Review: The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

The Mark of the Dragonfly
by Jaleigh Johnson
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published March 25, 2014

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Since her father’s death, Piper has lived by scavenging artifacts that fall from the sky in meteor showers. Nothing she’s found yet promises to be as valuable as Anna, the girl she stumbles upon who bears a tattoo of an intricate mechanical dragonfly. The tattoo indicates the girl is from the Dragonfly Territories and is protected by its king. If Piper can return the girl home, she will collect a reward that will buy her a new life away from the scrap towns forever.

With no memories to guide them, Anna depends on Piper to unearth clues … Continue reading

Why You Should Read Books Your Kids Are Reading

When multi-published YA author Robin McKinley’s novel Deerskin hit shelves in 1994, the story was considered her first foray into adult fiction. Why? The story contained a scene in which a girl is raped and the text contains the F-bomb. At the time, this was not considered appropriate content in the YA market.

Times have changed.

Fast-forward fourteen years to 2008, to Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s novel Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, in which readers encounter graphic sexual content between several characters and, on a single page, the F-bomb is dropped no less than 25 times.

(Side soap box moment: if this had been any other word, the editor would have cut 24 of those occurrences. Seriously. Imagine how boring “very” would be on a page 25 times. Why didn’t it get cut? Two words: Controversy sells.)

So what does this mean for today’s thirteen year-olds? It certainly means … Continue reading

Review: Unwind by Neal Schusterman

Unwind
Neal Schusterman
Simon & Schuster BFYR
Published November 6, 2007

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When Connor’s parents schedule to have him unwound, meaning all parts of his body would be redistributed to others, he flees. While on the run, he meets Risa, a girl scheduled to undergo the unwinding process and Lev, a young teen whose family raised him to be unwound as a tithe to God. Together the three evade police and government officials only to discover an entire underground network of runaway kids scheduled for unwinding. At first the community seems like a wonderful miracle. Then the stench of rumors, chaos and death threaten to destroy the delicate balance required to protect so many from … Continue reading

Review: The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

The False PrinceThe False Prince
Jennifer Nielsen
Scholastic Press
Published April 1, 2012

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Sage, a clever orphan from a neighboring country, is sold as a servant to a nobleman with a plan that smacks of treason. With the royal family missing and presumed dead, Conner wants to prepare a replacement prince. Sage and two other orphaned boys are faced with a terrible choice: join Conner in his plan or die at the hands of his henchmen. If they accept, one boy will be chosen to wear the crown as prince of Carthya. With Conner as his chief adviser, of course.

The three boys accept and Conner and his men begin a series of lessons … Continue reading

Cover Reveal: Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

As a long-time fan of the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, I’m excited to reveal the cover of the seventh novel in this whimsical series. Golden Daughter will hit shelves in November 2014. Here’s a look at the back cover copy, too:

GoldenDaughterCoverBEYOND THE REALM OF DREAMS

IS A WORLD SHE NEVER IMAGINED

Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.

But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden … Continue reading

Review: Twice Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

Twice Upon a MarigoldTwice Upon a Marigold
Jean Ferris
HMH Books for Young Readers
Published May 1, 2008

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Months after the evil Queen Olympia disappeared downriver in the kingdom of Beaurivage, a bad energy seems to be stirring up trouble. King Christian and Queen Marigold, still newlyweds, suddenly have their first quarrel. Their five family dogs constantly squabble over one blue squeaky toy.

And far away in a tiny town, a woman who spent her last several months as the helpful and compassionate Angie, suddenly remembers her true identity. No longer the peaceful friendly lady the town has fallen in love with, Queen Olympia demands to be taken home to Beaurivage castle. Once there, her demands … Continue reading

Cover Reveal: Winter in the Soul by Jennifer Novotney

From Anaiah Press author Jennifer Novotney comes an intriguing new fantasy novel with a simple, but intriguing cover.

winter in the soul 1600x2400Winter in the Soul
Jennifer Novotney
Anaiah Press
Available July 15, 2014

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A dangerous journey to stop a powerful darkness…

In a world divided by power and greed, seventeen-year-old Lilika harbors an intense desire to return to Winter in the Soul, the place her family left to escape the darkness that was manifesting from a coldness of the soul.

When she meets Talon, their connection is evident right from the start, and together they travel through the Black Kingdom to recover Lilika’s stolen locket. And in search … Continue reading

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe
Beth Revis
Raborbill / Penguin Group
Published January 11, 2011

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Seventeen year-old Amy and her parents join a team of scientists and military personnel who will endure 300 years of cryogenically induced sleep as they travel across space to form a colony on a new planet. Fifty years before the ship’s scheduled arrival at Centauri-Earth, Amy awakens, trapped and suffocating in her cryo-chamber. She cannot wake her parents without risking sabotage to their mission, so she is left to find a place within the strange society of passengers who make their lives aboard the ship Godspeed.

An unpredictable, manipulative man called Eldest rules the populace, and he immediately threatens to cast … Continue reading

Review: Mirage by Kristi Cook

Mirage
Kristi Cook
Simon Pulse
Published June 5, 2012

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Violet returns to Winterhaven for her senior year, convinced that with her awesome friends and fabulous boyfriend, this year is going to be the best yet. She’s paired with the famed Dr. ‘Hottie’ as her mentor, Aiden is closer than ever to finding a cure for his vampirism, and she’s still on top in the fencing team. Then a mysterious serial killer leaves a trail of blood-drained women in his wake, and violent visions of death for those closest to her terrorize Violet. With her mentor’s help, she hopes to discover enough clues about the visions to stop them from becoming reality before it’s too … Continue reading

Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity
Elizabeth Wein
Disney/Hyperion
Published February 6, 2012

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After enduring long hours of torture, Verity, a prisoner in an abandoned hotel in Nazi-occupied France, promises to tell her German captors everything she knows. She begins with recollections of her best friend and pilot, Maddy. As Verity writes Maddy’s story, she recounts the early days of friendship and recruitment as a wireless operator in England. Life for Maddy, a simple country girl with a gift for mechanical engineering, drastically changes on the day she meets a bold woman pilot whose plane needs repair. For Maddy’s friend, a lost German pilot becomes the catalyst that sets in motion her own transformation.

While some of … Continue reading

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