Book reviews of YA lit and more

As a middle school librarian and hopeful reader of Missouri's high school award books (Gateway nominees), I am reading and reviewing as many young adult and middle grade novels as I can while working on my own writing for this age group.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

King of the Screwups by K.L. Going

How can the son of a super model and business genius grow up to become a screw-up?  Liam is Mr. Popular and a chick magnet.  But to Liam's dad it seems like everything Liam tries to do gets screwed up.  When his dad finds him in a compromised situation with a girl in his home office, he finally decides Liam must move out.  Liam's mom comes to the rescue and sends him to his drag queen uncle's trailer to live instead of his strict grandparents in Utah.  He decides to make a fresh start at his new high school by becoming a completely unpopular nerd; however, he can't even get that right.  Everyone loves him anyway.  With the help of his drag queen, glam rocker "Aunt Pete" and pals, Liam finally learns that he is much more than a screw-up no matter what his father may think.

Shiver- Maggie Stiefvater

For as long as Grace can remember the wolves have been there.  Their presence can be counted on every winter in the woods that border her backyard.  Even after being attacked as a child, Grace is not afraid of the wolves, but rather draw to them unexplanably.  But it is the golden-eyed wolf that she is most obsessed with.
Sam, a werewolf from age 7, can't help but watch Grace from his wolf form every winter.  It seems safer than during the summer when he's human.  Grace is his forever summer girl he has never spoken to until the night he is shot and everything changes.
This book is a fresh take on werewolves and it is a wonderful romance.  The sexual overtones makes it high school appropriate (not middle school).  It is also the first book in a trilogy.  It leaves you wondering how Grace and Sam's love will survive.

P.S. There are an amazing book trailers on YouTube that Maggie Stiefvater did for this series.They are beautiful!  There are also playlists that go with every book.  I know it sounds like Twilight, but they are beautifully written!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hate List

Hate List by Jennifer Brown is a debut novel that looks at a high school in the after math of a tragic school shooting.  Valerie and her boyfriend, Nick, have felt like outsiders in their high school since their freshman year.  They both dream of being the winners for once instead of the losers they always feel like.  In order to make herself feel better about the trouble at school and home, Valerie starts the “hate list”, a simple notebook that lists al the people and situations she hates.  Valerie has no idea how serious the “hate list” is to Nick and just how he envisions becoming a winner for once.  This book is definitely for high school students, but it takes a hard look at the consequences for how we treat others and the situations that lead up to violence in youth.  This book is highly recommended, and the author has a second book coming out about a high school girl in an abusive situation.  Definitely an author to look for!