Tuesday, August 31, 2010

today is PARANORLAMCY day!

Today is August 31, the day Paranormalcy releases into stores - yay! Other books are being released today, but I'm making a big deal out of this one.

So just in case you missed it, here are a few points from my review:

Paranormalcy is the newest Must Have book for the fall, a treat every teen needs to ease those back-to-school blues. The characters were all so unique, quirky and absolutely lovable. The narrator, Evie, is just about as awesome as her zebra dress and pink boots. Her voice was funny, sassy and endearing – all the ingredients needed to cook up one of the best fictional characters of 2010! It was so great to watch her grow and mature over the course of the story. Oh, Evie, I'd love for you to be real. If you thought high school was fun, just you wait until you come to college with me! :P
But I can’t forget the love interest, Lend. Abso-freaking-lutely going in my Boyfriends! file. Besides being completely swoon-worthy, Lend is also an incredibly original character. Vampire? Nope. Werewolf? Uh-uh. Faerie? No way. Angel? Fuggedabadit. You’ll just have to see for yourself. And Reth… you know, I didn’t expect this to happen, but he became one of my favorite characters. His scenes were absolutely delicious.
But characters aside, what impressed me the most about P was its sheer originality. I’ve read YA nearly exclusively for 2 years now, and I can honestly say that Paranormalcy was like nothing I’d ever read before. If we’re all sitting in a circle, holding hands and being honest, I thought I had this story pegged from page one. I thought I knew – because it was a “paranormal” book – what would happen in the story. Guys and girls – I wasn’t EVEN close! I can’t tell you all enough just how creative and ORIGINAL Paranormalcy is. This amazing story full of amazing characters populating an amazing world came straight out of the mind of the intensely talented Kiersten White, and I WAGER that you have not read anything like this! Evie and the world of the IPCA was so brilliantly created and put together.

From one YA lover to all of you, I guarantee you don’t want to miss this phantasmagorical thrill ride.

So go buy it! Or make plans to buy it. Or, if nothing else, put it on your TBR list!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Review - GONE

Gone (Gone, #1) - Michael Grant
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Speculative/Dystopian (somewhat)
# of pages: 558 (pb)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Recommended to: 14+
Gone @ Parental Book Reviews

What an awesome premise to a really cool series! Seriously, what would life be like in a society run entirely by youths?
Grant reminds me a lot of Rowling and Riordan in that he successfully handles a large ensemble cast of characters. Not every series has as many crucial characters to the plot as this series. In fact, it's sometimes easier to play it safe with a small bunch of important characters, lest an author creates too many and then has a chaotic time of keeping track of them all. It surprised me how fleshed out and well-rounded everybody was.
That's another point - Grant is a master at creating awesome "villains." Not only were they interesting, they were incredibly dynamic, and truth be told, I enjoyed their scenes! Like, "Woo-hoo, here come the villains!"
So many well-done storytelling areas, too: just the right blend of action, romance, emotional depth, and crucial dialogue parts.
I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. When all the adults just "poof out," what kind of society is left? How can a bunch of kids (who are 14 at the oldest) able to survive? What I thought was cool about Michael Grant's book is the optimistic belief in the maturity of some teens and their strength to "make it." I can't wait to start the second book in the series!

Quick Say: Fans of The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and/or YA devotees in general will not want to miss this fast-paced, thrilling debut to the Gone series. Despite a little implausibility and a bit of story redundancy, Gone was definitely a "hit" with me!

Final Grade:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

So long, August!

Another month come and gone! It's nearly September, school is back in session, and hopefully it won't be long until we get some cool weather! I don't know about the rest of you all over the world, but I'm really ready for something cooler than 103 degrees.

August wasn't as ravenous a reading month as June or July, but I still did okay.

So here are some STATS for August!
Number of Books: 4
Favorite Read: Hands down, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. And whadaya know! Paranormalcy hits shelves TUESDAY!
Least Favorite Read: This is a toughie... in terms of enjoyability alone, I'd have to say Mockingjay. I'll go into detail when I post my review, but it did not live up to the sensationalized hype, and that was a major letdown.
Most Original Idea or Story World: Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement was MADE for this category. So much originality, rich details, strong writing... very, very cool!
Best Narrator/MC: Evie, Paranormalcy. She's definitely a contender for Best Narrator of the Year! Too bad she's not real - I would love to apply to be her sidekick :)
Best Love Interest: Winning the title 2 months in a row...it's PEETA MELLARK!
Best/Most Interesting Supporting Character: The Morrigan, The Replacement. She is just so deliciously creepy, so hideously beautiful... I twisted around this category just for her.
Best Book Cast (overall characters): the cast of Gone. Michael Grant handles such a large character ensemble so fabulously.
Book You Really REALLY Don't Want to Miss: Just for closure's sake, I'd say Mockingjay. But in case you haven't read Gone yet...get thee to a library or bookstore!
Author I'd Love to Hang Out With: I butt into her conversations enough on twitter, but Kiersten White seems like one awesome gal who would be an excellent shopping pal.
Book That Had the Greatest Impact on Me: Mockingjay. I'm still thinking about it - about how it ended, about the final leg in the Hunger Games journey, and for a book to have this much power...is awesome and unnerving at the same time.

Total # of pages read: 1,634

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Top YA Novels of 2010

Shout-out to the awesome Monica at The Ramblings of a Book Addict for bringing this to my attention. The list was originally compiled by Persnickety Snark: Young Adult Literature Reviews.
Monica did her list in orange, and I'm going to do mine in blue! Italicized titles are ones I have on my TBR but have yet to actually read.

OKAY, and here is where I need YOUR help! Because most of you are better in the loop on YA lit than me, I want to know which titles you have read and would recommend! Please?

1. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorceror's) Stone - J.K. Rowling

3. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

4. Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson

5. Northern Lights (The Golden Compass)- Philip Pullman

(Read passages from this for my C&L class, that's why it's partially highlighted!)

6. The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen

7. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

8. The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton

9. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer

10. This Lullaby - Sarah Dessen

11. Looking for Alaska - John Green

(Partially highlighted because I read about 100 pages and had to quit. Can't freaking stand this book)

12. Just Listen - Sarah Dessen

13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling

14. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

15. City of Bones - Cassandra Clare

16. On the (Jellicoe Road) - Melina Marchetta

17. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling

19. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

(Mom found this in my room. Freaked out. Never have gotten around to reading it again)

20. Along for the Ride - Sarah Dessen

21. Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

22. Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead

23. Graceling - Kristin Cashore

24. Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

(Know what it's about but will not read)

25. Sloppy Firsts - Megan McCafferty

26. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien

27. Alanna: The First Adventure - Tamora Pierce

(Ditto #24)

28. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

29. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling

30. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld

31. A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray

32. Tomorrow, When the War Began - John Marsden

33. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart

34. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

35. The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin

36. Paper Towns - John Green

37. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling

38. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

39. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn - Betty Smith

40. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie

41. Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen

42. The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman

43. Evernight - Claudia Gray

44. Sabriel - Garth Nix

45. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling

46. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl

47. Forever - Judy Blume

(Hey whadaya know! It's the "Worst Freaking Book in the History of YA Lit" Nice to meet you!)

48. I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith

49. Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine

50. The Princess Diaries - Meg Cabot

51. Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli

52. Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones

53. The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper

54. Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick

55. Saving Francesca - Melina Marchetta

56. Second Helpings - Megan McCafferty

57. Dreamland - Sarah Dessen

58. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer

59. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn, David Levithan

60. Fire - Kristin Cashore

(Known on this blog by it's subtitle: No Freaking Way, You Had Your Chance, Cashore)

61. The Chocolate War - Robert Cormier

62. Weetzie Bat - Francesca Lia Block

63. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank

64. Looking for Alibrandi - Melina Marchetta

65. How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff

66. City of Glass - Cassandra Clare

67. Keeping the Moon - Sarah Dessen

68. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer

69. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging - Louise Rennison

70. If I Stay - Gayle Forman

(Ditto #24)

71. The King of Attolia - Megan Whalen Turner

72. Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson

73. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast - Robin McKinley

74. The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley

75. Feed - M.T. Anderson

76. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants - Ann Brashares

77. Go Ask Alice - Anonymous

78. Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr

79. Lord of the Flies - William Golding

80. Someone Like You - Sarah Dessen

81. The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan

82. Jacob Have I Loved - Katherine Paterson

83. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

84. Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder

85. Shadow Kiss - Richelle Mead

86. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi

87. An Abundance of Katherines - John Green

88. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

(Woo-hoo! This book is the bees knees!)

89. A Ring of Endless Light - Madeleine L'Engle

90. Glass Houses - Rachel Caine

91. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party - M.T. Anderson

92. Walk Two Moons - Sharon Creech

93. Whale Talk - Chris Crutcher

94. Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles

(Ditto #24)

95. Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols

96. The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks

97. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

98. Hatchet - Gary Paulsen

99. The Pigman - Paul Zindel

100. The Hero and the Crown - Robin McKinley

That was fun. Surprised Incarceron and Eyes Like Stars didn't make the list, but maybe they're too recent? AND WHAT THE FREAKING BATMOBILE?!?!?! WHERE THE GOSH DARN IS THE LIGHTING THIEF?!?!?! Ohhhh, man! Glad to see Sabriel gettin' some love, though :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

DID YOU KNOW?!?! part 3!

More fun facts about our favorite authors!

Frances Hodgson Burnett (A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy)
  • Frances left her home in England as a child to move to rural Tennessee. Talk about culture shock.
  • One of Burnett's houses had 22 rooms in it - each one dominated by a single color. Her bedroom was entirely pink.
  • She also had an extensive dollhouse collection, and one of these dollhouses (remember, this is the early 20th century) had a working shower.
  • Burnett based the character Little Lord Fauntleroy on her son Vivian. I repeat - her SON "Vivian."
Jack London (The Call of the Wild, White Fang)
  • At age 13, London was already working 14 hours a day in a cannery. He quickly fell into bad company, and by the time he was 18, he was already in jail for vagrancy.
  • When London was first starting out as a writer, the rejection slips he received piled five feet high.
  • At age 29, London was the highest-paid and widely read author in America. He was unsuccessful at striking gold...until he started writing about the Klondike gold rush.
  • London and his second wife Charmain Kittredge called each other "Mate-Woman" and "Mate-Man." Blech.
Carl Sandburg ("Chicago," "Fog," The Rootabaga Stories)
  • At just 14 years old, Sandburg was already in jail for swimming nude in a city pond.
  • Sandburg married a woman named Lilian Steichen, but throughout her marriage he kept referring to her as "Paula." Of his wife, Sandburg said that she was "the kind of woman I would be if I were a woman." Ohhh-kay.
  • Sandburg had a vast collection of folk music, and his favorite song was "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum."
  • His final house, Connemara in North Carolina, featured a library of 14,000 books.
E.B. White (Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan)
  • The E.B. stands for Elwyn Brooks, but after college, everyone called him "Andy."
  • His wife, Katharine Angell, was 7 years older than he was and also was his boss. His idea of a compliment was to tell her, "You smell like pencil shavings."
  • White found that he could only concentrate on his writing on rainy days.
  • If E.B. White was to give you a present, it would most likely be a copy of Thoreau's Walden. That was his favorite book, and he carried a copy of it with him wherever he went. He also gave away hundreds of copies as gifts.
  • Considering his novel Charlotte's Web, it's not surprising that White wasn't afraid of spiders. Once he let hundreds of them hatch and build webs atop his dresser. Research, perhaps?
William Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August)
  • Faulkner was not the best student. It is true that he received less than admirable marks in grammar and language (strange for a future author), but he did not, as legend has it, fail English. He never graduated high school, but he was allowed to attend Ole Miss as a WWI veteran.
  • Faulkner's 3rd novel, Sartoris, became the first of 15 stories set in Yoknapatawpha County
  • His famous Nobel acceptance speech - which many people lauded as one of the most eloquent statements of faith in humanity - was most likely delivered while drunk.
  • Despite his status as one of the greatest American writers, the New York Times' obituary of Faulkner was less than kind, remarking on his "obsession with murder, rape, incest, suicide, greed, and general depravity."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

we love you, HUNGER GAMES!

I just started this series a little over a month ago, on July 19, 2010. Just since July 19 I have joined all of you in becoming completely engrossed and mesmerized in this incredible series. Not even exaggerating in the least when I say that the Hunger Games has turned my Top 3 Series of All Time into the Top 4 Series of All Time (made up of LOTR, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and The Chronicles of Prydain).

Why do I love the Hunger Games? First of all, the characters. Katniss isn't ideal - she could be a little more empathetic - but she's the kind of girl you can't help but care about, and the kind of character you love to cheer for. And maybe that's what makes her special to me. Since first meeting her on July 19, I've come to truly care about her. And yeah, I know, she's a fictional character and there are some in this big, silly world who think it silly to have feelings for anything that doesn't tangibly exist, but we're all book bloggers, we all love stories and the characters that inhabit them, and so maybe it's not so strange or silly.

But Katniss isn't the only rich character in the Hunger Games cast. Let me start off with Gale: I love Gale. I love his determination and his strength of will. He reminds me a lot of Enjolras in Les Miserables: he's a visionary and he's just dadgum tough. Even considering his rough exterior, though, he still has a soft sensitive spot, which I not only love but consider a very good trait to have. Gale is definitely a character you can look up to, and one you can admire...even if he is (ahem) absent from a big portion of the books.
And then there's Peeta. I would say that out of all of the characters in the HG series, Peeta is the most 3-D. What I mean is, he really does have way more to him than meets the eye. On the surface, he seems/he is a kind, sensitive, and kind of dopey-eyed lovestruck boy. BUT I was shocked and impressed but how much intrigue he displayed once the Games started. Peeta is cunning. Peeta can think on his feet and most importantly, Peeta has a way with words. And what book connoisseur doesn't love a character (or author) with an affinity for WORDS? In fact, for most of THG, I was suspicious of how much of Peeta's character was an act and how much was genuine. Looking back, I'd say that most of it was genuine, but still, he was able to use his circumstances and his feelings to his advantage in a way that Katniss never seemed to. Yes, I am TEAM PEETA mainly because I think that Katniss & Peeta make a better couple. Much as Katniss seems to discount Peeta in Catching Fire, and much as she pretty much likens him to a helpless loser in some narrative passages, I truly think that Peeta is smarter than her. Katniss is a survivor in a physical, huntress sense, but Peeta seems like a sharper mind, and I think that they would make a great combination.

And then finally, there's the world of Panem. I do love Suzanne Collins' characters, but what really pushed The Hunger Games series from 'fun and enjoyable' to 'right up there next to PJ and Prydain and LOTR' was the unforgettable world of Panem, and the story itself. Actually, it surprises me that this is only a 3-book series, because personally, I think Panem is so incredibly screwed up and in need of MAJOR reforms that might be hard to tackle in just 1 book (because the first two really weren't "proletariat-angst" driven, like Les Miserables or some other adult dystopians). Suspense has a lot to do with it as well. I really have no honest-to-goodness idea how it will all end!

So I have Mockingjay sitting next to me. Right now I'm re-reading passages from the first two books just to jog my memory...but I do feel reluctant to start up this last book. Once this is over...it'll be over. I don't foresee Collins pulling a Cassandra Clare and going "JK! More books, meeeheehee!" And so it'll be bittersweet, yes. For those of you who have gotten on the ball and finished Mockingjay - NO SPOILERS! - how did you feel? Sad? Happy? Relieved? Was it bittersweet?
My literary life changed on July 19 when I started this epic masterpiece of a series. No, I'm not being emo, and I'm not exaggerating. This is YA at its absolute finest.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Note: this is one of the first reviews I ever wrote on goodreads, and it is in its original, unedited form. So it may sound a little "bizarre" but that's only because it's so unpolished. So anyway - enjoy!

The Looking Glass Wars
Frank Beddor
Genre: YA Speculative/Fairytale Retelling
(with a major freaking twist)
# of pages: 358 (pb)
Publisher: Dial, Penguin
The Looking Glass Wars is the first in a revisionist fantasy series that reimagines Lewis Carroll's classic, beloved (albeit weird and completely pointless) Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
The basic premise: Wonderland is a real fantasy realm, "Alice" is really Alyss of Hearts, heir to the throne of said Wonderland, and remember that obnoxious loud-mouthed harpy Queen of Hearts? Yeah, she's Alyss's evil Aunt Redd who wants to usurp the throne. And when poor Alyss tries to relate this frightening premise to Mr. Carroll, the moron goes and spouts off frivolities like chasing a rabbit down a rabbit hole! That's the general premise in a nutshell.
- Beddor's series is REAL revisionist fun--original, quirky, and yet still reverent of the classic work. It's a tight rope to walk: you must be creative and original, and yet you can't stray too far away from the familiar story. Now granted, Frank's more of a visual guy. He's a producer, a movie man, so he's not exactly the most eloquent author out there. You just have to imagine everything you read as though you were watching it on a screen: instead of having him describe to you how characters act/look/feel, you have to imagine looking at the characters as if flesh-and-blood actors were giving a performance and you were likewise watching their gestures and listening to the tones in their voices. It's hard to explain, and this review may not make much sense, but that's my advice.
- I like his characters, too. I've read a few reviews in which people assert that his characters are a bit one-dimensional and even cliched, and that's true to a certain extent. Beddor's attention to detail lies not in character profiles, or even in the written dialogue, but in the invention of the world he's created: in the images of Wonderland, in the technology and weapons found there. I would have liked a little more characterization and a little more explanation, like "why is this person doing this? Why does he/she behave this way?" but that's not his style, and he makes up for it in other areas.
And the chief antagonist, Redd? she's just deliciously nasty! The first time I read the book, I thought she was way too over-the-top. And she is most definitely over-the-top, but now I realize it's one of the things I love about her! She's just so outrageous, it's FUN to read! And The Cat is brilliant, too. I always thought a cat whose face was contorted into a grin (Cheshire Cat, in other words) was just a freaky concept. And now that he's morphed into a top-notch assassin who smiles all the time? He's like a feline Joker. So to those who complain about the "butchering" of Lewis Carroll's classic children's story, I have to ask:

In a sentence: If you don't mind lots of action and somewhat simplistic characterization (think Incarceron, only without the confusion and nuance), this quick, exciting read will leave you breathless!

Final Grade:

Monday, August 23, 2010

school: 4, amelia: zero

Hey everybody -
I'm still here! I know everybody loves an active blog, and I'm definitely working on it. Just started first semester of my last year of college and it's going to be pretty crazy. Don't give up on me just yet - but I will try to post at least 1 book reviews a week. If you want more reviews a week, sadly I don't think I will be able to do that; as it is I'll probably barely be able to keep up by 1-a-week average.
But please stick around and bear with me for a few days! If you're in school too, hope you're having a great week!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

time for a survey!

This week my blog will be 7 months old, which is hard to believe, and I've decided to put together a "performance" survey. If you haven't filled out the survey, please please PLEASE take like 2 minutes and fill this out. If you are a follower of this blog and/or if you visit it even semi-regularly, your opinions are greatly needed! I need to know if I should keep this site up and running.

(this is an anonymous survey, by the way)

Any questions/comments? Feel free to email me. And thanks again!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Blogger Hop!

Yay. Haven't done one of these in awhile.

The question for this week is: How many blogs do you follow?
I actually follow quite a lot. When I say "hi, I'm a new follower!" I mean I'm a new follower - I've clicked the button and everything. :) Right now I'm following 144, but I'm off to check out more blogs so that number will go up, most definitely!
I have a google reader, but I actually like to visit the blog so I can leave comments. Because you don't know that I've seen your post unless I comment, right? And vice versa. Of course I don't check every single blog every day, but I do the best I can, because I'm betting most of you don't work your butts off just for giggles!

If you're new to my blog, welcome! Please be sure to leave a link so I can check you out and follow too. But if you do follow, please try and check back, and I promise I'll do the same :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The Replacement - Brenna Yovanoff
Genre: YA Fantasy/Horror
# of pages: 343 (ARC)
Publisher: Razorbill, Penguin
The Replacement @ Parental Book Reviews

**This is only a partial review. I will post a longer, more in-depth review in September when this title releases. For now, this is more of a preview review.

I absolutely adored the originality of The Replacement. A lot of time and effort went into creating this story, and that level of detail was very noticeable. I think the fact that this is the author's first published book is phenomenal. Brenna Yovanoff writes like she's been a published pro for years - she has a knack for making the foggy, chilly town of Gentry vaporize to life in your mind. Okay, so that sentence sounds weird, but whatever. The story's major strength was in its imagery and attention to detail. The eerie town of Gentry and the House of Mayhem under the slag heap were so detailed, so vividly imaginative, that it turned Replacement from a fun book to an edge-of-the-seat thrill ride.

The characters were also fleshed out very well and very creepily, I might add. The Morrigan and the "creatures" of her court were so hideously delightful, I know I'll never forget them. Coupled with the strong imagery, these strange characters seemed even stronger and more engrossing. I liked how they were portrayed, too. They weren't evil, and yet they were so creepy and so not-quite-right that you couldn't help but feel apprehensive. And though the story deals with 'changelings' I liked how The Replacement seemed to have its own original, tailor-made folklore. Never once did the word 'faerie' get attached to any of the characters, therefore I didn't feel like I was reading the same old story over and over. I'm almost positive you haven't read anything like this before.

And props to Brenna Yovanoff for doing what seems to perplex most (women) authors: create a male narrative that sounds authentic but is still likable. Guys usually either sound like girls, or they're TOO overboard on the so-called "guy" traits: vulgar, nasty and sex-obsessed. Mackie Doyle is one of the most endearing, likable and heroic guys I've seen in YA fiction in a loooooooong time. You could not find a better guy to root for in a story like this.

The Replacement is a highly imaginative, creepy-awesome thrill ride that you surely do not want to miss out on! Be advised, though, that this is a story that will probably be better suited for older teens. But keep your eyes and your ears alert for September 21, the day The Replacement releases into stores. Or you could always preorder it :)

Thank you so much to Razorbill for sending me this awesome ARC! I've been anxious to read The Replacement since I first blogged about it on March 5! Thank you again!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

a middle schooler lists the BEST YA BOOKS OUT THERE!

I'm really excited about this post! I have with me the awesome Kirby W who is about to be a freshman. I asked him to think about the best books he read in middle school and recommend 10 here on my blog. He's got 11 recommendations (I asked him to recommend 10, but I got 11) and it was really cool to hear the perspective of a 14-year-old (former) middle school reader. I may 'yea' or 'nay' a YA book, but I'm 21 years old and in college; what are the kids in actual target audience saying? So let me introduce Kirby the almost-freshman, and he's going to give his recommendations for the best YA books out there!
Just keep in mind that these are the thoughts of a 14-year-old dude: they have not been edited or altered!

1. The Looking Glass Wars, Frank Beddor
SERIES: followed by Seeing Redd, ArchEnemy
Kirby says: This is probably my new favorite series. The last book came out last year. The take on Alice in Wonderland was awesome. I really liked the series villain, Queen Redd. She was evil and funny, which yeah is a weird combo, but she was really entertaining. And this story’s version of the white rabbit is pretty cool, too. I didn’t mind that the main character’s a girl, cause she’s cool and smart and not whiny like girls I know. And I liked the battle scenes. Battle scenes are cool.

2. The Warrior Heir, Cinda Williams Chima
SERIES: followed by The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir
Kirby says: This was a really cool take on magic. The second book has more to do with magic and wizards and all that stuff, and the first one was more action-packed and battles and whatnot. I did like that even though the book was about magic and wizards and stuff like that, it didn't feel like I was reading the same story over and over. There were enough cool concepts. And the main character was likable, like he was a real kid. These were both quick reads: not too long and wordy. I get bored if books are too long. And hungry.

3. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
SERIES: followed by Catching Fire, Mockingjay (not released)
Kirby says: BEST SERIES EVER! Better than Harry Potter! For real, Harry’s got that wand and all, but he wouldn’t make it five feet past that cornucopia. I’d like to see him “expelliarmus!” those Careers.I loved reading about that futuristic society, but it was kind of scary too, because I got the feeling that maybe this stuff could happen. Dude. Anyway, this series was cool. I don’t care about those “teams” though. That’s girl stuff. I totally think Peeta’s going to die.

4. The Maze Runner, James Dashner
SERIES: followed by The Scorch Trials (not released), The Death Cure (not released)
Kirby says: Really awesome story idea. Most of my friends read this one too. I’d definitely recommend this to all the guys. Lots of action and suspense. The ending was a little weird, but the next book in the series is coming out soon. TMR reminded me of Percy Jackson for some reason – the characters were funny, cool, and easy to relate to, like the characters from that series. I’d definitely recommend TMR to any PJ fans.

5. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
SERIES: followed by The Arctic Incident, The Eternity Code, The Opal Deception, The Lost Colony, The Time Paradox, The Atlantis Complex
Kirby says: One of my all-time favorite series. Elves here aren’t all old and naturey and all Lord of the Ringsy – they’re really advanced and high-tech. The cool story and many details made reading AF a fun experience. The rest of the books in the series are cool, too, and I’d recommend reading all of them. Plus it’s cool to have a main character like Artemis. He’s like a child-criminal genius, but he’s not like really bad or anything.

6. Skulduggery Pleasant, Derek Landy
SERIES: followed by Playing with Fire, The Faceless Ones, Dark Days, Mortal Coin (not released)
Kirby says: Oh my freaking gosh this book is incredible. You MUST read this. Skulduggery is the awesomest character in fiction. He's a wizard, but a wizard with a twist: not old and not a schoolboy either. When I was reading the first book, I kept thinking of a comic book or a graphic novel for some reason. It just reads that way, which is really cool, cause it's visual in this graphic-novel sense. I don't know how many books will be in the series, but I will read every single one of them.

7. The Alchemyst, Michael Scott (not the boss from 'The Office')
SERIES: followed by The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer, The Warlock (not published), The Enchantress (not published)
Kirby says: I like this book a lot, but it’s kind of advanced. Like, I probably would have understood it better if I’d been in high school. But I like history so it was really cool to have historical people and events blended together with fantasy magic. It was our school's Recommended Book of the Year a few years ago. I think grownups like it because they think all that historical stuff is educational. It is, but it's cool too.

8. Gone, Michael Grant
SERIES: followed by Hunger, Lies, Plague (not published), Darkness (not published), Light (not published)
Kirby says: It sounds like a cheesy idea, right? All the adults are gone, and a bunch of kids and teenagers are left? Party time, right? Actually, Gone showed how crappy and horrible that situation would really be. I liked this book because it was interesting and fun, but also because it had this realistic feel to it too, like this is actually how kids would behave if something like this really happened. I liked how the author seemed to know about how kids really act and how they really feel. This is one of the best series I’ve ever read. It’s got lots of action, and I like action.

9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone , JK Rowling
SERIES: followed by Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half Blood Prince, The Deathly Hallows
Kirby says: I’m not even going to say anything. It’s Harry freaking Potter. Ya know.

10. The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
SERIES: followed by The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian
Kirby says: Harry Potter may be a classic, but Percy Jackson's going to take over. I would definitely recommend the Percy Jackson series to everyone. Adults will like it, because they’ll get a kick out of the way the myths are incorporated into the story. And teachers will find Mr. D really funny, and probably a little autobiographical. Percy's pretty cool, Grover's hilarious, and Annabeth is hot.

11. Eragon, Christopher Paolini
SERIES: Eldest, Brisingr, untitled 4th book (not released)
Kirby says: Dragons and swords and fighting and not a lot of that romance stuff. Really cool story and pretty exciting all the way through. I didn’t mind that it’s so freaking long. The rest of the books are cool, but the first is the best. Galbatorix is one of the best villains I've ever read.

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