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Teenreads Monthly Update

April 11, 2014
April 11, 2014
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Thinking Outside the Lines with
Chip Kidd's JURASSIC PARK cover, next to the movie logo!<br />
Chip Kidd's JURASSIC PARK cover, next to the movie logo!

Hello Teenreaders, and happy April!

I spend most of my time thinking about the inside of books at Teenreads --- the memorable characters, the deceiving plot twists, the quotable lines and the romantic tension that finally transforms into a near-perfect relationship. But this month, I’ve been thinking all about the outside: book covers. What makes a good cover, anyway?

According to Chip Kidd --- the Associate Art Director at Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House and the subject of our latest "REAL TALK Publishing" interview --- it’s a cover’s job to convey “the story inside the book.” A good cover will not only grab a person’s attention and entice them to pick up (and hopefully read!) a book, but it will also reflect the plot, the tone, the characters, the conflict, the message…something stemming from the author’s words.

While anything that Chip says means a lot --- he’s been a book designer for more than 25 years and has been called “the closest thing to a rock star in graphic design” --- it was actually a group of approximately 100 teens that proved this to me a couple of Saturdays ago.

Together with Lindsey Adams --- a Managing Editorial Assistant at Sterling Publishing --- I co-led five 30-minute publishing workshops for middle school and high school students involved in the Fresh Air Fund. After discussing different career opportunities in the publishing field, Lindsey and I asked each student to design a cover for a fake book (it was a mash-up of HARRY POTTER and ALICE IN WONDERLAND). While every cover was interesting, the best were definitely those that aligned with Chip’s philosophy --- a couple of teens drew a giant flower to represent the protagonist (named Lilly), and a handful decorated one half of the cover with dark colors and the other half with bright colors to represent Lilly’s journey from her evil grandparents’ closet to the more vibrant, magical world of enchanted bunnies. Some captured the more literal elements of the plot --- a rabbit saving the day, a locked closet and a crotchety older couple --- and one girl cleverly dubbed her story “Cinderlilly” and included imagery reminiscent of the popular fairytale. While these final products varied widely, they had one thing in common --- they represented “the story inside.”

So no, I haven’t completely ditched the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” --- I realize that not all book covers achieve this goal, and a book whose cover portrays an “average-looking” teenage girl in a field might actually be about a young serial killer who’s obsessed with turtles (I like weird things…) --- but I’ve definitely recognized the power that strong covers can have. Some of my recent favorites are THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER (I love that bold feather on the front!), the galley of the November 2014 THE WALLED CITY (the stark color scheme, red dragon and somewhat concealed image of a girl’s face capture the tone of the dangerous, horrific setting) and the folkloric feel of WEST OF THE MOON. What covers do you like? Let me know at, or on Facebook or Twitter!

Also, make sure to check out our newsletter below --- besides the first part of our "REAL TALK Publishing" interview with Chip Kidd, we share the Spring Fling Giveaway (have you entered yet?) and a brand new feature that YOU can participate in on our blog!

So happy reading (and cover perusing!)

--- Shara Zaval (

Real Talk Publishing: Chip Kidd

We know you love to read, but have you ever considered working with books as a career? If so, there are tons of options to explore. With this feature, we'll introduce you to book editors, librarians, booksellers, children's literature professors, book cover designers, publicists, professional reviewers and more. Through interviews, guest posts and sometimes sneak peeks inside their offices, we'll take you into their worlds so you can learn about the book industry.

For our second "Real Talk Publishing" feature, we talked to Chip Kidd, the Associate Art Director at Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House. Chip told us about his graphic design philosophies, his day-to-day responsibilities, the favorite covers that he's designed --- including JURASSIC PARK --- and more. Read on to see Part 1 of our interview with Chip, and be sure to come back on Tuesday, April 15 for Part 2 and Tuesday, April 22 for Part 3!


Click here to read Part 1 of our "REAL TALK Publishing" interview with Chip Kidd!


Blog - Including a Brand New Feature We Want YOU to Participate In!

We are so excited to announce that we’re starting a NEW feature on our blog called “Class Notes,” and we want YOU to be involved! Once or twice a month, we’ll feature a special blog post that highlights what everyone in one class or library group is reading. Each student will write a sentence or two about why they liked (or didn’t like) the latest book they read, and rate it on a scale of 1-5 stars. Sometimes, each student will be reading a different book, and you’ll get a variety of recommendations. Other times, all the students will be reading the same book, and you’ll get to see a range of perspectives!

Since this feature was inspired by an email exchange I had with Crissy Mombela, a special education teacher at Northwood Junior High School in Highland Park, IL, her class is going to write the inaugural post! Keep an eye out for it…I’ll be sure to let you all know when it goes live.

In the meantime, though, please let me know if you want YOUR class or library group to participate! If you’re a teen, ask your English teacher if you can get involved. If you’re a teacher or a librarian who wants to do this as a class activity, send me an email at We can’t wait to hear (and share) what all of you are reading!

Also on the Blog

GOING OVER Blog Tour - Beth Kephart in Berlin --- Beth Kephart shares photos from her recent trip to Berlin, the setting of GOING OVER.

Guest Post by Alexandra Duncan - Why Create a Character Who Can't Read or Write? --- Alexandra Duncan describes the very personal reasons why, despite her own love of writing, she created a character who is illiterate.

Click here to read our blog!


Ready, Set, Vote!

Remember when you voted to select the finalists for the Teen Choice Book of the Year Awards a couple of months ago? Well guess what...the finalists have been selected, and now you can vote for the WINNER! You have until May 12th to cast your votes, but really...why wait?

Also, be sure to check out some videos by your favorite YA and children's authors that celebrate the 95th Annual Children's Book Week! The latest is from Amy Christine Parker, the author of GATED. Check out the CBC YouTube channel to see all the videos that are up so far, and make sure to keep checking back until May!

Here are the finalists:

Book of the Year (based on your votes at!)
ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth
ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell
SMOKE by Ellen Hopkins
THE 5th WAVE by Rick Yancey

Author of the Year
Veronica Roth (ALLEGIANT)

Rachel Renee Russell (DORK DIARIES 6: Tales From A Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker)
Jeff Kinney (DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: Hard Luck)
Rush Limbaugh (RUSH REVERE AND THE BRAVE PILGRIMS: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans)

Illustrator of the Year

James Dean (PETE THE CAT: The Wheels on the Bus)
Grace Lee (SOFIA THE FIRST: The Floating Palace)

Click here to vote for the 2014 Teen Choice Book of the Year Awards!


Special Feature: THE FINISHER by David Baldacci

You may have seen David Baldacci's name on your parents' bookshelves before --- he's written 27 novels for adults, and there are more than 110 million copies of his books in print worldwide! We're happy to report, though, that his latest endeavor --- THE FINISHER --- belongs squarely in the YA section of your local library. This fantasy follows Vega Jane, a girl who lives in Wormwood. No one ever leaves Wormwood --- the surrounding forest, the Quag, is filled with terrifying beasts and bloodthirsty Outliers. But when her friend Quentin flees to the Quag, Vega Jane knows that something isn't as it seems --- and she follows Quentin's trail of clues to uncover the deep, dark secrets about her society. In our special feature about THE FINISHER, we have a review (reviewer Benjamin Boche calls it "refreshing and quite exhilarating" and says "THE FINISHER has it all"), an interview and an excerpt.

Click here to read the review
Click here to read the interview
Click here to read the excerpt


Click here to see our special feature on THE FINISHER!


Special Feature: THE SHADOW PRINCE by Bree Despain

We all know the story Persephone --- Hades captured the young goddess and brought her to be the queen of the underworld, much to her mother Demeter's dismay. Along with a Death Cab for Cutie song, Bree Despain used this famous myth as the inspiration for THE SHADOW PRINCE, the first book of the Into the Dark series where young Haden is sent to bring Daphne, an aspiring singer at a California private school, back to the underworld. But when Haden and Daphne develop feelings for one another, they might not only change their own destinies, but the destinies of the entire universe. Learn more about the book in our special feature, which includes a review of the book, an excerpt and interview with Bree, where she describes everything from a dream film cast of the book to the role music plays in her writing process.


Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High --- a haven for children of the rich and famous --- Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race: Daphne, a girl from Utah who has always dreamed of becoming a singer. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

Click here to read the excerpt
Click here to read the review
Click here to read the interview

Click here to read our special feature!


National Autism Awareness Month Roundup
April is National Autism Awareness Month! There are plenty of great books --- both fiction and nonfiction --- about this topic. We've shared our favorite YA titles (and a few adult books we think teens will like) here. There's something there for everyone looking to learn about and cope with the challenges of autism and Asperger's, and we hope you continue to explore this list even after the month ends.
Click here to see our roundup!


Win Seven Great Books --- and a Tote Bag --- in Our Spring Fling Contest!

Spring is finally here, and with it comes warmer weather, blooming flowers...and the chance to win seven great new YA books! Enter our Spring Fling contest between now and Thursday, May 1st for a chance to win a prize package with all of the books below in a signature tote bag.

Five winners each will receive a selection of books from our list of featured titles, which includes the following:

THE KILLING WOODS by Lucy Christopher
DEATH SWORN by Leah Cypess
SALVAGE by Alexandra Duncan
PLUS ONE by Elizabeth Fama

Click here to enter Spring Fling!


Ultimate Teen Reading List - 2014 Update!

We announced this in the last newsletter, but if you haven't seen it yet, make sure to look at our Ultimate Reading List , which has quickly become one of the most beloved features on We removed some titles, and added more than 100 new ones in all genres --- realistic fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, classics, graphic novels and more. You can search books alphabetically and by genre. You can also see a PDF of the full list, and a PDF that includes all of the ISBNs. Enjoy!

More about the Ultimate Teen Reading List:
One of our goals each month is to inspire you to read --- and to keep reading. We have found that required reading lists for school --- especially summer reading lists --- are not exactly inspiring. Thus we have created what we think is the Ultimate Teen Reading List --- more than 400 titles that we believe are perfect choices for reading and discussing. Our dream is that schools will use this list to help them make their own for summer reading or, even better, suggest that students just read what they want from this list. How did we create our list? We compiled entries from readers who weighed in with their selections, and we also asked our staffers for suggestions. Titles range from young adult books to adult books that we think would be enjoyed by teens.

Click here to see the Ultimate Teen Reading List!


April's Cool and New Roundup

Our April roundup includes DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Page, where a girl from Kansas must save Oz from Dorothy, whose power has gone to her head; the much anticipated conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS by Laini Taylor, where Karou and Akiva must fight against a brutal angel army; and POPULAR: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by 15-year-old Maya Van Wagenen, who decided to follow a 1950s guide to popularity and see if would make a difference in her own social status.

Among the paperback titles released this month, we have STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle L. Jackson, the first book in The Malediction Trilogy about a girl who is kidnapped by a group of cursed trolls who believes she can set them free; GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn, the bestselling adult thriller about a man named Nick who has been accused of murdering his wife; and CRIMINAL by Terra Elan McVoy, about a girl whose boyfriend commits a terrible crime and who is being pressured to testify against him.

Click here to see April's Cool and New roundup!


Teen Board

Our Teen Board has been writing reviews like crazy this month --- here are some highlights from each!

Cheritta J. DESERT ANGEL - "Combines candid straightforwardness with heart-pounding suspense."

Pranshu A. EMILE AND THE SKY WORLD - "Riddled with action, adventure, sci-fi and fantasy." and SALVAGE - "Different from anything else I’ve ever read."

Katherine T. THE MUSEUM OF INTANGIBLE THINGS - "A read that will truly impact the heart. "

Rachel B. SWIM THAT ROCK - "Enjoyed by readers who enjoy fast-paced realistic fiction." and THE WINTER HORSES - "An interesting book."


Lynn W. WEST OF THE MOON - "The author skillfully weaves fairy tales and folklore into the book, bringing light to the terribly sad story."

Charlotte L. THE SUMMER I WASN'T ME - "I’d also suggest the book to anyone who enjoys a typical love story."

Kate F. DOROTHY MUST DIE - "A must read!"

Also, we'll be starting the application process for the the 2014 July - December Teen Board soon --- keep an eye out for more information in the next newsletter!



Adult Books You Want to Read

Throughout the year, we feature books from, our site for adult readers, that we think will have appeal to teen audiences.

Here are our latest featured titles:

A FEW SECONDS OF RADIANT FILMSTRIP by Kevin Brockmeier (Memoir, Nonfiction)

Over the course of one school year --- seventh grade --- 12-year-old Kevin Brockmeier sets out in search of himself. Along the way, he happens into his first kiss at a church party, struggles to understand why his old friends tease him at the lunch table, becomes the talk of the entire school thanks to his Halloween costume, and booby-traps his lunch to deter a thief.

KEEP QUIET by Lisa Scottoline (Suspense, Fiction)

Jake Buckman picks up his 16-year-old son, Ryan, at their suburban movie theater. On the way home, Ryan asks to drive on a deserted road, and Jake sees it as a chance to make a connection. However, what starts as a father-son bonding opportunity instantly turns into a nightmare. Tragedy strikes, and with Ryan’s entire future hanging in the balance, Jake is forced to make a split-second decision that plunges them both into a world of guilt and lies.

THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY by Gabrielle Zevin (Fiction)

A.J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island . Then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore --- an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over and the ability to see everything anew.

Click here to see Adult Books You Want to Read!


Side by Side: Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is one of America’s most famous poets --- everyone knows her for the nearly 2,000 poems she composed, for rarely leaving her house in Amherst, Massachusetts and for all of those dashes, dashes and more dashes! But this year she’s getting even MORE famous --- three contemporary authors have written books where she makes a major appearance!

In Jenny Hubbard’s AND WE STAY (January 2014), boarding school student Emily Beam uses Emily Dickinson’s poetry to help her overcome a tragic event in her recent past. In Robin Herrera’s HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL (March 2014), Star starts a poetry club at her new school and learns some important life lessons from Emily’s words. In Michaela MacColl’s NOBODY’S SECRET (paperback, March 2014), 15-year-old Emily Dickinson tries to uncover the identity of a man who turned up dead in her family’s pond.

Click here to read our interviews with Jenny, Robin and Michaela, where they talk about the inspiration for their books, their own feelings on Emily’s work and what they’d discuss if they went out to dinner with the famous poet. Plus, you can get a glimpse of their own poetry!

Click here to read the Emily Dickinson Side by Side!


Check Out Our Latest Reviews!

NOGGIN by John Corey Whaley (Science Fiction)

When he was 16 and dying of cancer, Travis agreed to have his head cut off with the hope that it could be reattached to a new body in 100 years. It worked --- except it's only been five years. Travis is still 16, but everyone around him has changed --- can the new and old Travis find a way to exist together? Reviewed by Molly Horan.

GOING OVER by Beth Kephart (Historical Fiction)

It is February 1983, and Berlin is a divided city with a miles-long barricade separating east from west. Ada lives in West Berlin, Stefan in East Berlin. Bound by love and separated by circumstance, their only chance for a life together lies in a high-risk escape. But will Stefan find the courage to leap? Or will forces beyond his control stand in his way? Reviewed by Alice Dalrymple.

DESERT ANGEL by Charlie Price (Suspense)

After her mother is murdered by a lowlife named Scotty, 14-year-old Angel is left with nothing. But she must flee her desert trailer before Scotty, an expert tracker and hunter, returns to finish her off too… Reviewed by Cheritta J., Teen Board member.

EMILIE AND THE SKY WORLD by Martha Wells (Fantasy)

When Emilie and Daniel arrive in Silk Harbor, Professor Abindon, an old colleague of the Marlendes, warns them that she's observed something strange and potentially deadly in the sky. Emilie joins the expedition and finds herself deep in personal entanglements and the deadly menace that inhabits the sky world. Reviewed by Pranshu A., Teen Board member.


Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they’ve always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything --- their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college --- behind them. Katherina T., Teen Board member.

PANIC by Lauren Oliver (Fiction)

Panic --- a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher --- began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations and the possibility of first love for each of them --- and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most. Reviewed by Ashley Bressingham.

THE HERE AND NOW by Ann Brashares (Fiction)

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love. This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time ---a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe (Mystery)

Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice. The first time, she escapes a near-fatal car accident with an addiction to Oxy. The second time, Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina's murder a drug deal gone wrong, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night. Sophie must search for Mina's murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared. Reviewed by Molly Horan.

ASK ME by Kimberly Pauley (Fantasy)

Aria Morse is an Oracle, blessed—or cursed—with the gift of prophecy. Ask her anything, and the truth spills out immediately. When Jade Price, the closest person she has to a friend disappears, everyone around her has questions. She may be the only one who can find out what happened to Jade. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to being the next target of someone else who hides in plain sight. Reviewed by Sabrina Abballe.

SWIM THAT ROCK by Jay Primiano (Fiction)

When his dad goes missing in a fishing-boat accident, fourteen-year-old Jake refuses to think he may have lost his father forever. But suddenly, nothing seems certain in Jake’s future, and now his family’s diner may be repossessed by loan sharks. In Narragansett Bay, scrabbling out a living as a quahogger isn’t easy, but with the help of some local clammers, Jake is determined to work hard and earn enough money to ensure his family’s security and save the diner in time. Reviewed by Rachel B., Teen Board member.

THE KLAATU TERMINUS (Klaatu Diskos) by Pete Hautman (Fantasy)

In a far distant future, Tucker Feye and the inscrutable Lia find themselves atop a crumbling pyramid in an abandoned city. In present-day Hopewell, Tucker’s uncle Kosh faces armed resistance and painful memories as he attempts to help a terrorized woman named Emma, who is being held captive by a violent man. And on a train platform in 1997, a seventeen-year-old Kosh is given an instruction that will change his life, and the lives of others, forever. Tucker, Lia, and Kosh must evade the pursuit of maggot-like Timesweeps, battle Master Gheen’s cult of Lambs, all while they puzzle out the enigmatic Boggsians as they search for one another and the secrets of the diskos. Who built them? Who is destroying them? Where — and when — will it all end? Reviewed by Lexibex, Teen Board member.

THE DARK TRIUMPH by Robin LaFevers (Fantasy)

Sybella's duty as Death's assassin in 15th-century France forces her return home to the personal hell that she had finally escaped. Reviewed by Ashley L., Teen Board member.

THE LAST FOREVER by Deb Caletti (Fiction)

After Tessa's mother died, it’s all she can do to keep everything from slipping away. Her father’s solution? An impromptu road trip that lands them in a small coastal town. Her most cherished possession—a rare plant of her mother’s—is starting to wither, and with it, Tessa’s heart and her hope. Enter Henry Lark. He understands the relationships that matter. And more important, he understands her. Though secrets stand between them, each has a chance at healing…if first, Tessa can find the courage to believe in forever. Reviewed by Corinne Fox.

STOLEN SONGBIRD (Malediction Trilogy Book One) by Danielle L. Jensen (Fantasy)

When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped to a mythical troll city, she has only one thing on her mind: escape. But something unexpected happens: she begins to fall for the troll prince to whom she has been married. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-blood slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader. Reviewed by Sabrina Abballe.

NEXT by Kevin Waltman (Fiction)

In Indiana, basketball is the next thing to religion. Especially for inner-city black kids like Derrick Bowen. He's a 6'3" freshman, lightning quick, and he can slam the rock. He wants to start at point guard for Marion High, but senior Nick Starks has that nailed down. But the coach thinks D-Bow needs to work on his game, his shot, and his attitude. Then Hamilton Academy wants D-Bow for the next three years. What will he choose? Reviewed by Heather Sieve.

THE CRACKS IN THE KINGDOM by Jaclyn Moriarty (Fiction)

Princess Ko's been bluffing about the mysterious absence of her father, desperately trying to keep the government running on her own. But if she can't get him back in a matter of weeks, the consequence may be a devastating war. So under the guise of a publicity stunt she gathers a group of teens from across the kingdom to crack the unsolvable case of the missing royals of Cello. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SALVAGE by Alexandra Duncan (Science Fiction)

Ava, 16, has spent her whole life aboard the ship Parastrata. However, a passionate mistake causes Ava’s people to turn against her, and she must run for her life. She barely escapes to Earth, where time and climate change have altered the face of the planet. India has become the heart of this future world, but life outside the country’s borders and on its social fringes is still a hardscrabble existence. Can Ava find a way to survive outside the insular world of her childhood? Is what she has been told about her own past the whole truth? Reviewed by Pranshu A., Teen Board member.

THE WINTER HORSES by Philip Kerr (Fiction)

It's Ukraine 1941. Max, the devoted caretaker of an animal preserve, must learn to live with the Nazis who have overtaken this precious land. Kalinka has lost everything but her life. Still, she has gained one small, precious gift: a relationship with the rare wild and wily Przewalski's horses that wander the preserve. Aside from Max, these endangered animals are her only friends—until a Nazi campaign of extermination nearly wipes them out for good. Now Kalinka must set out on a treacherous journey across the frozen Ukrainian forest to save the only two surviving horses—and herself. Reviewed by Rachel B., Teen Board member.

WEST OF THE MOON by Margi Preus (Fiction)

Armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, Astri and her little sister they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent “goatman” in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in and out of folktales and dreams as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon. Reviewed by Lynn W., Teen Board member.

THE SUMMER I WASN'T ME by Jessica Verdi (Fiction)

Lexi would do anything to keep her broken family together. Even if it means denying who she really is. The road signs leading to New Horizons summer camp promise a new life for seventeen-year-old Lexi. Ever since her mom found out she was in love with a girl, her broken family has been pulled even further apart. But Lexi swears she can change. Denying her feelings is harder than Lexi thinks. And when she falls heads over heels for one of her fellow campers, Lexi will have to risk her mother's approval for the one person who might love her no matter what. Reviewed by Charlotte L. , Teen Board member.

DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige (Fantasy)

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado --- taking you with it --- you have no choice but to go along, you know? Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though --- but even that's crumbling. Kate F., Teen Board member.

THE RING AND THE CROWN by Melissa de la Cruz (Fantasy)

Magic is power, and power is magic... Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a mighty castle. Now Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the mightiest empire in the world, and Aelwyn Myrddyn, a bastard mage, face vastly different futures. Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second. With the help of her Merlin, Eleanor has maintained a stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. While the enchanters faithfully serve the crown, the sun will never set on the Franco-British Empire. Reviewed by Carly Silver.

April Poll #1 - A Few More Days Left to Vote!

This month, we have TWO polls! Our first ends in a few days (to be replaced with a great one in honor of National Poetry Month), so be sure to vote before it's too late.

Which week do you get out of school for the summer vacation?

  • May 5-9
  • May 12-16
  • May 19-23
  • May 26-30
  • June 2-6
  • June 9-13
  • June 16-20
  • June 23-27
  • I do not get out til July.
  • My school is year-round.

And for the results of last month's poll, click here! In honor of National Women's History Month, we asked you which female literary character was your favorite. Hermione Granger (HARRY POTTER) was the clear winner, garnering 37% of the votes. Katniss Everdeen (THE HUNGER GAMES) came in second with 22% of the votes, and Tris Prior (DIVERGENT) was a close third, with 21% of the votes.

Click here to take our poll!


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