Reader: Meghan
Age: 17
Title: Trapped
Author: Michael Northtrop
Publisher: Scholastic
Pub Date: 2/11
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: When seven teenagers are trapped in their suburban high school by the worst blizzard of the century, they are forced to abandon everything they know about rules as the likelihood of survival dwindles.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book is a frightening reminder that nature isn't the nurturing mother we remember from Bambi. Sometimes, bad things happen, and this fast-paced, action book is a realistic, refreshing take on the tried and true "Teens in over their heads"-survival genre popularized by Gary Paulson's Hatchet. It's a fresh, modern book with enough danger and suspense to draw in fans of more conventional "action" books like The Hunger Games.
Cover: This book has a great cover, and the design of the interior pages is a stroke of pure genius. Whoever put this together deserves a medal.

Rules of Attraction

Reader: Sabrina
Age: 18
Title: Rules of Attraction
Author: Simon Elkeles
Publisher: Walker & Company
Pub Date: 04/10
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: It's a book by Simon Elkeles. Enough said. Her witty humor and spunk is shown through her writing and shines in this story about a Mexican boy comming to America and falling in love with his roomate. This book was knee-deep in characterization with the help of imagery that made the book relatable and just plain out cheesy romance.
Memorable or Forgettable: I loved Perfect Chemistry and was interested in seeing the differences and similarities between the Fuentas brothers. It was sweet to see that both, even though they might have swayed a bit, are more similar than different. This made the book feel wholesome with a great moral value.
Age Range: 14-18 up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Additional Comments: I was a bit dissapointed with the Epilogue. For having read both books I would have loved to see what happened with Britanny and Alex because I had spent so much time reading their books.

A Monster Calls

Title: A Monster Calls
Convince us to read the book: A Monster Calls is a book that really blew me away: the intricate, splattery ink illustrations matched the tone of the words so well that they melded together to tell a single story, which was simple yet tackled many big questions about death and morality. The prose style was crisp and intense, and had my eyes glued to the page.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book is particularly memorable because of its original premise (a boy wakes up from a recurring nightmare to find a tree monster at his window, but is more afraid of his dream and dealing with his mother’s illness than the monster, who turns out to not be so much of a monster at all…) and it’s unusual illustrations. It really struck home for me because I could relate to what the character was experiencing and the way the story was told was so beautiful.
Cover: I picked up the book because I was immediately attracted to the ink drawing of a monster on the cover, and also its unusual squarish shape. It matched the contents perfectly.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

The Queen of Kentucky

Reader: Emily
Age: 17
Title: The Queen of Kentucky
Author: Alecia Whitaker
Publisher: Poppy
Pub Date: 01/10/2012
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The Queen of Kentucky is a light-hearted story about a 14 year-old farm girl who tries to be someone she's not. In this classic coming of age story Ricki Jo, a.k.a. Alecia, enters public school for the first time. Going from a class of under 20 to one of 200, Ricki Jo feels the need to create new friends, abandon the old, and create a superficial persona for herself. Her happy, quaint family supports her decisions as Ricki Jo lies to her friends and turns into one of the "it" girls. Ricki Jo demonstrates the importance of staying true to who you are and what will happen when you don't. Part of her drive to become a new person is to create a new appearance for herself, but is hindered due to a constant poor image of herself.
Memorable or Forgettable: Ricki Jo's friend, Luke is being abused by his father. Ricki-Jo's only attempt to help her friend is to try to get him to talk about it. Clearly what Luke needed was for Ricki-Jo to be there for him, but instead she goes off gallivanting with her new superficial friends. What bothered me was Ricki Jo's lack of support. Albeit, she is only 14, but as a character, she lacks the empathy expected of her and becomes obsessed with the popular crowd.
Cover: Good cover, but the yellow is a bit overwhelming. instead of white dots surrounding the title, make it a rope?
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Additional Comments: As a Minnesotan, the lack of knowledge about Minnesota was quite infuriating. Mackenzie, one of the "it-girls," just moved from Minnesota. In the story, Mackenzie keeps referring to Minnesota as having no open spaces, fact check!!!! Minnesota has plenty of open spaces, and yes, there is a roller rink in Minneapolis.

Melody Burning

Reader: Emily
Age: 17
Title: Melody Burning
Author: Whitley Strieber
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books
Pub Date: 12/06/2011
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Melody isn't meant to be a moody teenager, more a teenager who's learning how to be independent from a rather controlling mother while discovering what's important to her. Melody's relationship with Beresford is one of curiosity and perhaps slight vanity. Novels can be difficult to read when written from two different perspectives, but in Melody Burning, it gives the story more context. Yes, Melody is a bit superficial, but that's because of her upbringing. Melody Burning is a short, but sweet novel of simple teen love. The characters may be shallow at times, but it is still worth your time.
Memorable or Forgettable: Although the characters need to be better developed and the villains fleshed out, Melody Burning is a sweet and innocent tale about young love and learning who to trust.
Cover: Attractive cover, but a better image would be to have the girl facing towards the city and shot from a side view. Also, the red titling is difficult to read, an orange would be a better color.
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal


Reader: GuananĂ­
Age: 16
Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pub Date: 01/2012
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Cinder is a sci-fi retelling of Cinderella, with believable characters and superb world-building. I really enjoyed the world of post-World War IV, cyborg populated, Lunar-race-threatened New Beijing. The elements of the traditional Cinderella story were expanded, revamped, and felt very new and original even though it was a retelling, especially the main character.
Memorable or Forgettable: Though the world it is set in was definitely the most memorable aspect of the book, the characters and plot were also compelling, making it a fast paced and occasionally funny read even though the main premises are fairly dark. The sideplot romance was cute and added to the rest of the story without being sappy or overdone.
Cover: This cover is decent, but it could have been so much cooler. The descriptions of Cinder’s cyborg leg inspired imagery that was not done justice in the foot depicted. It also bothered me that no high heel was involved, yet they still chose to put it on the cover. I picked this up because I read good things about it.
Age Range: 14-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal