Category Archives: Young Adult

The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal


Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia’s led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it’s revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she’s ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins – long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control – she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor’s history, forever. (from Goodreads)

This is the first of the 2011 Teens’ Top Ten books I have read this summer and it is a wonderful beginning.  Halfway through the book, I had to stop and email the author to tell her how much I was enjoying the book.

There is mystery and romance, magic and (a little bit of) swordplay.  The setting appears to be roughly Medieval European, although that is just a guess.

This is a debut novel and yes the author’s first name is spelled correctly, Eilis.

I think the book will be a standalone.  There is room for a sequel, but I don’t believe it needs one.

It is very odd to read a standalone novel anymore, particularly fantasy.  Although I don’t think there will be a sequel, I will certainly look for any other books by this author.  I truly enjoyed it.


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Filed under Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford


Christopher just needed a job to kill time the summer after high school graduation. He didn’t expect it to be in the morgue. Or that he would accidentally discover a murder cover-up. Or that his discovery would lead him to a full-blown investigation involving bribery, kidnappings, more murders . . . and his best friend. And he certainly could never have predicted that Tina—loud, insanely hot, ambitious newspaper reporter Tina—would be his partner. But all of that did happen. And Christopher’s life will never be the same.

With plenty of plot twists, red herrings, and dry wit, The Morgue and Me is a page-turning modern take on the classic detective genre. (from Goodreads)

This is the first of the YA books I have read for the summer.  It is a nominee for this year’s Georgia Peach Award and definitely a good start.

Christopher (not Chris) is a classic example of “curiosity killed the cat” and “being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”  He took the job in the morgue because he wanted to be a spy when he grew up.  He figured he could learn something about forensic pathology while he was there.

When the first dead body arrives, he sneaks a look at the corpse after everyone has left and discovers that there is no way the guy died by suicide.  So why did the coroner write up the death certificate that way . . . and where did all the money come from?

There are numerous possible suspects and I did not figure out all the twists and turns until the end.  To me, that makes a good mystery.

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Filed under Contemporary, Mystery, Realistic, Young Adult

Abandon (Abandon, #1) by Meg Cabot

AbandonThough she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can’t help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she’s never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she’s moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can’t. Because even here, he finds her. That’s how desperately he wants her back. She knows he’s no guardian angel, and his dark world isn’t exactly heaven, yet she can’t stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

This is Meg Cabot’s latest release and it begins a new series based on the Persephone myth.  Obviously, this is not one of her humorous stories.

Although it is part of a series, the ending was not a real cliffhanger.  There was one storyline that was not addressed that I wish had been explored further.  It’s going to bother me until the next book comes out.

When you finish reading the book, ask me about it.  I want to see if you have figured anything out that I missed.

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Filed under Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Darkside (Jessica, #1) by Beth Fantasky


The undead can really screw up your senior year …

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

I originally thought this book was written for adults.  It was only recently that I found out it was for Young Adults.  The clue should have been that Jessica is in her senior year of high school.  -sigh-

Anyway, I really enjoyed this book.  It pulled in different aspects of the vampire legend and totally ignored others.  There were a couple of scenes that I found disturbing, but they were important to the storyline.

There were two major “bad guys.”  One of them was human and the other a vampire and I cannot tell you who was the worse.  This was not one of those books where one group is completely evil and the other completely good.  Like real life, there is some of each in everyone.

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Filed under Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster


Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exist.

Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister?

Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far.

I thought this book was going to be a fun read.  It definitely was not.  What it was was fascinating, engrossing, creepy, and very disturbing.

By the end of the book, my skin was crawling.

I highly recommend this book to everyone!

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Filed under Contemporary, Dystopian, Young Adult

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp (Alfred Kropp, #1) by Rick Yancey

Alfred KroppAlfred Kropp was just trying to survive high school when his guardian uncle gets him roped into a suspicious get-rich-quick scheme that changes his life forever: stealing Excalibur—the legendary sword of King Arthur. But after Alfred unwittingly delivers the sword into the hands of a man with enormously evil intentions, he sets off on an unlikely quest to try to right his wrong and save the world from imminent destruction. This gripping, fast-paced, hilarious novel is both a thrilling adventure story and an engaging account of one boy’s coming of age. (from Goodreads)

I have been meaning to read this book for several years, but it never made it to the top of my “to be read” stack.  I am glad that I finally took the time to dig it out.  I learned several things about the King Arthur legend that I did not know and met a character that is not strong, handsome, or particularly smart, but he does try to do what is right.  I guess that is what we should all do.

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Filed under Contemporary, Fantasy, Young Adult

The Limit by Kristen Landon


An eighth grade girl was taken today . . . With this first sentence, readers are immediately thrust into a fast-paced thriller that doesn’t let up for a moment. In a world not too far removed from our own, kids are being taken away to special workhouses if their families exceed the monthly debt limit imposed by the government. Thirteen-year-old Matt briefly wonders if he might be next, but quickly dismisses the thought. After all, his parents are financially responsible, unlike the parents of those other kids. As long as his parents remain within their limit, the government will be satisfied and leave them alone. But all it takes is one fatal visit to the store to push Matt’s family over their limit—and to change his reality forever.

This book was recommended to me in a session on middle grades fantasy/science fiction literature at the 2011 Children’s Literature Conference in Athens, GA.  The presenter, Edie Parsons, discussed several books which were immediately added to my TBR list.  This is the first one I have had the opportunity to read, although I have already purchased some of the others.

Anyway, I thought this book was particularly appropriate considering the economic conditions we are currently living in.  Due to his parents overspending, not the kids don’t contribute to the problem, Matt is placed in a group home to help work off the family debt.  He has to remain until either their debt falls below “the limit” or he turns eighteen.

I enjoyed this book although there was not a lot of depth too it.  I thought the problems the kids faced were too easily overcome and there was too little connection made between the kids and their families.  Surely, at least one of them would have exhibited signs of homesickness.

I would recommend this book to the kids who enjoy books in which the kids outsmart the adults . . . and isn’t that all of them?

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Filed under Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd edited by Holly Black


Acclaimed authors Holly Black (Ironside)and Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof) have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, John Green, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr.With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O’Malley, Geektastic covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers. Whether you’re a former, current, or future geek, or if you just want to get in touch with your inner geek, Geektastic will help you get your geek on! (from Goodreads)

I don’t normally read short stories because I don’t think there is enough to them to for plot or character development.  I only read this one because it is one of last years Teens Top Ten nominees and I am still trying to get through them.

Another reason I don’t like short story collections is that there is no consistency in quality or maybe interest is the better word.  This book is no exception.

I really liked the first story about a Star Wars fan and a Star Trek fan hooking up at a convention.  Their friends were appalled that they would associate with someone from the “other side.”  Since I am a fan of both series (although, Star Trek will always be my favorite), I got a kick out of this one.

There were just enough good stories in the collection to keep me reading.  I had to finish them all just in case there were additional gems to be found.

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Filed under Contemporary, Humor, Realistic, Romance, Young Adult

Awakened (House of Night, #8) by P. C. Cast



At the start of Awakened, the pulse-pounding eighth installment of the bestselling House of Night series, Zoey has returned, mostly whole, from the Otherworld to her rightful place as High Priestess at the House of Night. Her friends are just glad to have her back, but after losing her human consort, Heath, will Zoey—or her relationship with her super- hot Warrior, Stark—ever be the same? Stevie Rae is drawn even closer to Rephaim, the Raven Mocker with whom she shares a mysterious and powerful Imprint, but he is a dangerous secret that isolates her from her school, her red fledglings, and even her best friends. When the dark threat of Neferet—who is coming closer and closer to achieving her twisted goal of immortality—and Kalona returns, what will it take to keep the House of Night from being lost forever, and what will one desperate girl do to keep her heart from being irreparably broken? (from Goodreads)

I really loved the beginning of this series, but have lost interest with the later books.  I think this would probably be a good series to read straight through because there is so much going on, I lose track between one book and the next.

I do have problems with the fact that none of the adult vampires seem to be capable of seeing dangers that Zoey and her friends easily perceive.  In all of their years, sometimes centuries, of life, the adult vampires have not learned to recognize when someone is lying to them.

I will continue to read the series because I am invested in the characters.  However, I do not have to be the first person to read the latest book.  I just don’t care enough to fight for it!

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Filed under Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen


It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend. (from Goodreads)

Okay, I don’t normally read much contemporary, realistic fiction.  I especially don’t read it in the YA area because they tend to be depressing.  At least that’s what I’ve always thought.

I obviously need to expand my horizons.

I read Along for the Ride because it is one of last years Teens Top Ten nominees and I am still trying to catch up on those.  I am not sure why I bother because the new nominees will be out in a few months (April 14, 2011, to be exact.)  Anyway, it did make the top ten list.

I am so glad I gave this one a shot.

The book takes place during the summer between high school graduation and whatever comes after . . . college, work, or “chicken salad.”  Read the book.  You’ll understand.

Cross posted to Irwin County Students READ!

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Filed under Contemporary, Realistic, Romance, Young Adult