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, August 26, 2011


Adult/YA Nonfiction

VG/A Stan Lee's How To Draw Comics. Watson-Guptill, 2010. 978-0-8230-0083-8. 24.99.

Lee adddresses contributions of all associated with the creation of graphics: background writer, penciler, inker, colorist, letterer, etc. Samples of various artists' work are accompanied by Lee's commentary and recommendations. Examples of/and tips on techniques will best benefit artists who wish to improve their skills--not beginners.

And for those who simply appreciate graphic art, this title is great for browsing.

E.M. Roublow, LAPL, San Pedro Branch.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


High School Fiction

VG/A Allen, Elise. Populazzi. Houghton Mifflin, 2011. 400 p. 9780547481531 $16.99

Cara is starting a new high school for her junior year and her best friend Claudia is convinced that this is the perfect opportunity for her to reinvent herself. Claudia has the whole social hierarchy mapped out and a plan for Cara to climb her way to the top and dethrone the Supreme Populazzi, Trista, or at least be her best friend. There is a slight detour when Cara falls for her drama geek friend Archer but when he rejects her, it is full steam ahead. With drug use, underage drinking and sex talk, this title is for older teens.

A well written and funny look at high school social climbing.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Dark City

General YA Fiction

G/A Fisher, Catherine. The Dark City (Relic Master #1). Dial, 2011. 384p. 0803736738. 16.99.

Galen and Raffi are relic masters of the Order. There are very few of their kind left. They have magical powers and are the keepers of magical relics left over from the extinct Makers. In this first of a 4-part series, Galen and Raffi travel to the old city of Tasceron to find the Crow so that Galen can gain his powers back. But they are being followed by the Watch, a group of enforcers that do not belive in the magic of relic masters. This book was better than expected, but committing to reading a 4-part series is difficult unless the book is amazing. There was a lot of adventure and action, but the ending was not satisfying. This series will still appeal to teens who enjoy fantasy/adventure novels. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Level Up

High School Graphic Novel

G/A Yang, Gene Luen. Level Up. First Second, 2011. 160p. 978-1-59643-714-2. 19.99.

Luen’s latest graphic novel is a coming-of-age story of an Asian American boy. Dennis Ouyang was never allowed to play video games as a child. His dad made him study all the time so that he could go to medical school and become a gastroenterologist. When Dennis’ dad dies, the first thing Dennis does is buy a video game console. It turns out that he is an amazing video game player. As he gets older though he follows his father’s wishes (along with the help of 4 angels) and attends medical school. Whether or not he remains a med student is the question. The artwork (by newcomer Thien Pham) is great and the story is an accurate portrayal of growing up in an Asian American family. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

General YA Non-Fiction

VG/A Bragg, Georgia. How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous. Walker & Co., 2011. 184p. 978-0-8027-9817-6. 17.99.

This fun book provides five-minute history lessons of famous people throughout history, including Cleopatra, Marie Curie, Beethoven, Einstein and Gallileo. It gives a brief description of the person’s life and what they are famous for and then explains how they died (which was often gruesome or strange). After each short chapter there are two pages of additional information, such as timelines, definitions of terms mentioned and modern cures. The book also includes an index and a great bibliography and additional reading list. Although it might not be the greatest book for a research project, it is definitely a good read and may inspire readers to learn more about the famous peoples lives it explores. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Monday, August 1, 2011

The House of Dead Maids

G/A Dunkle, Clare B. The House of Dead Maids. 2010. 147p. 978-0-8050-9116-8. 15.99.

Dunkle's novel, billing itself as "a chilling prequel to 'Wuthering Heights'" on the cover, has at its core a bizarre premise: what if Emily Bronte's housekeeper helped the "real" Heathcliff become a member of the family at Wuthering Heights? Young, timid Tabby is taken on as the nursemaid to a gruff and ill-mannered young boy at the creepy estate of Seldom House at the onset. She can tell right away that something is amiss. The young boy seems to have no name, but just be called a "heathen git" by the adults of the house. Also, the ghost of an eyeless young girl haunts her dreams. Dunkle has created a fast-moving, frightening (but not overly graphic) ghost story that will enthrall middle school readers. However, the premise is a bit muddled. According to the author's epilogue, Tabitha Ackroyd was the housekeeper to the famous Bronte family. Biographies of the Brontes indicate that Ms. Ackroyd told the Bronte sisters many frightening tales, which supposedly had a strong influence on the imagination of Emily (who went on to write "Wuthering Heights"). Are we to think that Heathcliff was a real person who Tabitha saved from pagan sacrifice at nefarious hands, and then she eventually told this bizarre tale to the Brontes? And that Emily Bronte extrapolated the novel of "Wuthering Heights" from this story? Or is Dunkle implying that the events in "Wuthering Heights" were also real? Dunkle leaves these questions unanswered.