Posts Tagged with ‘teen reads’

What’ll it be? – Princess of the Midnight Ball
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Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George is a retelling of the fairy tale known as the 12 dancing princesses.  I’m not as familiar with this fairy tale as I am with other fairy tales.  Before I read this book, all I really remembered was that for some reason, every night the 12 princesses danced the night away.  No one could explain the mystery of the princesses’ worn out shoes, because even when they were guarded at night, no one saw anything.  Since this is a fairy tale, I assume (since I don’t remember) that the ending involved someone solving the riddle (and likely marrying one of the princesses).  I hope this next statement doesn’t spoil the plot for those interested in reading Princess of the Midnight Ball.  My brief summary above does indeed reflect the plot of the book and I must say this was a very enjoyable teen read. 

Princess Rose is the oldest of the 12 princesses who are cursed to dance every night in the court of evil King Under Stone deep inside the earth.  Their mother made a bargain with the King that she would dance in his court every night and in return, she and her husband could have children. When she died, the King forced her 12 daughters to take her place to fulfil the bargain. 

The war has just ended and Galen, a young soldier who’s parents died in the war, comes to the capital hoping to find a home with his mother’s family.  The only skill he wants to keep from his time in the army is his ability to knit.  Fortunately, his uncle is the King’s Head Gardener so Galen is happy to become an assistant gardener in the Queen’s garden where he ends up meeting the princesses.   

Meanwhile, the King is at a loss to explain why his daughters’ shoes are always worn out and finally proclaims that any prince who can solve the riddle will win Rose’s hand in marriage and become the heir to his throne.  One by one, princes arrive but none can solve the mystery.  Even worse, after leaving the country, one by one each of those princes die and the Kings from the surrounding countries are furious. 

Galen is drawn to Rose and offers to solve the mystery knowing that if he doesn’t, he will die.  Even with help form unexpected sources, can he break the curse?

What’ll it be? – Seven Towers
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I visited my parents for the long weekend and when I arrived, what did I find waiting for me?  The Seven Towers by Patricia Wrede.  I have read most of her books and have enjoyed every one.  I think my favourites are her Enchanted Forest Chronicles, featuring the Princess Cimorene, which starts with Dealing with Dragons.  Her most recent book is The Thirteenth Child (book 1 in the Frontier Magic trilogy) and I can’t wait for the next book.  Unfortunately, when I checked the author’s website there isn’t a date or even a title mentioned regarding book 2 smile face icon

The Seven Towers is set in a fantasy world with magic.  The book is named after the Seven Towers that were build centuries ago, each in one of the seven kingdoms of the land.  The tribes from the south are rumoured to be coming north in the summer.  One of the Kings believes the threat and is trying to build an army from treaties with his neighbours.  Another King refused to believe his Chief Advisor about the threat and even went so far as to convict him as a traitor. 

The story follows seven characters, and is told in two alternating storylines.  I often find when I read books with two alternating narratives that one story is more compelling than the other and I am disappointed to switch back to the second storyline.  However, that was definitely not the case with this book.  At the end of every chapter, I thought “Noooo! I want to know what happens next!” and then would start reading the next chapter and be caught back up in the alternate storyline.  So I just read the whole book really quickly! 

Of all the characters in the book, I definitely have a favourite.  Amberglas is a sorceress and her dialogue was priceless!  I could see how if I was conversing with her, I too would be confused yet as a reader, and one step removed from the situation, it was incredibly amusing!  The story does conclude at the end of the book, although I wouldn’t mind another story that includes Amberglas.

Alexandra’s Picks – The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott
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Age Group:

photo cover image14 and up

 

Story:

While working summer jobs in San Francisc, Sophie and Josh, who are fifteen year old twins discover that the owner of the bookstore where Josh works is the immortal French alchemist Nicholas Flamel.  Flamel and his wife are the guardians of the Book of Abraham which contains the most powerful spells in the world.  Dr. John Dee, a rival alchemist discovers Flamels whereabouts and steals the book.  Suddenly Sophie and Josh find themselves caught up in a deadly magical struggle in which they could either save or destroy the world.   

 

Awards:

None smile face icon

 

My Thoughts:

This book had my attention from the very first page.  It is filled with non-stop action.  What I find really neat is that all of the main characters in this book are based on figures from history or mythology. 

 

Borrow The Alchemyst from your local VPL Library!

 

Top Three Similar Reads:

  1. Fifth Sorceress, by Robert Newcomb
  2. The Warrior Heir, by Cinda Williams Chima
  3. Drangonlance, by Brian Augustyn

Have you read The Alchemyst yet? If so, what did you think?

What’ll it be? – Born that Way
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A friend suggested that I read Born that Way by Susan Ketchen, as she had really liked it.  I have always enjoyed her suggestions so I added it to my pile.

Sylvia is a fourteen year-old teen whose body is the size of an eight year-old.  She gets teased at school for her small size.  Her dad treats her like a child and even worse, her mom is a psychoanalyst who is misinterpreting everything Sylvia does.  Recently, Sylvia has started lucid dreaming, and its definitely helping her focus on her goal of owning her own horse.  When she was really little, her Grandpa promised to buy her a horse once she was as tall as his shoulder.

There really is something “not normal” about Sylvia (her size) and while it is part of the story, I really liked how it wasn’t the focus.  Everyone’s behaviour genuinely matched their character so the story seemed so real.  I cringed in sympathy with Sylvia whenever her parents misinterpreted her behaviour into something sexual and tried to talk to her about it as the enlightened and open parents that they thought they were.  One example of such a situation was when Sylvia was trying to practice riding a horse (squeeze with the calves and push with the seat) so she was sitting on her bed with her pillows tucked between her legs when her mom walked in and totally thought she was doing something else! 

I think most people will be able relate to the story, even if they never were a horse-mad teenager.  Sylvia may be very focused on getting a horse, but at the same time she’s coping with getting along with parents, classmates and relatives and that’s a maze that we have all had to learn to navigate.

What’ll it be? – The Demon King
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I’ve read and enjoyed the trilogy “The Heir Chronicles” (The Warrior Heir; The Wizard Heir; the Dragon Heir) by Cinda Williams Chima so when I saw she had a new book out, I wanted to read it even though I didn’t know what it was about.   The Demon King is a teen book set in a fantasy world named the Seven Realms.  The story alternates between the two main characters and is set 1000 years after a wizard, the Demon King, nearly destroyed the world.  

Han Alister, a former streetlord who quit the life to keep his mom and younger sister safe, does whatever he can to make a living for him and his family. He would sell the silver cuffs around his wrists that he’s had all his life but he’s never been able to get them off.  One afternoon while out hunting, Han and his clan friend Fire Dancer come across three wizards up on the mountain who are magically setting a fire.  Their presence on clan land, not to mention their act of magic, is forbidden.  During the confrontation, Han takes the amulet from Micah Bayar, the son of the High Wizard. 

Raisa ana‘Mariana is the princess heir to the queendom of the Fells.  She has just returned to court in anticipation of her name day, her sixteenth birthday, which is when she becomes an adult and eligible for marriage.  The past three years she has lived with her father’s clan and now finds court life restrictive.  While she knows she’ll have to marry for the good of the queendom, the lure of Micah Bayar is that of the forbidden.  Even though the wizard who holds the position of High Wizard is magically bound to the queen, it is against the law for a queen to marry a wizard, as that would give the wizards too much power. 

The lives of a former streetlord and the princess heir are worlds apart but when the wizards start readying for war to take control of the queendom, events are set in motion that started 1000 years ago from the time of the Demon King.

When I started reading the book, I knew only what I had read on the book’s flap.  As I read along, I kept wondering if the book was one story, or maybe part of a series.  I kept reading and wondering, but by 3/4 of the way through, I knew that the story wouldn’t be finished at the end of the book.  I checked the author’s website and sure enough, this is book 1 of a trilogy.  Book 2, the Exiled Queen, is due out in the fall.  I can’t wait!

Alexandra’s Picks – Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy, #1), by Suzanne Collins
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photo cover imageAge Group:

12 and up

 

Story:

Rulers of a nation called Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts, control these other districts in harsh and cruel ways.  Each year they select, by lottery, one boy and one girl, between the ages of twelve and sixteen to partipate in the Hunger Games – a live televised fight to the death competition, with the winner being awarded riches and favour.  Katniss Everdeen, from one of the most improverished disticts, unintentionally becomes a contestant in these games which she has always regarded as a death sentence.  Find out how Katniss will fair in this novel that combines love and warfare.

 

Awards:

Hunger Games has received a number of awards and honors, including being a USA Today and New York Times “Best Seller”.  It was also named one of Publishers Weekly’s “Best Books of the Year” in 2008 and a New York Times “Notable Children’s Book of 2008”.

 

My Thoughts:

This novel was filled with constant suspence, violence, and of course a love story.  Early on I found some scenes to be barbaric and thus difficult to read.  Overall, though the story was very entertaining and kept me hungry for more! 

 

Borrow Hunger Games from your local VPL Library!

 

Top Three Similar Reads:

  1. The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau
  2. The House Of The Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer
  3. Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld

Have you read the Hunger Games yet? If so, what did you think?

Fairy Tales
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 seventh-daughter

While vampires are the most popular supernatural creatures in books these days, fairies are becoming a close second. Lately I’ve read quite a few young adult books about fairies that I really enjoyed. The Faerie Path is a series about a young girl named Anita who discovers that she is really Tania the seventh daughter of King Oberon and Queen Titania of the Realm of Faerie. So far the series comprises six books chronicling Tania’s adventures in Faerie and the Mortal Realm – The Faerie Path, The Lost Queen, The Seventh Daughter, The Immortal Realm and The Enchanted Quest with a seventh book The Charmed Return to follow sometime in the future. Another enjoyable book is Wings by Aprilynne Pike which is about how Laurel discovers she is a plant fairie when wings start growing out of her back. The sequel Spells will be published in May. Then there is Wonderous Strange and its sequel Darklight by Lesley Livingston which tells about aspiring actress Kelley who discovers that she is a fairy when she meets Sonny a changeling who guards the gate between the fairie and mortal worlds. And I just finished reading How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier which takes place in an alternate world in which many people have a personal fairy to work for them. Charlie, the heroine of this book, is not happy with having a parking fairy and would prefer a clothes shopping fairy or an every boy likes you fairy and so she has to figure out what to do to bring this about. So if you’re tired of vampires why not try some fairy tales?

Alexandra’s Picks – Marked (House of Night series, #1) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
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Age Group:
photo cover image16 and up

Story:
Marked follows the life of 16-year-old Zoey Redbird as she is “marked” by     a vampyre tracker and begins to undergo the “change” into a real      vampyre. Forced to leave   her family and friends Zoey must start a new life at the boarding school, House of Night, for other fledgling vampyres like her. When Zoey arrives here all she wants to do   is fit in, but quickly finds out that it is impossible to do when she has not only been given special powers by the vampyre Goddess, but is encountering all kinds of evil at the House of Night.

Awards:
None smile face icon

My Thoughts:
From what I’ve noticed, this book has received mixed reviews. But if you liked the Twilight and Harry Potter series, then this is the next series that you must read! I personally, could not put this series down! I read the first 6 books of this series in less than a month, and cannot wait until the next book of this series, Burned, comes out on 27 April 2010.

Borrow the Marked series from your local VPL Library! Please note that the first book in this series is titled, Marked.

Top Three Similar Reads:

  1. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling
  2. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
  3. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

Have you read the Marked series yet? If so, what did you think?

Alexandra’s Picks – BONE by Jeff Smith
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Age Group:
photo cover image 9 – adult

Story:

After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins (Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone) are lost and then become separated in a desert.  One by one they fine their way into a new place, known as The Valley, where wonderful and terrifying creatures live.  As they stay longer in The Valley they quickly find themselves mixed up in the events that are happening there.

 

Awards:

BONE has won multiple international awards, and is the winner of 11 Harvey Awards and 10 Eisner Awards including Best Cartoonist and Best Humor Publications.  Also was named Best Comic Book by the National Cartoonist Society.

 

Borrow BONE from your local VPL Library!  Please note that BONE is usually found in nine volumes.

 

My Thoughts:

One of my favourite books of all time!  This book combines humour and adventure into a very brilliantly written book.  Every free second I could find, I would be reading it.  I can’t wait to read it again and see my old friends.

Top Three Similar Reads:

  1. Atherton, by Patrick Carman
  2. Courageous Princess, by Rod Espinosa
  3. Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien

 Have you read BONE yet? If so, what did you think?

What’ll it be? – Jennifer Scales
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Jennifer Scales is a 14 year old girl. Her dad is often away on business and her and her mom don’t always get along. Jennifer loves to play soccer and hang out with her friends, Susan and Eddie. Sounds like a normal teenager, right? 

After a few weird things happen to Jennifer (one incident involved oranges and the other dragonflies – you’ll understand when you read the book!), her parents realize that its time to share the family secret with her.  It turns out that the reason why her dad “travels” alot is because he’s a weredragon and under the cresent moon, he morphs into his dragon form.  

Sure enough, under the next cresent moon, Jennifer morph for the first time into a dragon.  Her parents find her in time and they bring her to her grandpa’s farm where she learns some very basic things, like how to walk in her dragon form, and fun staff like flying.   Because she’s a hybrid, as a dragon, she’s a little different from her dad and grandpa. 

But being a weredragon means keeping secrets from her friends.  And then she learns that dragons have ancient enemies who’s mission is to destroy the few dragons that survived the slaughter of the dragon town Eveningstar 9 years ago.

The series is written by husband and wife team, Anthony Alongi and MaryJanice Davidson.  As soon as I finished the first book, Jennifer Scales and the Anicent Furnace, I had to keep going. So far I’ve also read book 2, Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light and book 3 The Silver Moon Elm.  I’m currently making my way through book 4 Seraph of Sorrow.  I can’t wait for book 5, which looks like its going to be published this summer.