Thursday, June 30, 2011

Firelight by Sophie Jordan Review

By Sophie Jordan
September 7, 2010
HarperCollins, 336 pages

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

— description

Dragons? Normally something I’d make fun of.

But, okay, I'll admit it: In this book, the dragon part turned out to be the fresh take on the paranormal romance genre I’d been waiting for.

The suspense is killer, and the star-crossed romance – when doesn’t that make for a compelling read?

Jacinda, the reckless but brave and passionate star of the book, is just the type of main character that you’ll find yourself rooting for.

Is it a little love triangley? Sure. But what isn’t everything nowadays? And any book that can make me okay with reading about dragons has my praise. I’ll be reading the sequel, Vanish, when it’s out in September.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday - The Predicteds by Christine Seifert

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Predicteds
By Christine Seifert

352 pages
Sourcebooks Fire, to be released Sept. 1, 2011

Daphne is the new girl in town and is having trouble fitting in. At least she has Jesse... sort of. He wants to be more than "just friends," but there's something he's not telling her about his past. Something dangerous. When a female student is brutally attacked, police turn to PROFILE, a new program that can predict a student's capacity for drug use, pregnancy, and violent behavior, to solve the case. As the witch hunt ensues, Daphne is forced to question her feelings for Jesse -- and what she will do if her first love turns out to be a killer.

— description

Oooh, intriguing. I'm really looking forward to this book because it seems like a fascinating take on a concept I love to see explored in young adult literature: free will.

A little dystopian, a little romance, plus plenty of adventure and moral dilemmas should make for a great combo. I'll be reading this one come September for sure.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Top 10 Book Websites

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is:
Top 10 Book-Related Websites

A little peek into my Internet bookmarks:

1. Amazon Wish Lists
A lot of people use for this feature, but I set up my Amazon Wish List long ago and don’t have the energy to transfer it all over. It’s a long list, but at 280-ish books, that’s actually whittled down. Give it a look!

2. Anderson's event page
Anderson’s is an independent book shop out in the ‘burbs that is actually quite difficult for me to get to for weeknight events, but they have a great young adult selection and tons of authors are fans, so I try my best. If you click over to the “Authors” page in the sidebar, you’ll see a lot of pictures of me at author signings there. They do a wonderful job!

3. Chicago Public Library website
I cannot stress how much I recommend that you register for your local library’s online services, if it offers them. I use the CPL’s system to put books on hold -- usually five at a time – and it saves me a lot of time during my frequent trips to my neighborhood branch.

4. Publisher’s Weekly children’s section
A great resource for the latest news in the children’s publishing industry.

5. NetGalley
This is how I get many of my advanced reader’s copies, sent directly to my Kindle. Bonus: They are superstars when it comes to customer service.

6. Picnik
Believe it or not, I was a professional designer at one point (I edited/designed the front page for a big suburban newspaper right after college). So I can Photoshop till I drop, but Piknik is a lot easier sometimes when I have a quick graphic to make for the blog. Check it out if you’re ever in need of some quick photo editing.

7. & 8. Meg Cabot and Jen Lancaster’s blogs
These were the first author blogs I read. I love Meg, so that one is a given. But, surprisingly, I actually haven’t read anything by Jen Lancaster other than her blog. I should – and soon – because this blog is just a laugh riot. Plus, she’s a Chicagoan.

9. Google Calendar
A must for planning what I’m going to post each day. I know, this is a hobby, but it’s nice to keep my schedules organized. What up, OCD!

10. The Chicago Tribune’s books section and its Twitter account
The former journalist in me can’t resist analyzing any topic from a local perspective, and the Trib is the best place to do it. I love their news, features and reviews in print, but they’re doing a wonderful job online as well. Plus, they host the annual Printer’s Row Lit Fest, which was a real treat to visit earlier this summer. Look them up on Twitter @ChiReadsBooks.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin Review

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
By Michelle Hodkin

September 27, 2011
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 464 pages

Mara Dyer doesn't believe life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. 

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. There is. 

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.

— description

This book has been buzzed about and shrouded in secrecy and has whipped everyone into a tizzy. Which is so fun, no?

So here’s my summary: Mara was in this awful accident that totally traumatized her. She moves to a new school to start over and meets a smarmy-yet-cute loner dude.*

His name is Noah, and I see him as a mix between Logan Echols from Veronica Mars, Ryan Philippe’s character from Cruel Intentions and Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl. He’s bad, but secretly sweet and misunderstood, and maybe Mara can inspire him to change, etc. Girls love that type of hopeless positive thinking. Bonus: English accent.

