Review: Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You by Hanna Jansen

Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You
Hanna Jansen
Carolrhoda Books
Published April 1, 2006 (Orig. published 2003)

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Jeanne’s family and home are destroyed when the radical Hutu group, the Interahamwe, begin a nationwide massacre of the Rwandan Tutsi population. As Jeanne and others struggle to flee the Interahamwe soldiers and simply survive each day, a black hole yawns inside of her, a grief and rage that threaten to swallow her whole. But something else changes. She finds within herself an unyielding strength and will to survive.

It is a before-and-after story, told by Jeanne’s German adopted mother. Each chapter opens with a behind-the-scenes look at the events and the healing that unfolded even as … Continue reading

Review: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Ember
Published August 28, 2007 (Orig. published 2006)

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When the girl who just dumped him walks into the club where Nick’s band is playing a show, he resorts to the extreme and asks the random girl standing next to him if she’ll be his girlfriend for five minutes.

Though Nick’s request at first infuriates Norah (what kind of cheap trick does he take her for?), the approach of her not-quite-friend prompts her to take some desperate measures of her own. Like yanking almost-stranger-Nick into an electrifying kiss.

The agreed on five minutes stretches into a whole night of adventure, misunderstanding, reflection and … Continue reading

Review: In Between by Jenny B. Jones

In Between
Jenny B. Jones
Sweet Pea Productions
Published March 25, 2014 (Originally published 2007)

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Sixteen year old Katie Parker is not too excited when she discovers she’s moving to a new foster home in In Between, Texas, home of the Chihuahuas. And to top that off, her new “dad” is the pastor of one of the local churches. Not exactly consistent with Katie’s formerly religion-less life. At her new school, she finds herself at home with the other outsiders. At least, so she thinks. When one late night stunt turns to trouble, Katie finds herself sentenced to time with her new nonGrandmother– Mad Maxine. Could things get any worse? And does the God thing really … Continue reading

Review: Jerk California by Jonathan Friesen

Jerk California
Jonathan Friesen
Speak
September 4, 2008

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Sam Carrier can’t sit still. He jumps and blurts and twitches almost constantly. That’s the nature of the beast. Tourette’s Syndrome. The only solace he finds and the only time his limbs obey comes when he runs. But after his embarrassing graduation ceremony, everything changes. His angry step-father expects a large monthly sum for rent, and an unorthodox neighbor hires Sam, but only on the condition that he can use Sam’s real name, the name his real dad gave him. Jack.

Everything is complicated further by the recurring appearance of the beautiful Naomi, who always leaves Sam feeling like he’s not sure which way is up. When the … Continue reading

Review: Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

Once Upon a Marigold
Jean Ferris
HMH Books for Young Readers
Published October 1, 2002

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Christian is a young inventor living in the forest with his foster father, a troll named Ed. Life is pretty sweet until the day Christian discovers the lonely Princess Marigold and decides to send her a message via carrier pigeon (p-mail). To Christian’s surprise, the princess replies to his message and the two become best friends.

When Christian uncovers a vicious plot to kill Marigold, he can’t sit by and do nothing. But how can a commoner do anything to save the princess?

Once Upon a Marigold is a spunky, cute fairy tale type story about having courage to do what’s … Continue reading

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld

So Yesterday
Scott Westerfeld
Razorbill
Published January 1, 2004

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When Hunter meets a girl with a whole different way of doing her shoelaces, he has no idea the strange adventure that’s about to begin. Through her, he winds up invited to a secret meeting at which he stumbles onto a pair of amazing shoes, and the possibility that his cool-hunting boss has been kidnapped. Hunter and his new friend pursue the shoemakers, trying to discover what’s become of his boss, Mandy. Full of quirky characters and with Hunter’s off-the-wall sense of humor and irony, So Yesterday was a worthy read. Go Hunter, the Mighty Penguin!

This was such a fun story. I read and loved the … Continue reading

I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires by Cathy Gohlke

I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires
Cathy Gohlke
Moody Publishers
Published September 1, 2008

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Prompted by a desperate letter from an estranged cousin in Virginia, Robert must put aside his plans to join the Yankee army and help his family. A visit to his uncle throws him by mistake into the middle of a prison escape. After he’s left for dead, an unexpected friend lends him a hand, further blurring the lines of Robert’s patriotic loyalty. As he and his new friend set out to find his family, Robert finds the journey to be harder than he ever imagined, and that the enemy he must confront has a different face than he first believed. If … Continue reading

The Fruit of My Lipstick by Shelley Adina

The Fruit of My Lipstick
Shelley Adina
FaithWords
Published August 1, 2008

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In Gillian Chang’s second term at upscale Spencer Academy boarding school, she feels prepared for everything. Armed with rock-solid faith, good friends and no shortage of smarts, she’s got it all covered. Doesn’t she?

When she begins to fall for Lucas Hayes, a high achieving Stanford PhD hopeful, Gillian finds herself unable to keep up and be the girlfriend he wants. With all the pressure he’s under, it’s no surprise he gets a little short-tempered. Gillian resolves to try harder, but she finds herself isolating from her friends more and more.

Then a scandal emerges, with rumors that Gillian is at the center of … Continue reading

My Thoughts on Twilight and The Graveyard Book

Poll Question: Should Christian teens read books about characters of spritually questionable origin?

  • Maybe. Mature kids can discern the truth without being spiritually compromised. Other kids aren’t ready. (4 votes)
  • Yes. Reading about a vampire doesn’t do any harm. It’s just fantasy! (2 votes)
  • No way. The origin of vampires isn’t “questionable.” It’s evil. Don’t even go there. (2 votes)

My Vote
I’ll be honest– this is a tricky one for me. When I began this blog and posted my first poll, a friend left several comments on my facebook account about teen fiction and what it should and should not contain and she said two very key words: age-appropriate. (maybe that’s technically one word, hyphenated…)

I think there’s something to that. Absolutely. In the case of Neil Gaiman’s book, we’re talking about a story set in a graveyard with a small child as a character. (I’m … Continue reading

Review: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie MeyerBreaking Dawn
Stephanie Meyer
Little, Brown & Company
Published August 7, 2007

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At last– the moment Twilight fans have dreamed of: Edward and Bella marry and retreat to a private island for a honeymoon. When it becomes obvious that Bella is pregnant– and with an extraordinary child– the couple returns home to care for Bella and possibly even protect her from the child in her womb. But the only way to save Bella may be to transform her.

When the dreaded Volturi close in on the Cullen Family, presumably to kill the child, Bella commits to do whatever it takes to protect the child she saw in her dreams. As the battle … Continue reading

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