Friday, April 1, 2011

March Stats!

Thank you to everyone who turned in their stats for February. It made my job much easier!

I will be working on stats this weekend for March. Please turn in your numbers as quickly as you can.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain

So, I realized I was in a reading rut and starting picking up random green books to meet our challenge for March. One of the ARC's that came through the department caught my attention (really, who can resist Johnny Depp?) and I started reading...

David's father is a renowned psychiatrist who has just acquired a new patient, Zelda. Zelda claims to be from the planet Vahalal where there are only women. Any men that show up on the planet are immediately destroyed. Zelda is on earth to claim her one true soul mate who just happens to be Johnny Depp. David immediately falls in teenage angsty love with bikini clad Zelda despite her clear disdain for him. Is David about to become an unlikely hero of an alien race or the latest sucker to believe a crazy girl just because she's hot?

I started the book with curiosity and then just stuck around for the wild ride of teenage coming of age meets a hero's heart of gold meets old school science fiction adventure. The story completely revolves around the plot and is so outrageous sometimes you just have to laugh and go with it. The characters are enjoyable and the French setting adds a little splash of different to the teen market. Save for one of those days when you need something quirky and fun. 2011, 208 pages.

Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti

“Didn’t I just know it! She looked like somebody who reads books all the time, voluntarily. Long ones, with small print and no pictures. Wretched woman!”

Shrimp is a recently widowed librarian who has a fondness for beige and poetry. Benny is a dairy farmer barely keeping his head above water after the death of his beloved mother. Sharing a bench for months at the cemetery they both frequent they both grow to loathe each other. Then Benny imagines Shrimp in a dominatrix outfit at the same time she looks up at his amazing smile. Cupid strikes quickly and they fall in love. But really, what does a dairy farmer who appreciates the tackier things in life and a refined librarian have in common?

This book charmed my socks off! Each chapter alternates between Benny and Shrimp’s view of their life and the relationship they both share. Both are struggling to come to terms with the death of people they loved but ultimately have trouble grieving. Both are intelligent, quirky and want more from the life they are living. A fascinating character study that reminds us that while people find and come together as friends or lovers, they rarely see the simplest of events the same way. One caveat, the ending is left open and the sequel has not been translated into English. I’m working on my Swedish as I type! 1998, 209 pages.

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle: Volume 23

by CLAMP, 183 pages

Syaoran battles it out in Dreams for the sake of Sakura's soul. But Fei-Wang watches from his seemingly all-seeing vantage and laughs as yet another long-simmering scheme comes to light and changes everything. And yet the one thing it does not change is the companions' resolve.

I did not see that coming! Twenty-twenty hind sight makes it all perfectly believable in the frame of the story as told so far, but the reader has been successfully distracted from the evidence until now. I think the final stage of this series is at last beginning to play out (not that it's been resting on its laurels all this time) and I am impatient (as always) to get my hands on the remaining volumes. And it's so hard to talk about it all without giving away major spoilers....

Breathing Underwater

by Alexandra Flinn, 263 pages

It was just a slap. But she had it coming, right? So why does everyone hate Nick Andreas and why is the love of his life, Caitlin, taking out a restraining order on him? As a condition of the court, Nick is required to go to anger management group therapy as well as journal the events that lead up to this point in his life. You'll be hard-pressed to put this one down as you wait to discover what happens to Nick and the interesting group of characters that surround him.

I really, really enjoyed this novel. Written from Nick's perspective, your emotions will run the gamut - hate, confusion, sympathy - I felt them all. He's a tragic character really. His dad has beat him his whole life and so when someone finally comes along that truly cares about him, he can't deal with it appropriately. His disbelief turns to jealousy which then turns into violent controlling behavior. Red flags were abundant to everyone but Caitlin who is easily manipulated because she struggles with her own self-esteem issues. It was a recipe for disaster from the start. This book has a lot to teach young men and women how to be aware of the situations they put themselves in (hopefully before they get into them).

Fans of Chris Lynch's Inexcusable will appreciate the hope found in this novel that seemed to be absent from Lynch's. This is an optimistic journey of self-discovery and shows that when someone truly reflects on their behavior and finally accepts that they have a problem, real change can take place.

"Alice in Charge" by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

321 pages

This is the most recent in the popular Alice series, which Naylor started writing in 1985. Now Alice is a senior in high school and missing her boyfriend, Patrick, who is at college in Chicago (she lives in Maryland). It helps that she keeps herself busy with the school paper, student jury, various other clubs, and working at her father's music store. On top of it all, she's trying to figure out where to go to college. She wants to get away and try a new place, but she also feels like she should stick close to home to be there for her dad and stepmother, as they are going through a hard time financially. Meanwhile, a neo-Nazi group is slowly emerging at Alice's school and she wants to use her position as the features editor of the school paper to do something about it.

I have enjoyed all the Alice books that I've read, but I like the earlier ones better. Naylor seems to write perfectly for tween and early teen readers, but her style didn't seem to translate as well to books for older readers. When Alice and her friends are younger, they think and act much like I did at that age, but I didn't find Alice and her friends as believable as seniors in high school. On the other hand, I think the secondary characters such as Lester and Sylvia are just as charming at this later point in the series. And I did enjoy the story as a whole. It seemed sort of all-over-the-place, but that's sort of how life is when you're a teenager, so it didn't bother me so much. The racism issue seemed a bit overdramatic (for example, I can't believe that in the year 2010 a kid at a large urban school would write a racist letter to the editor of his school paper, signed with his real name). I know that prejudice and bigotry are definitely real and still going strong today, but I think that in reality the Nazi group would have been more subtle and "underground." I do like that Naylor tackles a lot of tough issues in her books, though.

"Where She Went" by Gayle Forman

264 pages

This is the sequel to "If I Stay," in which seventeen-year-old Mia and her family were in a devastating car accident that killed her parents and little brother. Her boyfriend, Adam, was there for her throughout the trauma. Now, in "Where She Went," we jump ahead three years and the perspective has shifted from Mia to Adam. He's in a rock band that has suddenly and spectacularly shot to the top of the charts. He's living a life of tours, girls, and money that many envy, but despite it all he's miserable. We learn that Mia moved from Oregon to New York after recovering from the accident and broke up with Adam shortly after that. The breakup tore him apart, but the songs it inspired were largely responsible for his band's success. Now we watch as Adam and Mia run into each other in New York City and, in one long night, begin to work through what went on between them.

I was satisfied with the ending of "If I Stay" and didn't give a thought to a possible sequel. When I heard that Gayle Forman was writing one, I was intrigued but not particularly excited. Honestly, I thought the sequel would be all about Mia getting over her family's death and would be super-depressing. When I started reading, though, I really got into it! Right away, I enjoyed having Adam's point of view. I had been focused on Mia because she was the one who was closest to the three who died, but I didn't think about how much he was grieving for Kat, Denny, and Teddy; how much it hurt him to see Mia's pain and physical struggles; and (as I learned as I read) what Mia's rejection did to him. I realized that I wanted to know how Mia had dealt with her pain, but it was ultimately uplifting rather than depressing because by the time we see her, three years later, she is doing well and at peace with her situation. I didn't expect for her to be the "okay" one while Adam fell apart.

I also enjoyed the structure of the plot. Forman uses a lot of flashbacks, as she did in "If I Stay," and I think it works especially well with this story. It felt like putting a puzzle together as all the pieces fell into place as I read. The ending fell into place a little too smoothy--almost like a fairy tale--but I liked where it was going.

The Girl Next Door

Selene Castrovilla

240 pages

Samantha or Sam has been friends with her neighbor Jesse for 13 years when he is diagnosed with cancer. The cancer is very aggressive and the chance of survival is minimal but Sam doesn't care about the numbers. She tries to rouse Jesse out of depression and get him to fight the cancer even staying in his room overnight so he won't be alone. Will their frienship turn into something more as they face this very adult situation?

I liked the story the author laid out for us but it is bleak. Even in the happy moments she reminds us of how sick Jesse really is or how emotionally unstable Sam is. SPOILER ALERT - I really hated how they story ends much the way it begins and we don't know if Jesse survives or not.


Lauren McLaughlin

256 pages

For four days a month Jill is Jack. This isn't just a name change for those four days Jill is a boy and Jack isn't very happy about this arrangement either. Jill is always trying to forget about her little problem like her mom wants while Jack learns from Jill and wants out of his prison.

I picked this book up because I was intrigued by the cover. The story is decent but confusing. We don't know why Jill turns into a boy or if she and Jack are even the same person. There are a few interesting side characters but we don't really know them. The ending came much too fast and was abrupt. There is a sequel which I plan on reading just for clarification. This was a strange read and reccomend it if you have nothing else to read.

Bitter End

By Jennifer Brown

368 pages

Alex doesn't have the perfect home life but her two best friends Zack and Bethany are her family. When their senior year begins they plan a trip that means everything to Alex. A new boy Cole comes into the picture and Alex can't believe her luck and finding a cute boy that likes her, even loves her. Slowly the relationship becomes more toxic and Alex alienates herself from all her friends until Cole's love becomes deadly.

I enjoyed the story of Bitter End quite a lot. I would have liked to see more of Alex's friends but that alienaton and lonliness reflects what abusive relationships do in terms of cutting people off. It also brings to light how easy it is to forgive some one that is not treating you well. Overall an insightful look into domestic violence for teens but the ending could have been more finished.

Street Magic (Black London Book 1)

By Caitlin Kittredge

326 pages

Street Magic follows Pete a London detective as she tries to stop the kidnapping and maiming of young children. The sinister undertone of these crimes is of a magical variety and she gets help wherever she can. This help includes Jack Winter whom she saw dies twelve years ago or so she thought. He now has a bit of a heroin problem but has a lot of magic at his disposal.

I suggest reading this blend of mystery and the supernatural if you like books concerning magic. Pete complains quite a bit and the author keeps us waiting on details of Jack's death 12 years ago as well as Pete's special abilities but overall a good read. The cover does not match the description of either character but especially Jack since heroin addicts are never buff.

The pleasure of my company : a novel

By: Steve Martin, 163 pp

Yes, this is by the actor/comedian, Steve Martin!

Daniel Pecan Cambridge is a man living in California by himself in an apartment complex not far from the beach. He has huge phobias (such as he is not able to walk across the street in crosswalks for they are not symmetry aligned like two driveways might be) that keep in pretty much in his home. Daniel is OCD as well. He seems a bit autistic to me (although it is not said so in the book) and he is very smart. He has a young lady by the name of Clarissa that comes to visit him and asks him a lot of questions - sort of like a professional counselor/social worker. Also there is Phillipa. She lives upstairs from Daniel and she comes for an occassional juice mix that Daniel makes for her (she does not know that he is putting drugs in her drinks). Then there is Zandy. She works at the Rite Aid eight blocks from Daniel's apartment. He goes in there for ear plugs and anything else needed for him to live on. And then there is Elizabeth. Now Elizabeth is just a realtor for the apartments across the street from Daniel. He watches her as she talks to her clients outside the apartment building there. He has an obsession for her.

The way Daniel describes people and things going on in his life is very strange. It is funny at times, but mostly I just wanted to find out what is really to become of Daniel. Because you see, he has been a suspect for murder.... He is innocent, but there is a TV crew that wants to do a show on him regarding this murder. Is this such a good idea for Daniel? Or does he just want to be on TV?

Bloody Valentine

By Melissa de la Cruz

160 pages

A collection of short stories vaguely Valentine's Day related that involve some favorite characters from the Blue Bloods series. Sadly this is just another lackluster installment in the series lacking any real depth. I did like to see Oliver get over Schuyler because we all know that boy has moped after her long enough with nothing in return. The book in whole had some good moments but that was it moments. I only suggest this to those readers like myself that must read every part of a series.


By Lucy Christopher

304 pages

Gemma is kidnapped from an airport and taken to a deserted place in Austrailia by Ty who has watched her for years. He has done this to save Gemma and he loves her. Gemma isn't so sure about this and writes him a letter from her point of view about her captivity at his hands.

Stolen is a captivating look into kidnapping and an angle we rarely hear about, when the captor and captive work together and eventually maybe like each other. True Ty kidnaps her and this is wrong but throughout the story we are shown time and time again how much her cares for Gemma. The more Gemma learns about Ty's past she begins to understand his behavior but not to the point of excusing it. In the end everyone this she has Stockholm Syndrome but I don't think she does. Gemma sees things very clearly but it doesn't make sense to an outsider.

I reccomend this book to any fan of teen literature and anyone intrigued by people living outside the law so to speak. It was very interesting and I like it a lot, I'm not the only one either. Winner of the Branford Boase award, Michael L. Printz award and the Southern Schools Book Award. It was featured on other literary lists as well.


By Patricia Briggs

304 pages

We return to Aralorn's story to find not much has changed. She is still a spy and Wolf comes and goes as he pleases. Aralorn hears her father the Lyon of Lambshold has died so she goes home to place she hasn't seen in many years. Some reunions are joyful while others just bittersweet.

I was disapointed with such a time gap in writing the first and second books that the author didn't do more with the story. We get it, sorcerers can be evil and only Wolf/Cain is strong enough for many magical tasks that will arise but isn't there more to their story? It is pretty clear Aralorn and Wolf are together but little is explained about their relationship. I can only hope there will be a better third installment in the future.

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

2011/192 pgs

About the Book: Paige has just moved to New York City and she's feeling a bit lost. She's trying to make sense of her life. Is she an artist? Is she outgoing? How can she make new friends and find herself in such a book city? Paige decides to take her Grandmother's advice and following her drawing rules, she's going to keep a sketchbook. The sketchbook becomes Paige's way of expressing herself and finding who she is. She opens up to new friends, embraces her art, and learns how to be Paige.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: Page by Paige is a fantastic graphic novel! Although it's fiction, it reads like a memoir and reminded me a lot of Pedro and Me and in some ways, Blankets only with a more coming of age high school story. I would also pair it up with Plain Janes, as the characters are very pro-art and they have secret art projects they do in the city.

Reading Page by Paige is like taking a peek into someones diary, only a graphic novel version of their diary. It's a fantastic coming of age story and readers will relate to Paige and her journey of figuring out who exactly she is. I struggled with being shy in school and I could relate to Paige's journey of coming out of her shell, learning to be brave and put herself out there. This is also Paige's journey of learning to accept her artistic self and embrace that fact that she is an artist.

Many times creative teens struggle with how to be creative or don't think they really are creative and Paige deals with the same issues. I love that her group of friends call themselves "Agents of Whimsy" and have secret art projects around the city. I would love to do something similar!

A funny, charming and very touching coming of age story. I loved Paige and I hope she has more of her story to tell.

The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman

2011/180 pgs

About the Book: When June and Wes first meet, Wes thinks June looks like a fish girl. June thinks Wes is weird. June starts to date Wes's friend Jerry, but she's not really interested in him. June and Wes start to spend time together and they realize that a romance might be developing. But then June's Dad gets another new job and they have to move. Will June and Wes stay together and can first love really last?

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: Thank you Pete Hautman for writing a fantastic look at contemporary romance and first love! No vampires, no love triangles, no major family drama or issue driven plots. This is just a contemporary love story about meeting someone, falling in love, falling out of love, and wondering where it all leads.

Pete Hautman evokes the feelings of first love so perfectly. How at first June and Wes aren't sure about each other, then they want to spend time together, then they can't live with out each other. The ups and downs of teen relationships are played out throughout the course of the year that the book takes place. It's not a fairy tale and it's not a perfect romance, but it's realistic.

I've seen it compared to When Harry Met Sally and in some ways I can see that. The book advertises itself as a book that's not a romance but is romantic and I think that describes it perfectly. This isn't a love at first sight, lots of swooning romance. Instead this is a romantic story about two teens who eventually collide into each other's lives and figuring out what exactly they mean to each and how to make relationships work.

I would have liked a few more things fleshed out a bit more, like Wes and June's relationship first taking off which seemed a bit sudden to me. And after they're together awhile, they're debating on if and when they should have sex, but that seemed a little out of place because it's mentioned here and there and then forgotten. But maybe that adds a more realistic feel to it because they don't have everything figured out and they are navigating things together. It's not tied up in a pretty bow either, which I really enjoyed.

Overall it's a great read and great for anyone looking for a break from the paranormal romances and instead looking for a good romantic story.

Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford

2009/195 pgs

About the Book: Newt Newman is overlooked at school and lives in the shadow of his big brother Chris, the football star. At the big game, Chris is knocked into a coma. To keep his mind of his brother, Newt's friends encourage him to find his "inner other" for their Halloween costumes. Newt throws something together and discovers Captain Nobody, defender of the little guy. Soon Captain Nobody is saving the day. Can he also save his brother?

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: Captain Nobody is on the 2011-2012 Mark Twain list and I think readers will love having a funny book on the list!

When I first picked this book up, I thought it was more a silly superhero story. At first I was a bit confused how the storylines worked together. I don't know if they really flowed together all that well, but it works and I think kids will love the humor.

While Newt is a great character and I liked Captain Nobody, for me the supporting characters were my favorites. JJ and Cecil are hilarious! Maybe they just stood out to me more because I listened to the book on audio and the voices the author uses to bring these characters to life is so much fun. JJ is obsessed with fantasy, she's an avid reader, and she's very smart. She also is very strict about grammar and the fact that signs are written incorrectly really bugs her. I loved Cecil. He's the motivator and very excitable. He's like an exuberant preacher always shouting about the next big thing.

Newt's story is a bit far fetched and his adventures too easily solved, but Captain Nobody is still a fun read. It's great for readers looking for adventure and humor. If you come across a reader who says they can't find any Mark Twain book they like or want to read, try Captain Nobody.

"The Adventure of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed" by Patrick Rothfuss, illustrated by Nate Taylor

72 pages

This looks just like a kid's picture book, but it is not! It's got cute illustrations and the main characters are a little girl and her teddy bear, but do not be fooled by these appearances.

The Princess lives in her castle with only her best friend, Mr. Whiffle the teddy bear. There are no grown-ups to ruin her fun and tell her what to do, so she gets to spend all day exploring, digging for "treasure," and generally having a blast with Mr. Whiffle. The only problem is the Thing Beneath the Bed. There are three endings to the story: a happy one, a scary one, and the real one, which is creepy, unexpected, and hilarious.

This story cracked me up! I loved the contrast between the cute drawings and the disturbing stuff going on in the castle. I enjoyed this dark-humor spin on a classic fairy tale storyline.

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

by G. Neri, ill. Randy DuBurke, 94 pages

"Cry if you will, but make up your mind that you will never let your life end like this."

Listed as one of YALSA's top ten graphic novels for teens, Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty is the true story of the life and death of an 11-year-old gang member named Robert Sandifer, nicknamed "Yummy" because of his penchant for candy bars and cookies. The novel is written from the perspective of Roger, an imaginary 11-year-old living in Sandifer's neighborhood when Sandifer, a member of the Black Disciples gang, accidentally shoots and murders 14-year-old Shavon Dean. For 3 days, Sandifer's gang members help him hide from the police but eventually they decide he's too much of a risk and they quietly murder him in an underpass.

This graphic novel hits where Strasser's "If I Grow Up" grossly missed. It's well-researched but not as heavily laden with statistics - thus to me, it feels intensely more genuine. "But Katie, it's a true story! Of course it's going to be more genuine!" you say. Yes, I get that but this author could have just as easily chose to interject the story with his own dose of morality but instead he keeps the focus on the people in Sandifer's neighborhood. The tragedy and reverence seeps out of the story itself rather than hard-hitting ghetto factoids.

Yummy's story has stayed with me. So much so that I found myself researching more about Sandifer and life in the projects. That's what a book like this should do - compel you to learn more. Like it says in the book, it's hard to decide which is sadder - how Yummy lived or how he died.

This graphic novel would be appropriate for middle schoolers AND high schoolers. It's a quick read with beautiful graphics and has the potential to spur some very interesting discussion.

Shaman Warrior: Volume 9

by Joong-Ki Park, 191 pages

Horakaan confronts a familiar face, Genji reveals some secrets and keeps others, Nejo wises up and steps in, Yaki goes into shaman warrior overdrive, and Yatilla carries on in the name of the fallen.

I think. I'm so confused! I'm not 100% sure who's dead and who's alive at the end of this, the final volume of the series. There are some awkwardly placed (yet poignant) flashbacks that seem to be there because the author had the info in the back of his mind the whole time and only just now remembered he hadn't told the reader about it. And then there's a sudden forward jump of a few months and no real explanation of what happens to everyone in the interim. And that's followed by an unresolved semi-cliff hanger of a final scene. I wish Park had at least spread it out into one more book and given the reader just a little more confirmed resolution on the fates of the characters and society we've come to know--and a little more time to come to terms with it all. Maybe I'm just sad 'cause I don't want it to be over....

Confusion aside, I'm unquestionably a fan. Perhaps if I could read the full nine volumes again in succession it would all fall into a more cohesive narrative and I'd be less foggy on the details. I'm all for open-ended conclusions that ask more than they answer, and the longer I ponder this one the more satisfied I am with it; but I'd be happier if I didn't have to put so much effort into accepting what little conclusion there is. That said, if Park gets another title published in English, you can be sure I'll be all over it. The man understands action and emotion, place and character. He's sucked me in once, and I don't see why he couldn't do it again. Good stuff.

Hellsing: Volume 8

by Kohta Hirano, 207 pages

Iscariot and Millennium take turns destroying London and one another until Alucard finally comes home and asks Integra for his orders, which of course are to erase all enemies in sight--which he sets about doing with a great big grin on his face. There is one "person," however, who believes Alucard is an even greater danger to all things under heaven than those the vampire is gleefully squashing. Has Alucard met his match? And why's the crazy fiend so happy at the prospect?

Oh, the mess. There are flashbacks and massacres and some crazy personal holy war business. And why does Alucard suddenly have facial hair?! And only for a few (not all together contiguous) pages?? At least Police Girl notices, too, and comments on it, so it's not just me.... :P


by Kathryn Erskine 235 p. This novel is from the first person point of view of a fifth grader named Caitlin. She is dealing with a lot in her life. Her family has gone through a horrible tragedy and lost her brother. She is also learning how to deal with life itself through the challenge of Asperger's Syndrome. This makes the first person point of view interesting and different.

InuYasha: Volume 49

by Rumiko Takahashi, 186 pages

InuYasha defeats, albeit unwillingly, Naraku's supposedly emotionless proxy. But before she leaves this world, she imparts a secret to Kagome that could help them defeat the puppet master for good. Then, Sango and Miroku battle a bone-stealing demon and take on some serious damage in the process. Each more worried about the other than her-/himself, they independently vow to devote their lives to one another's protection. Now if somebody could just heal that sneaky illness-concealing monk, Sango could smack him upside the head and they'd be happy.

I love it when baddies overestimate their own awesomeness and underestimate the independence of their minions. But I love it even more when they realize their mistake and look all surprised and nervous, which I'm hoping will be soon, 'cause Naraku needs his final comeuppance, the creep.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reflections of a Childhood Friend ~ Memories of Anne Frank

By: Alison Leslie Gold, 135 pp

"A story of survival."

Hannah Gosler was a friend of Anne Frank. In Memories of Anne Frank, Hannah tells us her side of the awful Holocaust events and her own experiences. She also tells us how she met Anne and how she had come to become friends with Anne and how she had helped provide bread for Anne during the camps. This part of the story is very important for it is a huge part of their survival.

Their lives changed dramatically as the girls tried to survive during this horrible time in history. It is a good history lesson as you read this book and it would be great if you know someone who has a paper to write on history and the Holocaust.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

2011/264 pgs

About the Book: Three years since the accident that took Mia's family and changed her life, Adam and Mia have gone down separate paths. Shortly after beginning her school year at Julliard Mia cut off all contact with Adam with not warning. Since then Adam has wondered what exactly happened to her-and to them.

Adam is a rising rock star and his band, Shooting Star, is a worldwide sensation. Adam is dating a beautiful actress and on the outside appears to have a fabulous life. But he's miserable. All of his songs are about his grief over loosing Mia, but he can't talk about it with anyone.

Mia is a rising star at Julliard and about to take off on her first tour. One fateful evening bring Mia and Adam together before their worlds separate again.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: When I first heard that Gayle Forman was writing a sequel to If I Stay, I was excited but I kept thinking, "huh, it didn't really need a sequel." Boy was I wrong!

Where She Went is told from Adam's point of view this time around. Much like If I Stay the book is told with flashbacks so we know more about Adam and Mia's relationship, what happened after the accident, and what sent Adam into his spiral downward. Yes, Adam is emo at times (he is an emo rock star after all!). But I found his side of the story to be very interesting. He lost Mia's family as well and then lost Mia. His grief is understandable as well as his conflicting emotions over the fact that his success is based out of his grief. Adam is also dealing with the fact that he told Mia he would let her go, but how do you truly let someone go?

I'll admit that for the first part of the book, I wasn't sure what I thought. But then something clicked about halfway through. I realized that just like Adam, I needed closure to Adam and Mia's relationship. I needed to know what happened next and what made Mia just up and leave. I needed to know how they were moving on, how they were coping. I needed them to come together again for just one evening and figure out where things went wrong. The fact that the author could connect me to the characters in this way made me love the book more.

This is an emotional story and the writing is raw and beautiful. I got sucked into Adam and Mia's story. Much like in If I Stay, I felt the pain of losing Mia's family, in Where She Went, I felt the aftermath. I connected with the characters and I felt like they were part of me, making the book even that more powerful.

A beautiful sequel that surprised me. I'm so glad Gayle Forman wasn't done with the story!

Dark Mirror by M. J. Putney

2010/312 pgs

About the Book: Lady Victoria Mansfield Tory lives in a time where magic is viewed as a terrible disgrace amongst the upper classes. When Tory discovers she has magical powers, she must do everything she can to hide them. But when a tragic accident occurs that causes Tory to reveal her secret, she is shamed and sent to Lackland Abbey, a school to cure young mages.
At Lackland, Tory discovers that not everyone views magic as a curse. The more she learns about magic, the more she is intrigued. With war approaching in England, Tory feels as though her magic can be useful. But using and strengthening her powers means risking her future.

Sarah TeenlibrarianSays: This book was interesting. There were things I liked and things I didn't like, which made reading it a bit annoying because I kept going back and forth on how I felt about it.

I liked that the summary on the back really only covers the first few chapters, but at the same time this bugged me a bit. We're thrown right into the story without much world building or character development and in just a few chapters Tory has discovered her magic powers, revealed them and is being shipped off to school. What I did like about this is that it leaves a lot for the readers to discover without knowing too much of the story. Because of this I sort of hesitate to talk about further plot points because I don't want to ruin the surprises.

Since the cover kind of hints at this, I will mention that I was very pleased that there was a time travel element to the story. I'm a sucker for time travel and I always enjoy a good time travel story. The book was a bit of a slow start for me, but once Tory got to Lackland and things started to pick up, I started to like it more. I really started to like it more when the time travel is thrown in. At first I wasn't sure how the author would tie everything together, but she worked it all out and it made me like the book more.

The biggest thing that had me frustrated about this book was that I felt it was lacking a lot in character development. Hopefully this changes as the series goes on. I never really knew Tory and found her a bit hard to relate to. We don't get a lot of background story for her and she just felt sort of flat. I would have liked all the characters to be fleshed out more-I never really felt like we got to really know any of them. I also got a bit frustrated about how accepting everyone was of everything. It was very convenient and everyone trusted everyone. Even if someone got upset or made a mistake, they were quick to apologize. Also, when Tory does travel through time, the family she meets are all very quick to accept her story and accept magical powers-pretty much with no questions asked. It felt a bit cheesy and Mary Sunshine at times.

I did like reading it though and I'm interested to see what adventures Tory and her friends come across next. There's a bit of a romance that's beginning in this book, so I hope that continues to develop as the series progresses. The book blends fantasy, history, romance and time travel, so readers who like books with a nice mix of genres should pick this one up.

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds

2010/256 pgs

About the Book: Homer's epic poem about Odysseus trying to return home after the Trojan War transferred into a graphic novel format.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: I had to seek this one out and read it after The Odyssey knocked out my pick One Crazy Summer in SLJ's Battle of the Kids Books.

It's an impressive undertaking to transfer this poem into a graphic novel format. Some might think because it's a graphic novel it would be easier to read, which isn't the case at all. It's still a very dense book with a lot of detail and a of story. It's also not toned down at all for young readers. This is The Odyssey, complete with gore, fighting, blood, backstabbing, sex, betrayal, and death.

For the most part I enjoyed the graphic novel, although the ending where there was blood all over the palace and suitors speared everywhere was a bit gross. (It is very gory!) But the way the author kept true to the story and almost brought it to life through the illustrations is quite impressive. He also had to pare down the text so it would fit within the confines the graphic novel panels. I don't think he lost the meaning or the beauty of the poem and the art and text work together well to tell the whole story.

I do think it would be interesting to use this version in the classroom so readers can have a visual element to go along with the text. I think a lot of readers would respond to the story even more if they had both.

I have to add my side tangent about The Odyssey. I always get annoyed at Odysseus. He goes off and cheats on Penelope with various goddesses, because you know, he was under a spell and all, and Penelope stays and home and fights off the advances of many suitors-for 17 years. Doesn't really seem all that fair if you ask me!

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

2010/458 pgs

About the Book: It's 14 years since First Night, the time when the dead came back to life. Benny doesn't remember much, but he does remember his mother and his brother Tom taking him away from her. Benny thinks Tom is a coward and he resents Tom for taking him away from his mother.

Benny is soon turning 15, which means he will need to take a job. He reluctantly agrees to apprentice with his brother Tom, who is a bounty hunter. Benny thinks Tom isn't that exciting of a bounty hunter because he never hears stories about how he's killed "zoms" like he does from other bounty hunters around. While working with Tom, Benny discovers there's more to the zombies than what he thought and that maybe his brother is brave after all.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: Readers looking for an action filled zombie read won't exactly find what they're looking for with Rot and Ruin. Instead this is a lengthy social commentary with zombies. It's more of a quiet zombie book, much like Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

It takes a bit for the story to really get going, but once it does there is more action and suspense and some mystery. It might be a hard to sell to reluctant readers who are looking for a gory zombie tale and don't find one right from the start. Once the book reaches Part Two, the story picks up and there is a bit more gore and action, so readers really have to stick with it if that's what they are looking for.

I really liked Benny and Tom and thought they were great characters. I liked Tom's bounty hunter ways and it does give a new twist on zombies. Tom actually makes you care about the zombies instead of brushing them off and thinking of them as monsters that need to be killed.

There's a bit of a romance in the book, but honestly, I could have done without it. It felt a little bit too forced and I think the book would have been fine without any romance at all. The book is pretty long and it does drag in some parts, but overall its an engaging story. It's just not what I was expecting from a book about zombies!

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

2010/204 pgs

About the Book: It's 1910 and Einar and his family are living in a small cabin in the Arctic Circle. Sig has just discovered that his fathers sled fell through the ice when trying to cross. Now Sig waits alone in the cabin with his fathers corpse, waiting for help to arrive. A stranger appears at the door, demanding that Sig give him his share the gold Einar had stolen from him. Sig knows nothing of the gold and must find a way to escape the strange man and save himself.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: I really enjoyed Revolver and I think readers who like suspense and mystery stories will love this one. The book is told in present time and in flashbacks. We know what's happening presently with Sig as he's trapped in the cabin with the strange, Wolff. We also get a storyline of what happened leading up to this point. We learn how Einar and his family came to their cabin, about Einar's job working with the gold miners, his mother's love for the Bible and his father's respect for a gun. All of this adds up to a compelling mystery.

The chapters are short which make this a fast read and there's enough suspense that this should be an easy sell to reluctant readers. I'm adding it to my list of books to recommend when a teen says they hate reading-it has a lot that will hook readers.

I think what I enjoyed most about the book is the authors look at how there isn't an easy way out. There's often times no good or bad, but often a third option which you have to look for. This theme runs throughout the book and I think it's what made me really like the book overall.

I did listen to this one on audio and I have to say that while I liked the narrator, it never felt like a historical novel to me. The narrators voice just felt too modern to me.

Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

2011/40 pgs

About the Book: A cat's tale told all in haiku. Won Ton (not his real name!) was a shelter cat until he was adopted by a young boy. At first he's not sure what to think of his new home, but he learns his new owner isn't as bad as he thought.

Sarah Teenlibrarian says: How you can resist a book about a cat written all in haiku? Very clever and so much fun! The haikus are hilarious-I especially like the one that cries "let me out!" over and over again only to respond with "no, let me back in." Any pet owner will relate. The artwork is great and the book is fun to read. It can also be a great introduction to haiku, especially if you pair with Guyku by Bob Raczka.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

X/1999: Volume 4: Intermezzo

by CLAMP, 190 pages

Sora and another of the Seven Seals take Kamui to meet the seer Princess Hinoto, who shows him her vision of the future and his role in saving the world. But when her sister seer and Harbinger supporter Kanoe crashes the meeting and reveals that Hinoto has failed to mention the other half of the vision, in which Kamui destroys the Earth, the confused and insecure boy lashes out at all of them. Meanwhile, Kamui's friend Fuma wrestles with the "truth" he's been shown, and the lines between good and evil, between the Seven Seals and the Seven Harbingers, are further blurred. According to Hinoto, the Seven Harbingers are linked to the seven Dragons of the Earth, who, if unchecked, will tear the planet apart with earthquakes. Only the Seven Seals, linked to the seven Dragons of Heaven, can overcome them and prevent the Earth's destruction. With whom will Kamui ultimately choose to ally himself?

I love Eastern interpretations of dragons. They're long, graceful, giant flying serpents with seahorse heads, majestic jaws, delicate twisted goat horns and shaggy goat beards, tiny clawed feet, catfish whiskers, and dorsal manes, and they can consist of any element, like water or vapor or fire, and not just flesh and blood and scales. Whenever I get done with the books (not all of which are released yet in Japan, so it could be a while) I'll probably watch the animé (unless I'm too traumatized by a depressing ending to the manga) just so I can watch those mythical creatures twist and barrel through the sky.

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit: Volume 4

by Motoro Mase, 232 pages

This volume's abbreviated lives belong to a sincere junior high teacher who, despite being the victim of a student-instigated smear campaign, never loses his faith in the innocence of children, and to a hard-working former teen mother who's trying to keep her small family afloat despite her young daughter's asthma and her car junky husband's fiscal irresponsibility. As he watches their fates unfold, Fujimoto finds more frustration than satisfaction in his work. And he's also clearly falling for kind Dr. Kubo. But if he knew what the reader has just learned, would he run the other way? Or rush in headfirst?

Dude! I cried twice, as expected, and then my eyes popped in "oooooh..." as a new plotline was revealed. Has the first step toward revolution been made? I don't know! But I'm gonna find out!

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit: Volume 3

by Motoro Mase, 216 pages

Fujimoto delivers ikigami to the neglected, unloved son of a career politician running on a platform touting the benefits of Social Welfare (and who doesn't flinch at using her just condemned son as a mouthpiece for her campaign) and to the delinquent, indebted, yet devoted brother of a girl blinded in a car accident that killed their parents when they were children. As a result, the Welfare Police have an incident to hush up and Fujimoto gets reprimanded for bending some rules to fulfill a dying man's loving wish.

Ack. More crying. But I have another box of tissues in the bathroom closest, so I'm good. *thumbs up*

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit: Volume 2

by Motoro Mase, 218 pages

Unable to deal with his work-related mood swings, Fujimoto's girlfriend dumps him over lunch. Hurt by her inability to understand what he's going through, he warns her to take care in her criticism of his job, as it could be taken as criticism of the system, which could get her killed. After this chilling and depressing encounter, he pulls himself together and delivers ikigami to the devoted girlfriend of a stressed-out, drug-addicted director-to-be and to a clumsy, kind, earnest nursing-home worker who's just gotten a grief-stricken resident to talk and remember that her legs still work. Although the reader is privy to more of the private lives and reactions of the recipients than is Fujimoto, he's not blind, either, and every interaction touches him, however subtly. In the process, the newly single Fujimoto finds himself impressed with a new therapist brought in to help comfort those about to die.

I think I'm pretty much guaranteed at least two bouts of tears per volume of this series. It's moving and sinister and human. And something is up with the pretty new shrink....

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit: Volume 1

by Motoro Mase, 212 pages

Concerned that its post-war society is falling into a pattern of dissolution that might undermine the country's integrity, the national government institutes a program to inspire citizens to appreciate life and live it to its fullest by being happy, law-abiding, productive citizens. And what better way to encourage people to live like it's their last day than to threaten them with that very possibility?

Following the adoption of the National Welfare Act, all children are immunized upon enrollment in the first grade. But one syringe out of every thousand contains a pre-programmed nano-capsule that will settle harmlessly in the vaccinated individual's pulmonary artery until--at a predetermined date and time when the individual is between the ages of 18 and 24--it ruptures and kills them. The identity of these lucky individuals is kept strictly secret until 24 hours before their scheduled death, when a government representative delivers their "death paper," or ikigami, informing them that they've been chosen for the honor of dying for their country and giving them time to get their affairs in order and decide what to do with their final hours.

Fujimoto works for the Musashigawa Ward Office as a messenger. Having lived past the age of 24, he's safe from receiving the ikigami he delivers to the citizenry. But that doesn't mean he's safe from a death sentence, as public dissent can brand one a "social miscreant," which can only end badly. Fujimoto does his best to take his job seriously and balance his compassion for the condemned with his duty to his country, but finds himself internally questioning the system's purported merits.

In this first volume, rookie Fujimoto delivers ikigami to a young man traumatized by years of bullying at school and to a former street musician about to make his debut on live radio. The two deal with their suddenly truncated futures very differently. And I cried for them both.

If you don't mind a story that makes you angry and leaves you itching to take up arms against the oppressor, then this series is for you. Although this very flawed social experiment would never be tolerated in reality (at least, we hope not), Mase does so well showing the point of view of the trusting citizenry and civil servants that you can see how they might find something to validate its existence, even as their confidence in it is undermined. For every dignified, honorable acceptance of death as civic duty, there's a horrible, tooth-and-nail fight against it. You know it's wrong and you wait anxiously for Fujimoto and the populace to realize it before you, too, are brainwashed into acceptance.

Monsters, Mind Your Manners by Elizabeth Spurr, illustrated by Simon Scales

2011/24 pgs

About the Book: When monsters visit, they bring all sorts of chaos! This book warns children of all the terrible manners monsters have.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: This book is more of what I was expecting from another monster read I picked up not too long ago, Vile: A Cautionary Tale for Little Monsters. Monsters, Mind Your Manners shows how impolite monsters can be! They play baseball in the house and they make messes and don't clean up. A funny book on manners and it was cute, but nothing memorable.

Little Chimp's Big Day by Lisa Schroeder, illustrated by Lisa McCue

2010/24 pgs

About the Book: A little chimp falls to the jungle floor when a branch breaks off his tree. He can't see his mother anywhere, but decides to explore the jungle and has an adventure filled day.

Sarah Teenlibarian Says: Little Chimp is so cute so of course I would love his story just from the cover! Plus, I'm a sucker for books with chimps!

Little Chimp explores the jungle and while he can't find his mother, she's never far off. Part of the fun of reading this one aloud to younger readers is having them point out where Mama Chimp is-she's always visable to the reader, although at times she may be hiding and a bit harder to find. This part of the book makes it a very interactive read.

Little Chimp meets various jungle animals throughout the day and makes new friends. Of course, in the evening, he's reunited with his mother. A sweet book that would be good for storytimes.

Red Wagon by Renata Liwska

2011/32 pgs

About the Book: Lucy has just recieved a new red wagon and can't wait to play with it! But Lucy's mother wants her to run to the market, which Lucy doesn't think sounds all that exciting. But along the way, Lucy and her friends discover how much fun a little red wagon can be.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: Renata Liwska, when will you please move to the US so you can recieve a Caldecott Award? I was introduced to Ms. Liwska's work through The Quiet Book and I've sought out her books ever since.

Red Wagon
is a book about a little fox's imagination. While we're told one story in the text, the illustrations give the reader another story and show what kind of adventures Lucy and her friends can go on when they pretend.

The illustrations are soft and beautiful and the detail packed into them make them fun to look at. The illustrations have a very warm fuzzy quality about them. I also love how Ms. Liwska can create animals with so much emotion!

A great picture book and perfect for reading aloud or for new readers to enjoy on their own.

Sneaky Sheep

by Chris Monroe, 32 pages

Blossom and Rocky are two sheep who think they are pretty sneaky. They are constantly trying to escape from the flock for a higher meadow but Murphy, the loyal sheepdog, always finds them and brings them back.

I was looking forward to this book after reading "Monkey with a Tool Belt" which I absolutely loved. I was a bit disappointed. There really wasn't much of a story and the text felt very choppy. However, there were some very funny parts (like when Murphy recalls some of the questionable choices Rocky and Blossom have made in the past) and as always, the artwork is incredible. Would make a good book for showing little ones that rules are made out of love and are meant to keep them safe.

Smooch Your Pooch by Teddy Slater, illustrated by Arthur Howard

2010/32 pgs

About the Book: A fun picture book about all the ways you can love your dog.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: I love books about dogs (well, as long as the dogs don't die!) and I love my dogs, so I thought I would love this book. Not so, sadly. This book was just OK. It was cute and it shows young readers lots of ways you can play with your dog. I think it would be good for readers who are getting a new family pet and maybe it would be a good read for a dog themed storytime. But the rhymes just weren't fantastic and the book as a whole was just so-so. The illustrations are cartoonish and fun and I'm sure young readers who love dogs will enjoy it.

"Gorillas" by Gail Gibbons 32 p. / 2011

Gibbons is so adept at creating picture book nonfiction for younger readers and her newest addition is no exception. Appropriate for grades k-5, this book gives the reader a very visual overview of these fascinating primates. The book provides insight into the unique habitat, diet, and defining physical, social, and emotional characteristics of this species. Although Gibbons provides a lot of good details specific to gorillas, she doesn't overwhelm the reader with too much information, making it just the right size for the elementary school set.

The watercolor illustrations are probably not as exacting as an older reader might prefer, yet they make the book feel like a picture book, allowing for a wider audience to enjoy the content. I found the illustrations to be a bit annoying at times and would have preferred real photographs, especially when Gibbons is describing their facial expressions and the various meaning behind them. However, that is DK's specialty and this is Gibbons's! This book would be perfect to look at with a preschooler because it is so visual, yet it is also just as appropriate for a 4th grader to use as a source in a science report about gorillas.

Lola Loves Stories by Anna Mcquinn illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

2010/ 28 pgs

About the Book: Every Saturday, Lola's Daddy takes her to the library where she finds all sorts of wonderful stories. Throughout the week Lola reads her books and uses her imagination to bring the stories to life.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: This is a very sweet story about a young girl and her love of books. Each day, Lola reads a new story and the illustrations show the reader how Lola brings the story to life. The book encourages reading and imagination. The illustrations and colorful and this would be a great book for preschoolers, especially in a storytime about reading or libraries.

Thanks A Lot Emily Post by Jennifer Larue Huget, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

2009/40 pgs

About the Book: A family of young children get upset and annoyed when their mother purchases Emily Post's etiquette book and expects them to behave according to her rules. The children devise a plan to go back to the way things used to be!

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says:
This book was very funny and lots of fun and would be great for preschool on up, especially those young readers who are having manners repeated to them over and over!

The books main character is frustrated by the number of rules that have come because of the Emily Post book and life is not fun anymore! They can't be dirty, they have to be polite, they can't have elbows on the table-what fun is that? So the children start turning the manners and etiquette game onto their mother. They tell her Emily Post would not approve of her not shiny silver and devise ways to take the rules of etiquette to new extremes. Of course, this all results in a big disaster and lots of humor!

The illustrations are detailed and colorful. Emily Post used characters to help tell her stories of manners and these ghostly-like characters appear next to the children teaching them to mind their manners. Some knowledge of Emily Post might be helpful when reading this book, but for kids who are learning about etiquette, it's sure to be full of laughs!

"Rot and Ruin" by Jonathan Maberry

458 pages

It's been fifteen years since First Night, when the dead began to reanimate and zombies took over the world. Benny Imura was a baby then, and now he's a teenager living with his older brother in Mountainside, an isolated town of about 8,000. The citizens call the zombie-infested world outside their fences "the Rot and Ruin." There are other towns out there, but only traders and "bounty hunters" (aka zombie killers) brave the wilderness in between. Benny and his brother, Tom, don't get along, partly because Benny still blames him leaving their mother behind after their father turned into a zombie on First Night. Benny has to get a job soon because everyone must start working at age fifteen or their rations are cut in half. He can't find any job he's good at, so at the last minute he ends up training with Tom to be a bounty hunter. Benny thinks his brother just runs around slashing the walking dead with his sword, but when they venture out into the Rot and Ruin, Benny discovers that it's much different than he thought. He begins to learn who his brother really is--and that there is an evil even worse than zombies lurking beyond his town's walls.

I've read lots of zombie books, and this one is different from most in that it takes place long after the living dead have taken over (most of the ones I've read describe the initial outbreak of zombies). I liked seeing the perspective of someone who has grown up in a world where zombies are the norm. The first half of the story seemed slow to me, but the second half picked up the pace and I really got into it. The story has a whole struck me as a social commentary about what makes us human and what a "monster" really is, but there is still plenty of action (at least at the end) to keep fans of typical zombie lit happy. The ending was somewhat predictable and was too drawn out for me. I hate that "instead of just killing you I'm going to tell you all the reasons why I am evil first" thing that the bad guys do in some movies and books, and there's some of that here. However, there is one part of the ending that took me by surprise and made me happy. I think the author does a good job of wrapping things up while leaving plenty of room for the next book in the series, which I look forward to.

Can You Make A Scary Face by Jan Thomas

2009/40 pgs

About the Book: What would you do if a tickly bug landed on your nose? Could you wiggle it off? Would you do the chicken dance? Or could you scare it away?

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: Can You Make A Scary Face should be a storytime collection must have. (And really, after the books by Jan Thomas I've read, I'm thinking all of her books belong there!) This book has great bright colorful pages, minimal text on each page, large font, and is an interactive story for kids. They'll be wiggling and jumping and shouting along! Perfect for preschool storytimes. I'm buying this one for my Aunt Sarah has the best books book collection!

Underground by Shane Evans

2011/32 pgs

About the Book: A picture book telling a slaves journey on the underground railroad.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: The beauty and power of this book come not from the text, but the reliance of the text on the pictures. The text itself is very simplistic (the fear...we run) and it's the pictures that tell the story of what is happening.

The artwork is beautiful. The story slowly turns from dark to light as the slaves make their escape, with light shining when they have reached freedom.

While it's not a picture book on the underground railroad that will give a lot of facts, it does make a good introduction to the subject, especially for young readers.

Monsters Eat Whiny Children by Bruce Eric Kaplan

2010/40 pgs

About the Book: Henry and Eve are whiny children. They whine about everything and are warned that monsters eat whiny children. So of course, their whining means that they are captured by a hungry monster. But just as he is preparing a whiny child salad, his wife comes in and says she doesn't like paprika and he must change the dressing. Then a neighbor wants whiny child burgers. Can the monsters decide how to eat their whiny children before their food escapes?

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: I'll admit I picked this one up based on the title alone. I was expecting an off-beat humor filled story and I got one. This isn't a book for every child, but for those who enjoy quirky humor, its sure to delight. There are many laugh out loud moments as the monsters can't decide what to eat and how to cook the children. There are also plenty of laughs for grown ups as well (i.e. The monster wife believes her but is too big and can't eat whiny child cake). This is a great book for reading aloud and is perfect for adults and kids to share together.

You're Finally Here by Melanie Watt

2011/40 pgs

About the Book: A little rabbit is excited for a reader to finally show up, but then wonders what took so long.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: This is a cute little picture book. The little rabbit is very excited that a reader has finally appeared, but soon after he starts demanding what took so long. He explains that waiting was "as rude as" and "as annoying as" and gives examples like talking with your mouth full, having toilet paper on your shoe, etc. It's a bit funny and I liked the illustrations a lot, but I think it'll be a bit of a bore for young readers who might not want to be scolded throughout a picture book. The joke of the rabbit then making the reader wait at the end may be lost on very young readers as well. I wish there had been a bit more to the story as well instead of just reading why rabbit had to wait.

"Little White Rabbit" by Kevin Henkes 2011

Just in time for spring and Easter, Henkes has once again captured the magic and joy of imagination in this whimsical book about a young rabbit who pictures himself taking on the qualities of different things found in nature: grass, a tall tree, a stone, etc. The beautiful pastel colors and airiness of the chalky illustrations lend a softness to rabbit's escapades. Reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown's "Runaway Bunny," this book is a lighter take on the wonders of the world from a child's perspective. Destined to be a springtime classic in preschool classrooms, this book would make a great Easter basket treat or baby shower gift.

Hoshin Engi, Volume 8: The Revolution

by Ryu Fujisaki

185 p.

Taikobo and friends finally beat the elite, super tough group known as the Maka Yonsho. Yet, their victory comes at a cost for three of their strongest allies are seriously hurt and will be out of action for a while. But good news comes from the northern warlord. He will now ally with Zhou and they can now attack the Yin empire from all sides. But in preparation for the upcoming attack, Taikobo discovers a spy whose powers make her quite formidable. Can she be ignored? Can she be turned to Zhou's side?


by Francesco Artibani, Michelle Medda, Roberto Di Salvo, et al.


This is a reimagining of the X-Men as teenagers. What's more, they all go to the same high school as some of the Brotherhood of Mutants and other famous characters from the X-Men universe are faculty at this school. It really is quite a trip. In fact, it makes a very good X-Men origin story.