Reader: Anita
Age: 18
Title: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
Author: Chris Colfer
Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.
Pub Date: 7/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I had a little trouble getting into the book, to be honest. In the beginning, when you're introduced to Alex and Conner, it was hard for me to stay focused on what was happening; it wasn't particularly interesting. Then Alex was given the book "The Land of Stories" and the plot just picked up from there! Alex and Conner fall into the book and are sent on a quest to find eight items in order to cast the Wishing Spell, a spell that can grant any wish. They need to travel through the different fairy tale kingdoms in order to find each item.

I love fairy tales and that was one of the reasons I was so excited to read this book. It incorporated stories that I love while adding all new twists to them. It was really awesome to read because the twists weren't predictable. I would think one thing, but then it would turn around and be something completely different. Another thing I really liked was that Colfer used the original stories -- not the Disney remakes and that made the story even better because it added layers to the fairytale characters that most people don't see because they only know the Disney versions.

I noticed that there didn't seem to be much character development for the twins, but since this is a series, that makes some sense. I'm hoping that Alex and Conner will gain a little more depth than they did in this book in following stories. However, I didn't really notice that until I looked back on it after finishing the book. It didn't bother me that much, so I'm not sure it's really that big of a deal, especially since the lack of obvious growth in this book leaves a lot of options for the next book.

Memorable or Forgettable: One of the things that made it memorable for me was the use of fairytales, which I sort of talked about already. In a lot of fairytale remakes, authors will only focus on one of the major, well-known stories: Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella. In this book, however, we see other stories that aren't as well known and that don't get as much attention.

Another memorable thing was that Colfer didn't just rely on the traditional stories for plot points. While he did utilize them, he also added his own plot points and plot twists that weren't as obvious, which I loved. He wove in these other plot points in so well that, when it's all revealed in the end, you're sitting there shocked. I'm not going to like, I actually screamed when I finished the book, because I was so surprised and pleased: there were some obvious cop-outs that he could have used, but he didn't. He didn't make the obvious choices, and that made it even more memorable.
Cover: The cover definitely tempted me to pick up the book. It reflects the contents really well, especially by using images we see while reading the novel. Everything on the cover is important in one way or another and I love how they did that.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Reader: Sabrina
Age: 18
Title: No Safety in Numbers  
Author: Dayna Lorentz
Publisher: Dial
Pub Date: 5/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book was very fascinating and fast paced. Due to a biochemical bomb, a mall full of thousands of people are trapped for days. The gravity of the situation is learned about my the officials until mid way through the book, which was a bit of a tease personally. Once the characters discover the gravity of the situation and that people are dying from left to right because of the flu the book ends. Love those cliffhangers!
Memorable or Forgettable: What made it memorable for me was that there where four different characters who told there side of the story and what they where experiencing at the mall. Is was exciting, scary, and exhilarating to feel as if you where in their shoes at the time. You really questioned yourself throughout the book on if you would have done the same things if you where trapped in a mall for days and didn't know if you'd ever get out.
Cover:  The cover did tempt me to pick up the book because it had a hazardous symbol on there. Of course, it reflected the contents because without the hazardous bomb there would be no story.
Age Range: 16 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional CommentsThough it was disappointing that the book got good at the end, I hope to read the next installment of the book soon. I can not wait to see what happens. I was a bit confused though as to why the Senator was the last to talk in the book because she had not had her own section until then. 

