July 25, 2011

The Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 4:28 pm by suebe2

The Demon’s Surrender
by Sarah Rees Brennan
Margaret K. McElderry

Sin, short for Cynthia,  is the best dancer in the Market, second only to her mother. But in the Market, rhythm and grace aren’t nearly as important as luck because when a dancer’s luck runs out, there is always a demon to contend with and no one can fight off a demon.

Fortunately, Sin has a demon fighting by her side.  She isn’t sure juts how far she trusts Nick Reyves but she’s known him her whole life and, until they discovered that the boy next door was actually a demon, he was her favorite dance partner.

Yet Sin and Nick find themselves at odds when he supports her friend and arch rival in the contest over who will next rule the Market.  Sin just doesn’t understand how Mae, an outsider, can truly understand what is best for a world she didn’t even know about two years earlier.

Although you can understand this book well enough without reading the two that proceed it (The Demon’s Lexicon and The Demon’s Covenant), you’ll be missing out if you don’t go back and read them as well.  Dark humor and spot on characterization combine in a compelling creative urban fantasy that is dark and gritty and real in spite of the demons and necromancers that roam modern London.

Character relationships play enough of a role to satisfy female readers while boys will be pulled in by the sword play, strategy and action.  The humor is smart and sassy and the books are true YA — adults will love them even if they don’t love all the mischief the teen characters manage to get into.

A must read for urban fantasy fans.  And I certainly hope that with this trilogy tied up, Brennan has another project already in the works.

–SueBE

July 21, 2011

The Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 7:16 pm by suebe2

The Hourglass
by Myra McEntire
Egmont

Emerson is sick and tired of moving through the world in a daze.  Sure, it beats mind-numbing depression, but  she’s like to be able to think and function, especially the summer before returning to her old school.  So, without telling anyone, she goes off her medications.

That’s when they return.  She isn’t sure who or what they are, but she’s the only one who can see them.  Letting others in on her little secret is one of the things that got her institutionalized in the first place.  So Emerson simply side steps the figures in historical dress when she can and reaches out a hand to pop them when she can’t.

Then she meets model-beautiful Michael.  He tells her that he can see them too and that her brother has hired him to help her learn about her abilities.  Emerson has to decide quickly if she can trust him with her darkest secrets or if it will simply be a one way trip back to electro-shock therapy.  Can Emerson figure out who to trust before time runs out?

Part adventure, part science fiction and part romance, McEntire has pulled together a quick read full of likable, compelling characters.  Though she deals with mature themes, including sex and torture, it is never so intense that this book wouldn’t be suitable for younger readers.

Girls will love Emerson, long for Michael and keep turning pages until they reach the end, eager for another story set in this reality.

–SueBE

 

July 13, 2011

Nerd Camp by Elissa Brent Weissman

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 9:19 pm by suebe2

Nerd Camp

by Elissa Brent Weissman

Atheneum

 

Gabe and his friends are proud of their status as nerds.  They love to read, solve logic problems and learn all kinds of new things.  Gabe is even scheduled to go to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment where he’ll get to hike and kayak but also take classes on chemistry or poetry or even foreign languages.  What could be better than that?

Then he gets a phone call from his father.  Dad is remarrying and wants Gabe to meet Zach, his brother-to-be.  Gabe had long given up hope off getting a brother or sister and getting one his own age is sure to be the greatest.  But then he meets cell phoning, skate-board toting Zack.  Zack, who practically oozes cool, is a young man of firm opinions many of which revolve around what is cool and what is not.  The good news is that he’s super envious of Gabe who is getting to go to summer camp.

How can Gabe write to Zack all summer long without letting on to the fact that he is a total nerd and losing his brand new brother?

Weissman has created a book worthy of the title Nerd.  Her nerd characters are fun and funny and believably nerd-like.  In fact, some of them are so nerdy that the don’t understand Gabe’s fears and, in trying to help, just make themselves look nerdier than ever.

Give this book to the brain in your life.  He or she is sure to find a character to celebrate whether its the super cool C2 or Gabe’s  uber geeky bunk mates. A quick fun read to celebrate books, brains and summer.

–SueBE

 

 

July 5, 2011

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 8:00 pm by suebe2

A Blue So Dark
by Holly Schindler
Flux, 2010
(AR 5.7)

Tell a teen they are just like their mother (or father) and watch them cringe.  But for Aura, this comment is truly cringe-worthy.  Her mother may be a gifted artist and teacher, but she is also mentally ill and her schizophrenia is dominating every aspect of their lives.

Aura thought she was doing her mother a favor when she flushed the pills and promised not to tell her father.  After all, Dad had walked out of their lives and had a new family with a perfect wife and a gorgeous little daughter.  No longer the supportive, loving man Auru remembered, he was now driven by the need to fit in and make something of himself. Something that apparently did not include his oldest daughter.

But Aura doesn’t know what to do.  Mom’s episodes are getting worse — dominating larger portions of the day and pulling her mother into destructive behavior as she tears things up, sets fires and deteriorates before Aura’s eyes.

Still, Aura questions whether or not she’s seeing what is actually there.  How can she be sure?  What if her grasp of reality is as loose as her mother’s?  After all, she is both an artist and a writer.  Given the links between creativity and insanity, can her own breakdown be far behind?

Whether or not they have ever had to cope with a parent’s mental illness, readers will identify with Aura.  All teens, after all, know what it is to be humiliated by their parents on a daily basis and to be surrounded by clueless adults.

Before you raise any objections, not all of the adults in this book are clueless.  Not by a long shot.  It just so happens that the adults who should form Aura’s safety net are among the worst.

I know, I know.  As a caring, level-headed adult, you don’t want to believe that her father could just up and leave his teen daughter with her mentally ill mother.  It happens.

And don’t think that this book is all dark moodiness.  Aura’s best friend Janny is smart, sassy and funny as is her grandmother, once she gets to know her.

Special thanks to Schindler for a book that takes a realistic look at mental illness, responsibility and creativity with just a hint of romance thrown in. This book is a great way to amuse yourself on a hot summer afternoon.

–SueBE

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