Friday, January 27, 2012

Liar, Liar

There are many things to love about Megan Whalen Turner's books. For starters, there's her lovingly built world, which draws heavily on ancient Greece and Rome. There are her twisty-turny plots, which deal with the fates of nations and surprise you at every page turn. There are her grand themes, about love and fate and the terrible choices a king or queen must make. But for me, the thing that keeps bringing me back, and actually drove me to purchase my own copies of all four books, is Eugenides. He's the star of three books, The Thief, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia, and a major character in another, A Conspiracy of Kings.

Eugenides of Eddis is a thief, a liar, and a scoundrel. You really can't trust a word that comes out of his mouth. And yet, you can trust him.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


There’s a picture somewhere of my brother and I both trying to read this comic at the same time while eating oatmeal. It’s Christmas morning and everyone else is running around with new toys and videogames, but we’re totally immersed in Sidescrollers by Matthew Loux. And for one very simple reason: it’s awesome. And I know that sounds like hyperbole, but no, really. Awesome.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Into The Mists of Time and Legend

If you've ever been drawn to the magic and mystery of ancient Britain, pick up a copy of The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan Le Fay by Alex Epstein. Reading this book, it's easy to feel transported back in time and place. Almost tasting the tang of salt in the sea air and feeling the dampness of fog, we get to know Morgan Le Fay in an intimate way. We see her first as a sweet but strong 11 year old who is exiled from her home, forced into slavery and begin to develop her magical powers. As the years go by and she matures, we see her navigating a world of Druids, early Christians, Romans and the call of the earth's powers of enchantment. Oh, and there is a handsome son of a chieftain as well. This is a story of Arthurian times told from a fresh perspective. We get to know Morgan Le Fay not as the usual angry enchantress, but as a strong and complex young woman.

I Call It Courage

The setting is cold and harsh but the story will warm you. Corrag by Susan Fletcher is about a girl in prison, accused of being a witch and sentenced to die! While she is waiting for her fate in a cold, dank prison, a man comes to talk to her for information about a massacre. In the process of their conversations we learn about her life and his thoughts as he writes letters to his wife. You can feel the cold, the fear, and the loneliness but cannot help being captivated by this young girl and her life in 17th Century Scotland. This is the kind of story that stays with you long after you have finished. It is based on a true event.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Best of 2011 According to Me.

It's that time of the year when the best of 2011 lists are appearing. I always enjoy looking back at what I've read over the past year and seeing which books really stood out. My top picks for 2011 are:

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Two dystopias and two romances. Hmm... That might seem contradictory. However, I am not judging these books against each other. I'm just saying these were the ones that kept me up way too late because I was dying to know what would happen next. So which books made your top picks for 2011?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Teen Pregnancy

It's one of the most controversial subjects out there. And despite increased media coverage and shows like "Teen Mom," "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," and "Glee," there is often still a reluctance to talk about it.

But talk about it is exactly what these authors have done. I have four books for you: two from the father's perspective, and two from the mother's. (And, before I continue, there are a lot of resources out there for those with questions. You can even start on the library's teen page, right here.)

the first part last by Angela Johnson is told from the perspective of the father. Bobby is an artist, 16, and wants to hang out with his friends and finish high school. But as soon as his baby is born, Bobby has to cope with the reality of being a single dad.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Edgy Reads

I was going to do a best-of-the-year post, but when I looked back at the teen books I read in 2011, I realized that most had something in common: they were pretty dark and disturbing. Dark content in YA literature got a lot of press this year, but in the end, it's a personal decision. If you're searching for books that push the envelope and give you that unsettled, is-this-really-okay-to-read feeling, give these a shot!

  • After by Amy Efaw is the raw, unflinching story of the person behind the headlines:  Devon did something terrible, something so bad she can't even quite remember or believe it, even in her cell in juvie, where she has all the time in the world to reflect.