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Showing posts from September, 2015

Cybils Nominations

Tomorrow is the day nominations open for the 2015 Cybils. I am a Round One Panelist this year in the category of MG Realistic Fiction. I thought I would make a list of books I would love to see nominated in my category in case you are looking for inspiration.

Orbiting Jupiter

I was very much looking forward to Orbiting Jupiter  by Gary Schmidt because I generally really enjoy Gary Scmidt's books. After reading the first chapter, I was certain that this one would wreck me emotionally. Possibly more than any other. I wasn't wrong. But I also wasn't right. I was expecting a good sort of emotionally destroyed. A Code Name Verity  type of emotionally destroyed. That's not what I got. Jack lives a quiet sheltered life on his parents' farm in Maine until his family takes in a 14 year old foster kid named Joseph. Joseph became a father at 13 and was sent to a Juvenile Detention Center. Broken and sad, Joseph's one dream is to be reunited with his infant daughter, Jupiter. Jack's life is changed by seeing his school, town, and life in general through Joseph's eyes. The harsh events of Joseph's life is all too realistic. He is an abused child who was screwed over by the system on pretty much every level imaginable. He is incr

Two Books About Teens Used as Pawns in War

Reading the covers for The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow and The Unquiet  by Mikaela Everett, you might not think they would have that much in common. I read them back to back and was surprised to find as many similarities as I did. Both have incredibly different premises and main characters, but there is quite a lot in terms of thematic development that the books share. Given this and that I wasn't motivated to write full reviews on either one of them, I decided to combine them. The Scorpion Rules  takes place in a future world where a climatic shifts caused the world governments to sink into chaos and war over food and water supplies. A clever AI named Talis stepped into this chaos and took over the UN. Now the world lives under the rules Talis has created and each nation's leader must send a Child of Peace to basically be held hostage until they are old enough to rule. If a nation goes to war, the child is executed. The book follows Greta Gustafsen of the Pan-Polar Confedera

TTT: Books on My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday  is a Meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish This week's TTT topic: Books on Fall TBR Books Not Yet Released:  Books Already Released: Hopefully I can get all of these in with the reading I'll be doing for Cybils as well! What are you looking forward to reading this Fall?

I'm a Cybils Judge!

The judges for the 2015 Cybils Awards were announced yesterday. You can see all the judges for every category on the blog here .  I will be serving as a Round One judge in MG Realistic Fiction this year. I love being a Round One judge because I get to read so many books. I've found a lot of favorites that I might not have read otherwise this way. This is my first year with MG Realistic and am looking forward to the switch in genres.  My fellow team members are: Michael Gettel-Gilmartin from Middle Grade Mafioso Pamela Groseclose from Tween You & Me Sarah Sammis from Puss Reboots Debbie Tanner from TheBook Search Libertad Thomas from Twinja Book Reviews Julie Williams from Reading by the Pond I'm looking forward to working with and getting to know all of these bloggers. The next big step in the Cybils process is nominations. Start making your list of favorite reads of the past year and get ready to nominate starting October 1! 

Walk on Earth a Stranger

I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson. There was no way I could pass up a chance to read an ARC of her new book Walk on Earth a Stranger . This is an incredibly different sort of fantasy from her first trilogy. I wasn't really sure if I would like it as much going in as I've never been a huge fan of Gold Rush/Oregon Trail novels, but I LOVED this. Loved loved loved it. Yesterday it was included on the longlist of books for National Book Award for Young People's Literature. It most assuredly deserves to be there. Lee Westfall has a special ability that must remain a secret. She can sense the whereabouts of gold. If this were discovered, she knows people would want to use and exploit her for their own gain. Lee is content finding what gold she can on her father's claim in Georgia and living a quiet life with her parents. Everything changes when her parents are shot dead by someone they trusted, someone they told her secret to. Knowing she needs to


Crenshaw  is Katherine Applegate's most recent novel since winning the Newbery for The One and Only Ivan . It is, understandably, highly anticipated by many. It has also been greatly lauded even prior to its release. It's possible I'm just having a grumpy really off year, but the MG novels of 2015 that are getting the most acclaim and hype are leaving me cold. Crenshaw  is another in a long line of these. There are a lot of good points to it, but I was mostly underwhelmed. I do think it tells a story that we need to see in children's literature more often though. Jackson is stressed out. His parents are selling their things. There are late night conversations that turn to arguments between them. The landlord has been visiting often. There is little food in the house and the power was turned off for a few days. Jackson knows what all of this means because he has been down this road with his parents before. The last time it meant living in their van for a month and eati

A Thousand Nights

The story of Scheherazade is one that is tricky to do as a retelling. There's so much potential for the problematic. E.K. Johnston is one of the few authors I would name as one who could tackle this and do it well if I were asked. And in A Thousand Nights  she did just that. Lo-Melkhiin has wed-and killed-300 different girls. The first few caused unease but went generally unremarked by the nobles. When the numbers started to pile up, a law was passed. One girl from each village in turn and then he could start over again. One girl has the courage to make herself the target of his eye in order to spare the life of her sister. After she survives the first night and then another she begins to realize she has a power her predecessors did not have fed by her sister's prayers and rites that have made her into a small god. The demon who inhabits the body of the once great king is intrigued by this new wife. When he realizes the power she has, he becomes greedy to share it and use it

A Nearer Moon

The cover of A Nearer Moon  captured me the moment I saw it. That the book is written by Melanie Crowder whose release, Audacity , earlier this year completely captivated me guaranteed that I would want to read it. It is a brilliant work of fantasy with an amazing heart. Luna lives in a village on stilts in a swamp. Luna has grown up on her grandmother's stories of the time when she was a child before the great trees fell creating the dam that turned their beautiful river into a swamp with foul water. Even one mouthful of the swamp's water brings on a wasting sickness with no cure. Three weeks to the day the unfortunate person swallows the water they die. When Luna's sister, who is the joy and spirit of her family, gets a mouthful of the water one day, Luna is determined to do anything to save her. Luna has never believed in magic or curses, but when the doctor in the floating city says she can do nothing to help an illness caused by magic, Luna becomes even more desp