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 clich├ęs 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.