Monday, November 11, 2013

The Rule of Three by Eric Walters

Reasons I couldn't put this book down:

  • The tag line: "A person can last 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food. A community begins to die in just seconds"
  • Male POV that was relatable and realistic.
  • "Society" was still run by adults even if a teen was seriously in the know.
  • Did I mention it was totally realistic?

Things that annoyed me:

  • Can a computer virus really travel through AM/FM radio waves?
  • So many questions and variables. This was just a set up for book two right? And when will that come out? Waiting is not my forte. And Adams dad will be in the next book right?
  • Coincidences like this are unlikely but they really made for a good story.

When a computer virus takes out any and all electronics with computerized parts the world as we know it is over. Fortunately, the main character Adam is set. He drives a real old car with no computer, he built an old pre-computer plane in his garage with his dad, oh and he can fly it too. His mom is police chief--so she knows what's going on, is a community leader, and is armed.

But the best part, his neighbor is a (don't tell because it is classified) former CIA operative who has watched civilizations devolve and has been hoarding supplies for years. Prepares take note, in addition to your supplies choose your neighbors carefully.

In this book the enemy is the human race and the price of survival. I'm expecting this is only book one, and I'm already waiting for book two. This will be popular so add it to your book carts fellow librarians.

If you need me I will be stockpiling canned goods, non-perishables, bottled water and chlorine tablets and any other survival supply I can find.

Life As We Knew It and Monument 14

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

There is something about the books by Katie McGarry that are completely engrossing. They are very romance-y and highly appealing. But there is so much more to them. In this chapter (the third in a series) we finally get Isaiah's story and his burgeoning romance with Rachel.

As with all of McGarry's books, the characters have deeply problematic personal and family lives. She has given each characters a past that is troubling them to them--issues that all teens can relate to in at least one of the characters. In this book Isaiah deals with his abandonment by his family, and the child-care system in addition while Beth has an overprotective family with unbearably high expectations and panic attacks.

This was an excellent book--captivating and appealing. I am getting a bit tired of the male character in books always wanting to protect the female character. Although kudos (spoiler) for Rachel not standing back and being protected.

I hope McGarry keeps writing (maybe one for Abby--my favorite character akin to the waffle loving harbinger in Hold Me Closer, Necromancer).

Friday, October 25, 2013

Things I Love About My Job

Things I love about my job as a librarian:

Speaking with an English accent along with other Teen Services librarians while setting up for a live-action clue event.

It was awesome if a little disorganized. Only one teen knew the game!?!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Relish by Lucy Knisley

Food is how my family relates. A holiday? Here is a huge meal with all the traditional dishes. A birthday? All of your favorite foods. Just another Tuesday? Lets get together with a big giant bowl of clam dip. Food can bring people together and it is a beacon of tradition. Some may say it is just about sustenance--but others know it isn't.

I just finished reading Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley. I'm impressed and I'm ready to go do some cooking. Or baking.

Lucy grew up the child of a excellent cook/ caterer and true foodie. She appreciates and craves delicious, fresh, perfectly prepared delicacies as well as junk food staples. This memoir is humorous and easy to relate to. I immediately began looking for her first novel. A must read for those with culinary aspirations.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Twigs by Alison Ashley Formento

Twigs is an 18 year old girl...I mean woman...who is staring community college while her boyfriend is away at college. A girl who is working at a local pharmacy for the worst boss ever and a girl who is having major family issues. Her brother Matt is missing in Iraq, her sister and mother both have new boyfriends who are always around and she hasn't heard from her father in years--but apparently the rest of the family has.

The theme of this book is undeniably family--as an institution as the people you choose to surround yourself with. However, this book tackles to many issues as well:

War--her Brother Matt goes missing
Growing Up--Twigs tries to redefine herself as Madeline
Relationships--the Boyfriend away at college
Learning to Stand Up for Herself--job and relationships
Abuse--not in Twigs family but in a sub-character. This could tie into family if there wan't so much going on...

And lastly there is the pink-loving, disaster of a woman who destroys the pharmacy in the opening pages and throws open bottles of hair dye at Twigs giving her a sort of tiger make-over. This lady adds the most value to the story and entertainment as well. Rather than being a problem for Twigs, she takes her as family while her marriage is falling apart. She made this book and really made it ripe for discussion.

However, I think this book could do more. It touches on substantial issues and while predictable at times it is believable and honest. I think the themes need to be flushed out more to be a truly great book but I do think teens will gravitate towards it and emerging adults as well.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reality Boy by A.S. King

A.S. King has done it again. Reality Boy is fantastic and I can't wait to get it in the library and start recommending it.

Gerald Faust was a child reality TV star--famous for being horrible and leaving presents for his family in inappropriate places (not the toilet). He is still living in the same town, still battling rage issues and still known as "The Crapper."

But as always, what is seen on TV, especially reality TV, is never the whole story. Reality Boy gets to the roots of the truth and brings his family knowledge and unity they should have had more than a decade earlier. Interspersed with chapters direct from the TV episodes from his youth I can't see how this won't be popular and resonate with teens.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young

Cat Patrick is hugely popular in my library. If I put one of her books on display, guaranteed it will be checked out by the end of the day.

This book, written by both Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young tells two consecutive stories about the same girl, Caroline based on whether or not she went to a party the night her grandmother died.

This is a raw look at families and the way they come together or pull apart. It also looks at fate and if a single decision can really change the course of a life. Well done.

Though it started off slow I was pulled into the story and very glad I read it.

ARC received from publisher at BEA

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde

This companion to The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde did not disappoint. As you may remember my favorite part about the first book was the marvelous, magnificent, completely magical quarkbeast.

In The Song of the Quarkbeast, Jennifer Strange is back managing Kazaam! the group of wizards for hire. This was a fanciful and entertain addition and I can't wait for more. Kazaam! has been challenged by the competing wizard firm to see who can complete repairing a bridge first. All of the favorite characters reprise their rolls, including the villanous King Snood. I love the accolades associated with each character--it really add something to the story. I also loved the larger roll of the Transient Moose.

In particular, this book spent quite a bit of time discussing the mating rituals, existence of and much more regarding magical creatures...especially the quarkbeast. I still want pictures!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

I was hooked on this story from the end of the first chapter. Ezra had it all: popularity, girlfriend, student government and scholarship winning athletic skills. That is until he was the victim of a hit and run with an injured knee and wrist and no longer any hope of playing sports.

Feeling like he no longer belonged with his old friends (or his cheating girlfriend) and trying to hide the extent of his injuries, Ezra becomes a bit of a loner. Then the new girl, Cassidy, helps him reconnect with his childhood friend Toby. They join the debate team and learn that "those who rule the school" don't know everything or have a monopoly on fun.

This is a story of growing up long after you thought you already had--of finding yourself and becoming that person above all else. It is also a story of romance, heartbreak and friendship. Five stars and I can't wait to get it for my library.

ARC received from publisher at BEA.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Weaving together the story of five teenage boys--each experiencing, or not experiencing, love in their own ways, Two Boys Kissing is a beautiful and poetic work well worth the read.

I believe Goodreads describes it best:

"New York Times bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS."

And it was this description of the Greek Chorus that really helped me to understand the flow and narration of the book. I was completely engrossed and routing for all of the characters. I wish more books were like this one and I suspect it will be a serious contender for YALSA's Stonewall Book Award. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick

I love the tagline for this book: "Inner beauty wants out."

When Becky's mom passes away, she calls a mysterious number she finds among her mothers belongings. A man named Tom Kelly (the most famous designer of, well, everything) answers the phone and flies Becky to New York. There she learns of her mother's glamorous past and is made the offer of a lifetime. Tom Kelly will use three dresses to transform her into the "most beautiful woman in the world."

Skeptical but with nothing to lose, Becky goes along with the plan and quickly becomes gorgeous, famous and has the world at her doorstep.

Gorgeous was a page turner. I couldn't put it down and I am sure I won't be the only one. I am not going to say this book was perfect and the language certainly isn't for young readers, but this book will definitely be very very popular.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Doon by Carey Corp

I love musicals, so when I heard there was a book based on Brigadoon, I had to read it. For those of you who don't know, Brigadoon is fantasy village that exists in our world for only one day every hundred years before disappearing again into the mist.

Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon brings this story into the 21 century. Veronica and Mackenna are spending the summer after senior year in Scottland, right next to the Brig' o Doon (Doon Bridge).

Prior to this trip, Veronica had been seeing a Scottish hottie--one that no one else could see. She is sure this mystery man exists in the mythical world all the locals are talking about, making her want to try and cross the Brig' o Doon more than anything. Which of course she and Mackenna do.

I enjoyed this book, but I found it a little slow and predictable. Laced with a plethora of musical references, this book will hit its target audience of theater goers. And for other fantasy lovers who can gloss over these references, I am sure they will delight in this story as well.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Rules for Disappearing

How many of you are automatically curious when you hear the words Witness Protection Program. I know I am. And I certainly can't imagine giving up all of my friends, my extended family, my awesome job, my home and my name. But that is what people in the witness protection program do. And what about your pets? That is what I am really curious about. Do you have to leave them behind, or do they get relocated with you? I can't imagine that they do.

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston follows the story of one girl who is now in her sixth placement--and yes, she has had 6 identities too. Her whole family has been moving, because of some unknown event her father witnessed. And it has been hard for all of them. Her mother can't stop drinking, her sister barely talks, and her father, once an accountant with a prestigious company now works in a factory.

Megan (her most recent name) has decided it is easier for her not to make any friends, to be as distant as possible from everyone in her new life. Only Ethan Landry won't let that happen.

Suspenseful,enticing and a bit romantic--this book is sure to capture reader's attentions. Highly recommended. 

Also, there is going to be a book 2.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Eat Brains Love

Eat Brains Love by Jeff Hart deviates slightly from my preferred zombie genre. Sure it is a survival story and yes there is lots of gore; only, in this book, it is the zombies on the run and zombies as the main characters.

Jake is stoner and a gamer. He admits that sitting on his couch alone playing video games was the perfect way to spend his last night as a human. Amanda is the super-hot cheerleader who barely knows his name. After they devour most of their friends in the high school cafeteria, they are dependent on each other. Meanwhile, Cass is a government employed psychic on a special team to seek out and destroy zombies--and create cover-ups for their actions. Thus, Jake and Amanda's feeding frenzy is explained away as a school shooting.

Alternating from Jake to Cass's perspective, I really wanted to like this book. It started our hilariously and the following line are why:

"You'd be surprised how much you end up thinking about that stuff when you don't really eat anymore. Not the meat really. I get plenty of that. It's the spicy crispy breaking or the hard taco shells you miss. Raw human flesh just lacks the finer preparation techniques of fast food," (Hart, p.5).

Unfortunately, I found several of the character or perceptions of the characters stereotypical and somewhat sexist. And yes, I am pretty sure this is only book 1.

That being said, there will be a following for this book and I am sure teen readers will want to get their hands on a copy. I gave it 3 stars because I did actually enjoy the plot.

Monday, June 24, 2013

For Darkness Shows the Stars

This was a beautiful novel, a great story and one I immediately purchased for the Library.

Cover thoughts: This has nothing to do with the story.

Kai and Elliot were best friends when they were children, even though Elliot was the daughter of Baron North and Elliot was no better than their slave.

Background: Following a brutal war, Luddites escaped a genetic abnormality limiting brain functions. Caused by genetically modifying themselves, the majority of society doomed their children to a life as "reductionists" and the Luddites were entrusted with their safety and care. Years later, a small amount of the children of reductionists were born able to speak and without the limitations of their parents. Kai's father was one of these children making them both Posts (post-reductionists).

Baron North did not approve of his daughter's friendship and was not a very good trustee of the Reductionists or Posts. He would rather further his own luxuries than care for their basic needs. Elliot is nothing like her family and dedicated herself to their care and the care of her family's land. When Kai decided to run away and make his way in the world, Elliot did not accompany him--tearing their friendship apart.

For Darkness Shows the Stars is the story of what happens when they meet again four years later. It is a story of love, of hate, of class and of obligation. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dancer Daughter Traitor Spy

by Elizabeth Kiem

I should start off by saying that the REP from SOHO Teen endorsed this book as his favorite of their fall teen books.

I wouldn't go as far as saying this is one of my favorites, but I did enjoy Marya's story.

Raised as a Russian Ballerina, Marya has a future planned for that will keep her above most of her fellow citizens, even in the Soviet Union. Set during the last days of the Cold War, her mother believes she has secrets about germ warfare and is taken into Soviet custody, enforcing the danger her father already believes they are in.

After being question by KGB, Marya and her father are smuggled out of Russia and eventually to the United States. They hope her mother will join them later. Instead, they wind up caught between the KGB, Russian Mafia and the CIA.

Full of intrigue, I am sure many teens will pick this book and enjoy.

ARC Provided by Publisher at BEA

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bad Girls

 by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Illustrated by Rebecca Guay

This non-fiction text gives a brief overview of 26 of history's "Bad Girls". From Cleopatra to Bloody Mary and Bonnie Parker, these women have been vilified by history for murder, robbery or simply consorting with others accused of these crimes.

Yolen and her daughter have given each bad girl a few pages to briefly recount their story and then their illustrator Rebecca Guay concludes each chapter with a comic page of Yolen and Stemple casting doubt on the baddess of the particular girl.

Acknowledging that each story has two sides (maybe more) is important when looking at history. One of their main points is that if wars had ended with different victors, supposed traitors and spies might be considered heroes.

This is a perfect work for those looking to get a little information about a lot of women--perhaps those getting background before starting more intensive research. The facts presented tell a story, but not as complete as this history-lover would have enjoyed. I also was surprised not to read about Eleanor of the Aquitaine--now she was a "bad girl". I was also frustrated by the gap from Salome (14-71 CE) to Anne Boleyn in the 1500s. I know the Middle Ages were the Dark Ages, but that really was too big of a gap, and its my favorite time period too!

This would be a good book to work with in a history classroom. Reading a chapter every so often and learning to debate both sides of the story and seek the truth. This is definitely a good starting point for a research project as well.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


From the second I heard about this book I couldn't wait to read it. And judging by the response from the teens in the library they can't either (I told a few of them about the book I was reading). This one is sure to be popular and should be added to your purchase lists ASAP.

Lyla's sister was taken from their home days before the twin towers fell. Her parents never recovered, and when Pioneer came offering hope they followed.

Raised in a gated community, Lyla has been taught she is among the chosen, one of the few who will survive the impending apocalypse in the underground bunker the community has built.

With elements of romance and thriller, this look at a cult is most definitely a page turner.

ARC provided by publisher from Netgalley

Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Pattyn was raised in a religious family where women were meant to obey their husbands. And yet, as she raises her 6 younger sisters and watches her mother each week we beaten by her father, she can't help but wonder if she believes the same things as her family and community.

After being caught in a compromising position with a boy, she is sent away for the summer to her estranged Aunt Jeneatte. There, experiencing freedom for the first time, Pattyn is able to work through her thoughts and beliefs.

This is a captivating story told in verse. Originally published (at least the copy I read) in 2006, there is a sequel announced for this fall. After the last few pages, I am seriously waiting for Smoke to be published.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

This book has a Quarkbeast. Have you ever heard of a Quarkbeast? They exist only in Jasper Fforde's novels and while not a focal point is without a doubt the best thing I took from this book.

Biggest regret? I have not yet found fan art of a Quarkbeast that lives up to my wild expectations based on Fforde's descriptions.

Here is my favorite description: "his razor-sharp fangs dripping with saliva. He'd have eaten the leg in under a second if I'd allowed him, but Quarkbeasts, for all their fearsome looks, are obedient to a fault. They are nine-tenths velociraptor and kitchen blender and one-tenth Labrador," (p. 94-95).

Magic is weakening and Jenny Strange is a foundling, indentured to Kazam, a house of wizards and managing the entire business. Raised in the convent of the sacred order of the Blessed Ladies of the Lobster, she must work until she is 18. In the midst of her fourth year, many sears predict the demise of the last dragon and Jenny is caught in the middle.

An obsession with crustaceans, a Transient Moose and of course the Quarkbeast, the world of The Last Dragonslayer  is one in which I am in love with. Absurd in the best possible way and highly worth the read. And yes, there are sequels with hopefully more information about the Quarkbeast. For great special features on the books visit Jasper Fforde's site.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

This is the second book in a series, following Throne of Glass and several online novellas. Many more books are expected.

Celaena Sardothein is an assassin. An amazing assassin and in the Throne of Glass she was pulled from prison and forced to enter a competition to become the King's Champion. Winning the competition she is forced to work for a man she despises--a man who killed her family and has enslaved most of the continent.

An action packed fantasy novel, Celaena's story in many ways resembles Grave Mercy.

Crown of Midnight pulled me immediately back into this world and has made me anxious for the third book. Some background from the first novel might be helpful but readers will be willing to start with this volume and will be clamoring for more. If you were uncertain about wanting to continue the story after the first volume, keep going. It is worth it.

Plus, look at that warrior on the cover!

ARC provided by publisher at BEA

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Silver Six

This action packed graphic novel was written for middle grades, and I am guessing it will be popular. In stunning color, a dystopian world is depicted where all of humanity lives in metal bubbles. This is to protect them from the Earth, ravaged from obtaining and processing a new resource, Hydro-2. Complete dependence upon this resource has left no other options for this futuristic society of space ships, hover crafts and robots.

Orphaned and hiding from the law, Pheobe has managed to evade capture for a year. But when the evil mastermind behind Hydro-2 decides Pheobe has something he wants, her luck runs out.

Sent to child protective services, a giant orphanage with horrible food and incompetent teachers. There she meets 5 other orphans who all have something in common.

Great book.

ARC provided by publisher at BEA

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Treasure Hunters by James Patterson

I can't believe I'm reviewing a James Patterson book. I can't believe I read a James Patterson book. But this one did redeem my opinion of his books.

Treasure Hunters is about a family of four siblings who have always lived on a boat with their parents--searching for lost treasures throughout the world. Despite being oddly close and well adjusted to this lifestyle, the characters themselves were very believable.

When their father mysteriously vanishes in a storm (perhaps even drowned) and their mother vanished weeks before the four siblings do what it takes to keep the family business alive and hopefully find or rescue their parents in the process.

Complete with line illustrations this action packed adventure novel is sure to grab the attention of tweens and those younger.

ARC provided by publisher at BEA

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Shining Scars by Krystian Leonard

I underwent multiple surgeries by the time I was three years old. I have consciously never known what it was like not to have a scar. And, at times I have been very self conscious about my scars.

Krystian Leonard, who I believe was Miss Teen USA (or at least will be competing in that pageant) wrote this picture book to help young children accept and understand their scars.

I am very glad to see that a book such as this has been published and I hope that it will help many children. It is about a Star who fell and got hurt and when it healed had a scar on his head. This is a book for those who injure themselves and for their friends to help.

Text provided by author at BEA.

Monday, June 10, 2013

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

I wanted to read this book from the second I read the review. A lesbian love story set in Iran for teens--that is definitely something I hadn't seen before.

Sahar wanted to marry her best friend Nasrin when they were six years old. And things haven't changed by the time they are teenagers. Nasrin feels the same way, but that sort of thing isn't accepted in Iran and they could be killed if anyone finds out.

Nasrin's family finds her husband and throughout their engagement, Sahar desperately seeks a way for them to be together--finally settling on gender reassignment surgery. Unfortunately Sahar does not feel she is in the wrong body and the choice boils down to choosing to be with Nasrin or being true to herself.

More about identity than romance this will be a popular book. My only wish is that it had been longer. I felt that more could have been added to the characters and the plot. However, I also didn't feel like there were loose ends or unexplained events. A solid addition to YA literature.

ARC provided by publisher at BEA

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

This was one of the first books I grabbed this year at BEA and because of that it became my "line book." I am extremely glad that happened, because otherwise I might not have picked this one up for some time and it is really worth the read.

Willow is extremely smart and doesn't believe in small talk. Her hobbies are medicine and plants and surprisingly she doesn't fit in with many of the kids at her old school. She doesn't fit in with the kids in her new school either. Her one friend is because she wanted the challenge of learning a foreign language to speak to her--and learned that language in a week!

This is a story about not labeling people--about family being what you make it--and about believing in yourself and others.

When Willow's parents are tragically and unexpectedly taken from her, she relies on that one friend, her family, and an apathetic school councilor to keep her safe and help her find her way in the world.

I loved this book. It needs to be read. Though it is considered middle grade, I believe a great number of young adults would enjoy this book as well and I hope it can find its way into their hands.

5 Stars on Goodreads. 

Oh, and as if there wasn't enough to love in this book, she wants to live in a library, because "books = comfort"

ARC provided by publisher at BEA

Friday, June 7, 2013

BEA Recap

Last weekend was one of the greatest events a Librarian and book lover can attend. Book Expo America in NYC. I had a fantastic time and have been busy reading all week long. I knew it was going to be great because I received this tote bag before I even walked onto the floor.

 That's right its for Allegiant by Veronica Roth (who I also got to meet!) It is going to make a great summer reading prize!

Another favorite moment was the Children's Author's Breakfast. Rick Riordan was much funnier than I expected.

