Thursday, October 21, 2010


Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan (NY: Scholastic, 2010).

Corrigan rocks the suspense in completely unexpected ways in this novel about best friends Chloe and Finn who decide to stage Chloe's disappearance so they can have unique college entrance essays. That may sound a bit lame, but it's really not. The girls believe they've thought through every possible issue that might arise, but they don't count on how much the situations hurts other people. Finn, as the one left behind to do all the lying, feels particularly horrible because she has to keep up the pretense and watch people's pain--her parents, Chloe's parents, Chloe's autistic brother, and Stuttering Dean, a boy the girls befriended. The outcome is as surprising as the progression of the story itself. The girls knew nothing would ever be the same for them again, but, for Finn at least, it's different in a difficult way, as she remain trapped in the lie.

Great realistic fiction for ages 12 & up.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Boston: Little, Brown, 2010).

Don't bother with this overlong witch saga, unless you enjoy slogging through endless pages of unnecessary plot that goes nowhere and a lukewarm romance. This novel got a lot of hype and the blurbs make it sound interesting. The premise is great--a teen-aged boy in a small Southern town has a mysterious connection with the new girl in town, who happens to be the niece of the town recluse. Unfortunately, Garcia and Stohl could not manage their story at all and it gets completely bogged down in ridiculous details and horrendous stereotypes. So don't waste your time on this nearly 600-page yawnfest.

Ghosthuntress: The Counseling

Ghosthuntress: The Counseling by Marley Gibson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010).

This is the fourth installment of the Ghosthuntress series. I read and liked the first one, but wasn't keen on the second, so I skipped the third. This one, though, is as good as the first because Gibson mixes things up a bit. Kendall Moorehead, having recently barely escaped from a close encounter with a ghost, is heading to California for some much needed R&R at a special camp for gifted teens. She's been having dreams about a cute guy, so no big surprise when he turns up at the camp. Gibson develops their romance nicely and has them work together to solve a murder mystery, all while Kendall is coming to terms with how she can best use her paranormal talents.

Overall, a fine paranormal romance, great for ages 13 & up. Sexual situations, violence.

Forget You

Forget You by Jennifer Echols (NY: Gallery Books, 2010).

Zoey already has a lot going on heading into the last weekend of the summer--but then her dad and mom split up because her dad's been having an affair with an employee at his water park and gotten her pregnant. Rather than listening to them fight--and dealing with her fragile mother as she has been all summer anyway--Zoey decides to head to a beach party, where she impulsively has sex (her first time!) with Brandon, a friend and co-worker at her dad's water park, but also somewhat of a cad when it comes to girls. Zoey seems to think things will be different between them, but before she can even deal with that, her mom attempts suicide and ends up in a mental hospital. Worse, Doug Fox, a boy who's been standoffish with Zoey since a 9th grade misunderstanding as well as his stint in juvie, happens to see her at the hospital and find out about her mom. Zoey wants to keep it quiet and is worried Doug will tell everyone. As if all this isn't enough, Zoey has a car accident and can't remember what happened immediately before it. Now Brandon is avoiding her and Doug is acting as if they're more than friends....

If you love teen drama with a realistic twist, this is a great read. Zoey spends much of the novel trying to figure out what happened the night of her accident and dealing with her feelings about her dad, her dad's pregnant fiance, her crazy mom, and her sexuality. Echols develops the romance nicely, highlighting Zoey's conflicts and confusion. Highly recommended for ages 13 & up. Sexual situations, language.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Fallen by Lauren Kate

This novel has an interesting premise: Lucinda Price falls inexplicably in love with Daniel Grigori, a boy who seems to hate her at her new boarding school, which is actually a reform school where she's been placed because something mysterious happened to kill the last boy she kissed. Lucinda, known as Luce, has been haunted by dark shadowy figures all her life, to the extent that she had been on antipsychotic medications. Now she's off her meds and the dark shadows are hounding her again. She's pretty sure they killed that other boy, but she doesn't want anyone at her new school to know about that. Although she feels drawn to Daniel, he's sending mixed signals. And some of his cryptic comments intimate that they have known each other before meeting at school. But how is that possible? Meanwhile, Cameron is flirting with her and seems to like her.

I ended up not liking Fallen very much because Lauren Kate does not incorporate a good explanation for the dark shadows. Although the romance is well drawn, the paranormal elements remain murky. In fact, the climax of the novel seems more sketchy than fully portrayed with far too many elements left unexplained or scantily explained. The editor should have asked for more detail, then perhaps the novel could have been more satisfying. There's a second volume due out soon, Torment, but I'm not going to bother with it.