A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Pages: 345
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
ISBN: 9780399256936
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
AR Levels: TBD
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8475505-rebel-belle

In a nutshell: Harper Price is a hardworking, overachieving junior who's already Student Government President and poised to become Homecoming Queen and possibly valedictorian in a small Alabama town, but on the night of the homecoming dance, a seemingly harmless beauty faux pas will put her on a path toward her true destiny - a destiny she's not completely willing to accept...especially since it involves pain-in-her-side, school newspaper reporter David Stark. Cotillion is the least of her worries now...or is it?

I'd recommend it to grades: 9 and up

I'd recommend it to: fans of Beautiful Creatures and Buffy the Vampire Slayer

What I liked most about this book: This book is like red velvet cake - dramatic, blood-red, sweet, sassy, deliciously Southern, and a complete guilty pleasure. While the supporting characters are a bit flat, the main characters (especially Harper) are completely loveable (I'm probably more like Harper than I care to admit, and I always have a soft spot for the nerd boys/Davids of this world.), and the small Southern town setting is dead-on. There's romance, danger, humor, a healthy but light-handed dose of the paranormal, so there's something everyone is sure to like. Bring on book 2!

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): This book is filled with Southernisms, and the one that made me laugh out loud the longest was how Harper's aunts, affectionately called "The Aunts," use peroxide as a cure-all for every ailment no matter how severe. As a Mississippian, I will tell you that this was ingrained in me from birth, and I still keep a giant bottle under the sink. You never know when you might need it! ;)

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cress
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 550
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
ISBN: 9780312642976
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
AR Levels: Book Level - 6.0, Interest Level - 6th and up, Points: 22.0
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13206828-cress

In a nutshell: Lunar-born hacker Cress has been held captive on a satellite orbiting Earth for many, many years, longing to experience it for herself, but when her opportunity for freedom arrives, it doesn't quite play out the way she always imagined. This Rapunzel re-imagination will leave you breathless and dying for book four.

I'd recommend it to grades: 8 and up

I'd recommend it to: obviously fans of the other Lunar Chronicles books but also sci-fi lovers and fairytale enthusiasts

What I liked most about this book: Oh my stars! Just when I go and think Marissa Meyer couldn't possibly top the awesome that is Scarlet, this comes out and blows my mind! I thought surely I wouldn't love any new character as much as I love all of the ones already present in this series, but I was so wrong. Cress is sweet, kind, hopeful, imaginative, and smart, and she's got some major hacker skills. She might be my new favorite. The other characters we've already met shine here too...especially Captain Carswell Thorne. He undergoes some major character development, and now he's my newest book boyfriend. ;) To say that this one is a page-turner would be a gross understatement; there's heart-pounding adventure on every page, and plenty of humor mixed in too. This series is truly setting itself up to be one of my favorite YA series EVER, and I don't say that lightly. It all hangs on book four, Winter, which is out in Feb. 2015, but I'm confident I will adore it too. Now I wait...

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): Anything I say about the plot here would be way too spoiler-y, so instead allow me too ooh and aah over the cover for a moment. All the covers for this series have been beautiful, but this one is just gorgeous! 

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 5 stars (It's my favorite of the series thus far too.)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Title: Revolution
Author: Deborah Wiles
Pages: 544
Publisher: Scholastic Press
ISBN: 9780545106078
Publication Date: May 27, 2014 (I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley.)
AR Levels: TBD
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18527498-revolution

In a nutshell: It gets quite steamy in Greenwood, Mississippi in the summertime, and in the summer of 1964, three children break into the city pool for a midnight dip, and they have no idea how that one act will end up entwining their lives for the rest of the summer. Told through the eyes of a white girl and an African-American boy, Revolution is a tale of standing up for what's right, realizing that family and friendship come in many forms, and learning to rise above pain and embrace love.

I'd recommend it to grades: 5 and up (for intense racial situations, violence, and use of the "n" word in context)

I'd recommend it to: American history teachers, historical fiction lovers, and Scout Finch fans ;)

What I liked most about this book: I adored Countdown, so I had very high expectations for this one (especially since we had to wait 4 years for it!), and it still managed to exceed them. The dual narration of Sunny and Raymond is genius (as is the book design - Her pages are white and his are darker.), and it truly helps you see what life is like from the perspective of both races. Just as in Countdown, the author mixes in actual photographs and speeches from 1964 and Freedom Summer, which adds a richness to the story. 

As a Mississippi girl, it's painful for me to read books like this sometimes, but it also makes me glad to see how far we've come. It amazes me that all this takes place a mere 20 years before I was born, and it makes me wonder what I would have done if I'd been alive in those dark days. This is turning out to be one fantastic trilogy and maybe even some of the best historical fiction books for kids I've ever read, and I cannot wait for book three. I predict it'll be about Vietnam.

The biggest compliment I can give this book is that it's like To Kill a Mockingbird for kids.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): This gem from Sunny's stepmother Annabelle: "I think love is a mystery," says Annabelle. "We never know where it may come from or how it may surprise us or when it may ask us to do the impossible. But we know one thing about love. It is steady. It is brave."

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

Friday, May 9, 2014

Blackbird by Anna Carey

Title: Blackbird
Author: Anna Carey
Pages: 256
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN: 9780062299734
Publication Date: September 16, 2014 (I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss.)
AR Levels: TBD
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20483089-blackbird

In a nutshell: What would you do if you woke up on a subway track with a train coming? What if you had no clue who you are or how you got there, and what if the only thing you knew was that someone is trying to kill you? Such is the premise for this insanely creative second-person thriller by the author of the Eve trilogy.

I'd recommend it to grades: 10 and up (for language and romantic situations)

I'd recommend it to: adrenaline junkies and mystery fans

What I liked most about this book: I couldn't put this one down, guys. I read it in one sitting. That second-person puts you right in the thick of the action, and it's a twisted race from start to finish. For a girl who has no clue who she is, the nameless protagonist is impressively self sufficient and basically kicks major butt, making the most of a dire situation. Nothing is as it seems in this thriller, and you can't trust anyone! I don't know how I'll wait for book two in this duology.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): It's next to impossible for me to tell you nearly anything about this one without spoiling something, so you're just going to have to take my word that it's awesome and read it. :)

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

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Jackaby by William Ritter

Title: Jackaby
Author: William Ritter
Pages: 304
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
ISBN: 9781616203535
Publication Date: September 16th, 2014 (I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss.)
AR Levels: TBD
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20312462-jackaby

In a nutshell: When adventurer Abigail Rook answers a job posting in the seemingly sleepy town of New Fiddleham in New England, she's introduced to Mr. R.F. Jackaby, a man who uses his special gift and his incredible intellect to solve crimes with a touch of the paranormal. Can Abigail and Jackaby solve a string of vicious murders before their own lives are put in danger?

I'd recommend it to grades: 7 and up (for the gory crime scenes)

I'd recommend it to: fans of Doctor Who and Sherlock and historical fiction and horror readers

What I liked most about this book: The characters in this one are exquisite. The entire time I was reading this, I kept picturing Johnny Depp as Jackaby, and it was cracking me up. He's the perfect blend of quirky and genius. There are times where his smarts blow your mind, and in the next instant, he's making you smirk with his sarcasm or awkwardness. Abigail holds her own as the narrator too. She's whip smart herself, and her personality compliments Jackaby well. There's not really much of a romantic chemistry between them, and I'm okay with that...for now anyway. ;) I hope this will be a series because they have plenty of room to grow their friendship and solve more paranormal cases. 

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): Jackaby makes breakfast in a mad scientist kind of way, confusing gunpowder for paprika and exploding some eggs in the process. Hilarious.

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

Thursday, May 1, 2014

March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and Illustrated by Nate Powell

Title: March: Book One
Authors: John Lewis and Andrew Aydin (Illustrated by Nate Powell*)
Pages: 128
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
ISBN: 9781603093002
Publication Date: August 13, 2013
AR Levels: Book Level - 4.6, Interest Level - 4th-8th grades, Points: 1.0
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17346698-march

In a nutshell: This 2014 Coretta Scott King Honor Book is the first of a trilogy chronicling the life of Congressman John Lewis, the Civil Rights Movement hero, in graphic novel format. Book one highlights his childhood and the beginning of his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement, including his participation in the non-violent movement and the sit-in demonstrations.

I'd recommend it to grades: 8 and up (for intense situations and use of the "n" word in context)

I'd recommend it to: American history teachers, students who love graphic novels and history, and fans of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis

What I liked most about this book: I'll be honest; I'm not a huge fan of non-fiction, which is mostly why we don't review a lot of it here, but I am always up for reading graphic non-fiction, especially biographies, and this one impressed me greatly. There's something about seeing a person's life illustrated on the page that brings it alive, and this one is an excellent example of how artwork can make someone's life story so much more engaging and impactful. By seeing images of these sit-ins and not just reading about them, you can truly feel the tension and the courage it took for Lewis and his fellow protestors to stay true to their non-violent commitment. I was moved in more ways than one, and I even learned a few new things I had never known about the Civil Rights Movement. I can't wait for the other two books.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): Lewis notes that his librarian played a large role in his life and encouraged him to read whatever he could get his hands on. :) Yay, libraries!

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

*It also noted in the back of this book that Nate Powell is currently working on the graphic novel adaptation of Rick Riordan's The Lost Hero! Get excited!