The Lighter Side of Life and Death

Reader: Sabrina K
Age: 16
Title: The Lighter Side of Life and Death
Author: C.K. Kelly Martin
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: May 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Convince us to read the book: If you’re into reading a book about a horny teenage boy, then I guess this is your kind of book. This boy seriously needs to control his urges.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling aspect of the book was how much Mason was confused. If you didn't know you would almost swear the main character was a girl being how fickle and clueless he was.
Comments: It seemed like this book was missing something, like there was no meat in the book. It almost seemed like this whole "phase" Mason had with Collette could have just been skipped and he could have just realized that he was in love with Kat the whole freaking time. Don't get me wrong, it was hilarious reading about a teenage boy talking about his love problems. But at the end it seemed like the book was a bit of a waste of time. Also, the whole time I was reading the book I was questioning Mason's sexual orientation, I'm not trying to stereotype, but this dude did not seem straight half of the time. He seriously just should have got with Ian or someone else, just because he banged two girls does not mean he's straight. It was very confusing to me while reading the book, and that was always in the back of my mind while reading the book.
Cover: The cover only tempted me to pick up the book because of the level of how cheesy it looked. I thought this would be a book about a girl falling in love, but instead I was surprised to figure out that it was a guy. I think the cover is too generic and needs to show that there is a main character that is a male.
Age Range: 16-17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest

Other

Reader: Meghan K
Age: 15
Title: Other
Author: Karen Kincy
Publisher: Flux
Pub Date: 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit official proof that YA literature has officially run out of monsters. Gwen is a pooka, which is a Welsh shapeshifter, living in a small town. Other is a refreshing twist on the modern fantasy formula in that the muggles of Gwen's world are fully aware of magic. Other realistically portrays a world where everyone knows about magic, even if they themselves are normal. I always thought it was a little weird that most people in fantasy novels have absolutely no idea that magic exists. In Harry Potter, this is justified with use of memory charms and an active effort to keep magic secret, but in most books, it's just never addressed. Magic is fully-integrated in the book, with the struggle for the rights of magical people, or "Others" (hey, title drop!) replacing civil rights or gay rights. I especially enjoyed the various politically correct terms for Others. Made me giggle.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: Enough general rambling. Others in Gwen's small town have started turning up dead. When a close friend of Gwen's is found murdered, Gwen and another friend decide to start looking for the killer.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I liked this book. I like fantasies, and I like mysteries, so I liked reading a book that was both. As I said before, I enjoyed seeing the interaction of magic and the modern world, but some stuff was never fully explained. It seemed odd to me that there were so many Others in Gwen's small town. In most small towns, pretty much everyone is the same race and religion with only a tiny percentage as anything else. Either the town in the book is larger than it seems, or something funny is going on. It got to the point where any non-Other character introduced was pretty much there to hurl anti-magic slurs at Gwen and be a suspect. I also wanted to see how the presence of Others affected a larger portion of the world. Are racism, homophobia, and sexism still issues? Or to paraphrase Terry Pratchett, have black and white teamed up on green? Here's hoping that the sequel takes Gwen & company to the big city to explore more of this unique and fascinating world!
Cover: I don't like this cover. I think it's supposed to be like the cover of Carrie Jones' Need. This means the cover designer is a copycat, and I don't truck with that. Boo for copycats!
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

The Genius Wars

Reader: Charlie Shafer
Age: 16
Title: The Genius Wars
Author: Catherine Jinks
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Pub Date: sept 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
How would you convince us to read the book: I would say that it's an easy read. It keeps you hooked, it's very interesting. If you read the first two then you will like this one as well.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I thought that all of the bad random things happening to him were the most compelling. Who saw a bus crashing through his house coming? I liked it, it kept you on your toes throughout the whole book, you never could relax which is what kept me hooked.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: Page 319 is nonexistent. So, I was disappointed that I didn't know what happened on page 319.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: No, the cover didn't tempt me to pick it up. There wasn't anything flashy that tempted me really except the name "the Genius Wars" because I read the first two books. Yes, the cover reflected the contents. The boy illustrated on the cover is the main character in the story.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

The Agency: A Spy in the House

Reader: Elise S
Age: 14
Title: The Agency: A Spy in the House
Author: Y.S. Lee
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: March 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: Mary Quinn is a typical Victorian pickpocket, until she becomes part of an all-women's elite spy network called The Agency. Her first task is to unravel a series of suspicious cargo ship disappearances in the Thorold household, but she doesn't have much time.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book has a heroine that kicks some serious butt. She's smart, funny, and dangerous, while still being human. She deals with problems realistically. The plot is very
engaging, and gives great clues, without being super obvious. It's the best YA mystery I've read in a long time.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I wanted to know what would happen. It kept me reading - who is behind all of this?! The Mary-James subplot was also fun. They both had character flaws, and the
conclusion of that subplot was great, if sad.
Comments: It's awesome to see a good, YA mystery series! I want more!
Cover: The cover really interested me. It conveyed the feeling of mystery, and the time period, without trying to tell the whole story. The picture was vaguely like how I imagined Mary to look, and she had a cool dress.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: Under 12 to 17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

The Red Umbrella

Reader: Emily
Age: 16
Title: The Red Umbrella
Author: Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: 05/11/10
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The Red Umbrella is a bittersweet story told from a young girl’s point about Castro's rise to power and the Cuban communist revolution.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most captivating part of this story is Lucia's emotions at being taken from her home and sent to a safe place in America. The tale she tells is captivating due to her anguish, foreign experiences, and ties she feels to those she loves.
Comments: The book appeared very authentic, in my opinion. The frequent use of Spanish, mixed with English reminded the reader the characters did not always speak English as the native tongue. In addition, it introduced the reader to a new language, using simple phrases that were easy to understand. For example, "Yeah," she muttered, "price we pay for having the last bunk. Guess we'll have to shower tomorrow."
"I don't mind taking a cold ducha." (p.129)
Cover: Even though the cover of the book has pictures, they aid in creating a setting for the story while subtly cluing the reader into the basic focal points of the story. The cover art is a clearly original, creative way of representing the story while accurately reflecting the contents.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

Another Pan

Reader: Payton G
Age: 14
Title: Another Pan
Author: Daniel & Dina Nayeri
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 10/??/2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: You think you know the story of Peter Pan? Well did you know that he's really on a quest for centuries-old 'bonedust' that will grant him the eternal life he so desires? No? I guess you'd better think again!
Recommend: Yes
How would you convince someone to read the book: If they've read Another Faust, I could just show them the cover. But, assuming that they want to know more about it, I'd say that it's a much different version of Peter Pan, which involves Egyptian mythology, curses, and of course the evil Vileroy.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling thing to me was that it was a sequel without messing with the story of the first book. There were a few characters who overlapped from the first one, and a couple of mysteries were explained, but it didn't tamper with the first book. I really found that cool, because a lot of the times, sequels aren't as good as the first book.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: The only really disappointing thing was the absence of the youngest Darling child, Michael. Other than that, I loved it.
Cover: The cover definitely drew my attention. I really like it. However, the fact that it was a sequel to Another Faust was what compelled me to pick it up in the end.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

The River Kings' Road: A Novel of Ithelas

Reader: Elise S
Age: 14
Title: The River Kings' Road: A Novel of Ithelas
Author: Liane Merciel
Publisher: Galery Books
Pub Date: ?
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: After the brutal massacre of a village and nobles, warring kingdoms on opposite sides of the river are thrown into approaching war. Desperation entwines the fates of a baby heir, a mercenary, and a village girl in an attempt to unravel the mystery, and prevent war. Meanwhile, a bloodwitch meddles in the affairs of the two kingdoms that may just doom them both.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book is an epic story of choice really. The characters are believable and make realistic choices in the situations. The world is original, and the names are very cool. The magic in the book is very cool, and makes me shiver in places.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I was sincerely concerned about the characters, and how their stories would turn out. All of the characters had flaws and strengths, and you could see through their points of view very well.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was unhappy with the ending, and not just from a personal point-of-view. Yes, there is going to be another book, but some major points were just left dangling. You never find out what happens to two of the MAIN CHARACTERS! That would be okay if she did a Suzanne Collins-esque ending, stopping in the middle of a scene or something, but she wrapped up one of the plots very tidily, while still leaving room for the sequel. So it felt out of place to just ignore the other part of the plot.
Comments: I also really enjoyed her writing style. The way the author moved from point-of-view to point-of-view was very interesting, and gave you a full view of the plot, without giving it all away. When done well, this style is great, but it's so easy to get wrong. Kudos to her!
Cover: The cover was awesome. I'm a sucker for knights in shining/tarnished armor, and epic battle tales, so this was great. The striking blade and costume stands out from the shelf, and gives the innocent browser a good measure of the feel of the book.
Did you finish: Yes
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Hate List

Reader: Payton G
Age: 14
Title: Hate List
Author: Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub Date: 09/2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: May second, 2008 is a day that all the students at Garvin High will always remember. That was the day that Nick Levil brought a gun to school and shot people who were on the Hate List. Then, he shot the two people who were never on there. Me and him. My name is Valerie Leftman, and this is what happened after I started the Hate List.
Recommend: Yes
How would you convince someone to read the book: I would tell them that it is a really good book about a school shooting, but not like any that they may have read.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling part, for me, was that the reader got to really hear all the sides of the story. It's kind of rare that you get more than one side, so this was really cool.
Cover: The cover is really cool. It definitely helped me notice the book. I think it reflects the contents fairly well, also.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 14-18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

Morpheus Road: The Light

Reader: Payton G
Age: 14
Title: Morpheus Road: The Light
Author: D. J. McHale
Publisher: Aladdin
Pub Date: 04/??/2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I really liked the mystery of the book. The plot took so many twists that it made it sort of impossible to predict what would happen.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was sort of disappointed with it because it was rather clich├ęd. I think it would have maybe done better as a screenplay, because a lot of things seemed to be out of a horror movie.
Cover: The cover did catch my interest, and I think it looks really cool. However, it doesn't do a fantastic job of reflecting the book. I mean, if you’re going to show a picture of one of the characters, at least make it an accurate one.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 14-15
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

The Ask and the Answer

Reader: Maddie S
Age: 16
Title: The Ask and the Answer
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling aspect of the book would have to be the fact that everyone has a Noise, their thoughts are able to be heard by anyone.
Comments: I didn't really understand the relationship between Viola and Todd. I did not understand why those two were so special to each other, it was an unrealistic relationship.
Did the cover tempt you or reflect the contents of the book: Yes, it did not in the least reflect what the book was about.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest

Girl Parts

Reader: Maddie S
Age: 16
Title: Girl Parts
Author: John M. Cusik
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Convince us to read the book: Read it.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling aspect of this book is that in the society in this book it is a lot like ours, almost exactly the same, but there are certain robots made to please teenage boys. It's basically our society in 20 years.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was disappointed with this book because it wasn't that different of a story. It was a story about every other family in today's world, yet they throw in a robot that is built to please rich boys. That is all there is to it, and of course a boy has to save the robot from being taken away. It's robot love.
Comments: I found that the companions were basically a symbol in the book for us to help realize that we are all too dependent on technology these days. I found that compelling, yet it was easy to tell what was going to happen in the plot.
Cover: I found the cover very odd and inviting. I mean, why was a girl inside a cardboard box with foam all around her? I just had to find out more.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Violet Eyes

Reader: Emily
Age: 16
Title: Violet Eyes
Author: Debbie Viguie
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub Date: 02/10
Galley: Yes
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Violet Eyes is a short, but sweet read. The story is a compelling tale about a young woman who falls in love with a prince of a nearby town. The two grow feelings for each other but must face the challenge of the royal parents. Through the prince's help, the main character is able to survive the task set for her and rival princess's so that they can be together in matrimony.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling aspect of this book is the main character’s willingness to do anything to get the one she loves. She is not a stuck up person of royalty, but comes from what seems like humble beginnings, growing up on a farm.
Cover: The cover was appealing to the reader. The picture on the cover accurately enough represented the plot, which is based upon the fairy tale of "The Princess and the Pea."
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most

Birth Marked

Reader: Luke M
Age: 16
Title: Birth Marked
Author: Caragh O'Brien
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pub Date: 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I liked the method of taking the children and Gaia's parent's efforts to keep records. The difference in living conditions of the society was well described. Overall, the story was unique.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was confused by the Enclave as they acted stupidly very often and not very advanced. Why lock up doctors but still have them practice? Why have all these cameras but still be unable to recapture anyone? Why wouldn't they keep records? Gaia also was annoying as she endangered people by giving up information and doing poorly thought out rescues.
Cover: The cover was interesting and the color of the strands stood out well on the darkly colored background. I think it could relate better to the story with having the ribbon, the birthmark pattern in stars in the sky and a wall instead of the tower.
Age Range: 14-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

The Lonely Hearts Club

Reader: Sabrina K
Age: 16
Title: The Lonely Hearts Club
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point
Pub Date: Jan 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
How would you convince a friend to read the book: It really depends on the friend, but if you like a light easy-read book, this is one that will give you a great laugh.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling aspect of the book for me was how unrealistic this book was. I don't know if that made it more enjoyable. But the majority of the population of girls at a school would never shun the entire male population. The fact that these girls hung out with this Beatles freak (in this case Penny) and followed her ideals and practices made the book almost seem like a cult rather than a friendly little girl empowerment group. None the less, the book was still enjoyable, and quite amusing seeing these views and ideals of high school be pushed to the extremes.
Comments: I wish there was a bit more character development in the book. It seemed like Penny was just getting to know her "true self" and then the book ended. It felt like there wasn't a final close to the story.
Cover: The cover of the book is a cheesy parody of the Beatles album Abbey Road. But instead of widely recognized Beatles, it’s four girls that are hideously dressed. This cover reflects the entire content of the book. Every single page of the book had some reference of the Beatles and remained 100% cheesy no matter what.
Age Range: 12-13
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Free?

Reader: Luke M
Age: 16
Title: Free?
Author: Amnesty International
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: April 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: Very little, but if forced to pick, it was poems. I enjoyed the style, especially the Hurricane Katrina poem.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: The stories were often dull and didn't relate well to the articles. It would be much more interesting to read about how the rights are enforced and the changes they have made to the world. The rights also seemed dumbed down from the original versions. Most stories seem underdeveloped and lack depth. The few interesting ones can't carry the weight left by the bad ones.
Cover: The listing of authors was done in an interesting color and font and looked well on the background but it was dull. It may have reflected the contents but a much better job could be done.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-13
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest

The Water Seeker

Reader: Maddie
Age: 16
Title: The Water Seeker
Author: Kimberly Willis Holt
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Pub Date: 2009
Galley: Yes
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Read it!
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I really loved how the book dated back to settlement times and it really focused on the time the book was written. The book really based its entire detail and plot around it. I loved how the book had fact to it and yet the story had some form of unrealism, a characteristic of nonfiction.
Comments: I have never read a book like this. I could not put this book down I was so enveloped with it, yet the plot wasn't too crazy. I did enjoy how it subconsciously had an effect on me. The time frame was what made this book different than most.
Were you disappointed with the book: I was disappointed that it ended.
Cover: The book's cover was not a very huge appeal for me.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 14-15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja

Reader: Payton G
Age: 14
Title: Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja
Author: Simon Higgins
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub Date: 06/?/2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: There was a flip-book of a ninja jumping down the pages. I found that more entertaining than the actual plot.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was very disappointed with the book, because it was like a half-hearted novelization of a bad ninja movie. I was so detached with the main character that I only got through ten chapters. I really tried to finish it but it was just so slow paced that I couldn't. Ninja books should never be slow paced. For obvious reasons.
Cover: The cover was definitely distinctive, because it had both light and dark colors and was interesting. However, it looks just like almost any other book about ninjas.
Did you finish: No
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

The Mermaid's Mirror

Reader: Megan W
Age: 17
Title: The Mermaid's Mirror
Author: L. K. Madigan
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pub Date: 10/04/10
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I am a huge ocean and mythology freak, so I absolutely loved this book. It's about a girl, Lena, who uncovers a huge secret in her past dealing with a mother she hardly remembers and a longing for the ocean that she can't explain.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: This book deals with fantasy, but I thought the author did a great job of keeping the magic and fantasy from overpowering the book. It was a good blend of reality and magic.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: There were parts of this book that seemed ill-researched or a bit rough, but overall this book was a great read. It was an easy-to-follow book that is best to read on a beach or somewhere sunny and warm. To me, it's a great summer read.
Cover: I thought the cover was very intriguing. The blues and grays blend together to give the book a mysterious feeling, and the back of the girl's head adds more mystery and intrigue. I thought the cover tied in to the book very well.
Did you finish: Yes

Pure

Reader: Sabrina K
Age: 16
Title: Pure
Author: Terra Elan McVoy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub Date: April 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
How would you convince someone to read the book: It would have to be a specific friend though, this is not for your every day teen. Honestly, I believe the reader has to have a lot of patience to read this book and have a pretty strong religious background to comprehend the story. This book is not for someone who does not have a strong moral background.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling aspect of the book would be just how much thought and process the character Tabitha had involving the purity ring. It was as if she revolved around the ring and created this cult with her friends around purity rings.
Comments: When I first picked up this book I thought that I would be able to relate to this book really well, since I also have a purity ring. I was surprised to find out that I had slim to no, similarities with the character. The characters were annoying and it seemed like all her friendships were based off of the purity rings. The book went way too long and extended to an amount where it was almost unbearable to continue to read further. I mean really—who takes that long to decide to do stuff? The majority of the book just felt like we (the readers) were listening to her whine and complain about her not knowing what to do. Also, the whole plot seemed pretty unrealistic and immature. I've never heard of kids openly standing up for their beliefs. The issue seems a bit outdated. Overall, I love that there is a book putting light on the topic of purity rings. But I feel like the wrong message was being sent out to teens about them.
Cover: What tempted me to pick up the book was the content and the overall theme of the book rather than the cover of the book. Even though, the cover was tempting to read and pick up and was symbolic to the contents of the book.
Age Range: 14-15
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest

Pretty On The Outside

Reader: Emily
Age: 16
Title: Pretty On The Outside
Author: Kate Kingsley
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub Date: 04/10
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: This book was not compelling at all.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I thought this book was very poorly written and a bad representation of how teenagers act and it felt like the author doesn't know anyone in the teen years. Most of what I read seemed to be focused around spending parents’ money, drugs, severe cliques, drugs, and sex.
Comments: I think this book was very poorly written. The author didn't know how to connect to her readers and portrayed the characters in a very negative aspect. Some of the catty remarks border on the ridiculous and I feel that the author should learn more about how teens act instead of writing based upon stereotypes.
Cover: The cover was not very tempting. I found the muted colors to be unattractive and gloomy. The two silhouettes were very basic.
Did you finish: No
Age Range: 14-17
Quality: 1Q How did it get published?
Popularity: 1P Yech! Forced to read it

7 Souls

Reader: Meghan K
Age: 15
Title: 7 Souls
Author: Barnabas Miller & Jordan Orlando
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: 7/13/10
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: No
Cover: I'm kind of over teenagers staring moodily off of covers. This one's okay, but if I saw it in a bookstore, I wouldn't make a special point to read the book.
Recommend: Yes
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The back of this book gives too much away. The book actually reaches the climax in the middle of the book, and the back cover reveals exactly what that climax will be, before I even started the book. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I hadn't known. Anyway, the first half of the book sets up mystery and the climax, and the second half is examining the events leading up to the climax through different perspectives. This reveals (or was SUPPOSED to reveal; Thanks, back of the book!) just enough information at a time to keep things interesting and suspenseful. About 3/4s of the way through the book, a supernatural element was added, and I thought it was sort of dumb. The book had been pretty realistic up until that point, but then it got paranormal all of the sudden. I still enjoyed the book, though, but a friend of mine resented the sudden genre shift. I think she still liked the book as well, but thought it was really dumb.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: As I said, I still enjoyed the book. I thought it had a satisfying ending that made sense with what had happened so far. There were some confusing moments towards the end of the book when characters got muddled, and it was hard to tell who was speaking, but that was relatively minor in what was otherwise an enjoyable book.
Convince us to read the book: 7 Souls is about a girl named Mary, who wakes up naked in a Crate & Barrel on her birthday with no idea of how she got there. This is only the start of what turns out to be a serious contender for 'worst day ever.' The book is about Mary's struggle to figure out what has happened and is happening to her.

Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

God is in the Pancakes

Reader: Sabrina K
Age: 16
Title: God is in the Pancakes
Author: Robin Epstein
Publisher: Dial Books
Pub Date: May 2010
Galley: Yes
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book really portrays the meaning of life, and how to live life the fullest. That there are special people out in this world and that you just have to take the time to notice that the’re out there.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling aspect of the book was the plot. Throughout the entire book many moral messages seemed to pop out: how to cope with divorce, how to cope with the loss
of a loved one, the struggle with friendships, and how to keep your bonds between your loved ones. Unlike other books that have many sub plots, this book did a fantastic job really portraying the many aspects of life, and that more than one struggle will be going on at once. The book did this amazingly, without it being too overwhelming.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was disappointed about the ending of the book; it felt like it just ended. I was upset that she (Grace) didn't choose the grandson. It felt like he was introduced, that there was possibly some romantic link between Grace and him, and then it just ended. Like that! And she ran back to Erin.
Cover: The cover did not tempt me to pick up the book. Only the title did. Who wants to read a book with a teenage girl with a gloomy face on the cover-really?!? Grace (at least to me) was not like that at all, in fact, she was quite the opposite of a gloomy, depressed looking teenager. She was a vibrant young lady. And the cover of the book did not reflect the contents of the book at all.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 14-17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

The Gardener

Reader: Charlie S
Age: 16
Title: The Gardener
Author: S.A. Bodeen
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pub Date: 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: If you like weird science fiction this would be your book.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: Jack Mason and Laila trying to get away from the people chasing them.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: At some places the book was a little long.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: Yes it did very well. The cover kind of sums up the whole book. There are people that have roots growing into them/out of them and on the cover that's there too.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

White Cat

Reader: Charlie S
Age: 16
Title: White Cat
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: McElderry
Pub Date: 5/4/10
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Recommend: Yes
What would convince someone to read the book: That this book is great. It keeps your attention and it's easy to read. It has a good plot, good characters.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The workers and the types of abilities they can have. For example, Barron was a memory worker. Their mom was an emotion worker and could change luck around.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: No I wasn't disappointed with the book except I wish that the ending would have been a little bit different. Like, instead of him just being bummed about his mom putting a love curse on Lila he could have reversed it or something.
Did the cover tempt you and/or reflect the contents of the book: Yes it did, the cover is mysterious and just pulled me towards it. In the book there is a mysterious white cat and that's exactly what is on the cover.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 14-17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

Out of My Mind

Reader: Elise S
Age: 14
Title: Out of My Mind
Author: Sharon M. Draper
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pub Date: ?
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teen’s Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: I was curious about what the climax of the story would be, because the plot wasn't very prominent for a while.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: It was interesting about hearing from the point of view of a person with cerebral palsy, but I wondered about how much of that was authentic, and the research backing up the novel. It was a little bit one-sided, the secondary characters didn't have any quirks—the bullies were just bullies, the pretend friend didn't get enough page time, and all the people were almost unrealistically closed-minded. I wanted to see a good climax, some more emotional excitement, but the protagonist just asked some heated questions and started to laugh. And Melody's thoughts were had too many exclamations. Gross! Fun! Ew!
Cover: The cover was very interesting. It was what made me pick the book up. Its simplicity was refreshing, and stood out. It kept me thinking about what it meant, and I still haven't really figured out the deeper meaning. I also like that the authors name is prominent, but doesn't get in the way of the title.
Age Range: Under 12
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Birth Marked

Reader: Meghan K
Age: 15
Title: Birth Marked
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pub Date: April 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teen’s Top 10: No
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I would recommend this book with reservations. According to the inside cover, it's "'The Handmaid's Tale' meets 'The Hunger Games.'" To that, I shrug. Proverbially, of course. This book reuses many tired devices, but is able to put a new twist on them. The setting is implied to be the remains of Duluth after global warming carpet-bombed the Great Lakes. Proverbially, of course. The main character is named Gaia, in what must be the absolute subtlest allusion this year. Gaia is a midwife in the slums surrounding a shining city called the Enclave. She must turn the first three babies she delivers each month over to the Enclave, where they will be raised by wealthy families unable to have children of their own. After the arrest of her parents, Gaia begins to question her job in taking infants from their mothers.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: This book is not very well-written. The story is new enough to be interesting, but the writing is poorly paced and exposition is scattered unevenly. Things which are important get glossed over while insignificant background details are described lavishly. It's near impossible to tell how much or little time has passed. Luckily, the story is good enough to keep reading for. It's original, but at times, the clunky writing trips the story up, and manages to make it feel old and trite. The story itself is good, and definitely worth reading for.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I didn't care about the characters in this book, yet I wanted to know what would happen next. I'm not really sure about the mechanics of this, but hey. Overall, this is not a bad book. The storytelling is awkward, but it's worth reading for the story.
Comments: This book is supposed to have a very green, pro-environment slant. I didn't notice. The green message is maybe a two paragraphs over half of a page. One character sees a lush garden, and wonders if the entire earth used to be like that. So those of you shying away from the book in fear of a heavy-handed environmental message can exhale.
Cover: The cover of this book is pretty similar to that of the covers of the Uglies series. It's not a bad cover, I'm just tired of the 'wrap-around face' trend. I'm sure there are more creative, original ideas just waiting to be mined.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest

A Soft Place to Land

Reader: Kasey M
Age: 16
Title: A Soft Place to Land
Author: Susan Rebecca White
Publisher: TouchStone
Pub Date: May 2010
Galley: Yes
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The sadness draws you in and comforts you at the same time.
Were you disappointed with the book: I felt that it went nowhere with its plot. It was a book about sadness and usually I love such books, yet the plot did not fold and bend to create a story.
Cover: I personally felt that the book had no draw to it. It was like a lot of books out there... feet. It sounds weird but do you realize how many books have feet on their covers? It also held no reflection to the book's contents.
Did you finish: No
Age Range: 16-18 and up
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest

The Maze Runner

Reader: Kasey M
Age: 16
Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub Date: 10/13/09
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Cover: The cover was terrible and it did not reflect the book in the slightest. I hope it has been redesigned because it masked a wonderful book with a boring cover.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The book is made to keep you on your toes. It questions the meaning of "science" and makes us wonder if our science experiments have gone too far. It is a thrill to read and you cannot put it down.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling aspect of the entire book was the "on your seat" writing that kept you hooked. The chapters were beautifully written to leave the reader always wanting more.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was in no way disappointed with the outcome of my readings!
Age Range: 14-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

XIsle

Reader: Kasey M
Age: 16
Title: XIsle
Author: Steve Augarde
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Pub Date: 07/13/10
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book is full of chilling theories and ideas that keep you on the edge. It is dark and has a great storyline. Yet with this storyline, you can analyze it and find deeper parts within. When I read it, I found that the book almost represented the innocence of youth and how easily it can be beguiled.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: the possibility that you know it might not end happily. The story set itself up for a dark ending, yet in the end, hope prevailed!
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I have no complaints!
Cover: YES! This cover was the reason I even looked as this book. The colors are bold, the picture is incredible, and it just sends shivers up your spine. It reflects the contents very well because it brings in the darkness of the book while there is still light which could represent the hope the book's ending holds.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 16-18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Theif Eyes


Reader: Kasey M
Age: 16
Title: Theif Eyes
Author: Janni Lee Simmer
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: 04/27/10
Galley: No
Nominate for Teen’s Top 10: No
Cover: It was not a very exciting book to pick up. I merely picked it because I was late to the club meeting. The colors are bland and almost sore to the eyes. The coin reflects the books contents, but it could be better arranged to grab a buyer's attention.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: It is a book with thrills, love, laughs, and sadness. It encompasses many aspects of the emotion range that is needed to create a well-written book.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling aspect of this book was the struggle for the main character to do what is right in her moral values while still maintaining a sense that good and evil sometimes blur.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was slightly disappointed with the book because the writing was not as professional as it could be. I feel the book could have been much more developed before it was published.
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

13 to Life

Reader: Maddie S
Age: 16
Title: 13 to Life
Author: Shannon Delany
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pub Date: July 2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teen’s Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The fact that this very attractive boy, who should stereotypically be a non-intelligent boy, was in fact a very witty person—oh and he is a werewolf.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was disappointed with the plot. I found it generic and overused. This book is one of many and it didn't have that pizazz other books possessed.
Comments: I thought that this book was only created because the author thought the same type of books (Twilight) became popular. Since this book had the same genre and plot as other books the author had to add on a hot man to spice it up a bit. Of course the hot man would be appealing to a bunch of hormone crazy 16-year-old girls. I was disappointed with this book.
Cover: I found the cover very interesting and mysterious. I really was attracted to the eye with the moon in it.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 14-15
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

Hex Hall

Reader: David L
Age: 17
Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pub Date: 03/?/2010
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teen’s Top 10: No
Recommend: No
Compelling Aspect of the Book: Alice. A British (SPOILER) Demon great-grandmother ghost? Brilliant. Sophie conspiring with her great grandmother to spoil Elodie's dress was priceless, even though it wasn't very filled-out.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I was certainly not disappointed. I expected a second rate Harry Potter knock-off, and although it didn't have nearly the world or the characters of Harry Potter, it had its own humor and creativity. On the other hand, Disney seemed to have some negative influence—the fact that you were too scaredto use the word "f***" was a bit of a put-off, but I suppose it's meant for kids who have their parents read books to them at bedtime...
Cover: I liked the cover-it was simplistic, and in a way, elegant. The new cover dismays me very much. I hate seeing models on covers, and what the heck is a cat doing there? The black lettering does the book much more justice.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

: Under 12-15

If I Grow Up

Reader: David L
Age: 17
Title: If I Grow Up
Author: Todd Strasser
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pub Date: ?
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Annotation: In this vibrant portrayal of one child's journey to a bleak manhood, DeShawn struggles to find a path out of the Projects. Just as the heroic gang leader, Marcus, is the only father figure available to DeShawn, there seems to be no other future ahead of him but the bleak prospects of drug deals and gang wars.
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: It's not a happy book, but it's a worthwhile read. It's exciting, realistic, and never touchy-feely. Overall, a great read.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The gritty *realness* of the book. Not even the most creative plot twists seem contrived. The entire book seems true to its world, our world. Also, in Marcus, we find a hero and role model as tragic and brave as any Achilles, and yet as evil and conniving as a Mafioso. Marcus is one of the most thought provoking and compelling characters in the novel, and was a definite highlight.
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I wish the book was slightly less patronizing in its plea for inner-city minorities. The story does its job well enough. There's little need for anything more.
Cover: The name is compelling, but the cover itself is less than perfect. It in no way portrays the gritty,
inner-city setting or the action, hopelessness, guns or drugs that are so pervasive in If I Grow Up.
Did you finish: Yes
Age Range: 14-18 up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal