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 31, 2012

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

High School Fiction

VG/A Cronn-Mills, Kirstin. Beautiful Music For Ugly Children. Flux Books, 2012. 288 p. 9780738732510 $9.99

High school senior Elizabeth is ready for a change. He has always known that he was a guy, Gabe, and with graduation behind him he can start being himself. He starts DJing a new, late night radio show on a community radio station, Beautiful Music for Ugly Children. As his fans grow and he starts appearing in public, the harassment begins.  At first it is just some guys from school talking smack but soon it turns violent and Gabe's mentor ends up in a coma.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew

The Silence of Our Friends

Adult Graphic Novel

VG/M. Long, Mark. The Silence of Our Friends. First Second, 2012. 199 p. 9781596436183 $16.99

Based on the childhood of co-writer Mark Long and his father's experience as a race reporter, the person assigned to report on the Black and Latino neighborhoods, in Houston, Texas in the 1960s.
While covering the black neighborhoods, Jack Long strikes up an uneasy friendship with Larry, a local organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). When a police officer is shot during a protest and Larry is arrested, the trust Jack built is destroyed.

There is police violence, racism and heavy drinking.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Year of the Beasts

Young Adult Fiction/Graphic Novel

F/A  Castellucci, Cecil & Nate Powell.  The Year of the Beasts.  Roaring Brook, 2012.  978-1-59643-686-2.  $16.99.

Sisters Tessa and Lulu spend a lot of time together, even though they are quite different. When Lulu starts dating Tessa’s crush and spending extra time with Tessa’s best friend, Tessa feels left out and begins to secretly see a boy that everyone else doesn’t like. When tragedy strikes, Tessa is even more lost and confused and feels like everything she looks at turns to stone. Alternating chapters with the narrative is another story of a modern day teenage Medusa, told in graphic novel format. There seems to be very little connection between the two stories until the reader gets close to the end of the book and discovers that the lead character in both segments is Tessa. While the story is okay, the writing is not. The narrative is childish and feels like it was written too quickly. The artwork in the graphic story was good, but it was hard to like since for the majority of the book it didn’t make sense or connect with the narrative part. The writing level/style might be good for a reluctant reader, but I think they would be confused and lose interest when they got to the graphic sections. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Friday, August 24, 2012

After the Snow

Young Adult Fiction

F/A  Crockett, S.D.  After the Snow.  Feiwel and Friends, 2012.  304p.  978-0-312-64169-6.  $16.99.

During the second ice age, Willo and his family live a secluded life in the middle of nowhere. One day when Willo returns home from hunting, his family is gone, presumed arrested. Willo must survive in the snowy wilderness by himself now. That is until he meets Mary, another abandoned child. Their travels lead them back to the big city where they go their separate ways. Willo meets an old man who helps him survive in the city and ultimately learn more about who he really is and where he needs to go. Most of the book is written in a weird dialect (Willo’s voice), which is pretty distracting. Plus Willo has a strange habit of talking to his inner “mad dog.” The novel turns from a survival story into a dystopian about halfway through and I think it would have been better solely as a survival story. Readers who enjoyed the Chaos Walking or Dust Lands series, will be disappointed in this similar read. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Diviners

High School Fiction, Historical, Paranormal

VG/M (Very Good, Mature Reading Level)

Bray, Libba. The Diviners. Little, Brown and Company, 2012. 578p. 978-0-316-12611-3. $19.99.

Small town teen Evie O'Neill is something. Something drunk, something scandalous, something odd and something dangerously close to the truth.  When Evie's something is too much for her tiny town in Ohio, she's sent to live with her Uncle Will in New York.  What better place for Evie to celebrate 1926 and find out what the bright lights of the big city have in store for her?

While New York has speakeasies, Ziegfield girls, independence, freedom and excitement, it also hides mysteries, murder, mayhem and a dangerous religious fervor. Does Evie have what it takes to survive when the city reveals its deadly secrets?

While lengthy, fan favorite Libba Bray's latest novel does not disappoint. The slower pacing throughout most of the book accentuates its creepy, troubling atmosphere and the interwoven narratives give hints as to what will certainly be important in future volumes.   These details balance out Evie's occasionally annoying vivaciousness and burgeoning problematic romances.

-Candice Mack, Richard J. Riordan Central Library, Los Angeles Public Library

Monday, August 6, 2012

Witches!: The absolutely true tale of disaster in Salem

General YA Nonfiction

VG/A. Schanzer, Rosalyn. Witches!: The absolutely true tale of disaster in Salem. National Geographic, 2012. 144 p. 9781426308697 $16.95

A good introduction to the Salem witch trials with suitably creepy woodcut illustrations. Will whet the whistle of budding Salem witch trial fanatics.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL-AC Bilbrew Library