TKB in the News

Check out this Publisher's Weekly article featuring Lerner and the cover project we worked on!

Captivate

Reader: Frances W
Age: 13
Title: Captivate
Author: Carrie Jones
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pub Date: ?/?/2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teen Top 10: No
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover was very cool, as was the first book's cover. I'm not exactly crazy for glitter, but something about it makes you just want to see what it was about. It wasn't super connected to the book, even though the pixie kings shed glitter. I'm just not sure it turns into lip gloss and eye shadow. Still, it's a good cover and shouldn't be changed.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: It's even better than the first one, which was pretty good in the first place. It's full of surprising twists and an awesome ending.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I loved all the surprises in the book—especially when she turns pixie. I was like WHOA!!! DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING! Well, I thought about it but I thought it seemed impossible until then.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Shiver

Check out the book trailer!
Reader: Elise S
Age: 13
Title: Shiver
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pub Date: August, 20
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teen Top 10: No
Annotation: Grace and Sam have spent years watching each other, so when they finally meet, it's love from first sight. However, Sam's time as a human is limited, and they must battle against the cold to be together.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: It's a well written book, with some cool quirks. I would never have thought of the word Tuesday as friendly because of how the "u" and the "e" look next to each other. I enjoyed the characters, and the problems had firm resolutions.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I love wolves, so this is right up my alley. I liked how she had each of the wolves have personalities even before we met their human counterparts.
Did the cover reflect the contents of the book: I really liked the cover of Shiver. The craggy tree branches were interesting, and it looked layered, almost like a wannabe tunnel. The dot of blood was cool, but I didn't really see it's relation to the book.
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Once a Witch

Reader: Sophie D
Age: 13
Title: Once a Witch
Author: Carolyn MacCullough
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pub Date: Sept. 2009
Galley: No
Nominate for Teen Top 10: No
Did the cover tempt you: This is one of the half-faced girl covers that I am sick of at the moment, but the spell book did intrigue me.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: It is a good modern fairy tale, with believable characters and an engaging plot. Not a lot is explained in the beginning, so you are wondering what is going on for a lot of the book, and therefore have to finish it.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I got caught up in the plot immediately and could not put the book down after that. It is told from the main character, Tamsin's, point of view, and she is a really great narrator: funny and smart.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book: I was not at all disappointed with this book. It was great for light reading.
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

The Midnight Chapter

Reader: Luke M
Age: 16
Title: The Midnight Chapter
Author: David Whitley
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Pub Date: 2009
Galley: No
Nominate for Teen Top 10: Yes
Annotation: In the city of Agora, everything is traded—jobs, food, people, lives and even emotions. All has a value and all can lose its value. Then, Mark and Lily meet. Will they challenge this horrible way of life or will they succumb to the pressure of this world?
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: A fantasy/historical fiction about an extremely commercialized city and the two kids who challenge it.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I liked the idea of a city where everything is bought and sold, including services and emotions. No one ever gives and only thinks of themselves.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I originally thought that it was too many ideas for one book, but in the end it turned out great, as it all seemed to flow well and connect. I kept expecting a romance between Mark and Lily but it never happened. It is hinted all over the book and it would probably attract more teens. Also, the ending leaves something to be desired. Why are they sent out? How will that fulfill the prophecy? What does the outside world look like? Will there be a sequel? These questions need to be answered to make the reader feel satisfied.
Did the cover reflect the contents of the book: The cover was very interesting, but I have no idea who it is even after reading it. The background of smoke is cool but a cityscape would relate a lot more. Also, the title has no real significance until the end. A title along the lines of the "Curse of Agora" would be better.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-13
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Sing Me to Sleep

Reader: Sabrina K
Age: 15
Title: Sing Me to Sleep
Author: Angela Morrison
Publisher: Penguin
Pub Date: March 10
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teen Top 10: Yes
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book shows and proves, just how far people will go to obtain whatever they perceive is "love." It also shows just how strong love is.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling aspect of the book was how Derek, had this sickness the whole time and somehow—for the longest time kept it a secret from Beth (his girlfriend). Also, when Beth did finally figure out he was sick, you could really feel for
her seeing the guy she loves die right in front of her face.
Comments: This really raised awareness for me what Cystic Fibrosis was. And I really liked the message throughout the whole book. I could never put this book down and always wanted to know what was going to happen next. I could relate to the characters and imagine them 24/7. Great book!
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover that they have does reflect the contents and how important both of them felt when they touched each other’s hand—and just the symbol of touching hands reflects the cover of the book. It did tempt me to pick up the book—it seems a bit sappy though and unoriginal.
Age Range: 16 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

Fire

Reader: Maddie S
Age: 16
Title: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Dial Books
Pub Date: 2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teen Top 10: Yes
Recommend: Yes
How would you convince someone to read the book: I would say to them this book demonstrates amazing integrity and self-reliance. The book helped me look at diversity and how to understand it in a whole new way. Pick it up.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I found the most compelling aspect of this wonderful tale to be how it shows diversity and discrimination and how this whole story the main character's dream is to be found equal, to find equal ground with the ones that end up loving her the most. The part where this young girl is striving to be accepted is where I was truly touched.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was disappointed a little when the author gets into more detail about the love triangle going on in the story and how she seems to try and make it a bigger part of the story. I just thought of it as too...human. If you are going to have inhuman characters in the story it is very difficult to listen to normal occurrences of love in the story.
Comments: I really enjoyed this book. It was very detailed and descriptive which helped me with the visual image of the story. I felt a pull in the story as if I were in it. I envied the character. Kudos to the author on the plot.
Did the cover tempt you: The cover was not as appealing to me as it could have been. It held no extreme pizzazz. For most books it’s as if the cover draws me to them subconsciously, and it didn't happen with this book.
Age Range: 16-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Beautiful Creatures

