February 2007


ANGELS ON SUNSET BOULEVARD is a wonderful new novel from the rather brilliant author of BLUE BLOODS, FRESH OFF THE BOAT, and more. TAP is a social networking site much like Myspace for kids in Los Angeles, and Taj, Nick, and Johnny Silver, are, of course, members, along with everyone worth knowing. It seems innocent enough at first, but it turns out to be much darker than it seems.

The Angels Practice is not just a website anymore. It has invaded their real lives, and it’s a rather sinister cult. They don’t wear orange robes and solicit people in airports; instead, TAP has parties, rituals, and a mysterious drug that can be mixed with Kool-Aid.

When kids start disappearing, the sinister nature of TAP seems to be getting a little closer to discovery, especially when it’s the famous Johnny Silver who vanishes into thin air. Taj, his girlfriend, takes it upon herself to look into his disappearance, but she doesn’t look too closely–until she meets Nick, whose sister has been sucked in by TAP. And once you’re in? You can’t get out.

The best part of ANGELS ON SUNSET BOULEVARD is the characters. The suspenseful story will keep you on the edge of your seat, and Melissa de la Cruz has proven herself to be a wonderful writer, but that extra dimension is added by the realistic, interesting characters involved in the story. Of course, the whole idea of TAP is original and darkly fascinating; it is scarily real, too, showing the far reaches of the power that the internet can have. There’s not a dull moment in the book; plot twists are around every corner, and each new discovery leads to more questions.

It’s an excellent book, and my only gripe with the story is this: nothing is resolved! It ends with more questions than it starts with! Cliffhangers are just evil. Also, books should be complete stories in and of themselves, even if they don’t answer all the questions that readers have. If it’s a good enough book in the first place, a cliffhanger isn’t needed to make the reader buy the next in the series. Still, I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

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Josie and Cami are best friends, but they’re both jealous of each other. It seems, to each of them, so easy for the other to get what she wants. Josie wants Ethan Lancaster’s attention. It’s all she can think about. She loves basketball, but to her it’s just a game. To Cami, however, it’s serious, and she would kill to have Josie’s talent on the court. Josie is just as jealous of Cami, though. No matter how much Josie crushes on Ethan, she always seems to be humiliating herself around him–he and Cami, however, seem to be interacting way more than he and Josie ever have.

LIFE, LOVE, AND THE PURSUIT OF FREE THROWS is a cute and fun book, though a little dull at times. The story is told in chapters where Josie and Cami take turns narrating–but their voices are often indistinguishable. Even though the characters have the same interests, one would expect them to be at least a little different from each other–but this is not the case throughout most of the book. Still, though, this is a fun read; just pick it up at the library if you have the chance, and spend your money on more phenomenally awesome books.

Rating:7.5/10

**This review also posted on TeensReadToo.com**

THE BOY BOOK is a continuation of the adventures of Ruby Oliver, or Roo, as she is called by friends and family, who was introduced, along with many of said friends and family, in the fantastic book THE BOYFRIEND LIST. In this second installment, Ruby is still not speaking to two of her old group of friends, only sort of speaking to the other one, and also still not even friendly with her old boyfriend, Jackson–now Kim’s boyfriend, and Ruby and Kim wouldn’t be on speaking terms even if Kim were at Tate Prep rather than all the way in Tokyo.

It’s not all bad, though. Ruby and Nora might have another shot at friendship. And Ruby’s got Meghan and Noel. Maybe even Angelo. And she’ll always have her therapist, Dr. Z. She’s got her parents, too, as crazy as they may be, and possibly even Hutch, who helps her dad out sometimes, despite his weirdness.

The excerpts from Kim and Ruby’s boy book start out each chapter with a bit of hilarity, and the rest of the book is brilliant as well. This is a fun but not entirely fluffy, well-written book that is full of wonderful characters. Not only were the characters interesting and real, but their relationships were, too; there were no excessive, unrealistic fairy-tale endings here. That doesn’t mean it all ended in tragedy; things usually do work out okay, in this book and in real life, but that doesn’t mean it ends like Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella. That can be good and bad (there were some things I’d have loved to see work out, but realistically, I guess they couldn’t), but more good than bad. I’m hoping to read more about Ruby Oliver in the future. This is an honest, funny book, and as much as I loved THE BOYFRIEND LIST, I liked this one even better!

Rating: 9.5/10

Here’s a list of the 33 books I read in January! But before the entire list, I’d like to announce the Best Book Read In January 2007!

And the winner is…

Ophelia by Lisa Klein !!!!!!!

And the runners-up:

Set in Stone by Linda Newbery

Angels on Sunset Boulevard by Melissa de la Cruz

The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher

Kitty Goes Californian by Pepper McNeil

The Book Of Luke by Jenny O’Connell

It was really difficult to narrow down to six books (Ophelia was the clear winner, as it is my new favorite book ever!). I read so many great books this month! Those that I rated a 9 or higher have a star beside them. 17 of the books got at least a 9 rating! That’s over half—meaning I read a ton of good books this month. And some of these ratings were really hard to decide between, say 8 and 9—so if I were to reread each of these books, these ratings might change. And here’s the list, in order from the beginning of the month to the end. (Reviews still to come on many of these–check tbrlist.blogspot.com for most of the others)

Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty*

The Scarlet Letterman by Cara Lockwood*

Foreign Exposure: The Social Climber Abroad by Lauren Mechling and Laura Moser*

Angels on Sunset Boulevard by Melissa de la Cruz*

Battle of the Bands by KL Denman

Ophelia by Lisa Klein*

The Unresolved by TK Welsh

Loving Will Shakespeare by Carolyn Meyer

Set In Stone by Linda Newbery*

Secrets of a South Beach Princess by Mary Kennedy

Skinny by Ibi Kaslik*

The Riddles of Epsilon by Christine Morton-Shaw

The Big Shuffle by Laura Pedersen*

Private by Kate Brian

In the Company of Crazies by Nora Raleigh Baskin

The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher*

Secrets of My Hollywood Life: On Location by Jen Calonita*

Kitty Goes Californian by Pepper McNeil*

Getting It by Alex Sanchez

Gender Blender by Blake Nelson

Street Love by Walter Dean Myers

A Girl Like Moi by Lisa Barham*

Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws by Janette Rallison

The Boy Book by E Lockhart*

Rubber Houses by Ellen Yeomans

The Actual Reality of Jennifer James by Gillian Shields*

The Hollywood Sisters: Backstage Pass by Mary Wilcox

Prom Dates From Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore*

The Absolutely Worst Places to Live in America by Dave Gilmartin

The Book of Luke by Jenny O’Connell*

Sweetblood by Pete Hautman*

Not Like You by Deborah Davis

Dream Journal by Karen Halvorsen Schreck