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.”

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Lucy Variations

General YA Fiction

VG/A. Zarr, Sara. The Lucy Variations. Little, Brown and Company, 2013.  9780316205016 $17.99

Lucy was a piano prodigy until she walked off stage at a competition in Prague. Now that she has returned to a normal teenage life, she feels at a loss.She's not used to the school routine and feels like she has massively let down her parents' and grandfather by quitting piano. Then her brother's new piano teacher comes along. He's funny, cute and encourages her to start playing again, this time for herself. But when she finds out his intentions are not so pure, she must decide who to trust.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


G/A  Sedgwick, Marcus.  Midwinterblood.  Roaring Brook Press, 2013.  272p.  978-1596438002.  17.99.

Sedgwick’s latest novel is actually seven short stories that all take place on Blessed Island (a strange place in the very far north) over the course of history. All seven stories have characters with similar names, but the true connection between the stories is not revealed until the final story and epilogue. Each story is unique with some parts romance, mystery and horror. The only thing that might get in the reader’s way is spending too much time trying to connect the stories; it’s better to just enjoy them and wait until the end for the big reveal. This well-crafted and well-written book will certainly surprise and entertain readers of all ages. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Dare You To

G/A  McGarry, Katie.  Dare You To.  Harlequin Teen, 2013.  480p.  978-0373210633.  17.99.

This companion novel to Pushing the Limits, follows Beth’s storyline. As you may recall, Beth was the edgy roommate of Noah (the protagonist of Pushing the Limits) and Isaiah (her best friend). Beth is forced to leave town and move in with her once beloved Uncle Scott after an incident involving her alcoholic mother and the police. She is not happy about it and is making plans to leave with her mom and Isaiah as soon as she can. Ryan is a baseball player at Beth’s new school. Even though he and Beth are very different, they are drawn to each other. This edgy and emotional love story will draw fans of Pushing the Limits (although you can read this one without having read that one) and Simone Elkeles. Fans can also be on the lookout for McGarry’s next novel, which follows Noah’s storyline. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

When We Wake

F/A  Healey, Karen.  When We Wake.  Little, Brown, 2013.  298p.  978-0-316-20076-9.  17.99.

In 2027 Australia, Tegan and her two politically active friends are headed to a rally to protest for change. But Tegan doesn’t remember what happened at the rally. She wakes up 100 years later, after being accidentally shot and cryogenically frozen. The world she wakes up to is not better than she remembers, in fact, it’s worse; global warming, new immigration policies and lacking resources have made Australia a very different place. While trying to adapt to her new life and make friends, Tegan attempts to figure out why she is the first successful cryogenic patient, why the Army wants to keep her under wraps and why the religious fanatics think she is soulless. While the premise is interesting for this new dystopian series, there are too many holes in the story. Very few questions are answered and those that are, are not compelling. Maybe the additional books in the series will help, but this reviewer isn’t interested in waiting around to find out. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve