Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Summer I Turned Pretty By: Jenny Han


Belly measures her life in summers, the sun, the sand, and most importantly, the boys. Fifteen summers spent at the same shore house with the boys treating her like a little sister and suddenly this summer everything is different, everything is different because this summer Belly finally feels pretty.

Book Talk:

Have you ever noticed how when you feel pretty the whole world seems like a different place? Even if it only lasts for a short while? After fifteen summers of watching her crushes watch other girls this summer they’re looking at her. Feeling pretty gives her the confidence to do be herself and do things she hasn’t done before. Which may leave you wondering whether it’s her looks, or her new found confidence that has the boy’s heads turning. If you’ve ever felt like you’ll never be the center of attention, if you’ve ever wondered what it was like to feel pretty, this is a book for you. One summer changed Belly’s world, and one book just might change yours too.

Peer Recommendation:

“I love anything by Jenny Han, her stories are so true. I feel like it could be about me.” Nancy


ALA Best Books For Young Adults ,
Capitol Choices List (DC)

Han, Jenny. The Summer I Turned Pretty. New York: Simon & Shcuster, 2009.
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Monday, November 28, 2011

If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? By: Melissa Kamtor


When Lucy’s father remarries he moves her across the country to live with her new stepmother and her two bratty new stepsisters. Now she’s living in the basement, has no friends, and spends her free time doing chores. With a life that seems to mirror Cinderella’s Lucy can’t help but wonder where her prince is.

Book talk:

Have you ever felt a bit like Cinderella? Lucy sure has! Sure her father’s still alive, but when she lives in New York and her father works in San Francisco she’s still left alone with her evil stepmother and bratty stepsisters. Forced to live in the basement and to do extra chores she can’t help but see the overwhelming similarities between Cinderella and herself. The only problem is that Cinderella’s story ends when she finds the prince. So when Lucy gets asked out by the star of the basketball team, why aren’t all her problems solved?

Can Lucy convince her dad her stepmother is evil? Can she find a perfect dress for prom? And can she figure out why she keeps bumping in to that annoying guy from art class? Find out what this Cinderella does to take matters into her own hands.

Peer Recommendation:

“I love story’s that are fairy tale retellings. You know how they end, but getting there is different. I love, Beauty, and I just read If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s my Prince. It was great.” Melanie


Florida Teen Reads
ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
YALSA Teens top 10
Book Sense Pick

Kantor, Melissa. If I have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s my Prince? New York: Hyperion, 2005.
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The Truth About Forever By: Sarah Dessen


Macy’s spent the years since her father’s death trying to be perfect. When she surprises everyone (including herself) by taking a job at Wish catering for the summer all bets are off, especially where the cute bartender, Wes, is concerned.

Book Talk:

Macy has spent the time since her father’s death trying to achieve perfection. She knows she isn’t as perfect as her boyfriend, who is going to ‘brain camp’ all summer, but by taking over his job at the library during the days and spending her nights studying for the SAT’s she feels like she’s getting closer. Then in a moment of insanity she takes a second job at Wish catering, where nothing ever goes right and chaos rules the days. Surprisingly, Macy finds that she loves it, especially the cute bartender, Wes, with who she is forming a close friendship… and maybe more.

If you’ve ever wanted to be perfect, or thought you’ve known someone who was, this is the book for you. You don’t have to take my word for it though, check out the summary and review below!

Peer Recommendation:

Recommendation credit:


Beehive Young Adults' Book Award
Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award
SCASL Book Award (South Carolina)
Teen Buckeye Book Award
Volunteer State Book Award

Dessen, Sarah. The Truth About Forever. New York: Viking, 2004.
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Prom and Prejudice By: Elizabeth Eulberg


Lizzie Bennet is a scholarship student at the prestigious Longbourn Academy where prom is all students can talk about. Will Lizzie be able to overcome her prejudices and will that handsome Will Darcy be able to overcome his pride so they can have a perfect prom?

Book Talk:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date."

Thus starts Elizabeth Eulberg’s Prom and Prejudice, a modern take on the classic tale Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. In this new telling of the old classic, Lizzie Bennet thought she had seen all the rude behavior students at her prestigious school could throw at her. When she overhears Will Darcy say he spent his last term in London to avoid scholarship students, she writes off rich kids for good. Can Will Darcy put aside his pride and see what makes Lizzie special, and can Lizzie ignore her prejudice to find out the truth about Darcy’s statement that night, and can they both find a date for prom in time?

Prom and Prejudice keeps all the themes that made Austen’s book such a success, and adds some new twists to keep readers engaged. If you’ve read Pride and Prejudice and loved it, this is the book for you. Also, If you didn’t enjoy the language of Pride and Prejudice or couldn’t easily pick out the themes, this book will help show you what everyone’s talking about. Either way, make sure to grab this book soon!

Book Trailer:

Book Trailer Credit:


None yet

Eulberg, Elizabeth. Prom and Prejudice. New York: Point, 2011.
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Airhead By: Meg Cabot


Emerson Watts was a fairly normal teen with a fairly normal life until an unfortunate accident leads to her brain being placed in a supermodel’s body.

Book Talk:

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a supermodel? Perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect life? Emerson Watts never did, until she ended up as one. A freak accident at a store opening leads to Emerson Watt’s brain being transplanted into supermodel Nikki Howard’s body. Not only does Emerson have a whole new body to deal with, she can’t tell anyone what happened or else her parents will lose everything.

Emerson must now learn how to negotiate a modeling career on top her school studies, managing Nikki Howards crazy rich friends and boyfriends, and trying to make her former crush notice her. Can a former video gamer pull off bikini shoots? Can Emerson make her old crush notice her in her new body? And can she figure out why her new Employer, Stark Enterprises is spying on her? Pick this book up to find out the answers to these questions and learn all about being a video gamer in a supermodel’s body. Just do yourself a favor and get all three books in this series at once, or you’ll end up making a second trip to the Library (I did!).

Peer Recommendation:

“I just finished that Airhead series, they’re amazing. So good and so funny!” - Bonnie

Book Awards:

A New York Times Children's Chapter Book Best Seller
CosmoGIRL! Magazine's May Pick for its online book club
A Teen Choice Book Award Finalist for the Children's Book Council
A selection on the New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age, 2009

Cabot, Meg. Airhead. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2008.
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Blog Blog Blog

Hi Readers! If you’ve been reading along so far you’ve found 12 reviews for 12 great books covering a bunch of different genres. I like reading books in lots of different genres, and I bet you do to. For my next few reviews (8), I am going to focus on one of my favorite genres: Chick Lit. Don’t click away just yet! Girls: Chick Lit is made for us! It’s got great stories, heart, and usually it’s pretty easy to read. Boys: Trying to figure out what your girlfriend is thinking or how to impress your crush? Chick Lit just may have your answers!

If you haven’t fallen in love with chick lit like I have yet, take a look at these book talks and pick up a title or two. You may just find yourself hooked. You don’t have to take my word for it, I asked some teens what they thought about chick lit and used their recommendations to pick some of my 8 books. Let’s meet the lovely ladies now:

Mandy: Mandy is 17 and from the Philadelphia area, her favorite class is English and she used to live at the local Borders until it closed.

“I read chick lit on occasion usually it's because it's light fluffy and an easy read. It's a break from my usual sci fi/fantasy/ horror reading.”

“I prefer southern chick lit books... the female characters tend to have more traditional values but aren't afraid to live or be on their own and are usually strong women.”

Melanie: Melanie is 16 and from the Philadelphia suburbs, she loves reading and ice cream.

“Yes I do [read chick lit] now, because it's easy and quick to read. Because of school I’m too busy to read long/hard books”

Nancy: Nancy is 17 and lives in California, her favorite thing to do is rock climbing!

“Chick lit is great because it’s about girls like me. Well, girls I wish I was, anyway!”

Bonnie: Bonnie is 15 and from Boston, she loves reading, and spending time with her boyfriend.

“I love, love, love, it [chick lit]. I don’t want to read about old people, or dead people, or ghosts, or whatever. I want to read cute stories where the girl gets the guy!”

Jenna: Jenna is 16 and from Philadelphia, she likes reading and spending time with her friends.

“I read a lot of chick lit with my friends. We’ll take turns passing around a good book and we’ll talk about it sometimes, or go see it if it’s a movie, like twilight, we are SO excited.”

I asked the girls how they found out about the great books they read; only one girl said she read a blog!

Jenna: “I sometimes look at Chick Lit Teens [], her reviews are really good and she has this rating system I like. The only thing, is the reviews are usually new books my school library doesn’t have copies of yet.”

I asked the girls who didn’t read blogs why not, where they got their books from, and what would attract them to a blog.

“I'll read reviews on online stores like amazon or something and I suppose I have used librarything to see some reviews but not often. I don't look for reviews very often. I usually find out by word of mouth or just browsing”

Melanie: “I would be attracted to one [a blog] if I didn't have a sister and friends who recommend good books to me all the time!”

"I've used before -- you become a member and have virtual book shelves of 'to read' 'reading' and 'read.' You friend people similarly to facebook and see their shelves and reviews. The main attraction for me was a place to actually organize and gather a list of what I want to read"

Bonnie: "sometimes there are reviews in magazines I read, or a friend will tell me it’s a good book. I never thought to look for a blog, maybe I will now… I wouldn’t want the blog to tell me it’s a good book, and then I go and get it and it stinks. That would suck.”

There’s some insight to start with! Let’s get book talking!

A Wrinkle in Time By: Madeleine L’Engle


Meg has always been the odd one out in a family of extraordinary people, however one day all that changes when Meg has a chance to save them all.

Book talk:

Have you ever felt like you’re not special? Like you didn’t really fit in with everyone else in your family? That’s how Meg feels, with brilliant scientist parents, athletic and likeable twin brothers, and a genius younger brother. Then one night the mysterious Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which come to tell them that their father is in trouble and needs their help.

Meg, her younger brother Christopher Wallace, and their new friends Calvin find themselves traveling through space in a tesseract, or wrinkle in time. They find themselves on a planet where the people seem to have no soul and no differences and everything is run by IT. Can the children defeat IT and find Meg’s father. Will Meg finally figure out how she fits in her family? You’ll have to read the book to find out!


1963 Newbery Medal Award
ALA Notable Children's Book

L’Engle, M. (1962). A Wrinkle in Time. Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York.
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Persepolis By: Marjane Satrapi


Persepolis is the memoir of Marjane Satrapi told in comic strip form detailing what her life was like growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution.

Book Talk:

Growing up can be hard enough with school, parents, and friends. However Marjane has the added trouble of growing up during the Islamic revolution. Not always able to understand everything happening around her she manages to hold on to her unique personality despite the threat of war, loss, ‘guardians’ policing the streets, and bomb raids. This unique book is told through comic strips, making it easy to read and entertaining to see the different adventures Marjane manages to get into.

This is a must read for anyone wondering what it would be like to live in a country at war, anyone who ever felt like they couldn’t be their selves, anyone who ever spoke their mind when others were quiet, and anyone looking for a great story.


ALA Alex Award
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
Booklist Editor's Choice for Young Adults
New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
School Library Journal Adult Books for Young Adults

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis. New York: Pantheon, 2003.
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The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian By: Sherman Alexie


Junior, a Spokane Indian, decides to attend an all-white high school off the reservation despite the disapproval of his people.

Book Talk:

Have you ever had to make a really hard decision? One you knew your friends or community might not understand or even support, but you knew was the best move for you? This is the problem Arnold Spirit (aka Junior) has to make in An Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian. Junior knows the only way to get off the reservation and escape the cycle of poverty and alcoholism that affects his people is to go to the best school he can, and maybe one day go to college. The problem is that the best school is an all-white school, and he is considered a traitor by his entire community for attending a school off the reservation.

Junior is forced to find a strength inside himself that he never knew he had, and makes some surprising discoveries about the people he knows and the things he always assumed were true.


winner of the 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature
winner of the 2008 Boston-Globe Horn Book Award
winner of the 2009 International Book on Books for Young People Sweden - Peter Pan Prize
winner of the 2010 California Young Reader Medal
finalist for the 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize

Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2007.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants By: Ann Brashares


The story of four best friends, an amazing summer, and one magical pair of pants

Book Talk:

Have you ever had a piece of clothing that was really special to you? It felt like things just ‘happened’ when you wore it? It made you feel lucky? For Carmen, Lena, Bridget and Tibby it’s one magical pair of jeans that magically fits all four of their different figures. As the four friends spend the summer apart they exchange their stories which each passing of the pants.
Through these traveling pants the girls keep in touch from soccer camp, home, South Carolina and even Greece. The pants see forbidden love, embarrassing moments, triumphs, failures, and new friendships. It is with these pants the girls keep their friendship and the magic flowing, until they are united again.


ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Indiana Young Hoosier Award
Iowa Teen Book Award
Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award
New Jersey Garden State Teen Book Award
Rhode Island Children's Book Award
Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading List
Washington Evergreen Young Adult Book Award
Pacific Northwest Young Readers Choice Award
Missouri Gateway Readers Award
Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award
Book Sense Book of the Year
Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading List
Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award

Brashares, Ann. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. New York: Delacorte Press, 2001.
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Rooftop By: Paul Volponi


Rooftop is the story of two cousins, Addison and Clay, both dealing with drug addictions until Addison is shot, unarmed, by the police. As the witness Clay is left with a tough decision to make.

Book Talk:

Clay and Addison are cousin who don’t talk for years, until one day they end up in the same rehab center. They bond once again and work towards making a good life for themselves. This ends when Clay accompanies Addison on a trip to get some money he is owed and is shot by police on a rooftop. Clay sees the whole thing, and although Addison was unarmed and shouldn’t have had to die, he wonders if he was really innocent. Clay now has to struggle with whether to tell what really happened, or to let people think Addison was a victim of the color of his skin.
Rooftop is a book for anyone who has ever had to make a hard decision, one that might hurt the people he loved or maybe the memory of the people they’ve lost.


ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Quick Pick Award

Volponi, Paul. Rooftop. New York, N.Y.: Viking, 2006.
Book Cover Credit:,,9780670060696,00.html