Monday, December 14, 2009

Death by Denim by Linda Gerber

Aphara Connolly is back and being chased by some very dangerous people. What makes it even worse is Aphra has to completely forget about her boyfriend Seth to keep him out of trouble too, but that’s extremely hard for a girl when she’s in Paris – the most romantic city in the world. Aphra quickly comes to realize that she really cannot mess around when her mother’s contact in Paris turns up floating in the Seine with a deadly message stuffed into his mouth and she sets off to confront the situation head-on. Sneaking away from the protection of her mom, Aphra sets off to find the mastermind behind all of her danger in Italy. What she doesn’t know is that she’s accidentialy uncovered Seth’s location and put him in danger as well. Can Aphra get herself and Seth for that matter, out of this stick situation and get herself out of trouble once and for all?

These books are so much fun. First there is Aphra, who I think is so much fun and hilarious. The adventures that she went on with her mom in this volume of her sister were the best yet and I could absolutely not put the book down. Also Aphra’s relationship between Seth was great, as always. Seth sounds so adorable and great, and to see the two of them in action together was fun and exhilarating. The writing was also good and kept me in a great amount of suspense. Overall I really enjoyed this third installment in the Aphra Connolly trilogy (and how I hope Linda Gerber decides to continue with more) and highly suggest that if you haven’t had a chance to read any of them you pick them right up. And on that note, I don’t think it is necessary to read the books in order, as you kind of get caught up with previous adventures within the first few pages. So what are you waiting for? Grab one of these books today and get set to go on a great and terrifying adventure!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Being Nikki by Meg Cabot

Emerson Watts is back in town and things are not looking up for her. She pretty much figures she has hit rock bottom, as she is a teen brainiac living in a teen supermodel’s body, but alas she is wrong.

This said supermodel just happens to have a missing mother, a brother who has just shown up to look for said mother, a former best friend who is determined to bring down the company that she works for (and who she happens to have a major crush on), and a chart-topping song that has been written about her.

With all these things on her mind, Em is not sure quite what she is going to do, especially when she has to manage her time between school and shooting ads in St. John’s – where nasty creatures called ex-boyfriends seem to be abundant. O what is a girl to do, who seems to have it all? Em is not sure she is up for the adventure of Being Nikki…

I have to say that I was quite anxious for the release of this book, as I loved its proceedor (AIRHEAD). I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next and be enchanted with yet another great story, but you know what? That didn’t happen this time. I mean the story was good and suspenseful and all that jazz, but BEING NIKKI just didn’t have the same spark as AIRHEAD and I felt myself enjoying it much less.

The plot for me was quite suspenseful for much of the story and was an absolute hoot. It was also quite original and really left me wanting more and more as the book started to come to a close. It was quite slow though at the beginning and really didn’t get going until the second half of the book. I also found the plot to be very redundant at time and we would hear Nikki complaining of the same things or doing the same things and there was absolutely no progression for like fifty some odd pages.

As for the characters, they were eh. I really enjoyed Stephen, Nikki’s brother, as he was really interesting and mysterious, but every time the reader was really getting to know him, Nikki would jump back in and starting whining and the book would revolve around her again. As for Nikki/Em besides the whininess, she was a decent character who had quite the sense of humor and became quite relatable as the story progressed.

Overall I liked this book and am still anxious to know how the brilliant Meg Cabot will tie up this thrilling trilogy. If you haven’t given this series of Mrs. Cabot’s a try I highly suggest reading them as you will be quite shocked with all the twists and turns that occur.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

It has been years since Auden has slept at night. It all started when her parents started fighting, and even though they have moved on and gotten a divorce, Auden is still an insomniac.

The summer before she heads off to college she is give a choice. Spend the summer at home with her professor mother and get a head start on her college reading or go off to the small beach town where her dad, step-mom and new baby sister, Thisbe Caroline, live.  Hoping for a chance for a carefree summer and to escape the craziness of her mother, Auden opts for the charming beach town. What she gets though is not what she expects.

Auden is quickly introduced into the world girls and the normal teenage life – something she completely missed out on growing up with her demanding mother. Theirs talk about clothes, make up, boys, and more boys, and Auden isn’t sure if its really what suits her, especially the girls at her job. Then Auden meets Eli, a fellow insomniac and absolutely adorable guy. He soon introduces her to the nocturnal world of the small beach town and their friendship blossoms. Auden soon finds herself having quite the unexpected summer, but it may just be exactly what she needs to cure her insomnia.

Sarah Dessen is amazing, plain and simple. Her books are so lifelike and real that you can relate to them in an instant, her characters are beyond believable, and of course her style is just impeccable. ALONG FOR THE RIDE is definitely one of her best books, in my opinion, and the absolute perfect summer read.

The plot was extremely detailed, which made the story come alive. Every little street corner popped up right in front of the reader’s eyes and all aspects of the story were relatable, whether it be putting up the girly girls, riding a bike or learning how to act around your crush. All these regular activities really made the reader connect with the little beach town and made the book that much more enjoyable. Another aspect that made the book so good was even though the book was very realistic; it still felt like you were being transported to a parallel universe.

Now the characters, I think, are what made the book. Auden was extremely relatable, especially for me, and I couldn’t get over how well Sarah Dessen knows the teenage mind. I considered Auden more of a friend then a character early on in the book and really got to know her throughout the story. I also loved Eli. Dessen always comes up with really cute guy characters, but I think that Eli definitely is the best so far. It was really interesting to see that he had issues too and they added a small side story that kept the reader intrigued. I also loved how even the side characters, such as Thisbe, all had personality. This made the book come even more alive and it made the story hard to forget, as it felt like you were meeting realy people.

Overall this was a fantastic book that I highly recommend; it is easily one of my favorite books of the year. I cannot wait to see what Sarah Dessen has in store for us next, while we’re waiting though I suggest a re-read of all of her books!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

After Charlotte Miller’s father passes away she is left with the family mill and she is quickly loosing it due to debt. When the opportunity arises for Charlotte to make and sell golden thread she jumps on it. She feels like it is her chance to give her sister a future, livelihood for the town, and a way to keep her uncle away from stealing the mill. This golden thread also might just offer her a chance at true love and a lot of hope.

All things come with a price though. To get this coveted thread, Charlotte must strike a deal with Jack Spinner. The Miller family doesn’t have a good rep though with deals as they are the reason it is in so much trouble now. Charlotte has now found herself and all the ones she loves in a heap of trouble and is desperate to find a way out. Will she figure out her life in time and save the mill or will Jack Spinner get the best of her?

Oh my goodness was this book good. I literally could not put it down after I got started and was desperate for more with each page turn. Elizabeth C. Bunce definteiy made a stunning step into the world of YA with her debut novel. What I loved the most though about A CURSE DARK AS GOLD was how it was a retelling of Rumplestitsken, one of my favorite fairy tales, but was still completely original.

The characters definitely made the book outstanding. Charlotte was strong yet stubborn and the reader really got to know her as the story progressed. I found myself many a time cheering for her in times of trouble and sympathizing with her in times of sorrow. I also loved her relationship with Randall, it was sweet and strong and just oh so wonderful. Charlotte’s sister Rosie was also a handful. I could tell she was bursting with energy and she was so much fun. Even though she didn’t get a lot of face time, the reader still got to know her, and in my case came to love her. As for Jack, well I thought he was great as well. He was funny and tricky, the perfect bad guy.

The plot, as I mentioned before, was great. It was so unique that even if you know Rumplestilten by heart, you will still be surprised by many events and not really know what’s going to happen. There was so much adventure and romance and so many twists and turns that I was fascinated throughout the whole thing. The writing was also something spectacular. The imagey was so vivid that I could feel the dampness of the winter and the sun in the summer. The author also used a great vocabulary. The words were absolutely beautiful and they just completely floated off of the pages.

Overall I absolutely loved this book and it has definitely become one of my new favorite books. It was so new and wonderful that I strongly recommend it to absolutely everyone, especially those who enjoy fairy-tale retellings. I myself cannot wait for more from Elizabeth C. Bunce as I am convinced it will be just as good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

According to Micah Wilkins lying is not an easy business. There is keeping up the different stories you have told everybody and then backing it up, oh and making sure that you don’t get caught is another biggie. Although she claims it is so difficult, Micah has become a fluent liar,  to the point of believing her own lies.  Her lies get her into quite some trouble though when her boyfriend Zach shows up dead. While she has the reputation of liar, this time she swears that she had no involvement in Zach’s death, but many people find it hard to believe. Will Micah finally learn to tell the truth for once, or will she just create more lies to cover up what really happened?

Throughout the ups and downs of high school and many unexpected twists, Justine Larbalestier creates a fantastic novel that is hard to forgot and even tougher to put down.

This book was absolutely wonderful. I truly enjoyed the entire story and thought the way it was written was extremely intriguing. This was the first time I had read anything by Justine Larbalestier, but I know she writes fantasy novels and such. Therefore I was a bit shocked with the realism this book contained, but then I soon came to find out that Ms. Larbalestier weaved her signature style into the story flawlessly and intensely.

The plotline of the book was incredibly interesting and jaw dropping. There was grief and sorrow as well as many laughs and giggles throughout the entire story. Although there were points where I was pretty sure I had the rest of the story figured out, there was always a twist to what I was thinking. As the book progressed the plot became more and more intricate, but the author still managed to keep things very clear to the reader with no confusion. The ending was absolutely perfect for the book.

As for the characters, I thought they were all really well developed. Even the characters that were only mentioned once or twice were described well and came alive off of the pages. For example, there was this one character, BRANDON, who we only met lets say three times, and you could just tell that he was one of the biggest perverts in the world. To me, this really made me enjoy the story even more because it got me involved in the world that the author created. I also loved the development of Micah. She is definitely not your average young adult girl character. For one she kind of resembles a boy and two she doesn’t really care what other people think. She was a great character though, as many of her lies were comical and she always left this lingering thought in your head as if she was really telling the truth. Throughout the entire story it felt like she was whispering her secrets into your ear.

Another very strong aspect of this book was the point of view the author created. Micah told the entire story and the reader learned all about her family history and the days leading up and preceding Zach’s death. Micah also “talked” to reader, asking if they really believed her and again making the reader feel that they were sitting there on the couch beside Micah listening to her life story. The author also created such a feeling of suspense throughout the whole book that it was near impossible to set the book down even for a minute. She also set the book up really nicely, making a very logical progression of events that made the story that much more intriguing.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought it was just wonderful! I will definitely be reading more by Justine Larbalestier in the future, as she is a fabulous author. I recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting and riveting read.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Hectic Life of a High School Senior

Hey guys,

First of all I want to apologize to all readers about my absence. Life has been insane these past few months, with applying to 10 different colleges, taking an extremelly large workload, and just life in general. But, three of the ten apps are done and in and all others are going through edits, so I am finally able to return to the lovely blogging community.

The winner of the End of Summer contest will be announced tomorrow, as I have to figure out entries still!

All emails that have been sent within the last month will get answered ASAP and again sorry for so MIA.

I hope you all are enjoying the lovely fall weather and many good books!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

In My Mailbox (IX)

Thanks to the Story Siren for the creation of this fun meme and Alea for the inspiration.

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

Kara hasn't been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad-boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park....
Amid the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff

What’s worse than being fat your freshman year?
Being fat your sophomore year.
Life used to be so simple for Andrew Zansky–hang with the Model UN guys, avoid gym class, and eat and eat and eat. He’s used to not fitting in: into his family, his sports-crazed school, or his size 48 pants. But not anymore. Andrew just met April, the new girl at school and the instant love of his life! He wants to find a way to win her over, but how? When O. Douglas, the heartthrob quarterback and high-school legend, saves him from getting beaten up by the school bully, Andrew sees his chance to get in with the football squad. Is it possible to reinvent yourself in the middle of high school? Andrew is willing to try. But he’s going to have to make some changes. Fast. Can a funny fat kid be friends with a football superstar? Can he win over the Girl of his Dreams? Can he find a way to get his mom and dad back together? How far should you go to be the person you really want to be? Andrew is about to find out. 

I also got a big box from Harper, but I'm not sure what is in it as I am at school and the box is at home! 

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A. S. King

Emer Morrisey was one of the most feared pirates in the seventeenth century. She went about scooping eyeballs out of her victims and building up quite a large stack of loot over her years. When she is finally given the chance to be with her one true love and escape the pirate life for good with unfathomable riches, her past catches up with her and she is slain and cursed with the dust of one hundred dogs. What does this curse entail you might ask? Well Ms. Emer will have to live out 100 lives out as a dog before she can return to her human body, the catch being, her memory stays intact.

Emer has now finally returned to a human body, in the form of Saffron, a contemporary American teenager. Getting to live without being bossed around is a huge plus for the Emer-persona who lives inside of Saffron, but she doesn’t expect the dysfunctional family that she finds herself in. Saffron though is unlike many teenagers, as she is incredibly smart and all she cares about it getting down to Jamaica with a shovel.

Well, this book was interesting to say the least. There was quite a bit going on and it definitely took time to adjust to the switch between past and present story telling, but once the reader got into the swing of things (after about 100 pages), it was definitely worth it.

The plot was intriguing and very unique. The whole idea of a pirate living as 100 different types of dogs and then going to live life as human, with all those memories in tact is absolutely crazy and fun and just plain delightful. A. S. King’s writing also had a big impact on how I received the plot. She had all these fun dog facts interspersed throughout the story that were quite intriguing and her sense of detail really made me understand what was going on, as I have to say there were many parts were I just kind of sat there with a dazed look on my face trying to figure out what just happened/was going on. What I did love about this book though was the ending. It was cute and a tad bit unexpected and just all around great.

The characters in THE DUST OF 100 DOGS were average. The Emer persona was witty and could be vulgar at times, but was a decent character. Saffron I found was quite interesting as well. It frustrated me at times that she didn’t respect her parents, but hey she was soon out of that environment and that thought quickly left my mind.
Overall I found that I preferred this book more after I sat down and thought about it, as the story kept running through my brain even after I was finished with it. I think that A. S. King has definitely made a prominent step into the world of YA fiction, creating a modern-esque pirate tale that will thrill many readers. 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

We are all guilty of having embarrassing parents, or at least have our share of embarrassing moments, but Hannah has each and everyone of us topped. Her dad is Jackson James, founder of a playboy-esque website and show. Her mom, well, she is famous for the Superbowl commercial where the only thing covering her was a pizza box. After a lifetime of receiving the wrong type of attention, Hannah finds that she much prefers walking invisibly through life.

The only thing wrong with being invisible though is that the hottest guy Josh, who Hannah believes is her soul mate can’t see her. Then of course there is Finn, the guy in the neighboring cubby at Hannah’s job. He’s funny, cute, and Hannah just can’t seem to stop thinking about him, but then she can’t just forget about Josh either.  Now Hannah must decide what she really wants and what she really needs.

Oh Elizabeth Scott how I love you! I really enjoyed SOMETHING, MAYBE and will never ever think that my parents are that embarrassing again. Scott created very real characters that were very relatable. While we all might not have a porn star for a mom, many know what it feels like not to fit in for various reasons. Hannah was also a very witty character who made you want to cheer for her in all of her triumphs and console her in her failures. Finn was absolutely adorable, as in I want him to sit beside me at work. He also added quite a bit of humor to the book, which had me in fits of laughter.

The plot of the book was very original and quite real. With the mom and dad combination and then the grief that Hannah had with the loss of her step dad, the whole thing just made me laugh and sympathize. I truly felt like I was transported into Hannah’s life and didn’t come back to my own until the very last word of her tale.

I absolutely cannot wait for more from Elizabeth Scott, who is definitely a dynamite author in the YA field. I highly recommend this book and urge you all to pick it up and have some laughs. 

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas

Antonia Labella is fifteen years old and has yet to be kissed and it is her deepest desire to become the first official living saint. Don’t think she’s serious? Well every month Antonia sends a letter to the Pope with a new saint idea, whether it be the Patron Saint of Figs, or the Patron Saint of First Kisses, she always has a new idea. She also makes sure that she is in all the good graces of all the current saints, she prays to a different one each night and even keeps a saint journal where she keeps all of her prayers.

Then there is the whole kissing business. There is this boy, Andy Rotellini who Antonia has been lusting after since well, forever basically. She truly believes that he will be the one, but she just may be mistaken in that area. While becoming a saint and experiencing her first kiss seem unlikely, it certainly isn’t from lacking of trying on Antonia’s part.  On a journey of self-discovery Antonia grows up a bit and learns all there is to first kisses and sainthood.

Well, lets start with the fact that I liked this book. The writing was decent, the plot was original and the characters were pretty good. I loved the Italian authenticity and thoroughly enjoyed the religious views that Antonia brought up and discussed. I also think that this book has quite a broad appeal. It’s a good book for young and older teens and overall is just plain fun.

As for the plot, well it started out really well. For the first fifty pages or so I was continuously laughing and was really enjoying the book, I pretty much figured that this was going to be a great book, but alas I spoke too soon. Soon Antonia became completely infatuated with this jerk guy and completely ignored the nice guy, and then the story just started getting repetitive. Antonia was doing the same things over and over again and it got very frustrating. The plot was definitely the downfall of the book, but the ending and beginning definitely saved it from being a total blow out.

Although the plot was not that great, the characters were fabulous. Antonia was funny and oh so obsessed with becoming a saint. Her saint ideas were absolutely crazy, but I loved each and everyone. She was adorable waiting for her first kiss and I loved the relationship she had with her best friend. My only qualm with her is that she felt considerable older than fifteen, but it was only until the end of the book that I realized this, so it wasn’t that big of an issue.  Antonia’s grandmother was also a trip. She was forgetful and senile which pretty much made her absolutely hilarious.

Overall I liked this book and thought that it was a solid debut for Donna Freitas. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

After the destruction of North America the nation of Panem emerges, in the middle, a shining Capitol with twelve less scintillating nations surrounding it. In order to remind all of the residents of Panem of the brutal war and the power the Capitol holds, the Capitol forces each district to send a boy and a girl, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, each year to the Hunger Games, a fight to the death, survivor style, broadcasted on live TV.

In the devastatingly poor District 12, lives a sixteen-year-old named Katniss Everdeen. She lives alone with her mother and twelve-year old sister Prim, being the sole provider for their family, making sure that they just scrape by. When the day of the reaping comes (the event where names are drawn for the Hunger games) Katniss herself feels that she has a greater chance of being picked, but never would expect Prim to be chosen. When the worst happens though, Katniss immediately volunteers herself to participate in Prim’s place, becoming the girl to represent District 12 in the Hunger Games.

Without even realizing it, Katniss soon becomes one of the top contenders to win the games, as survival is second nature to her. If she is to win though she will have to call upon her keen sense of intelligence and expert survival techniques.

Oh my goodness, this book is jaw droppingly good! Every single sentence left you grasping for more and wanting to turn the page so fast that you have to be careful they don’t rip. Everything about the book worked and fell so easily into place that it was absolutely impossible to put the book down.

The plot itself was extremely unique and was filled with adventure that kept you extremely riveted. Even though Panem was a fictional world it was very easy to see many parallels to our world, which I found extremely interesting. Suzanne Collins also made this imaginary world very lifelike and made the events of the games so real that it felt like I was sitting in my living room watching them on TV along with all the other residents of Panem.

Another aspect that really made the book shine were the characters. Regardless of how big of a role the character played they were well developed. Katniss was an amazing and strong character and had a nurturing side that was completely unexpected, but very welcoming. Peeta, the second main character, was a sweetie. He was funny and genuine and I loved how he added the romance element to the story, which in my opinion made the book that much better.

As for the author’s writing, it was impeccable. She threw you into the arena and made you breathe the same air as Katniss, Peeta and all the other contestants. She created a fascinating world, using fantastic imagery, which made it easy to picture the beauty of the Capitol, all the amazing outfits the contestants wore, and of course the brutality of the arena. She also created one heck of a cliffhanger with the ending of the book, setting up for the next book (CATCHING FIRE) to start right away.

Overall this was one heck of a book. The author combined a ridiculous amount of suspense, a ridiculously cute romance, and so much adventure that this has easily become one of my favorite books. As soon as I had finished it I immediately wanted to read it again and again and again. I strongly recommend it to absolutely everyone and cannot wait for the sequel. 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In My Mailbox (VIII)

Thank you thank you to The Story Siren and Alea for their creation/inspiration of this super fun meme.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment. But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Amazing Summer Blowout Contest!

So as summer is coming to a close for many of us (I go back to school in a mere 2 weeks!!) I decided to throw a contest. There are lots of books that are coming out this fall to win and a couple that have come out over the past year or so, all of them are very good.

As you can hopefully see, there are 7 delightful books to win and they are: 
The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman
Ruined by Paula Morris
Intertwined by Gena Showalter (ARC)
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Bad Apple by Laura Ruby (ARC) 
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors (ARC) 
To enter all you have to do is leave a comment with the name of a song for me to put on my back-to-school playlist as I am in need of some new music. I like just about everything, so let me know what your favorite song, back-to-school song, summer song, etc. is and be entered to win! 
All entries must be received by midnight (EST) on August 31, 2009 to be valid. Also the mailing address to which the books are sent to must be in the U.S. 
To gain some extra entries: 
Blog, twitter, facebook about the contest (make sure to include the link) = +2 entries
Already a follower = +3 entries (thank you thank you to all of you!)
Become a follower = +2 entries 
Good luck to all of you!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Nobody’s Prize by Esther Friesner

Helen of Sparta returns for yet another adventure. This time she disguises herself as a guy and along with her best friend Milo sets off to join the quest for the Golden Fleece. Aboard the Argo though Helen and Milo quickly run into trouble. Not only do they have to avoid Helen’s brother’s detection, but Helen also has to keep her feelings held back for the adorable guy on board. Then there is the fact that Hercules has fallen in love with Helen’s boy self, Milo’s becoming a tad jealous of Helen’s new crush, and there are many battles to be fought in order to reach the Golden Fleece. As Helen starts to become more of a women it becomes harder and harder to mask her identity. Her journey doesn’t stop with the fleece though as she continues beyond the myth and into a story completely her own.

Well, I have to say I was expecting a lot from this book, but it just did not deliver. The writing made it hard to get into the story and I just could not get into it. Once events picked up though I enjoyed the adventurous nature of the plot and the twist of the classic Golden Fleece myth. I also really enjoyed the continuation of Helen’s journey and the return of some fun characters from the preceding book NOBODY’S PRINCESS. I did find though that at many points there was a lot going on in the book and it all got very confusing.

As for the characters, I felt they were underdeveloped. None of the characters felt real at all, but they did have some personality. Helen was a fun heroine who was always up for an adventure, while Milo was extremely cute and I wish he had been more present in the story.

Overall though it was a likeable book that fully concluded Helen’s story. I loved the author’s originality in her creation of the story and look forward to reading more of her work. 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Anna and Frankie are spending twenty days in beautiful Zanzibar Bay and while they are there they plan on meeting twenty boys. Frankie is convinced that at least one of these boys will end up being the perfect summer fling for Anna, who according to Frankie has never had any sort of romance in her life. Anna lightheartedly goes along with Frankie’s plan, but she’s been holding back a secret from Frankie for the past year. The thing is Anna had a secret romance with Frankie’s brother Matt, who died a year ago, and promised him days before his death that she wouldn’t tell Frankie and leave it up to him.  Will Anna end up finding a summer fling or will she let her grief over Matt’s death keep her single?

Not only is this an amazing summer read, as it has lovely beaches, hot boys, and lots of fun, but it is also emotionally charged and utterly hard to forget. Debut novelist Sarah Ockler has truly created a one of a kind book that I really enjoyed and know many other readers will as well.

First of all I have to commend the author on her writing style. She created very lifelike scenes and the beach town she created was so real that I could almost feel the sand between my toes. Her characterization was also impeccable as she made all characters seem very real, especially Anna. While Anna couldn’t always show her grief, as no one knew about her and Matt’s relationship, the reader knew all about it and truly felt the same feelings as her. Then there was Frankie, o dear Frankie. She truly went through the classic change that occurs in many girls after they experience grief, but the author really made Frankie unique by the fact that she slowly uncovered the “true” Frankie, who was a great character. My only qualm with her was that I really wish we had gotten to hear part of the story from her perspective, as I truly found her extremely interesting.

As for the plot it was really cute, albeit predictable. I enjoyed the different perspective on grief and liked how in a way Anna and Frankie depended on each other to get through Matt’s death. The only thing is I wish there had been a bit more development of the whole relationship between Anna and her summer boy. It was adorable while it lasted and I couldn’t get enough, but it ended abruptly, leaving the reader wanting more. The ending was also perfect for the book. It provided the closer that Anna and Frankie needed, as did the reader.

Overall this was a great book, which I really enjoyed. If the beautiful cover couldn’t lure you into reading this book I hope you will still give it a chance, as it won’t be a book you’ll forget about soon. I absolutely cannot wait for more from Sarah Ockler as she is a truly talented author. 

Sunday, July 26, 2009

In My Mailbox (VII)

Thanks to The Story Siren and Alea for the creation and inspiration of this fun meme. I had a slower week this week and also got some repeats (do you sense a contest coming soon??!!), but books are always a good thing, so I am not complaining.

The Navel of the World by PJ Hoover

At the end of summer school, Benjamin was given one task find his missing brothers. Should be easy right? But Benjamin can't locate a trace of them anywhere until he interns at his father's office over spring break. There he finds a mysterious file written in ancient Lemurian with his name on it. Could the answers that Benjamin seeks be in the past?

The Lost Sister by Megan Kelley Hall 

Sisters are born, not chosen. . .
Maddie Crane is grappling with the disappearance of Cordelia LeClaire, and trying to escape the grasp of The Sisters of Misery--an insidious clique of the school's most powerful girls, whose pranks have set off a chain of horrific events, and who have Maddie in their sights-

Beware the sister betrayed. . .
Now in a prestigious boarding school far away from her mysterious hometown of Hawthorne, Massachusetts, Maddie feels free from danger. But when an unmarked envelope arrives at her dorm containing a single ominous tarot card, Maddie realizes with terror that some secrets won't stay buried. Knowing she must return to Hawthorne--a town still scarred by the evil of the Salem witch trials--Maddie prepares to face the fears of her past. . .and the wrath of the sister she wronged.

Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin

Sophie Blue started wearing a black skirt and Midnight Noir lipstick on her last birthday. It was also the day her father disappeared. Or spontaneously combusted. Which is sort of bad timing, since a Popsicle truck with tinted windows has started circling the house.

Kenny Fade is a basketball god. His sneakers cost more than his Jeep. He's the guy all the ladies (and their mommas) want. Bad.

Sophie Blue and Kenny Fade don't have a thing in common. Aside from being reasonably sure they're losing their minds.

Acclaimed author Sean Beaudoin's wildly innovative novel combines uproarious humor with enough plot twists to fill a tube sock. Part thriller, part darkly comic philosophical discussion, and accompanied by a comic book interstitial, Fade to Blue is a whip-smart romp that keeps readers guessing until the last paragraph.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Scat by Carl Hiaasen

Nick and Marta are two of the lucky eighth grade students in Mrs. Starch’s (who just happens to be the most feared teacher in the history of the world!) biology class. Every day they sit in and pass notes back and forth to each other discussing their fear of being called on.

 The day after their field trip to the Black Vine Swamp though something mysterious happens. Mrs. Starch doesn’t come back, and she is never absent, and people start to wonder. While there might be a scrawled note and a message on her answering machine that states that she has had to deal with a family emergency, people, especially Nick and Marta, aren’t buying it. They are all convinced that Smoke, the kid in Mrs. Starch’s class that she dislikes the most, has something to do with her disappearance.

In a whirl wind adventure filled with arson, endangered animals, the Iraq war, the Florida wet lands, a money hungry wannabe oil rigger, and panther poop, Nick and Marta set out to find their missing biology teacher.

Carl Hiaasen definitely has a knack for adventure. Every story he creates always some crazy plot that makes you think as well as laugh! In this case Hiaasen poses the problem of destroying the environment for monetary gain and how it affects the ecosystem in a hilarious manner. He also throws in some other great themes to think about: not judging people by their history/the way they look, believing in yourself and never giving up, learning to live with what you’ve got, and working as a team. These themes are so important for younger readers (and sometimes older!) readers to learn and Hiaasen did such a great job incorporating them into the book without blatantly stating them.  While this book has more of a middle grade audience, it is great for all ages of readers, although there is a tad bit of language. Overall I think the book was masterfully written and was a worthwhile and entertaining read. 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In My Mailbox (VI)

I know I have not done this is forever, but honestly I forgot! Anyways I am back on track and bringing you the latest books that have entered my mailbox! Thanks to The Story Siren and Alea for the creation/inspiration of the In My Mailbox meme.

Ruined: A Ghost Story by Paula Morris
Rebecca couldn't feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She's staying in a creepy old house with her aunt. And at the snooty prep school, the filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she's invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he's got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city. There's just one catch: Lisette is a ghost.   A ghost with a deep, dark secret, and a serious score to settle.   As Rebecca learns more from her ghost friend - and as she slowly learns to trust Anton Grey-she also uncovers startling truths about her own history. Will Rebecca be able to right the wrongs of the past, or has everything been ruined beyond repair?

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Positively by Courtney Sheinmel

Emerson Price cannot remember a time when life was ordinary. She was four-years-old when she and her mom were diagnosed as HIV-positive – infected with the virus that causes AIDS, and eight when her parents divorced. Now she is thirteen and her mother is dead. Emmy moves in with her father and stepmother, but she feels completely alone. Even though everyone has always accepted her, no one – not her father, or stepmother, or even her best friend – understands what it’s like to have to take medicine every single day, to be so afraid of getting sick, and to miss her mom more than she ever thought she would.
When Emmy’s dad and stepmother send her to Camp Positive, a camp for HIV-positive girls, Emmy is certain she is going to hate it. But soon she realizes that she is not so alone after all – and that sometimes letting other people in can make all the difference in the world.

How to Steal a Car by Pete Hautman

Some girls act out by drinking or doing drugs. Some girls act out by sleeping with guys. Some girls act out by starving themselves or cutting themselves. Some girls act out by being a bitch to other girls.

Not Kelleigh. Kelleigh steals cars.

In How to Steal a Car, National Book Award winner Pete Hautman takes teen readers on a thrilling, scary ride through one suburban girl's turbulent life - one car theft at a time.

The Comeback by Marlene Perez 

Sophie Donnelly is one half of the most popular and powerful couple in school, until new girl Angie Vogel shows up and compromises everything. Angie steals Sophie's starring role in the school play, and, worse, her super-popular boyfriend. Sophie has been quickly dispatched to social Siberia, but not for long--she'll do anything it takes to make a triumphant comeback.

Friday, July 17, 2009

If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney

The Fountain family has faced endless grief within the last couple of years and their future seems quite bleak as well. First the children’s mother died, after refusing treatment for her fatal cancer so that she could give life to their baby brother Tris. Then, just two years later their father dies in a terrible accident leaving the four Fountain children alone and parentless with only their self-involved Aunt Cheryl left to care for them.

Within weeks the two Fountain daughters, Madison and Smithy flee, one going to live with her godparents and the other going to a boarding school hundreds of miles away. This leaves Jack to be the strong one, the one to take care of Tris, because Cheryl really only cares about herself and home makeover shows on TV. 

As Tris’ third birthday approaches, Cheryl decides that she is ready for fame and sells the family’s soap-opera story to a reality television producer and Jack knows that his life is about to be thrown upside down once again. The thing is though this event brings the family together again. Along the way they find out some troubling information that makes them think….did the witness of their dad’s death lie?

I believe if you looked up Caroline B. Cooney up in an encyclopedia you find “… author of heart-thudding thrillers.” I could literally not stop reading this book and absolutely gobbled it up. The book as a whole was great, but there were definitely some holes that I wish had been patched up. 

First of all, the plot was very original and was the driving force behind the “heart-thudding” feeling you got while reading the book. I loved how the author took a mystery and turned it into a novel about family, friendship, trust, loss, and love. These themes melded perfectly throughout the book and really made the reader take a step back and evaluate their own life in a different light. I did have a couple issues with the plot though. Some of the events, such as Cheryl gaining custody automatically over the children and there being no original investigation into the father’s death, were completely left out. This left a big gap for me as I felt it could have been a crucial part in the story. The storyline was also a bit predictable, but the suspense created by the little details really helped the reader to not focus on what was coming next. 

As for characters, this is really where the book lacked. All of the characters were one-dimensional; especially the adults, and I wish they were so much more.  The little we did get to learn about the characters though was great. Jack was definitely the hero in the book and by far a favorite, as he sacrificed his social life in order to step up to the plate and care for his younger brother.

Another plus for this book is the author’s writing style. She made the book incredibly realistic and all throughout the story I felt like I was reading an article from the local newspaper instead of a piece of fiction. Also the point of view she wrote the book in was quite interesting. It felt like a mix between third and first person, but all in the present tense, much like in Lisa McMann’s novels. This quirky style took a while to get used to but in the end it definitely added to the book.

Overall this was a good novel that all teen readers will enjoy. It had enough action to satisfy anyone and will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. I loved how the author dealt with the breaking and healing of a family and really showed what love is and its immense powers. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Twenty Boy Summer Winners

Thank you all for entering my contest to win debut author Sarah Ockler's book TWENTY BOY SUMMER! The winner are as follows:

Kathleen Elizabeth



                       Jade Adrienne 

                         Miss Attitude
I have emailed all the winners who provided email addresses, but a few did not so please shoot me an email at andanotherbookread AT gmail DOT com with your address. Please respond within three days with your addresses, or I will have to choose a new winner. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Ever since eighth grade, Lia and Cassie have fed off each other. They are each other’s only source of strength as they vow to compete to be the skinniest friend. Counting every calorie that enters their body, making sure it is never too much and worrying excessively about their outer appearance.

Lia finally wins the competition though when Cassie dies, alone in a hotel room one night. Now Lia faces her war alone, thinking she is still fat at 95 pounds. Trying as hard as she can to avoid returning to a treatment facility, she sews quarters into the pockets of her robe so it appears that she weighs more then she does when her step-mother forces her onto the scale and choosing bruised apples at lunch so she has an excuse not to eat the whole thing. 

With Cassie gone though, Lia not only has to worry about her conscious bothering her every time she eats, but also Cassie’s voice. Lia’s just not sure she can handle it anymore and sometimes even refers to cutting herself to help relieve just a little bit of the pain.  Lia is left with a decision though, does she truly want to join the living, or stay frozen and eventually melt into nothing.

Laurie Halse Anderson truly has a gift. Her writing is impeccable and she takes some of the most difficult subjects to talk about and throws them in your face, leaving them near impossible to ignore. Within the pages of Lia’s life the reader gets a gut-wrenching and honest look into the life of an anorexic teenager, seeing both the physical and emotional implications of the disease.

The writing throughout the book had a lyrical feel to it which made it near impossible to put down, one sentence always luring you to the next. Laurie Halse Anderson also did a great job expressing emotion through the pages of the book. Sometime I feel that authors try to hard to make the reader’s feel what the characters are feeling, but in WINTERGILRS it was absolutely effortless.

No matter how brutal the subject matter was, I thought this book was amazing. Yes, it’s hard to read and it makes you cry, but it’s so important for people of all ages to realize the full effects of anorexia. The message that the book portrays, that it is okay to go for help and what could happen if you don’t reach out your hand, rings so clearly that I think this would be a better read for those suffering from anorexia then a self-help book.

The honesty, brutality, and love that was felt throughout the story really came together to create one heck of a novel. Recommended for all readers, it may be a hard novel to start, but you surely won’t be disappointed when it is over. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Mrs. Anderson has in store for us next!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, or Bertie as she prefers, lives in the Theatre Illuminate, although not an actress, surrounded by all the characters ever created in every play. Here she finds her home, although she has no parents, where her best friends being four fairies – Moth, Mustardseed, Peaseblossom, and Cobweb – and a rowdy pirate, Nate. Then of course there is Ariel, who is just so full of himself, but Bertie seems to just melt every time she sees him. The thing with all these characters, as with all of the characters within the Theatre, is that the Book, which holds the scripts of the plays the characters belong to, binds them to the Theatre.

There has recently been a turn of events though and Bertie is about to lose the family that she has created within the Theatre. Now it is up to here to devise a plan so that the Theatre Manager cannot turn her out on the streets. With the help of her trusty friends she sets off on a quest to save her spot at her beloved Theatre.

This was one heck of a debut novel to say the least. Lisa Mantchev created a beautiful setting in a unique Theatre that I came to love. What makes this book even more enjoyable is it throws you into the theater world in a way that even if you are not familiar with the drama world (and trust me I know nothing) you feel like you have been in this world forever after the first few chapters.

The plot that the author created was both original and thrilling. The adventure that the characters partook in was really fun and highly enjoyable. I really enjoyed Bertie having to try and save herself from being kicked out from the theater and the ideas she created along the way. It added a ton of humor to the book and really made the book that much more interesting. One thing that kind of held the story back from being absolutely wonderful is the first few chapters or so were quite confusing. There was just so much going on and a whole host of characters that was just a little too much to keep up with while trying to get acquainted with the story itself.

The story also the story got confusing again around the end of the book, it seemed that the author was trying to squeeze all this information in, in just a few short chapters. Also a lot of early characters were brought back and it was hard to remember exactly who they were. Despite the bit of predictability, the ending was really good and left off on a great cliff hanger that sets the stage for yet another great adventure in the next act of Bertie’s life.

While the plot of the story was quite wonderful, I thought that the characters really made the book. The fairies provided an ever-constant source of entertainment and are always hilarious. Then of course there was Bertie. I definitely loved everything about her. Whether it was her rebelliousness or her sense of humor, I found her to be a very strong heroine. Nate was also a very fun and heroic character and you could tell that Ariel was fishy from the start. The only thing that I felt was lacking was the relationship between Nate and Bertie. At one point it would be going strong and then there would be no mention of it for another fifty pages or so. Lisa Mantchev definitely has a knack for characterization.

Another aspect of the book that I thought was very strong was the writing. The author made the reader feel like as if they were sitting in those plush theater seats watching a show play out on stage. She kept the whole story lively with just enough description to fully understand what was going on, but not enough so that the reader gets bogged down with repetitive information. Overall there was just a magical quality to the author’s writing that just sucked me in from early on in the story and never let me go.

In the end this book was great and I really liked it. I absolutely can’t wait to get more of Bertie’s world and more of Lisa Mantchev’s imagination and writing. Also on a complete side note, if the description is not enough to draw you into the story then the cover definitely will be as it is absolutely stunning!

Also for more information on the author visit her blog. If you would like to buy a copy of this fabulous book click here...come on I dare you!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry

When she was just five years old, Lucinda Chapdelaine’s parents left her home while they attended a ball and never returned. Ever since that fateful day she has been stuck in servitude in her evil Aunt’s jewelry shop.

One fateful day though, Lucinda’s life takes a new turn. First a mysterious woman named Beryl comes in looking for a new setting for her even more mysterious emerald-like stone. Then a perfectly dreamy man comes in looking for the perfect wedding gift that says “forever” for his bride to be. The thing is this man just isn’t just any customer, he happens to be the crown Prince of the kingdom and he seems to find something very familiar in Lucinda’s face.

These two strangers set Lucinda on a journey beyond her wildest dreams. She befriends a thief named Peter, inherits a pet goat named Dog, attends royal balls, deals with the Amaranth Witch, discovers herself, has a few run ins with the law, and even finds the truth to the mystery behind her parent’s death.

A tad reminiscent of Cinderella, but yet still its own fairy tale, THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT is truly a delightful read. It has every aspect needed to create the perfect story. There’s love, adventure, a dashing prince, thieves, a witch, evil relatives, and of course the ever loyal pet goat Dog! I loved how the author pieced together the story, never letting out too much at a time and letting the reader really get a chance to take the whole story in. While at times it was a little bit predictable, the story line was still unique and magical and made you crave more. I loved how Lucinda slowly uncovered her past and seeing it mesh up with her current life. It made the story that much better. Younger teens would get the most out of this novel, but readers of all ages are sure to still feel the magic of the story. Julie Berry surely outdid herself with her debut novel and definitely has a knack for story telling. I am very curious to see what she has in store for us next!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Winner of Death by Denim

The winner is.....

Ann Diana Dinh 

I've sent you an email, so please get back to me within 72 hours, so that I can send you your book.

Thanks to all who entered. Don't forget to enter for the chance to win one of five copies of Twenty Boy Summer!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Glass Maker’s Daughter by V. Briceland

Cassaforte is a medieval city full of magic, enchantments, and intrigue. While there is a king that rules the general city, the magic lays within the seven main families of the city, who each contribute a gift. One such family is the Divetri family, makers of the finest glass, whom Risa Divetri belongs to.

Risa is a feisty spirit who is just coming of age to be chosen for one of the two schools in the city where young adults learn to develop their gifts. Risa is prepared to go to school and excel in creating enchanted glass, just like her father, but then the unthinkable happens. When the Gods come down to direct Risa as to where she must go, they leave her unchosen destined to remain at home.  While she is devasted, she soon discovers that there might just have been a reason why she must stay at home.

The city’s magic soon starts to unravel and the threat of corruption becomes apparent, Risa is determined to stop it. Discovering more about herself then she could have ever imagined she sets off on an adventure to save the home she loves, as well as finding her own self.

This was definitely a stunning novel! The cast of characters, as well as the plot was both extremely unique and left the reader wanting more. Also on a totally non-content based note, the cover is magnificent and completely eye catching!

First I must start with the storyline, which absolutely made the book. It combined a historical element, albeit it was fictional, that made the setting really interesting and magic, but not in an over-the-top manner. While many of the objects, houses, etc. were enchanted in the city; none of the characters had powers, which made the fantasy angle of the book just mesh with almost a normalcy. Anyways I also loved how Risa had to take a journey to find herself and not just follow the same path that everyone else in her family had to follow in order to find their gift.

Now, onto the characters. While most of the time I really enjoyed Risa’s personality and drive to fulfill her mission, I sometimes found her to be rather whiny and unsatisfied with what she got. As the story progressed though she became more comfortable with herself and started to stand up for herself and her decisions and became a much stronger character. By the end of the book she had a keen sense of adventure which radiated through the pages of the book.

Overall this was an excellent novel that all readers will enjoy, regardless of their taste in genre. As I mentioned before the fantasy aspect isn’t all encompassing and there is plenty of action to satisfy even the most rambunctious of readers. The author is definitely full of talent and I hope for more novels from him with just as exciting a storyline. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Win Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Are you all ready for summer? I know I sure am! What better way to celebrate than with an awesome book, namely Sarah Ockelr's debut novel TWENTY BOY SUMMER.

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago. Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

- I have five (5) copies to give away, so what are you waiting for...leave a comment for a chance to win

- U.S. Residents only

- Also if you link to my contest I'll give you an extra 2 entries.

- For some added fun, the 75th commenter is an instant winner!

- Contest runs until June 30

For more information visit Sarah's website or Little Brown Teens

Friday, May 29, 2009

Traveling To Teens: Sarah Cross

Traveling to TeensThis is my first Traveling to Teens tour and I couldn't be more excited to participate as well as share this opportunity with all you readers! I get to share this special day with an amazing author, Ms. Sarah Cross with her new debut novel DULL BOY which hit shelves May 14, 2009.

Sarah Cross grew up in Ohio. She started writing at the age of 12 has written tales of suburban girl-gang warfare, overly ambitious high fantasy, campy romps through time, pop-culture parody, 'zines, plays, literary fiction, and ultra-derivative comics. Sarah went to college in New York and Japan and she now resides in New York. Dull Boy is her debut novel.

Avery is desperate to just be dull and normal. Unfortunately though, that will never be the case as he as superpowers. Yes that’s right – superpowers - as in he can lift a car like one lifts a can of pop and of course he can fly! The thing is though Avery has lost all of his friends as he tries to fade into the background, hoping no one will figure our his secret. As he goes through his day-to-day life he always seeks a new way to help people, but then one day he goes too far. In an attempt to stop a robbery he creates a lot of damage and ends up meeting a mysterious lady named Cherchette who can cause a room to be chilling cold and creates ice. When his parents find out about the damage he caused in his attempt for a good deed they opt to send him to reform school, hoping to get him back on the right track.

Avery actually finds his new school to be somewhat cool. Yes, there are a ton more bullies and guys that can’t stand him, but he meets Darla, the girl genius. The two quickly become friends and Darla soon introduces him to Sophie, Catherine and Nick, three other super children. Together the four children embark on adventure after adventure anywhere from saving lost campers to just having fun together.

Of course, as with any great superhero (or in this case superheroes) there comes an evil mastermind. This group of heroes must go on their toughest adventure yet to hopefully destroy this mastermind once and for all.

*Please excuse the brief fangirl moment*

This book was AMAZING. By far the best debut novel I’ve read so far this year. It had all the elements needed to make a book amazing.

Now onto the real review (although the few sentences above completely describe my feelings!). Sarah Cross told a story about a super guy wanting to be dull and turned it into a supercharged adventure, making the reader wish they were not just normal, but super, just like Avery. This book literally has everything - smarts, hilarity, a little bit of romance, tons of action, and of course, phenomenal characters.

The story itself was fun, down to earth, and anything but dull. The author really developed the plot, making sure the main plot was showcased, but also creating a few little side plots that were just as good. There were lots of twists and turns that I never saw coming always urging me to keep on reading. What would have been really cool is if we had gotten to see the story from a couple different perspectives, but hey I’m not complaining, Avery’s voice was great. That’s another thing that was really impressive, the fact that Sarah Cross was able to create a male protagonist and make him sound and feel authentic without overdoing it and making him perverted.

This leads me into the characters, which I believe absolutely made the book. Each and everyone was well developed and had their own quirks. Avery and Catherine were by far my favorite characters. Their personalities jumped off of the page and they were extremely realistic. I instantly felt a connection with both these characters, sympathizing with them at their low points and cheering them on for their high points. I thought it was splendid how well the author was really able to make the characters stand up from the pages and make the story come to life right in front of your eyes.  Oh, and then there is the evil mastermind (you must read the book in order to identify this mysterious character) who was just sooo evil that all I wanted to do was strangle them…ahh the reality of it all!

Overall this was such a great book. There was some great dialogue between the characters that made me giggle and I loved how each character came to accept themselves over time. Adventure, superpowers, and even a little bit of romance combine to make a super strength novel by debut novelist Sarah Cross. I absolutely cannot wait for more from Ms. Cross and very much hope that the DULL BOY adventures continue.
Now on to the interview!

With a name like Sarah Cross you must be some form of secret agent/spy/superhero. So please spill…which are you?

I'm a perfectly normal civilian!! Please ignore those pictures you've seen of me wearing a pink ninja costume. And that subterranean lair I sometimes disappear into? That is just ... um ... I am performing routine maintenance work on a, uh, drain pipe. Yes ...

In DULL BOY Avery has a hard time finding the right “group of friends.” Was this an event you pulled out of your own life, or do you think it is something that all teens struggle with?

Wow, yes, nice job spotting that, LOL. I definitely had a friend-shift in high school. My BFFs went in all different directions, and I went in another--although I do think a lot of teens struggle with that. You're often a different person in 9th grade than you were in middle school, and a lot of those friendships don't carry over. It's natural to drift apart from people; the sucky part is that, yeah, it's pretty obvious you don't belong with your old friends--but who DO you belong with? It's a huge relief when you realize that the things that make you a freak to some people, make you awesome to others.

What started your love for comics and superheroes?

The old 1990s X-Men cartoon (now on DVD!) was what really set me on a superhero-loving path. Was there anything surlier than cartoon Wolverine, who, in a fit of rage, used his claws to slice off the top of Cyclop's car, inadvertently giving him a convertible? Anyone more quotable than cartoon Beast, who ensured I'd be saying "Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry" for years to come? And who didn't love Gambit & Rogue's over the top accents--which went perfectly with their over the top romance?
Once I saw that cartoon, I was hooked. I found my local comic shop and waved goodbye to all my money.

As a debut novelist I’m sure you’ve been surprised by some things in the literary world (maybe not, as I am convinced you have superpowers). What shocked you the most?

I was shocked that hazing exists in the YA literary world. Like, in order to be admitted into the community, you have to endure horrible things, like having a vampire crawl through your window to watch you sleep at night. I was lucky that my assigned vampire was friendly, and knitted me a hat, scarf, and matching poncho to pass the time while I was unconscious. But not every author is so fortunate.

As I am your latest fangirl, I am eager to know what you have in the works? Will Avery and the gang return again?

I hope they will!! I definitely have plans for them. It all depends on reader demand, though, so if you want my publisher to know you want more Dull Boy, tell your friends about it, ask your library to order it, etc. It's totally your reader/blogger superpower. ;)

Who’s your favorite superhero? Why?

My favorite superhero is Batman (surprise, surprise, right?), but let me tell you about my favorite lesser-known superhero: Wildcat.

Wildcat is a boxer turned crimefighter. He doesn't have any special powers, and honestly, I have no idea why he dresses in a cat costume. BUT: He dresses in a shoddily constructed cat costume! It has whiskers! And he once fought a kangaroo. No, really, look:

He's also trained heroes like Batman and Black Canary to fight. Pretty badass for an old dude wearing a whiskered cat mask.

Last, but not least, is there anything else you wish to share/ask/comment about? 

No, I think that about covers it! Unless you want to tell me who your favorite superhero is. ;) 

Well my favorite superhero would have to be Wonder Woman...don't really know why, but she is!

Thanks so much Sarah for answering my questions and I hope all of you readers enjoyed the interview and review. 


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