Friday, August 27, 2010

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society

By Ally Carter
2010, Bloomsbury USA, 304 pages

Italian Job meets Gossip Girl!

For as long as she can remember, Kat's been casing museums, spinning lies and pulling off heists that'd make the Ocean's Eleven crew proud. But she's had enough of her family's thieving lifestyle and ships herself off to boarding school to get a taste of "normal" life.

It doesn't take long before she's dragged right back into the world of crime by family friend and frequent accomplice Hale, who recruits her in the assignment of a lifetime. A powerful mob boss had his priceless art collection stolen, and Kat's dad is on the top of the list of suspects. They've got two weeks to pull together a ragtag crew of teenage thieves, steal back the stolen artwork and prove her father's innocence. Easier said than done.

Well, first things first, the romance between Hale and Kat was so cute…and there wasn't even a kiss. That's saying a lot coming from me! But the best part if the suspense, which really is Italian Job—esque. The crime, the gadgets, the mystery, the glamour—it all felt like watching a great suspense film. I had a hard time putting it down.

In the end, Kat is able to prove that her father isn't guilty…but who is? We still don't know, and it's set up perfectly for a sequel. Ally Carter, I hope you've got something in the works!

You might also like:
Also by Ally Carter, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: Warner Bros. has optioned this book for a movie. I'd watch!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Princess of the Midnight Ball
By Jessica Day George
2010, Bloomsbury USA, 304 pages

Things I've Learned from Fantasy-ish Books:
1. Stay away from strangers you meet on mostly abandoned country roads.
1a. ....unless they look like they might give you magical gifts, in which case, by all means, say hi.
2. If you are at a dance/festival in an underground magical world OF ANY SORT (fairy kingdoms or not), do not drink any liquid offered to you in a goblet. I don't care how thirsty you are, you will pay for it in the long run, one way or another.

Well, I could go on, but you get the gist. My husband didn't look too thrilled when I turned to him in bed while reading this book and offered up nugget of wisdom #2. But it is so true. You know it is.

Princess of the Midnight Ball is based on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, after all, so one can hardly be upset that it did fall into some predictable conceits. Regardless, I was on the edge of my seat, cheering for these characters (sometimes out loud, about an "invisibility cloak," embarrassingly enough) throughout the book.

Princess Rose and her 11 younger sisters are cursed to spend their nights dancing in an underground kingdom because their late mother made a shady deal with the evil King Under Stone. When people of the kingdom start spreading rumors of witchcraft, it's up to Galen, a young former soldier who now works in the palace's gardens, to free the girls from the curse, reveal the truth about their plight and earn Rose's hand in marriage.

Well, thankfully Galen followed #1a up above, because the yarn and invisibility cloak and old woman gave him during his travels are the key to everything. That may sound hokey, and it is the type of cute fairy tale you can imagine as a bedtime story, but it's also a surprisingly modern fairy tale. The soldier has a sensitive side that's nice to see, and while the princesses made need rescuing, they are a feisty and witty bunch.

Gotta love a happily ever after.

You might also like:
The Swan Kingdom by Zoë Marriott

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, August 20, 2010

Little Do You Know...

Unsuspecting/understating co-worker: "Anna, you like young adult books, right?"
Me: "Um, yeah..."

Anyway, she just recommended I start reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins with her, so I might move that up a bit on my to-read list. I've put it off for far too long!

Meanwhile, my secret identity/hobby obviously remains intact!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita

Sleepaway Girls
By Jen Calonita
2010, Poppy, 320 pages

Samantha's off to her first summer as a CIT (counselor-in-training) at a summer camp, even though she's never attended one before. She's nervous, but this change of scenery couldn't come at a better time: Her best friend Mal's too busy sticking her tongue down her new boyfriend's throat to give Sam attention anyway. Some girl fights, one boy, another boy, late-night pranks and lessons learned, Sam's made lifelong friends and has found a new home away from home.

Sleepaway Girls is a feel-good read—just what I was looking for as summer wind down. Sam's jealous fight with the camp director's daughter, Ashley, plays out realistically (well, perhaps minus one food fight...those never happen in real life), and many girls will relate to Sam setting her sights on cocky Hunter, the first guy to ever show her much attention, even though sweet Cole is there all along. Haven't girls learned by now from reading enough of these books? If a guy has a history of dating the new girl time and time again, and you are the new girl, you don't go after him. Capisce? It's still a cute read though, perfect for any teen nervous about heading away to camp for the first time. Yeah, it's scary, but Sam proves that it's also a chance to grow.

Side note: There were at least five Jonas Brothers references, though I lost count. So I chose to ignore them and NOT picture Cole as a fifth JoBro, which is fine...but doesn't it kind of date this book? Oh well, didn't bug me enough to really deter me, and it will probably really please the YA crowd.

You might also like:
Calonita's Secrets of My Hollywood Life Series
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
This also reminded me to add Slept Away by Julie Kraut to my to-read list!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before

The Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before
By Ann M. Martin
2010, Scholastic, 224 pages

"Say hello to your friends…Baby-Sitters Club…" Classic!

When I was 7, a little too young for the Baby-Sitters Club books my sister was reading, my mom bought me my first Baby-Sitters Club LITTLE SISTER book. Oh, thank goodness for Karen! She understood what it was like to not be allowed to do half of the things her older stepsister, Kristy, was allowed to do, her books were in a bigger font and she didn't care a bit about boys. She just wanted to baby-sit. I was in heaven.

So when a co-worker offered to lend me The Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before, the brand-new prequel to the classic books, I grabbed it from her and read it overnight. Is it a little basic for anyone older than 13? Of course. Is it still worth reading? Definitely. If you were a Baby-Sitters Club fan as a kid, this is the perfect bit of nostalgia. I was shocked how much I still remembered about Stoneybrook, Connecticut, including details about Kristy's stepdad (Watson) to the names of most of Mallory Pike's 5 zillion siblings.

For those who are actually 13 or younger, this prequel is the perfect introduction to a series that stands the test of time. During the summer between ages 11 and 12, Kristy is struggling to accept her mom's new boyfriend, Mary Anne doesn't understand why her friends are suddenly becoming interested in boys (eww), Claudia gets involved with an older man (he's 14! shocking!), and Stacey gets to escape some bullying girls as she moves away from New York City.

The best lesson of the book is that everyone ages at a different rate and these differences can actually bring you and your friends closer together. A perfect read for the later elementary school ages who are about to go through these changes!

BSC 4-eva!
Anna Reads young adult book blog
PS: Logan is still my fave. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Here We Go

Boys and kissing. They make for the best books, don't you think?

No? Well, then this ain't the place for you.

Yes? Nice! You're either an actual young adult or are just like me: a young-at-heart adult who has a soft spot for coming-of-age fiction and chick lit. I'm always on the lookout for something good to read, and maybe you are too, so I thought I'd share what I'm reading and pick up some suggestions from you along the way. An Amazon Wish List page can never be long enough, right?

Wish me luck...

Anna Reads young adult book blog
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