Wednesday, March 21, 2012

JBA Post #2: The Grimm Legacy, Polly Shulman

I absolutely LOVED this book. It made me think of another Grimm-inspired book I read a while ago, A Tale Dark and Grimm.

Anyway, the novel is about a girl named Elizabeth who lands herself a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository - a library for objects, not books. Elizabeth soon discovers that the library is full of secrets, and even contains magical items in the "Grimm collection"...items from Grimm's fairytales!  Reading this book reminded me of all the fairytales that I'd read as a kid and forgotten, and made me really want to read them again.

Elizabeth learns soon after starting her job that magical objects are disappearing from the library. She and her friends (the other library pages, or employees) go on a quest to find out who's behind the thievery. It's a quest that introduces them to a flying dog, a dangerous bird, princes and princesses, and slimy villains. I was so frustrated trying to figure out who was involved in the theft - and I was totally wrong!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone that likes a little mystery mixed in with their fantasy. Check out this book trailer I found for it on

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SC Junior and Young Adult Book Award Nominees 2012-2013

I'm challenging myself to read (or re-read) all of the 2012-2013 South Carolina Junior Book Award Nominees by the end of the school year. If I finish them, I'll start on the YA Nominees.  Let's see if I can do it!

Here's a list, which is also posted in my room:

SC Junior Book Award Nominees
Bat Scientists, Mary Kay Carson
Boys Without Names, Kashmira Sheth
Camo Girl, Kekla Magoon
Crunch, Leslie Connor
Dark Life, Kat Falls
The Grimm Legacy, Polly Shulman
Hero, Mike Lupica
Is it Night or Day?, Fern Schumer Chapman
A Long Walk to Water: A Novel Based on a True Story, Linda Sue Parks
Mamba Point, Kurits Scaletta
Mockingbird, Kathryn Erskine
Ninth Ward, Jewell Parker Rhodes
Roots and Blues: A Celebration, Arnold Adoff
Saving Sky, Diane Stanley
Shooting Kabul, N. H. Senzai
Sources of Light, Margaret McMullan
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Tom Angleberger
The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, Erin Dionne
Warriors in the Crossfire, Nancy Bo Flood
Woods Runner, Gary Paulsen

SC Young Adult Book Award Nominees
Blindsided, Priscilla Cummings
Blue Plate Special, Michelle Kwasney
Claire de Lune, Christine Johnson
Eli the Good, Silas House
Firelight, Sophie Jordan
Five Flavors of Dumb, Antony John
The Ghost and the Goth, Stacey Kade
Heist Society, Ally Carter
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, Lish McBride
Hunger, Jackie Morse Kessler
Lockdown, Walter Dean Myers
Matched, Ally Condie
Pathfinder, Orson Scott Card
Please Ignore Vera Dietz, A. S. King
Prisoners in the Palace: Michaela MacColl
The Sky is Everywhere, Jandy Nelson
Something Like Hope, Shawn Goodman
Sorta Like a Rock Star: A Novel, Matthew Quick
Star Crossed, Elizabeth C. Bunce
Virals, Kathy Reichs

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Picture the Dead, Adele Green and Lisa Brown

I picked up this book at the book fair because it looked really interesting to me - I loved the picture on the cover! It's an illustrated novel, with pages from one of the character's scrapbooks included throughout. That's the biggest frustration I had with the book, though...the pages from the scrapbook were sometimes really hard to read!

The novel is set in Civil War Massachusetts, and the main character is a girl named Jennie Lovell. Poor Jennie is an orphan, living with her aunt and uncle while her cousins (she's engaged to one of them) are fighting in the war.

One of the cousins - Quinn - returns and reports that his brother, Will (Jennie's fiance), has died in battle. But Jennie can feel Will's ghost around her and she knows that something isn't right. The family feels his presence and needs closure as well. They visit a photographer named Mr. Geist, a "medium," who says he can capture ghosts in his photos. A ghost does appear in the Lovell family portrait, but it's not who they were expecting.

The story goes on to find Jennie engaged to Quinn - amazing how quickly she got over his dead brother, her former fiance Will - but again, something is not right. As Jennie vows to figure out why Will's ghost won't leave her alone, she discovers nasty secrets about Quinn and there's even an attempted murder. That last part was a huge shock to me; I'll won't spoil it though, I'll let you read for yourself and see what happens!

The novel has a really cool website that accompanies it where the authors allow you to post ghost stories on their blog: This would be fun to do at Halloween!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wrapped, Jennifer Bradbury

This book was different than the types of books I normally read, but I REALLY liked it. I thought the cover looked interesting so I picked it up.

Wrapped is about a girl named Agnes Wilkins who lives in London during the 1800s. She's obssessed with Jane Austen (even though Austen's identity hasn't been revealed yet - she goes by the pen-name "Lady A") and is very wealthy. She's 17 and about to "debut" into society, which basically means that her parents are looking to marry her off to someone even wealthier. It comes as no surprise that her neighbor, Lord Showalter - the most eligible bachelor in London - is interested in her.

Showalter invites her to a party at his house. At the party, he has a real mummy from Egypt that the guests get to unwrap! Agnes finds something during the unwrapping that leads her on quite an adventure - and has her fall in love with another man, Caedmon. How scandalous! All throughout the book I found myself wondering if Showalter could possibly be as good as he seems when contrasted with find out at the very end.

I loved the history in this book. It's set in the 1800s during England's war with France, and gives lots of good background about Napoleon. It also discusses Egyptian history, and even takes Agnes and Caedmon on an Indiana Jones-like quest. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction.

The author, Jennifer Bradbury, also wrote a novel called Shift that was recommended for the SCJBA this year. I've never read it, but now I want to!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Boy Project (Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister), Kami Kinard

I bought The Boy Project (Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister) from the book fair on Wednesday afternoon and I finished it on Thursday. It was a quick read, but really entertaining - I couldn't put it down! The book and its message are pretty predictable, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless.

It's about a girl named Kara who is the only one in her 7th grade class that's NEVER had a boyfriend. Not even in kindergarden. So, she decides to use this as her science fair project. She's determined to find out how to find your soul mate and ultimately land herself a boyfriend.

I love Kara's voice in the novel - she's smart and sometimes sarcastic, and really tells it like it is. I also love the multi-genre format of the book. Kara gives you all sorts of charts and graphs that explain her "scientific" findings, you have access to some emails that she receives, there is a page of her blog printed, and there are snapshots of the notecards she uses to record findings about her "subjects" (the boys in her classes).

I also really loved the way that the book was framed around this science fair project. It was such a unique idea. If you need to study up on the scientific method for Mrs. Boyle's class, this book could help you! :)