Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Replacement by Brenn Yovanoff YP FIC YOVANOFF

Mackie Doyle is not Mackie Doyle. He’s a replacement. Left in exchange for the real Mackie Doyle sixteen years ago, he’s lived with humans his whole life knowing he was different, but not fully knowing why. All he knows is that the mere presence of iron makes him deathly ill and he can’t go onto consecrated ground, but no one is willing to talk about what he really is. When another child is taken and Mackie finds himself becoming friends with the child’s sister Mackie decides to go with her into an underworld known as Mayhem and face the creatures that left him in the first place and his own destiny.

This is a confidently written first novel from Yovanoff. It’s got well developed characters an unusual plot, and great descriptive language. It draws very well from the darker of Irish folk tales and keeps things gross and ghoulish like the classic Grimm fairy tales that usually ended with children dying horribly for misbehaving. If you like heroic journeys with lots of strange creatures in fantastic lands then you should really like this one. It reminded me some of Goto’s Half World (YP FIC GOTO), which I also quite enjoyed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Banned Books week 2010

Banned Books Week is the last week in September and is set aside to remind people of the importance of the freedom to choose books. It highlights books that have been removed from schools, libraries, or attempted to be removed.

Most books are challenged because they are seen as offensive or inappropriate for a specific age group. It is always appropriate for a parent or guardian to decide what is best for their family, but Banned Book Week is a chance for librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to celebrate their conviction that a diversity of views and ideas is necessary for a vital, functioning democracy.

The freedom to seek and read materials in a vital and necessary part of ensuring our first amendment rights. As long as there are people and groups that try to dictate what everyone else will read there will be people that work to ensure that everyone gets to choose what’s best for themselves.

So if you think you should be able to choose your own books, check out one of the ten most commonly challenged books of the year.

1. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle YP FIC MYRACLE
And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson E RICHARDS
The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky YP FIC CHBOSKY
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee FIC LEE
Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer YP FIC MEYER
Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger FIC SALINGER
My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult FIC PICOULT
8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler YP FIC MACKLER
The Color Purple, Alice Walker FIC WALKER
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier YP FIC CORMIER

Monday, September 27, 2010

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill YP FIC GILL

Don’t go to Mars. It’s a big spinning ball of red death. Sixteen year old space mercenary Durango doesn’t have any choice however. Running from his past with a band of outcasts and misfits, he’s stuck taking the worst and most dangerous jobs. Fortunately he’s got a computer in his brain to help him out and a laser at his hip. He’ll need every trick he’s ever learned on his newest job of defending an outpost of miners from mutant cannibalistic brutes called Dræu and their super sadistic evil queen.

Space cowboys! Sort of! This definitely has a strong space western vibe, but only in the best possible way. There is a strong cast of characters, fast paced action throughout, and plenty of witty dialogue between Durango and his constant AI companion. The overall story isn’t all that new and most the characters feel like types (conflicted hero, tough but vulnerable soldier girl, evil queen, etc.), but they are all fun to read types. The book’s pace is the best part about it. Something new is always happening and you go from one cool scene to the next. This takes all the best elements of classic Space Opera Sci-Fi and keeps it fresh and new. If you like gun slinging space stories Black Hole Sun can’t miss

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Brain Camp by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan Art by Faith Erin Hicks YP FIC KIM

Camp Fielding excels at taking even the dimmest camper and making them into a genius. The catch: they put something in your braaaaaaaaain!!! Jenna is an underachiever in a super competitive family. Lucas has been written off as prison bound most his life. As the two newest campers they form an unlikely bond to try and figure out the mystery of Camp Fielding before it’s too late…for their brains.

The first thing that grabbed me about Brain Camp was the art. Faith Erin Hicks also drew the very good War at Ellsmere (YP FIC HICKS) and her work remains really effective. She uses thick lines and simple designs mixed with small touches of detail. This allows her to switch between different emotional touches very well. The story is quirky and weird with a nice touch of menace. The classic story of people being brainwashed and trying to stop them when no one believes you is a staple of Sci Fi Horror and putting it at a summer camp is a fun twist. It’s a fun and short read with unique art and some really fun twists. If you like your comics a little quirky then check it out.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kisses from Hell YP FIC KISSES

Some of the biggest names in young adult paranormal romance all come together in this short story collection about the passions and perils of vampire love. Kristin Cast co-writer of the House of Night series, Alyson Noël author of the The Immortals series, Richelle Mead author of the Vampire Academy books, Francesca Lia Block author of Pretty Dead, and Kelley Armstrong author of the Women of the Underworld series each pen a tale about love that will never die (I mean unless it gets exposed to sunlight or staked through the heart).

This is the perfect book for all those Twilight fans thinking “Now what do I read?” Kisses introduces readers to five different authors and I think everyone that reads this will find at LEAST one new favorite. My favorite story was Mead’s Sunshine. It gives an interesting piece of backstory to her excellent Vampire Academy series. I also liked the super dark and moody Lillith by Fracesca Lia block. It’s a reimagining of the biblical story of Adam’s evil first wife and it stands out as being the most serious of the stories. All in all this is a total must read for any vampire romance fan.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Afterschool Charisma by Kumiko Suekane YP FIC SUEKANE

St Kleio Academy is not your average boarding school. Every student is a clone of a famous historical figure. Motzart, Joan of Ark, Elzaibeth I, Sigmund Freud, and even Hitler all go to class together and learn how to live up to their awesome potential. But there is a single non-clone student: shiro Kamiya, son of the principal and desperately trying to fit in with a school filled with madmen, geniuses, and genius madmen. But there is something behind the scenes that threatens the lives of all the clones and it may just be that their protectors are as bad as the unseen enemy.

This is a wonderfully weird little manga. When I read that Hitler was going to be a character I was really wary, because he’s not the ideal guy I want to read a manga about. But the way they introduce him is pretty perfect and he’s a well thought out character (after all as a teen Hitler wasn’t a genocidal monster yet). You won’t have to worry about knowing much history because the characters all get explained as they go along, but of you like history then it does add another layer of fun to the whole book. The story is just getting started but this seems like a great manga to watch.