Monday, March 26, 2012


Warning: Contains Matched Spoilers (read my review of Matched)

Sometimes when I read a book then think about the title, I pause and think the title was exactly right for the book.  That is precisely what I think about Crossed (watch the trailer here) by Ally Condie

Crossed is the second installment in the Matched series (read an excerpt of Matched).  It opens with both Cassia and Ky both in the outer provinces.  Cassia still is a Citizen of the society, but she is among the Aberations in hopes of finding Ky.  Cassia's life in the outer provinces is noting like her old life.  She must navigate through this new world and trade information that will hopefully lead her to Ky.

Cassia and a girl named Indie mistakenly wind up on a transfer ship only to arrive at Ky's location after he had broken free of this harsh place.  This solidifies Cassia's commitment to finding Ky.  She, Indie, and a boy named Hunter make a plan to escape, just as Ky and his two new friends have. 

Cassia and Indie search for signs of Ky in the canyons and flats lying outside the society.  After much toiling, the two groups meet.  But, the reunion between Cassia and Ky may not be all they had dreamed.  Cassia is committed to joining the Resistance, but Ky does not feel the same way.  Despite Xander being miles and miles away, he still seems to have an influence on both Cassia and Ky. 

To me, the title is so perfect in so many ways.   Cassia must cross the unfamiliar lands.  She must learn how to cross into the Resistance.  And, it seems as though her feelings for Xander may have crossed into the forefront of Cassia's mind.  Yes, indeed.  This title is perfect. 

The third book, Reached is due out November 13, 2012.  I am sure the tales of Cassia, Indie, Ky, and Xander will intertwine into another amazing read.  I have a confession.  I secretly, until now, hoped that Cassia and Xander wind up together.  I suppose my secret is out.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Avalon High

Have you ever meet a group of people and feel they must have a connection with you and each other that you can't quite put your finger on?  This is exactly what happens to Ellie Harrison in Meg Cabot's Avalon High.  Except, instead of figuring out you all went to camp together or some such coincidence, Ellie learns that the friends she is making at her new school are actually modern day counterparts of the Arthurian Legend.  One word, awesome.

When Ellie arrives on the scene, she immediately notices the gorgeous Will Wagner.  He's gallant and charming, just like I imagine King Arthur might be.  The more she becomes acquainted with this new group, Ellie discovers Jennifer Gold and Lance Reynolds are more not quite the honest girl friend and best friend Will thinks they are. 

Cabot tells readers about the Order of the Bear, which is unfortunately not a real organization (read posts from Meg's message board on the topic).  In the book, this society is in charge of preserving the legend and believes the legend recreates itself with each new generation.  I don't know about you, but I always have a soft spot for anything that is supposedly a secret society.  It seems so mysterious and fun.

A few years ago, Disney made Avalon High into a television movie (watch the trailer here).  I enjoyed the movie, but as usual, the book is much, much better.  It's got the incomparable humor of Meg Cabot, relationship drama, and the amazing legend.  I love it!

This book continues in the form of a graphic novel series.  Try them both!  Also, the countdown is on to the release of Meg's new teen book, Underworld, the follow up book to Abandon.  I will definitely be reading it when it is available on May 8.  If you've not read Abandon, you simply must.  Check out my review of Abandon here. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Contains Delirium spoilers, stop here if you haven't read Delirium.  Then run to your nearest book supplier and get it!

I loan lots of books to students.  I have probably lost more books than I own because I won't stop loaning them.  Sharing the love of a good book makes me brim with joy.  But, much to my surprise last week, when I went into my classroom a book was on my desk.  It was from a student who wanted to loan it to me.  How sweet!  Especially when you know that this is not even one of my students, but one with whom I share books occasionally.  The world is going to be alright people.  My gushing for Delirium tipped this sweet person off that loaning me Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver would make me jump for joy. 

Oh, Pandemonium (watch the trailer here).  I have one word for it UNEXPECTED.  When last we left Lena, she had escaped into the Wilds and were left in limbo about Alex's survival.  Pandemonium tells the story of Lena in the Wilds and her transition into mainstream society as a part of the Resistance.  This story is not told in chronological order, instead it changes from her present undercover life to her past time in the Wilds.

Just for fun!
Life in the Wilds proved to be gritty.  Everything from socks to water were in short supply and were to be treasured.  Lena was weak and unsure of herself in her new surroundings.  She met her Raven, the kind-hearted, but stern leader, Tack, whose sharp wit earned him the name Tack, Blue, whose painful past resulted in her name, and others.  Lena learned that in order to survive the Wilds, she would need to be strong and contribute.  She also learned that she would not be able to stay in one place.  Because of the extreme northern winters, homesteads in the Wilds were seasonal.  These moves were brutal.

Life for Lena in New York proved to be equally tricky.  Lena was forced to live a secretive existence with her sister and brother-in-law.  Except, Raven and Tack were masquerading as Lena's guardians.  Lena bore the mark of the cure (a mark given to her in the Wilds), attended school, and supported the DFA (Deleria-Free America).  This was all planned by the Resistance.  However, Lena doesn't know how big a part she is to play in the Resistance's plans.

After attending a DFA rally, Lena is attempting to escape the hysteria caused by the Scavengers arriving on the scene.  She finds herself in a tunnel with Julian Fineman, son of Thomas Fineman head of the DFA.  Julian is the face of the DFA because of his medical history.  Julian has a brain tumor, which causes the scientists to believe the cure could kill him.  However, he remains determined to have it.  While in this tunnel, Lena and Julian are kidnapped.  While being held captive, they must struggle and suffer together.  And, dare I say this might be the perfect situation for a little deliria to spread!  After this experience, Lena learns more about the Resistance, Raven and Tack, Julian's history, and her mother. 

Delirium ended with a gigantic cliffhanger that I thought could not be topped.  But, the last page of Pandemonium made me gasp.  I am telling you, the word unexpected does not begin to describe it.  You must read this series.  And now! 

The good news is that there is a Delirium short story called "Hanna" available in ebook form that will hopefully tide us over until Requiem hits stores in the spring of 2013. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Withering Tights

Have you ever read a book and thought that you knew the person in the book even though it was suppose to be completely fictitious?  That's what happened to me while I was reading Withering Tights (watch the trailer here) by Louise Renninson.  I mean, I swear Tallulah  Casey was in my class last year.  I am convinced that I know her.

Tallulah Casey is the artsy, lanky, skinny, wild cousin of Georgia Nicolson from Renninson's other series including books such as Stop in the Name of Pants, Are these My Basoomas I See Before Me, and several others.  Tallulah values the opinion of the illustrious cousin Georgia, who has sent Tallulah a letter to help her begin her exciting adventures at the artist college. 

This tale follows Tallulah and her new friends at Dother Hall, where they will take a course for those who plan to enter the world of show business.  Honestly, the teachers at the school seem to be as big a group of misfits as the girls who are attending, which makes this whole thing hilarious.  Dr. Lightowler, yep you read that right, has an exaggerated speech pattern that makes me giggle every time. 

At any rate, most of the girls stay in the dorms at Dother Hall.  But, Tallulah's delays have stationed her at the home of some locals.  This nice family has decorated Tallulah's room completely in squirrel decor, including some handmade squirrel slippers for Tallulah.  Just imagining a room bedecked in squirrels is hilarious to me.

Tallulah struggles to find her talent, which seems to be Irish dancing, despite the fact she is not Irish.  However, she finds herself successful (or as successful as one at Dother Hall can be) in an unlikely role.  She is assigned to play Heathcliff in an original musical presentation of Wuthering Heights (click here to read it).   She is distressed at playing the male lead at first, but uses this opportunity to channel her new-found hatred for a local boy named Cain.  Of course, I think she may secretly love Cain (and a few other boys from the book), but that's just my opinion.

This book has  a little something for everyone.  There is tons of comedy, a bit of romance, and a nice bit of coming of age.  The sequel entitled A Midsummer Tights Dream   will be available June 26 of this year.  I am sure it promises to be amazingly funny as well.