In addition, this book got me a bit paranoid. This is a compliment to the author. Being an avid mall goer, I questioned myself if I thought I could survive in each mall with the amount of people present at the time being. The idea was mind boggling, but I do not think that many people will take this book seriously because of the location of the book. If it where in a school, I believe that this story would be even more riveting because it has less resources available. I mall seems like an interesting idea, but made me (as the reader) at first believe that this story was lighthearted.
Reader: Sabrina
Age: 18
Title: Wonderstruck   
Author: Brian Selznick
Publisher: Scholastic
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book goes into depth about the world of deaf people. It was fascinating to not only read the narrative of Ben but to see the pictures of how his grandmother's Rose adventure to New York as well.The pictures where a bit confusing at first. I would have preferred if the book started off as text so that it would initiate the beginning of the pictures. I loved though how the picture and the text coincided with one another contextually. The author had a strong voice for his characters and made them dimensional. Though the pictures where informative, I would have liked to know more about Rose.
Memorable or Forgettable: What made this book memorable was the characters fascination with museums, specifically curating. This was very intriguing for someone that is an fascinated as well with museums and history and to have a bit of a glimpse into the lives of others who are fascinated with such as well.
Cover: The cover did tempt me to pick up the book because it was so bold. Mostly though, I picked up the book because I had heard from others that Brian Selznick was a fantastic author, so I was pressured into reading this book.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments: I wish there would have been an epilogue of some sort saying what happened to Ben. Does he stay in New York with his Grandmother or does he go back to Minnesota?
Reader: Sabrina
Age: 18
Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publisher: Penguin
Pub Date: 1/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: As always, John Green knows how to get the readers attention with his sarcastic humor and witty puns. Compared to other of John Green's books though, there where no black Santa Clause of such. Rather, John Green went into a completely different stylistic realm then usually, while still keeping his writing of style. This book was deep, seeing that the subject matter was cancer, but not over baring with morbid comments here and there.
Memorable or Forgettable: What made this book memorable to me was how realistic it was. Green's description of the characters, their mannerisms, and characteristics came to life in the book. He played out the book very well and let each character in the book be justified by their own means. It was beautiful and interesting to see the difference in how each family was who had children suffering with cancer.
Cover: What tempted me overall to read the book was the fact that John Green wrote it. No matter how shitty the cover is, I will pick up any John Green book that is given to me. Point blank.
Age Range: 16 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Additional CommentsI just wish that the book An Imperial Affliction existed. I was so excited to read the book after having finished this one. 


In the same token though, this book will be one that I quote just as Hazel Grace had, repeating line by line as my life goes by. 

This book was relatable to me because I had helped one of my relatives suffer with cancer and was there with her through her whole journey. This book seemed very accurate, even though I have not been a patient, of what one might ponder over when having cancer.
Reader: Guanani
Age: 16
Title: Where Things Come Back
Author: John Corey Whaley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: 5/11
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Where Things Come Back is a novel that maintains the usual feel of realistic young adult literature while still being original. Lily is a small town in the middle of nowhere in Arkansas, and home to cynical teenager Cullen Witter. One summer, the town is turned upside down by a sighting of a woodpecker that was supposed to be extinct, Cullen’s beloved brother Gabriel disappears, and everything ties back to the story of a young missionary in Ethiopia. Something that kept me reading was a sense that everything was coming together, yet I couldn’t predict what was going to happen until the end.

Memorable or Forgettable: The most memorable thing for me in this book was the voice of the main character and the way it provided details about himself and others that developed him and made him more than just a cynical teenager in a small town. There was a good balance of likeable and unlikeable characters; no one seemed pinned under a stereotype and everyone changed, for better or worse, by the end of the story. One thing I would have liked more of was Gabriel, but since him being gone was the most important part of the story it was okay to only get to know him a little.
Cover: This cover had a very down-to-earth feel. I like it and I’m happy to see a cover that isn’t a digital photograph. It reflects a main metaphor and central part of the story.
Age Range: 14-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Reader: Bridget
Age: 18
Title: Kissing Shakespeare
Author: Pamela Mingle
Publisher: Delacorte
Pub Date: 8/14/2012
Galley: Yes

Convince us to read the book: This book has in interesting plot about a teenage actress from the present who is brought back in time to save William Shakespeare. The writing in this book is very good. One thing that I especially liked was the way that the author combined modern and historic aspects with regard to language. The main character Miranda/Olivia is whisked back to 1581 from the present and the reader can see the difficulty that she has growing accustomed to the manner of speaking etc. Even after she learns to converse as an Elizabethan young lady, the story is still told from her perspective which is inevitably modern in it's descriptions and colored by Miranda's modern opinions. This could have been confusing, but the author manages to pull it off. Some of the story line is a bit transparent, especially with regard to the romance. However, there are still parts that the reader is left to guess at until the conclusion. Best of all I think is the character development of the main character. Throughout the book the reader can see her grow and mature even as Miranda herself is unaware of the changes.
Memorable or Forgettable: I think that the author had a really interesting premise and ran with it to a successful conclusion, even if the ending was a little disappointing to my romantic mind. Also, I enjoyed seeing the main character sort of grow into her own acting abilities throughout the novel.
Cover: I think I was more enticed to read the back based on the title. The illustration on the front somewhat reflects the contents of the book, but to my mind it is somewhat boring compared to all that happens in the book. It might be a personal annoyance of mine, but when reading a historical novel it bothers me if the cover looks modern in the sense that the people aren't depicted in the clothing of he era, I feel it is misleading.
Age Range: 16-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Reader: Guanani
Age: 16
Title: Ichiro
Author: Ryan Inzana  
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pub Date: 3/2012
Galley: No
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  Ichiro is a half-Japanese boy living in Brooklyn who hasn’t quite succeeded in finding a place for his heritage in his life. On a business trip to Japan with his mother, Ichiro learns Japanese folklore from his grandfather, and one night falls through a portal into the world of the gods after chasing a raccoon. The graphic novel has appealing drawings and plenty of Japanese mythology, which I found very interesting. The plot wasn’t on par with the drawings or thematic ideas, though. It meandered at an awkward pace, which made the story hard to follow and didn’t quite make Ichiro’s change in character cohesive with his adventure.
Memorable or Forgettable:  One of my favorite things about this book was the raccoon spirit, or tanuki, that led Ichiro through the portal. I would have liked to see more of it, and maybe a stronger relationship develop between them. Ichiro’s friendship with the god of war could have been more developed as well. In general, Ichiro was very disengaged with the world, and I think the story’s point would have been stronger if there had been more evidence of how his adventure in the spirit world changed him.
Cover: The cover gives a nice preview of the drawings within. Right away I was intrigued by the bold colors and contrast in size between the war god and Ichiro with the raccoon.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Reader: Guanani
Age: 16
Title: Henry Franks
Author: Peter Alan Salomon
Publisher: Flux
Pub Date: 11/12
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Henry Franks is about a boy covered in scars who thinks no one likes him because of his freakish appearance. His father is almost always at his mysterious work, and his mother is dead. On top of it all, Henry can’t remember his life before the accident that scarred him and killed his mother. As a premise, this book could have been interesting, if clich├ęd (the whole orphaned/amnesiac main character has been done many times before). Unfortunately, the plot was dragged out much too long, which made the ending anticlimactic.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book is on the forgettable side. It started out well enough, but after 60 pages, nothing had really happened or changed. I was consistently annoyed by the love interest, a bland girl-next-door who popped up every other chapter in nearly identical encounters: a page long description of her outfit, sharing a seat on the bus, and reassuring Henry that he’s not really a freak. This same encounter occurred about 8 times in the book.

The mystery of Henry’s possibly-serial-killer dad was much more engaging than the main character. This subplot was the main reason why I skipped ahead to read the end of the book. There was a decent little twist, though not enough to make up for the long, bland exposition that came before it. On top of that disappointment, the epilogue was downright dumb and ruined the slight enjoyment I got from the climax. I think this idea would have been better conveyed as a short story, where the twist would be enough to carry the plot arc.

Cover: The cover was the reason I picked up this book. A mysterious, ghostly image of someone picking up a skull and the clever “scar” intrigued me right away. Too bad the inside of the book wasn’t as engaging.
Age Range: 14-15
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest

Reader: Emily T.
Age: 17
Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Pub Date: 11/29/2011
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Legend is a thrilling futuristic novel about the unlikely encounter of two teenagers, June and Day. June is the Republic's prize fighter, destined for greatness, while Day is the Republic's most wanted fugitive. After a chance encounter, the two join forces to discover the secret behind the plagues that have been troubling the low-class population for years.
Memorable or Forgettable: Although written in a futuristic time period, Legend is a masterpiece of teen fiction. The characters are well-developed and seem to come to life in front of you very eyes. The complexity of the civilization is believable and adds to an amazing plot.
Cover: Superb cover, the imaging reminds the reader of a militaristic novel as well as creates a powerful force
Age Range: 14 and up
Quality: 5P Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

