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

Monday, December 30, 2013

Man Made Boy

High School Fiction

F/A  Skovron, Jon. Man Made Boy. Viking, 2013.  368p.  978-0670786206.  17.99.

The Show is not your average Broadway play; the acts are real and the cast and crew, including Medusa, Frankenstein, and trolls, all live underneath the theater since they can’t go out in public. Frankenstein and his bride’s 16-year-old computer hacker son, Boy, is tired of living hidden away. He runs away from the theater and ends up on a wild road trip meeting other “people” like him along the way. The premise was great, but the storyline failed. If the author had just stuck to the road trip and not included a crazy computer virus storyline that came in and out, but ultimately led to the conclusion of the novel, it would have been a better read. Teens who enjoy fairytale retellings or monsters in general would still like it though. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Andrew Zimmern's Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, & Wonderful Foods

G/A  Zimmern, Andrew.  Andrew Zimmern's Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, & Wonderful Foods.  Feiwel, 2012.  197p.  978-0-312-60661-9.  14.99.
If you're looking for something slightly different for a cookery section, you'll find this thumb--through item rather interesting.  Zimmern shares his experiences and opininated tastes about cow's blood, lamb spleen and maggot cheese.  He also has comments about wiggling octopus arms, "pig poop chutes" -- aka chitlins, and spicy grasshoppers.  Non-food related trivia is also included (i.e. a Midwest style cheeseburger -- Juicy/Jucy Lucy brings to mind Lucille Ball of I LOVE LUCY fame and psychiatrist Lucy from the PEANUTS gang.)  Certain species of rats are deemed quite tasty.  They can also characteristically hang out together as a clan -- similar to the entertainers' RAT PACK:  Sinatra, Martin, Davis, Lawford and Bishop.  A unique purchase with discretionary funds.  E.M. Roublow, LAPL, San Pedro Branch.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Siege & Storm

YA Fantasy

G/A  Bardugo, Leigh.  Siege and Storm.  Henry Holt, 2013.  448p.  978-0805094602.  17.99.

In this sequel to Shadow & Bone, the author picks up right where we left Alina and Mal, on a boat running away from Ravka and the Darkling. It’s not long though before the Darkling catches up with them and forces them to do his bidding. Only this time, the captain of his hired ship has plans of his own. Not much happens in this second book of the trilogy until the last 50 pages. It’s a lot of build-up and little action. If you haven’t read the first in the series, this one won’t make much sense and even if you have, you’ll have to wait until the third installment for any sort of resolution. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Far Far Away

General YA Fiction

G/A  McNeal, Tom.  Far Far Away.  Knopf Books, 2013.  384p.  978-0375849725.  17.99.

The ghost of Jacob Grimm is haunting Jeremy. Not haunting in a bad way, Jacob is there to protect Jeremy and hopes that by doing so he will be released into the afterworld. And Jeremy needs the help, almost his whole town has turned against him after a prank and his home is about to be auctioned off since his Dad hasn’t left the house or worked since Jeremy’s mother left them. With Jacob’s help, things are looking better until things go terribly wrong (much like a Grimm fairy tale). Unfortunately, there were a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the novel, such as what really causes the green smoke from the bakery? Regardless, fans of Neil Gaiman will enjoy the whimsical and sometimes frightening story. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

The Testing

Dystopian YA Fiction

VG/A  Charbonneau, Joelle.  The Testing.  Houghton Mifflin, 2013.  352p.  978-0547959108.  17.99.

In order to continue your education in the colonies, you must be selected for the Testing process. Although no one from Five Lakes Colony has been for many years, Cia Vale hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps and be selected. Lucky (or unlucky) for her, Cia and 3 of her classmates are all chosen. The Testing involves several levels, including a written exam, puzzle solving, teamwork and survival. Cia soon realizes why her father advised her not to trust anyone; there are very few rules for the participants and some students do not play nicely. Even though The Testing might be reminiscent of The Hunger Games, it’s original enough to stand on it’s own. Charbonneau does a fantastic job of building the world and providing back story without breaking from the current story. In the abundance of dystopian fiction out there, The Testing stands out.  Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Life After Theft

General YA Fiction

G/A. Pike, Aprilynne. Life After Theft. HarperCollins, 2013. 9780061999000 $17.99

When Jeff moves to Santa Monica from Phoenix, the last thing he expects is to make friends with a ghost much less a kleptomaniac ghost. Enter Kimberlee who has been haunting her prep school for the last year trying to get someone to see her. When Jeff finally does, she enlists him to return all the things she stole hoping this will be the penance she needs for her soul to move on and Jeff just doesn't want to be haunted forever.
There is some humor and a budding romance between Jeff and Kimberlee's sworn enemy complicates things

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

In the Shadow of Blackbirds

General YA Fiction

E/A. Winters, Cat. In the Shadow of Blackbirds. Amulet Books, 2013. 387 p. 9781419705304 $16.95

Mary Shelley Black has just been sent to San Diego live with her aunt. Besides widespread panic about the flu epidemic, she has to contend with spiritualists making money of off people’s misery and trying to use her image to do it. She is devastated when her best friend dies in the war and confused when he comes back as ghost. Will she be able to help his spirit find peace?
This book will appeal to historical fiction readers as well as those interested in the paranormal. The oppressive atmosphere of the war and the flu epidemic are almost palpable.

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

Tuesday, September 10, 2013



G/A  Kessler, David.  Your Food Is Fooling You.  Roaring Brook, 2013.  183p.  978-1-59643-831-6.  9.99.

Our life styles of today influence our attraction to many "prepared" foods which are easily available to us.  They are, however, laden with fat, salt and sugar.  Dr. Kessler encourages us to retrain our brains.  With determination, we can circumvent our habitual hunger/taste for processed foods that are truly unhealthy for us.  This is an adaptation of the author's 2009  END OF OVEREATING.  E.M. Roublow, LAPL, San Pedro Branch.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die

Young Adult Fiction

VG/A Henry, April. The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die. Henry Holt, 2013. 213p.978-0-8050-9541-8. 16.99.

Cady wakes up sore, beaten and bloody. She is tied to a chair and two men are talking about taking her out back and finishing her off. To make matters even worse, she has no idea who she is or how she got in this situation. Author Henry opens this suspenseful novel with our heroine barely surviving this scene, and the pace and the danger never let up. The plot threatens to become preposterous at each twist (and there are many) but Henry manages to make the resolution of the mystery believable and satisfying. Highly recommended for all teens looking for a good mystery or an action-packed thriller. Philip Levie, LAPL, Panorama City

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rose Under Fire

Young Adult Historical Fiction

VG/A  Wein, Elizabeth.  Rose Under Fire.  Hyperion, 2013.  368p.  978-1-4231-8309-9.  17.99

This companion book to Code Name Verity, picks up about 8 months after the events of the first novel. It’s a companion book because several of the characters from Verity make an appearance but this book stands alone. Here we follow the story of Rose, an 18-year-old American poet and pilot, who decides to join the war effort by joining the British ATA to deliver planes to the Allied Forces. Things take a turn for the worse when she is captured by the Germans and imprisoned at Ravensbruck concentration camp. At the camp Rose joins a group of Polish women who have been used for medical experimentation by the Nazis. Once again, Wein manages to beautifully tell a World War II story from an unusual perspective. Using Roses’ journal entries and poetry, the reader is able to really understand the strength it takes to survive, the anguish and the relationships that can form under such incredible circumstances. Highly recommend this book to young adults and adults alike. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould

High School Fiction

G/A. Gould, Sasha. Cross My Heart. Delacorte Press, 2012. 263p. 978-0-385-74150-7. $17.99.

Laura della Scala’s father has ordered her return home after previously forcing her to live at a convent in order to marry her dead sister’s fiancĂ©, Vincenzo, a cruel and selfish man Laura wants nothing to do with.  In order to escape this arranged marriage, she turns to the Segreta for help, a secret society of women who deal only in secrets. After successfully averting the marriage, she sets out to discover the truth of her sister’s death, a drowning she believes to be no accident and gets caught up in the political intrigues of Venice. 

Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

General Young Adult Fiction

G/A. Grant, Michael & Katherine Applegate. Eve & Adam. Feiwel and Friends, 2012. 978-0-312-58351-4. $17.99.

When Evening gets hurt in a car accident, her mother, Terra Spiker, head of Spiker Pharmaceuticals has her transferred to a private hospital. While she’s recovering, her mother gives her a project to design the perfect boy using a computer simulation program. She meets Solo, her mother's employee and ward. But Solo is more than just the gofer that he appears to be.  He is working to uncover the secrets of Spiker Pharmaceuticals that involve not only Eve and the program she's working on, but also dangerous secrets that may implicate Eve's own mother. 

Chasing the Skip by Janci Patterson

General Young Adult Fiction

F/A. Patterson, Janci. Chasing the Skip. Christy Ottaviano Books, 2012. 978-0-8050-9391-9. $16.99.

When Ricki’s mom leaves her, she has no choice but to go live with her dad.  As a bounty hunter, his job takes him everywhere, and Ricki rides along with him as he tracks down skips. When her dad picks up seventeen-year-old Ian Burnham, Ricki finds herself instantly attracted to this bad boy. Despite, her father’s warnings that Ian is dangerous, Ricki believes that Ian is merely misunderstood. Little does she realize what dire consequences her assumptions about Ian will have. 

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

High School Fiction

F/A. Shirvington, Jessica. Embrace. Sourcebooks Fire, 2012. 978-1-4022-6840-3. $16.99.

On her seventeenth birthday, Violet Eden finds out that her life is not what it seems. Her friend and crush, Lincoln has been lying to her.  Like her, he is part angel and part human.  Now Violet is set with a difficult decision; she must fully embrace her angel side or deny her powers even if it costs Lincoln his life.  For fans of Lauren Kate’s Fallen or Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush.   

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

High School Fiction

G/A. Albin, Gennifer. Crewel. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012. 357p. 978-0-374-31641-9. $17.99.

Although intentionally trying to fail the Guild’s tests, Adelice’s gift to weave the very fabric of life cannot be denied.  She is taken in the night by the Manipulation Services and is forced to become a Spinster for the Guild.  Many girls dream about having the luxurious life of a Spinster, the glamour, the parties, the beautiful clothes and beautiful apartments, but for Adelice this "privileged" life comes at too high a cost. 

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

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Best Shot in the West


G/E  McKissack, Patricia.  Best Shot in the West.  Chronicle, 2012.  129p.
978-0-8118-5749-9.  19.99.

  A small segment of African American history is noted in this graphic biography of Nat Love.  To support his widowed mother, younger brother and parentless nieces, Nat becomes a cowpuncher, a skillful horse rider and an expert marksman.  He earns the name "DEADWOOD DICK" when he wins every contest during a rodeo in Deadwood, S. Dakota.  Since there isn't much text, this title might serve best to peak the interest of reluctant readers.  Hopefully, they'd want to learn more details about a post Civil War cowboy.  E.M. Roublow, LAPL, San Pedro Branch.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Escape Theory

General YA Fiction

F/A. Froley, Margaux. Escape Theory: A Keaton School Novel. Soho Press, 2013. 288 p. 9781616951276 $17.99

Devon feels connected to Hutch after a incident freshman year even though they rarely speak anymore so his apparent suicide is a shock. Using her new role as a peer counselor, Devon sets off to prove that Hutch was murdered. This is the first in a series.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew

The Ruining

General YA Fiction
G/A. Collomore, Anna. The Ruining. Razorbill, 2013. 313 p. 9781595144706 $17.99     

Ever since she was unable to save her younger sister from drowning, Annie has felt responsible for the death. Now she has a chance for a clean slate. She is heading to San Francisco to be a live in nanny for the well-to-do Cohen family, but all is not what it seems. A psychological mystery that takes a page from The Yellow Wallpaper and Gaslight, one can’t be sure what is real and what is hallucination.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew

Monday, April 15, 2013

This Is What Happy Looks Like

General YA Fiction

VG/A  Smith, Jennifer E.  This is What Happy Looks Like.  Poppy, 2013.  416p.  978-0316212823.  17.99.

When Ellie responds to an email sent to her on accident, she has no idea that she has started a witty correspondence with Graham, a 17-year-old movie star. Graham loves the anonymity with Ellie since the rest of his life is under a microscope. So when given the opportunity, Graham opts to shoot his next movie in Ellie’s small, seaside Maine town so he can finally meet her. Ellie can’t believe that Graham has been her pen pal for the past few months, but she has family secrets of her own and the constant paparazzi are too much for her and her mother to handle. This book is the epitome of a teen summer read; it’s a sweet, romantic story with no sex or bad language. It’s what all teen girls daydream about…falling in love with and being swept off your feet by a handsome celebrity. Swoon worthy. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Madness Underneath

General YA Fiction

VG/A. Johnson, Maureen. The Madness Underneath. Penguin Young Readers Group, 2013. 304 p. 9780399256615 $17.99

Rory’s back after almost being killed by a ghost. As she struggles to keep up with her school work, she decides to see a therapist. She soon discovers that the school was built on top of a mental institution and the dead patients are coming back.

A compelling sequel to The Name of the Star.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew 

Bronte Sisters: Brief lives of Charlotte, Emily and Anne

General YA Nonfiction

VG/A. Reef, Catherine. Bronte Sisters: Brief lives of Charlotte, Emily and Anne. Clarion Books, 2012. 240 p. 9780547579665 $18.99     

From the author that brought you Jane Austen, comes a new bio of Charlotte, Emily and Anne. I didn't know anything about the Brontes and now I wish I didn't. Much like her previous biographies Reef shows us their real lives and circumstances even when they aren't very pleasant.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Nobody's Secret

General YA Fiction
F/A  MacColl, Michaela.  Nobody’s Secret.  Chronicle Books, 2013.  248p.  978-1-4521-0860-5.  16.99.
When a nameless, but handsome stranger turns up dead in the Dickinson’s pond, Emily decides to take it upon herself to figure out who he was and why he ended up on their property. While figuring out the man’s untimely death, she discovers town secrets and gets herself in a little trouble too. Although each chapter’s title is a line or two from Emily Dickinson’s poetry, there is no other connection between the story and the famous poet. The girl in the story could have been any well-connected teenager in 1845 Massachusetts. Otherwise it’s a nice little mystery that isn’t overly complicated for the average teen reader. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pizza, Lova, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams

High School Fiction VG/A Williams, Kathryn. Pizza, love, and other stuff that made me famous New York: Henry Holt, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-8050-9285-1 231p. $16.99. Sixteen-year-old Sophie Nicolaides vaguely has any memory of her mother. Raised solely by her father in their Italian-Greek Taverna Ristorante, she always wants to become a chef. One day her best friend Alex, signed her up for an audition to appear on reality, Teen Test Kitchen. She was reluctant first but she knows that if she wins, she will be able to spend the summer in Napa, California and the prize will include a full scholarship to culinary school. With her Rosemary Lamb Chops with Spanish and White Bean Ragout recipe, she won the local competition and will be able to go Napa. In California, she met several other contestants and she begins her friendship and rivalry with the others. In addition, she was able to spend some quality time with her aunt Maria, sister of her mother. She discovered many wonderful memory of her mother through her aunt and uncovered how her father and mother met. At the same time, she also discover what is reality TV, which isn’t really what she expected, it is more of a show. In the end, she returned to Fairfax, Virginia without winning, but she is happy to be home again with her family and best friend Alex. Reviewed by Dora Ho, Young Adult Librarian - LAPL

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stars in the Shadows


G/A  Smith Jr, Charles R.  Stars in the Shadows.  Atheneum, 2012.  106p.  978-0-689-86638-8.  14.99.  True to his passion for writing about and imaging sports, the author/illustrator serves us a live baseball game -- played by an all-star Negro league in 1934.  A radio announcer identifies each inning's roster of batters and calls the play-by-play action.  Commercials that support the on-air entertainment are also included.  And page length side-bars reflect fans' conversations.  Visually, the text appears to be written in prose but when read aloud -- there's definite poetry rhyming.  Within households of kindred grandparents--grandchildren relationships, this baseball history would be fun to enjoy together.  This could also qualify as material for a classroom monologue.  E.M. Roublow,
LAPL, San Pedro Branch.



G/A  Fletcher, Ralph.  Guy-Write.  Henry Holt, 2012.  166p.  978-0-8050-9404-6.  15.99.  Hooray for a "how-to" for the fellas.  Male authors including Jon Scieszka, Robert Lipsyte and Jarrett Krosoczka -- who also draws -- give tips, strategies and encouragement on writing skills.  Topical seeds can grow from notebook notes, drawings and/or storyboarding.  Students can elect to enjoy reading this from cover to cover or meander through interviews and writing samples.  Hopefully, a host of English teachers will use this (or make it available) in the classroom as a supplement to the standard class textbook.  E.M. Roublow, LAPL, San Pedro Branch.

All You Never Wanted

F/A  Griffin, Adele.  All You Never Wanted.  Knopf, 2012.  240p.  978-0375870828.  16.99.

Sisters Alex and Thea may be close in age, but they couldn’t be more different. Alex, the high school senior, was always the prettier, more popular one, but lately she’s been acting strange and barely eating. High school junior, Thea is trying to change her image to be more like her older sister, even going so far as trying to steal her friends and boyfriend. Her method: lying about everything. She’s desperate for attention. The book takes course over a weekend when their parents are out of town and Thea wants to throw a party. Unfortunately the writing out shines the plot in this novel. When you find out why Alex is behaving so strangely, no amount of good writing can make up for the silliness of it. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sons of the 613

F/A  Rubens, Michael.  Sons of the 613.  Clarion Books, 2012.  320p.  978-0547612164.  16.99.

Three weeks before his Bar Mitzvah, Isaac witnesses his friend’s disastrous turn on the bema and finds out his parents are going to Italy for two weeks and leaving his older brother, Josh in charge. As if he wasn’t nervous already! Josh decides to take this opportunity to really turn his brother into a man by creating a quest for him that involves camping, excessive exercise, bars, a makeover, motorcycles and a final prank. Rubens is a Daily Show writer and you can tell with all the potty humor, but the humor comes in waves and it takes a heavy turn towards the end. Boys looking for humorous reads might like it, but would probably prefer Calame’s Swim the Fly or Crawford’s Carter Finally Gets It. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

General YA Fiction

G/A.  Laybourne, Emmy.  Monument 14.  Feiwel and Friends.  2012.  304p.  978-0-312-56903-7.  16.99

A post-apocalyptic near future is the setting for Laybourne’s debut novel. Fourteen youth ranging from kindergartners to high school seniors find themselves trapped in a superstore and faced with an uncertain future in the aftermath of a series of natural and man-made disasters. Though seemingly safe and with more than adequate provisions, the youth still must deal with internal power struggles, teen hormones and homesick little children, not to mention the threat from the adults outside who either covet supplies or who have succumbed to the dangerous side effects from the ensuing chemical fallout. An exciting opening and ending sandwich a sometimes repetitive middle. Having said that, it’s still a quick and easy read that will leave readers wanting to know what happens next in the planned sequel. Recommended for high school since there is mention of drug taking, drinking and some sexual situations as well as an allusion to an attempted rape.
Patsy Pinedo Tuck, Eagle Rock Branch, Los Angeles Public Library

Friday, January 25, 2013

Not Exactly a Love Story

High School Fiction
G/A. Couloumbis, Audrey. Not Exactly a Love Story. Random House, 2012. 288 p. 9780375867835 $16.99           

Vinnie's parents are getting divorced and his mother has married his High School gym teacher. They have moved to Long Island right next door to Patsy, the hottest girl in school. Vinnie immediately develops a crush and tries to call her. What starts out as a series of awkward hang-up calls turns into an obscene phone call. The calls continue every night at midnight where Vinnie portrays himself as the smooth-talking Vincenzo. As they both open up, Vinnie realizes he needs to reveal himself but will Patsy still like him?

This book is set in the 1970s before Caller ID, cell phones and Facebook but teens still deal with the same issues of first love, bullying and abusive relationships.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Janie Face to Face

General YA Fiction
F/A. Cooney, Caroline B. Janie Face to Face. Random House. 2013. 345 p. 9780385742061 $17.99 

The Face on the Milk Carton was a favorite of mine as a young teen but this ending is just too happily ever after. The writing is repetitive and the characters are flat. The addition of current technology and social networking is shoehorned in. Janie/Jennie is still conflicted about which parents she should spend more time with. The only interesting part is seeing into the mind of her kidnapper, Hannah, as she plots her revenge on the girl she believes stole her parents and had the easy life she should have had. Only hardcore Janie fans will read this.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Hallowed Ones

G/M  Bickle, Laura.  The Hallowed Ones.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.  311p.  978-0-547-85926-2.  8.99.

Katie is looking forward to Rumspringa. She can’t wait to explore the world outside of her small Amish community. What she doesn’t know is that something has gone terribly wrong outside the fence and life will never be the same for anyone. When she finds a hurt young man by the fence she brings him inside, knowing that the Elders would not approve. But with his knowledge and help she learns about what is happening outside and how to deal with it. There are definitely some gory, cringe worthy moments in this twist on vampires, but it’s an original tale worth reading. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Summer of the Mariposas

General YA Fiction

VG/A. McCall, Guadalupe Garcia. Summer of the Mariposas. Lee and Low, 2012. 352 p. 9781600609008 $19.95

Odilia and her four sisters have been struggling since their father left to pursue his music career. Their mom works long hours at a restaurant to support them. When they find a dead man by the creek with a photo of his family in his wallet, they are determined to reunite them in Mexico. With La Llorona serving as Odilia’s guide, the girls set off on an adventure that combines elements of Aztec mythology with Homer’s Odyssey.

Sarah Mae Harper, CoLAPL- AC Bilbrew