Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Best Man by Richard Peck

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we can't wait to release.



The Best Man by Richard Peck. 240 p. Penguin Young Readers Group, September 20, 2016. 9780803738393.

I first saw this on The Nerdy Book Club about two weeks ago and immediately added the title to my standing book order. There was no publisher synopsis online but it doesn't matter. It's a new book by Richard Peck = automatic purchase!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - 10 Recent 5 Star Reviews on Goodreads

This week's TTT theme over at Broke and Bookish is 10 Recent 5 Star Reviews. I just added a picture book today that just tickled me, so I will count ten books backward and list them regardless of audience:


Playtime by Jeff Mack. Penguin Young Readers Group, May 10, 2016. 9780399175985.

This turn-the-tables bedtime book is laugh-out-loud funny. Adults will definitely not mind requests for repeated reading. I just read this yesterday and will be revisiting it again for a full review soon.


Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford. Candlewick Press, August, 2015. 9780763665319.

This multiple-award winning verse biography deserves close reading.


Free Verse
by Sarah Dooley. Reviewed here.


In the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith. Random House Audio Publishing Group, January, 2009. Tragic with a capital T - this is a book that you read with your heart in your throat and forget to breathe.


One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the recycling women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul. Lerner Publishing Group, February, 2015. 9781467716086.

Ever since reading Plastic Ahoy by Patricia Newman, I've redoubled my efforts to recycle and have taken to trying to avoid plastic. It is really hard! I love the solution in this book!


Bird and Squirrel on the Run by James Burks. Scholastic Inc., August, 2012. 9780545312837.

These two crack me up. There are three so far and I've loved them all.

 

After and Soon by Morris Gleitzman. 

These are the fourth and fifth entries in the Felix and Zelda  series that began with Once. Once is my go-to book for younger readers who are interested in reading historical fiction about the Holocaust. It's short and accessible. Invariably, readers return asking for more so they go on to read Then and Now. I recently learned that these two were published in Australia but only available here in the U.S. as ebooks and audios. 


The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier. Amulet Books, May, 2014. 9781419711442.

Creepy scary!


Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee. Atheneum/ Caitly Dlouhy Books, March, 2016. 97814422825.

One of my 2016 faves! Reviewed here.


Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October, 2015. 978054462229.

A must-read! Review here.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Non-Fiction Monday: The Impossible Voyage of Kon-Tiki by Deborah Kogan Ray


The Impossible Voyage of Kon-Tiki by Deborah Kogan Ray. unpgd. Charlesbridge, October, 2015. 9781580896207. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review)

I vividly recall reading Thor Heydahl's Kon-Tiki as a kid as well as seeing the documentary. As a librarian, the book happened to be in my collection, but never circulated. I could never bring myself to weed it. I finally did weed it, though with a heavy heart. I tried hand-selling it but the book was old and unattractive. 

Perhaps this attractive, new informational picture book will resuscitate interest in this fascinating experiment. When Thor Heyerdahl was still in college studying anthropology, he spent a year in the Polynesian Islands. While there, he noted carvings that resembled the style uses in South America and thought it might be possible that the islands were populated from South America rather than from Asia as was long theorized. Heyerdahl  was poo-poohed whenever he tried to assert his theory. When one professor jokingly asked if he would be willing to try to make the trip himself on a raft, Heyerdahl set out to do so.

With quotes from Heyerdahl embedded in the text, Deborah Kogan Ray's storytelling engages the reader. Her evocative watercolors vividly depict a variety of scenes from his 101-day voyage. The end-pages are decorated with a map of the sea voyage and currents. There's plenty of back-matter - an author's note, a brief biography, websites and books for further reading and source notes.

All-in-all, a worthy addition to the 910 section of the collection.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Dear Darren Shan

Dear Darren Shan,

I had the pleasure of attending a Little, Brown breakfast preview at ALA Midwinter, in Seattle (I think). You were the super secret guest that LB previews are known for and you talked about your newest series, Zom-B. We all received finished copies and I waited on line for you to sign mine.



Now, I must say, horror is not my genre but I read it from time to time in order to have something to recommend in Reader's Advisory for my students who love horror. I read the first five books of your Cirque du Freak series and always have at least one student fly through all twelve books each school year. I read Zom-B and though it was a bit creepy for me, I knew it would appeal to some of my students so I booktalked it. Sure enough, it went out and was returned with a request for the next book.

Thankfully, you planned to drop a new one every six months so my students did not need to wait long. I need to make a confession here. I lost track of the series. Fans must've graduated and I must not have had students asking for horror so I stopped at five books. That changed this September. 

Early this school year, the two eighth grade language arts teachers who co-teach the BSI (basic skills instruction) students came to me to schedule a booktalk. They had a goal for the year. They wanted their students to not only read, but develop a love for it. They asked me to compile a list of books to hook reluctant readers. I put Zom-B on the list. It went out immediately and generated a waiting list.

The first boy to read it, flew through it and asked for the second, then third, then fourth. When he checked out the fifth book, I realized that I had better get the sixth and seventh. I wasn't ready to commit to getting the rest that were available yet; but within a few weeks, I needed to run out to Barnes & Noble one weekend to grab them. When I gave him the eleventh book in early November, I told him that book twelve wasn't due out till spring, he hung his head and groaned.

At that point, the series was clearly a class favorite. Hoping to capitalize on the enthusiasm, the teachers asked me if you Skyped. Thanks to Victoria Stapleton, I was put in contact with someone who knew that you did! Not only that but your visit was free! You may remember the emails flying back and forth across the Atlantic because we had a hard time securing a date on our side. You may remember because we were your last Skype visit before your holiday break. You may remember because we were all wondering what the intermittent thundering noise was.

Our visit was amazing! We learned so much about you and the the series and that there was a secret Zom-B title (Zom-B Circus) available only as an ebook. (Of course, I put the order in post-haste.)



The students were so energized! They talked about it for days in and outside of their language arts classes. Other students began asking why they couldn't have a visit. I can't begin to thank you for what you did for them. They identify as readers thanks to you. 

They didn't all get into the series but they loved hearing from a real author. They don't all read as quickly as your #1 fan, but more than a few are doggedly working through them. A second boy just checked out Zom-B Bride. I offered a high-five and proclaimed, "You have read eleven books this so far this year!" He is so proud.

I was reminded to check the publication date of Zom-B Goddess. It just released last week. There's no money left in my budget, but I'm springing for it. I spend a fair amount of my own money on books for my collection - usually books I have to have NOW, like Zom-B Goddess. I don't mind. These two boys NEED to read it before they leave middle school.

I am so lucky to have these teachers as colleagues. They never gave up on their goal to help their students love reading. I am so honored to have helped them. They are the best. I love my job. I get to share my love of children's literature with a community of young readers every single day. But moments like these, watching the enthusiasm of these students who didn't call themselves readers before this year and your books - it doesn't get better.

So, thank you sir.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

What's New? Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

Two for review this week:

Sports Illustrated Kids: My First Book of Baseball: mostly everything explained about the game. by Beth Bugler and Mark Bechtel. Illustrated by Bill Hinds. A Rookie Book. 48 p. Liberty Street/ Time Inc., April 5, 2016. 9781618931672.

Publisher synopsis: My First Book of Baseball, the second Rookie Book from Sports Illustrated Kids, coaches young kids through the game of baseball with a visual retelling of an actual MLB game--from the first pitch to the game winning hit! Strikes, outs, steals, foul balls, home runs and more are all explained using a fun mix of Sports Illustrated action photography, simple text with engaging graphics, and a full glossary of essential baseball terms and phrases. An illustrated rookie player character also appears on every page, providing fun facts to help the next generation of fans better understand the game. Perfect for beginning readers, My First Book of Baseball is meant to be a shared reading experience between parents and their young minor league rookies before, during, and after the ball game.


Sports Illustrated Kids: Baseball Then to Wow! 80 p. Time Home Entertainment Inc., April 5, 2016. 9781618931429.

Publisher synopsis: Baseball: Then to WOW! shows readers how baseball has evolved from the early days of the 1920s to the game it is today. Using MLB action photographs, illustrations, stories, and trivia, the book is a journey through time both for baseball fans and those new to the game. Kids will learn how basic equipment has changed from fingerless gloves to specially tailored leather-bound mitts and how the evolution of game strategy has transformed the sport, players, and equipment. Players throughout history are stacked up against each other in every position so fans can dream up the perfect fantasy team with Babe Ruth playing alongside Hank Aaron and Reggie Jackson. A fun-filled section of the book explores everything fan culture-from the perfect ballpark frank to the importance of baseball cards and video games in popularizing the sport.

I'll be participating in a blog tour for these two soon.

Yesterday (Friday), I attended a preview of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. I plan on writing a blog post with more details a bit later today, but here's a teaser photo of the books I am most excited to read. Actually, I'm excited to read the entire list, but I have to be realistic.


The super-secret guest was none other than Javaka Steptoe, whose work I adore. He has not only illustrated, but penned a biography of Jean-Michel Basquiat called Radiant Child. LBYR always prints a promotional poster for their featured speakers and I waited to have it signed.





Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday memes: Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.


Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung. 265 p. Arthur A. Levine Books/ Scholastic Inc., April 26, 2016. 9780545

Publisher synopsis: The next person who compares Chloe Cho with famous violinist Abigail Yang is going to HEAR it. Chloe has just about had it with people not knowing the difference between someone who's Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. She's had it with people thinking that everything she does well -- getting good grades, winning first chair in the orchestra, et CETera -- are because she's ASIAN.

Of course, her own parents don't want to have anything to DO with their Korean background. Any time Chloe asks them a question they change the subject. They seem perfectly happy to be the only Asian family in town. It's only when Chloe's with her best friend, Shelly, that she doesn't feel like a total alien.

Then a new teacher comes to town: Ms. Lee. She's Korean American, and for the first time Chloe has a person to talk to who seems to understand completely. For Ms. Lee's class, Chloe finally gets to explore her family history. But what she unearths is light-years away from what she expected.

First line: The recipe for Korean dumplings on the K-Chow Goddess's blog has a picture of her dumplings after they've been made but before they've been cooked, and they look so good you can practically smell them.

Page 56: 
     "I mean, why don't you ever talk about Korea? I ask you stuff and you totally ignore me!"
     Dad stopped, still facing away from me, and put his hands on his hips. He blew out a long breath, turned around, pulled the stepladder away from the loach tank, and sat on it.
     "Aren't parents supposed to be happy when their kids want to talk about stuff like this? Why aren't you happy??" I crossed my arms. The apron made a plasticky crinkle sound against my chest.
      "Chloe, I'm happy, honestly. And I'm not trying to ignore you, it's just..."
     "It's just that you ARE."
      It's not that simple, honey. Talking about Korea...it's complicated, and painful."
     "So what? I'm not in kindergarten, you know."

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Arc Review: Free Verse by Sarah Dooley

Free Verse by Sarah Dooley. 335 p. G.P. Putnam's Sons, March 17, 2016. 9780399165030. (Review from arc courtesy of editor)

This quiet novel, part of which is in verse, packs a powerful punch. There is so much loss in young Sasha's life, it's no wonder she has anger issues. Her mother abandoned the family when she was five. Then her father died in a mining accident when she was eight, leaving her and her brother Michael to fend for themselves. Michael, who desperately wanted to join the military and leave Caboose, West Virginia, put his dreams on hold to care for Sasha. When he died fighting a fire, Sasha believes she has no one. 

Luckily for her, there are a number of caring adults in her life who won't give up on her despite how many times she runs away or erupts violently. Phyllis takes her in to foster and tries to provide stability and space. Slowly, Sasha lets her guard down and when family is discovered right next door, Sasha warily begins to hope. But then a new loss causes her to stop speaking. She retreats into her poetry notebook, where she finds her voice.

Ms. Dooley (Livie Owen Lived Here) paints a vivid picture of the hardships that residents of a mining community face - the dangers for the workers, the poverty, as well as social problems such as addictions, that might arise. But all is not bleak, there is beauty, even in the grime, and a strong sense of community as well. This novel is peopled with memorable characters.

The language is lovely. I dog-earred quite a few pages to revisit. Lines like, "We see houses in town that lean toward each other like they're cheating on a test." (p.196)

I agree with the marketing blurb that teachers and librarians should give Blank Verse to fans of Sharon Creech, specifically, Walk Two Moons. Fans of emotionally wrenching books, or first-person narratives, or introspective, character-driven books will appreciate Sasha's voice. Don't miss this gem.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Geeks Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we can't wait to release.



The Geeks Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash. 256p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, June 14, 2016. 9781481456531.

Publisher synopsis: John Hughes meets Comic Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author ofThree Day Summer.


Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy...
Archie and Veronica...
Althena and Noth...
...Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.
When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be...even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.

I really enjoyed Ms. Tash's Three Day Summer (S&S 2015). I was lucky enough to be included in a blog tour.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I Love But Haven't Talked About

Once upon a time and another blog platform ago, I reviewed nearly every book I read. Then, I switched to Blogger and used the time I spent trying to write a decent review for reading. Now, I read nearly a book a day but don't get around to reviewing much. 

Here are ten I meant to review:


Character, Driven by David Lubar. 304 p. tom Doherty Associates, March, 2016. 978076516332.

Oh! I'm bad, really, really bad. I received a bound manuscript of this unputdownable story last year and never blogged about it. I got it so early that it wasn't even in Goodreads yet and I didn't record it in my 2015 reading! I am a huge fan of Mr. Lubar's and, while this story contains his trademark wordplay and humor, it is a gamechanger. I am definitely rereading this soon. Maybe I will even review it.


The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle. 288 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, March 29, 2016. 9781481404099.

This is what I wrote in my GR blurb: I could've swallowed this whole but the voice and writing is too wonderful to rush through. Funny, sad, infuriating, satisfying, genuine and wonderful.

This is one I'll definitely be rereading with my ears. I'm so psyched that Tim is performing his book because that was the voice in my head as I read the arc.


Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach. 320 p. Sourcebooks, May 3, 2016. 9781402291449.

There's still time to blog about this one before its release in May, and I should because it's getting hammered on GR. And, I don't know why. I really enjoyed it. It was a difficult read despite Taco's inordinately sunny attitude - but that's the point! This is my GR blurb: Oh Taco, Taco! How I ached for you! Your unrelenting optimism made me wince and want to adopt you! Talk about unreliable narrators!


Winter by Marissa Meyer. Lunar Chronicles #4. 800 p. Feiwel & Friends, November, 2016. 9780312642983.

How I adore this quartet of retold fairy tales interwoven with a sci-fi twist! And that cover! Oh! It's gorgeous!


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Six of Crows series #1. 480 p. Henry Hold and Co. Books for Young Readers, September, 2016. 9781627792127.

Wowzers! For some reason, I never got to read Bardugo's Shadow and Bone series. I will now that I've read this. My GR blurb: Epic world-building, memorable charters, unbearable suspense, surprising twists, a semi-cliffhanger ending leaving my anxious for the next installment.


The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett. Discworld series #41/ Tiffany Aching series #5. HarperCollins Publishers, September, 2015. 9780062429971.

Oh my, my. Such a bittersweet experience - loving the continuation of the Tiffany Aching's story whilst knowing there will be no more - ever. As usual, Stephen Briggs' performance was impeccable. I laughed. I cried. I want to reread all the Tiffany Aching books form the beginning. I want more. 


Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. 320 p. HarperCollins Publishers. April, 2015. 9780061134111.

Not since Matt de la Peña's I Will Save You have I been so totally immersed in the uncomfortable, terrifying, twisted mind of a mentally ill person. This is a brilliant, totally immersive work.









All three Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children books by Ransome Riggs.

I read all three with my ears, which means I missed out on the intriguing and creepy photos. Book one was not-so-successfully narrated by Jesse Bernstein but books 2 & 3 were spectacularly narrated by Kirby Heyborne. I cannot wait to view the movie!


The Truth about Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh. 352 p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, January, 2015. 9780316236621.

I just adore that cover! This debut has a fabulous voice. The book happens to be a fifth grade favorite at my school. 


Denton Little's Death Date by Lance Rubin. 352 p. Random House Children's Books, April, 2015. 9780553496963.

I actually read this debut with my ears. It was ably narrated by the author. I hear there is a sequel coming and am definitely going to add it to the tbr!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

What's New? Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

For review:

The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Savenaz Tash. 249 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, June 14, 2016. 97814814531.

Publisher synopsis: John Hughes meets Comic Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author ofThree Day Summer.


Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy...
Archie and Veronica...
Althena and Noth...
...Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.
When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be...even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.


How It Ends by Catherine Lo. 289 p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, June 7, 2016. 9780544540064.

Publisher synopsis: There are two sides to every story. 

     It’s friends-at-first-sight for Jessie and Annie, proving the old adage that opposites attract. Shy, anxious Jessie would give anything to have Annie’s beauty and confidence. And Annie thinks Jessie has the perfect life, with her close-knit family and killer grades. They're BFFs . . . until suddenly they're not. Told through alternating points of view, How It Ends is the story of a friendship from first meeting to breakup, set against a tumultuous sophomore year of bullying, boys, and backstabbing. 

     Catherine Lo makes her debut with an honest, nuanced tale about the intricacies of female friendship.