Reader: Elena
Age: 14
Title: Switched
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pub Date: 1/24/12
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I would recommend this book. I found the writing and plot interesting, if formulaic and weak at times. I loved the characters, because each was unique and compelling. I was especially drawn to the main character Wendy, a stubborn social outcast with strong beliefs. The community of modern trolls Wendy is transported to is equally appealing with its separation from human society and classic royalty. Switched carefully tells just enough to chronicle Wendy's journey into the land of the Trylle, her romance with Finn, and her role as princess in this foreign place.
Memorable or Forgettable:  The characters and setting made this book memorable. All the characters are intriguing and well-constructed, and their actions seemed in alignment with their personalities. The story is also told nicely, but most of all I will remember the hidden world of trolls created by the author where one's duties and special capabilities depend on class.
Cover: With its red clouds and elaborate swirls, the cover definitely drew me in. It represented the book well.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it

Reader: Elena
Age: 14
Title: Choker
Author: Elizabeth Woods  
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: 2011
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The author of Choker begins by spinning a simple and typical story: a quiet high school student becomes more popular and starts talking to her love interest with the new support of a childhood friend. The protagonist, Cara, seems relatable even when the author throws in the murders of two of her classmates. Cara comes out of her shell as the plot progresses, but like the writing, she stays unremarkable. Of the many threads followed in the book, my favorite was the backstory of Cara's runaway best friend, Zoe. The book opens with a scene from their childhood, demonstrating the dynamics of their relationship, and is sprinkled with hints at Zoe's life since then that foreshadow the story's conclusion nicely.
Memorable or Forgettable: In the end of Choker, it is discovered that Cara is insane, which throws every event from the book into question. This tactic left me dissatisfied because I had no way to separate the real from the imaginary. On the other hand, I appreciated hearing the thoughts of a mentally ill character, as readers are not often let into their minds. If not for the ending, this would be one of the most forgettable books I have ever read.
Cover: I liked the intricate pattern of trees around the edge of the cover, and the sharp contrast of the black. I thought the pink background was bland, but overall, the cover represented the book well and drew my eye.
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

Reader: Ellen P.
Age: 15
Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Pub Date: 8/28/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: New book by David Levithan. That alone was enough to make me pick up this book, regardless of the plot or cover. This book is a standout. It is anything but ordinary.

Imagine waking up in a different person's body every day. This is the reality that A lives with. He is good at it, and A tries to never interfere with other's lives; that is, until meeting Rhiannon and falling in love. Now, A tries to figure out how to love someone while living an unusual life. A's voice is clear throughout this book and is very realistic. Although the premise is fiction, this book reads like the best teen romance: one that you, as a reader, both can imagine and want to imagine.

A is considered genderless throughout the book, which is making this review very hard to write and sort of awkward. A wakes up in different bodies in terms of gender and sexuality and therefore views love much as he/she/it (? I read A as male at first, but eventually as the gender of the person whose body A was in) views A, not bound by gender/looks/sexuality at all. This is a challenge for Rhiannon, though. This book makes you ask, could you love someone based purely on their personality, not influenced at all by gender or physical appearance? How important are those things to us, in how we look at others?

Additionally, regardless of the odd but cool and interesting premise, David Levithan just knows how to write a really good love story. And at its heart, this is just a really good love story. I would highly recommend this book.

Memorable or Forgettable: In this book, every side character seems fully developed. A wakes up in a new body every day, and each of these people is developed as a character even if they are only in the story for a few pages. Their friends and family are also fully developed. This is quite a feat and ensures that the story never gets boring or repetitive. There are so many side plots and stories, which never detract from the main plot of A/Rhiannon but add complexity to the plot. Although this is only one part of the book that is memorable, it definitely stood out to me as being unusual in YA fiction.
Cover: I loved this cover. I love the muted colors and how the clouds are broken up by solid lines. The title/author name are large and eye catching but still simple. Also, the people floating in the clouds shows how the only static part of A's life is A.
Age Range: 14-17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Additional Comments:  

Every day a different body.

Every day a different life.

Every day in love with the same girl.

Reader: Siera
Age: 18
Title: Glow
Author: Jessica Maria Tuccelli
Publisher: Viking
Pub Date: 3/19/2012
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I first decided to read Glow because of its intriguing historical context and setting. I hadn’t come across many books that had a main character of African, Scot-Irish and Cherokee decent (two of which I also have in my blood). The element of Glow that stood out the most for me was the beautiful and elegant writing. The very words that Tuccelli chose are wonderful and the way she looped them together to create imaginative and tantalizing prose is in itself masterful. I also greatly admire the dialogue between her various characters. The lines never seemed forced and sounded like snippets of real conversations. Many of the characters were also very engaging and life-like. 

However, despite the beautiful prose and grasping characters, Glow did lack a few key literary elements. First off, the tempo of the book often wained, keeping me from turning the pages as swiftly as I would have liked. The story of Glow is told from three different generations of characters so the story often bops back and forth through time. Although it is often very interesting to learn a bit about other characters, sometimes the momentum was lost when Tuccelli switched to someone else’s story. I often felt that one narrative was just getting going when suddenly it would end and someone else’s would begin bringing the tempo back to a crawl. The writing was also not always consistent. In one part of the book two friends were separated as one of them was freed from slavery and the other kept on the plantation. Yet despite that separation, the friend on the plantation suddenly pops up back into the narrative of the freed friend without a scene of reunion. I was left completely confused. I was also confused as to the main point of this novel. I thought the reason for the interlocking narrative would be revealed but it never really was. Was it all just a character study of one family? There is nothing wrong with one long family history lesson but if that was the point of the book I wish it had been made a bit more clear. Especially since some of the narratives seemed rather pointless and didn’t seem to bring anything new to the story. There were also a few characters and topics I wish Tuccelli had explored more, such as how the Cherokee family living in Georgia escaped the Trail of Tears. That in itself would have been an intriguing story. However, I may be being too picky with that one.

 Overall, Glow was a beautifully written novel that bought to life three generations of a family and a time in history long gone.

 
Memorable or Forgettable: Glow will be a memorable read because of the beautiful prose and great web of characters. Tuccelli did a great job of weaving together a family history and making her characters come alive. Although there are narratives that are forgettable there are also a wealth of others that are so real they bring the story to life.
Cover: The cover is welcoming enough; a broad view of a bright blue sky over a lush green land with the silhouette of a girl beneath the title. The cover is simple but engaging however the title seems to lack something. I see where Tuccelli got her title but I don’t believe that it is a good summation of the story in general. Even when I was reading the novel I had a hard time remembering the title because it didn’t really seem to fit.
Age Range: 12 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Additional Comments text: If Tuccelli had made just a few more changes I believe this book could have been a real masterpiece.
Reader: Ellen P.
Age: 15
Title:The Miseducation of Cameron Post  
Author: Emily Danforth
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: 2/7/2012
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Sometimes I ask myself why I still read YA fiction. So many books are frustratingly forgettable and average. And then a book like this comes along and I remember why I love this genre. I want you to read this book. I want everyone to read this book. It is an engaging and well written story of a teenage lesbian in Montana during the 1990s. Cameron is one of the most relatable characters that I've read about in a long time. I truly enjoyed being in her head. She is smart, funny, and sarcastic. This book throws a lot of tragedy and hardship at her, and her reactions never seem brought on or contrived. Right off the bat, Cameron's parents die in a car crash. This is said at the beginning of the summary on the dust cover. She is at first relieved because now they will never find out that she was kissing a girl only hours earlier. Her aunt Ruth becomes her guardian and Cameron continues her life in junior high and then high school, but everything doesn't keep coming up daisies. Of course it doesn't, not in rural Montana where most of the town's population (including Cameron) goes to the evangelical church, Gates of Praise.
 

Eventually, Cameron is outed and sent to a rehabilitation school to "fix" her same sex attraction. While she is there, she meets others like her and begins to form her own opinions about herself, her parent's death, and what she wants from her life.

I'm not going to spoil anything for potential readers. Basically, Cameron's parents die in a car crash. Her first emotion is relief; relief that they will not find out that hours earlier



Memorable or Forgettable: This book tackles a very controversial and important subject in a thoughtful and balanced way. Although I was shocked by the ideas at Promise, the school Cameron goes to, the leaders there seemed like genuinely thoughtful people who cared about the students there. Aunt Ruth, although she sends Cameron away to the school, makes her choices based on what she thinks is right for Cameron because she loves Cameron and wants her to live a good life. This book shows the motivations and feelings of both sides of an issue and forces you to think about how all the characters struggled with Cameron being lesbian. It also makes you think about how far we have come in accepting gays and lesbians, but also how far we still have to go.
Cover: I love this cover. It is attractive, subtle, and eyecatching, and it reflects the coming of age idea of the story well.
Age Range: 15+
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Additional Comments text: