Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Slug by Elise Gravel

Release Date: August 4, 2014
Publisher: Tundra Books
ISBN: 9781770496552
E-ARC: Netgalley

Elise Gravel returns with another Disgusting Creatures installment, this time the oh-so-gross slug. Often underrated, the slug actually benefits the environment!

How many times have you seen a slug and jerked away from it (or for those really naughty kids, sqiushed it)? After reading this book, you might think differently. Gravel's book is very informational, from characterizing the slug as a mollusk to providing facts about its mucus. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Egmont USA
ISBN: 9781606844632
E-ARC Source: Netgalley

Anyone who went through American Literature in high school has been exposed to Edgar Allan Poe at some point. As a teacher, I cannot leave the month of October behind without teaching "The Raven." Poe has left a literary legacy that many horror writers can only dream of attaining (I exclude R.L. Stine and Stephen King from this respectfully).

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

To This Day: For the Bullied and Beautiful by Shane Koyczan

Release Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Annick Press
ISBN: 9781554516391
e-ARC Source: Netgalley

I remember first hearing about “To This Day” in February of last year. One of my colleagues e-mailed a link to the YouTube video of the animated spoken word poem. I immediately fell in love. The next day, I showed all three of my high school English classes the video. After a few tears and a lot of discussion, I left school feeling like a rock star. But I can’t take credit. I exposed my students to Koyczan’s empowering verse, yes, but there are many teachers who show their students various avenues of literature. Without his impetus to reach out to thousands of bullied teens, the video would have never been made, and some of my students would still be struggling with self-esteem and silence.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Atheneum
ISBN: 978-1-4424-9760-3
e-ARC Source: Edelweiss

Fifteen year old Skylark Martin lives in St. Kilda, Australia with her father and ten year old brother, Gully (short for Seagull) above her father’s record store, the Wishing Well. Her father’s business isn't booming, but the nostalgia that it carries is far more valuable. Left by their mother to pursue her art, Sky and Gully find their own creative ways to fulfill their time, especially Gully who refuses to remove a pig snout mask and loves to investigate.

Blog Tour: The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan—The next big thing in YA

Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 978-0385744027
ARC Source: Random House

In the last four years, we have seen two ferocious females take center stage in YA dystopian literature. Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games displayed both vulnerability and skill, and Tris Prior of Divergent illustrated compassion and change. Both girls, however, came to us pretty well put together, at least by Hollywood’s standards. Now, Austin Aslan brings us Leilani, a half Hawaiian, half white, sixteen year old girl with epilepsy who must travel from Hilo, Hawaii to Honolulu with her father, Mike, for a possible new treatment. Upon arrival, the world is shaken and thrown into chaos, and Leilani and her father must find their way home.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Extraction by Stephanie Diaz

Release Date: July 22, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s
ISBN: 9781466837324
ARC Source: St. Martin’s

With the popularity of Divergent and The Hunger Games, it’s no wonder so many YA authors are continuing the trend of dystopian-teenage-survival stories. Honestly, it’s better than the screaming-teen-wolf-vampire chaos that Twilight created. Everyone loves a good survival story mixed with a little romantic drama, especially when the odds are not in their favor (see what I did there?). Enter Stephanie Diaz with book one of a new YA series.

Here, sixteen year old Clementine must undergo Extraction testing where those who hold Promise are allowed to leave the Surface and move to the Core where life is supposedly much safer. After being chosen, Clem must leave the Surface and the love of her life, Logan. While the core appears to be a reprieve, she soon realizes that the leaders have plans that will change the course of humanity, and she has to find a way to save everyone, especially Logan. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

                                                            *Created by Jennifer Gallman for Blog Tour

Release Date: August 12, 2014
Publisher: Soho
ISBN: 978-1-61695-360-7

ARC Source: Soho

Addison Stone is a tremendously talented artist. She is ambitious and a bit of a prankster. At 18, she has everything. Trying to post a billboard at the Manhattan Bridge, she suddenly falls, and her drowned body is quickly recovered. Was it an accident? Was it suicide? Everyone in this book believes they know, and they waste no time divulging their theories.  

How to Fall by Jane Casey—A fast-paced teen mystery

Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s 
ISBN: 978-1250040657
e-ARC Source: Netgalley

Jane Casey steps into the world of YA with How to Fall, a satisfying teen mystery where Jess Tennant is trying to solve the death of her cousin Freya. Jess is your average teenager: moody, witty, and sarcastic, but she’s also tough, as her mother describes her. She goes after what she wants, and what she wants in this novel is to find out if her cousin Freya committed suicide the summer before by jumping off of a cliff or if she was murdered.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Feuds by Avery Hastings—So fast paced the end sneaks up on you!

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN: 978-1250057716
e-ARC Source: Netgalley

When I first saw the cover of Feuds, I was wary; I didn’t really want to read a book about a dancer. After the first chapter, however, I realized it wasn’t just about ballet; in fact, Davis is a sixteen year old living in a dystopian society where the rich, beautiful, and talented (the Priors) are segregated from the rest of the world, known as Geneserians (or in derogative terms, Imps). My first impulse at this point was to stop reading because I didn’t like the use of the name Prior after reading Divergent. I couldn’t stop picturing Tris every time Davis talked, but I tried to put that out of my mind and focus on the world according to Avery Hastings. 

End of Summer YA Movie Rental #2: Vampire Academy (2014)

Vampire Academy (based on the first book by Richelle Mead-Aug 16, 2007) was also released on February 14th this year and was yet another YA movie I chose to ignore at the time. Spending my time in a theater filled with teenagers screaming over characters lost its flavor after the very first movie installment of Twilight.

That being said, I decided to rent it along with the disappointing Endless Love, after which didn't give me high hopes for this one. But….I actually really enjoyed VA and may want to read the books when I get time. It was quirky and sassy, and that’s all it needed to be. It was no Harry Potter, and there were several similarities (academy=Hogwarts for instance), but I didn't go into it wanting to compare it to any other franchise. I simply wanted to be entertained for an hour and forty-one minutes.