Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Populazzi by Elise Allen


When Cara moves to a new neighborhood and a new high school, she follows her best friend's plan to climb the rungs of a ladder of boys to reach the top rung and be the Supreme Populazzi.  The goal is to be the most popular girl, have the most most popular boyfriend and rule the school.  The plan seems to be working although along the way Cara jeopardizes her grades, her relationships with her parents, best friend and the boy on the first rung of the ladder.

The premise of the book is fascinating and it was a very enjoyable read.  The cover is eye catching and the writing will attract even the most reluctant readers.  My favorite part of the book is the relationship between Cara and Archer, the boy on the bottom rung.  Archer is a gem of a character through the end.  The only drawback is the length of the book at 400 pages.  Most reluctant readers will be taken aback by that.  However, I found the ending quite satisfying and all readers sticking with the book should feel the same way.  Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley.   Populazzi by Elise Allen will be published in August 2011.  Cover courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Flip by Martyn Bedford

Imagine waking up in someone else's bed, room, house, body.  That is exactly what happens to Alex as he wakes up one day as Philip, also known as Flip.  Turns out Alex was hit by a car and is in a coma miles away in another part of England but his brain/spirit/soul is alive and well inside of Flip.  

Martyn Bedford actually has us believing that this is possible.  He also has us really liking Alex as a person as we see him dealing with this situation he has found himself in.  In observing Flip's family and friends Alex learns more about his own.  Not usually popular with the girls Alex gets to see what it's like to have girls attracted to him.  

There are many terms in this book American readers will need to figure out the meanings of.  Some will be familiar many not.  I enjoyed them and the writing and the book.  Recommended for readers who enjoyed Andrew Clements Things Not Seen and science fiction fans.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Uncommon Criminals (A Heist Society Novel)
(For a complete synopsis please see amazon, b&n, or borders websites)
The highly anticipated sequel to Heist Society was worth the wait.  In Uncommon Criminals, Ally Carter has written a fast paced and page turing teen crime thriller.  Wanting to savor the book I purposely read it in spurts over two days.  

Kat is a brilliant young girl in her chosen field and once again proves she has a good heart.  The budding romance with Hale is believable as is Kat's naivety.  Carter gives us just enough of the other teens to whet our whistle but there are certainly more stories to tell.  And Marcus.  Oh, I just wonder where she is going with him!   Recommended for fans of the the first book, The Gallagher Girls books, mysteries, romance and friendship stories.  

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Crepe Makers Bond by Julie Crabtree

With the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of The Crepe Makers Bond I knew I wanted to read Discovering Pig Magic. However, this is not really necessary for readers new to the series and I say series because surely a third book will be written in Nicki's voice.  Discovering Pig Magic had M narrating and in The Crepe Makers Bond it is Ariel.  Ariel loves cooking and creating recipes and she shares them with us at each chapter break.  She is inspiring me to try some of them and won't be surprised if others do too!  However her jealousy and selfishness surface when M moves in with her family to finish up 8th grade because her mom has taken a job in another city.  Throughout the book hints are dropped about Nicki possibly keeping secrets which could be the premise of the third book (and touched upon near the end.)

While aimed at the YA audience this book will also work for middle graders who enjoy stories about friendship and cooking.  I would also recommend it to those who enjoyed The Secret Ingredient  and The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer (both reviewed below.)  Read as an ebook ARC courtesy of Milkweed Editions via Netgalley.

Discovering Pig Magic by Julie Crabtree

Given the chance to read Julie Crabtrees's newest book enticed me to read Discovering Pig Magic first.. I would have loved this book when I was in junior high. Mattie (aka Miss M and "M"), Ariel and Nikki are each dealing with very mature situations and have each other to confide in and support. Crabtree doesn't hold back on what they discuss or what they are thinking although we really only hear M's voice. Recommended for girls who enjoy stories about friendship, crushes, honesty and the idea of magic. While amazon has this as a book for ages 9-12 I would suggest 12 and up. Now I can read "The Crepe Makers' Bond."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Karma by Cathy Ostlere

Called Maya by her mother and Jiva by her father, Maya is half Hindu and half Sikh.  To get away from their Indian families who frowned upon their marriage Maya's parents emigrated to Canada which is where she is raised.  However, after the death of her mother, Maya and her father travel to India to return the ashes from whence they came.  When riots break out Maya is separated from her father and winds up far away in a desert village.  After witnessing violence and horrors Maya becomes mute and her story continues through Sandeep, a village boy who also has a story to tell.

Written in free verse poems first as Maya's diary and then as Sandeep's, this 500+ page books flies by.  The story is engrossing in both Maya's words and Sandeep's.  Cathy Ostlere writing is simply gorgeous and Maya's story is both heartbreaking and endearing.  It is hard not cheer for the growing relationship between Sandeep and Maya and to not cry for their losses.  Truthfully I would have been happy with a few more pages set sometime in the future tying loose ends together (trying not to spoil anything here) but will settle for my imagination or another book someday. Recommended for fans of historical fiction, romance, journals and free verse.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nerd Girls : The Rise of the Dorkasaurus by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Tired of being bullied by the popular girls, three girls team up to try to win the school talent show and end the reign of bullies always winning.  Alice, aka Allergy Alice, Barbara aka Beanpole and Maureen aka Mo (the fat girl) find the true meaning of friendship as they nearly become convinced they are losers for ever.
     For most of this book I was reading with a smile on my face and laughed out loud in many spots.  When Alice's tragic background came to light I had tears in my eyes.  Sitomer sure knows how to twist a story.  Recommended for grades 6 and up and all middle school girls who have ever been bullied.
Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Simon and Schuster via Netgalley.  Nerd Girls : The Rise of the Dorkasaurus will be available July 5, 2011.