March 2007

Review: Sweetblood by Pete Hautman

Lucy Szabo is diabetic, and that’s lead her to think up some interesting theories about vampires. Lucy believes that vampire legends were inspired by dying diabetics–the uncontrollable thirst, the deathlike appearance.

When Lucy gets involved with an interesting crowd–including a “real” vampire, a cute boy from school, and a bunch of burnout Goths–she starts to lose control of her life. She’s sneaking out at night, her grades are plummeting rapidly, and she passes out at school because of an insulin reaction. Lucy’s life is falling apart, and only she can pull the pieces together again.

SWEETBLOOD is definitely an interesting novel, and very original. It’s interesting in terms of Lucy’s theories, in terms of how vampire legends started, but also just as a personal story, as the story of Lucy’s life. There are good, intriguing characters throughout the novel, and it’s quite well-written. It’s not one that captivated me from page one, or took my breath away, but it’s good, solid, and very much worth reading.

Rating: 9/10


Review: Dream Journal by Karen Halvorsen Schreck

Livy Moore is sixteen years old, and facing something no sixteen year old should have to face. Her mother is dying. Upon learning this, upon hearing for certain that it is inevitable, Livy shuts herself off from her friends, from her family, and from her own life.

Recording it all in her journal, Livy shares with readers the powerful emotions involved in love, loss, and life. She’s forced out of her hiding place, forced to confront the reality that hiding from life will not make it all go away and will not make it any easier.

DREAM JOURNAL is a painful, honest, and wonderfully written story that should not be missed. Populated by realistic characters and full of the emotions that make Livy’s story real, it’s a sad, hopeful story, and one readers will not soon forget.

Rating: 9/10

Review: Prom Dates From Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Maggie Quinn is counting down to graduation day when her miserable but normal high school experience is invaded by the paranormal. Some seriously freaky stuff is happening to the Avalon High elite, and while Maggie isn’t exactly sorry to see her school’s ruling class have their lives messed up, she knows she can’t let anything serious happen to them.

While any girl could play detective, Maggie’s got something extra on her side. She’s got some special “abilities” that she’s long been ignoring–but she can’t do that any longer. She’s got to use her skills to catch whoever set a demon on the school’s popular crowd-and stop it before it’s too late! Even if it might mean-shudder- going to prom.

This is a fabulous supernatural mystery! I love the characters, especially Maggie, and Rosemary Clement-Moore is a wonderful storyteller. This fast-paced, well-written adventure had me hooked from the start, and kept me that way! I would love to see more of these characters, and more from a great author. It’s tough to come up with a supernatural story (or any story really) that doesn’t seem as if it’s been told before, but PROM DATES FROM HELL achieves that! I can’t wait to see what Rosemary Clement-Moore comes up with next.

Rating: 9.5/10

Review: City Of Bones: The Mortal Instruments Book One by Cassandra Clare

Clary Fray thinks she’s a fairly ordinary fifteen-year-old girl–until the world as she knows it falls apart, all starting the night she and her best friend, Simon, visit the Pandemonium Club. Sure, in a city the size of New York, a lot of weird things happen; but Clary didn’t expect to witness one of the weirdest.

What she sees that night is a murder, a murder committed by tattoo-covered teenagers no one else can see–a murder with no body left behind. That’s certainly a sign that Clary’s life is about to get a little farther away from normal, and it certainly does so.

Clary’s life is falling to pieces. Her mother goes missing. Clary is attacked by a creature- a demon. She’s seeing things no one else can–including the Shadowhunters, demon hunters whose world is hidden within Clary’s own. She meets three young Shadowhunters – Jace, Alec, and Isabelle – and is quickly sucked into their world, searching for her mother, trying to protect herself, trying to sort out what’s real, what’s true, and what’s not. It is, obviously, a bit much for anyone to handle, but Clary’s got no choice. Along the way, she’s discovering her past, herself, and just who the Shadowhunters really are.

This debut novel from a brilliant, smart new voice in Young Adult literature is a marvelous adventure, full of fantastic twists and turns just when they’re least expected. The complexity of the story, the threads from the past and present intertwined, is reminiscent of the Harry Potter series–and that’s high praise!

The writing of this magical story is excellent, and I was very impressed with the wonderfully lifelike characters and amazing magical world hidden within our own. I was reminded of Holly Black’s mastery of the urban fantasy genre. The captivating story told by the very talented Cassandra Clare in CITY OF BONES is surely the start of a brilliant series–I can’t wait for the next MORTAL INSTRUMENTS book. This fantasy is truly unforgettable.

Rating: 10/10

Review: Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky

ANATOMY OF A BOYFRIEND is a sometimes funny, sometimes painful, and always honest look at seventeen-year-old model student Dominique’s first relationship. When she meets track-star Wes, her life changes. Suddenly, she’s falling head-over-heels in love, and it’s scary. Scary and wonderful and everything else in Dominique’s range of emotions.

Rather than being the magical, unrealistic love story so often told, Dom and Wes’s relationship is real. Amazing, yes, but not without its awkward moments–and Daria Snadowsky tells the whole story, awkward moments and all.

ANATOMY OF A BOYFRIEND is an honest, straightforward look at sex and relationships, and the story is certainly populated by good characters, but sometimes it’s less than compelling. Perhaps this is because that’s all it’s about. It’s a story of first love, not a story in which a character first falls in love. Maybe a little more is needed to make an entirely captivating novel, but this one is still well worth reading.

Rating: 8.5/10

Review: Ironside: A Modern Faery’s Tale by Holly Black

Basically, IRONSIDE is a continuation of the story of Kaye and Roiben. Roiben is crowned ruler of the Unseelie Court, but he doesn’t want Kaye to have to be involved in the dangerous and deceitful faerie world–even though no faerie can tell a lie, or perhaps because of that, faerie wit is as sharp and dangerous as any sword.

When Kaye declares her love or Roiben, in front of the entire court and drunk on faerie wine, he is forced to indulge her request for a quest to prove her love and earn her place in the court as his consort–but, fearing for his beloved, Roiben gives her a quest that seems impossible: Kaye must find a faerie who can lie.

As if that isn’t enough for one girl (er, pixie) to deal with, Kaye also tells her mother, Ellen, the truth about who she is: a changeling. Ellen wants her real daughter back, and Kaye is determined to do that for the woman who raised her.

Kaye is playing the deadly game of the faerie courts–and the odds are against this pixie, even with help from friends like Corny. Can she accomplish all that she’s set out to do?

IRONSIDE is certainly a fantastic book, but it unfortunately suffers from a slight case of “sequel syndrome,” meaning it is not so much a brilliant story within itself, but a continuation of other stories. Despite this, it’s a magical adventure, full of the amazing characters readers know and love, and taking place in the magical world to which fans of Holly Black will be very eager to return–and just as reluctant to leave when this book is over!

Rating: 9/10

Review: Better Than Yesterday by Robyn Schneider

It’s summer session at the uber-competitive Hilliard Prep, and four freshman-year friends, now seniors, are reunited: Blake, the messed-up prankster; Marissa, the fiction addict; Skylar, the brainy fashionista; and Charley, who’s just trying to live up to his parents’ high expectations and still find time to follow his own dreams.

Everyone has their own problems. Skylar and Charley are competing for valedictorian, and Charley’s parents won’t stand for it if he’s beaten by a girl–a girl he might be in love with. Skylar is having to hide a secret from her past again, now that Blake’s back on campus–a secret involving Blake’s own older brother. Blake has plenty of problems, too, none of them with easy fixes.

When Blake takes off and it’s more obvious than ever that he’s in some serious trouble, Skylar, Marissa, and Charley know what they have to do for their friend, even if it means risking a lot of trouble back at Hilliard and at home. But that’s what friends are for, right?

This awesome story, fun but also serious and intriguing, is not compelling from page one, but it gets that way very quickly. Two great narrators, wonderful characters, complex relationships, and amazing writing make BETTER THAN YESTERDAY a debut novel from an author to watch!

Rating: 9/10

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