Codes for Reviews

First Initial (Overall Rating):
E = Exceptional
VG = Very Good
G = Good
F = Fair
NR = Not Recommended

Second Initital (Reading Level):
A = Average Reading Level
E = Easy
M = Mature

“The views expressed are of individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective institutions.”

For more information about YAR, please email Dora Ho at

Friday, July 29, 2011

The price of loyalty

G/A Castan, Mike. The price of loyalty. Holiday House, 2011. 150p. 978-0-8234-2268-5. 17.95

This is a first novel about Mexican-American middle schoolers and the beginning of gangs. Manny's friends from elementary school are becoming a gang. He is torn between ties to his friends and not wanting to be in a gang. This book is about peer pressure and how to maintain your own different values. Good read

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


General YA Non-fiction

VG/A Belge, Kathy & Bieschke, Mark. Queer: the ultimate LGBT guide for teens. Zest Books, 2011. 208 p. 9780981973340 $14.99

Belge and Bieschke have written a teen friendly book about being queer. They use the term queer to encompass the rainbow spectrum of the LGBTQ crowd. This book addresses everything from coming out and bullying to relationships and sex. Practical advice is interspersed with personal stories from the authors and historical tidbits about being queer in the United States. The authors top it off with a resource list of organizations, websites and books.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Friday, July 22, 2011

Marbury Lens

High School Fiction

G/M Smith, Andrew. The Marbury Lens. Feiwel and Friends, 2010. 358p. 978-0-312-61342-6. $17.99.

Leaving a party alone and drunk, sixteen-year-old Jack is kidnapped by a seemingly trustworthy doctor offering a ride. He wakes up alone, tied up, wearing nothing but his boxer briefs. Jack barely manages to escape. He tells no one except his best friend, Connor of the traumatic event that happened to him. This is just the beginning point of where Jack’s life is turned upside down. Connor and Jack then travel to England for a summer trip. Someone claiming to know Jack approaches him, and the stranger leaves Jack a pair of purple glasses. The glasses allow Jack to see and travel to a world called Marbury. Marbury is a terrifying world torn apart by disease and war, where his best friend is his enemy and where two young boys are counting on Jack to survive. Jack cannot seem to stop visiting Marbury even though he can no longer remember what is happening in the present. Is Jack losing his grip on reality or does this desolate and horrific world actually exist? Smith’s novel is violent and dark and not for the faint of heart. While the story is compelling the ambiguous ending may leave some readers unsatisfied.
C. Campos, LAPL, Angeles Mesa

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

High School Fiction

G/A. McBride, Lish. Hold me closer, necromancer. Henry Holt, 2010. 342p. 978-0-8050-9098-7 $16.99.

Sam is a college dropout working at a fast food hamburger restaurant. He appears to be an ordinary guy with an ordinary life, but all that soon changes. Usually during break times, he and his friends like to challenge each other to a game of potato hockey. Unfortunately, one night the potato gets away from them and ends up hitting someone’s taillight. The owner of the car turns out to be no ordinary man, but a powerful necromancer and he can sense the power that Sam too has a necromancer. He issues Sam an ultimatum—join him or else. To demonstrate the seriousness of his message, he kills Sam’s friend, Brooke and sends him her head – alive and talking. Sam has one week to become Douglas’s apprentice or Douglas will go after him, his family and anyone else he cares about. Sam finds out that his mom is really a witch and he comes from a family of necromancers. His power was bound when he was born to keep him safe. However, before the week is up he finds himself a prisoner in Douglas’s home and in a cage with a beautiful were-hound named Brid. The two quickly become friends as they work together to escape Douglas’s clutches. Sam must learn to harness his latent powers to help them all before it’s too late. -C. Campos, LAPL, Angeles Mesa


General YA Fiction

VG/A. Roth, Veronica. Divergent. HarperCollins, 2011. 496p. 978-0-06-202402-2. $17.99.

In a futuristic world, in an effort to maintain peace, society has split into five factions based on human personality: Amity, Erudite, Candor, Abnegation, and Dauntless. Working together with each faction contributing to a different sector of society; Amity members are counselors and caretakers; those in Abnegation are selfless leaders of the government; Candor members are leaders of the law, while Erudites are teachers and researchers and all are protected by the Dauntless. At sixteen each member takes part in a Choosing ceremony to decide to stay with your faction or select a different one for the rest of your life. “Faction before blood”. Your faction is more than your just family—it is where you belong. Beatrice, a member of Abnegation, chooses the freedom that Dauntless offers and renames herself Tris. However, Tris has a secret that if revealed could very well mean her death. She’s a Divergent; Tris does not fit neatly into any of the five categories. Furthermore, she has to undergo trials to prove herself worthy of Dauntless and only 10 out of all initiatives will be chosen to become members. Will she be able to survive the highly competitive trials that will not only test her physical strength but also her emotional and mental strengths as well? A dystopia novel that will entice readers and keep them engaged throughout the story. The first in a trilogy by debut author Veronica Roth. -C. Campos, LAPL, Angeles Mesa

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'll Be There

General YA Fiction

E/A Sloan, Holly Goldberg. I’ll Be There. Little Brown, 2011. 400p. 978-0-316-12278-5. 17.99.

Sam and Riddle Border were kidnapped by their father when they were very young. Since their father is a thief they are never in one place for very long and have never gone to school. Everything changes when they move to a new town and the boys meet and befriend the Bell family. Sam and Emily Bell are drawn to each other and Emily’s mother and Riddle develop a bond. When Clarence Border discovers what his sons have been up to he goes crazy and immediately leaves town with the boys again. Sam and Riddle must do everything they can to survive and help each other and hopefully get back to the Bells. Beautifully written, original story with great characters. Recommended for everyone (teens and adults). Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Big Crunch

General YA Fiction

G/A Hautman, Pete. The Big Crunch. Scholastic Press, 2011. 288p. 9780545240758. 17.99.

June never gets close to anyone. She can’t since her family moves all the time for her father’s work. But when she starts her sixth school in four years in a small Minnesota town she can’t help but feel a real connection with Wes. Big Crunch follows the development of June and Wes’ relationship over the course of one year, including another new job and another move for June’s family. Readers looking for a realistic romance without major drama or over-the-top girliness will enjoy this book. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


General YA Fiction

G/A Northrop, Michael. Trapped. Scholastic Press, 2011. 232p. 978-0-545-21012-6. 17.99.

Seven teenagers are trapped in their high school while a huge snowstorm passes through their New England town. The snow does not appear to be letting up and everyday it grows higher and higher, covering the roads and burying the nearby houses. Tensions inside the school rise with the snow. These seven unlikely friends must figure out how to survive, not knowing how long they will be stranded. It’s like Breakfast Club without the detention. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Slice of Cherry

High School Fiction

F/M Reeves, Dia. Slice of Cherry. Simon Pulse, 2011. 512p. 9781416986201. 16.99.

Fancy and Kit Cordelle live in the shadow of their serial killer father. In their strange, monster-filled town of Portero, Texas, the residents think of the sisters as monsters too. That is until they start their own killing spree, but only of people who “deserve” it. Each sister possesses special abilities that help them kill without leaving evidence behind. This twisted novel is not for the faint of heart; it is gruesome, creepy and sexual. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Anya’s War

G/A Alban, Andrea. Anya’s War. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-312-37093-0 188p. $16.99.

Fourteen years old Anya lives with her parents in Shanghai, China. Anya’s family came from Odessa, Russia and they are Jewish. Because Anya’s father was a war correspondence, the family resided in China. Stella, Anya’s mother, was an opera singer and she hoped that one day Anya will be a great opera singer like her. On the eve of World War II, Anya was startled by a baby girl on the pavement and spilled her grocery everywhere from her bicycle. She picked up the Chinese baby girl and immediately was attracted to her lovely face. She named her “Kisa” because she sounded like a little kitten. She wanted to send the girl away to the home of foundlings, but when she learned what happened to baby girls in China – most would be drowned. She picked up the baby and took her home. Trying to hide a baby from the entire family is not easy, eventually her parents discovered the truth and made Anya turn in the girl for adoption at the Jesuit Church. While she was going to the church, Anya’s younger brother, Georgi followed her. Eventually the mother of the baby came back for the little one. Georgi and Anya spent the rest of the day in the Great World Amusement Park. There were two Chinese plans overhead and one of them dropped a bomb onto the amusement park accidentally. Georgi broke his arm and Anya had blood all over her. They were sent to the hospital for treatment.

The story was based upon the experience of the author’s parents and grandparents. Even though the title was called Anya’s War, the story did not have too much details about World War II. It is mainly about Anya’s life and her dream. After the experience of her brother’s injury, she wanted to become a doctor in America. Dora Ho – Los Angeles Public Library, Youth Services.