Posts Categorized: YA fiction

Book Review- Far From You

01 Feb, 2010 by in book review, Simon Pulse, YA fiction 1 comment

December 23rd 2008 by Simon Pulse

details Hardcover, 368 pages

literary awards TAYSHAS High School Reading List (2010)

isbn1416975063

5 stars

Summary from Goodreads

Lost and alone…down the rabbit hole

Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn’t quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can, by writing her music, losing herself in the love of her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife.

But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother and newborn half-sister, she’ll face issues she’s been avoiding for too long. As Alice looks to the heavens for guidance, she discovers something wonderful.

Perhaps she’s not so alone after all

WOW. Is all I can say…
I picked up this book at my local library and started it earlier today. The entire book is written in prose. Each chapter a new poem. For me, it was a nice break from the every day writing style we are used to. I finished it in a couple of hours because I couln’t put it down.
Alice deals with the grief over losing her mother to cancer, adjustment to a new family dynamic, doubts of faith, and near tragedy. It is a beautifully rich yet down to earth and raw look at what it feels like to lose someone and have them replaced by new and strange people. I think it is a great read for any teen who has gone through trying to adjust to a new step-parent, or the loss of a parent. Alice also struggles with the question of abstinence and it is handled by her boyfriend Blaze in a mature and loving manner. I love that she held on to that belief and was supported in her decision.
The story touched at heart strings as Alice feels enveloped in a comfort and peace that is not of this world. She feels her life has been touched by an angel in the moments she struggles to save the life of her newborn half-sister. I was brought to tears by the encompassing process of healing and hope.
An absolute Gem. Five out of five stars!

Freebie Friday- Handmade Journals

22 Jan, 2010 by in etsy, free stuff, giveaway, scrapbooking, YA fiction 26 comments

YAY it is Friday…could NOT be happier! For our freebie we are giving away one handmade journal of your choice. To enter simply leave your emial address in the comments below. And watch for more new designs being added later today. Contest is open to International participants and will end February 5, 2010.

Additional entries:
+5 for adding this contest to your blog
+3 for following us on Facebook or Twitter
+5 for adding our button to your site
+2 for adding us as a friend on Goodreads
+2 for a retweet

Bright Blue Miracle

08 Jan, 2010 by in Shadow Mountain, YA fiction Leave a comment

“Seventeen-year-old Leigh Mason is not sure she’s ready to share her mom, her bedroom, and her little sisters with her new stepsister, Betsy. And she’s definitely not ready to share her best friend, who happens to be a boy!

Coping with a blended family is not easy for either Leigh or Betsy, especially during their senior year in high school. Each step brings them nearer to a crisis that will either send them running in different directions or bind them firmly together (which, let’s face it, would take a miracle).

Bright Blue Miracle is a new young adult novel that has everything a girl wants: a hero (more specifically, a really cute boy), a villain (who happens to be a stepsister), comedy, despair, pedicures, ice cream, love, hate, tennis, revenge, and, of course, a couple of surprises that might send you for some tissues.”

This was a fun-loving realistic look at how it would feel to combine families and share a room with what seems to be a “perfect” step-sister. Blending two households with teenagers is never an easy task! But Gamma makes it easier with her pedicures and hook ups. It’s a great book for teens with lessons of sharing your guy friends with their girlfriends. Jeremy handles things as every girl wishes he would and you’ll find your heart strings tugged. I give it a three out of five stars.

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

03 Jan, 2010 by in once was lost, sara zarr, story of a girl, utah authors, YA fiction Leave a comment


Pub. Date: February 2008
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, 224pp
Age Range: Young Adult
ISBN: 0316014559

Synopsis
As children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts. They were also each other’s only friend. So when Cameron disappeared without warning, Jennifer thought she’d lost the one person who would ever understand her. Now in high school, Jennifer has been transformed. Known as Jenna, she is popular, happy, and dating—everything “Jennifer” couldn’t be. But she still can’t shake the memory of her long-lost friend.

When Cameron suddenly reappears, they both are confronted with memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have taken.

Sweethearts is a story about the power of memory, the bond of friendship, and the quiet resilience of our childhood hearts.

From Sara Zarr’s website :

Honors

•2008 Cybil Awards Finalist
•Oprah Book Club Kids Reading List
•American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults
•New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
•Utah Book Award Finalist
•TX Tayshas Pick

Reviews

•“…dark and engrossing, thanks to Zarr’s full-bodied characters and creative storytelling.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
•“Zarr’s writing is remarkable.” – Booklist, starred review
•“…subtle, beautifully written…” – VOYA, starred review
•“…an engrossing novel.” – The New York Times
•“…wistful prose and skillfully layered characters.” – The Horn Book

About the book:

The story of Jenna/Jennifer and Cameron was inspired by a friendship I had as a child with a boy, Mark, who came back into my life when we were both adults. When Mark and I got back in touch, I was surprised at what a strong bond we had despite having not seen nor heard from one another since third grade. I started asking myself—what if Mark and I had been reunited in high school? What if our lives had taken divergent paths? Would we still be loyal to each other, based on that childhood friendship, even if we wound up in different social circles and with different destinies? If so, why? What kinds of emotional and practical challenges would that bring? Though the details of what happened to Jennifer and Cameron were all made up, I did my best to be as emotionally truthful as I could with their story. I continue to be been blown away by reader response to this book, and how many people out there have Jennas and Camerons of their or their own.

I met Sara Zarr soon last month after completing her book “Once Was Lost” at the “Beautiful Creatures” release party. She was sitting on the couch and I knew no one else around, as our friend Brodi had not yet arrived. I went up and introduced myself in a Jennifer Harris moment of my own. I tried to spark up conversation about my opinions of her book and in the process made a complete fool of myself. Sara was down to earth and genuine. Meeting her made me want to read more of her work.

Sweethearts was so realistic and heart warming for me personally. Cameron Quick is the kind of friend you want for all of your life, despite his understandable walls and ability to disappear. I could relate to much of their life story which is I think why I was pulled completely into the pages. I finished it in 24 hours and it left an impression I am sure I won’t forget. Having worked for several years as a child protective service and foster care worker for the State, I see so many of Sara’s descriptions as real-life struggles for teens seeking independent living and seeking to break the cycles of their childhood.

Sara tackles every day issues in today’s world like abuse, single parent homes, popularity, school bullies, religion, compulsive eating, and teenage relationships. She leaves you hopeful that there are every day heroes and loves that endure the bounds of time and space. Five out of five stars for “Sweethearts.” I think it would be an excellent book to explore in the classroom.

Watch a fan made trailer on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CM8gfCJUTMs

Forest of Hands and Teeth

29 Dec, 2009 by in YA fiction Leave a comment


Publish Date: March 2009
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Format: Hardcover, 320pp
Age Young adult
ISBN: 0385736819

In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Carrie Ryan lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can visit Carrie at http://www.carrieryan.com/.

I picked this book up at the library because of the cover (the title threw me off I must say.) Typically I avoid books with a lot of graphic imagery and violence, but got sucked in by all of the intrigue and secrets the Sisterhood were holding. For me, Mary’s world of zombies and isolation seemed doomed and ruled by other’s choices. The romance between her and Travis was beautiful at first and disappointing in the end.

I understand Mary’s need for independence and freedom, but her choices seemed selfish and put the ones she loves in danger. The ending left me sad, but I will read the sequel hoping it answers all of the questions left in my head. Overall, I would give it 3 and a half stars out of five. Very interesting and haunting, yet I found myself wanting Mary to make different choices, taking into consideration all that she lost.

Best Reads of 2009

28 Dec, 2009 by in maggie stiefvater, shiver, YA fiction 5 comments


I had challenged myself to read 100 books this year. I don’t think I will quite make it but I am close! It has been an adventure which our whole family has enjoyed. Hubby just finished an 800 page book called “The Undaunted” a couple of days ago. The kids are wracking up a wish list on Amazon. We have learned to love the library and Barnes and Noble now knows me by name.

Here are my top ten (okay… more) reads of this year.

•Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception (Books of Faerie, #1) Stiefvater, Maggie
•Ballad: The Gathering of Faerie (Books of Faerie, #2) Stiefvater, Maggie
•Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1) Stiefvater, Maggie…I can not wait for the release of the sequel, Linger
•Princess Academy Hale, Shannon
•Hush, Hush Fitzpatrick, Becca
•Fire Cashore, Kristin
•Austenland Hale, Shannon
•The Smile Napoli, Donna Jo
•The Hourglass Door Mangum, Lisa
•City of Glass (Mortal Instruments, #3) Clare, Cassandra
City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments, #2)
City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, #1)
•Uglies (Uglies, #1) Westerfeld, Scott
•A Child’s Journey out of Autism: One Family’s Story of Living in Hope and Finding a Cure Whiffen, Leeann
.The Dark Divine Despain, Bree

I asked all of my friends on Facebook what their favorite read of the year was and here is the list they came up with…

Kate-Barefoot…sad but good!
Kirsten- Catching Fire
Erin-Deadeye Dick
Amy-Ballad
Paula-The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Jennifer-Shiver!!
Michele-I had to look at my good reads – My Favorite non Fiction book was Boundaries. My Favorite Fiction – Pompeii by Robert Harris (a really easy read but I have been there so it was fun to really be able to visualize things)
Georgia-Shiver, Wintergirls, North of Beautiful, Poison Study… the list goes on 😉
Jeff-The Sword Of Shannara by Terry Brooks… ( read the trilogy)
Jasmine-Poison Study was AWESOME:)
Heidi-The Hunger games series!

If you are on Goodreads, let’s hook up and if you are a publisher, blog owner or author…please send me some ARCS so I don’t go broke! As my dad always says : “He who dies with the most books wins.”