Tuesday, October 12, 2004

still reading

Once again I spent part of my weekend reading ... this weekend I finished two books that I'm reading as part of the RI Teen Book Award Committee. The one I really enjoyed was Faerie Wars (2003) by Herbie Brennan. This book caught my attention from the beginning because the main character is a boy in present day England who deals with his parents' separation and his lack of friends. Then we meet a boy in another realm who cares about animals and nearly gets killed in the first scene. Later we find out that he is the son of the emperor who ends up accidentally sent to present day England meeting the boy from the beginning of the novel. Good book, really kept me going

The other one I just finished is Breath (2003) by Donna Jo Napoli. I had high hopes for this book because the other book I read by the same author Beast (2000) was really good. This book was interesting but confusing. Napoli seems to always take a story we're all familiar with like Beauty and the Beast or, in this case, the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Do you know this story? The town is plagued by rats and the piper offers to get rid of the rat for a price. When he isn't paid he spirits all of the children out of the town, into the hils outside the town and they are never seen again.

This sequence doesn't occur until nearly the end of Breath but in the meantime we meet a boy named Salz who suffers from a weird breathing disorder (in the afterword we learn it was cystic fibrosis) who remains healthier than his family and neighbors when a bizarre illness overtakes one and all. The whole story is a bit hard to follow but you may like it more than I did!

Monday, October 04, 2004

New teen fiction

Now that I'm reading for the Rhode Island Teen Book Award committee again, I am immersed in teen fiction once again. At the same time I am on the lookout for good books to add to our list. Last week I went to Manchester, New Hampshire for the New England Library Association's annual conference.

One of the best talks I went to was called "Quick Picks for Young Adults." In this session we were givnen a list of recently published books that have teen appeal. Some of them I had read and have in the library but one book she raved about I hadn't picked up yet. The book is called Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn. (She told us another book by the same author and with the same characters called Shrimp comes out this spring.)

Basically she told the crowd that we should all read this book. Her enthusiasm got the better of me and I went back to my library and found it on the shelf. Truth be told this book caught my eye when I first started as the teen librarian because it has a great black and pink striped cover . The young girl who is the main character in the book is named Cyd Charisse and her doll is Gingerbread. Cyd has never really met her biological father having been raised by her mother and stepfather. But, after a series of missteps, Cyd is sent to New York to visit the father she never knew.

This description isn't doing the story justice but the book has great characters and situations. I'm really glad I read this one. Cyd is a very unique girl and doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the world. She is sure of herself and her feelings in many ways but she also needs Gingerbread to help her out sometimes. Let me know if you've read this one because it was a lot of fun.