Their sexual tension was great. As was the book’s overall tension! I mean, this is what I’d describe as a psychological thriller. Mara’s memories are all blocked, and she’s got to put the pieces back together to solve the mystery of what happened to her.

I loved it. Until about three-fourths of the way through.

The terms “Gatorgate” and “Strange Ending Disorder” have been thrown around (mostly by Rachel). Let’s just say something happens with alligators, and after that…I didn't really like it anymore. I had a million questions and no clue what was going on.

So what do you do about a book that you really enjoyed for three-fourths and are puzzled over for one-fourth? Is it still a success? I don’t know. If you've read it, let me know what you think -- I hear the ending might be rewritten for final publication. (Update: I have just been told this is just a rumor. Ignore me.)

Anna Reads young adult book blog

*Loner dudes always make for great stories – just ask the Forever YA girls; they will go on about this if you want them to.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini Review

By Josephine Angelini
May 31, 2011
HarperTeen, 496 pages

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

— description

I thought this was going to be the Year of the Mermaid in young adult fiction, but it looks like it’s the Year of the Greek Myth. To which I say: AWESOME.

I think this book is a solid contender in the rush of mythology-based books lately (Abandon, The Goddess Test). There are secrets and twists and some pretty scary nightmares that kept me intrigued from start to finish.

I have to say, though, that the mythology tripped me up majorly. Perhaps I read it when I was too busy, but every time I picked up the book I found myself struggling to remember who was who and all the bits and pieces of the complicated backstory. For those willing to give it all their focus, though, I don’t think this will be a huge problem.

(MINOR SPOILERS) But I did love how the author presented the romantic relationship midway through the book. It started off with hatred, then friendship, then confusion. For much of the book, Helen had no clue what Lucas thought of her. He held her hand, but acted too much like a friend and absolutely refused to kiss her. You don’t see the “are we friends or are we more?” situation presented too much with all the “instalove” going around, so I really enjoyed that tension here.

If you like mythology books, definitely check this one out. Not my favorite, but I’m still very eagerly awaiting the sequel.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperTeen for my review copy of this book.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols Review

Endless Summer
By Jennifer Echols
May 25, 2010
Simon Pulse, 624 pages

Two irresistible boys. One unforgettable summer.
Lori can’t wait for her summer at the lake. She loves wakeboarding and hanging with her friends--including the two hotties next door. With the Vader brothers, she's always been just one of the guys. Now that she’s turning sixteen, she wants to be seen as one of the girls, especially in the eyes of Sean, the older brother. But that’s not going to happen--not if the younger brother, Adam, can help it.

Lori plans to make Sean jealous by spending time with Adam. Adam has plans of his own for Lori. As the air heats up, so does this love triangle. Will Lori’s romantic summer melt into one hot mess?

— description

Oh, hi, guess who just found a new favorite Jennifer Echols book? Me!

Or, should I say books? Endless Summer is a bind-up of the romantic comedy The Boys Next Door and its sequel, Endless Summer.

Lord, whip out the suntan lotion and hand me some sweet tea, because this book is HOT. If we’re talking summer books, this one takes the cake.

Seriously, there’s romantic intrigue, sure, great. But there’s also water sports and parties and lounging around on rafts and everyone is wearing their swimsuits 24/7. You’ll yearn for summer vacations past (unless you still have them, in which case…JEALOUS!) and be transported right out of any weather into perfect, endless summer.

This is the perfect summer read.

You might also like: My previous Echols faves, Forget You and Stealing Heaven

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: Head to GReads! for Ginger's weekly feature "Blogger Behind the Book," where I am featured today and you can learn more about me than you ever wanted to know...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal Review

Sweet Valley Confidential
By Francine Pascal
March 29, 2011
St. Martin's Press, 304 pages

Now with this striking new adult novel from author and creator Francine Pascal, millions of devoted fans can finally return to the idyllic Sweet Valley, home of the phenomenally successful book series and franchise. Iconic and beloved identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are back and all grown up, dealing with the complicated adult world of love, careers, betrayal, and sisterhood.

— description

In the past year or so, two of the best series from my childhood have staged a comeback: The Baby-Sitters Club (Ann M. Martin) and Sweet Valley High (Francine Pascal).

Baby-Sitters Club succeeded awesomely. Sweet Valley, not so much.

The main difference was in approach: Martin took readers back to a pre-Baby-Sitters Club era and reintroduced us to the characters we loved for so many years. It was sweet and nostalgic, while opening the door for today’s young readers to fall in love with the series.

Pascal opted to jump to the future, setting her book in the Sweet Valley of the future, with aging the Wakefield twins up to their mid-20s. What does that mean? Sex, drinking, cheating, lies. To be honest, it grossed me out. Plus, it left no opening for a younger generation to get to know the Wakefield twins, which is such a shame.

Granted, Sweet Valley has always been more soap opera and Baby-Sitters Club more Sesame Street, so perhaps it's unfair to compare the two. But I felt this book was, sadly, a missed opportunity and -- unless you're a superfan -- not really worth the time.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and Get Red PR for my review copy of this book.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why I Love Being a Book Blogger

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is:
Top 10 Reasons I Love Blogging

I started making this list, and the reasons to love blogging came easily. I mean: I love it when people send me books out of the kindness of their hearts. And I love it when I get to meet authors. 

(Proof: The insane look on my face in this picture as I talk to Libba Bray. Really, Anna? Pull yourself together!)

And, I mean, look, that IS really cool. 

But, at the end of the day, that those aren’t not the reasons I write on Anna Reads. Because, really, I could read library books for the rest of my life and be happy. And I didn't start this blog to be competitive or to get free stuff. 

What I really love about blogging is when people leave me nice comments. 

Or when someone says something funny to me in a tweet. 

Or, better yet, when someone emails me about what she should read on an upcoming road trip with her boyfriend because she – can you believe it, Dad?* – trusts my opinions on books.

Or that when I finish a book and just NEED to ask “What the heck just happened there?!” ... I've got a go-to group of people who are super eager to break it down with me. I mean, how cool is that?

I just love reading. And I love that you love it too. That's why I started this blog: To talk about books with you until we beat the subject to death. 

So thank you to everyone who has wanted to talk books with me in the past year and to all of you who have been so kind to me. Please continue to comment, tweet and email me whenever you like, because it truly does make my day! That is why I blog.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

*Actual conversation:
Me: So I started this blog about books.
My dad: Who the hell cares what you think about books?
Hahaha...he has since apologized.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Lovin' Week Celebrating Summer Books for Teens

My friend Ginger is hosting a week celebrating the best of summer books -- and this week marks the official start of summer, so it couldn't be more perfect!

Come back to these blogs all week to check out reviews, music and more:

Monday 6/20: GReads! - kick off to Summer Lovin' Week

Tuesday 6/21: The Perpetual Page-Turner: Top Ten List

Wednesday 6/22: Makeshift Bookmark : Soundtracking with Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

Thursday 6/23: Anna Reads : Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Friday 6/24: Fiction Folio : That Summer by Sarah Dessen

Be sure to swing by GReads starting today for a chance to win five great summer books. As someone who has read all five, trust me, you want to win this contest:

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (my favorite book of 2010)
Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols
That Summer by Sarah Dessen

And, while you're here, check out my post of the Top 10 Summer Books for Teens!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In My Mailbox 14

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly post hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren about what new books we got in the mail (or library or whatever) this week.

Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski (I gave my first copy to Ginger and so bought this one to have signed by Sarah)
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (From Heidi - I adore you! Now signed by Maureen.)
So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti (Purchased & signed)
Bossypants by Tina Fey (On my Kindle)

I got the first three books on this list at a signing last week at Anderson's out in the 'burbs. These three authors were absurdly funny. I mean, if you follow Maureen on Twitter, you'd probably guess as much. But Susane just won me over. And Sarah! Oh, she's just my new favorite author who I also happen to want to be my friend. She grabbed my phone and texted Jen mid-conversation. LOVE.

Me with Heidi (YA Bibliophile), Tara (Fiction Folio), Jacinda and Jasmine (Reading Housewives) at the signing

 Then, there's Bossypants! I love me some Tina Fey, and my book club was cool enough to pick it for this month. I've got to get through it STAT for Wednesday night's meeting.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, June 17, 2011

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter Review

Uncommon Criminals
By Ally Carter
June 21, 2011
Hyperion Book CH, 304 pages

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world.

That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time. Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

— description

When I reviewed the first book in this series, Heist Society, last August, I called it “Italian Job meets Gossip Girl!” It’s still so true. (See that review here.)

Smart chicks who like a little mystery and sneakiness and readers who liked the first book in this series must check out Uncommon Criminals when it comes out next week. It’s funny and the heists are so crazy smart. Like, really, Ally Carter? What have you stolen in real life? Because if you are NOT a thief, you totally could be.*

And, I know that I’m Ms. “But Does the Book Have Any Kissing?” but…I sort of love this whole will-they-or-won’t-they thing she set up in the first book between Kat and Hale. I’m not saying what happens in this book though. You shall see.

On Ally’s website, she says her hope is to set up the Heist Society books like Nancy Drew books – serial heists and mysteries that are resolved within the frame of one novel. I love this old-school setup and can’t wait to read more.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

*I know on logistical level that the methods described in this book couldn’t really help you break into Interpol headquarters. But heck if she doesn’t make you FEEL like it’s possible…

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blood Red Road by Moira Young Review

Blood Red Road
By Moira Young
June 7, 2011
Margaret K. McElderry, 464 pages

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

— description

I'd describe this book as Gladiator meets Hunger Games meets Lord of the Rings. Oh, sure, I'm sick of hearing "It's the next Hunger Games," and I'm sure you are too.

But, no. Seriously. It's good like that.

First, you'll have to get over the author's writing style. It's all told in Saba's country-esque twang. “And” becomes “an” and things are misspelled and there’s not quotation marks and pretty every single gerund lost the “g” at the end.

Good lord, I feel for the copy editors on this book.

But after stumbling through a few chapters, I was hearing Saba's voice in my head (think Holly Hunter) and it became easy to translate. Soon, I was swept away in the story.

And oh what a story! This is the classic quest story, epic in every sense. And the main character is full of grit, willing to spit in the face of anyone trying to get in her way. Another book I’d highly recommend to anyone looking for an adventure story (plus, romance, friendship and some classic good vs. evil). Please check it out!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab for my review copy of this book.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Spoiler-Free Review of Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

By Richelle Mead
August 23, 2011
Razorbill, 432 pages

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

— description

My Totally Spoiler-Free List of 5 Things You Should Know About Bloodlinesthe Vampire Academy Spinoff:

1. Sydney rocks as a main character.
She doesn’t have the tough-girl, devil-may-care attitude of Rose in the VA books, but then again, who does? Sydney proves herself to be tenacious, spunky and -- best of all -- someone we can all relate to.

2. Loose ends from Vampire Academy will be tied up.
Though I loved how the VA series ended, there were a lot of minor characters with outstanding issues. Luckily, these familiar faces are back! It was such a treat to get to know them better and see some character growth.

3. I have seen the light on the Adrian issue.
I’ll leave it at that.*

4. Richelle Mead continues to bring it when it comes to solid plots.
She leaves little breadcrumb clues throughout her books and ties them all up splendidly in a brilliant climax. But, somehow, you're still begging for more at the conclusion. And, speaking of the conclusion…

5. When I got to the final line of the book, I started pumping my fist in the air.
If you’re not excited yet, I’ve failed you. This book was a wonderful start to a new series, yet still stays true to all the things you loved about the original books. Don’t know much about Vampire Academy? Oh, my my my. Well, check this out:

Anna Reads young adult book blog

*No, this does not mean my Dimitri love has diminished.

Many thanks to Penguin for my review copy of this book. And to Richelle for signing it.
Actual conversation at this moment...
Me: "I'm Anna and I love you and I made that stick figure thing for you."
Richelle: "Oh I loved that!" (AHHHH!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Top 10 Cheesy Cute Moments in Books

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is:
Top 10 AWWW Moments in Books

You guys know I'm always turning over the corners on the "good parts," right? I dug a few of my faves off the shelves to see what I'd earmarked. Please enjoy the cheesy goodness:

AWWW, Adam: If I Stay by Gayle Forman
"You didn't really get those tickets from a family friend, did you?" I asked.
I thought he would laugh or throw up his arm in mock surrender like he did when I beat him in an argument. But he looked straight at me, so I could see the green and browns and grays swimming around his irises. He shook his head. "That was two weeks of pizza-delivery tips," he admitted.

AWWW, Jace: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
"Since I've met you, everything I've done has been in part because of you. I can't untie myself from you, Clary -- not my heart of my blood or my mind or any other part of me. And I don't want to."

AWWW, Doug: Forget You by Jennifer Echols
"I understand I can't have you. But I want to know you're in the world with me."

AWWW, Edward: (Whatever, don't judge. I'm over it now but it was cute at the time.) Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
"Isabella Swan?" He looked up at me through his impossibly long lashes, his golden eyes soft but, somehow, still scorching. "I promise to love you forever -- every single day of forever. Will you marry me?"

AWWW, Ash: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
"I swear, on my honor, my True Name, and my life. From this day on..." His voice went even softer, but I still heart it as though he whispered it into my ear. "I am yours."

AWWW, Marcus: Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty (BONUS POINT FOR HAIKU FORM!)
"Gone for a while
Hoping, always, to return
If you will let me"

AWWW, Dimitri: Frostbite by Richelle Mead
"I couldn't return that...couldn't give her what she wanted. Not when..." He took a few steps toward me. "Not when my heart is somewhere else."

AWWW, Cabel (Well, and Janie): Fade by Lisa McMann
Because with the right person, sometimes kissing feels like healing.

AWWW, Sam: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
"What are you wishing for?" Grace interrupted. "To kiss you," I said to her.

AWWW, Roger: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
"The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren't looking for it. Columbus and America. Pinzon, who stumbled on Brazil while looking for the West Indies. Stanley happening on Victoria Falls. And you. Amy Curry, when I was least expecting her."

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, June 13, 2011

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher Giveaway

Thirteen Reasons Why is the story of a girl named Hannah Baker who takes her own life. But before she does, she records several cassette tapes explaining why and sends them to the people she feels pushed her toward that decision. The story is told from the point of view of Clay Jensen who spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah’s voice as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself—a truth he never wanted to face.

The anti-bullying anthem was published in hardcover in October 2007 by Razorbill, and quickly became a word-of-mouth favorite among teenaged readers with fans claiming, “This book changed my life.” The novel has been on the New York Times children’s hardcover bestseller list for 65 weeks, foreign rights have been sold into 30 countries and it has been acquired by Universal Pictures and will star Selena Gomez.

Penguin recently launched the 13RW Project at as a place for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why to record their thoughts, stories, videos and photos relating to the book, and to view what other readers from all across the country have shared. Each review is logged on a map to show the many locations that viewers are posting from, and all content is shareable through Facebook and Twitter.

In honor of the paperback release of Thirteen Reasons Why, I will be giving away two paperback copies to my followers! I really enjoyed this book, and encourage you to sign up and then go check out the site. You know I normally don't like books linked to death AT ALL, so if I'm endorsing this one, you know it's a go.

- To enter, please fill out the form here
- One entry per person
- Must be 13 years old or older
- Deadline is 12 p.m. CST on Monday, June 20
- Please see my contest policy here

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In My Mailbox 13

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly post hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren (LOVE HER) about what new books we got in the mail (or library or whatever) this week.

My missing box from Book Expo America was FINALLY delivered, and then I got a few more fun book packages in the mail this week. Here's what you can expect to see on the blog soon:

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer (signed)
Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout (Carla said she heard good things so we though we'd give it a try!)
Legend by Marie Lu

Kiss It by Erin Downing (another Carla recommendation)
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann (signed)
Bunheads by Sophie Flack (signed)

Fury by Elizabeth Miles (who I met and loooved)
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen
Winter Town by Edmond

Supernaturally by Kiersten White (sequel to Paranormalcy!)
Eve by Anna Carey
Brooklyn Burning by Steve Brezenoff

Many thanks to all of these books' publishers for their generosity during BEA.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson Review

By Maureen Johnson
April 26, 2011
HarperTeen, 288 pages

Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.

Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he's found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

— description

Sure, this book and its predecessor, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, are totally unlikely. Whose parents just let them up and go to Europe? Alone? On a treasure hunt? I mean, really. The way she’s able to go with the flow is pretty unbelievable.

But I sort of don't care!!! I love a wild adventure.

This is a quick, fun read, and this book ties things up nicely for Ginny. Maureen Johnson is a big star on Twitter, and with great reason: Her writing, be it in a novel or in a 140-character tweet, is sharp, lighthearted and shows that she’s clearly twisted in the best way possible.

Follow her @maureenjohnson. STAT! Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for my review copy of this book.

You might also like: Heist Society by Ally Carter

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Match Made in High School Review by Kristin Walker

By Kristin Walker
February 4, 2010
Razorbill, 288 pages

When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can’t get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona’s long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer.

Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.

— description

Imagine a Saved by the Bell episode translated into a book. That is this book.

And I mean that as a compliment -- who didn't love Zach Morris?

It's like how a romcom movie translates perfectly to chick lit. This book is TGIF/Disney Channel translated to book. And, like I would with a 30-minute episode of Saved by the Bell, I laughed my butt off.

Listen, this book is predictable. It’s got kids from different backgrounds learning lessons and coming together and learning some MAJOR LIFE LESSONS and stuff like that.

But, I don’t know, I sort of loved it. It’s young, that’s for sure. But I laughed out loud and enjoyed the bubblegum pop-ness of it all.

YA readers should remember that this IS high school after all -- not everything has to be life and death and demons and angels.

You might also like: Love on the Lifts by Rachel Hawthorne

Anna Reads young adult book blog
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