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Late June 2010 Newsletter Late June 2010

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Saving Our Libraries, Celebrating Harry Potter, and Savoring Some Sizzling Summer Reads

Though we began celebrating as soon as the weather turned warm, the summer season officially kicks off this week, and boy is it a scorcher out there! With temperatures reaching the 90s, we’re all perfectly content to stay indoors and lose ourselves in some juicy beach reads. And we recommend you do the same.

Before talking about the site update, though, I wanted to share with you a couple of noteworthy news items: one very important, and the other just plain fun.

We know that most of you rely on your local and school libraries not only to feed your insatiable reading habits during these summer months, but also as a critical tool during the school year for help with assignments, access to computers and periodicals, and even a quiet, conducive and safe place to do homework. Tuesday, June 29th is National Library Advocacy Day --- a one-time-only event to be held during this year's American Library Association Annual Conference in direct response to local, state and federal budget cuts affecting libraries nationwide. All of us here at and The Book Report Network feel very passionately about this issue, and we hope that you do too. I have written a piece for the Huffington Post on this current nationwide crisis, which you can read here. I also wanted to share a letter that I sent to authors last week asking for their support of libraries, with some ways that they can get involved. These are ideas that can also be done by readers, so I had our production team post it. We urge you to pitch in and help us keep our country's library doors open.

In case you didn’t already hear, Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, FL officially opened its doors on June 18th…finally! From what we’ve read, it sounds pretty awesome, boasting attractions like replicas of Hogwarts Castle --- complete with the familiar classrooms, corridors and passageways --- and the shops and eateries of Hogsmeade Village, plus signature rides like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, and Flight of the Hippogriff. While all of us here are dying to sample the grub at the Three Broomsticks and pick up a couple of Death Eater Masks at Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, we’d love to hear what you think about this new vacation spot. Answer this month’s poll and question to weigh in. And if you have been there or have a trip planned, let us know as we would love to interview you about it. Send me a note at

Now on to the update…

M.T. Anderson’s latest adventure, THE SUBURB BEYOND THE STARS, offers the perfect quirky escape from the day-to-day as main characters Brian and Gregory --- heroes of the 2004 novel THE GAME OF SUNKEN PLACES --- find themselves in quite a bit of danger amidst an odd and unusually fast-growing suburban development… in the wilds of Vermont? Click here to read a review and an excerpt, as well as our interview with Anderson, where he talks about the book’s unconventional plot and setting.

Offering readers a peek into a world completely unlike our own is Michael Grant’s Gone books, which are set in a futuristic, dystopian society completely devoid of adults. GONE, HUNGER, and the newly released LIES follow a group of teens who are forced to learn to fend for themselves in the face of starvation, war and bigotry. You can read more about this nail-biting series here.

Also promising a healthy dose of the unexpected is HarperCollins’s Supernatural Summer Tour, which brings a handful of your favorite paranormal authors --- including Aprilynne Pike (SPELLS), Ellen Schreiber (VAMPIRE KISSES #7: LOVE BITES), Kim Harrison (EARLY TO DEATH, EARLY TO RISE), Kimberly Derting (THE BODY FINDER) and Kelley Armstrong (THE RECKONING) --- to a city near you. Be sure to visit their website for tour dates, as well as tons of fun quizzes, polls, forums, on-the-road updates from the authors, and even a chance to win an Apple iPad! The giveaway ends on July 12th, so enter ASAP.

Still haven’t found the perfect getaway read? You’re bound to find something to love in our features for Charlie Higson’s hard-pulsing thriller, THE ENEMY; Alyssa B. Sheinmel’s modern-day fairy tale, THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN; Chris d’Lacey’s fiery fantasy, DARK FIRE; Lucy Christopher’s debut tale of obsession, abduction and survival, STOLEN; and PERCHANCE TO DREAM, Lisa Mantchev’s second book in the Theatre Illuminata trilogy.

Whether your “beach reading” takes place at the actual beach, or on the back porch, the living room couch and anywhere else in between, is going to help five lucky readers kick off the summer in style with our Fourth Annual Beach Bag of Books Contest. Winners will each receive a beach bag that includes 14 books and everything you need for a great day at the pool or beach. Enter by July 14th for your chance to celebrate the summer with!

We’re also offering some brand new titles in this month’s Grab Bag of Books, including BRILLIANT by Rachel Vail, EMILY THE STRANGE: STRANGER AND STRANGER by Rob Reger and Jessica Gruner, MORPHEUS ROAD: THE LIGHT by D.J. MacHale, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS #8: WANTED by Sara Shepard, and SETH BAUMGARTNER'S LOVE MANIFESTO by Eric Luper. Five lucky winners will receive a copy of each, tucked inside our spankin’ new tote bags! Don’t you love them? For a chance to win, fill out this form by noon ET on Monday, July 19th.

Speaking of giveaways, our contest for Deborah Wiles’s COUNTDOWN will be running until July 6th, so you can enter here for a chance to win a copy of this documentary novel that takes place during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

We also have some fantastic reviews to share with you this month of some of the most buzzworthy books of the summer, including WHITE CAT, which kicks off Holly Black’s Curse Workers series, and DARK FLAME, the fourth installment of The Immortals by Alyson Noël. And after reading rave reviews for Jackson Pearce’s updated fairy tale SISTERS RED and Jenny Han’s warm-weather romance IT’S NOT SUMMER WITHOUT YOU, make sure to take a look at their Teenreads Blog guest posts here and here, as they discuss the motivations behind their work and share some of their favorite summer romances.


Happy reading! And I'm sure many of you will be flocking to the theaters Wednesday to catch happy viewing to all you Twilight fans!

Carol Fitzgerald (


Special Feature: THE SUBURB BEYOND THE STARS by M.T. Anderson

M.T. Anderson has written numerous books for children and young adults, including FEED, THE ASTONISHING LIFE OF OCTAVIAN NOTHING, and the newly released THE SUBURB BEYOND THE STARS. In this interview with’s Norah Piehl, Anderson explains why he waited six years to write the follow-up to his 2004 novel, THE GAME OF SUNKEN PLACES, and what inspired the story’s “unconventional” setting. He also reveals the similarities between himself and his main characters, and discusses why his current home in Vermont is so conducive to his writing routine.

THE SUBURB BEYOND THE STARS by M.T. Anderson (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)

Something very strange is happening in Vermont. It's not The Game of Sunken Places --- Brian and Gregory have been through that before, and there's not supposed to be another Game until they say there's a Game. But still...when they go to visit a relative in the Vermont woods, they find many things Like, people aren't where they're supposed to be. And houses are everywhere. In fact, the houses seem to be taking over.

-Click here to read a review of THE SUBURB BEYOND THE STARS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SUBURB BEYOND THE STARS.
-Click here to read M.T. Anderson's bio.


Click here to read our interview with M.T. Anderson.

Series Feature: Supernatural Summer: Expect the Unexpected...
Expect the unexpected this summer, and don't miss the Supernatural Summer Tour 2010 featuring five amazing HarperTeen authors: Aprilynne Pike (SPELLS), Ellen Schreiber (VAMPIRE KISSES #7: LOVE BITES), Kim Harrison (EARLY TO DEATH, EARLY TO RISE), Kimberly Derting (THE BODY FINDER) and Kelley Armstrong (THE RECKONING)! Visit to enter for a chance to win an Apple iPad, and check out the latest Supernatural Summer polls, quizzes, forums and on-the-road updates from the enchanting Supernatural Summer authors.
Click here to read our Supernatural Summer series feature.


Series Feature: Gone by Michael Grant

GONE Series by Michael Grant
Would you survive in the FAYZ? Click here to take the Gone series quiz to find out, watch the new LIES video trailer, and get a sneak peek at the third installment in Michael Grant's breathtaking saga about teens battling each other and their darkest selves. You won't look at the world in the same way again.


Click here to read our Gone series feature.'s Fourth Annual Beach Bag of Books Contest

It's time to think about Summer Reading --- and we're not talking about the list of books you'll be receiving for Required Summer Reading from school. What we're talking about are the kinds of books that you're glad you now have time to kick back with and enjoy. The way we see it, it wouldn't be summer without sun, surf, and great reading. You supply the beach chair, and we'll provide the fantastic fiction in our Fourth Annual Beach Bag of Books Contest.

From May 14th thru July 14th, you can enter to win a " Beach Bag of Books." Five winners each will receive a beach bag that includes 14 books: BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver; THE CARRIE DIARIES by Candace Bushnell; CARTER'S BIG BREAK by Brent Crawford; THE GARDENER by S. A. Bodeen; GIRLS IN LOVE: A Summer Girls Novel by Hailey Abbott; THE KARMA CLUB by Jessica Brody; LIES: A Gone Novel by Michael Grant; THE LIFE OF GLASS by Jillian Cantor; NUM8ERS by Rachel Ward; PASSING STRANGE: A Generation Dead Novel by Daniel Waters; RADIANT SHADOWS: A Wicked Lovely Book by Melissa Marr; RUNAWAY: An Airhead Novel by Meg Cabot; STOLEN by Lucy Christopher; and SWIM THE FLY by Don Calame.

Along with the books, winners will find their striped canvas beach bag stocked with an assortment of summer goodies: a pink beach towel with a flip-flop design, a pair of green flip-flops, Coppertone Sport Sunblock, H2O+ Mineral Spa Shower Gel, surfing-themed plates and napkins for throwing your own beach party, a flip-flop-shaped towel and sarong clip, a box of Mike and Ike lemonade-flavored candies, a box of Dots candies, Crystal Light Raspberry Lemonade Drink Mix, a watermelon-shaped lollipop, and a terrific cap that turns any can into a bottle to prevent sand and bees from finding their way into your drink.

Click here to read all the contest details.'s Grab Bag of Books Contest

Every month in our Grab Bag of Books contest, five readers are awarded a signature tote bag filled with some of the hottest books --- and may even include a sneak peek at titles that haven't been released yet!

This contest period's winners will each receive a copy of BRILLIANT by Rachel Vail, EMILY THE STRANGE: STRANGER AND STRANGER by Rob Reger and Jessica Gruner, MORPHEUS ROAD: THE LIGHT by D.J. MacHale, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS #8: WANTED by Sara Shepard, and SETH BAUMGARTNER'S LOVE MANIFESTO by Eric Luper. All you have to do to enter is fill out
this form by Monday, July 19th at noon ET.

here for the winners of our past giveaways.

Click here to read all the contest details.

Special Feature and Contest: COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles

Featuring a captivating story interspersed with footage from 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, COUNTDOWN by award-winning author Deborah Wiles is a documentary novel that will put you right alongside 11-year-old Franny Chapman as she navigates a dangerous time in both her history and our history. It is an experience you will never forget, and is giving 10 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, July 6th at noon ET.

COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles (Historical Fiction)
It's 1962, and it seems the whole country is living in fear. When President Kennedy goes on television to say that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba, it only gets worse. Eleven-year-old Franny Chapman doesn't know how to deal with what's going on in the world --- no more than she knows how to deal with what's going on with her family and friends. But somehow she's going to make it through.

-Click here to read more about COUNTDOWN.
-Click here to read a review of COUNTDOWN.
-Click here to read an excerpt (in PDF format) from COUNTDOWN.
-Click here to read Deborah Wiles's bio.


Click here to read all the contest details.

Special Feature: THE ENEMY by Charlie Higson
Charlie Higson --- best known for his Young James Bond books --- has launched a new series of horror novels for young adults beginning with THE ENEMY, which centers on a group of children spared from an epidemic that turns its victims into brainless, blood-thirsty creatures. In this interview with's Sarah Wood, Higson discusses one of the book's rather surprising influences and elaborates on its children-vs.-adults motif ---- a theme that can be traced all the way back to mythology and fairy tales. He also explains some of the minor differences between the US and UK editions of the novel, reflects on what he finds particularly captivating about zombies in pop culture, and hints at what readers can expect from the sequel, THE DEAD.

THE ENEMY by Charlie Higson (Horror)
In the wake of a devastating disease, everyone older than 16 is either dead or a decomposing, brainless creature with a ravenous appetite for flesh. The group of kids living at Waitrose supermarket is beginning to run out of options. When a mysterious traveler arrives and offers them safe haven at Buckingham Palace, they begin a harrowing journey across London.

-Click here to read more about THE ENEMY.
-Click here to read a review of THE ENEMY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE ENEMY.
-Click here to read Charlie Higson's bio.

Click here to read our interview with Charlie Higson.

Special Feature: THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Alyssa B. Sheinmel's debut novel, THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN, incorporates two classic fairy tales into the story of a teen struggling with loneliness and loss, not to mention her fair share of typical adolescent hardships. In this interview with's Sarah Rachel Egelman, Sheinmel discusses the significance of these fables to both her main character and the role they played in her own personal life, and elaborates on the book's unconventional lack of a romantic plotline. She also explains the meaning of the novel's poetic title, shares a list of her favorite authors, and talks a bit about her upcoming book, THE LUCKY KIND, set to be released in 2011.

THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (Fiction)
This lovely and memorable debut by Alyssa B. Sheinmel contains many of the hallmark themes found in young adult literature --- friendship, coming of age, finding a place to belong, and overcoming the death of a loved one. Emotionally moving from start to finish, THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN introduces a strong new voice to the genre, a voice with a long future ahead of it.

-Click here to read more about THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN.
-Click here to read a review of THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN.
-Click here to read Alyssa B. Sheinmel's bio.
-Click here to read Alyssa B. Sheinmel's blog post, "A Day in the Life - Senior Year of High School."
-Visit Alyssa B. Sheinmel's official website,


Click here to read our interview with Alyssa B. Sheinmel.


Special Feature: DARK FIRE by Chris d'Lacey


Chris d'Lacey's The Last Dragon Chronicles is a seven-part fantasy series about a young man who discovers that dragons do in fact exist and must embark on a journey to save the last of these mythical creatures, while the existence of nature and humankind hangs in the balance. In this interview with's Usha Reynolds, d'Lacey describes where the fifth installment, DARK FIRE, finds his protagonists, David Rain and his young daughter Alexa, and reveals the real source of dragon lore found in his books. He also discusses the process of "discovering" his characters over the course of the series, speculates on readers' continual fascination with legendary fabled beasts, and elaborates on one of the overall themes of the books.

DARK FIRE by Chris d'Lacey (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
Bestselling author David Rain was lost in the Arctic for five years. Now, his daughter, Alexa, has brought him back, but a lot more has returned to Earth with him. Dragons are back as well. And with them is a hidden trace of dark fire, the deadliest force in the universe. Life hangs in the balance as David, Lucy and the Pennykettle dragons must destroy the dark fire before it's discovered and used to birth a darkling.

-Click here to read more about DARK FIRE.
-Click here to read a review of DARK FIRE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from DARK FIRE.
-Click here to read Chris d'Lacey's bio.


Click here to read our interview with Chris d'Lacey.


Special Feature: STOLEN by Lucy Christopher


Lucy Christopher's debut novel, STOLEN, explores the dark themes of obsession, abduction alienation, and survival, as experienced from the perspective of Gemma, an English teen who is kidnapped by a stalker and brought to the Australian Outback. In this interview with's Sarah Rachel Egelman, Christopher discusses the personal experience from her childhood that partially inspired the book's plot and setting, and explains her reason behind framing the narrative as a letter written by her protagonist to her captor, Ty. She also sheds light on the motivations behind Ty's mysterious but surprisingly sympathetic behavior, reflects on what she hopes readers will take away from the story, and shares details on her much lighter second novel, FLYAWAY.

STOLEN by Lucy Christopher (Fiction)
Sixteen-year-old Gemma is on layover at Bangkok Airport, en route with her parents to a vacation in Vietnam. She steps away for just a second, to get a cup of coffee. Ty --- rugged, tan, too old, oddly familiar --- pays for Gemma's drink. And drugs it. They talk. Their hands touch. And before Gemma knows what's happening, Ty takes her. Steals her away. The unknowing object of a long obsession, Gemma has been kidnapped by her stalker and brought to the desolate Australian Outback.

-Click here to read more about STOLEN.
-Click here to read a review of STOLEN.
-Click here to read an excerpt from STOLEN.
-Click here to read Lucy Christopher's bio.


Click here to read our interview with Lucy Christopher.


Series Feature Update: The Theatre Illuminata Trilogy

PERCHANCE TO DREAM: Théâtre Illuminata, Act II by Lisa Mantchev (Fantasy)
Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn't know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world. But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

-Click here to read more about PERCHANCE TO DREAM.
-Click here to read an excerpt from PERCHANCE TO DREAM.
-Click here to see the book trailer for PERCHANCE TO DREAM.
-Click here to read our series feature for The Théâtre Illuminata Trilogy.

Click here to read a review of PERCHANCE TO DREAM.

This Month's Reviews Reviews:

WHITE CAT: The Curse Workers, Book 1 by Holly Black (Urban Fantasy)
A white cat is plaguing the dreams of Cassel Sharpe. It's trying to tell him something important about his connections to curse workers --- people who can manipulate others with a touch from their hands --- and Cassel isn't ready to confront the truths that haunt his past. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WHITE CAT.

-Click here to see Holly Black talk about WHITE CAT.

DARK FLAME: The Immortals, Book 4 by Alyson Noël (Paranormal Romance)
Being immortal may sound easy, but it comes with its own set of problems, and Ever continues to struggle with the nightmares in her life. Desperate for the antidote that causes her DNA to be toxic to her soul mate Damen, Ever takes drastic steps using a dangerous spell that backfires and bonds her to bad boy Roman. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DARK FLAME.

PICTURE THE DEAD by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown (Supernatural Historical Mystery)
Jennie Lovell's life is the very picture of love and loss. First she is orphaned and forced to live at the mercy of her stingy, indifferent relatives. Then her fiancé falls on the battlefield, leaving her heartbroken and alone. Jennie struggles to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, but is haunted by a mysterious figure that refuses to let her bury the past. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

IT'S NOT SUMMER WITHOUT YOU by Jenny Han (Fiction)
Last year, all of Belly's dreams came true and the thought of missing a summer in Cousins Beach was inconceivable. Suddenly the time she's always looked forward to most is something she dreads. And when Jeremiah calls to say Conrad has disappeared, Belly must decide how she will spend this summer: chasing after the boy she loves, or finally letting him go. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

-Click here to read Jenny Han's blog post, "Summer Lovin'."

SISTERS RED by Jackson Pearce (Urban Fantasy)
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris --- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

-Click here to read Jackson Pearce's blog post, "Jackson Pearce on the Sisterhood of SISTERS RED."

After a train abandons him in the middle of Montana, Ry is on a journey to return home to his grandfather and parents. Ry will use all means available to find his loved ones, including planes, cars, boats, and his feet. With his trusty guide, Del, Ry will get there, won't he? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE GHOSTS OF ASHBURY HIGH by Jaclyn Moriarty (Fiction)
This is the story of Amelia and Riley, bad kids from bad Brookfield High who have transferred to Ashbury High for their final year. Ashbury can't get enough of them. But they don't know that all Amelia can think about is her past --- an idyllic time before she ran away from home. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Graphic Novel Reviews:

BATMAN: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER? written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Andy Kubert
Neil Gaiman uses his talent to spin the "last Batman story" concept into something fun. Andy Kubert's art is a trip down memory lane for fans of Batman history. Reviewed by William Jones.

PRIME BABY written and illustrated by Gene Luen Yang
Thaddeus's baby sister is really a conduit for alien invaders, but he can't get his parents to believe him, even though it is obvious that he is a genius who will one day rule the world. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

Manga Reviews:

YOKAIDEN 1 written and illustrated by Nina Matsumoto
Yokai are Japanese spirits, and young Hamachi is fascinated by them. When his grandmother dies under mysterious circumstances, Hamachi journeys into the Yokai realm. Will Hamachi be able to find his grandmother's killer, or will he be lost forever in another world? Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

YOKAIDEN 2 written and illustrated by Nina Matsumoto
Armed with nothing but a sacred rope and a lucky kappa's foot, Hamachi continues his quest deep into the Yokai realm in the hopes of finding Madkap, the kappa (water spirit) he believes has killed his grandmother. Reviewed by Peter Gutiérrez.

OTODAMA: VOICE FROM THE DEAD, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Youka Nitta
Two friends --- private investigator Hide and sound engineer Kaname --- must use Kaname's ability to hear the dead to help the police solve a serial murder case. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

FAIRY NAVIGATOR RUNA, Volume 1 written by Miyoko Ikeda and illustrated by Michiyo Kikuta
Runa was left at an orphanage as a baby and never knew her parents. Nonetheless, she loves her life at the orphanage and has a close circle of friends. Then one day, two strangers arrive with startling news: Runa is really a fairy princess --- and she is in great danger! Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

BLACK BUTLER, Volume 2 written and illustrated by Yana Toboso
Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his devilishly good butler, Sebastian, are called to London to deal with a serial murderer --- Jack the Ripper! Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.


Poll and Question: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter


Now that it has finally opened its doors, are you planning to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the new Harry Potter-themed amusement park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida?

Yes, and I can’t wait!
If my family could afford this, I would go NOW.
I'm curious about it, but I’m not planning to go.
While it's not at the top of my list, I'd like to check it out if I had the chance.
I have no interest in going.
I’ve already been there, and it was so much fun!
I’ve already been there, but it was disappointing.
I'm not sure how I feel.

-Click here to answer the poll.


What sorts of attractions (rides, games, activities, etc.) would you like to see at Universal Studios’ new Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park?

-Click here to answer the question.


Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Could Win a Book!

This contest period, one teen reader will be randomly chosen to win a copy of LINGER by Maggie Stiefvater. To put your name in the hat, submit your current reading list and ratings by completing the form here.

-Click here to see the most recent Word of Mouth comments.


Have a great month...and make some time each day to read something you enjoy!

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