Check out this awesome book trailer!
Reader: Elise S
Age: 13
Title: Beautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Pub Date: Jan, 2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teen Top 10: Yes
Annotation: When hurricane Lena Duchannes comes to small-town, Southern Gatlin, Ethan Wate is fascinated by the girl of his dreams, literally. Unfortunately her 16th birthday looms above their relationship, bringing with it bad, bad mommies, Civil War reenactments, choices for ultimate good or evil, and extremely cliquey high-schoolers.
Did the cover tempt you: I spent about half an hour tracing the pretty letters on the cover. Purple is my favorite color, and purple sparkly is even better! The trees in the background make it mysterious and quite intriguing.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The fantasy n the book is refreshing, very creative and funny. The characters are very real, and their problems are a nice mix of very large (imminent evil possessing you) and very small (nobody likes me). The small town life is hilarious and onencan relate to the situations.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I liked hearing about all the little details of the two main characters' lives. The small things about the small town are very amusing too.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

Another Faust

Watch the book trailer!
Reader: Sophie D
Age: 13
Title: Another Faust
Author: Daniel And Dina Nayeri
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: Aug. 2009
Galley: No
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: I usually hate it when there are models on the cover and you can see their faces, but I actually liked this cover. I imagined the characters to look pretty much the way they were pictured on the cover.
Recommend: Yes
Convince to read book: It is kind of dark, but it has an excellent plot, very well written characters, and lots of unexpected twists and turns.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The characters were written in just a way that you thought you knew them and could predict their behavior, but then they do something that catches you unawares. The choices that they make are so intriguing that you have to know why they are doing what they are doing.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was not at all disappointed with this book. I was actually surprised. This was probably the best co-written book I have ever read.
Age Range: 14-15
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

After

Reader: Annika M
Age: 14
Title: After
Author: Amy Efaw
Publisher: Viking
Pub Date: 8/2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Recommend: Yes
How would you convince someone to read this book: I would tell him/her it’s a book about a girl who abandoned her baby in the dumpster, that’s trying to get out of jail. I would make sure to say the main character isn't self-centered. Usually in books with someone in jail, the person is snotty, or innocent, which gets old pretty fast.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling aspect is the point of view. There are many stories about the babies who've been abandoned, but not many tell the side of the mother.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I wasn't disappointed in any way!
Comments: This is one of the books you can never put down, no matter how hard you try.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover did tempt me to pick up the book, though I didn't notice the biggest detail (The pregnant belly on the reflection) until after I finished the book. Something about the reflection on the cover is really intriguing. I guess I'm just obsessed with shiny stuff.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Captivate

Reader: Megan W
Age: 17
Title: Captivate
Author: Carrie Jones
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pub Date: 01/05/10
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
How would you convince a friend to read the book: I would tell them that Captivate is a fast-paced, adventurous tale of a girl who has some rather bad encounters with pixies. This is a sequel to Carrie Jones' novel Need, so it would be a bit difficult to read it without having first read Need. I really enjoyed the book, and even though I didn't remember much about Need, it was easy enough for me to remember what had happened. (Thankfully characters would mention things that had happened so I could have a vague idea) The main character, Zara, is back, along with her friends. They thought that they had solved their pixie problem in the previous book, at least temporarily, but of course, all chaos is broken loose when more pixies arrive.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: At times this book reminded me a lot of Melissa Marr's book Fragile Eternity (especially near the end) but for the most part it was an original plot. It was a real page turner, and I managed to finish it in a long car ride home from South Dakota. At times I was really frustrated with the characters, but I kept reading. I was especially upset at the end of the book when it ended on an unfinished note. I'm almost wishing that I had never read Captivate, for Need had ended happily, while Captivate did not. I guess I'll just
have to wait for the next book.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: There were moments when the decisions that the characters made seemed way too mature for a bunch of teenagers. I mean, I know that they've had to deal with some pretty awful situations, but still. I did enjoy the writing style though; it was easy to read and understand. As I stated earlier, while I didn't remember hardly anything about Need when I picked up this book, I quickly got sucked back into the world of pixies and shape-shifters.
Comments: Unfortunately, I'll have to wait for the next book, because I am in too deep to just not care about the characters. Will Zara have made her decision for nothing? I anxiously wait for the next book, if only for the reason that I have to know what will happen next. I found that I didn't really care about any of the characters except Nick; the others seemed rather shallow and undeveloped to me. Still, it was a pleasant read.
Did it reflect the contents: The cover, as the title implies, is captivating (at least to me) I love how there is only half a face, and how the black contrasts with the pale skin of the person's face. Just like the book before this one (Need) there is an insane amount of gold makeup on a person's face. While I think the tear is a little weird, I do love the overall effect of the cover. In my opinion, it reflects the book's contents fairly well.
Age Range: 16-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Once I Was Lost

Reader: Sabrina K
Age: 15
Title: Once I Was Lost
Author: Sara Zarr
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Pub Date: October 09
Galley: Yes
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book has a great message to never give up, even in your darkest moments—that there is always the slightest bit of hope somewhere, in any situation. This book has a great message of showing that during the hard times you can decide to either make the best of it—and be optimistic, or do the complete opposite.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The author did a great job showing that every one person is important and affects one another. The character Sam realizes this when Jody goes missing. In the story, even people that knew her just a bit were affected by the loss of her and were there to support her family in help to find her. And that they were willing to do whatever it took to get her back.
Comments: At times it was a bit overlapping with all the subplots going on and some details were stressed out a bit too much. But overall it was a great story that had a deep and powerful message behind it.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover did tempt me to pick it up—it was visually intriguing. It did reflect the content of the book because Sam was always talking about fixing the garden/yard to make it look similar to the one at New Beginnings, the rehab facility her mother was staying at. This flower was one of them that Sam mentioned I believe and it, to me, represents hope—which is the main theme throughout the story.
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Fire

Reader: Manee T
Age: 16
Title: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Dial Books
Pub Date: 09/2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Did it reflect the contents: Yes, because it was had a very nice soft red shading that resembles a different form for the title "Fire" which made it stand out.
Recommend: Yes
Convince to read book: If you love supernatural books, or magical realism or even fantasy books, you'll definitely want to read this prequel to Graceling.
Did you finish: No
Were you disappointed with the book at all: This book was put in high regards because of Graceling, which I hadn't read, however I was very intrigued and pulled into the story. I only regret that I don't have the time to finish it.
Age Range: 14-15, 16-17, 18 up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Comments: I expect Kristin Cashore to have more books put into the galley collection.

Calamity Jack

Reader: Mollie W
Age: 15
Title: Calamity Jack
Author: Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's books
Pub Date: Jan. 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: When Rapunzel and Jack find out that the mayor of Jack's hometown is
secretly doing harm to the town, it's up to Jack and Rapunzel to save the day.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: It's a cute little story that is a continuation of the book Rapunzel's Revenge. It includes little connections to childhood stories (like in this one the book is based off Jack and the Beanstalk). Since the stories short and easy to read it's not very time consuming and is definitely worthwhile. This series is laid back and fun and works for all ages.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The best part of the book is the adventures that Rapunzel and Jack seem to always be getting caught up in. There's always something going on which is important if the story is short, like this one is.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The illustrations in this series are very vivid and playful. It definitely pricks your interest when you see it.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: All ages
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

The Adventures of Benny

Reader: Payton G
Age: 13
Title: The Adventures of BennyAuthor: Steve Shreve
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children
Pub Date: 09/01/2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: It was short. And each little story had a moral that was clearly defined.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover had almost no affect on me. I read it because someone told me I should. The cover reflects the contents really well.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: Under 12
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

COVER PROJECT: The Absolute Value of -1

We are so grateful to Carolrhoda Books for including us in developing ideas for the cover of their upcoming release, The Absolute Value of -1, by Steve Brezenoff, There is nothing us TKBs like more than sharing our opinions with anyone who will listen. ;) What an exciting opportunity it is to be involved in a part of the actual publishing process!

First we got to meet the author, Steve Brezenoff, editor, Andrew Karre, and publicist, Elizabeth Dignmann at our August meeting—how cool is that? They graciously distributed fresh-off-the copier manuscripts, which we anxiously took home and poured over. Once we all got a chance to read it, we began brainstorming cover ideas, sketching, scrounging up random images on the interwebs, and discussing these on our top secret blog. Then we met in October to look at and discuss some rough cover mock-ups, and again in November to share our reactions to a couple more narrowed-down covers.

The whole process was fun! We loved Brezenoff’s book (especially the controversial twist :0) and enjoyed the company of Steve, Andrew, Elizabeth, and all their friends at our meetings!

We can’t wait to see The Absolute Value of -1 in print!!

Two TKBs, Andrew, Elizabeth, and Steve.
Just got our manuscripts!
Andrew Karre
Photos by Elizabeth Hudman




Incarceron

Reader: Sophie D
Age: 13
Title: Incarceron
Author: Catherine Fisher
Publisher: Dial Books
Pub Date: Feb. 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: It's dark, it's depressing, it has a creepy prison and politics, it has a good plot. The story is the kind where you can't predict what will happen so you have to read the whole book.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The settings are very interesting. It flips between a creepy, huge, underground prison with forests and caves, and a futuristic setting where everyone's life is a lie and a game. The two settings draw you into the book.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: There were really only two disappointments. One was the characters. They were pretty flat and all of them, except one, only cared about themselves and what was going to happen to them. Then the ending was a let-down, because they were supposed to rescue everyone from the prison, but two people got left behind. That annoyed me.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover did make me want to pick it up. It has a very eye-catching design of a shiny key and metal leaves. These two things really do reflect the contents.
Age Range: 12-13
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Lockdown

Reader: Luke M
Age: 16
Title: Lockdown
Author: Alexander Gordon Smith
Publisher: Faber
Pub Date: 10-27-09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: A horrible prison where a framed boy is sent.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I liked how the prison was deep underground and the different things that happened to the inmates.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I thought that Donovan being picked was really predictable. Monty being a black suit person seemed wrong. Who would recruit inmates to be guards, especially if they can still help other inmates, like Monty did?
Comments: Several things that could be improved:1-Alex needs to be guilty. This prison is full of bad people and Alex needs to be really bad. Too many books have been written about people who are framed. 2-This prison would never have been built, especially by a private
company and then ran by that private company. No matter what happened in the Summer of Slaughter, they wouldn't have a prison like this, randomly torturing and killing prisoners. Also, more description of the Summer of Slaughter would be nice. What did kids do to deserve a place like this and a judge to treat them like that? 3-Make the prison more realistic. The security is horrible! No cameras in the cells, the huge area for kids to meet, shanks, giving out digging tools are all a recipe for disaster. Let’s have the guards separated from the prisoners, armed better and only letting a few kids out at a time, not letting the whole prison wander around as they please. The gas was way too explosive, no gas is like that and if it was, it wouldn't be used in stoves. Why didn't the prison seal up room 2? Dogs would not be used to enforce lockdowns. The cell doors are horrible, if you can stop them with a toilet seat. I wouldn't feel safe with that prison around, inmates would be escaping all the time!
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover was very interesting, as skulls do that. I don't really know what it represents in the book other that maybe a lot of deaths.
Age Range: 16-17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Evil?

Reader: Sophie D
Age: 13
Title: Evil?
Author: Timothy Carter
Publisher: Flux
Pub Date: Aug. 2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: It's hilarious. It may not have a very clear plot, but it is very funny and compelling. I could not put this book down.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: This book is very fast paced, which means that you can't stop reading it because you have to know what is going to happen.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was not really disappointed with this book in any way. It is surprising to me that I actually liked it, but it is a great book to read to kill time and I would read it again.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover is so awesome! It's sideways! I have never seen a book with a sideways cover. And the guy on the front has wings, which drew my attention and made me pick up the book.
Age Range: 14-15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Hold Still

Reader: Sabrina K
Age: 15
Title: Hold Still
Author: Nina LaCour
Publisher: Penguin
Pub Date: October 09
Galley: Yes
Comments: At times Caitlin was a bit annoying with her mood swings—but it would make sense if you lost your best friend. I loved Dylan—I could really envision her the most and loved that character!
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book shows just how valuable friends are and the emotional roller-coaster people go through without them.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I loved how the notebook tied into the story so well! It was great how after Caitlin read the book that her mood and perspective changed because of what she had just read. It was nice to see a contrast of each girl's perspectives of each event.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover did tempt me to pick up the book—very intriguing! It related to the content of the book, having some of the notebook pages on there and also some sketches and
one of the pictures that Ingrid took of Caitlin. What I loved even more about the cover is that the picture of the girl on the cover looks vaguely how I would have pictured her. That is a plus!
Age Range: 14-15, 16-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Hold Still

Reader: Mollie W
Age: 15
Title: Hold Still
Author: Nina LaCour
Publisher: Dutton Books
Pub Date: Oct. 2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Annotation: When Caitlin's best friend commits suicide, she must find a way to cope and keep up with the world around her.
Recommend: Yes
Convince to read book: This book felt very real world and though it did have its sad moments, LaCour manages to integrate small victories along the way that manage to keep the book from being a
complete downer.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The best part of the book for me, was how LaCour manages to keep the world around Caitlin moving. So even when Caitlin is struggling, you can see that things around her are still going which contributes a lot to how realistic this book feels.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover is so ugly. I really wish it could just be a blank page that said Hold Still, because seriously, that would be so much better. The girl on the front looks disgusting and looks nothing the way I pictured Caitlin. In other words, ew.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 14-15, 16-17, 18 up
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

The Graveyard Book

Reader: Meghan K
Age: 14
Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaimen
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pub Date: 2008
Galley: No
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: This is a great cover. I will now share something I just noticed. The cut out on the tombstone? It's a silhouette of a boy's face. Awesomesauce.
Recommend: Yes
Convince to read book: Have you read The Graveyard Book? If the answer is "No," then what the heck are you doing? Seriously, get in your car RIGHT NOW and drive to the bookstore, and buy a copy. I can wait.
Done? Good. Okay, now open it. Read. Now. Else I shall find you, and make you read it. I don't know how, but I will.
In more actually convincing terms, The Graveyard Book is everything you could possibly ask for in a book. Murder, mystery, ghosts, love lost, love found, and then lost again. It's simply wonderful. It's not so scary enough kids won't read it, but it's scary enough they will. It's suspenseful, intelligent, lyrical... This book is everything. Really.
It's that good.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: Neil Gaimen is simply one of the most talented modern authors. His characters are so well-written, so realistic you'd expect to see them in your homeroom tomorrow, yet so fantastic you'd expect to only see them in myth. They're just awesome. This book is made of awesome. The characters are made of awesome. You simply MUST know what happens next. Which is why I should stop wasting your time, so you can get reading. Don't worry, I don't mind. I'm reading, too.
Age Range: Under 12, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17, 18 up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

Fire

Reader: Elise S
Age: 13
Title: Fire
Author: Kristen Cashore
Publisher: Penguin
Pub Date: October 09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: Fire is a monster, quite literally. She is extraordinarily beautiful, and can control the minds of humans. Soon she gets sucked into the political turmoil in the kingdom, and encounters everything from cold princes, to brightly colored bunny rabbits.
Comments: The setting was so vividly described it made the book real to me. Fire had problems that were very present and to the end she was still struggling to deal with them. One thing that I enjoyed was the fact that her problems didn't go away, she just had to work with them. It may be gruesome, but I also liked that once she was injured, she stayed injured, instead of mysteriously being cured (hem, hem, James Patterson!)
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book is one of the best I've ever read. Its characters are funny, intriguing, and make you get involved in the story. The plot is very intricate, without becoming to political or confusing.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I loved the crisis that she went through, as she was trying to decide whether or not to use her powers for the realm. I thought that that expressed some of what I have to go through right now, if not in such a violent circumstance;
Disappointed: No
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: he cover was amazing. Five stars. I love the one, strong, relevant image, (her bow), with her in the background. It lures you in with its vivid colors, and doesn't try
to tell the entire story through the one image, unlike some other books. The color combination is great, so bright, so related to the title and the main character. Everything ties in with the story, and reflects its contents.
Age Range: 12-13, 14-15, 16-17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

Witch and Wizard

Reader: Sophie D
Age: 13
Title: Witch and Wizard
Author: James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Pub Date: Dec. 2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The humor. One of the best parts is the way the two main characters view life and their situation. They also mouth off adults all the time, which is pretty amusing.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: This book suffered from lack of plot. The main characters never really had a purpose or something they were trying to do that they really accomplished. The ending made no sense, though that might just be setting up for the sequel.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover is very awesome. It has a red jacket that slips over the book and makes all the red writing disappear on the back. It's hard to explain, but it looks pretty cool.
Age Range: 12-13
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Standing for Socks

Reader: Elise S
Age: 13
Title: Standing for Socks
Author: Elissa Brent Weissman
Publisher: Autheneum Books
Pub Date:
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I read it because I really liked the girl's socks.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: Well for one thing, the author WAY exaggerated peoples' reaction to mismatched socks. I wear mismatching socks almost every day and sure people comment, but not enough to base an entire campaign around them! Either this book is set in a VERY small town, or the author has never worn mismatched socks. Also, the main character's problems were so petty that it made me just not care very much.
Comments: Who hates socks? I mean come on!
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: I thought the cover was cute, and it interested me, but only because I'm a sock fanatic. It definitely reflected the contents though, in its bright colors, and utter misrepresentation of middle schools!
Age Range: Under 12
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest

Tricks

Reader: Sabrina K
Age: 15
Title: Tricks
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Simon & Shuster
Pub Date: 8/25/09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: Five teenagers throughout the United States find themselves questioning what path to go on. Through the book each character has its own story on facing obstacles learning just how hard it is to make the right choices in life.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book shows the extremes people will take for dealing with situation—in this case it is selling themselves.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: Every character had its own background story on how they ended up in Las Vegas and going into the prostitution business. Each character, one by one, came together, on their own journey, and how they came together was so unexpected.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover did tempt me to pick up the book—but the main reason I picked up the book was just the fact that Ellen Hopkins wrote it. The cover did reflect the content, but indirectly, which I think is very creative on that choice—not the obvious answer.
Comments: Nothing about this book was predictable, from the start you have no idea what's going to happen. That's one thing I love about Ellen Hopkin’s books, it gets more and more unpredictable. I also love that someone wrote about this topic—it opened my eyes to a whole new world I thought never existed.
Age Range: 16-17, 18 up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

The Roar

Reader: Megan W
Age: 17
Title: The Roar
Author: Emma Clayton
Publisher: The Chicken House
Pub Date: 04/01/09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This plot is extremely original. What would the world be like if animals turned against us? How would we survive? That is what this book is all about. It is set in the future, and people are living behind a massive wall to protect themselves from animals that have caught The Plague, which made animals turn savage and kill everything within sight. It is a fascinating tale that captivated me from the beginning.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I was spellbound as I read this book. While I discovered this "Secret" of the story from the beginning (or at least had a general idea) I was still captivated. I've always loved stories set in the future, and I really enjoyed the post-apocalyptic feel of this particular story. I thought it was a cool twist of the story to have people afraid of animals. They've been hiding behind this massive wall for 43 years, absolutely terrified of animals. I couldn't help but think to myself how awful it would be to not be able to see grass, trees, a blue sky (for they live in a super crowded polluted city) or to live a life without any animals at all. The Roar made me realize that I've taken for granted the simple things of life. My cat in particular benefited from this book; every time I put it down, I would pet her because I needed a normal, loving animal. :]
Were you disappointed with the book at all: There is really only one thing that bothered me. (Well, two actually) One, I got really annoyed throughout the book when "The Secret" was mentioned but never explained. It drove me mad that I had to wait until the very end of the book to find out what it was. It was simply aggravating. Another thing that bothered me was that I didn't know that this book was being set up for a sequel. I really don't want to have to wait for the next book; I want to know what happens now.
Comments: Even though I'm pretty sure this book is aimed towards the preteen age group, I still enjoyed it immensely.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: I love the futuristic look with the Star Wars-ish hover car/space ship in the center with the tall buildings in the air behind it. What really makes me love this cover though is the lion's face faded in the background. You don't necessarily realize it right away, but when you do it seems as if the lion is lurking in the background, ever watchful. Everything fit the book really well. In my opinion, it is the perfect cover.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-13
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Once a Witch

Reader: Sabrina K
Age: 15
Title: Once a Witch
Author: Carolyn MacCullough
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pub Date: September 2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book shows that everything is not what it seems—that however something is presented on the outside is different in the inside.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: How well everything was described! I could vision everything—from the various places in New York to the wacky family members. It was great to read such a descriptive book! The author was always creative on her choices and never made the most "obvious" and "easy" way out. I loved the fact that this family doesn't have "powers" but "talents" - unlike most wizards/witch books- great idea!
Comments: I love how the plot was set. At first it seemed predictable and I loved how she did the "non obvious " way of this. Also, I haven't really read a book about witches/wizards in such a long time so that's great it's coming back.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover didn't tempt me to pick up the book. It does though reflect the contents of the book- having Tasmin (the main character) holding the family book that can tell the future in her hands. The book cover though does look like Tasmin is a bit studious—when in the book she really doesn't care academic wise, so that was a bit misleading at first.
Age Range: 12-13, 14-15, 16-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Beautiful Creatures

Reader: Payton G
Age: 13
Title: Beautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Publication Date: 01/10/09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: Lena isn't like the other girls in Gatlin, South Carolina. She's as different from them as a person can get. She is a Caster. Ethan wants to be different. He hates life in Gatlin. So when he runs into Lena, almost literally, something just clicked. Can an ancient curse, a shut-in uncle, and certain doom keep them apart?
Recommend: Yes
How would you convince someone to read the book: I would say that it was a story full of adventure, magic, and the power of love. It's exciting, full of danger, and a good escape from the real world.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling aspect was the magic. Half the people in the story had magical powers, and when a mortal stumbles into that, it's a recipe for disaster.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-13, 14-15, 16-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover did tempt me to pick it up, because it was mysterious. It didn't entirely reflect the contents, but it did a little. I don't think it should be changed, but if it was, I would say that they should put a picture of the cameo from the locket that plays an important role in the story.

Ash

Reader: Meghan K
Age: 14
Title: Ash
Author: Malinda Lo
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publication Date: 10/??/09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: OMG, CINDERELLA'S A LESBIAN!! That's pretty much the twist of this twisted fairy tale, a retelling of Cinderella. I liked this book. It was never preachy, overbearing, or telling you what to think. The characters all seemed very flat, which seems to be a common problem in many teen fantasies. LEARN TO CHARACTERIZE, PEOPLE!!! Other than that, it was a pretty good book.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: This book had a good story. Even though I knew how it would end, (with the main character, Ash and her True Love getting together) for the first half of the book, I wasn't certain who the True Love was going to be. There were three potential candidates, each one with their strengths and weaknesses. I applaud the author for not making the True Love painfully obvious from the second the character was introduced. In most fantasies, the author might as well mention that a character has "I'M THE LOVE INTEREST" tattooed on their foreheads, it's so blindingly obvious they are indeed, the love interest.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I liked this book, but I was a bit confused by parts of it. For instance, it's never made clear whether or not same-sex marriage is legal in the fantasy world. It's clear that such romances are socially acceptable, but it wasn't clear if they were legal, so to speak. I was also left wondering if the King's Huntress (a job position in the book) had to lesbian. I mean, if a straight woman applied, could she get the job, or would she be automatically disqualified? I think she'd probably get the job, but the only people ever mentioned as having that job were lesbian, so I was very confused.
Did the cover reflect the contents: This cover's not very good. It's basically a person in their underwear, lying fetal position in a field. If you did that in real life, those nice young men in their clean white coats would come to take you away, haha!
Age Range: 12-13, 14-15, 16-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Murder At Midnight

Reader: Frances W
Age: 12
Title: Murder At Midnight
Author: Avi
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Pub Date: 9/2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Books don't often surprise me because I'm pretty good at predicting. Yet, this book did. Plus, the characters were likable and interesting (except for the ones you aren't supposed to like).
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The constant question of who wants to overthrow the king is mysterious and makes you want to keep reading.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I wasn't exactly disappointed, just annoyed. Every two or three pages someone would say "As they say..." and then came some kind of wise or interesting saying that has nothing to do with the story. Now, I liked these enough until the fifth or sixth one came along and I felt irritated. They are great, but they should be MUCH less frequent.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover was extremely tempting and well done. The colors are great. It does sort of reflect the contents, but there is so much more to the book than the murder and I wish the cover and title showed that.
Age Range: Under 12, 12-13, 14-15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

The Reformed Vampire Support Group

Reader: Mollie W
Age: 15
Title: The Reformed Vampire Support Group
Author: Catherine Jinks
Publisher: Harcourt Children's books
Publication Date: April 2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: Nina, a grumpy vampire is in a support group so that she doesn't prey on humans. But things start to look grimmer than ever as one of the vampires in the support group shows up dead. Will Nina be able to get to the bottom of this crime before another vampire is attacked?
Recommend: Yes
Convince to read book: The book is witty and keeps you reading. The best books are the ones that you never want to put down, and though this isn't the best book it definitely fits the criteria.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I love the main character, Nina, who is funny, sarcastic and who willingly embarks on crazy adventures. She's cool and clumsy at the same time and seems to always have something interesting to say.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: The only flaw in the book is the back, it gives away too much. Don't read it!
Did the cover reflect tempt you: The cover is pretty ordinary and didn't do much to attract or drive me away from the book.
Age Range: Under 12, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17, 18 up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Meridian

Reader: Meghan K
Age: 14
Title: Meridian
Author: Amber Kizer
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: 8/11/09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Amber Kizer steps bravely away from the territory of her previous work, One Butt Cheek At A Time, (Which was very funny, by the way) to write an elegant gothic about people who were some angel ancestry, Fenestra. Now, my strongly rooted DnD upbringing says such people should be called Aasimars, but I'll let it slide because the author was so clever picking the name. Okay, my geeking aside, this is a great book with realistic characters and well-written suspense.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: This book did fall back heavily on a series of well-worn teen fantasy traditions. There's the Not-Quite-The-Same-Species Romantic Interest, the I'm-Wise-And-Older-Than-Time-Itself mentor, and of course, the Vaguely-Mormon-Yet-Still-Ambiguous-And-Non-Denominational-And-Therefore-Non-Offensive-Christian-Sect-Of-Evil. This book manages to rise above these overused cliches, and be a really good read. As I said, the author invented their own Not-Quite-Human-Species, rather than using the traditional vampires/werewolves/wizard set. I support this growing trend of creative non-humans.
Comments: I commented earlier about the author having written a very different genre before. Again, I'm all for that. I think it's wonderful to see authors try all sorts of different things. Hooray! Wow, this review has been uncharacteristically cheery. I feel like I should complain about something, just to keep my mean/overly negative streak going. I hate cats?
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: This book has a nice cover. It's simple, understated, and it has a sort of old lace-looking pattern on it. Note I didn't say it went with the book. The character mentions at one point her hair was red during the book, and there's nothing in the background that was in the book. -1,000,000,000 points for non sequiturs.

Fire

Reader: Sophie D
Age: 13
Title: Fire
Author: Kristen Cashore
Publisher: Dial Books
Pub Date: Sept. 2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The main character is a bit self centered, but besides that I really like her because she is strong-minded and compassionate. The plot was good, and although you can easily predict some of what is going to happen, there is still a lot that surprised me when reading the book, which I love.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: My favorite part of the book is the setting. I think the Dells is a very believable and beautiful place where the characters fit perfectly. Another compelling part of the book was how most of the main characters had some secret or something you don't find out about their identity until close to the end.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: There were only two things that annoyed me: one, the way Fire complained very, very often about having to use her mind-reading powers, but she uses them at least in three times in every chapter. It would be nice if she stopped complaining at some point. Two, you think you know everything about the main characters for three quarters of the book, but then suddenly you learn all of their secrets in the last quarter. I would have liked it better if she had spread this part out more.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: I love this cover. It fits the book perfectly, partly because of the bow and arrow, which is Fire's preferred weapon, but also the colors that match Fire's hair. I like how it only shows the bottom half of her face, because then you can imagine the most beautiful woman in the world any way you want.
Age Range: 14-15, 16-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Leviathan

Reader: Luke M
Age: 16
Title: Leviathan
Author: Scott Westfield
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pub Date: 10/6/09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: Prince Alek, a Clanker, family has been assassinated and he is on the run with an armored walker and it's loyal crew. After meeting Deryn, a girl posing as a boy in the Darwinist navy, the two work together to stop the war in this alternate World War I story.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to the read the book: An alternate history of World War I, fought between the mechanical armies and machines of the Central Powers and the Darwinist creatures of the Allies.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I liked many of the characters. Alek, although he acted stupidly at times, was a good person and seemed to be like a prince would be. My favorite was Deryn, as she had a great personality and I liked how she lied to join the Airforce. Volger and Klopp were good characters and had great personalities. Also, much of the book seemed like it could happen.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I did not like Dr. Barlow. She seemed too stuck up to have a job like hers and be able to order around an airship.
Comments: I think the book would benefit from some more explanations. What side is America on? If they still have war on the ground, what do the Darwinist have that could hurt a dreadnought or even a walker?
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover was very interesting and the walker caught my attention very quickly, especially as it looked war-torn. The walker looked like what I thought it should. However, the person on the cover looked nothing like Alek—I even mistook it for Deryn for several chapters.
Age Range: 14-15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder

Reader: Meghan K
Age: 14
Title: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder
Author: Julie Halpern
Publisher: Feiwell and Friends
Pub Date: Fall '09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: When Jessie's longtime friend betrays her, Jessie begins a perilous quest to the depths of the social scene to find friends who treat her well.
Recommend: Yes
How would you convince your friends to read the book: I think I stumbled upon this book at exactly the right time. In the past year or so, my friends have gained completely new interests, wildly divergent from mine, and got into the exciting habit of completely ignoring me when "cooler" people were around, and then constantly putting me down. Hooray!
Compelling Aspect of the Book: Jessie, the realistic and intelligent heroine of Into The Wild Nerd Yonder has similar problems to mine. Her friends begin to use her to get in with her older brother's punk-rock crowd, and then one of them goes after Jessie's longtime crush. Admittedly, my friends weren't being THAT big of jerks, but it was really nice to read about a character having similar issues to the ones I was having. Also, Dungeons and Dragons is in the book! How can you not like that?
Did you finish: Yes
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents: I don't really like this cover. I'm not a fan of the color pink. The musician, on the other hand, is up for debate.
Age Range: 12-13, 14-15, 16-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

VOTE NOW!

Voting for the 2009 Teens' Top Ten is now open! Teens can vote for up to three of their favorite titles from the 2009 nominees. Click this link to vote through Sept. 18.

After

Reader: Sabrina K
Age: 15
Title: After
Author: Amy Efaw
Publisher: Viking
Pub Date: Aug 20 09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Recommend: Yes
Comments: This book shows the truth and reality of the "dumpster baby"—through the mothers perspective and how she dealt and deals with the fact of knowing she almost killed her own child.
Convince us to read the book: This book shows what it's like to be in juvenile jail and just how normal all the girls were -and that they’re not what people perceive criminals to be.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The mentality of Devon and how she thought she wasn't pregnant the whole time. At first it was hard to understand but at the end it really made scense and it really made you think a lot.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover did tempt me to pick up the book, it reflected the contents so well- and it was super original! I loved how one side was Devon (the main character) pregnant and dark and gloomy and the other side of her not pregnant and normal and all bright around her. It truly shows the emotions of Devon in the book and is well represented by the cover.
Age Range: 16-17, 18 up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

The Thirteenth Child

Reader: Elise S
Age: 13
Title: The Thirteenth Child
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pub Date: 2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: Eff Rothmer was born an unlucky thirteenth child, and has been afraid of going bad since she was little. Living on the frontier with her twin brother, and double 7th son, Lan, she tries to overcome her fear of being herself.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The Thirteenth Child has humor, a good plot, engaging characters, magic, and is refreshingly fantasy!
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I couldn't put this book down because the characters are so real. I also enjoyed hearing about the warped American History.
Did you finish: Yes
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: I love the cover. It relates to the "frontieriness" of the story, but with magic!
Age Range: Under 12, 12-13, 14-15
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

The Espressologist

Reader: Jessica P
Age: 16
Title: The Espressologist
Author: Kristina Springer
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Pub Date: 9/15/09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: So here's a simple story of this lazy teenager who gets pushed around by the 'popular' girls and has come up with a way at her work to "matchmake." It is as easy as taking out a notebook and jotting a few characteristics of costumers.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: The only thing that disappointed me was the fact that it wasn't quite what I enjoy reading. It was “summer fluff.” I would understand that younger teens would enjoy reading this book.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover art did not capture me truly. I like the idea of an 'espressologist' even though I did not quite know what one was. So that tempted me to learn more and read the book.
Age Range: 12-13, 14-15
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Girl At Sea

Reader: Meghan K
Age: 14
Title: Girl At Sea
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pub Date: 2007
Galley: No
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: I absolutely hate books with covers like this one. When I see the half-faced girl with Boobs of Hugeness, Skin of Eternal Tanning, and Abs of Infinite Sit-Ups I do not think "My! What an intriguing cover! That character looks just like me!" I think, "My, that model looks absolutely nothing like any character in the book! I am questioning the integrity of anyone who would agree that this cover is a good idea." Of course, if the final cover is this bad, I’d hate to see the ones that got canned.
Convince us to read the book: Petty cover complaints aside, I really liked this book. I love Maureen Johnson. She writes exactly the way I think. Her writing style is fun and quirky, and moves along at an excellent pace. This book has a larger, overlying mystery, but also has enough small stuff that reading it is still gratifying and fun.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: Okay, my literary geek, jargon-ridden recommendation wouldn't really convince anybody to read it, ever, but in more plot-y terms, this book has fun characters and lots of stuff going on. The characters seem very real and fun, and I
would like to hang out with any given one of them if only for a day or two.
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

David Inside Out

Reader: Sabrina K
Age: 15
Title: David Inside Out
Author: Lee Bantle
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books
Pub Date: March 09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: David has a secret that he's trying to hide. He even tries to cover it up, getting a girlfriend and doing what every "normal" teenage boy would do. But will he ever get sick of hiding from the truth?
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book shows that you can't run away from the truth, the same struggles you have will always be following you no matter where you go. This book shows the beauty of breaking free to your true identity and being the REAL you and taking risks.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: Since I live in the Twin Cities I loved how it felt so real- the places they went and everything made the characters feel more realistic to me that they could be everyday people right in my own neighborhood.
Comments: I think some of the details of where the characters where going should have been a bit more descriptive. As I said before, I live in the Twin Cities so the places they mentioned weren't that hard to imagine. But if I would have been someone who didn't live in the Twin Cities it would of been hard to imagine to add a bit of detail to that. I loved the little detail about Ridgedale mall as well- that was hilarious!
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover did tempt me up to pick the book a bit but it didn't really reflect the contents of the book. It did have two boys talking to each other but that's all. I think it should have been a track field or two boys running-it would of reflected the book more. Or even better a walking/running path!
Age Range: 16-17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

Devil's Paintbox

Reader: Luke M
Age: 15
Title: Devil's Paintbox
Author: Victoria McKeran
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 1/13/09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
b: After all other family members die, Aiden and Maddie are left starving in the prairies of Kansas. Their only chance for survival will be braving the hardships of the Oregon Trail and then life in debt to an uncaring logging company. Facing wolves, small pox and river fording, the journey seems impossible.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: A historical fiction novel about a boy traveling on the Oregon Trail to a job at a logging camp to escape starvation.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I liked the motives of all the characters, especially Aiden. The way he acted after Maddie's death was realistic.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: The book seemed to have very little unique. There are many stories about people traveling west to look for jobs. This one did focus a lot on after the trip and had a few new ideas (being orphans, Maddie's death) it still didn't seem any better than most Oregon Trail books.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover was very interesting, as it looked like a historical novel in the west, which it was. Also, because of this, it accurately reflected the book and the person on the cover has a bow, like Aiden.
Age Range: 14-15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Castration Celebration

Reader: Luke M
Age: 15
Title: Castration Celebration
Author: Jake Wizner
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 5/26/09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The book was funny (especially the musical) and I also liked how Olivia made the musical reflect her life and change events and characters as things happened in the book. The characters all seemed realistic, even if what Olivia made Max do wasn't.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: The ending was one of the better I have seen lately. It was enjoyable, wrapped up the end and left room for a sequel without leaving the reader unsatisfied.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover was not something that would convince me to read it. It looked very sappy, especially the people along the bottom. It didn't reflect the contents, as none of the people on the cover looked anything the characters in the musical.
Age Range: 14-15, 16-17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Alien Feast

Reader: Luke M
Age: 15
Title: Alien Feast
Author: Michael Simmons
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pub Date: May 2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I really liked uncle Maynard. He was an interesting and funny character. I also liked the reasons listed as to why some humans were still alive.
Did you finish the book: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book: The book seemed to be written for kids younger than teens, with a few parts that would make it a teen level book. Teens would probably prefer a book about teens. The writing seemed to be for younger people. Also, the ending leaves a lot unexplained and many of the decisions the characters make are very un-thought out.
Comments: If two 12-year-olds and an uncle with heart problems , all untrained, can destroy alien ships and kill aliens with alien rifles, how did the aliens ever beat a well-trained, well-armed military? I know the aliens had superior technology, but humans also have a lot of weapons that can destroy things larger than an armchair.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: The cover was dull and unrelated to the book. The aliens didn't look like that and also the title is hard to read. The cover has nothing interesting on it, all it is is some words and a blue background.
Age Range: Under 12
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Ghost Huntress: The Awakening

Reader: Meghan K
Age: 14
Title: Ghost Huntress: The Awakening
Author: Marley Gibson
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pub Date: May 2008
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Convince to read book: Like many others, I have a void in my heart shaped like the Ghostbusters. I miss them, specifically. It's been over twenty years since the original movie came out, and viewing the cartoons can only heal the deep hurt in my heart for so long. So I was hoping this book would help me move on with my life, and get over my mourning.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: And what can I say, it worked. Mostly. This book is no great literature, but it is a fun and entertaining read. It does take ghosts/ghost hunting/psychic powers more seriously than I do, (actually, more seriously than I take just about anything) and at times is a little too new-agey for my tastes. But it never dwells on the crunchy granola-ness for too long, and is quite content to move on to more interesting things, which kept the book moving at a nice, brisk pace.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I did like the characters, they seemed real to me. My one hang-up with them is actually less specific to this book, more about YA literature in general. And because I'm the one writing this, and you are reading it (and it's on the internet!), my opinion is suddenly valider than it would be otherwise. And that opinion is that the main character's friends are always eager to forgive, no matter what. As soon as the character apologizes, the friendship bounces back, and is stronger than ever. Um, has that ever actually happened? Ever? Answer: No. When you fight with a friend, the fight is still there, even after you've made up. It's awkward, and it takes days (minimum) to dissolve it, and have it no longer hanging over your heads. But in fiction, a main character could become a serial killer, murder everyone in the friend's family, hang their mutilated corpses from a tree, and wear their entrails as jewelry, then light the friend's home on fire and read their diary out loud in the style of Snarf from Thundercats in front of the friend's crush, and all it would take is one "I'm sorry" for it all to be back to normal. And the friend would sneak a nail file to the main character in prison, and then drive the getaway car. That has never happened ever. Ever. Not once in the history of mankind did anyone over about 7 and a half forgive and forget. I may be cynical, but I calls 'em as I sees 'em, and you don't have to keep reading if you really disagree with me that much. Actually, you're at the end of the review anyway, so ha! Hahahahahahaha! Haha!
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: I like this cover. It's got swirlies and squiggles on it, it's visually interesting without being overwhelming, and it's purple. Need I say more?
Age Range: Under 12, 12-13, 14-15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Evil?

Reader: Meghan K
Age: 14
Title: Evil?
Author: Timothy Carter
Publisher: Flux
Pub Date: 2009
Galley: No
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: After being caught getting it on with himself in his shower, Stuart is ostracized by his conservative town. His vendetta to free them from possession by a fallen angel is joined by other “sinners," and one demon with attitude problems.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Chances are, if you're not offended by the concept of this book, you will love it and think it's hysterical. Ready for the concept? Okay here goes: Stuart is a gay teenage boy who was caught on a date with Rosie Palms in his shower. Aaaaaand he summons demons. Just 'cuz. Okay, offended yet? No? Good, because if you were, that'd be bad, as you'd be missing out on a pretty good read.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: One thing I neglected to mention. Stuart's entire town has been possessed by a fallen angel who has a personal vendetta against the one-man mambo. A militant fallen angel, I might add. So Stuart and a few other teens caught being masters of their domains are attacked by a mob. Stuart summons a demon, Fon Pyre, to help the kids combat the angry town. It only gets weirder from there, believe it or not.
Did you finish the book: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book: I honestly can't think of any valid complaints about this book. I know people get confused by the punctuation at the end of the title, and are unsure of how to pronounce it, but I never had such troubles. (Hint: If you're not saying the title with a Ron Burgundy-esque overemphasis of the question mark, you're not saying it right! I know a lot of people may be offended by this book, but I wasn't, so I was completely okay with it. I guess if you're irreverent and already corrupted by modern media, you'll be okay.
Comments: As much as I enjoyed this book, I rated it low on the popularity scale, only because, as stated above, many people might be embarrassed/offended/just plain grossed out by this book. It's most certainly not for everyone. But if you're not everyone, if you're simply anyone, then I would heartily recommend Evil?
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents: I like this cover well enough, but it's sideways. It got my hopes up that the whole book would be sideways, but nooooo. I feel betrayed. (Not really.)
Age Range: 14-15, 16-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest