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December 2011
December 2011

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Here Come the Holidays!
The holidays are here! Or should I say the holidaze are here? There is a rather wild whirlwind about life right now, isn’t there?

Some of you already are on vacation from school and others of you are headed there in the next few days. So is your holiday shopping done? Or are you still selecting presents for your friends and family? I found a VERY funny book that I am giving my son called THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD ACCORDING TO FACEBOOK. Books make great gifts. They cater to all tastes AND are flat and square --- aka easy to wrap for someone who is wrapping paper-challenged, like me!

Ahem…drumroll here. Do you know how important you are? On the site right now --- for the fourth year in a row --- you are being asked to determine the nominees for the Children's Book Council's Teen Choice Book of the Year! We’re giving YOU the opportunity to vote for your favorite books of the year and help determine the five finalists. Click here for all the details. Weigh in as soon as you can, and please share this with your friends and mention it on your personal social networking sites if you can. And remember, if a favorite book of yours is not on the list, you can suggest it!

Speaking of favorite books of the year, check out what our reviewers had to say about their favorites. We asked them to choose up to 10 books he or she LOVED this year. See which of their selections match yours!

One of our signature features, the Ultimate Reading List, is back! It now includes not only book covers and a description of the book, but also author photos! With more than 400 titles on the list, it was a lengthy process to move this content over to the new site, and we received so many letters from readers who were desperately searching the new Teenreads for this list. We knew it was popular, but after answering dozens of letters, we KNOW it's one powerful list.

As always, we will be updating this list in the spring, so be sure to keep that on your radar in the months ahead. You can view the Ultimate Reading List here.

We are VERY excited to announce that World Book Night will be April 23, 2012. World Book Night is a celebration of books with a night of book giveaways. The list of 30 books that have been selected to be given away includes five young adult titles, as well as a number of adult books you'll want to read. 50,000 “Book Givers” across the country will each give away 20 books with a goal of 1,000,000 books being given out that night. Are you 16 or older? If so, you are eligible to participate! Interested? Then submit your application here by February 1st and learn more about World Book Night. We will be sharing much more about this in the months to come.

A number of great books are hitting stores right now in an end-of-year rush. We have 16 new reviews for you this month, in genres like historical fiction and fantasy, and from authors like Dyan Sheldon, who posted on our blog recently, James Patterson and Scott Westerfeld. There are sure to be a few titles you can add to your holiday wish list. My sons keep adding and adding!

One highlight of this update includes our review of the much-acclaimed fantasy INHERITANCE. This fourth and final book in Christopher Paolini’s wildly popular series is the story of a poor farm boy and his dragon who suddenly find themselves responsible for the fate of the world. It is a grand, sweeping epic that is sure to have you enthralled at every moment!

We are also featuring a review of BEAUTIFUL CHAOS, the latest installment in Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Beautiful Creatures series, which defies genres. Part paranormal, part romance and part southern gothic fantasy, the book continues the tale of Lena Duchennes, who has thrown the Mortal and Caster worlds into chaos, and her boyfriend Ethan Wate, who has begun having mysterious waking dreams.

As usual, there are a number of great books being made into movies this holiday season, including the new Sherlock Holmes film A Game of Shadows, and War Horse, which is all about the powerful bond between a boy and his horse during World War I. A super cool companion book to War Horse will be in stores on December 27th, just two days after the film’s release. Click here to read all about it. And for those nights at home, there are two new DVDs of movies that were originally books hitting stands: The Help and Life, Above All.

The Holiday Bundle of Cheer Contest is over! Thank you to all who entered. Click here to see if you were a winner. If you didn’t win, please peruse our list of featured titles --- there may be a few there you want. And remember, there’s always next year…

Of course, a new month means a whole new roundup of Cool & New Books, which has even MORE great ideas for giving and getting this holiday season. We also have a new collection of adult books you will want to consider reading, including two mysteries --- DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY by P. D. James and THE DOG WHO KNEW TOO MUCH by Spencer Quinn --- and a fabulous book for sports fans, ONE ON ONE, in which reporter John Feinstein delves into all the action that happens behind the scenes at the world’s most popular sporting events.

Don’t forget about our new Poll and Question. We want to know how many books you read this year, and which one was your favorite. Okay, so we won’t make you narrow it down to one --- you can name up to three. I would have trouble choosing only one Book of the Year too!

And of course, by entering our Word of Mouth contest and letting us know what you are reading, you will be automatically entered to win two books: WITCH & WIZARD: THE FIRE by James Patterson and Jill Dembowski, and THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. We’ve had this contest on the site since November, but due to a technical glitch in our system, we decided to extend the giveaway through Friday, January 13th at noon ET. We really value the insight your entries in Word of Mouth provide, and we know your fellow readers do too!

Well, here’s hoping you are in the mistletoe mood this season as we pine for pine and go gaga for gelt. We’ll see you next year. Here’s to a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a great Kwanzaa, and all good wishes for a WONDERFUL 2012!|

Carol Fitzgerald (

Nominate Your Favorite Books of 2011 for the Children's Book Council's Teen Choice of the Year
In association with the Children’s Book Council (CBC) and Every Child a Reader (ECAR), is giving you a very special opportunity to let your voices be heard by telling us your five favorite books of 2011. The five titles that receive the most votes will serve as the finalists for the CBC’s 2012 Teen Choice Book of the Year. Once the five finalists have been determined, we will tell you where you can go vote for them. The winner will be announced in May 2012.
Click here to nominate your favorite books of 2011.
Now in Stores: WITCH & WIZARD: THE FIRE by James Patterson and Jill Dembowski
WITCH & WIZARD: THE FIRE by James Patterson and Jill Dembowski (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
Whit and Wisty Allgood are back for their third fight against the evil One. After Wisty almost dies from the blood plague, the siblings realize they will have to split up for the next battle. Whit needs to enter the dreary Shadowland, as Wisty must confront The One…all by herself. While searching for the courage needed to complete their tasks, they discover shocking news about their parents, Celia and the prophesy. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.
Click here to read a review. Reviews INHERITANCE by Christopher Paolini
INHERITANCE by Christopher Paolini (Fantasy)
Not so very long ago, Eragon --- Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider --- was nothing but a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders. The critical battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: DEADLY LITTLE VOICES by Laurie Faria Stolarz
DEADLY LITTLE VOICES: A Touch Novel by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Paranormal Mystery)
High school junior Camelia thought her powers of psychometry only gave her the ability to sense the future through touch. But now she has started to hear voices. Mean voices. Berating her, telling her that she’d be better off dead. It’s a troubling development that has Camelia terrified for her mental stability, especially since her deranged aunt with a suicidal history has just moved into the family house. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: BEAUTIFUL CHAOS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
BEAUTIFUL CHAOS: A Beautiful Creatures Novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance)
Since Lena Duchennes claimed herself, the Caster and Mortal Worlds lie in chaos. Lena’s beau Ethan Wate is haunted by waking dreams and voices that he alone can hear. The unique Southern charm and sweet romance of this four-part gothic fantasy reach a peak in the third volume. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.
Click here to read a review.
Books on Screen for December
Two exciting tales of adventure ring in the festive season. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is the long-awaited follow-up to the first Sherlock Holmes movie, released in 2009. This time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary spy and his sidekick, Dr. Watson, investigate the case of a murdered Austrian prince, and are drawn into Europe’s vast criminal underworld.

On Christmas Day comes the release of War Horse, based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel of the same name. The movie tells the story of a powerful bond between a young man named Albert and his horse, Joey, during World War I. Albert trains and cares for Joey until the two are forced apart. But the separation is the beginning of a remarkable journey for Joey, who touches the lives of everyone he meets as he moves through the war.

To celebrate its gallop into theaters, WAR HORSE: The Making of the Motion Picture will be in stores on December 27th --- and you will not want to miss it. This outstanding visual companion to Steven Spielberg's epic adventure details the movie's story, its production and real-life history, and includes over 140 dramatic images from the film.

And new on DVD this month are The Help and Life, Above All.

Click here to read more about December’s films. Reviewers Pick Their Favorite Books of 2011

Recently, we asked our reviewers to provide us with a list of some of their favorite books from 2011. Though it was difficult to narrow down, each reviewer chose up to 10 books that he or she enjoyed the most this year. Take a look and see if any of their selections match yours --- and which titles you may want to consider reading in the future. Please note that due to personal and professional commitments, some reviewers were not able to participate in this feature.

Click here to see our reviewers' favorite books of 2011.'s Holiday Bundle of Cheer Feature
At, we've been celebrating the holiday season in style with our Holiday Cheer Bundle of Cheer Contest and Feature. As our gift to you, we gave five readers a chance to win 9 fabulous books, along with tons of seasonal goodies that included Peeps Marshmallow Snowmen, green rock candy, 12 peppermint candy canes, a Wilton Holiday Peppermint Bark Kit, Lotsa Lites! Flashing Holiday Necklace, and a snowman stocking. Congratulations to all our winners!

Although the contest has ended, we encourage you to take a look at this year's featured titles. These are books you'll want to read during the holidays --- and throughout the year as well!

Our featured titles are:

-THE ALCHEMYST: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 1 by Michael Scott
-ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin
-CURSE OF THE SHAMRA: Book One of The Shamra Chronicles by Barry Hoffman
-SHAMRA DIVIDED: Book Two of The Shamra Chronicles by Barry Hoffman
-CHAOS UNLEASHED: Book Three of The Shamra Chronicles by Barry Hoffman
-THE GRAY WOLF THRONE: A Seven Realms Novel, Book Three by Cinda Williams Chima
-SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi

Click here to read more about the titles spotlighted in our Holiday Bundle of Cheer feature.
Celebrate World Book Night on April 23, 2012!
We are pleased to announce World Book Night, an evening of book giveaways that is set to take place simultaneously in the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland on the evening of April 23, 2012.

As a way of connecting with other readers, 50,000 people will head out into their communities that night to hand out free books. You only have to be 16 to give books away, so sign up here by February 1, 2012 for your chance to do so. Everyone who signs up will be given 20 copies of a title (you list three choices in your application). The goal for the evening is to give away a million free books!

The list of featured titles includes many that appeal to teens. Among them are:

-THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
-ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card
-THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
-THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold
-WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson

The entire list of 30 titles can be viewed here.

Keep an eye out for more information on World Book Night in the coming weeks. And apply now to be a book giver.

Click here to read more about World Book Night, and to sign up to give away free books.
Cool & New Books for December

December’s roundup of Cool & New Books includes James Patterson and Jill Dembowski’s THE FIRE, the third installment in the Witch & Wizard series that follows Whit and Wisty Allgood as they lead the resistance against the totalitarian regime that governs their world; WHY WE BROKE UP, the first-ever YA book written by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), which centers on two teenagers who break up and a box full of all the reasons why; and Laurie Faria Stolarz’s new Touch novel, DEADLY LITTLE VOICES, in which Camelia’s powers of psychometry have segued into disturbing voices in her head.

Among the paperbacks releasing this month are Carrie Jones’s ENTICE, the follow-up to CAPTIVATE that tells the story of newly appointed pixie queen Zara’s search for her true soul mate; THE LYING GAME, which marks the beginning of a new series by Sara Shepard, who weaves a tale of long-lost twins and cold-blooded murder; and REAL LIVE BOYFRIENDS by E. Lockhart, which follows the perpetually love-struck Ruby Oliver’s quest to find out why her boyfriend has been acting like a lobotomy patient.

Click here to read December’s roundup of Cool & New Books.
This Month's Reviews
LEGEND by Marie Lu (Dystopian Thriller)
In a bleak future, the United States does not exist. The Republic rules the western coast, and the Colonies exist in the east. Within the Republic, 15-year-olds Day and June come from vastly different worlds, yet they are more alike than they realize. Their paths cross after Day is accused of murdering June’s brother. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

THE ALWAYS WAR by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
Fifteen-year-old Tessa Stilfin lives in a world of pain, despair and war, just the same as her parents and her grandparents before her. But when her next-door neighbor Gideon, a young pilot in the army, begins acting strange, Tessa follows him to try and help. In her pursuit, she accidentally stows away on his airplane. Their quest takes them over the boundary into the war zone where they stumble on an unimaginable secret. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

GOLIATH by Scott Westerfeld (Historical Fantasy)
The final book in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy finds the paths of prince Aleksander Ferdinand and midshipman Deryn Sharp colliding in unexpected ways. Will Deryn finally tell Alek she’s been lying about who she is and how she feels? And will Alek have enough courage to help bring an end to World War I? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE DAUGHTERS JOIN THE PARTY by Joanna Philbin (Fiction)
Emma Conway has never fit into the sweater-set-wearing world of her political family, opting for purple hair and Chuck Taylors to keep herself out of countless photo ops. But when she accidentally lets her father's presidential plans slip on national television, Emma finds herself thrown into the spotlight. Reviewed by Joy Held.

HOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Sara Zarr (Fiction)
After her father’s death, Jill MacSweeny just wants everything to go back to normal. But then she finds out that her mother is adopting a baby. Meanwhile, Mandy Kalinowski accidentally becomes pregnant and knows she can’t give the baby the life it deserves. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

iBOY by Kevin Brooks (Science Fiction/Thriller)
High-schooler Tom Harvey never planned on an iPhone being thrown from a building and embedding itself in his skull. He also never planned on his newfound natural technological capabilities, having great power at his fingertips, or trying to save the person he cares about the most. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

DEAR BULLY: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones (Social Issues)
Today’s top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying --- as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators --- in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

Fashion-crazy Sicilee is a poster child for over-consumption. Her archrival, Maya, wears arty vintage clothes but hasn't a clue what's in the food she eats. So when drop-dead gorgeous new student Cody Lightfoot sets out to spread his eco-ways --- and spur the Environmental Club toward an all-out Earth Day bash --- Sicilee and Maya have their work cut out to compete for his attention. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read Dyan Sheldon's blog post, "Dyan Sheldon on a Writer's Inspiration."

THE UNDERDOGS by Mike Lupica (Fiction)
Will Tyler may not be the biggest running back around, but no one can touch him when it comes to hitting the hole and finding the end zone. When he’s playing, life can't touch him --- his dad isn't so defeated, his town isn't so poor, and everyone has something to cheer for. But with funds dwindling, there simply isn't enough money or players for a season. Unless Will can give everyone a reason to believe. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

THE POISON DIARIES: NIGHTSHADE by Maryrose Wood (Historical Fantasy)
The first mortal to converse with plants (and they with him) is an odd, bedraggled, green-eyed fellow named Weed. He came out of nowhere and has some elemental link to an herbal consciousness. In Volume II of The Poison Diaries, Weed pursues his lady love while Jessamine flees England with the Prince of Poisons, attempting to escape her crimes under a dark influence. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

FIRST DAY ON EARTH by Cecil Castellucci (Science Fiction)
After being abducted at a young age, Mal feels a stronger connection with the vastness of space than he does with his pathetic high school existence. So when he meets a man claiming to be from the great beyond, Mal thinks he’s ready to leave and finally be free. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

Andrea Warren’s latest nonfiction book for young readers is a short biography of famed Victorian writer Charles Dickens, focusing on the social issues of his day, and the ways in which his fiction shaped public opinion and helped enact social change. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.
Adult Books You Want to Read
Throughout the year, we feature books that have been reviewed on, our site for adult readers, that we think will have appeal to teen audiences.

Here are our latest featured titles:

It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, and preparations are underway for their annual autumn ball. Then, on the eve of the ball, a coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who --- with her husband, the very dubious Wickham --- has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

ONE ON ONE: Behind the Scenes with the Greats in the Game by John Feinstein (Sports)
Well-known sports reporter and interviewer John Feinstein goes behind the scenes of his reporting from The Final Four, Wimbledon, The US Open, the Army/Navy game, the Olympics, and more, opening up sport's most private, closed-door places and sharing exclusive stories from the reporting of his books. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

THE DOG WHO KNEW TOO MUCH: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn (Mystery)
Bernie is invited to give the keynote speech at the Great Western Private Eye Convention, but it’s Chet that the bigshot P.I. in charge has secret plans for. Meanwhile, Chet and Bernie are hired to find a kid who has gone missing from a wilderness camp in the high country. As if that weren’t enough, matters get complicated at home when a stray puppy that looks suspiciously like Chet shows up. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

Click here to see all the adult books you'll want to read.
Poll and Question of the Month


How many books did you read in 2011?

More than 100
I’m not sure.

-Click here to answer the poll.


What book that released for the first time in 2011 do you think was “The Book of the Year”? Since we know you may have trouble selecting one, you can name up to three.

-Click here to answer the question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Could Win TWO Books!
This contest period, one teen reader will be randomly chosen to win a copy of WITCH & WIZARD: THE FIRE by James Patterson and Jill Dembowski, and THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, January 13th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.
Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.
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