences make it a great read-aloud or a fun story for an beginning reader.

The Hunger of the Seven Squat Bears

The Hunger of the Seven Squat Bears
by Emile Bravo
unpaged comic book
New York : Yen ; London : Little, Brown [distributor], 2011
The Seven Squat Bears are a comical yet lovably irritating mash-up of several fairy tales. While ignoring the well-intentioned advice of the third little pig, they build a house that will hopefully keep them safe and warm for the winter. Unfortunately the soon get tired of their only source of food, milk from their cow. So one little bear heads into town to trade it for some other food. If you know your fairy tales, I am sure you can guess what comes next?! The fairy tale fiasco continues with appearances by Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel. Brilliant illustrations combined with amusing text make this a winner for all ages.

Let's Try This Again

So obviously it doesn't work trying to put a list of what I read each week. I just read too darn much. So I am returning to the individual book entries.