Flashback: April 2011

Flashing back to two short years ago: April 2011!

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson. From my review: “In Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, Ginny Blackstone was left thirteen envelopes by her late aunt, resulting in a tour of Europe that pushed Ginny outside her comfort zone and gave her some insight and understanding into the life of her Aunt Peg. Unfortunately, it all ended with the unopened thirteenth envelope was stolen. It’s a few months later and Ginny is in her senior year, trying to figure out her future as well as to keep living the lessons she learned over the summer. To her surprise, she is contacted by a stranger who has found the stolen envelopes … and a new adventure begins. I’m sure I’m not the only one who threw Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes across the room when the last envelope was stolen. ARGH. And while I understood and it made perfect sense for the book, I still was very ARGH about it. So I was pleased as punch when I heard that there was going to be a sequel and my torment would end.”

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. From my review:Rot & Ruin begins humorously, with Ben and his slacker friend Lou Chong trying job after job. Locksmith, because even bedroom doors need locks on both sides… in case someone dies, becomes a zombie, and turns on his family in the night. The zombies of Rot & Ruin are the type that, with death, lose coordination and planning.  Also, the dead always rise, not just the ones that were bitten by zombies. Locksmith is actually a bit boring and, well, unnecessary as zombie’s usually can’t even turn a door knob. Then there’s Carpet Coat salesman, because carpet coats are so thick they hold up well against zombie bites. They hold up so well pretty much everyone already has one. Funny, yes — but always lurking in the background are the zombies. Benny’s saga of job-seeking not only establishes Benny’s character, it is also a terrific way to show the reader Benny’s world, a world of zombies, of isolation, of Benny thinking the way he lives is normal.

Tofu Quilt by Ching Yeung Russell. From my review: “Yeung Ying first learns the power of story, of words, in several ways: as a small child, memorizing poetry brings the reward of dan lai, a special custard. She writes letters for her grandmother, is read stories by her teachers, and an older cousin says she could be a writer when she grows up. In short but powerful poems, one year a teacher makes her believe her dream is possible by saying “great work” and displaying her poetry while another teacher crushes her by calling a story the “worst story in the class.” Luckily, another year brings a teacher who praises her work and restores her confidence leading to Yeung Ying submitting a story to a paper. It is accepted: she is on her way.”

Family by Micol Ostow. From my review: “Melinda Jensen is seventeen, lost and broken, looking to be healed. She goes to San Francisco where she is found and made whole by Henry. He is her answer, her salvation, a promise. He brings her into his family, a family of people whose bonds are created not by blood but by wanting to be together. What is more beautiful, what is more healing, what is more hopeful than that? But blood will come. Because Henry is both more and less than what Mel wants and needs. Eventually she will realize that Henry is broken, that Henry is not giving but taking. What she sees as beauty and healing is a lie. By that time, though, there will be blood and it may be too late.”

Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week: Tips and Resources for YALSA’s Initiatives.From my review:Megan Fink has edited a terrific book for YALSA. . . . As you can see from the Table of Contents, one of the YALS articles included is mine! Easy on the Eyes: Large Print Books for Teens which appeared in Young Adult Library Services (YALS): The Official Journal of the YALSA, Vol. 8 No. 1 (Fall 2009): 18-19

White Cat (The Curse Workers, Book One) by Holly Black. From my review:For Cassel Sharpe, 17, life is about family, curses, and the con. His family is full of curse workers – people who with a touch of the hand can curse you. Make you fall in love, invade your dreams, alter your memory, even kill you. Cassel is the lone non-worker in a family of workers. As Cassel knows from helping his family, all criminals of one degree or another, you don’t have to be a worker to run a con. You don’t have to be a worker for people to be afraid of you. You don’t have to be a worker to kill someone. . . . This is an amazing mash-up of genres and I am head over heels in love. Maybe an emotion worker touched me with an ungloved hand while I wasn’t looking, but no, I think my love for White Cat is real and true. It’s difficult enough to write about a con, to write a mystery, to write about the supernatural or the mafia or family or friendship. To write about them all at once? For each to be spectacular? For all of them to be woven together flawlessly into one story? Amazing and impressive.”

Red Glove (The Curse Workers, Book Two) by Holly Black. From my review: “Red Glove digs deeper into the shady world where Cassel lives, exploring more layers and facets. He’s been raised to trust family and criminals, not friends and outsiders. The events of the past year left him distant from his brothers; it also brought his mother back into his life. She’s returned to her old ways, using her ability to manipulate and control emotions to target rich, old men. The reader also learns more about curse workers, the laws against them, and how those laws and discrimination led to the power of the crime families. Where does Cassel’s loyalties lie? Is it to his family and the person he was raised to be?”

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin. From my review: “Dalton Rev, 17, looks like just another transfer student to Salt River High. Except, he’s not. He’s working a job; he’s there to find out who killed Wesley Payne. Dalton, who has adopted the Lexington Cole pulp noir mystery series as his bible for life and for work, talks and acts like someone out of the novels he loves. Lucky for him, he’s living in a world that is also out of a pulp novel, a world of teenage cliques that run scams and battle (literally) for power in high school halls as adults look the other way — provided they’ve been paid off.”


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