20 June 2017

The Wingsnatchers; Sarah Jean Horwitz

The Wingsnatchers (Carmer and Grit, #1)The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Jean Horwitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Steampunk meets Fae in an interesting way. I loved both worlds, and when they met it wasn't something I'd read before (doesn't mean this was a first, just that it's a first for me). Who or what is killing the Fae, taking their wings? Can one world cross over into the other without harming it? And then there's both Carmer and Grit, who were fun and feisty in turns. If only the world building had been just a tad stronger, with less "coming up in Book Two" going on.

ARC provided by publisher.

Ramona Blue; Julie Murphy

Ramona BlueRamona Blue by Julie Murphy
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

So very, very predictable. Ramona's life is difficult, but so stereotypically that it's difficult to care.


The Last Thing You Said; Sara Biren

The Last Thing You SaidThe Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A little too deliberate in tugging on the heartstrings, a little too predictable in the story line.

ARC provided by publisher.

Speed of Light; Carol Weston

Speed of LifeSpeed of Life by Carol Weston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nearly perfect. The problem is the occasionally clunky note when Dear Kate responds, and the relationship between Kate and her daughter, and Sofia and The Potential Boyfriend. This is also written in a middle grade style, but is supposed to be for older teens (who may need this more, but won't respond to the style).

ARC provided by publisher.

This Is Just A Test; Madelyn Rosenberg

This Is Just a TestThis Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This falls into the "why on Earth is this set in the past?" genre. Ok, great, we can talk about the Cold War. Sigh. Nothing really special about this except for the two grandmothers. Two stars for that!

ARC provided by publisher.

And Then There Were Four; Nancy Werlin

And Then There Were FourAnd Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yes, there's a clear allusion to Christie's And Then There Were None (one of the most popular books at my library) and it is actually deserved. As with all mysteries there's a certain suspension of disbelief needed and I think teens can easily do that. The questions of why and exactly who are answered slowly enough that they'll keep reading, but not so slowly they'll get bored (and there's no "aha! here it all is" moment at the end, as there is in so many adult mysteries).

ARC provided by publisher.

16 May 2017

Finding Mighty; Sheela Chari

Finding MightyFinding Mighty by Sheela Chari
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Is parkour still a thing? I mean, when I mention it to students (from all over, and over a period of years) no one seems to know what it is in the same way they know about skateboarding or tagging. Anyway... If the adults in this book were paying just a little bit more attention, none of the suspense would have been possible, so here's to oblivious adults! Also missing from Myla and Peter's lives? Explanation. Some of the coincidences required too much suspension of disbelief for me, but I suspect middle grade readers won't have a problem with that.

14 May 2017

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan; Patricia Bailey

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit DonovanThe Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan by Patricia Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Despite my dislike for the "gutsy in anachronistic ways girl lead" genre, this doesn't irk me as much. Possibly it's because in the Wild West gender roles were often somewhat nontraditional, with girls given more freedom than their Eastern counterparts. Having said that, there is a large dose of improbability that adult readers will have to swallow; younger readers won't have read as much and will be swept along by the plot to notice.

ARC provided by publisher.

13 May 2017

A Face Like Glass; Frances Hardinge

A Face Like GlassA Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. Loved. This. This came soclose to being a 5 star - sometimes the plot meandered too far, or got repetitious, when more description or action was called for.

But when this is on, it's on. The "horror" of Neverfell's face, its mobility, contrasting with the frozen faces of the others in Caverna is so well depicted. I kept thinking about watching this unfold on screen, how the Facesmiths would teach people how to use an expression, or how this was (in a small way) similar to Oz' Princess Langwidere and her many heads. The cheeses, the wine, the houses: all wonderful inventions. I just wish there'd been more of some of this! Not a sequel, just less intrigue.

ARC provided by publisher.

08 May 2017

Fakespeare; M.E. Castle

Fakespeare: Something Stinks in HamletFakespeare: Something Stinks in Hamlet by M.E. Castle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the more popular titles in our MS is YOLO, Juliet, while in our US students are liking Romeo and/or Juliet so any fun introduction to Shakespeare is a welcome addition to our shelves. And that this is starting a series? Yes, please. This is skewed towards younger readers who may not have ever studied the plays, giving them just enough of the plot and the characters to enlighten without confusing them or making them afraid of Close Reading in the future.

ARC provided by publisher.