Scrivener's Moon - YA Book Review by Eli



Reader: Eli S-M
Age: 13
Title: Scrivener's Moon
Author: Philip Reeve
Publisher: Scholastic
Pub Date: 11/1/12
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The book was very good because the characters were extraordinarily well developed and multi-faceted. One of my favorite parts of this book was how even though the characters were very different from the norm,the story was not written about that, it was just allowed to add to it. The plot was also exciting and fast moving. My only complaint is that the book is the last installment in the prequel series to Mortal Engines, another series by Phillip Reeve, and features heavy foreshadowing to that. This means that certain seemingly unnecessary details may bog down the story for those who have not read Mortal Engines.
Memorable or Forgettable: The qualities of the book that made it memorable for me were the character diversity, the post-apocalyptic setting, and the method of switching between many characters to tell a larger story.
Cover: The cover attracted me to the book, and it reflects one facet of the plot, but I feel it did [not do a good] job showing the others. The whole book was really about New London, not a pyramid.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags: Fever Crumb trilogy / Mortal Engines series prequel / post-apocalyptic / steampunk / dystopian / ya lit




Need a break from the hectic holiday season?  Take a mini "bookcation" with the booktrailer our teens created for Geoff Herbach's book, Stupid Fast:


Enjoy!







Reader: Grace KL
Age: 13
Title: Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School
Author: Kim Baker
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Pub Date: 09/04/2012
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The main characteristic of this middle-grade novel is humor, especially since the focus of the book is a prank club.  Although written for younger readers, the characters in the book were relatable, and the theme of the book was much more than not getting caught while pulling pranks.  The one thing I did not enjoy was the setting.  The characters seemed to inhabit one of those "happy, everyone lives near each other" towns.  This always annoys me because I can't relate, and the idea that all of these kids, and a zoo are walking distance away has never felt very believable.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was slightly memorable in that the pranks were ones I had never thought of before.  Other than that, the dialogue and descriptions were nothing special.
Cover:  The cover does accurately portray what happens in the story, but does not go much further than that.  What really drew me in were the words "prank club".
Age Range: Under 12 through 13
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal





Reader: Lyric K
Age: 13
Title: The Edumacation Of Jay Baker
Author: Jay Clark
Publisher: Square Fish
Pub Date: 01/31/12
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  The book is good because the author does a great job at writing in general, as in putting words together. The author was also very good at making the kind of jokes teenagers actually make. The main character's family life is hilarious and there are some great coincidences worked into the book. In the beginning there isn't very good character development, but it is a short book so the beginning does overlap with the body of the book which makes for still learning the characters while reading the story. The dialogue is very "teenager," which is good because those are the characters in the book. Over all the book is good but the combination of a short book, a slightly slow plot, and not much going on in the plot in general makes it feel like something was lacking once you're done reading.
Memorable or Forgettable:  It was a memorable book, and I will probably recommend it to a friend.
Cover:  The cover did make me interested, and I am glad it did not show a face. The cover did show what part the book was about. However it did not show the other part about romance. The inside cover says that there is a love triangle in the book, but if it even had one I didn't notice it... it's true the main character liked two people but he never cheats on anyone.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments:  Not "better than most," but more, "pretty good."







Reader: Ada B
Age: 18
Title: Froi of the Exiles
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Candlewick
Pub Date: 03/13/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Marchetta has this great talent for exposing both the great tragedies and the heroic moments in her characters, a talent she definitely debuted in her first novel of this series Finnikin of the Rock.  She can both horrify you and fascinate you with her words and descriptions. Yes, her writing is very graphic at times, but that is what makes her writing eerily beautiful. You get the full weight of what she's saying right there on the page in front of you. No, you can't just skim over it or flip the page or avert your eyes; it is right in your face. She makes each reader confront humanity's deepest flaws and darkest moments and in the same breath she also astounds you as to how precious and important that spark of humanity is, no matter how dark it can be. Her characters are stellar and each is continually growing, especially the main character Froi who is definitely not your A-typical hero.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was memorable in that Marchetta has absolutely created her own world. You have no doubt of its structural integrity or that it can't withstand literary scrutiny. Her world is dark and grim but you end up wanting to spend as much time in it as possible. This book, along with its predecessor, was a great delight to read. I enjoyed her characters and the plot. She put her characters in the most gruesome situations and yet she always somehow made you see the best that humanity had to offer; bravery, courage, inspiration in the face of oppression. And that is exactly what every work that features a hero should be about. The hero should exemplify what makes humanity great and compelling and worth the audience's time. All of her heroes possess that which is rare to see in many YA books today.
Cover:  The cover was accurate in its depiction of a boy and a sword. It relates to the first book as well since the first book, at least the copy I read, also had a sword on the cover. It doesn't reveal a lot about the plot which is nice; however, it lacked that certain "hook" that many book seem to have. It was nice though to see a book that didn't feature a girl or some magnified body part in order to signal a romance (which this book did have).
Age Range: 16 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: not provided
Additional Comments:  This book was a stellar read and I can't wait for the third one! This was one of those series in which the sequels are as good as the first. Many series fall under par after the first as the author's creative juices and ideas dry up. However, you can tell in this book that Marchetta was still heavily emotionally invested in this book and in her characters. I loved that even though the main character was different in this book than in the first, you still didn't lose any of the characters that you had grown to love from the first book. It also gave a lot of new ground for Marchetta to play with by switching the main character, a point that I at first was upset about but then grew to accept and then to love.





Reader: Elise S
Age: 16
Title: The Good Braider
Author: Terry Farish
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Pub Date: 05/01/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: One of the biggest downfalls of poetry novels is that it gets so wrapped up in the structured poetry of what is said that the concept doesn't work as a sustained project.  That was not at all the case for this book.  There were moments that the words caught my attention, but for the most part I was entirely wrapped up in the story of the character, Viola.  The delicacy of how the words fit together really added to the telling through its crispness.  Sometimes fewer words make a bigger impact than a whole novel, and Farish used this to her advantage and created a beautiful, short book.
Memorable or Forgettable: I've been thinking a lot about racial representation in teen books, and how white so many of the books I've read are.  This said, it was great to see a book that included a story outside of white, middle class, pretty white girl.  Even though Viola's story as a Sudanese refugee is completely outside of my own life experiences, I related with her as a character.  This just proves that empathizing with characters is not based on physical similarities, but human connection.  Reading the book also expanded my knowledge about the conflict in Sudan, and the process of becoming a refugee in an extremely relatable and significant way.
Cover:  I liked the simplicity and honesty of the cover.  The braids connected to the title and story, the colors contrasted to work together for maximum impact on a small canvas.  Visually, it also represents diversifying the image presented on YA covers - please increase it even more!
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation:  Viola has known a life of war, fear, and oppression in Sudan before fleeing to the United States as a refugee.  Her struggles do not end there as she adjusts to a new value system and culture.




Reader: Jade W
Age: 13
Title: Stay
Author: Deb Caletti
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub Date: 4/05/2011
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Stay is a humorous book and that made the otherwise seriousness and the depth of the book lighten up so it isn't depressing when you read it yet you understand the concept and the situation of the context which I believe is really important in a book. And I loved the overall irony of the situation.
Memorable or Forgettable: I really enjoyed this book because of the way it could be relatable and understandable to almost any reader. The way the author, Deb Caletti, really draws the readers in and constantly makes you continue to think about this book over and over again basically making it one of those "I can't put it down" or "just another chapter mom" and yet you end up reading for another hour.
Cover: The cover was really simple and it does reflect the contents in a way that it takes place near the beach. It pulls you mostly because of the brightness and sheer simplicity of it, but also because of the words "Some secrets are strong enough to pull you under."
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments:  The way the book is written makes the whole idea seem very real and as if it could happen to you which in a way makes you spooked, but still a good read for teens.




Reader: Bjorn H
Age: 13
Title: Son
Author: Louis Lowry
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pub Date: 10/02/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book was amazing because of the dystopian themes and twisted reality. It sucks you in like a whirlwind with a beginning that leaves you wondering after every page. The narrative tension steadily rises all the way through the book until the climax when all of a sudden, all the wondering begins to put itself together into a finished puzzle.
Memorable or Forgettable: Some of the qualities that made this book memorable for me was its dystopian themes and mild humor. Some more qualities were the strange setting and the ignorance of the character's companions.
Cover: The cover tempted me to pick up the book because of its mysterious look and somewhat frightening picture. But the cover did not reflect too well the contents of the book.
Age Range: 14-15
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Additional Comments:  This was the best book I have ever read!




Reader: Elise S
Age: 16
Title: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Publisher: Fiewel and Friends
Pub Date: 10/2/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: If you loved the first book of Fairyland, you'll love this one.  If you love tea parties you'll love this book.  If you love Victorian stories, you'll love this book.  If you love to read, have ever had an adventure (real, imaginary, or otherwise), and/or have a sense of humor you will not only love this book, but must read it.  In her second book, Valente explores darker themes, and the shadow side of fairyland.  September is growing up, and so is fairyland.  As if the astounding writing style, creativity, plot, world, and characters were not enough, it has pictures.
Memorable or Forgettable: My favorite kinds of books are the ones that make me stop and read a sentence over, because the way the words fit together, in an almost broken way.  Libba Bray, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman all do this, and so does Valente.  Her quirky creativity pulls through into all aspects of her book.  Characters react in ways that are both believable and unexpected.  The world always has new twists and turns, so that I feel like I could keep exploring, and just around the next page, or if I peeked into the margin, I would find a whole other aspect of it.  The perfect world to describe it is delightful in every aspect.
Cover: I adored these illustrations.  They were stylistic enough to leave room for my imagination to make the world, but still accurate enough to give a basis for some of the stranger images.  The quirkiness combined with historicalness fit so perfectly, and made me laugh!
Age Range: Under 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation: September doesn't fit in after returning from Fairyland, and not only because she has no shadow.  When she returns on the back of a ship, she finds a different land, and reencounters familiar face.




Reader: Bridget
Age: 18
Title: Changeling (The Order of Darkness #1)
Author: Phillipa Gregory
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub Date: 05/29/2012
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: In all honesty I only made it through the first fifty pages of the book. The premise of the book was quite an intriguing one. A teen boy is sent on a mission from Rome to seek out the evils and fears of the world in the fourteenth century. He comes to an abbey where there are unexplained happenings which, it is surmised, are the work of the devil.  I thought it would be really interesting, but it moved extremely slow. The writing was somewhat shallow with no deeper intrigue. It didn't really grasp my attention as a reader.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was slow and kind of bland, which leads me to forget most of what happened.
Cover: It interested me; it seemed mystical and darkly alluring. It seemed to somewhat reflect the contents of the book.
Age Range: 14 to 15
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal




Reader: Elise S
Age: 16
Title: A Wounded Name
Author: Dot Hutchinson
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Pub Date: 2013
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Imagine a book that was so exquisite that every paragraph, sentence, word sparkled in a unique combination so that it caught the mind.  That was this novel.  Even if the plot and characters were iffy, the imagery used to make the story come to life would have put it into the league of fantastic.  But all of the elements came together, and I loved it.  This book is not just for teens - it is for anyone who loves the way that Shakespeare uses words to tell stories in pictures.
Memorable or Forgettable: When I heard that A Wounded Name is a rewrite of Hamlet, I was skeptical.  My experience with "retellings" is that they lack creativity, and it's better to just read the actual thing.  This, however, goes beyond that.  Instead of telling Shakespeare's story from Ophelia's point of view, the author took this legendary tale and grew from it.  It had similar aspects, but Hutchinson made it her own.  This was very present in Ophelia herself, how she was still the broken, weak character, but more human.  So many aspects of the novel were woven in, without ever being directly stated - like the magic, the pills, her relationship with Hamlet and her father, Horatio and Hamlet - I cannot wait to send a copy to my Shakespeare director!
Cover: I'll be excited to see a cover for this, so many cool, artistic paths it could go down!
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Additional Comments  The cover is under development.  We'll update this post once it's available.




Reader: Simon DS
Age: 12
Title: Erebos
Author: Ursala Poznanski
Publisher: Annick Press, Limited
Pub Date: February 7, 2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book has a strangely addictive demeanor. It tells of an addicting game where players throw aside their personal lives to play the game , while the book draws you in the same way. The plot builds up slow, then holds off readers from the climax, while still keeping readers engaged. It was very well thought out. The author is able to intertwine great writing with computer games and urban mystery all in one.
Memorable or Forgettable: I will never be able to forget the feeling of the book addicting me and pulling me in. I have never seen a book do that before.
Cover: The cover sort of made me pick the book up, but it was mainly the back, which the cover accurately displays.
Age Range: 12 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments:  READ THE BOOK




Reader: Simon DS
Age: 12
Title: Quarantine: The Loners
Author: Lex Thomas
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pub Date: July 10, 2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book was alright. It wasn't the best book, but it wasn't bad either. It was good in the way that it combined virus crisis (like Contagion) and also a modern Lord of the Flies that the general teen could understand and appreciate. It was bad in the way that things got hard to understand at the end because the characters started finding stuff too fast and sort of left the reader in the dust.
Memorable or Forgettable: As I said, it left me in the dust.  Some of the ideas were really cool, like having gangs within the school, but some of the romance stuff was beyond my 12 year-old-self.
Cover: The cover looked like an intense book, that seemed depressing. Upon reading the back and an enthusiastic suggestion from a friend is when I picked it up.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments:  This book was also interesting because it showed one person's take on teen psychology, which I thought was well developed.





Reader: Guananí
Age: 16
Title: The Curiosities
Author: Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Pub Date: 10/28/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The Curiosities is a collection of short stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff that have previously been posted on their writing group website The Merry Fates. These stories are deft and charming, but the most remarkable thing about them is the way you can see the authors’ creative exploration and experimentation flourish throughout the book. Each author maintains and develops her own voice, yet at the same time thematic parallels can de drawn between stories by the different authors. One of my favorite things were the inclusion of the authors’ introductory comments at the beginning of each story as well ad their handwritten comments scribbled in the margins.
Memorable or Forgettable: This collection contains a plethora of characters and worlds, many of which were memorable and captured my imagination long after reading. I have always loved short story anthologies, and this one is full of creative plots, characters and world-building. It manages to break free from the structural clichés and self-consciousness of other anthologies. The Merry Sisters of Fate have expanded their imaginations and writing skills by letting themselves experiment, and that makes these unique stories a pleasure to read.
Cover: I chose this book off the shelf because the authors had come to talk to us and I was curious. The drawing of birds escaping from a cage on top of someone’s head on the cover is a wonderful symbol for what the authors have done in this book: escaped from the usual stresses and confines of trying to write something perfect in order to write something original and exploring unknown styles. I was not convinced red is the right color for this cover, though, and the drawing itself could have been placed in a more effective way.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal








Reader: Grace KL
Age: 13
Title: The Far West
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Publisher: Scholastic
Pub Date:  08/01/2012
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The best way to sum up this book is that it's like Little House on the Prairie with magic.  The story takes place in an alternate history in which the United States is colonizing the west, but now the dangers are magical, like medusa lizards, which can turn an animal or human to stone.  The geographical and historical elements are very detailed, so that one can figure out which countries or rivers are being referenced.  The main character, Eff, isn't always the center of attention, isn't the most powerful magician, and is not in a love triangle but is a strong female lead.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was very memorable for me because the entire setting is very original and the magical creatures imaginative.  The way the magic worked in this book was very original, with three main and very different practices of magic.
Cover: The cover was intriguing, but I would have liked it better if it were like the first book, which had the title written in an older font, and several black and white images that alluded to the frontier and magic.  Some things I enjoyed in this cover were the mountains in the background that show the setting and the dragons.  Also, the blue-purple overall color portrays the darker elements in the book.
Age Range: Under 12 to 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal







Reader: AJ G.
Age: 16
Title: Son
Author: Lois Lowry
Publisher: Houghton-Mifflin
Pub Date: 10/12/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Well as anyone who has read The Giver knows, Lois Lowry has an absolutely stunning way with words. I think that it's as close to a perfect blend of description and character thought as I've ever read. The voice of each character is so clear and deliberate, in a way. These are people who you're not meant to relate to, and yet you are at the same time. The development of the characters is so well executed, perfect timing throughout the story. And the dialogue is extremely well thought through. I think that this book is wonderful as the conclusion to a series, but would be great as a stand-alone book as well.
Memorable or Forgettable: I had a very close connection to The Giver as a younger child, and have followed the series over the years. This being the long-awaited conclusion, it stands in my mind as the end to a long chapter in my literary life. I think the same is probably true of others who have loved this series. In addition to that, the storyline of this particular book is so compelling, even on its own. It stands out from much of other YA literature in its distinctive universe and story. It's a dystopian future without falling into literally any of the clichés associated with the genre.
Cover: I love the cover from a graphic standpoint. It's interesting and eye-catching without resorting to cheap tricks like a half naked girls on an all black background. In terms of the actual book however, I really hate the cover. It gives no clues whatsoever as to the content. From just looking at it, it could almost be a book about anything. That's how non-descriptive it is. I think that it fit with the tone in certain places, but in others I feel it was very off.
Age Range: 12 to 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
AnnotationIn the long-anticipated conclusion to The Giver, we are thrust head first back into the sinister world and its strange ways. We meet Claire, a fourteen year old girl with a strange tale, and we meet again with Jonas, Gabriel, and Kira as their stories come together and they struggle with the concepts of freedom and the boundaries of love.





Reader: Grace KL
Age: 13
Title: Eve and Adam
Author: Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pub Date: 10/01/2012
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The idea that is the basis of this book is very intriguing.  Eve, a girl whose mom is the head of a billion dollar genetic corporation, is asked to design the perfect boy using genetic codes, who she 'coincidentally' ends up naming Adam. Although there are other things happening in the book, the plot never goes much further or gets any more interesting.  The characters are very two-dimensional, like Eve's best friend Aislin, whose only qualities seem to be that she flirts a lot and gets her boyfriend out of trouble.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was very forgettable.  Eve only had three defining characteristics: she runs cross country, her dad is dead, and she has never had a boyfriend.  She didn't develop at all through the whole book.  The style of writing did not draw me in, although I could easily picture the setting.  Overall, this book had a lot of potential, but the characters are lacking.
Cover: The title makes you want to know more, just because Eve's name is first, something that you don't see every day.  The puzzle piece apple hints towards the happenings in the book without giving too much away.
Age Range: 12 to 15
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal





Reader: Grace KL
Age: 13
Title: Starry River of the Sky
Author: Grace Lin
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub Date: 10/1/2012
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I have always been a sucker for legends and fairy tales, and this book definitely hit the spot.  Rendi’s story, that of a boy searching for the moon that has disappeared from the sky, was effortlessly blended with traditional Chinese legends.  Rendi is a realistic character: when giving someone else advice, he himself decides not to follow it, which is what an average person would do in that situation.  The plot is fresh, and filled with occurrences that are not quite magic, but don’t exactly follow the laws of physics.
Memorable or Forgettable: The most memorable part of this book was the artwork.  It was colorful, gorgeous, and added to, rather than distracted from, the plot.  Although simply written, the tale naturally flows, with stories and legends throughout.
Cover: The cover is beautiful -- colorful and tempting.  It really captures the Chinese setting.  The front shows Rendi searching for the moon and the back shows several other main characters.  The constellations that appear fully formed in the sky hint at the magical happenings inside.
Age Range: Under 12 to 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments: I love how this book is a companion novel to Where The Mountain Meets The Moon.  It isn't exactly a sequel but it's so much fun to find the little ties between the two books.





Reader: Sophie D.
Age: 16
Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: 8/28/12
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I was first intrigued by this book because it was described to me as being about someone who wakes up in a different body every day, falls in love with a girl, and tries to make it work with her, proving that love has nothing to do with appearance. As if that isn't a great enough concept, IT'S SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. Because A gets to experience the lives of different teenagers, he/she experiences every different form of love there is, which is a beautiful thing. This book is not just about A and Rhiannon, it is about every one of the lives A inhabits and their love stories. Besides that, this book explores different forms of identity. A is somehow the person who seems to be the most comfortable and familiar with their identity, while others have trouble seeing past the outer layer. How much do we really know about ourselves? Are we really better off staying in the same body every day? Is it possible to love someone when you might not recognize them from day to day? What is real love? How do we know when we've found it? This book explores the answers to all of these questions, and so many more.
Memorable or Forgettable: A is a wonderful character. It seems, at first, that it will be hard to relate to someone who changes day to day, who identifies as neither female nor male, yet as the reader and Rhiannon discover simultaneously, A is so incredibly human, and an incredibly good human at that. It is easy to see A's thought process, to understand how he/she makes decisions. Yet, even though A states early on that having an outsider's perspective has allowed him/her to gain a clearer understanding of what life is like, A is still baffled and hurt when things don't work out. This is not only a million incredible love stories combined into one, it is the story of realizing you don't, and never can, have all the answers.
Cover: The cover is very pretty. It matches the tone of the book, dreamlike and soft. It is not something that would normally catch my eye, but I like it.
Age Range: 12 to 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Reader: Elise S.
Age: 16
Title: Friends with Boys
Author: Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher: First Second
Pub Date: 2/28/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Familial relationships are hard to get right, so it's fun when you find one.  I loved the dynamic of the main character with her brothers, and the friend and her brother.  Integrity was a big part of what was discussed and shown with the characters; being true to one's self, and family especially.  Plus, the pictures are pretty darn cute!
Memorable or Forgettable: While the book was cute, it never progressed past that point.  Pieces of missing mom and haunted by ghosts never really integrated with the other part of high school and old rivalries.  Nothing about it stood out in a good, or bad way.
Cover: This cover confused me with it's upside/right-side thing.  I don't feel comfortable putting it either way up.  One way, the girl is looking up at her upside down friends.  The other way, the girl is upside down and the friends on the ground.  I don't get it.
Age Range: Under 12
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Reader: Elise S.
Age: 16
Title: Perfect Escape
Author: Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.
Pub Date: 7/10/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This was one of those books that is so well done that you don't even realize how great it is until it's charged through you, and left you breathless at the last page.  I am a huge fan of Hate List, another of Brown's books.  Like Hate List, this novel was really about characters, which was what makes it shine.  Kendra and Grayson were both fully developed people.  Grayson, Kendra's older brother, lived with OCD, which was a big part of both of their journeys.  But Brown avoided a common pitfall of books about people with disabilities, in that Grayson had a character beyond his disorder.  Even smaller characters were fleshed out, so it felt like a real world.
Memorable or Forgettable: I find that when reading, characters are who I remember over plot, because it's like meeting a friend, and plot is secondary.  But plot was well balanced in the book.  It was a mix of outside motives (road trip), driven by internal journey by both the main characters.  It was fantastic how Kendra's realizations were deeply personal, and woven into her as a person; but, at the same time, they related to a larger scope.
Cover: Not a bad cover, over all.  It conveyed the road trip of the book, without going into too much detail.  Normally I'm not a huge fan of models, but these ones were covered enough by the title that it didn't make a difference.
Age Range: 14 to 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Additional Comments:
**ANNOTATION**

Kendra has lived in the shadow of her brother's OCD her entire life.  When her built up perfection begins to fall apart, so does the rest of her life, sending her and her brother on a spontaneous road trip of self discovery and revelations.
Reader: Grace KL  
Age: 13
Title: Princess Academy: Palace of Stone
Author: Shannon Hale
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pub Date: 8/21/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  In the sequel to Princess Academy, Palace of Stone takes Miri's story to Asland, where she stays in the palace.  A revolution is brewing, and Miri sympathizes with both sides.  After accidentally releasing a harmful pamphlet about the princess, who is her friend, Miri has to decide where her loyalties lie.
Memorable or Forgettable: Although the setting is fantasy, Miri's world is very well developed, with geographical details that make you believe this place could exist.  The theme of revolution is constant throughout the book.  Miri's friend Timon shows her the revolutionaries' cause, and her friend the princess's life is in danger because of the revolution. The way Miri responds to her classes such as Diplomacy and Ethics make her a believable and likable character.
Cover: The cover is OK, but one that hints towards the action in the book would be preferable.  Maybe one similar to the original Princess Academy cover (with the silhouette of girls climbing the mountain) such as a big city with a small girl lost in it all.
Age Range: Under 12 to 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Reader: Frances W.
Age: 15
Title: Montefiore's Goddaughter
Author: Elizabeth Brooks
Publisher: MP Publishing
Pub Date: 9/25/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book was beautifully written. Sometimes, I would stop to reread a metaphor out loud because it sounded so wonderful. The characters were well developed, the main character flawed and believable. It was exciting, unexpected, and refreshing.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book is completely original. I am getting pretty sick of all the cookie cutter paranormal teen romances that seem to be breeding like rabbits. This was nothing like anything I've read. Though everything within it was completely impossible, I couldn't help believing it and getting caught up within the story. It is a tale that my inner child loved, and yet it did not insult my intelligence with half baked descriptions and a hastily thrown together plot.
Cover: The cover did not necessarily stand out, but that's what I liked about it. It didn't scream "PICK ME UP! I'M TOTALLY COOL! I'M HIP! I'M WITH IT!" It simply suggested that I give it a try. So I did.
Age Range: Under 12 to 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Reader: AJ G.
Age: 16
Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: 8/28/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The story centres around A, who changes bodies each day. A inhabits a new persons life every twenty four hours. Unlimited by gender, race, or orientations of any kind. The only limits are age and relative location. The question posed in the story is whether you can love someone who changes like that? To watch the love interest Rhiannon struggle with that, and to watch A struggle to make their love work is both sad and deeply moving. You wouldn't think that A would be a relatable character, but I found A extremely easy to connect with, because A lives entirely in his mind, and I think we all do that to some extent.
Memorable or Forgettable: The premise of the book was extremely unique. I've never heard of a story like this, and I doubt it's very likely that I'll hear it again. That alone makes it stick out in my mind, along with it being so well written. David Levithan never dissappoints. This book literally did make me laugh and cry all at the same time.
Cover: I liked the cover from a visual standpoint, but not related to the story. It's really quite beautiful. But I think that there's a huge gap between the cover and the content. It definitely drew my eye, but after reading the story I really dislike it.
Age Range: 16 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Annotation: Can you love someone if they change every day? Can you truly trust someone who inhabits a new life, a new body every time you see them? And can they afford to love you, given how much they could hurt you if they wanted? David Levithan does a wonderful job exploring these questions and the reprecussions of leading a wanderer's life in Every Day.
Reader: Frances W.
Age: 15
Title: Undercurrent
Author: Tricia Rayburn
Publisher: Egmont
Pub Date: 5/2012
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I did not enjoy this book. The characters were very two dimensional, the plot slow and, in my opinion, overused. I am sick of this self pitying crybaby of a female lead and coupled with the teenage love triangle,(dear God, people, move on to something new!) I was underwhelmed. I remember enjoying the first one, but it seems a change in taste has spoiled the second one for me. Either that, or this book was not meant to become a trilogy. I suspect the latter. The plot was drawn out, the main character weak to the point of making me want to reach through the pages and smack her.
Memorable or Forgettable: Paranormal teen falls in love and saves some people, then gets caught up in a love triangle and has to save some people again. I have read this book before. It was forgettable to the point that I had to check the cover to remember what is was called. I read it yesterday.
Cover: The cover was still rather forgettable. There are many covers decorated with pretty girls standing in dismal places with their hair blowing in the wind. However, it reflected the book's contents just fine and I think it was a good choice.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Reader: Sophie D.
Age: 16
Title: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Scholastic
Pub Date: 2011
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I love this book. It is complex, quirky, well written, hilarious, weird, and strangely deep and thoughtful. The plot? Beauty queens stranded on a desert island, torn between the desire to continue practicing for their pageant and the need to survive. Add in some secret agents, evil dictators, a power hungry ex-beauty queen, and some pirates, and you have one of the best teen books I have ever read.
Memorable or Forgettable: Libba Bray once again does this miraculous thing of introducing a million plot elements and not forgetting a single one. Even the weird products that are advertised between chapters manage to be incorporated into the plot. This book manages to be satirical and fluffy, semi-serious and completely ridiculous.
Cover: I love this cover. It fits the book perfectly.
Reader: Sophie D.
Age: 16
Title: Baby's in Black
Author: Amy Bellstorf
Publisher: First Second
Pub Date: 2012
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I would not recommend this book. The drawings are pretty good, but I do not think they do a very good job illustrating the story. Pictures should enhance a story, but even with pictures, this book was just flat.
Memorable or Forgettable: I knew the story already, as it was based on a true story about one of the earliest members of the Beatles, and I was hoping that this book would tell me something I didn;t already know; It didn't really, besides random facts about some of the characters that didn't really need to be included. There are several elemets of the characters' lives, like painting, that are touched on but not fully developed. If they had been fully developed I would have cared more about the characters.
Cover: I like the cover. Maybe John and Paul's faces could have been left off, as they hardly factor into the story.  But I did enjoy the illustrations.
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Reader: Emily T.
Age: 18
Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Pub Date: 9/18/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The Raven Boys excels any expectations from previous novels by Stiefvater. If you thought The Scorpio Races was good, The Raven Boys is out of this world. Set in England, a group of friends at a male boarding school have banded together as intelligent outcasts. Blue, a girl who comes from a family with clairvoyant powers, helps the leader of the boys attempt to find an ancient burial ground and solve the mysterious death of a boy decades ago. Written with dark twists and cliffhangers, The Raven Boys is a promising new series that leaves you wanting more.
Memorable or Forgettable: This novel has a definite dark undertone that demands attention. The main characters are fully developed, leaving you satisfied, but intrigued into where Stiefvater will take them next.
Cover: Although the cover doesn't entirely have to do with the story, it fits the title and is beautifully done. Clearly an original image is suitable focuses your attention towards the novel . The lay lines in the bottom right corner do incorporate a main element of the novel. Both the boys and Blue use lay lines throughout the story.
Age Range: 12 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Reader: Emily T.
Age: 18
Title: Seraphina
Author: Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: 7/10/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Seraphina is an easily forgettable book that fails to engage the reader. Seraphina's world is limited to the paths she travels. Hartman fails to create a full and rich world, focusing instead on the tense relationship between humans and dragons. Although the dragons are supposed to be highly intelligent creatures, the dragons sound uneducated, stuffy, and worst of all, related to a sub-species that humans despise. Seraphina is portrayed as the only thing that will save the tense relationship between humans and dragons. The entire novel lacking in development and is poorly executed.
Memorable or Forgettable:  Seraphina's constant doubt and negativity is difficult to get past when reading. Her character is flat and lacks the charisma you would expect to find in a strong female character. While being half dragon, the only talent she has is musical, the only evidence she has are a few scales. Perhaps there is a sequel coming out that will explain her mostly human appearance, but a few scales and a superb musical gift cause too much grief to be believable.
Cover: There was no cover image [on the galley] to judge since one has yet to be created.
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 1Q How did it get published?
Popularity: 1P Yech! Forced to read it
Reader: Emily T.  
Age: 18
Title: The Demon Catchers of Milan
Author: Kat Beyer
Publisher: Egmont
Pub Date: 5/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The Demon Catchers of Milan is a throwback to a more serious sub-genre of teen fiction. Mia comes from an Italian family that moved to the USA after a serious of mysterious events that neither parent wants to discuss. After being possessed by a demon, the family comes to the unfortunate conclusion that Mia's safety is in jeopardy and the only haven for her is  in Milan with extended family. Mia's extended family happen to be demon catchers. Thrust into a new lifestyle, Mia is forced to embrace Italian culture, language, and people.
Memorable or Forgettable: Kat Beyer has some typical teen novel elements such as love and magic in her novel, but changes them into a new and engaging device that captures the reader's attention. Sprinkled throughout the novel are Italian phrases that make you feel as if you are in the story. The only complaint I had in reading this novel was that it seemed to short. Mia's story is rich and full of detail, begging to have more written about.
Cover: The cover fully reflects some recurring images you find in the novel. The dark tones and rich colors create a sexy mysterious vibe for the book and successfully appeal to the reader.
Age Range: 12 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Reader: Emily T.
Age: 18
Title: Falling Kingdoms
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publisher: Razorbill
Pub Date: 12/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Falling Kingdoms is a thrilling and oddly enthralling novel. Centered around three kingdoms, the novel focuses on the royal families of each kingdom and the people they influence. Magic is important to the people, the life of everything depends on a flow of magic that has been disappearing for the past 100 years. Princess fight for the safety of their family, princes fall in love, peasants fight for change and a species of mystical beings watches events unfold from the eyes of a hawk. Although Rhodes uses magic as a tool to tie the kingdoms together, she leaves many questions unanswered and adds a few twists to the plot that make it more enjoyable.
Memorable or Forgettable: Even though Falling Kingdoms is told from several points of view, it adds to the story as well as gives a more developed view of their kingdoms and the motivations behind each character.
Cover: Good cover, attractive,although it fits poorly with the contents. Yes, there is murder and war, but there isn't an assassin as the main character. The cover image is misleading to the plot of novel.
Age Range: 14-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Reader: Emily T.
Age: 18
Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi 
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pub Date: 11/15/2011
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Shatter Me is a bland and violent book. The point of view is disconcerting and the plot has been done one to many times. Juliette, a girl with a supernatural power, has been locked away for her own safety. Suddenly she has a handsome new cell mate who she know as a child but is afraid of. After being released into the military she falls in love with her cell ate you turnout to be a guard and together they plan an impossible escape.
Memorable or Forgettable: Juliette's thoughts in the beginning of the book are crossed out to be replaced by others. As she gains convince in herself, the thoughts are crossed out less and less frequently, which is disconcerting. There is no real explanation to what the crossed out sentences mean and distract the reader from the story. Another negative aspect of the novel is the anti-military theme that is strongly evident throughout the novel. The military has taken control, starved the people, lied to them, and wants to change the world: how typical. The military is not always synonymous with violence and evil. The entire novel is poorly written and is unoriginal.
Cover: Terrible cover. What does a woman in a white dress have anything to do with the main character? She is also standing in a really strange position. The title font with a huge slash in it is distracting and unnattractive.
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 1Q How did it get published?
Popularity: 1P Yech! Forced to read it
Reader: Emily T. 
Age: 18
Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy
Pub Date: 1/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Imagine falling in love with a boy the moment you see him, improbable? Yes, but Jennifer Smith manages to make it wrk in her novel: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.  Hadley, a teen confused about where her feelings lie towards her recently divorced parents, is thrust into a sudden wedding in England. Although Hadley's story takes place over the course of a twenty-four hour period, you are convinced you just experienced a year's worth of events. Strongly portrayed, Hadley makes the type of decisions any teenager would make. Strange writes with a realistic manner that makes her novel a quick and delicious read.