I went this year for all three days and below are pictures of the books I was most excited about from each day. There is A LOT of reading in my future.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Formerly Shark Girl

Formerly Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham is the follow up to a book I which resonated with me on multiple levels and has stuck with me for years: Shark Girl. For a quick recap, here is the book talk of Shark Girl I presented a few years ago at a job interview.


Jane is a 15 year-old girl who wins art prizes every year at her high school. She lives with her mom and brother, loves to cook, has a tight group of friends and a crush on a boy named Max. Jane is also the victim of a brutal shark attack where she lost her arm. A man videotaped the entire attack and shared to footage with the media. Thanks this tape, she is now known as “Shark Girl.”

Written by Kelly Bingham, this book is told through letters from strangers, like the one I just read, conversations, newspaper articles and poems.

People tell her how lucky she is, how easily she could have been killed by the shark. And Jane knows that, but she also wonders if it would have been better if she had died. She has to re-learn how to tie her shoes, pour her own cereal and button her pants. Meanwhile her mom and her friends keep asking when she is going to start drawing again. They are concerned that she is giving up on something that was really important to her. But they also know she will never be as good an artist as she was before the attack.

Jane spends weeks in the hospital, in physical therapy and then the rest of the summer hiding in her house, because everyone stares. Plus, she just can't stand everyone's pity, and their attempts to acknowledge or ignore how drastically her life has changed.

Shark Girl is the story of survival: a survival that didn't happen when Jane was pulled from the water by her brother. But a survival that took months to even begin. This is Jane's story...


Having survived a substantial medical trauma as a teenager, I gravitate towards (well-done) books on survival--like Shark Girl. Because when something like that happens, it is all encompassing and effects every aspect of your life for months afterwards. It is something that you can't understand unless it has happened to you and can make navigating daily life near impossible. Jane's story captures this perfectly.

And then came Formerly Shark Girl.

In this continuation, Jane is beginning her senior year of high school. She is worrying about college and her future. She has grown into the woman (ok teenager, but a mature one) that the shark attack has made her. But daily life is not longer a challenge. This is not a story of survival. Instead it about identity and growing up--not something usually seen in books for this age range, but impeccably done.

Told in the same varying format as the first installment, an in-verse narrative interspersed with text messages, letters, and more. Jane has begun volunteering at the hospital where she spent so many months. She is even beginning to consider nursing school, so that she can help others. After all, so many of the strangers that wrote to her after the attack said--that she had been saved for a reason. But she still loves art and had always planned on that being her future. Major life decisions are never easy.

Formerly Shark Girl seamlessly continues the story, providing hope for readers that things do get better, life does move on. And even though disasters and events can, and will, always be a part of your future self they do not define you.

This is a wonderful message for teen and beyond that it is a book teens will want to read.

Four Stars on Goodreads.

ARC provided by publisher.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Zombies & the Newsflesh Trilogy

I am on a serious zombie kick recently. I can't seem to get enough of them. It started with Jonathan Maberry's wonderful Benny Imura series (Rot & Ruin, Death & Decay, Flesh & Bone, Dead & Gone) and then expanded once my Walking Dead obsession began. I may possibly have watched all three seasons in the span of a few weeks. It may not have been healthy, but it happened.

Now I am reading anything I can get my hands on Zombie related. The Ashes series by Ilsa J. Bick and the Devi's Wake series by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due are ones I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.

One of my recent favorites the Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant, I just can't get out of my head. She has a new series (Parasitology) coming out this fall which is already on my to-read list.

What I liked most about these books was that unlike most of the other zombie novels I have read, society has not collapsed in this universe. Certainly modifications have been made--people live in fear, and you can't enter any building or sometimes even a new room without a blood test and undergoing proper decontamination procedures. But life goes on, and so does the news--which as bloggers, is the life force for adopted siblings Georgia and Shawn Mason.

This is political conspiracy series set in a world that includes zombies. They aren't the focus, but neither could these extraordinary circumstances occur without their existence. It is still a story of survival (the underlying reasons I adore this genre) but their world is described in depth and with such thoroughness  I really could envision it.

Sadly, I don't think there is room for a fourth novel, but I can keep hoping. If anyone has come across something similar, let me know. (And yes, I do know she has written several short novellas to accompany the trilogy.)

*This is not YA but I can image some older readers enjoying these books. The characters were only in their mid-twenties, so I guess it would fall under the auspices of "New Adult."