Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Book Info

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

by Beth Fantaskey

Summary
The undead can really screw up your senior year . . .
Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

My Thoughts
I thought this book would just be another vampire/immortal love story that would be angsty and repetative of the Twilight theme but instead I was laughing from the comedy and satire! Jessica is a mathlete (it is nice to see a book that gives a girl main character math skills) that just wants to date the boy next door, instead she gets a snobby teenage vampire. This culture clash is highlighted in Lucius' letters back home and they had me laughing up a storm. I especially liked that Jessica not only is a mathlete but also jumps horses because it gives her character several things to do- plus there is a good reaction sceene where Lucius is shocked to see her cleaning the stable as if she were a commoner. Of course, she stabs him in the foot with the pitchfork!
I would recommend this book to any teenage girl who is looking for a good paranormal romance with a large helping of humor.

Reviews

Ages 14-up. A romance involving a high school girl and a handsome vampire may sound a little too familiar, yet this first novel quickly bursts ahead of the pack of Twilight-wannabes. [Fantaskey] makes this premise work by playing up its absurdities without laughing at them, endowing Jessica with a coolly ironic sensibility and Lucius with old-world snobberies that Jessica's girlfriends find irresistible. Jessica's laidback parents serve as foils for imperious Lucius ("Can I ever again be happy in our soaring Gothic castle after walking the halls of Woodrow Wilson High School, a literal ode to linoleum?" he asks sarcastically); a scene at a steakhouse where the vegan Packwoods meet the carnivorous Vladescus is first-rate comedy. The romance sizzles, the plot develops ingeniously and suspensefully, and the satire sings.

(Publishers Weekly)

A Thief in the House of Memory



Book Info

A Thief in the House of Memory

by Tim Wynne-Jones


Summery

It's been six years since sixteen-year-old Dec's free-spirited mother, Lindy, disappeared. Dec feels so trapped in the present, he's avoided examining his past. But when an intruder dies in the museum-like family home, the man's death sends forth tremors that reawaken forgotten memories. Suddenly Dec is flooded with visions of his mother so tangible it's hard to believe they're not real. At least Dec has his best friend - gifted, funny Ezra - to help him sort out what's real and what isn't. But as Dec's dream visions of his mother turn into nightmares, Ezra announces he's going away, leaving Dec haunted by questions that must be answered. What did happen to his mother? And who really is the thief in the house of memory?

In this masterful new novel, Tim Wynne-Jones explores with wit, compassion, and humor the fictional territory he knows best - the prickly ties that bind families, the murky connections between imagination and real life.


My Thoughts

I picked this book up at the library without reading the synopsis or knowing any of the authors works; I just liked the picture on the cover. I know I'm always telling people that they shouldn't judge a book by its cover but in this case- please do! I liked the mystery aspect of the book while Dec tries to remember his mother and the night that she left him. This book is his quest to figure out the truth about his family's past and what realy happened in the museum house they used to live in. Did Dec's mother abandon them? Did his father kill the theif with a bust of Plato? Dec tries to piece together memories that flood back to him everytime he steps into "The House of Memory".

Reviews

Ages 12-up. Becoming absorbed in this book is like entering a dream. From first chapter to last, Wynne-Jones (The Boy in the Burning House) masterfully evokes the surreal quality of faded memories enhanced or distorted by the imagination... Readers will be just as consumed as the hero is in his search for answers. Offering a plot, setting and characters that are equally alluring, this novel is part mystery and part psychological study of how the past affects the present.

(Publishers Weekly, April 2005)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Immortal: Love Stories With Bite

Book Info


Immortal: Love Stories With Bite

edited by P.C. Cast

Summary

In Immortal: Love Stories With Bite, edited by New York Times bestselling author of the House of Night series P.C. Cast, seven of today's most popular YA vampire and contemporary fantasy authors offer new short stories that prove that when you're immortal, true love really is forever.
Rachel Caine (the Morganville Vampires series) revisits the setting of her popular series, where the vampires are in charge and love is risky.

Cynthia Leitich Smith (Tantalize) gives us a love triangle between a vampire, a ghost and a human girl, in which none of them are who or what they seem.

Claudia Gray (Evernight) takes us into the world of her Evernight series, in which a pre-Civil War courtesan-to-be is courted by a pale, fair-haired man whose attentions are too dangerous to spurn.

Richelle Mead (the Vampire Academy series) brings us the tale of a young vampire on the run from the rest of her kind, and the human boy who provides the getaway car.

Nancy Holder (the Wicked series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) immerses us in a post-apocalyptic New York where two best friends are forced to make a choice that may kill them both.

Kristin Cast (the House of Night series) introduces us to a new kind of vampire: one with roots in Greek mythology, and the power to alter space and time.

And Tanith Lee (Black Unicorn) shows us what happens when a bright young woman with some supernatural savvy encounters a misguided (but gorgeous) young vampire.

My Thoughts

I am really enjoying short stories right now. This one had a few authors that I have read before and several that I am going to check out over the winter break. Of the eight stories "Table Manners" Tanith Lee, "Binge" Rachel Vincent, and "Dead Man Stalking" Rachel Caine were my favorites.

Tanith Lee also wrote The Black Unicorn and uses her unusual writing style to write a great gothic short story. "Table Manners" uses vampirism as an evolution of humankind, not a disease or curse and the main character is trying to help but may have just made life worse for a fledgling vampire.

Rachel Vincent is a new author to me but her use of sirens and a leanan sidhe in "Binge" is spectacular. I always enjoy a story about the mythological creatures from Greek myths and the sirens are one of the most under used.

Rachel Caine is already one of my favorite YA writers with her Morganville Vampire Series and a short story told by Shane of the same series is a delight. He is still dealing with his "daddy issues" when who comes back to town but the vengful biker himself. Will Shane finally help his father kill all the vampires, including his best friend Michael?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

High School Debut

Book Info
High School Debut
by Kazune Kawahara

Summary
When Haruna Nagashima was in junior high her life consisted of playing softball and reading comics. But now that she's going to high school, Haruna decides to put all of her energy towards getting a boyfriend and having the high school romance of a lifetime. To help in her quest, she enlists cute upperclassman Yo Komiyama to coach her as she eschews her jock tendencies and turns herself into the kind of girl who can catch a guy. Yo agrees, with one catch: Haruna had better not fall for him!

My Thoughts
I was scanning the Fort Worth Public Library's graphic novel collection and saw this title. I picked it up and thought that the discription sounded cute and it was! High School debut is a fun manga that tells the story of a girl who does not know how to be girly. I can identify with Haruna and her troubles of longing for love and not knowing how to get it. That was me in high school and I wish there was a coach who could have helped me. I have already requested the next two volumes but the waiting list is long. That is always a good sign that a series is good!

Reviews
Grade 7 Up–Haruno, a star softball player in middle school, decides to put the same determination and effort she once put into athletics into finding a boyfriend in high school. In order to do this, she pesters Yoh, an attractive older boy, until he agrees to act as her love coach. Haruno eagerly takes in his advice but she persists in reading teen magazines in the hopes of charting a faster path to love. Yoh grows frustrated with her faith in the magic of fashion magazines and her refusal to give up her athletic clothing. Kawahara uses a pen-and-ink style similar to that in Yoko Kamio's Boys over Flowers (VIZ Media). Lightly peppered with the message that girls shouldn't have to change themselves in order to please a man, High School Debut is standard fare for younger manga readers. With a clean plot and only the stereotypical female temper tantrum for added drama, it's a good purchase for schools and libraries.
(School Library Journal)

Lips Touch Three Times

Book Info
Lips Touch Three Times
by Laini Taylor http://lainitaylor.com/
illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo http://jimdibartolo.com/

Summary
Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers' souls:

Goblin Fruit: In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today's savvy girls?
Spicy Little Curses: A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Hatchling: Six days before Esme's fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

My Thoughts
This book was beautifully unique as a whole with darkness and romance all wrapped up into on package. I really liked Lips Touch Three Times but the first story was my favorite. I have always liked The Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti and thought the story was a good representation of the poem. Temptation is always around us and sometimes curiosity really does kill the cat.

The second story was set in India and made me think of novels by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I enjoyed the fairy tale curse and the bargaining demon. I have always enjoyed stories set in exotic places- especially when people are first discovering them. I like the Amelia Peabody mysteries set in Egypt because it is all new and they give historical informationa as well.

The last story I am on the fence but I did enjoy it, just not as much as the others. I liked the imagery of the setting and characters. That was well down throughout all the stories but this one really captured the atmosphere of Mab's fear and the soullessness of the people.

Lastly, I have to comment on the art in this book. It camptures the atmosphere completely and gave a nice prelude to the stories. I liked that that they were all together and not scattered throughout the story. It gave the book a graphic novel feel but it did not detract from the stories.

Reviews
Ages 12–up. Taylor offers a powerful trio of tales, each founded upon the consequences of a kiss. She explores the potentially awkward conceit in three dramatically different fantasies, each featuring a young female protagonist out of place in the world she inhabits: contemporary Kizzy, who so yearns to be a normal, popular teenager that she forgets the rules of her Old Country upbringing and is seduced by a goblin in disguise; Anamique, living in British colonial India, silenced forever due to a spell cast upon her at birth; and Esmé, who at 14 discovers she is host to another—nonhuman—being. The stories build in complexity and intensity, culminating in the breathtaking “Hatchling,” which opens with a spectacularly gripping prologue (“Esmé swayed on her feet. These weren't her memories. This wasn't her eye”). Each is, in vividly distinctive fashion, a mesmerizing love story that comes to a satisfying but never predictable conclusion. Di Bartolo's illustrations provide tantalizing visual preludes to each tale, which are revealed as the stories unfold. Even nonfantasy lovers will find themselves absorbed by Taylor's masterful, elegant work.
(Publisher's Weekly, Oct. 2009)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Forever... By Judy Blume

Book Info
Forever... By Judy Blume

Summary

Katherine and Michael are in love and after discussing their feelings carefully they decide to have sex; when they finally having it, they talk about it thoroughly and obtain contraception from a family planning clinic. However, separated for the summer by work that takes them to two different states, Katherine finds herself aware of the limitations of the relationship and ultimately attracted to a tennis instructor, Theo, who is older and more experienced in life. Is this first love going to be forever?
My Thoughts

I never read Forever as a young adult and I can see how some parents may have reservations about their children reading this to early. However, teens and preteens are exposed to sex on a daily basis. This book talks about the consequences and how to stay safe which is more than most movies and books show. I wish more books, TV shows and movies would talk about the chararcters practicing safe sex because this is where teens get their information when their parents do not talk to them. Another book that talks about this is Meg Cabot's Ready or Not. It talks about the different forms of birth control and which ones the main character should use.

Reviews
Blume vitalizes all those sex-education books in her lively, graphic story of a senior-year love affair based primarily on physical attraction. Once Katherine Danziger and Michael Wagner meet at a party, they have eyes only for each other, and their romance progresses rapidly from kissing to heavy petting to lying together and finally to frequent sexual intercourse after Kath gets the Pill from a Planned Parenthood officer. Although Kath’s parents are supportive of her, they worry she will get herself into exactly the situation she is in. The pair are separated after graduation when the Danzigers force Kath to take a summer job at a New Hampshire camp and Michael is sent to his uncle in North Carolina. At first, they write each other daily, but then Kath becomes attracted to another counselor and feels guilty and emotionally confused. Michael’s unexpected arrival at the camp brings matter to a head. Characters—including adults and friends of the protagonists—are well developed, dialogue is natural, and the story is convincing; however, the explicit sex scenes will limit this to the mature reader. (Booklist, Oct. 1975)

Suggestions

I placed three different covers of the book in the review to show the evolution of books covers. This would be a good book to ask teens which of the covers relates to them and how they should not judge a book by its cover.

It is also a book that talks about sex candidly and a good segway into a book talk with books that promote safe sex. Parents permission must be obtained before coming to book talk.


Module 15 Journal


Choose one of the books from the reading list of censored books. Discuss the controversial issues in the book. Then discuss how a librarian might defend this book against censorship.

The Captain Underpants books were reported by the American Library Association to be the sixth most challenged books of 2002, the fourth most frequently challenged book of 2004, and the eighth most challenged book of 2005. According to the American Library Association, Pilkey's Captain Underpants series was banned in some schools for insensitivity, being unsuited to age group, encouraging children to disobey authority, offensive language, and anti-family content.

2002:
6. Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey Reasons: offensive language and unsuited to age group

2004:
4. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav PilkeyReasons: offensive language and sexually explicit

2005:
8. Captain Underpants (Series), by Dav Pilkey Reasons: anti-family content, being unsuited to age group and violence

If this book was challenged at my library I would first go to Dav Pilkey’s website (http://www.pilkey.com/q-and-a.php) for information on why Pilkey started writing these books and how he wants to help children with reading disabilities enjoy books.

According to the site, the book is based on a super hero that Dav Pilkey invented way back in 1973 when he was a second grader. The comics that Dav made were very much like the comic book that George and Harold sell on the playground in Chapter 3. Many of the things in the book are taken directly from Dav's childhood: the practical jokes, the comics, even the cheesy animation technique called "Flip-O-Rama" (Dav and his friends used to amuse themselves by making these flip-action animated pictures in elementary school). Dav Pilkey had reading disabilities when he was a kid. He was always discouraged by wordy texts, small type, and lengthy chapters. "My goal with The Adventures of Captain Underpants was to invent a style which was almost identical to that of a picturebook --- in a novel format. So I wrote incredibly short chapters and tried to fill each page with more pictures than words. I wanted to create a book that kids who don't like to read would want to read."

These books encourage young boys to read and clamor for more books. This book is filled with the interests of uninterested readers in mind. Those who find the book to vulgar for their own children should restrict access by placing a note in the child’s file. Many children find the bathroom humor funny and some early male readers need the extra motivation to read.

I would also recommend reading the article What's So Funny 'Bout Pee, Poop, and Underwear: The Controversy Over Captain Underpants by Bill Gibron to all librarians. It breaks down the series by each and the article tries to have people view Captain Underpants for what it is -- a children's book. Bill Gibron attempts to figure out exactly why Dav Pilkey's creation is number four on the ALA's Banned Books list.
http://www.popmatters.com/books/features/050930-bannedbooks-gibron.shtml


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