Guile by Constance Coop.er. 376 p. Clarion Books/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March, 2016. 9780544451711

Publisher synopsis: Yonie Watereye lives in the bayou. The water there is full of guile, a power that changes people and objects. Yonie, 16, makes a living investigating objects affected by guile, but in fact it’s her talking cat, LaRue, who has the power to see guile. 

     Yonie becomes aware that someone is sending harmful guile-changed objects to certain people, including herself. Her investigation becomes entwined with her hunt for the secrets of her mother’s past and leads her to discover dangers hidden within her own family. 

     In the suspenseful adventure that follows, Yonie and her furry sidekick face challenges that could end their adventuring forever.
That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday Memes: Free Verse by Sarah Dooley

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.



Free Verse by Sarah Dooley. 335 p. G.P. Putnam's Sons, March 17, 2016. 9780399165030.

Publisher synopsis: A moving, bittersweet tale reminiscent of Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons set in a West Virginia coal-mining town

When her brother dies in a fire, Sasha Harless has no one left, and nowhere to turn. After her father died in the mines and her mother ran off, he was her last caretaker. They’d always dreamed of leaving Caboose, West Virginia together someday, but instead she’s in foster care, feeling more stuck and broken than ever.


First line: Nobody tells me this is the last time I'll see my apartment off Route 10.

Page 56: I strum the strings, and their music makes me think of Phyllis, of the way her singing sounded when I first moved into her house. I wish I'd known her better then. If I knew her better, I'd have sat on my hands. I'd have kept myself under control, no matter what song she sang. Even if it was Judy's song.

I've actually had this for a while. It hurts me when things get lost in the tbr pile! Its book birthday was yesterday. It has received three starred reviews so far! I know just who is getting this lovely book when I am done.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt


Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt. 186 p. Clarion/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October, 2015. 9780544462229. (Purchased.)

Sixth grader, Jack Hurd relates the story of Joseph, the broken fourteen-year-old that his parents decide to foster. Joseph comes to the Hurds angry and withdrawn but they know how to handle angry and withdrawn. Mr. Hurd sets Joseph to work milking the cows even though Joseph has never been near a cow in his life, let alone milked one. For Jack, when Rosie the cow accepts Joseph immediately, that's all he needs to know. He just wishes that Joseph would stop calling him Jackie.

And that's all I'm going to say about this sad, powerful, not-to-be-missed tearjerker. Oh, there will be tears and quite possibly heaving sobs. I am officially gutted. I cannot talk about this book (and I have booktalked it) without tearing up. I cannot look at the cover without swallowing hard.

I swear, there are not many authors who can do what Gary D. Schmidt does in so few words. The economy, beauty, imagery and heart in his writing is astonishing. I would like to believe that I could identify his style in an auditory version of a blind taste test. In each book, he makes particularly effective use of repetition as a literary device.

I must admit that when I first heard the synopsis, my eyebrows rose. While I know that physically, it might be possible for a thirteen-year-old to father a child with another thirteen-year-old, how might one fashion a story around it without exploitation or sensationalism? (Or romanticism, even.) Leave it to Mr. Schmidt to craft such a story humanely.

Do not miss this. It's a must-purchase.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Star by Rick Yancey

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we can't wait to release.


The Last Star by Rick Yancey. Fifth Wave #3. 352 p. Penguin Young Readers Group, May 24, 2016. 9780399162435.

Publisher synopsis: The enemy is Other. The enemy is us. They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.
But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.
In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves . . . or saving what makes us human.

I do so enjoy all of Rick Yancey's books. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday Memes: The Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.


The Inside of Out
by Jenn Marie Thorne. 425 p. Dial Books/ Penguin Random House, May 31, 2016. 9780803740587.

Publisher synopsis: For fans of Stephanie Perkins, Meg Cabot, and Glee comes a hilarious, romantic, whip smart young adult novel about your best friend finding love before you do, and the lines you’ll cross to stay part of her life.
 
When her best friend Hannah comes out the day before junior year, Daisy is all set to let her ally flag fly. Before you can spell LGBTQIA, she’s leading the charge to end their school’s antiquated ban on same-sex dates at dances—starting with homecoming. And if people assume Daisy herself is gay? Meh, so what. It’s all for Hannah, right? It’s all for the cause. What Daisy doesn’t expect is for “the cause” to blow up—thanks to Adam, the cute college journalist whose interview with Daisy for his college newspaper goes viral, catching fire in the national media. With the story spinning out of control, protesters gathering, Hannah left in the dust of Daisy’s good intentions, and Daisy’s attraction to Adam practically written in lights, Daisy finds herself caught between her bold plans, her bad decisions, and her big fat mouth.
 
A Clueless or Emma for the modern age, this is a breezy, charming, incisive tale of growing up, getting wise, and realizing every story needs a hero—sometimes it's just not you.

First line: The day she told me, Hannah showed up with iced lattes and chocolate croissants, as if nothing had changed.

Page 56: 
     "Mom?" I gulped. "There's something I need to tell you."

     Mom swung her head around. Amazing how quickly she could go from theorizing I had a boyfriend back to theorizing I was gay.

     "I think I'm..." I bit my lip for maximum drama. "Hungry. What are we having for dinner?"

     "Salmon," she sighed, the trials of being my mother descending heavily upon her. "We're having quinoa and salmon."

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Blog Tour: Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee


Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee. 261 p. A Caitlyn Blouhy Book/ Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, March 8, 2016. 9781442482425. (Review from arc courtesy of Blue Slip Media)

Any school or children's librarian worth his or her salt takes Reader's Advisory very seriously. When you do, you read many, many books for children and young adults. If a book is quite exceptional, you start to make a mental list of the patrons you will share the book with. At least I do. I knew exactly who was getting Maybe a Fox. This is a lovely, lyrical story of loss. 

When you share books with a community of readers, there is, invariably, a portion of your reading community who love sad books; who gleefully share how much they cried and enthusiastically recommend their favorite weepies to you and their friends. Their devotion to the saddest of the sad books may dismay their parents. It might even cause some parents to apologize to you when they introduce themselves to you. 

If you are lucky enough to have such children in your life, give them this book.

Where to begin? Sylvie, Jules and her father were a tight triad of love and support since the girls' mother died suddenly many years earlier. Ever protective Sylvie supplied Jules' memories of their mother. She also was the fastest runner in their Vermont school. Jules was a rock hound who was always on the lookout for the perfect wishing rocks. The girls, and their best friend, Sam, would bestow a wish on such a rock and fling it into the Slip, a rather treacherous spot in a nearby river - a place their father told them to avoid.

One snowy morning, Sylvie ran off. Jules built a snow family that, inexplicably, included a fox while she waited. And waited. And waited. She finally followed Sylvie's tracks in the snow until they end abruptly at a root at the bank of the Slip.

Not only is Sylvie gone, but her body was never recovered. Jules and her father, reeling with the loss, draw closer together. But their's is not the only story of loss in their rural town. Even though Sam's brother, Elk, has returned from Afghanistan, his best friend, Zeke did not. Elk mourns his loss and Sam mourns his brother's change. Sam also longs to spot a catamount, an eastern cougar, in the woods.

Heavy material for middle grade, no? The two authors have a light hand as they weave a dual narrative - Jules' first-person story and a third person story of a vixen and her kits, one of whom is a girl. This little fox is no ordinary fox kit, but chosen to be a kennon, whose life and destiny will be inextricably bound to one human girl. While there is tremendous loss, there is slow, sure healing among this close-knit community. 

While the characters in Maybe a Fox are vividly real, there is so much to savor. The cover is absolutely gorgeous. The evocative rural Vermont setting may make readers long for a walk in the woods, possibly searching for Sam's mysterious totem, the catamount. The power of wishes, the hope for the return of a possibly extinct animal, the lore of magical foxes act as counterweights to the tragedy and help in the healing. 

There will be tears, many tears.

Maybe a Fox, has garnered multiple starred reviews. Kirkus called it "Intriguing as a story of connections with the animal world and, for perceptive readers, filled with solace." It is certainly on my list of 2017 Newbery contenders.

Click on this link to view a gorgeous trailer for that book created by Kathi Appelt's talented son and daughter-in-law.

Here are the stops on the blog tour:


Fri, Mar 4
Mon, Mar 7
Tues, Mar 8
Wed, Mar 9
Thurs, Mar 10
Fri, Mar 11
Mon, Mar 14
Tues, Mar 15
Wed, Mar 16
Thurs, Mar 17
Fri, Mar 18

About the authors:



Kathi Applelt is the New York Times best-selling author of more than forty books for children. Her novels for older readers include two National Book Award Finalists: The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp and The Underneath, which also was named a Newbery Honor book. Visit her at kathiappelt.com.



Alison McGhee is the New York Times best-selling author of Someday, as well as Firefly Hollow and the Bink and Gollie books. Visit her at alisonmcghee.com.

Thanks to Barb from Blue Slip for allowing me to share this memorable book.