Monthly Archives: July 2012

Unraveling Isobel – Review

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Title: Unraveling Isobel

Author: Eileen Cook

Isobel is a likeable, smart-alecky girl whose life has just been turned upside-down. Not only has her mom married some creepy rich guy she met online a few months ago, but now they have to leave everything behind in Seattle and move to his crumbling old family mansion on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere.  And then, right after they arrive, Isobel thinks she might be seeing ghosts. Are they real? Is someone playing tricks on her? Or is she losing her mind, just like her father did years ago?

This is a quick, undemanding read with some clever plot twists and a narrator you can really sympathize with – and the romance that develops is an added bonus.

-Lisa, Teen Librarian

The Grimm Legacy – Review

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Title: The Grimm Legacy

Author: Polly Shulman

And while we’re on the subject of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, here comes The Grimm Legacy, a story set in modern-day New York City. Impressing one of her teachers, Elizabeth Rew manages to land a really cool after-school job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, which is sort of a cross between a museum and a library. People can check out items from the collection, and Elizabeth and the other pages are responsible for finding requested items and then putting them back once they’re returned. Not long after starting, Elizabeth begins to realize that fairy tales are real, and the special collections department houses objects from the stories she grew up with – including seven-league boots, the mirror from Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty’s spindle. Just as she’s getting over this shock, the magical objects begin to disappear. Elizabeth rallies the other pages to try to uncover the thief and return the objects to their rightful place.

This is a fun, frothy novel. Elizabeth’s home life bears a passing resemblance to Cinderella’s (although not quite as dire), and the combination of fairy-tale magic and New York City is tough to beat.  For middle school readers.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

Princess of the Midnight Ball – Review

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Title: Princess of the Midnight Ball

Author: Jessica Day George

Speaking of fairy tales…   Princess of the Midnight Ball is inspired by “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” from the Brothers Grimm. The story begins with Galen, a soldier returning home from years of war, who finds work as a gardener at the palace. There he meets Rose (clearly a popular name in fairy tales) and her eleven younger sisters, all of whom are named for flowers and all of whom are cursed to dance away the night every single night. In desperation, the king offers Rose’s hand in marriage to the first prince who can break the curse. Many try, and they all fail, until lowly Galen volunteers to take up the challenge.

George has taken one of the lesser-known Grimm stories and created an exciting full-length novel jam-packed with romance and action. This one is a keeper. And again, the shallow part of me says, Oooooh, what a gorgeous cover!

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

A Long, Long Sleep – Review

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Title: A Long, Long Sleep

Author: Anna Sheehan

Rosalinda Fitzroy has just been awakened by a kiss. It’s been 62 years since she went into stasis, and the world has changed around her. Her parents are long gone, as is the boy who was her best friend and her true love. Now Rose is the sole heir to an interplanetary empire, and the people around her think she’s either a freak or a threat. Trying to find her place in this strange new world, Rose is drawn to Bren, the boy who kissed her awake, and Otto, a blue-skinned alien hybrid “created” by her family’s company. Rose’s efforts to assimilate into her new surrounding are quickly complicated when she becomes the target of an assassin. Who wants her dead, and why are they so desperate to kill her?

I love when authors put their own spin on fairy tales, and this first novel is a science-fiction take on Sleeping Beauty.  (If you didn’t know, “Fitz” means “son of” or “child of,” and “roy” means “king,” so clearly Rosalinda Fitzroy is a princess!) There are so many neat things going on in the book, from what the future looks like, to Rose and her new relationships, to the mystery surrounding her parents and the killer who wants her dead. I haven’t seen anything about this being part of a series, but there are a few possible threads that could be picked up in future books, and I for one would love to read them.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

Girl, Stolen – Review

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Title: Girl, Stolen

Author: April Henry

Sixteen-year-old Cheyenne is asleep in the back of the car when her mom runs into the pharmacy.  Griffin steals the car, sure that his greedy, lowlife dad will be pleased for once when Griffin turns up with an Escalade. He didn’t know anyone was in the car, but he panics, and then theft turns into kidnapping when Griffin’s dad realizes that Cheyenne’s family is very wealthy. Cheyenne is pretty sure she’s not going to live through this awful situation. But what is she going to do? How is she going to survive? She’s got pneumonia, and, oh yeah, she’s blind!

This is a quick, suspenseful read. The story alternates between Cheyenne and Griffin, so you get both of their points of view. It’s a great choice for reluctant readers and mystery fans. 

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

The Splendor Falls – Review

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Title: The Splendor Falls

Author: Rosemary Clement-Moore

Sylvie Davis was headed for stardom as a ballerina until a freak accident shattered her leg. Exiled from New York City to recuperate in rural Alabama, Sylvie begins to explore the mysteries surrounding her family’s ancestral home. There are ancient tragedies, ghostly encounters, and two handsome, charismatic young men vying for her attention. What more could a girl want?

This is a big book, but I loved every minute of reading it! My tiny little complaint has to do with the cover – dripping blood usually signifies vampires, but there aren’t any here. I don’t miss the vampires (sooo tired of them!), but the cover could reflect the contents a little better.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

Hourglass – Review

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Title: Hourglass

Author: Myra McEntire

After Emerson’s parents died, she went a little crazy – mental hospital crazy. That was a few years ago. Now she’s living with her older brother and his wife, and she’s hopeful that her life can get back to normal – except for all the ghosts she sees.

Hourglass combines the paranormal with some science fiction/X-men stuff, and plenty of humor, action, and romance, too.  The sequel, Timepiece, just came out.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian