Archive for the ‘debs feast of awesome’ Category

Avery is just your average boy. No super strength or ability to fly, no sir. Nope, he’s not a misfit or freak or anything. Just your average, dull boy.

Except, of course, he’s not. And it’s gotten beyond his ability to control or hide, so people (like, his parents) are starting to notice and wonder. So they pack Avery off to a school for troubled and/or difficult youth, and things just go from bad to worse. This weird girl is stalking him, insisting she knows who and what he is, the rest of the students are all psychopaths, and the teachers don’t care.

But once Avery finally gives in to Darla’s pleading and agrees to meet with her other friends, things get better. He’s not the only freak out there after all! They even manage to do some good with their powers. Except it’s not all sunshine and lollipops–Cherchette, a mysterious woman who seems to have powers of her own is trying to lure Avery and some of his new friends to join her mysterious and possibly sinister team.

Yes, it’s a teen super hero novel. And while it’s not terribly original (but then most super hero novels aren’t) it is a fun read, and has the potential to become a solid series.

Sarah Cross’ official site and blog

Source: review copy from publisher

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I was doing some housekeeping (blogkeeping?) the other day and discovered to my horror that I had never reviewed The Forest of Hands and Teeth, even though I had read it, er, this summer. Yeep.

Bad Lush! No more Christmas cookies!

Mary lives in a village surrounded by a fence. While the fence is mainly there to keep the Unconsecrated out, it also serves to keep the villagers in and under the control of the Sisterhood. Mary has grown up listening to her mother’s stories about the ocean, and therefore thinks there may be more to the world than what the Sisterhood wants the villagers to know.

Everything changes when in very short order her mother is bitten by an Unconsecrated, Mary is sent to live with the Sisterhood in preparation for her betrothal to Harry (whom she does not love), and a mysterious girl shows up outside the fence. Before Mary can puzzle out what all of this means for herself and the village, the fence is breached, and the village is overrun by the Unconsecrated. Mary and a few others manage to survive, and decide to make their way to the coast in hopes of finding safety and others.

It’s very clear that the Unconsecrated are zombies, but they are never once referred to as such, and that is a particular strength of the book–elements of religion, control, and women’s roles in society are focused on, rather than merely the trendy horror creature du jour. That is not to say that the book is without flaws: Mary is a somewhat lackluster narrator, and I personally thought that the early promise of the book had fizzled by the end. But I still enjoyed it, and eagerly await The Dead-Tossed Waves, a companion volume, which will be out in 2010.

Carrie Ryan’s website and blog

Source: review copy from publisher

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I finally got my last book! Dull Boy arrived today; I am looking forward to reading it. (Although probably not for a while yet, as I have an alarming stack of books on my nightstand already. Oh, and another one on my desk at work.)

Sarah Cross’ website and blog

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Lia and Alice Milthorpe are sisters. Twins, in point of fact. But they could not be more different from each other if they were strangers–and this becomes much more apparent after their father dies, leaving them orphans.

That’s when they also discover that they are on opposites side of an eternal battle between Good and Evil, a battle that will either destroy or save the world.


Lia has to come to grips with all of this in a very short time, since it seems Alice already knows everything, has also already decided which side she is on, and is working as hard as she can to further that side’s goals.

But then a new revelation shakes Lia to her core, and changes everything she thought she knew.

(There is a HUGE! SPOILER! I am trying to avoid, hence the vagueness.)

It’s a dark and atmospheric book, and while there are a few anachronisms, generally does a good job evoking the time period it’s set in. There’s also a nifty librarian who shows Lia a secret hidden library full of banned books, but my personal bias may be showing. 🙂 It took a while for my interest to be snared, though, and I occasionally got a little frustrated with the characters (“HOW CAN YOU NOT HAVE FIGURED THE KEYS OUT BY NOW???”), but I was completely hooked by the time the it ended; I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Official Prophecy of the Sisters website
Michelle Zink’s website

Source: review copy from publisher

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It rains nonstop every day in Moundville. In fact, it’s rained nonstop every day since that unfinished baseball game between Moundville and neighboring town Sinister Bend 22 years ago.

And then, one day, inexplicably, the rain stops.

12-year-old Roy is a baseball fanatic. He’s just wrapping up another successful summer at baseball camp, when he learns that his dad has suddenly taken in a foster kid named Sturgis. Puzzled as to why, but ready to make the best of it, Roy tries to befriend Sturgis. And since it’s finally stopped raining, what better way to make friends than to organize a little baseball?

I really enjoyed the fact that the supernatural stuff in this book just isn’t a big deal for the characters. Yes, it rains all the time, and yes, there’s a rumoured curse causing the rain, but so what. It’s just so utterly matter-of-fact for everyone, that it becomes utterly matter-of-fact for the reader: That’s Just The Way Things Are In Moundville. And that was very nicely done, because it really allows the story to shine, and the story is a good one.

Read this even if you think you don’t like sports books–I did, and really enjoyed it!

Kurtis Scaletta’s website and blog

Source: review copy from publisher

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Iris and her best friend Collette are bored. It’s summer in Ondine, and nothing happens. Even when Elijah Landry disappeared all those years ago, it was a complete non-event. So Iris and Collette decide to do some witching to liven things up, and head to the cemetery to see what ghosts they can raise. Unfortunately for Iris, Elijah Landry was waiting for just such a call, and sets to haunting her. So Iris decides to figure out the truth of what happened that summer 20 years ago, and stirs up a lot of buried secrets in the process.

This is an incredibly tautly plotted and tightly written little ghost story–it’s less than 200 pages. And yet so much happens in those pages that it feels like the book is a lot longer; nothing is ever rushed, but even better, there’s no draggy bits where the story fails to advance. It’s a pretty spectacular piece of writing.

And on a personal note: we lived in Louisiana for a few years in the late 80s, in a town even smaller than Ondine. All sorts of memories of Louisiana summers came flooding back, even though where we lived was much different than where this book takes place: much closer to Texas than to the Gulf, poorer, and drier (for Louisiana). I could practically hear the cicadas, and smell the damp. Thank heaves I was spared the humidity. And even though I’m not much of a one for ghost stories, I could not put this book down. Go read it.

Suandra Mitchell’s website

Source: review copy from publisher

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Eek! I actually got this book a while ago…and completely forgot to mention it! *hangs head in shame*

The Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink, plus lots of bookmarks to hand out.

The teen section at my library will not experience a lack of bookmarks any time soon, thanks to everyone’s generosity. 🙂

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Nick Ryves is a 16 year old with a bad attitude who’s almost always in trouble and can’t wait to quit school. He’s also handy with a sword, and a cold-blooded killer…of demons and wizards. Nick and his brother Alan (with their more or less insane mother in tow) have been on the run from said demons and wizards ever since their father was killed eight years ago. Things had been going as well as could be expected recently, but everything takes a drastic turn for the worse when Mae and her brother Jamie show up at Nick and Alan’s door. Alan agrees to help the siblings despite Nick’s protests, and everything seems to go even more horribly wrong from that point forward.

Although I wasn’t jazzed about this book when I started reading it, it really grew on me, and I was completely invested by the time I finished it. I am most definitely looking forward to the sequels, and I’m really interested to the how The Big Plot Twist plays out in them. I really grew to care about Nick and Alan, and Jamie and Mae, and I’m looking forward to seeing them again soon.

Sarah Rees Brennan’s website and blog

Source: review copy from publisher

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Cass McKenna can talk to ghosts. Her older sister Paige drowned four years ago, but they still hang out every day–their relationship is actually much better than it was when Paige was alive. Their parents, however, are still trying to work through their grief, and that can make for an uncomfortable home life for Cass: her dad is always there for her, but her mom is usually gone on assignments, and nags horribly whenever she’s not.

Cass doesn’t have any friends at school, but that’s perfectly fine by her, as she’d much rather spend her time with ghosts than with breathers anyway. After all, the ghosts keep her supplied with the gossip and dirt she needs to keep the high school poseurs in check, and they would never ever betray her friendship, unlike Danielle certain breathers she could name.

But everything changes for Cass when Tim, student council vice president and member of the cool crowd, turns to her for help contacting his recently deceased mother. Cass wants absolutely nothing to do with Tim and his problems, but despite herself becomes more and more involved in his life.

Cass is a very real person, and I could certainly identify with her crusade against the fakers that abound in high school (ask me about the misery that was my senior year some time). The book veered between passages that made me cringe because I remembered what it was like to be almost 17, and others that made my heart ache with sympathy for issues characters were trying to work through. I really enjoyed this book, and my only complaint after reading it is recurring high school flashbacks; between this and Wings waaay too many of my high school memory trigger buttons have been pushed recently. I had a dream that I was back in high school last week, and the night before last I dreamt that I was starting college again. Ack!

Megan Crewe’s website and blog.

Source: review copy from publisher

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Laurel and her parents have moved to a new town, and after years of homeschooling, she is attending public high school for the first time. While the first few days are a little rough, Laurel soon makes a few friends and settles into a routine. Everything changes when she wakes up one morning with a bump on her back, a bump that despite everything she tells herself, is no ordinary zit. When a flower sprouts from her back where the bump had been, Laurel can no longer deny that she is very different from everyone else around her.

She might just be a faerie. And with this new knowledge, another world suddenly opens up to Laurel.

I absolutely loved this book, and stayed up waaaaay too late so I could finish it in one sitting. The story, the characters, and their world are absolutely perfect; there is nothing that I would change. I’m not sure why this book struck such a chord with me, but it’s been a while since I’ve been so fully swept up in a book. I know there are several sequels planned, but I am honestly content with how Wings ended; I’ll still read them, but I know they very likely won’t seem as perfect, and that makes me a little bit sad.

Aprilynne Pike’s website and blog.

Source: review copy from publisher

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