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

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition

General Young Adult Non-Fiction

VG/A Blumenthal, Karen. Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. Roaring Book Press, 2011. 154p. 978-1-59643-449-3. 18.99.

This interesting book covers the history of Prohibition in the United States, from the time it was conceived until it was repealed. In what was ideally meant to help curb crime and strengthen the nation, the Eighteenth Amendment actually created a period of lawlessness, where gangsters and bootleggers prevailed. There aren’t many books that focus on this particular time period, especially for younger readers, and this one is a great start. It includes lots of archival photographs, a handy glossary and an extensive bibliography. It may require book talking to get it into the hands of teens, but the subject matter and style of writing should appeal to them (and adults too). Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


General Young Adult Fiction

F/A McEntire, Myra. Hourglass. Egmont, 2011. 408p. 978-1-60684-144-0. 17.99.

High school senior, Emerson Cole, can see dead people. Her brother hires handsome Michael Weaver, a consultant from Hourglass, to help Emerson overcome her issues. Michael can relate to her because he also sees dead people, although he explains that they are time ripples. Emerson and Michael have major chemistry, but she is a client so they cannot be together. The Hourglass organization is in turmoil though because their founder was recently murdered. Michael hatches a plan that involves him and Emerson traveling back in time to save the founder, but everything does not go as planned. Teens who like paranormal fiction will probably enjoy this book, but the twists and turns were confusing and sometimes pointless. None of the characters were particularly interesting or memorable either. The sequel comes out in 2012, but this reviewer won’t be reading it. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Friday, December 2, 2011


Young Adult Graphic Novel

G/A Reed, MK. Americus. First Second, 2011. 215p. 978-1-59643-601-5. 14.99.

Middle schoolers and best friends, Neil and Danny, live in the conservative and religious town of Americus, Oklahoma. When Danny gets caught reading book eight of the popular Adventures of Apathea Ravenchilde series, his mom goes on a rampage. Danny is grounded and then sent away to military school after announcing that he is gay. His mom pitches a fit at the public library where Danny checked out the book and starts a campaign to ban books at the library that she believes are corrupting children. Neil misses his friend, but gains confidence when he starts working at the library and helping the library fight against censorship. This graphic novel would be a great discussion starter on the topic of book challenges and censorship for all ages. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve


Young Adult Fiction

VG/A Meyer, Marissa. Cinder. Feiwel & Friends, 2012. 400p. 978-0312641894. 17.99.

In this sci-fi retelling of Cinderella, Linh Cinder is a teenage cyborg living with her adopted family in New Beijing. With the threat of the Letumosis virus spreading and the arrival of the evil Lunar queen, life has been exceedingly difficult. When Cinder is commissioned to fix the Prince’s android she receives a personal invitation to the ball from him, but she knows that if he found out she was a cyborg he would never like her. But being cyborg isn’t Cinder’s only secret. Although the book ends with a cliff hanger (two sequels are expected) and Cinder’s secret is pretty predictable, the story is original and fast paced. This book would appeal to sci-fi, dystopian fans as well as romance/fairy tale addicts. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Also Known as Rowan Pohi

General YA Fiction

F/A. Fletcher, Ralph. Also Known as Rowan Pohi. Clarion Books, 2011. 208 p. 9780547572086. $16.99

Summer is almost over when Bobby Steele and his friends come up with a great practical joke, make up a kid and send his application to the local private school, Whitestone Prep. The joke is on them when the Rowan Pohi gets accepted. Bobby has been having a tough time since his parents split-up after a highly publicized domestic dispute. If he pretends to be Rowan Pohi, maybe he can turn his life around.

It is kind of unbelievable that in a fairly small town Bobby wouldn't be recognized by more people when he tries to pass in the private school. The other aspect that bothered me was the sub-plot of Bobby's little brother coping with the separation by claiming he is full blooded Native American and always wearing a feather in his hair to represent that.

Fans of Chris Crutcher and graduates of Diary of a Wimpy Kid would enjoy this light, comic novel about identity and being yourself.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Monday, November 7, 2011

Return to Daemon Hall

Young Adult Fiction

G/A Nance, Andrew. Return to Daemon Hall. Henry Holt. ISBN: 978-0-8050-8748-2. 240 p.; $16.99. 2011.

This is a sequel to Daemon Hall. However readers need not read the first novel. R.U. Tremblin is hosting a second short story contest for aspiring writers. He invited 5 students to his house this time instead of Daemon Hall. Each of the five students is given a chapter to write and the titles are from the Book of Daemon Hall. Among the five, one of them is last year’s winner Wade. Demarius, Matt, Millie and Lucinda joined Wade at Mr. Tremblin’s house to read their story. Strange things began to happen as they read their stories. They began to transport to the past and re-live the life at Daemon Hall. As they reveal each of their stories, they discovered that the stories were not written by them but by the spirit of Daemon Hall. For some strange reason Wade has not written the last chapter yet. Wade was actually glad because the first four chapters have gotten them living the past of Daemon Hall, and maybe if he write the last chapter to their advantage, they can actually get out of Daemon Hall. The he begins writing “The Leaving.” The tale has not ended there, and the author might have another tale of Daemon Hall after this novel. Each of the five stories told in this novel has very different flavors and each will chill you to your bones. For those who love horror stories, this will do the job. Dora Ho – Los Angeles Public Library

Harmonic Feedback

Young Adult Fiction

VG/A Kelly, Tara. Harmonic Feedback. Henry Holt. ISBN: 978-0-8050-9010-9. 280 p.; $16.99. 2010

Sixteen-year-old Drea moved into her grandmother’s with her mother. She encounters two other new students – Justin and Naomi. Naomi lives across the street and they became instant friends because they are both passionate about music. The three of them decide to form a band and perform. Each of the three characters has their share of troubles. Naomi is a drug addict, Drea has Asperger’s Syndrome, and Justin has a violent past. However the three of them developed friendship, love and determination to start over. Readers will find this novel very heart warming and heart breaking at the same time. Seeing how Naomi continues to struggle with her drug addition and later died from overdose and Drea overcome her illness of Asperger’s Syndrome and began a love relationship with Justin. Dora Ho – Los Angeles Public Library

Borrowed Names


G/A Atkins, Jeannine. Borrowed Names: poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker , Marie Curie and Their Daughters. Henry Holt. ISBN: 978-0-8050-8934-9. 209p. . $16.99. 2010.

This is a collection of poems about the three famous women in the American history and their daughter. Readers can read between the lines about the mother-daughter relationship as well as their lives during that period of history. It is a great addition to your poetry section. Dora Ho – Los Angeles Public Library

Monday, October 31, 2011

Wolf Mark

General YA Fiction

G/A Bruchac, Joseph. Wolf Mark. Lee & Low Books, 2011. 392 p. 9781600606618. $17.95

Luke King is special but all he wants to do is blend in, be invisible. Ever since his mom died, he and his dad haven't been quite the same. His dad used to teach him all the tricks he learned in his secret special-ops jobs but now all he does is get drunk, or at least that is how it seems.

When Luke's dad calls him at school with a cryptic message, he realizes it was all for show. Luke's dad has been kidnapped and now Luke must embrace his destiny to save him.

A new take on werewolves, vampires and genetically engineered creatures.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blood Red Road

Young Adult Fiction

VG/A Young, Moira. Blood Red Road. McElderry Books, 2011. 512p. 9781442429987. 17.99.

Saba, her twin brother Lugh and little sister Emmi have lived a secluded life with their father in the desert. Until one day when a group of men arrive, kill her father and kidnap Lugh. With nothing else to loose, Saba and Emmi set off on an epic quest to find and rescue their brother. Along the way Saba is forced to cage fight, meets the handsome Jack and joins forces with a group of women who call themselves the Free Hawks. This fast paced, action packed novel could stand on it’s own, but it is the first of a trilogy (and already optioned for a movie). Fans of Hunger Games, Graceling and Divergent will likely devour and love this series too. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Don't Stop Now

High School Fiction

G/A Halpern, Julie. Don’t Stop Now: Friend or Boyfriend? Feiwel and Friends, 2011. 232p. 978-0-312-64346-1. 16.99.

When Lillian’s friend Penny disappears, Lillian knows that she has faked her own kidnapping in order to escape her unhappy life and abusive boyfriend. Since Lillian can’t tell anyone where Penny is, she takes off on a road trip with her best friend (and crush), Josh to Portland, Oregon to find Penny herself. Along the way they stop at many real roadside attractions. By the time they make it to Portland, the trip has turned into a real learning experience for both of them. The road trip itself was fun to read about, but what really stood out was how Halpern managed to realistically portray the emotions of teenage girls on the brink of adulthood. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve


High School Fiction

G/A Coben, Harlan. Shelter. Putnam, 2011. 320p. 978-0-399-25650-9. 18.99.

Harlan Coben’s first book for young adults is not so different from his adult books; as usual there are lots of twists and turns and interesting characters. High school sophomore, Mickey Bolitar, is finally settling down in his Uncle’s house, after years of traveling with his parents. Unfortunately though it’s not on good terms, his father recently died in a car accident and his mother is in drug rehab. To make matters worse Ashley, his new girlfriend of 3 weeks has mysteriously disappeared. Along with his two new outcast friends, Mickey tries to find out what happened to Ashley and how his family is connected to the disappearance. Although some of the plot is unbelievable, it’s a quick, fun adventure/mystery read for teens and adults alike. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Middle School Novel in Verse

G/A Frost, Helen. Hidden. France Foster Books, 2011. 147 p. 9780374382216. $16.99

At 8-years old Wren is accidentally kidnapped in a robbery gone wrong. Darra's father was that robber and he is sent to prison. 6 years later, Wren and Darra meet face to face at summer camp and start to heal.

This novel is told in verse first from Wren's perspective, then from Darra's and third part alternates between the two. The novel is well-written but the way the girls meet up is a little too coincidental to be believed.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman

Middle School Fiction

G/A Woltzer, Meg. The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman. Dutton, 2011. 304 p. 9780525423041 $16.99

Three kids are joining hundreds of other hopefuls in the Youth Scrabble Tournament (YST). This is their story.

Duncan Dorfman has a special talent; he can read written words with the fingertips of his left hand. His mom tells him to keep it a secret but he wants to be popular at his new school and this just might be the ticket.

April Blunt doesn’t fit with her family full of jocks. All they care about is sports, all she cares about is Scrabble. Maybe if she wins the YST, her family will see that Scrabble is a “sport” too.

Nate Saviano’s father lost the YST in his final game 26 years ago. Now he has pulled Nate out of school to focus solely on Scrabble. Will Nate live up to his father’s dreams of Scrabble dominance?

Recommended for fans of E.L. Konigsburg

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Middle School Fiction

F/A Meloy, Colin. Wildwood. Balzer & Bray, 2011. 560p. 978-0-06-202468-8. 16.99.

Colin Meloy, lead singer of the Portland based band, The Decemberists, uses the same magic and whimsy of his song lyrics in his first novel for middle readers. 7th grader Prue McKeel watches with amazement as her baby brother is kidnapped by a murder of crows. In order to get him back she must venture into the forbidden Impassable Woods. When she gets there, with classmate Curtis in tow, they discover a magical place that the inhabitants call Wildwood. The citizens of Wildwood, which include talking animals, birds and humans, are at war and Prue, her missing brother and Curtis find themselves in the middle of it. While the characters are fun, there are a few too many of them to follow. The vocabulary seems advanced for it’s intended audience, but the story is too child-like for older readers. Middle readers who like the Narnia series, magical realism or talking animals might enjoy this book as long as they don’t mind the length. If nothing else, the illustrations by Meloy’s wife, Carson Ellis, are beautiful. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Okay For Now

General YA Fiction

E/A Schmidt, Gary D. Okay For Now. Clarion Books, 2011. 368p. 978-0-547-15260-8. 16.99.

In this companion book to Wednesday Wars, Schmidt focuses on Holling Hoodhood’s best friend, Doug Swieteck. Just weeks before Doug is set to start 8th grade in 1968, his dad loses his job and moves the family upstate. Doug’s family life is complicated; his oldest brother is in Vietnam, his middle brother is a troublemaker, his dad is abusive and his mother is a pushover. To keep busy, Doug spends time at the library admiring the John Audubon book (and learning to draw the beautiful birds) and delivering groceries for the local grocer. He also makes a great friend in Lil Spicer (the daughter of the grocery store owner) and several of his customers. Through it all though, Doug must contend with the humiliation that both his father and brother often cause him. Like Wednesday Wars, Schmidt masterfully mixes a little humor into this otherwise realistic family drama. It’s a great read for all ages. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve


Middle School Fiction

VG/A Selznick, Brian. Wonder Struck. Scholastic Press, 2011. 640p. 978-0-545-02789-2. 29.99.

Selznick’s latest novel intertwines two stories through illustrations and words. The first story is of Ben in Minnesota in 1977. He is hearing impaired and searching for clues about his father. His journey leads him to New York City and the Museum of Natural History. The illustrated story is about Rose in 1927. She too is hearing impaired and runs away to New York City to see her actress mother and stay with her older brother. Although beginning 50 years apart, the stories come together in an unexpected twist. Not only are the illustrations beautiful, but the story is touching and heartfelt too. Readers of all ages will have a hard time putting this one down and will undoubtedly read it in one sitting. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Adult Nonfiction

NR Jacob, Matthew. What the Great Ate. Three Rivers Press, 2010. 310p. 978-0-307-46195-7. 14.00. Did you know that Sacagawea ate marrow from a killed elk's shank bones or that fried chicken and Pepsi Cola were among Hugh Hefner's favorite foods in the 50s? Interesting food trivia is affiliated with other known persons such as Mother Teresa, David Beckham, Matthew Henson, etc. (Some names, however, are not as well known.) And some unusual foods for thought--and tasting? are raw dog, beer soup, Koumiss-fermented mare's milk and hashish fudge.

Since the format is not very attractive, teens are less likely to give this more than a passing glance.

E.M. Roublow, LAPL, San Pedro Branch

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.

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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed

General YA Nonfiction

G/A Reef, Catherine. Jane Austen: A Life Revealed. Clarion, 2011. 208 p. 9780547370217 $18.99

Catherine Reef explores Jane's life as a single woman in England at a time when to be an unmarried woman meant being forever dependent on your relatives. Throughout the biography, Reef summarizes her novels putting them in the context of life at that time and Jane's life in particular. A good introduction to the life and works of Jane Austen.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lincoln’s Flying Spies

Good/Average, Middle School

Lincoln’s Flying Spies: Thaddeus Lowe and the Civil War Balloon Corps by Gail Jarrow

From 1861-1863, the Union Army had a special Balloon division that spied on Confederate forces during the Civil War. From high in the air, armed with a telegraph, Thaddeus Lowe and his team would tell commanders about camp and troop movements, so much so that the Confederate forces would hide their numbers and even made fake cannons out of tree trunks to fool the Union. Cannons were fired at the balloons, but mostly they were too far out of range to hit, except when the balloons were being raised or lowered. This book is filled with black and white photos, illustrations, and other documentation of this short-lived aeronautical force. Extensive endnotes are included along with a timeline and extensive index. This biographical work is appropriate for school reports for the middle grades, as well as general interest reading about this little known specialized force and the hard work of one man to create it.

-Corinda J. Humphrey, Los Angeles Public Library

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Steps Across the Water

Fantasy, Elementary/Middle School, VG/A

Gopnik, Adam (Author), McCall, Bruce (Illustrator). The Steps Across the Water. Hyperion, 2010. 304p. 978-1423112136. $17.99

This is a charming story about Rose, a young girl who lives in New York City. Rose is adopted and although she feels absolutely loved and accepted by her family, she still can’t help feeling a little bit of an outsider at times. One of the things Rose feels most self-conscious about is her habit of inverting words. For instance, she’ll say “U Nork” instead of saying “New York”. This all comes to have great significance when Rose discovers that there really is a place called U Nork and that it’s at the other end of “The Steps Across the Water” in Central Park. U Nork is similar to, but also fantastically different from, New York City. In U Nork, buildings have thousands of floors, giant pigeons and zeppelins populate the skies and a centralized prison inhabits their version of Central Park known as “Sin-Trail Park”. Unfortunately, U Nork is also in need of saving from an evil villain known as the Ice Queen. Much to Rose’s surprise, the citizens of U Nork seem convinced that Rose is key to defeating the Ice Queen. One can’t help but cheer for Rose, our immensely likeable if unsuspecting hero. There are also some truly funny passages in the book like the “truth” behind NYC taxi drivers. Sophisticated readers might work out the plot twists but even if they do, it’s still a fun read.

-Patsy Pinedo Tuck, Eagle Rock Branch, Los Angeles Public Library

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Girl in the Steel Corset

Sci Fi/Fantasy, VG/A (Very Good, Average Reading Level)

Cross, Kady. The Girl in the Steel Corset. Harlequin Teen, 2011. 336p. 978-0-373-21033-6. $17.99.

Robots! Cyborgs! Corsets! Scientists! Inventors! Awesome names like Finley Jane and Griffin King!

The lovely outfits, alluring language and steampunk Victoriana of
Kady Cross' action-packed debut YA novel are sure to please fans of Cassandra Clare or the Luxe series. The run up to the reveal is so full of whizz-bang gadgetry and fun, you can overlook the fact that the reveal itself is only so-so.

Highly recommended for those looking for a bit of edge in their light summer reads.

-Candice Mack, Los Angeles Public Library

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Midnight Palace

General YA Fiction

G/A Ruiz Zafon, Carlos. The Midnight Palace. Little Brown, 2011. 298p. 978-0-316-04473-8. 17.99.

In 1932, seven friends that grew up together in a Calcutta orphanage promise to always protect each other. An evil being, Jawahal, has returned to Calcutta for revenge and is determined to destroy Ben and Sheree. When the friends try to figure out why, they discover many lies and family secrets. None of them are safe from Jawahal’s rage. Part mystery, part adventure, part ghost story, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


General YA Fiction

G/A Shulman, Mark. Scrawl. Roaring Book Press, 2010. 234p. 978-1-59643-417-2. 16.99.

The punishment Tod Munn is given for his latest crime is detention everyday after school writing a personal journal. For a bully, Tod is extremely smart and well-written, but he’s also had a rough life. Through his journal we learn about his struggling working class family, his friends and school mates, the events that have shaped his life and the truth about what is going at school. Maybe Tod is not the big, bad bully everyone expects him to be. Good realistic fiction for reluctant readers. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Saturday, April 9, 2011


High School Fiction

G/A Lindner, April. Jane. Poppy, 2010. 384p. 978-0-316-08420-8. 17.99.

In this modern retelling of Jane Eyre, 19 year old Jane Moore becomes the nanny to rockstar Nico Rathburn’s little girl. The storyline is essentially the same as the original novel but updated for a new generation of readers. This book could be a great introduction to the classic, a fun read for fans of the original or just a good read for anyone interested in romance with a little mystery mixed in. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Thursday, April 7, 2011


General Middle School Fiction G/A. Klise, Kate. Grounded. Feiwel and Friends, 2010. ISBN: 9780312570392. 196p. 16.99 Daralynn Oakland is the kind of girl who likes to escape her mother’s watchful eye. This trait saves her life the summer before sixth grade, when she is grounded for going fishing without permission. Because of this, she escapes the plane crash that kills her father and two siblings. Instead of drawing closer together in their grief, Daralynn and her mother, Hattie, cope separately. Daralynn sorts out her thoughts by imagining what she would tell her father in a letter, while Hattie becomes angry and determines to keep Daralynn closer to home. But Hattie can’t keep them isolated from their Ozark community forever. Daralynn’s energy and sensibility make this a warm story of community and how they all recover from tragedy. Anjelique Granados, CoLAPL-Angelo M. Iacoboni

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Kneebone Boy

General YA Fiction Category

VG/A Potter, Ellen. The Kneebone Boy. 2010. ISN: 978-0-312-37772-4.. 282p. $16.99.

Otto, Lucia and Max are the Hardscrabble children. Their mother has been missing for quite sometimes. One day, their father has to leave for a sudden assignment and he sent them off to London to stay with their Aunt Angela. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding with whoever answered Angela’s phone. The children were not picked up at the London train station. Somehow, the three of them managed to find Angela’s apartment, however Angela is now in Berlin, Germany. At this point, they have to find another place to stay for the night. Max remembered the address of their Great Aunt Hattie from a letter that their father received recently. They went on their adventure to find her hoping that she would allow them to stay. As they find their Great Aunt Hattie, they discover that she was not an old lady, but a young American woman who stayed in a castle in the city of Snoring-by-the-Sea. Great Aunt Hattie encourage the children to go on their own adventure, she believe children should discover their own adventure before they reach the age of fourteen. Indeed, they discover a secret passage to the Kneebone Castle and eventually they learned something unusual about their mother. The writer has a very interest narrative style and most teenagers will find it very easy to follow and enjoy the story very much. Especially in the beginning of the story, the author indicates “I can’t tell you which Hardscrabble I am – Otto, Luica or Max,” that it is because the story belongs to all of them. Dora Ho, Young Adult Librarian - Los Angeles Public Library.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Am J

High School Fiction

VG/A Beam, Cris. I Am J. Little Brown, 2011. 339 p. 9780316053617 $16.99

J has always felt like a boy in a girl's body but no one else seemed to see. He finally decides that to truly be himself he must leave his old life behind. When the truth comes out, his friends and family decide to support him in their own ways. This gritty, urban story addresses some issues of transgender teens in a candid manner. There are many resources at the end of the text for transgender teens as well as parents and allies.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Thursday, March 17, 2011

You Killed Wesley Payne

High School Fiction

G/M Beaudoin, Sean. You Killed Wesley Payne. Little Brown, 2011. 368p. 978-0-316-07742-2. 16.99.

In this noir style novel, teen detective Dalton Rev is hired to solve the mystery of Wesley Payne’s death at Salt River High. In order to do that though, he has to play all the different cliques against each other. Nothing is as it seems at Salt River: students are double agents or flat out liars, faculty and police are running their own scams and the cliques have their own agendas. The language (lots of slang) is a little off putting, but if you can get past that the story is good. The book includes lots of extras too, a clique chart and index, slang glossary and Dalton’s writing samples. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

10 Miles Past Normal

High School Fiction

VG/A O'Roark Dowell, Frances. 10 Miles Past Normal. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011. 224 p. 9781411699582 $16.99

When Janie was was 9, being the "farm-girl" was totally cool but now that she's in high school it means sticking out for all the wrong reasons, like hopping on the bus with goat poop on your shoe. Things start to turn around when her longtime crush asks her to join the jam band that meets after school. Between the band and researching a local civil rights icon, Janie starts to find her voice and realizes that "normal" isn't all it's cracked up to be. Recommended for fans of Dairy Queen.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Pick-Up Game: A Full Day of Full Court

Short Stories

E/A Aronson (ed.), Marc. Pick-Up Game: a full day of full court. Candlewick Press, 2011. 176 p. 978076364625 $15.99

This collection of short stories shows a day in the life of The Cage, the premier amateur basketball court in NYC. Photos and poems by Charles R. Smith, Jr. introduce each story which highlights a different player. With Walter Dean Myers, Rita Williams-Garcia, Bruce Brooks, Sharon G. Flake and more, every one of these stories is a slam dunk. Recommended for basketball fans and all high school collections.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library


Middle School Fiction

F/A Myers, Walter Dean. Kick. HarperCollins, 2011. 208 p. 9780062004901 $16.99

Kevin is a young teen whose life is in limbo. He is a rising soccer star but some poor choices and anger issues have gotten him into trouble. Sgt. Brown has been brought in to figure out what happened the night Kevin was arrested. Will Sgt. Brown save Kevin from jail? This book is a collaboration between Walter Dean Myers and a teenage fan, Ross Workman, and it shows. We never really get to know the characters and the writing is not up to Myers' usual standard.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Thursday, March 10, 2011


General Fiction

G/A Sedgwick, Marcus. Revolver. Roaring Book Press, 2010. 224p. 978-1596435926. 16.99

In the Arctic Circle in 1910, fifteen-year-old Sig Andersson has just discovered the dead body of his father on the frozen lake. While his sister and stepmother go for help, a strange man arrives at the cabin claiming to have unfinished business with Sig’s father. Through flashbacks, the reader learns why the man has come looking for the family and understands the fear they must feel. To make matters worse Sig’s only weapon, his father’s old revolver, is out of his reach. This 2011 Printz Honor Book is beautifully written, but finding an audience may be difficult. Jack London or Gary Paulsen fans would be your best bet. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Thursday, March 3, 2011


General Fiction

G/A Mulligan, Andy. Trash. David Fickling Books, 2010. 232p. 978-0-385-75214-5. 16.99.

Three boys who live in Behala, the city dump, spend their days sorting through trash for items to resell. One day they find a bag with a wallet, map and key inside. The police are desperately looking for the bag and the boys want to figure out why. It leads them on a wild chase through the city, where they discover the importance of their find. The book discusses some tough topics about society including friendship, education, poverty and corruption. Although not technically a dystopian novel, fans of that genre or realistic adventure seekers will enjoy. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Girl, Stolen

General YA Fiction

G/A Henry, April. Girl, Stolen. Henry Holt and Company, 2010. 213p. 978-0-8050-9005-5. $16.99.

Sick with pneumonia, Cheyenne is sleeping in the backseat of the car when her stepmother, Danielle, makes a quick stop at the pharmacy. Danielle leaves the keys in the ignition, and before Cheyenne realizes what’s going on, the Cadillac Escalade is being stolen with her in it. Griffin thought that it was going to be an easy score; he never bargained for getting Cheyenne in the process. His plan is to somehow set her free without getting caught, but once Griffin’s dad discovers Cheyenne’s identity, he quickly turns it into a kidnapping scheme. How can Cheyenne possibly escape? An accident three years ago left Cheyenne legally blind. Will she be able to use her blindness to her advantage or will Griffin become sympathetic enough to help her out?


High School Fiction

G/A. Cremer, Andrea. Nightshade. Philomel Books, 2010. 454p. 978-0-399-25482-6. $17.99.

On her eighteenth birthday, Calla, alpha female of the Nightshade pack, will be bound to Ren, alpha of the Bane pack as his mate and their two packs will be joined. But when she breaks the rules by saving the life of a human boy from a bear attack and exposing herself as a werewolf, her destiny is changed forever. The human boy, Shay, begins attending her school, unaware that it is unlike any other high school in Vail, Colorado, filled with wolves and witches where humans occupy the lowest order. However, there is something extraordinary and mysterious about Shay. He does not betray Calla’s secret; instead Calla finds herself ordered by her master to become his friend and bodyguard. Their mutual attraction develops quickly into love and friendship. Calla is torn between her loyalty to her pack and her feelings for Shay. Will Calla follow the course that has been laid out for her and become Ren’s mate or will she choose to follow her own path and her heart with Shay? Readers of paranormal romance will enjoy the elements of forbidden love and the love triangle between Calla, Shay and Ren. The second in the trilogy, Wolfsbane, is due out in July 2011. Recommended for fans of Blood and Chocolate, Shiver, and Raised by Wolves.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


General YA Fiction

F/A. Adornetto, Alexandra. Halo. Feiwel and Friends, 2010. 484p. 978-0-312-65626-3. $16.99.

Three angels sent from Heaven on a mission to bring goodness to the world arrive in Venus Cove, a sleepy seaside town: Gabriel, the warrior, the archangel; Ivy a healer and seraphim, one of the wisest angels; and finally Bethany, the youngest of the three. She is ecstatic to be among humans and to be starting high school at Bryce Hamilton. She meets Xavier, the handsome school captain. Bethany knows that she must not reveal her true nature. Falling in love with a human is forbidden, but she cannot resist her undeniable attraction towards Xavier. Meanwhile, Venus Cove is falling under the influence of dark forces. Will the angels be able to save everyone in time or will Bethany’s violation of the rules put them all in jeopardy? The first in a new series. While fans of Fallen and Hush, Hush will be attracted to this title; they may find the pacing slow and the romance saccharine. Camille Campos, LAPL, Angeles Mesa

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Trouble with Half a Moon

Middle School Fiction

G/A Vigilante, Danette. The Trouble with Half a Moon. Putnam, 2011. 192p. 9780399251597. $16.99

Dellie's family hasn't been the same since the death of her brother. Her parents barely let her leave the house, except to go to school. After a shooting in her apartment building, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She and her best friend Kayla start helping out Corey, a young neighbor who they suspect is being neglected and possibly abused by his mother. Through her interventions and the help of a new, Jamaican neighbor, Dellie starts to heal.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Twenty Gold Falcons

Middle School Fiction Category

G/A Gordon, Amy. The Twenty Gold Falcons. Holiday House. 2010. ISN: 978-0-8234-2252-4.. 216p. $16.95.

Twelve years old Aiden Farmer moved back to Gloria with her mother where her great-grandfather once lived. Moving into Uncle Tony’s apartment was the only thing that she and her mom can afford now after her father passed away. Aiden grows up on a farm so people in school call her the “Farmer” girl and she definitely was not part of the “in crowd”. Her only friend at school was a nerd named Adam. One day, Marisa the most popular girl in school announced that she is going to find the Gold Falcons in the Ingle Building. It just happened that her Uncle Tony’s apartment was in the Ingle Building. Together with Adam and cousin Liesl, she not only find the Gold Falcons, but also some of her long lost relatives inside this building. In this book the Gold Falcons refers to the gold coins that Aiden’s grand-grandfather once collected. A good adventure story for middle-grade readers. Dora Ho, Los Angeles Public Library - Youth Services.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Mockingbirds

High School Fiction

G/A Whitney, Daisy. The Mockingbirds. Little Brown, 2010. 352p. 978-0-316-09053-7. 16.99.

Themis Academy administration thinks that their students are perfect. But of course they aren’t. Since the administration won’t discipline students, the students have formed their own secret committee to do it, the Mockingbirds. Even though Alex is confused about the details, she knows that she was date raped by Carter and wants the Mockingbirds to try him in their court. The book follows Alex through the process and emotion of dealing with the crime committed against her. With all of it’s references to To Kill A Mockingbird, this book would make a great companion book to students reading Harper Lee. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Sunday, February 6, 2011


High school fiction

G/A. Dogar, Sharon. Annexed: a novel. Houghton Mifflin, 2010. 352p. ISBN: 978-0-547-50195-6. 17.99

Teens grow up learning the story of Anne Frank, but what about those who were in hiding with her? Peter van Pels, 16, provides a new perspective of life in the annex, and of Anne. Peter’s story begins from the sick bay of Mauthausen concentration camp, where he cannot help but remember all that came before. These memories are told in diary format, with Peter’s present-day comments following some entries. He arrives at the annex, angry and resentful. Of all the annoyances in this new, cramped existence, nothing is worse than Anne Frank and her curiosity, self-assurance, and optimism. As time passes, Anne evolves from pest to the girl Peter loves. Dealing sensitively with pent-up teenage energy as well as the horrors of the concentration camps, this will appeal to fans of realistic as well as historical fiction.

Anjelique Granados, CoLAPL-Angelo M. Iacoboni Library

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Clockwork Three

Middle School Fiction, G/A (Good, Average Reading Level)

Kirby, Matthew. The Clockwork Three. Scholastic, 2010. 400p. 978-0-545-20337-1. $17.99.

Three children, down on their luck, from different parts of the city, find themselves drawn together by circumstances that could change their lives forever. First, we meet Giuseppe, a street urchin and brilliant violinist. Will the gorgeous green violin he's found free him from the scheming Stephano or pull him into further debt? Then, we meet Frederick, a talented clockmaker's apprentice with a blurry past. A bright future may await Frederick, should he finish his secret project. Last, but not least, we are introduced to once wealthy Hannah, who now works as a hotel maid. Can these three trust each other to find the fortune and freedom that each of them seek? This adventure would appeal to tween fans of Pullman's His Dark Materials series and light steampunk.

-Candice Mack, Los Angeles Public Library

Friday, January 7, 2011

I Am Number Four

General Fiction

F/A Lore, Pittacus. I Am Number Four. Harper, 2010. 448p. 978-0-06-196955-3. 17.99.

Nine young planet Lorien survivors travel to Earth after their planet is destroyed. The invading aliens follow them there and have successfully tracked down and killed three of them. John Smith is number four on their list. But John is happy in Paradise, Ohio; he has a girlfriend, a new dog and an actual friend. His legacies (special Lorien powers) are starting to appear and it’s a good thing since he will soon have to battle the aliens. Although the book is action-packed and fast paced, the writing is mediocre and the story is full of holes. Teenagers looking for adventure with an interest in alien/conspiracy theory will still enjoy. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve.


High School Fiction

G/M Benoit, Charles. You. Harper Teen, 2010. 240p. 978-0-06-194704-9. 16.99.

In this dark novel, troubled teen Kyle recounts his life changing sophomore year of high school. Kyle is not really a bad kid, but he is having trouble with his grades, girls, bullies and his parents. When transfer student Zack shows up Kyle starts to come out of his shell, but Zack has ulterior motives. There are mature themes and violence, including fighting, drinking, sexual exploits and betrayal, so this is not for the faint of heart. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Prisoners in the Palace

High School Fiction

E/A MacCall, Michaela. Prisoners in the Palace. Chronicle Books, 2010. 364 p. 9780811873000 $16.99

Liza is just 17 when her parents die in a tragic carriage accident, leaving her orphaned, penniless and in debt. Everything changes when she gets a job as a lady's maid for Princess (soon to be Queen) Victoria. Suddenly she's uncovering a plot to keep Victoria off the throne and scheming with a journalist to try and stop the plot.

There is an historical note and the end and a list of recommended readings for additional information.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Flirt Club

High School Fiction

VG/A Daley, Cathleen. Flirt Club. Roaring Brook Press, 2011. 288 p. 9781596435728. $15.99

Annie and Isabelle are best friends and just starting the 8th grade. They just have one problem, they have trouble talking to boys. The solution? Start Flirt Club where they discuss and practice flirting techniques. After they get parts in the school musical, Flirt Club grows and so do their skills. Told exclusively in notes, journal entries and Flirt Club minutes, this is a sweet story of first love, drama geeks and true friendship.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew Library

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable

Middle School Fiction Category

G/A Gutman, Dan. The Genius files: Mission Unstoppable. Harper. 2010. ISN: 978-0-06-182764-8.. 304p. $16.99.

Coke and Pep (Pepsi) are twin. They are both twelve turning thirteen. One day they were chased by several guys with bowling hats, unfortunately, to escape the bad guys, Coke has to push his sister Pep off the cliff. Luckily they survived the fall when someone just handed them a wingsuits before their fall. The adventure continues when Coke and Pep are going on a family cross country trip from the west coast to Washington, DC in order to attend their aunt’s wedding. They drive in an RV and make stops at various famous attractions throughout the countries. These attractions/famous locations are real and can be visited via the http address given in the book. The plot thickens when more bad guys chase after the twins and they finally met up with the man behind the Genius File, Dr. Warsaw. A quick and fast read for tweens who enjoy adventures and a touch of spy/evil plot in the mix. Dora Ho, Los Angeles Public Library.

The Sixty-Eight Rooms

Middle School Fiction Category

G/A Malone, Marianne. The Sixty-Eight Rooms. Random House. 2010. ISN: 978-0-375-85710-2. 269p. $16.99.

One day sixth-grader Ruthie went on a field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, she felt in love with the Thorne Rooms that are a collection of sixty-eight miniature rooms decorated in design of various era and countries. Ruthie and her best friend Jack decided to come back and visit the rooms on their own. They discovered the keys that open to the Thorne Rooms are magical and they shrink into miniature size so they can visit the various rooms. This is a cross between Alice in Wonderland and the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweller. This book is full of adventure, mystery and history. Dora Ho – Los Angeles Public Library