Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

I'm sure everyone has at least heard about Hopkins new book. If not, then they are in for another tour de force about teens in serious trouble...all in verse. Readers will find themselves at the beginning of the throes of first love - and the pain that sometimes, and for these characters, inevitably happens. But it's more how each teen deals with the absence of love that begins their personal descent into hell...

Eden and her love for Andrew without parental consent

Whitney experiences first love, which is more than her dyfunctional family ever gave her

Seth, who accepts himself , but doesn't know if his father can

Ginger has only known "tough love" but follows the tenderness of her first real love

Cody has love in his life, but death and his own traps lead him down the dark path

Only one is a resident of Las Vegas, but the others -from all over the country - make it their final destination....
This is a gut-wrenching book, and honestly, one I had to put down a couple of times just to shake my head and say NO out loud. I was lost in the prose, and only hoped for redemption at the end. The only other book that made me feel this way was Scott's Living Dead Girl.
Some may see this as graphic, others will again enjoy Hopkins' way of dealing with the starkness of some teens' lives...it is haunting....

Friday, September 18, 2009

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica Packwood is starting her senior year in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. She has some hopes and wishes, which includes dating hunky blonde and handsome Jake, staying away from the catty Faith Crosse and the vile Frank Dormand, and making it to state with her mathematics team. Jessica knows her parents are a little different - her mom is a cultural anthropologist professor and her father believes in yoga and tofu. But her life is grounded in reality, facts and figures. But that all changes the first day of school when she meets....

Lucius Vladescu, the new exchange student. Dark, tall, charismatic, Lucius represents all that Jessica finds fascinating but dangerous. She shuns him from the first, but quickly realizes he's stalking her and has a purpose. And that purpose is revealed when her parents confirm the new Romanian exchange student isn't just a teen from the Carpathians, but the prince of the Vladescu family - one of the strongest vampire families in the world. And guess who's the Dragomir princess?

Jessica can't believe what she's hearing, much less that believe in vampires, but slowly things begin to tell. With the help of a book, Growing Up Dead: A Teen Vampire's Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica's scepticism grows to certainty, but is it too little to late?

Fantaskey's book is the perfect blend of dark, sinister goth and the halls of a typical high school - full of crushes, backstabbing, he said she said, sports, dances and more. And the setting backs up the plot - Romania meets rural Pennsylvania. Nothing like other vampire books I've read, Fantaskey brings her characters to true form, infusing them with typical teenage behavior throughout all cliques. Although it may have the formulaic appeal of a romance novel, this one begs to be read all the way through....and I loved every single page! Buy multiple copies of this one - you'll need them all!! Booktrailer to follow -I feel the pull...

Truce by Jim Murphy

Imagine the trench warfare, 1917, Europe....it's cold, dark and bloody. Men are being exposed to cold, open sewage, dead bodies, and shell shock. The Allies have been in a stalemate with the Germans for months. Both sides have become acutely aware of snipers, sharpshooters, overhead barrages by zeppelins, and bombs.

What they thought was a honorable war fought with honorable intentions has turned into a nightmare with 20th century machinery. The old rules don't apply....gentlemen's codes are tossed aside. What has replaced it are guns, shells, mortars, barbed wire, and filthy dirt trenches - No Man's Land.

But one day, against all odds, the enemies meet face to face and rather than kill each other, they shake hands and celebrate. Could this be real??

Jim Murphy has done it again. He takes a holistic look at World War I, from its pre-infancy beginnings to the turmoil of the trench warfare and finds a bit of humanity that played itself out, against rulers rules, against commanders' orders, against the realism of a hideous war. Scattered among the pages are images and pictures from World War I that show the devastation and loss as well as the optimism and miracle during the Great Trench War. Murphy shows cause and effect and essentially answers the question, "What if...." to all that could have prevented the war or changed it. An amazing non-fiction book rife with images, letters, and facts, this is perfect for junior high through high school. Highly recommended.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I knew it wasn't a fad....

Book trailers have come a long way....just look at what's out there created not only by fans of YA fiction (and other genres!) but by authors as well. But it does my heart good to see it being used in classrooms. One teacher, Mrs. Collins, has given her Pre-AP eighth grade English class different projects to create over their summer reading, which includes creating booktrailers using moviemaker or photostory. But my heart bursts with pride and joy to see my daughter creating her first booktrailer - and all by herself!! I've just given her a few pointers and she's well on her way to a phenomenal job on Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. And the best part? She's learning to do this on her own with extreme minimal help. It's taking all I have to keep away from her project!!! How she does it with her ipod blasting is beyond me though...

I'll post it when it's done : )

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Crash Into Me by Albert Borris - booktrailer

I think I've been working on this since summer!! Rule #1: Save OFTEN when using Moviemaker in XP!!!! Rule#2: Make SURE that MM is compatible between XP and Vista!! Rule #3: Enjoy!!!
Unveiling this one full-screen at Region XI Service Center for Library Harvest!!