Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pretty is....

Gorgeous by Rachel Vail (NY: HarperCollins, 2009)

In this quirky twist of the Faust story, ninth-grade Allison Avery makes a deal with devil: her cell phone in exchange for seven people thinking she's gorgeous. For terminally insecure, Allison this seems like a no brainer. But then she finds herself having to choose what's more important to her: her family and relationships or selling out to win a modeling contest.

Excellent teen read. Some cursing, no sex, no violence.

Ghost Huntress Book 2

Ghost Huntress Book 2: The Guidance by Marly Gibson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009)

Teen-aged Kendall Moorehead is dealing with a lot of new things in her life--new town, new home, new friends, new boyfriend (her first!), and newly awakened psychic abilities. Unfortunately, the mean girl queen bee Courtney Langdon decides Kendall is getting too much attention, so she tries to become psychic as well, but ends up possessed by a Civil War soldier-ghost. Kendall and her posse of ghost hunters manage to get it all sorted out in this exciting installment of this great series. Kendall is a down-to-earth teen-ager dealing with typical teen issues plus her new abilities. Even if you don't believe in ghosts, this series has plenty to offer. Try it!

Mild language, sexual situations, paranormal phenomenon.

Airhead #2

Being Nikki by Meg Cabot (NY: Point, 2009)

Em is smart AND supermodel pretty. Every teen girl's dream, right? Not when Em has to die to get the new body. This is the second installment in the Airhead series. In the first book, Em dies and her brain is transplanted into the body of supermodel Nikki. Now Em continues to adjust to life as Nikki as she also helps Nikki's brother find "their" mother and deals with strains in her relationship with her own sister, parents, and old friends--including the boy she likes. Fans of Meg Cabot will enjoy this new series!

Mild language, sexual situations. 7th grade and up.

Title Censored

Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner (NY: Random House, 2009)

Olivia and Max literally trip over each other on the first day of a summer arts camp at Yale University. Olivia is working on frank, boy bashing musical to help cope with a difficult family situation--she walked in on her professor father receiving oral sex from a graduate student. Max is an actor--and a guy who always scores with the ladies. Max decides he likes Olivia, etc., etc. Despite its unfortunate title, this novel is OK, but not great, especially if you like lots and lots (and lots) of lewd, off color jokes and penis humor. Definitely NOT one for the middle school/junior high library.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For!

Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser (NY: Egmont, 2009)

Soundview is supposed to be safe, so how is it possible that the most popular teens are disappearing? What's the link between Str-S-d's blogposts and these disappearances? Nice girl Madison leads a privileged life as a sheltered teen in a wealthy community, so she's frightened and perplexed when friends she's known for years go missing. She wants to trust the new guy in town, but should she? He seems to have secrets. Mysterious messages, vandalism, phantom sounds--this novel will have readers guessing. An excellent whodunit for high-school and up. Language, mature themes, intense situations.

Girlfriend Material

Girlfriend Material by Melissa Kantor (NY: Hyperion, 2009)

This novel explores many different types of relationships, not just romantic ones, as the title might imply. Sixteen-year-old Kate's summer plans change dramatically when her mom and dad decide to spend some time apart, which ends up meaning that Kate and her mom fly to Cape Cod from their Salt Lake City home to spend the summer with some old friends of her mom's. Kate remembers having a great time ten years earlier with their daughter, so she agrees to go, albeit reluctantly. Many struggles await Kate as she tries to make sense of emotional complexities she's never had to deal with before--her best friend dating a jock, her mother flirting with an old friend, the daughter treating Kate like an old sock, her own attempts to find a comfort zone in a completely different environment where she has to adjust her expectations--about herself and everyone else--regularly. High school readers will enjoy this coming-of-age novel. Language, mature themes.


The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler (2009)

When Penny Lane moves from Manhattan to Hog's Hollow, it's more than culture shock. Her mom and dad say they are "taking a break," so she assumes she'll be back home in NYC soon. Instead her mom opens a cupcake bakery and Penny ends up as chief cupcake designer--plus she has to start her freshman year at a new high school and try to make new friends. But nothing seems to work out smoothly, as Penny immediately makes an enemy of the queen bee of the popular crowd--in a cupcake fiasco that will have readers laughing. Penny finds a few kindred spirits and a prank battle ensues, but Penny has to endure life lessons about other relationships as well.
Excellent novel for grades 6-9. No sex, language, violence.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mad Cow

Going Bovine by Libba Bray (2009)

This novel is one wacky ride. Synopsis: loner stoner contracts mad cow disease and has crazy trip en route to the other side. Surreal doesn't quite describe the journey, and if you like your fiction realistic, set this one aside.