Jun 052010
 

Slate Launches Interactive YA Serial

Tapping into teen trends–vampires and the push towards interactivity–novelists Laura Moser and Lauren Mechling have launched a YA serial on Slate.com with a parallel online world where their characters update their Facebook pages, tweet, and post videos on YouTube. The story, which went live today, and marks the first YA serial Slate has ever run, will unfold in 11 three-chapter segments posted every Friday through August.

Mechling, a culture editor at the Wall Street Journal, said the idea for the novel started unfolding after her coauthor, who writes for Slate, was approached by editors at the site to do something in the YA vein. The result, My Darklyng, is about a 10th grader named Natalie Pollock whose obsession with a popular vampire series takes a scary turn after she auditions to be a cover model for one of the new books. more…

Dec 092009
 

Going Bovine (Hardcover)
~ Libba Bray (Author)
In this ambitious novel, Cameron, a 16-year-old slacker whose somewhat dysfunctional family has just about given up on him, as perhaps he himself has, when his diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jacob, “mad cow” disease, reunites them, if too late. The heart of the story, though, is a hallucinatory—or is it?—quest with many parallels to the hopeless but inspirational efforts of Don Quixote, about whom Cameron had been reading before his illness. Just like the crazy—or was he?—Spaniard, Cam is motivated to go on a journey by a sort of Dulcinea. His pink-haired, white-winged version goes by Dulcie and leads him to take up arms against the Dark Wizard and fire giants that attack him intermittently, and to find a missing Dr. X, who can both help save the world and cure him. Cameron’s Sancho is a Mexican-American dwarf, game-master hypochondriac he met in the pot smokers’ bathroom at school who later turns up as his hospital roommate. Bray blends in a hearty dose of satire on the road trip as Cameron leaves his Texas deathbed—or does he?—to battle evil forces with a legendary jazz horn player, to escape the evil clutches of a happiness cult, to experiment with cloistered scientists trying to solve the mysteries of the universe, and to save a yard gnome embodying a Viking god from the clutches of the materialistic, fame-obsessed MTV-culture clones who shun individual thought. It’s a trip worth taking, though meandering and message-driven at times. Some teens may check out before Cameron makes it to his final destination, but many will enjoy asking themselves the questions both deep and shallow that pop up along the way.—Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA END

Author Libba Bray talks about Going Bovine

Dec 052009
 

The Sorceress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel) ~ Michael Scott

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
  • Published May 26, 2009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385735292
  • Reading level: Young Adult

The third book in Michael Scott’s “Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel” series, The Sorceress, kicks the action up to a whole new level. Adding to the series’ menagerie of immortal humans (“humani”) and mythological beasts, the book picks up where The Magician left off: the immortal Nicholas Flamel (of The Alchemyst) and the twins, Sophie and Josh, have just arrived at St. Pancras international train station in London. Almost immediately, they’re confronted with a demonic bounty hunter that immortal magician John Dee has sent their way. At the same time, Dee’s occasional cohort, Niccolo Machiavelli, decides to focus his energy on Perenelle Flamel, the Alchemyst’s wife, who has been imprisoned at Alcatraz since the beginning of the series. In this book, Perenelle gets a chance to show off her sorcery and resourcefulness, fighting and forging alliances with ghosts, beasts, and the occasional Elder to try and find a way out of her predicament and back to Flamel. Scott is as playful as ever, introducing new immortals–famous figures from history who (surprise!) are still alive. He also adds to the roster of fantastical beasts, which already includes such intriguing foes as Bastet, the Egyptian cat goddess, and the Morrigan, or Crow Goddess. Raising the stakes with each installment, Scott deftly manages multiple story lines and keeps everything moving pretty quickly, making this third book a real page-turner. More than just another piece in the puzzle of the whole series, The Sorceress is an adventure in its own right, and will certainly leave series fans wanting more.

Dec 042009
 

The Book Thief 

by Marcus Zusak


  • Format:  560 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers;
  • Published:  March 14, 2006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375831003

Reading level: Young Adult

 Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers. Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it,The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when shes roused by regular nightmares about her younger brothers death. Across the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books as well as a peculiar set of friends: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, the mayors reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal), and especially her foster parents. Zusak not only creates a mesmerizing and original story but also writes with poetic syntax, causing readers to deliberate over phrases and lines, even as the action impels them forward. Death is not a sentimental storyteller, but he does attend to an array of satisfying details, giving Liesels story all the nuances of chance, folly, and fulfilled expectation that it deserves. An extraordinary narrative.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Markus Zusak talks about the writing of The Book Thief

Pre Reading Activities

Book Club discussion notes

Reading Group Guide – discussion questions

Marcus Zusak talks about writing The Book Thief



Jul 082009
 

“In the bristling thriller CATCHING FIRE, two young heroes win the horrifying–and mandatory–Hunger Games, thereby becoming targets of a Government bent on maximum revenge.”

Read the first chapter (PDF)

Watch the video

Listen to the author read a chapter

Play the games