Sunday, June 30, 2013

Taking Stock - June 2013

Total Posts: 17
Total Books Read this Month: 27
Total Books Read this Year: 207

Audio Books: 5/ 36
Debut Author: 2/ 14
Mount TBR Challenge: 2/ 14
Picture Books: 3/ 36

The Good: Hm-m.

The Bad: Fell behind my book-a-day between school overnight trips and end-of-school madness. 

The List:

181. Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh (6/1)
182. Chickenhare by Chris Grine (6/2)
183. Are You Experienced? by Jordan Sonnenblick (6/2)
184. The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf by Mark Teague (6/3)
185. The Favorite Daughter by Allen Say (6/3)
186. Revolutionary Friends by Selene Castrovilla (6/3)
187. Queenie: one elephant's story by Corinne Fenton (6/4)
188. Stranger Things (Looniverse #1) by David Lubar (6/4)
189. Rogue by Lyn Miller-Lachmann (6/4)
190. As Fast As Words Could Fly by Pamela M. Tuck (6/5)
191. Poison by Bridget Zinn (6/8)
192. Grumbles Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist by Jane Yolen & Rebecca Kai Dotlich (6/9)
193. Twerp by Mark Goldblatt (6/10)
194. Now by Morris Gleitzman (6/14)
195. Casualties of War (Vietnam: book four) by Chris Lynch (6/15)
196. Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs (6/15)
197. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (6/16)
198. Fat Angie by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo (6/18)
First Day of Summer Reading
199. (1) Hush: an Irish princess' tale by Donna Jo Napoli (6/22)
200. (2)Texting the Underworld by Ellen Booraem (6/23)
201. (3) Break Point by Kate Jaimet (6/23)
202. (4) Alien Deep: Revealing the Mysterious Living World at the Bottom of the Ocean by Bradley Hague (6/24)
203. (5) Too Cool for (This) School by Kristen Tracy (6/25)
204. (6) Son by Lois Lowry (6/26)
205. (7) Tony Baloney: School Rules by Pam Muñoz Ryan (6/26)
206. (8) The Sea of Monsters (Graphic Novel) by Rick Riordan (6/27)
207. (9) Primates: the Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani (6/27)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

StS is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Pop over there to ogle what other bloggers got.

I actually thought ahead to write and schedule this post as I will be at the ALA Annual conference in Chicago on Saturday. The only thing I have to do on Saturday is link it on Tynga's page.

For Review:

More Than This by Patrick Ness. 480 p. Candlewick Press, September, 2013. 9780763662582.

Publisher synopsis: A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .


The Vanishing Vampire: a monsterrific tale by David Lubar. 137 p. A Tom Dougherty Associates Book, May, 2013. 9780765330772.

Publisher synopsis: There’s something strange going on at Washington Irving Elementary School. People are turning into monsters—literally!
In The Vanishing Vampire, Sebastian’s life has become a real pain in the neck. It all started the night he walked home from the movies by himself. He sort of blacked out and the next morning, he woke up as a vampire. Now he has only one chance to turn back into a human. And time is running out….
With its blend of humor and horror, David Lubar’s middle-grade monsteriffic tales series will appeal to the same audience that has made his Weenies short story collections such a success.

How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli and Snake Hill by James Patterson and Chris Tebbits. (Middle School #4) 309 p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, June 24, 2013. 9780316231756.

Publisher synopsis: Rafe Khatchadorian, the hero of the bestselling Middle School series, is ready for a fun summer at camp--until he finds out it's a summer school camp! Luckily, Rafe easily makes friends with his troublemaking cabin mates and bunkmate, a boy nicknamed Booger-Eater, who puts up with endless teasing from the other kids. Rafe soon realizes there's more to a person than a nickname, though, and Booger-Eater might be the kind of friend you want on your side when the boys from the Cool Cabin attack.

Marco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz. 247 p. Roaring Brook Press, March, 2013. 9781596437210.

Publisher synopsis: Best friends Stephen and Marco attempt a go-for-broke heist to break into the high school prom and get Marco onstage to confess his love for (and hopefully steal the heart of) Benji, the adorable exchange student and bass player of the prom band.

That's what's new with me! What's new with you? Check back here next week for my ALA haul.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan

Adapted by Robert Venditti. Art by Attila Futaki. Color by Tamas Gaspar. 128 p. Hyperion Books for Children, July 2, 2013. 9781423145295. (Purchased)

Percy is about to complete a year of school without any drama or trauma. Unfortunately, on the last day of school, a game of dodgeball goes terribly wrong. Thankfully, Annabeth arrives to save the day but brings bad news. Camp Half-blood has been poisoned. Chiron is leaving. Nothing is the same. To make matters worse, the boy that Percy befriended at school turns out to be a cyclops and his half-brother. Percy's world is rocked. But there's a quest to be had and a prophecy to be fulfilled.

I read The Sea of Monsters wa-ay back in 2006, a full two years before I started blogging and probably 1000 books ago so I can't really call this a reread. It was almost like reading a new book. So I don't know what the adapters left on the cutting room floor. I just love what they have delivered. 

This. Book. Is. Gorgeous. 

The art leaps from the pages. It's luminous, energetic and quite frightening at times. It actually overpowers the text. I needed to read the pictures and then go back to read the words. Riordan's writing is very cinematic and the art does it justice. (I hear that Sea of Monsters is in production, or made. I hope that they get it right as the graphic artists have.)

I predicted that the graphic novel adaptation would be popular at my library when I reviewed The Lightning Thief back in 2010. Hyperion, what took so long? I do hope that it won't take quite so long for The Titan's Curse. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share titles we are eagerly awaiting.

One of my favorite books last year was Three Times Lucky for which debut author, Sheila Turnage won herself a Newbery Honor. The author has a companion releasing in 2014! I am really looking forward to visiting Tupelo Landing again.

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage. 256 p. Kathy Dawson Books/ Penguin, February 6, 2014. 

Publisher synopsis: Small towns have rules. One is, you got to stay who you are -- no matter how many murders you solve.

When Miss Lana makes an Accidental Bid at the tupelo auction and winds up the mortified owner of an old inn, she doesn't realize there's a ghost in the fine print. Naturally, Desperado Detective Agency (aka Mo and Dale) opens a paranormal division to solve the myster of the ghost's identity.  They've got to figure out who the ghost is so they can interview it for their history assignment (extra credit). But Mo an dDale start to realize that the Inn isn't the ony haunted place in Tupelo Landing. People can also be haunted by their own past. As Mo and Dale handily track down the truth about the ghost (with some help from the new kid in town), they discover the truth about a great many other people too.

A laugh-out-loud, ghostly, Souther myster that can be enjoyed by readers visiting Tupelo Landing for the first time, as well as those who are old friends of Mo and Dale.

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is: Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2013.

Whoa, that's easy thanks to the tag I made on Goodreads. Coincidentally, four of the books I read this month got a "2013 Favorite" tag listed. The book are listed from just read to older. I haven't reviewed them all yet, but plan on doing so. They are not to be missed.

Texting the Underworld by Ellen Booraem.

Rogue by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm #3) by Kristin Cashore.

Are You Experienced? by Jordan Sonnenblick.

Dear Life, You Suck by Scott Blagden.

Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos.

Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko.

Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass.

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rogue by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

229 p. Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin Group (USA) Inc., May 16, 2013. 9780399162251. (Finished copy provided by the author for review.)

I'm not one to collect great first lines. Anytime I see a request on a listserv or a blog asking for favorite first lines, I usually draw a blank. For some reason, I rarely notice them, or if I do, I don't keep track. I definitely noticed the first line of Rogue, which prompted me to create a tag called, "great first lines," just now.

"It usually took the new kids two weeks to dump me, three weeks at the most."

It's a great first line. It's a great first chapter. There's a preview on Amazon if you want to hop over and take a look. I'll wait.

Kiara leaps achingly to life from that very first sentence. When she matter-of-factly explains why she smashed new-girl Melanie in the face with a lunch tray, my heart just broke.

Kiara wants to know the secret. How did Melanie wind up at the popular table in nanoseconds? Why can't Kiara make a friend? Now that she's expelled and homeschooled, Kiara's lonelier than ever. It's just her and her dad since her mom left the family to pursue her singing career in Canada. Kiara's still stinging from that. That, and the fact that one of her much older brothers felt it necessary to inform Kiara that her Aspergers Syndrome is probably the result of the chemotherapy her father underwent to treat cancer a few years before Kiara was born. Her other brother is much nicer, as is that brother's friend, Antonio. 

So desperate is she to make and keep one friend, that when new neighbors move in nearby, first she lies to seem cool, then, she helps Chad, the older son, bike to nearby pharmacies to collect Sudafed that will be used to create methamphetamine. At first, she's unaware of the purpose for the transactions. She naively thinks that it's for Chad's little brother's cold, but Mr. Internet, her go-to source for many of life's difficult questions, enlightens her. 

Not only does she love BMX biking, she's also a fan of the X-men. She identifies with Rogue, in particular because Rogue doesn't like to be touched and lashes out. She thinks her new friend, Chad might be a fan, but he just thinks her interest is babyish. He is a BMX fan though and she shows him the trails where bikers meet up. She finds a niche with the older BMX bikers at the trails when she videos their tricks, sets music to them and uploads them to the Internet. Music helps her connect to the emotions that elude her. 

Rogue is an especially welcome addition to middle school literature featuring a main character with Aspergers, not only because the story is interesting and engaging but because Kiara is the first YA female character and only the second that I've read to have the syndrome. (First was Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine, which is a lovely middle grade novel.) All of the identified students I've had at my schools, have been boys and it seems that most of the fiction I've read so far has featured boys. It's important for young readers to engage in quality stories featuring both boys and girls facing unique challenges. Children on the spectrum are not the only ones needing to learn empathy.

Kathryn Erskine features an interview on her blog with author, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, here. I reviewed Lyn's debut novel, Gringolandia here, and also attended a reading by the author, which I wrote about here. 

Non-Fiction Monday: Alien Deep: Revealing the Mysterious Living World at the Bottom of the Ocean

by Bradley Hague. 48 p. National Geographic, September, 2012. 9781426310676. (Purchased)

What on Earth is left to explore? Why, the world of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Apparently, the first one was discovered in 1977 and scientists have been searching for and studying them ever since thinking they may answer evolutionary questions. So far, only a few hundred have been located but it is hypothesized that there may be tens of thousands to be discovered.

The picture book format belies the depth and complexity of the text here as the audience is decidedly middle school and above. A variety of full-color photographs, maps and text bubbles, some literally enclosed in water bubbles engage and fascinate, but will require close reading and frequent consultation of the glossary. A page of resources, four web sites and six books, invite readers to learn more.

This week, Non-Fiction Monday is hosted by Playing by the Book.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Now by Morris Gleitzman

Unabridged audiobook on one MP3-CD. 3 hours, 26 minutes. Read by Mary-Anne Fahey. Bolinda Publishing Pty, Limited, May, 2012. 9781743111017. (Purchased.)

Australian eleven-year-old Zelda’s physician parents have sent her to live with her grandfather, Felix, while they are working in Africa. While Zelda adores Felix, it means switching schools. In her effort to impress, she came off as bragging and found herself on the wrong side of a group of Year Nine bullies. Verbal harassment quickly escalates to physical and before Zelda knows it, her attacker has found the locket around her neck. The one Felix does not know she has. The bully dispatches the locket in a stunning display of cruelty, leaving Zelda to deal with it as best she can, with the assistance of a boy from her class, in a scene that is not for the queasy.

Zelda knows about her grandfather’s experience during the Holocaust and about her namesake, Zelda, ten-year-old Felix’s brave six-year-old friend. Zelda tries to be brave like her but feels she constantly falls short. She seems to have inherited young Felix’s naïveté as she struggles to read social cues and behave appropriately. She thought that he would enjoy his birthday present, a book that she found from his childhood. She hadn’t anticipated the pain it would cause. She thought he would enjoy a birthday picnic in the woods and hanged the many thank you letters from patients on tree branches as decoration never anticipating that they would go up in flames when a birthday candle caught the nearby dry grasses afire. Even though she put the flames out, she still feels responsible for the bush fire that is threatening their town.

Felix is celebrating his 80th birthday and, while he has lived a full and successful life, he has not yet buried Zelda. He feels incredible survivor’s guilt and is not necessarily honored by his son’s decision to name his daughter Zelda. In fact, Zelda notes that he does not call her by her name but mostly with the endearment, “Babushka.” She believes it is because she is not good enough to live up to the memory of her namesake.

There are many issues explored in this slim volume yet it does not feel laden. There is nary a wasted word and each scene packs a punch. Following the motif of the two previous Felix and Zelda books, each chapter begins with the title word, “Now.” The author writes a note at the end, that readers need not read the books in order. While I agree that he provided enough background for a new reader to appreciate Now, I recommend reading Once and Then for a more powerful experience.

I read this one (kind of) simultaneously with my eyes and ears. I started with my eyes. The narration was well-paced  and Ms. Fahey conveyed Zelda's naiveté subtly. Reading with my ears constantly reminded me of the Australian setting. I don't happen to read accents when I read with my eyes. I very much enjoyed the audiobook. 

Even though this book feels like the end, as we meet Felix near the end of his long and successful life, the author revisited Felix as a thirteen-year-old in a fourth volume called, After. I do hope that the publisher is negotiating with the author to bring this next volume to the U.S. soon.

You can read the first chapter of After on his website.

A note about the cover(s):
I've had the hardcover edition in my library for a year now. One of my eighth grade reluctant readers read all three books this year and just loved them. He told me that Now is his favorite. While the audiobook cover (above) features an important scene from the book, the hardcover art is more in keeping with the other two volumes in the series.


What's New? Stacking the Shelves

STS is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Pop on over there to ogle what other blogger's got.

It has been a quiet week on the blog because it has been so busy at school what with this being the last week and all. According to Goodreads, I am 15 books behind schedule. My book-a-day has definitely suffered in these last hectic weeks as well. Hopefully, I will switch into Overdrive now that summer vacay has commenced.

I brought two books home for summer reading from my recent JLG delivery that I had been looking forward to:

The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata. 270 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, June 4, 2013. 9781416918820. (Purchased)

Publisher synopsisThere is bad luck, good luck, and making your own luck—which is exactly what Summer must do to save her family in this novel from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata.
Summer knows that kouun means “good luck” in Japanese, and this year her family has none of it. Just when she thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan—right before harvest season. Summer and her little brother, Jaz, are left in the care of their grandparents, who come out of retirement in order to harvest wheat and help pay the bills.
The thing about Obaachan and Jiichan is that they are old-fashioned and demanding, and between helping Obaachan cook for the workers, covering for her when her back pain worsens, and worrying about her lonely little brother, Summer just barely has time to notice the attentions of their boss’s cute son. But notice she does, and what begins as a welcome distraction from the hard work soon turns into a mess of its own.
Having thoroughly disappointed her grandmother, Summer figures the bad luck must be finished—but then it gets worse. And when that happens, Summer has to figure out how to change it herself, even if it means further displeasing Obaachan. Because it might be the only way to save her family.

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia. 274 p. Amistad/ HarperCollins Publishers, May 21, 2013. 9780061938634. (Purchased)

Publisher synopsis: Rita Williams-Garcia’s much-anticipated middle-grade novel P.S. Be Eleven is the sequel to her New York Timesbestseller One Crazy Summer, a Newbery Honor Book and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award.
Eleven-year-old Brooklyn girl Delphine feels overwhelmed with worries and responsibilities. She’s just started sixth grade and is self-conscious about being the tallest girl in the class, and nervous about her first school dance. She’s supposed to be watching her sisters, but Fern and Vonetta are hard to control. Her uncle Darnell is home from Vietnam and seems different. And her pa has a girlfriend. At least Delphine can write to her mother in Oakland, California, for advice. But why does her mother tell her to “be eleven” when Delphine is now twelve?
The historical novel, set in the 1960s, features vivid charact
ers, insight into family relationships, and a strong sense of place.
That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we are eagerly anticipating. This week, I'm featuring an audiobook WoW. I recently learned that a few books by one of my favorite authors are coming out in audio in the fall.

I Will Save You by Matt de la Peña. Unabridged audiobook on MP3-CD. Brilliance Audio, October 8, 2013. 9781480524460.

Publisher synopsis: Kidd is spending his summer at the beach. He'd do anything to get away from his group home and the dark memories there of his past.

He's working as a caretaker at the campsite, and he'd be blind if he didn't notice Olivia. Blond hair, blue eyes, rich dad. The prettiest girl in Cardiff. He might even have a chance with her, too. Until Devon appears.
Kidd's best friend followed him all the way to the beach. And he's not leaving until he teaches him a few lessons about life. And Olivia.

The hardcover has been sitting on the tbr pile since its publication. It is most decidedly for mature high school readers and that's mostly the reason why it keeps getting bumped by more middle school friendly titles in the queue. I often read 
titles for more mature audiences with my ears. 

Up till now, none of his books have been available as audios. As of October, three of his titles will be available. The following two will be rereads for me. 

Mexican Whiteboy. Unabridged audiobook on compact disc. Brilliance Audio, September 10, 2013. 978148-5245-7.

Publisher synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Danny searches for his identity amidst the confusion of being half-Mexican and half-white while spending a summer with his cousin and new friends on the baseball fields and back alleys of San Diego County, California.

We Were Here. Unabridged audiobook on 1 MP3-CD. Brilliance Audio, August 13, 2013. 9781480524569.

Publisher synopsis: The story of one boy and his journey to find himself.

When it happened, Miguel was sent to Juvi. The judge gave him a year in a group home — said he had to write in a journal so some counselor could try to figure out how he thinks. The judge had no idea that he actually did Miguel a favor. Ever since it happened, his mom can’t even look at him in the face. Any home besides his would be a better place to live.
But Miguel didn’t bet on meeting Rondell or Mong or on any of what happened after they broke out. He only thought about Mexico and getting to the border to where he could start over. Forget his mom. Forget his brother. Forget himself.
Life usually doesn’t work out how you think it will, though. And most of the time, running away is the quickest path right back to what you’re running from.

No narrator is listed just yet. The voice in each of these books is so distinct that I worry a bit about rereading them with my ears. Here are links to my 2009 reviews of We Were Here and Mexican White Boy.

What are you waiting on?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Are You Experienced by Jordan Sonnenblick

304 p. Feiwel & Friends, September 3, 2013. 9781250025647. (Review from Netgalley e-arc courtesy of publisher)

Fifteen-year-old Rich Barber awakens, kind of, in a hospital bed, attached to a variety of monitors and eavesdrops on a conversation his parents are having - not about him, but about an event that occurred 45 years earlier, an event that he, improbably, just attended.

Wait. What? In chapters which alternate between now, well, October, 2014, and then, Rich tells us about growing up as the overly protected only child of much older parents. Rich's dad lost his brother to a drug overdose when he was fifteen and never got over it. In fact, each year, around the anniversary of his brother's death, Rich's father gets depressed and locks himself in his study. Rich understands that this drives his parents' overbearing strictness but he's still angry about it.

Naturally, Rich chafes and rebels. His latest rebellion takes the form of a guitar performance at a protest rally. He really doesn't know what the rally is protesting. His girlfriend asked him to perform and that's enough, but he gets a bit of clue when the police as well as his dad show up. Isn't getting arrested and sharing a jail cell with your dad a great opportunity for bonding? After dressing down Rich for lying, sneaking out and getting arrested, his dad retreats to his study to commune with mementos from his past - one memento, a signed Jimi Hendrix guitar, accompanied by a cryptic note, turns out to be Rich's ticket to August 15 - 17, 1969.

Imagine meeting your fifteen-year-old father, the eighteen-year-old uncle you never met because he was (will be?) dead a few months later, and attending Woodstock! Well, meeting your fifteen-year-old father might be a bit traumatizing, especially when he's with a girl who's not your mother, but being at Woodstock would be amazing.

Rich is a likable main character. He's bright, a bit over-analytical and prone to over-use the word, "super." He's also a talented musician and devoted music scholar. His knowledge of the concert is impressive and re-inforces his 1969 friends' view that he is indeed an angel when he unwittingly blurts out what's coming up next despite what the program says.

I don't ordinarily love, or even like time-travel books. They require a leap of faith that I'm usually not willing to take. The concept is just too twisty mind-bending for my simple mind to wrap around. I liked loved this one. The time-travel trigger was brilliant. The world-building at Woodstock was vivid, given Rich's encyclopedic knowledge of rock and the event. Teens who are classic rock aficionados will love the setting. Those who are not will still enjoy it and are likely to request the documentary referenced by Rich from their local libraries. I know I want to view it. 

I was not old enough to attend Woodstock, but remember how newsworthy it was. I also love the music of the 60s and 70s but am by no means a scholar. So when I emailed the author to say how much I loved the book, I had to ask about the title. I admitted that I didn't get it. He graciously responded and I learned that, Are You Experienced? is the name of Jimi Hendrix's first album (face/palm) and it also referenced  passages that weren't in the galley, but will be in the final copy. (Hence the request by publishers to arc reviewers to note in reviews that the copy is not finished.) (And a good argument for rereading the final copy.)

I also must admit that were it not for the author (I am a huge Sonnenblick fan), given the combo of time-travel and that, IMHO, god-awful cover, I would've passed. I hear that the cover is not final. Hopefully, it will be changed. I find that my students are not attracted to psychedelic art on books. I have to sell them hard and even then, I'm more often waved away. Not only that, but given the prominence of Jimi Hendrix in the story, what's with the white rocker-dude on the cover?

Please change the cover. Fans of the author will ignore it and devour the book, especially fans who have grown up with the author, cutting their late elementary/ early middle grade teeth on his Dodger and Me trilogy, then moving on to his older middle grade offerings, Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie; its companion After Ever After; Notes from a Midnight Driver; Zen and the Art of Faking It; and Curveball. 

The author wades a bit deeper into the YA pool what with Woodstock commonly thought of as the epitome of "sex, drugs and rock & roll." He handles it (mostly) cleanly, matter-of-factly and with his trademark humor. Still, drinks are drunk, (acid) trips are taken, heroin is shot and questionable choices are made. It's edgier than his earlier books, but that's okay. His fan base is aging (!) and ready for edgy. Are You Experienced? might be a bit lonely sitting all by itself over on my YA shelf (grade 7 & 8), but hopefully it will have some company soon.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

STS is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Pop on over there to share your new books and ogle what other bloggers got.

For Review: 

Too Cool for (This) School by Kristen Tracy. 285 p. Delacorte Press/ Random House Children's Books, August 6, 2013. 9780385740708.

Publisher synopsis: Lane Cisco loves, loves, loves her life at Rio Chama Middle School—until her offbeat cousin comes for an extended visit and turns everything upside down. With her individual sense of style and nonconformist attitude, Angelina "Mint" Taraval is everything Lane isn't. And instead of branding her a loser the way Lane and her friends expect, people actually want to hang out with her. Including the boys Lane and her best friend, Ava, like. 
When Ava comes up with a plan to ruin Mint, Lane feels stuck. She doesn't want to be mean . . . but she doesn't really want to stick up for her weird cousin either. Why can't things go back to the way they were before Mint arrived? 
Kristen Tracy has written a terrific novel about friendship, family, fitting in, and finding out who you are when no one's looking. 

Texting the Underworld by Ellen Booraem. 319 p. Dial Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Young Readers Group, August 15, 2013. 9780803737044.

Publisher synopsis: Perpetual scaredy-cat Conor O'Neill has the fright of his life when a banshee girl named Ashling shows up in his bedroom. Ashling is—as all banshees are—a harbinger of death, but she's new at this banshee business, and first she insists on going to middle school. As Conor attempts to hide her identity from his teachers, he realizes he's going to have to pay a visit to the underworld if he wants to keep his family safe.
"Got your cell?"
"Yeah . . . . Don't see what good it'll do me."
"I'll text you if anything happens that you should know."
"Text me? Javier, we'll be in the afterlife."
"You never know. Maybe they get a signal."

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney. 262 p. Little, Brown and Company, June 4, 2013. 9780316209748.

Publisher synopsis: Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.
Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.
When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we are eagerly anticipating.

Terminal (Tunnels #6) by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. 448 p. Scholastic, Inc., October 29, 2013. 9780545479646.

Publisher synopsis: Total Termination of the English: The Styx and their lethal cohorts of Armagi will settle for nothing less. Not even the mighty US military is strong enough to stop the assault!
Will and Elliott flee back underground, down to the innards of the Earth first mapped in DEEPER and FREEFALL. With the support of a small team that survived the plague of New Germania, they discover a secret at the site of the three core pyramids. A secret that may explain not only where the Styx came from, but the human race, too. Can Elliott, with her mixed blood, unlock the clues before Earth itself spins out of orbit?
All the many threads of the prior TUNNELS books come together in this epic conclusion!

For some reason, I thought the last book, Spirals, was the final book of this saga. New revelations near the end made it clear that the conclusion was at least one book away. I read the entire series with my ears so I will most likely read the concluding volume that way as well. So far, I see no release date for the audiobook. The book is a definite purchase for my school library as the series is quite popular among my students.