Memorable or Forgettable: Although the novel only took place in twenty-four hours, as a reader, you still let as if you got to know the characters as well as their motivations. Because of the realistic element, Hadley's story becomes relatable to the reader.
Cover: The cover of the novel captures the contents of the story as well as draws the reader in, you get a sense of what the story is about. The only negative aspect of the cover is the long title. Even though the title does fit the story, it takes up too much room of the cover and draws attention away from the image.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Reader: Emily T.
Age: 18
Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pub Date: 8/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The most confusing thing about Throne of Glass was the lack of information about the main character. According to the publishing details, the author wrote several novellas online, explaining everything. reading this novel was difficult in the sense that the reader felt as if they were missing a large part of the story. Celeana is a strong, motivational character, enduring what could easily be considered slavery only to be dragged into a confusing competition whose outcome will determine her fate. The plot strongly reminds me of ancient Greek gladiators fighting each other for survival. In a supposed "land without magic" (as stated on the back cover) there is a lot of magic and suspicious occurrences that happen. The story is predictable, the main character falls in love, and there's an evil nemesis.
Memorable or Forgettable: The story of the Throne of Glass was oddly predictable, it was discouraging not knowing the back story of Celeana. Although her full history is available online, the story is not self-sustaining and a lot of questions are raised.
Cover: The cover looks Photoshopped and unattractive. The glass castle in the background is similar to the ghostly city you see in the third lord of the rings movie: dark, gloomy, and looks like a city for the dead. This creates a very negative aspect to the cover. The girl on the cover is wearing a rather ridiculous outfit, with what looks to be an ineffective dagger strapped to her arm.
Age Range: 14-17
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Reader: Emily T.  
Age: 18
Title: The Last Dragonslayer
Author: Jasper Fforde
Publisher: Harcourt
Pub Date: 9/4/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: The Last Dragonslayer is a quirky, original novel that combines mythological creatures with the middle ages as well as modern times. Jennifer Strange, a spirited fifteen-year-old girl, runs an employment agency for magicians. After a premonition the last dragon will die, Jennifer, along with a small posse of friends, endeavors to prevent the slaying and find out the truth of where the world's magic is disappearing to. Although the beginning of the novel has a slow start and a rather confusing cast of characters, Fforde spins a memorable and unique yarn.
Memorable or Forgettable: The combination of medieval England and modern England as a setting was truly fascinating to read about. The novel doesn't take place in one time or the other, but rather a medley of both: knights driving cars, who would have thought?
Cover: Fantastic cover, not really a color you see often on books. The design fits the story and draws the reader in.
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 5P Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Reader: Elena  
Age: 14
Title: Crewel
Author: Gennifer Albin
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Pub Date: 10/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Crewel was meaningfully written and carefully timed. The book is worded with an artistry that reminds me of Philip Pullman, and the rules and realities of its world are revealed in measured doses that fit into the story effortlessly. I was especially impressed with the author's descriptions- they formed connections between the reader and the foreign world inside Crewel. The whole book flowed; the dialogue was natural and made sense for the characters, and interesting flashbacks were integrated into the plot seamlessly.
Memorable or Forgettable: I will remember Crewel for the enthralling society it depicts and its amazing writing. I also found the characters memorable, Jost in particular. This   revolutionary in hiding, fueled by the loss of his family and acting as a servant, was particularly fascinating and likeable. Sweet and humble, he had the most dimensions of any of the characters.
Cover: I found Crewel's cover to be very appealing, and a good representation of the book. The colorful lines illustrate the weaving of matter through time, and the subtle image of a face is a perfect addition to the design.
Age Range: Under 12-17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Reader: Sophie D.
Age: 16
Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.
Pub Date: 9/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The only reason I picked up this book is because it is by Libba Bray. And while it's not Going Bovine or Beauty Queens, I was definitely not disappointed. This book combines very creepy elements associated with cults and demon raising kind of stuff with the awesome setting of New York in the 20's. The characters were great, very three dimensional, and though perhaps there could have been less main characters (there was about six) each contributed to the story in totally different ways, and the excess of characters did not detract from the plot. The plot was very original, and though the book is quite long, it manages to never get slow or uninteresting. I do think that there were perhaps just one too many elements to the book that were never actually included in the actual storyline, which I understand is setting up for the sequel, but still, it's annoying.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was a very atmospheric book, and painted a pretty convincing image of a supernatural 20's New York. I was not disappointed with Libba Bray, even though this book is completely different from my favorites of hers.
Cover: The cover is nice. It fits the book perfectly. It's not too loud, and it is very tasteful.
Age Range: 14-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Reader: Emily T.
Age: 18
Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pub Date: 6/5/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Shadow and Bone is a unique twist to  magic and magic wielders. Alina, a orphaned young woman, discovers a latent rare power while protecting her only friend. Set in a country akin to Russia, Alina begins her journey to becoming a "Grisha" or magic wielder after saving her friend. Written in an engaging style, Leigh Bardugo manages to capture the essence of Alina's existence and make her character believable. The only quixotic thing in the story was the dramatic growing up of Alina. How can a sixteen year old girl fall in love that much? Possible, but it weakens the story.
Memorable or Forgettable: The fast pace of Shadow and Bone certainly made easy reading, but the world of Ravka seemed shallow, missing important details. The country seemed to be missing a history, as well as a middle class. Much of the story seemed split between almost poverty and extreme gluttony.
Cover: The cover is beautifully done, accurately capturing the impression of the story.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional CommentsMap of the land is helpful, although some of the names are rather uninspired. For example; "the unsea" and "the true sea." Clearly unimaginative names.