Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (July 31)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Dark Star by Bethany Frenette

Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. When your mother is the most powerful superhero in the Twin Cities, it’s hard not to feel safe. But when Audrey is lured into the night air by something most definitely not human, the time for feeling safe is over.

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t just stop criminals. She fights Harrowers—merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Some have managed to claw their way into our world, and they want Audrey dead because of who she is: one of the Kin.

There is some good news, though. Audrey has powers of her own. Being able to read someone else’s mind and glimpse the future can be very useful. If she’s able to get close enough to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to figure out his next move. But it won’t be easy, not if Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick has anything to do with it. Lately, he hasn’t let Audrey out of his sight.

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything—and everyone—she loves.

Published by Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: September 3, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (July 30)

What is teaser tuesday?

It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules: Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"I should be playing the birthday game, but I cannae, not while there's witnesses around. The birthday game has to be played in secret--or the experiment will find out." 

-The Panopticon, Page 1, by Jenni Fagan

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelf (July 28)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews! It's a way to highlight the books that everyone got throughout the week.

For Review:

Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky

With Judy Blume-like honesty and insight, this sequel to Anatomy of a Boyfriend is about life after first love--romance, sex, friendship, family, and the ups and downs of life as a single girl.

After everything that happened—my first boyfriend, my first time, my first breakup—jumping back into the dating game seemed like the least healthy thing I could do. It’s not that I didn’t want to fall in love again, since that’s about the best feeling ever. But as a busy college premed still raw from heartbreak, which is the worst feeling ever, I figured I’d lie low for a while. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking for someone, an impossibly amazing—and devastatingly cute—guy came along, and I learned that having a new boyfriend is the quickest way to recover from losing your old one.

The moment we got together, all my preconceptions about romance and sex were turned upside down. I discovered physical and emotional firsts I never knew existed. I learned to let go of my past by living in the present. It was thrilling. It was hot. It was just what the doctor ordered.

But I couldn’t avoid my future forever.

In Daria Snadowsky’s daring follow-up to Anatomy of a Boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Dominique explores the relationship between love and lust, and the friendships that see us through.

The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember what’s happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais’s school uniform is covered in blood.

Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counter-culture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade of horrors visited upon her early life, she greets the world with the witty, fierce insight of a survivor.

Anais finds a sense of belonging among the residents of the Panopticon – they form intense bonds, and she soon becomes part of an ad hoc family. Together, they struggle against the adults that keep them confined. When she looks up at the watchtower that looms over the residents though, Anais knows her fate: she is an anonymous part of an experiment, and she always was. Now it seems that the experiment is closing in.

Named one of the best books of the year by the Times Literary Supplement and the Scotsman, The Panopticon is an astonishingly haunting, remarkable debut novel. In language dazzling, energetic and pure, it introduces us to a heartbreaking young heroine and an incredibly assured and outstanding new voice in fiction.

The Circle by Sara B. Elfgren & Mats Strandberg

On a night after the apparent suicide of high school student Elias Malmgren, a blood-red moon fills the night sky. Minoo wakes up outside her house, still in her pajamas, and is drawn by an invisible force to an abandoned theme park on the outskirts of town. Soon five of her classmates--Vanessa, Linnea, Anna-Karin, Rebecka and Ida--arrive, compelled the same force. A mystical being takes over Ida's body and tells them they are fated to fight an ancient evil that is hunting them. The park is a safe haven; the school, a place of danger. The six are wildly different and definitely not friends…but they are the Chosen Ones.

As the weeks pass, each girl discovers she has a unique magical ability. They begin exploring their powers, but they are not all firmly committed to their mission--to discover the truth about Elias's death. Then a horrible tragedy strikes within the circle. Newly determined to fight the evil forces, they begin to learn magic from The Book of Patterns, an ancient work with a will of its own that reveals different things to different witches.

In this gripping first installment of the Engelsfors Trilogy, a parallel world emerges in which teenage dreams, insanely annoying parents, bullying, revenge, and love collide with flirtation, dangerous forces, and ancient magic. An international sensation with rights sold in 24 countries, The Circle is razor-sharp and remarkable from start to finish.



The Once and Future King by T.H. White

The Once and Future King is T.H. White’s masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur, a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance and magic that has enchanted readers for generations.

Once upon a time, a young boy called “Wart” was tutored by a magician named Merlyn in preparation for a future he couldn’t possibly imagine. A future in which he would ally himself with the greatest knights, love a legendary queen and unite a country dedicated to chivalrous values. A future that would see him crowned and known for all time as Arthur, King of the Britons.

During Arthur’s reign, the kingdom of Camelot was founded to cast enlightenment on the Dark Ages, while the knights of the Round Table embarked on many a noble quest. But Merlyn foresaw the treachery that awaited his liege: the forbidden love between Queen Guinevere and Lancelot, the wicked plots of Arthur’s half-sister Morgause, and the hatred she fostered in Mordred that would bring an end to the king’s dreams for Britain—and to the king himself.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (July 24)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

 Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it's a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it's no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux's teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

Published by Harper Children's 
Release Date: August 20, 2013

How creepy does this look?!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (July 23)

What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules: Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"First I guess the whole Mystic Crowning information will be given to me later. Not important, really. Just like to know if I need to bring a gift."
-Not Quite the Classics, 28% on Kindle, by Colin Mochrie

I love this! He takes the first and last line from a classic story and makes up the middle. Hilarious! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (July 17)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Twinmaker by Sean Williams

High-stakes action combines with issues of friendship and body image in this timely and thought-provoking exploration of the intersection of technology and identity.

You can be Improved....
In a near-future world in which technology can transport you anywhere instantly, can a coded note enable you to change your body-to become taller, stronger, more beautiful? Clair is pretty sure the offer is too good to be true. But her best friend, Libby, is determined to give it a try, longing for a new, improved version of herself.

What starts as Libby's dream turns into Clair's nightmare when Libby falls foul of a deadly trap. With the help of Jesse, the school freak, and a mysterious-but powerful-stranger called Q, Clair's attempt to protect Libby leads her to an unimagined world of conspiracies and cover-ups. Soon her own life is at risk, and Clair is chased across the world in a desperate race against time.

Action and danger fuel Sean Williams's tale of technology, identity, and the lengths to which one girl will go to save her best friend.

Published by Balzer + Bray
Release Date: October 16, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

Author Guest Post: Lois Metzger and Five Books that Influenced Her

Lois Metzger, author of A Trick of the Light, was born in Queens and has always written for young adults. She is the author of three previous novels and two nonfiction books about the Holocaust, and she has edited five anthologies. Her short stories have appeared in collections all over the world. Her writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and Harper's Bazaar. She lives in Greenwich Village with her husband and son.

For more information please visit, and follow the author on Facebook

Thanks to Lois Metzger for stopping by! If you haven't grabbed her new book, A Trick of the Light, do so ASAP. Here are five books that influenced Lois and her writing (I've included links to each book on Goodreads so you can add them to your shelves):

Downtown by Norma Fox Mazer
When I was 14, I wanted to be a writer and write about people my own age. Years went by -- and I still wanted to write about 14-year-olds. In my 20s, I worked at The New Yorker Magazine, and submitted short stories about 14-year-olds. Which got rejected. I was told that "reminiscences" were the acceptable form of writing about young people: looking back from the standpoint of maturity. Young-adult literature was something I only heard about several years later, when a friend told me about Norma Fox Mazer. I read Downtown, and instantly knew what I wanted to do with my life: write about young people from their points of view -- in the here and now, not in the way back then.

Downtown is the riveting story of a 16-year-old boy who realizes he is living a lie. He tells people his parents are dead (they're in prison). He says his name is Pete Connors (not his real name). I loved the way she wrote about lies and the damage they can do. My new book, A Trick of the Light, is filled with lies -- lies you tell other people, lies you tell yourself.

Since Downtown, I've read hundreds of YAs, and in Norma's case I actually had the privilege of meeting her and getting to know her; she died in 2009. As wonderful as her books are, she was an even more spectacular person.

Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan
I've always been a huge fan of "creepy." The tingle at the back of your neck. The sense that something is wrong, someone is hiding something. Lois Duncan is a master at this kind of thing, and I've devoured all her books.

In Down a Dark Hall, it's the little details that give the story its punch. A girl, Kit, is accepted to an exclusive girls' boarding school, while her best friend, who is smarter, is not. When she gets to the school, Kit realizes there are only three other students. As time goes on, things get very weird and sinister; the students spend more time alone in their rooms and less time in class, and one girl seems to be going insane.

In A Trick of the Light, I tried to create a suspenseful story in the same way, with quiet and unsettling moments instead of loud explosions.

I am the cheese by Robert Cormier
This is my favorite YA novel.

It's a complicated story, starkly told in alternating chapters, first about a boy bicycling to meet his father in Vermont, and then about the boy inside a bare room being questioned by a mysterious man. For much of the book, the reader is definitely confused, but pieces start eventually coming together and it's all chillingly explained at the end. The darkness in the book (and it's very dark) is part of the path that points to the truth.

My new book is dark (though not as dark as Cormier's), and I definitely kept this book in mind anytime I worried whether things might get too rough for a reader. Cormier allowed me to take my story to the limits without censoring it, to let the darkness come before letting in the light.

Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush by Virginia Hamilton
The beauty of this book lies in the voice of its 14-year-old heroine, Tree. She's bright and funny, though her life is hard; her mother is a nurse and lives with her patients, leaving Tree to care for her older brother, Dabney, who has mental retardation. But there are ghosts here, too, and a magic mirror. 
Tree enters the mirror and experiences life as her own mother. Afterward, Tree laments the fact that it's 5:30 and "I been sittin here two hours. Ain't even started supper . . . But Dab, guess where I been?" She looked into his eyes and she knew he wouldn't understand. "Like a dream," she said . . . "It not possible, but it happened."

The idea of a mirror showing you something different than what's really there fascinated me, and is a huge part of A Trick of the Light.

Sold by Patricia McCormick
Among the many things to admire about this book is the handling of a very difficult subject: a girl in Nepal is sold into prostitution. Lakschmi is 13 and narrates her story in a simple, child-like way. But there's nothing simple or child-like about what's happening to her. Her emotions shine through; her loss of innocence unfolds beautifully. This book is a perfect blend of character and story.

I'm very proud that Patricia McCormick, who writes so brilliantly, gave me a blurb for A Trick of the Light.

© 2013 Lois Metzger, author of A Trick of the Light

Thursday, July 11, 2013

ARC Review: 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson

Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

Best Bits: So, this review is going to delve a bit more into the person than I typically go, but there's a good reason for it. I knew that I was going to relate to this book because I've struggled with weight and body image for a large portion of my life. So, I laughed with Ann, was excited for her successes, and got a bit teary-eyed when things in her life were so out of control that she turned to food. Barson's writing felt really authentic, which was amazing. Not only did I think "I've been there", but I think that all teens can relate to the feeling of not being good enough, and failing. Plus, it didn't portray her as a slob, just because she struggled with weight and eating. The book touches on some great topics, too. We see how Ann's younger siblings are impacted by the food-related behavior of her mother, and Ann resorting to potentially unhealthy food choices in an effort to reduce calories. This is, of course, thrown off track by occasionally binging. 

Barson does a great job incorporating the idea of positive body image, without being preachy. Sure, Ann doesn't finish the book at the same weight she started at, but that's because she's feeling better about herself, and when she's experiencing uncomfortable feelings she doesn't turn to food (i.e. boredom, anger, etc).

Nit Picks: SPOILERY NITPICK AHEAD! The one thing I wish had been expanded on was the shift in Ann's thinking and behaviors from negative to positive. Some of the changes were extremely believable due to her conversations and understanding of supporting characters in the book. Still, I think that eating disorders usually require some sort of professional intervention and aren't always things people can fix by pulling up their bootstraps.

Last Thoughts: I wish that all YA reads had as big of an emotional impact on me as this one did. I think that all readers will find Ann to be a relatable, engaging character who they can laugh, cry, and cheer for.

45 Pounds 
By K. A. Barson
Published by Viking Juvenile
272 Pages
Gifted by the fabulous Nereyda of Mostly YA Book Obsessed
Rating: A

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (July 10)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

*SPOILER ALERT* The synopsis contains spoilers for the first four books. 

 The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells 5) by Meg Cabot

Heather Wells is used to having her cake and eating it too, but this time her cake just might be cooked.Her wedding cake, that is.

With her upcoming nuptials to PI Cooper Cartwright only weeks away, Heather's already stressed. And when a pretty junior turns up dead, Heather's sure things can't get worse—until every student in the dorm where she works is a possible suspect, and Heather's long-lost mother shows up.

Heather has no time for a tearful mother and bride reunion. She has a wedding to pull off and a murder to solve. Instead of wedding bells, she might be hearing wedding bullets, but she's determined to bring the bad guys to justice if it's the last thing she does . . . and this time, it just might be.

Published by HarperCollins
Release Date: September 24, 2013 (I will get no work done on this day)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review: A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

Mike Welles had everything under control. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they’re getting confusing at school. He’s losing his sense of direction, and he feels like he’s a mess.

Then there’s a voice in his head. A friend, who’s trying to help him get control again. More than that—the voice can guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything that’s holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.

Telling a story of a rarely recognized segment of eating disorder sufferers—young men—A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger is a book for fans of the complex characters and emotional truths in Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.

Published by Balzer & Bray  

Best Bits: I hope that this review does A Trick of the Light justice. I've read two excellent (and very different) books involving eating disorders in the last couple of weeks, and I've been struggling with how to convey it to readers without fangirling too much. I'm not going to say that eating disorders are an easy topic to read about, but when they're done well I believe that they have the ability to educate, and hold the attention of the reader. This book was done in a way that allows the reader to see how gradual Mike's experience with anorexia comes on, and how powerful it's hold is. It also dispels the myth that it's just a "girl" thing. The narration was amazing, the characters were fascinating, and everything just felt real. Of course, everyone's ED (short for eating disorder) experiences are different, but nothing felt forced. I think that another gift Metzger gives to the reader is an understanding of how anorexia helps Mike cope, but at the same time see how bad it is for him. Through the narration we understand what thoughts invade Mike's senses to help him feel in control, but it gets the point where the reader just wants to see him well again. I wanted to see him fight back against anorexia. In short: This book provides an accurate and compelling portrayal of an underrepresented population in YA lit, boys with eating disorders; I'm eternally grateful for this fresh read.

Nit Picks: It's rare, but I've got nothing. This book was a near perfect read. I wish it had been a bit longer, but at the same time I can't imagine anything that has been left out. I guess I just want to grab more book by Metzger!

A Trick of the Light
By Lois Metzger
Published by Balzer + Bray 
208 Pages
Received for Review
Rating: A

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