A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

Monday, January 21, 2013

Wonkenstein: The Creature from My Closet by Obert Skye

Title: Wonkenstein: The Creature from My Closet
Author: Obert Skye
Pages: 240
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
ISBN: 9780805092684
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
AR Levels: Interest Level: 4th-6th grades; Book Level: 5.3; Points: 3.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10351610-the-creature-from-my-closet

In a nutshell: Rob has never been much of a reader, so when his mom continues to try to give him books to read, he just throws them in his closet and doesn't think about them twice. That is until one day a strange creature emerges from his closet that's part Willy Wonka and part Frankenstein's monster, and Rob's life will never be the same.

I'd recommend it for grades: 3rd to 6th

I'd recommend it to: fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (There are funny comics interspersed throughout the book.) and boys who may possibly have things living in their closets too

What I liked most about this book: This book is perfect for reluctant readers...particularly boys. In fact, the narrator himself is a reluctant reader who, through the course of the book and because of all the craziness, begins to take up reading...and likes it!

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): There are so many funny moments in this one that it's hard to pick one, but I love when Rob is having trouble falling asleep, so he remembers his dad's old adage to count fried chickens (not sheep) so that you'll be hungry when you wake up and therefore be prepared to tackle a new day. *Insert drawing of leaping, numbered fried chickens* Hilarious!

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 4 stars

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Pages: 592
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780316126113
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
AR Levels: Interest Level: 9th-12th grades; Book Level: 4.8; Points: 23.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7728889-the-diviners

In a nutshell: When her parents insist she leave her dull hometown and live with her Uncle Will in New York City until the drama dies down from her latest embarrassing act, flapper Evie O'Neill is beyond thrilled. Nevermind the fact that her uncle is the curator for a creepy museum of all things occult and paranormal; she's living the high life - befriending a Ziegfield girl, getting caught in speakeasies, and showing off her unique gift for divination. But something evil is brewing in Manhattan, and it goes by the name of Naughty John. Before she knows it, Evie is swept up in a string of occult murder investigations, and she might be the only one who can stop them.

I'd recommend it for grades: 10 and up (The murders are grisly, and there's some strong language too.) *Adults will love this book too!

I'd recommend it to: anyone who likes books set in the 20s or enjoys a dose of the paranormal with their murder mysteries

What I liked most about this book: The characters in this book are incredible. Evie is clever and hilarious and yet definitely flawed too. Plus, she wears AMAZING clothes. Some of my favorite parts in the book are the descriptions of the clothes. ;) Don't let that fool you though! This is not a girly book! The guys in the book are wonderful too. There's a handsome and flirty pickpocket, a brooding and intelligent museum assistant, and a jazz-loving, older-brother-type bookie. Their various stories weave in and out seamlessly, and by the end you just love them all! Even the minor characters make a huge impact whether they're spread throughout the book or only in one chapter. You connect with each character right away.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): The scene where Evie and her friends visit a speakeasy that gets raided has such a chaotic Keystone Cops feel. The language and description are so vivid that you feel you should be running for cover too! I was so transported that I could see that bar in my head. Fabulous writing!

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 5 stars!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chris's Best of 2012

Like Stefanie, I really found some great books in 2012.  Several of these were written before 2012, but I was late to the game in finding them and reading them.  It's going to be hard for 2013 to top some of these.  For more info about them, click on the title or the picture to get to the Goodread's profile for each. 

1. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley.  Absolutely loved this one and enjoyed getting to meet and talk with John at the Louisiana Book Festival back in October.

2.  The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healey.  I've since passed this one on to my co-workers, who have admitted to reading this one aloud with gusto to their classes and to each other. 

3.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  This one needs no explanation.

4.  The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.  This one combines some of my favorite things:  London, mystery, and people from Louisiana. 

5.  Deadline by Chris Crutcher.  This book makes anger management look fun.

6.  As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins.  This is a good comedy of errors road trip book.

7.  The Book of Lost Souls by Michelle Muto.  This one reminded me of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

8.  Twelfth Grade Kills (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Book 5) by Heather Brewer.  Another one with some "Buffy" flair; it's also the anti-Twilight.  The other books in this series were also great!

9.  Playground by 50 Cent.  This was originally a guilty pleasure that turned into a good read.

10.  Cracked by K.M. Walton.  This one manages to be gritty and Hallmark-y at the same time.

There you have it...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

She Picks Her 2012 Favorites

Happy New Year, fellow readers! In the spirit of remembrance of another year gone by, I thought I'd share with you my Top 10 favorite teen/tween books of 2012 (that I read this year...not necessarily released this year). Some of these I have reviewed here already, and some I have not. If you want more info on these titles, click on the title or the cover image to go to the Goodreads link. Here's to these excellent books and here's to more great literature in 2013! Happy reading! :)

In no particular order...

1. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

2. Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

4. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

5. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

6. Countdown by Deborah Wiles

7. Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth (taking the liberty to count these as one)


8. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

9. The Watch that Ends the Night by Allan Wolf

10. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein