Monday, December 15, 2008

Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi


This book intrigued me when I got it in and I had to put down what I was reading and start this one. I liked it because it's a totally realistic story. This is a fast-paced novel for teens written by a writer who previously had only been published in paperback. Not that there's anything wrong with that but I'm guessing it's more of a thrill to have a hardcover book published. So, the cover and title caught my eye for this book about Maddie, a 16-yr-old high school girl who loves to draw manga and when she's uprooted from the life she was used to in Boston, she finds it hard to fit in at her new school in New Hampshire. One bright spot is the online game, Fields of Fantasy that her dad gives to her as a gift hoping they can play together. In reality he blows her off and she ends up meeting SirLeo and interacts with him virtually. Lots of great realistic elements about teens and life these days (her mom works two jobs to make ends meet when they move in with their grandma)make this book a winner.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Larry and the Meaning of Life


Right now I'm wrestling with the notion of whether or not I should nominate this to the RI Teen Book Award list of titles to be considered for 2010! Since it's a sequel and I don't usually like sequels on the list, I'm torn. But, on the other hand, I feel like the book can be read and appreciated even without having reading the earlier books. Why do I think that? Because it's been years since I've read "Vote for Larry," the second book about this character, and I was easily able to fol...more Right now I'm wrestling with the notion of whether or not I should nominate this to the RI Teen Book Award list of titles to be considered for 2010! Since it's a sequel and I don't usually like sequels on the list, I'm torn. But, on the other hand, I feel like the book can be read and appreciated even without having reading the earlier books. Why do I think that? Because it's been years since I've read "Vote for Larry," the second book about this character, and I was easily able to follow the action. The first book, "The Gospel According to Larry" was the first book that I clearly remember a teen telling me about and urging me to read! I was visiting at one of the high schools here in the city and I had a teen come up to me and started telling me about the book which was so neat! And I really enjoyed the story and feel as if "Larry's" message about not having a lot of stuff is still vitally important

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rules by Cynthia Lord

After hearing the author of this book speak at the New England Library Association conference last month, I really wanted to read this book and I was not disappointed. Cynthia Lord draws on her life experience as the mother of two children, one of whom is autistic, to write a novel written from the point of view of the older sister with an autistic brother. And it could be any sibling with special needs and how that demands more of her parents' attention, makes her feel self-conscious but also protective of her brother. This is a very satisfying story and I look forward to suggesting it to the readers here at the library.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Heaven looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass

This novel in verse is narrated from the after life by a girl who is slammed in the head by a ball while playing dodgeball at school! IT was a fast read for me and I liked the insights that the narrator arrives at although I cringed when I read about how she was treated by her looks-obsessed mother. As a mother of sons maybe I don't know how it is but I cannot relate to a mother who criticizes her daughter's looks and only shows her affection for the girl when she finds a fabulous prom dress, fo...more This novel in verse is narrated from the after life by a girl who is slammed in the head by a ball while playing dodgeball at school! IT was a fast read for me and I liked the insights that the narrator arrives at although I cringed when I read about how she was treated by her looks-obsessed mother. As a mother of sons maybe I don't know how it is but I cannot relate to a mother who criticizes her daughter's looks and only shows her affection for the girl when she finds a fabulous prom dress, for example. This is probably not a book that will end up on the final RITBA list, in my opinion

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fables: The Good Prince by Bill Willingham

These stories are so good and this was no exception. I could not put it down! The illustrations are so lush and full of beautiful images. This is a series that I only suggest to my older readers and adults in the Teen zone but I really look forward to a new trade PB when it comes out each time!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Frannie in Pieces by Delia Ephron


This is a book that I received as an advance review copy a while back. I was interested in reading it because the author, Delia Ephron, also wrote one of my favorite books from my teen years: How to Eat Like a Child. When I was looking up the title of that book, I realized that she also wrote another that I owned at one point Teenage Romance, or How to Die of Embarrassment.

Frannie is recovering from her father's unexpected death. In other words, he wasn't sick, he just died. Her parents had previously divorced and her mom remarried but she misses her dad intensely. While she is cleaning out his belongings from his house, she discovers a hand-carved puzzle in a box that she thinks is her birthday gift so she sets about trying to put it together. That's when some strange things start to happen.

Without revealing the ending, I'll just say that this book is unexpected and funny. Frannie is an interesting young woman who is just trying to make sense of the world without her father in it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life


Fortunately for my reading, I talk to a LOT of people and get reading suggestions from a lot of people. Last summer I talked to a man about my own age who works at RI School of Design. He teaches a course on graphic novels in a summer semester and I made a guest appearance there in June.

Well, anyway, he mentioned Bryan Lee O'Malley to me then and I FINALLY got some of his titles into my library's collection and even got some additional copies from a very nice publicist at Oni Press! So if you're looking to read this and you don't have a library card, I can let you borrow one of those copies.

Well, anyway, Scott Pilgrim is 23 and doesn't do a whole lot. He plays videogames and dates a high school student in the first book but he yearns for something more! They are done in a manga style of artwork and even though I do NOT read a lot of Japanese stuff, I really liked this!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Beck Mongolian Chop Squad

One of the anime DVDs that I've gotten from Funimation and the group really liked is Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad which revolves around 14 yr old Koyuki who meets up with Ryosuke who is a 16 yr old guitar whiz. The two slowly form a friendship and eventually Koyuki is invited to join the band, something he has dreamed of for a long time.

In the meantime there is romance and lots of laughs, many of which come from the swim coach who becomes Koyuki's mentor because he also loves playing guitar and even help Koyuki to repair a guitar that Ryosuke lets him borrow.

After bringing the first volume home last month to watch with my friend Mike, he bought me volume 2 for a birthday gift so now I've seen more of the series than the kids at my library. Also he found a CD of Beat Crusaders, the Japanese band the supplies a lot of the music for the show!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Absolute Brightness by James Lecesne

One of the advance review copies that I've been trying to get through recently is Absolute Brightness by James Lecesne. And it's a long book, at 480 pages but it tells a fascinating story about a really cool kid who gets killed because he's different.

Honestly, Leonard Pelkey could be one of the teens I see weekly at my library. Leonard is outgoing and full of life. He also likes to dress in very stylish clothes that may make him stand out in Neptune, New Jersey. Fortunately he has gone to live with his aunt and her daughters who run a beauty salon which makes Leonard inordinately happy.

But, unfortunately, sometimes people like Leonard aren't accepted for who they are by certain people. And one of them has done the worst thing to snuff out this young, bright life.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Lobsterland by Susan Carlton

This book intrigued me as soon as I got it because of the cover which depicts lobster claws grasping at high heels and the title is shown in Scrabble letters! So, it turns out that this book is set on an island off the coast of Maine and the main character is a senior in high school which she attends in Portland. But she wants out and off the island so she attempts to apply to a handful of boarding schools. Why would she want to do that? She wants out because she is forced to care for her younger "siblets." They are an infant named Eb and a pre-schooler named Fern. She loves them but the pressure is severe because she can't depend on her parents, her dad is constantly connected to Lola the Laptop trying to play Scrabble with people all around the globe. Meanwhile her lawyer mom had some sort of breakdown which she won't talk about. Charlotte has a cute boyfriend whom she is crazy about. But she won't tell him that she plans to leave. Sounds confusing? It is but it's also a sophisticated teen novel filled with misunderstandings and frustration.