Sunday, May 25, 2008
Mia Thermopolis, the klutzy-yet-lovable royal heroine of bestselling novel The Princess Diaries is back in this hilarious sequel by Meg Cabot. This time, the unlikely princess has a lot to cope with: first of all, her mother is pregnant with Mia's Algebra teacher's baby; Mia's grandmother (the dowager princess of Genovia) is setting up a ridiculously outlandish wedding for the new couple; Mia is receiving mysterious notes from a secret admirer (whom she hopes is Michael Moscovitz); and then there's the usual princess stuff. Poor Mia! However, this fun teenager manages to handle all situations with passion and humor that readers will love! Bookworm Readers gives two thumbs up to Princess in the Spotlight!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Caitlin McCourt wants to be a diva. No, not the kind of diva that's super-rich and snobby. An opera diva. One day, she wants to sing in front of huge auditoriums of loving fans that will cheer and throw her flowers. But in order to do this, she must have the proper training. And that's why she just HAS to get into The Miami High School of the Arts. And it's not just to sing. She wants to get away from her old life with her former fatgirl image, abusive boyfriend, and cheerleader friends who don't accept her for who she is and what she loves-opera. But when Caitlin gets into the MHSA, her problems haven't completely vanished. Her mother is still dressing like a fourteen year old, dating a horrible man, Caitlin has to take dance class (which she is terrible at) three times a week, and the only boy she actually likes at her new school can't like her back. So Caitlin takes on the name of Opera_Grrrl in an online journal and pours her heart out daily. Then things change for Caitlin: she makes some awesome friends who like her for who she actually is, her teacher talks to her about a summer opera program that Caitlin could possibly have a shot at, and Caitlin finds her true self: she no longer has to pretend that she's someone who she's not. This YA novel by Alex Flinn is an amazing kick-butt story about being yourself with a hearty dose of friends, fun, and opera.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Nim Rusoe, the heroine from bestselling children's book Nim's Island, is back in this fantastically fun sequel! This time, Nim has made a huge mistake-she and her dad (Jack)'s new writer friend, Alex Rover, leaves the cozy, private island. And then Selkie, Nim's beloved sea lion friend, is kidnapped by the terrible Troppo Tourists, setting up a major adventure for Nim and her pet iguana, Fred. They must leave the island and stow themselves away on the ship in order to rescue Selkie. This time, the dynamic duo is headed towards a new island-a big, bustling city island-New York City itself! Along the way, they'll find friendship, fun, a scheming and evil Professor who is holding Selkie captive, and lots of rollicking adventure! Can Nim and Fred rescue Selkie in time (with help from their new friends Erin and Ben)? Can Jack find Nim? And can Nim find Alex in the big city before it's too late to apologize? This heartwarming tale by Wendy Orr will soon be a favorite of kids all over the world and as beloved as Orr's first novel!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Meet Star Beck-she's a multimillionaire, is an internationally famous pop star and oh, yeah-she's only sixteen. But Star is sick of her life as a super-celebrity. She's sick of all the lies and diets and "romances" with people she hardly knows. And she's especially sick of her pushy mother, who as never let Star live a normal childhood ever since her dad left and Star got her big break. So when Star finds out that her mother has lied to her about her father her whole life, Star decides she's had it. So she changes her look, buys a bus ticket, and sets off on a quest to find her father-and her true self. She starts doing normal things like getting a job at a small Italian restaurant, meeting an adorable (and very nice) boy, living in cheap motels, eating fatty foods, wearing whatever she wants, and going anywhere without being recognized and hassled by the press. Can Star find her father-and her true self? Kristin Harmel's first YA book is sweet, heartfelt, and awesome--readers ages 12 and up will love to indulge in it!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Josh's life is full of secrets. First, there's the huge Victorian mansion, full of mysterious happenings and lies, that stands over the town. There's something strange and haunting about it, something scary and odd... Then there's his difficult father, secluding his family from the rest of the world, hiding them from the the tourists that mob their town. And the tourists are a whole other matter themselves-they come to admire the statue of John Brown (the man that Josh's father despises for an odd reason) that makes Josh's small West-Virginian village so famous but seems to drive his dad so crazy. Can Josh figure out the secrets of Harpers Ferry, his dad's web of lies, and the secret of John Brown before it's too late? This enthralling and intriguing mystery by John Michael Cummings is a beautiful story that readers ages 11 and up will adore. The Night I Freed John Brown will come out later this month.
Are you jealous of the Ashleys? You know you are...It seems like everyone at Miss Gamble's Academy is jealous of the Ashleys, including that dorky Lauren Page, who is still trying to fight her way to the top. So, basically, there's a lot going on this February for A.A., Lili, and Ashley Spencer, the three girls who make up the über-popular clique "The Ashleys". Then, a new website called "ashleyrank.com" pops up out of nowhere, and people start following it like a 90's boy band. This site that ranks the seventh-grade girls at Miss Gamble's by smile, style, intelligence, and social presence opens a window for all of the Ashleys: Lili and A.A. find a way to overthrow Ashley, Lauren finds a way to finally get "in" with the popular crowd, and Ashley finds a way to keep her queen bee status and push everyone else out of the way. Plus there's boy trouble, catfights, and a whole lot of drama...This novel is the second book in the fantastic Ashleys series by Melissa de la Cruz.
Thanks to Lesley MM Blume for the great interview on her new book, Tennyson! *Spoiler Warning*! If you haven't read this fantastic book, then read no further! We don't want to ruin the fabulous ending for you!
Bookworm: What inspired you to write Tennyson?
Lesley: The influences for Tennyson were many and have been in my life for a long time, such as two photography books titled Immediate Family and Ghosts Along the Mississippi. The idea for the characters and the plot just occurred to me one day, and within weeks, I was down in southern Louisiana's river road plantation country, doing research. I stayed at some incredible, haunted plantations while I was there...and in the end could only use about 1/1ooth of the material that I gathered from these places. I loved writing Tennyson and really, really miss that world now that the writing is over.
Bookworm: Are any of the characters in the book based on real-life people?
Lesley: For the first time in my life, no. My first two books, Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters and The Rising Star of Rusty Nail, were based on my personal history and that of my family. Tennyson is wholly fictional. There are, of course, homages in some of the characters...savvy readers might detect a touch of The New Yorker's Alexander Wolcott in my character, Bartholomew Prentiss. And the main character, Tennyson, and her younger sister, Hattie, were partly inspired by the two daughters photographed in Immediate Family. But as far as being based on people in my own circle: no.
Bookworm: Why does Sadie leave in Tennyson?
Lesley: Sadie is a very complicated, sad, character...and I remain completely fascinated in her. As readers of Tennyson learn in the first chapter, Sadie is a failed writer, and she blames this on her family. She imagines that if she could just get away from the burdening responsibilities of family life, she could realize her talent.
Most of my readers despise her, but I feel terrible for her. Not every woman is equipped to be everything at once: a wonderful mother, a successful artist, a devoted wife. Many of us have to make choices among those categories. It's not always an easy choice. And Sadie was obviously not the most centered person to begin with.
But I hope that my readers will view her with a little bit of compassion, despite the fact that she abandons her children and husband. I truly believe that in her heart, she felt it was the best thing for everyone, and that Emery would do a better job raising the girls alone, without the stain of Sadie's bitter disappointment and instability.
Bookworm: Are there any new/upcoming books of yours that will be published soon?
Lesley: I'm working on a few things all at once (which is difficult, by the way). I'm working on a book for young readers, which is quite different from the first three novels...I'm also working on an adult novel. Incidentally, I've also written an adult short story based on the relationship between Sadie and Emery (the parents in Tennyson)...but it hasn't been published yet.
Check out Lesley' book Tennyson at your local bookstore or library!
Meet The Ashleys: they're the snobby, mean, and super-popular queens of the ultra-elite private school Miss Gamble's Academy in San Francisco. There's Ashley Spencer, the queen bee, Ashley "A.A." Alioto, the super-tall tomboy, and Ashley "Lili" Li, the super-organized, busy competitive one. But then Lauren Page comes to Miss Gamble's, and she's nothing like the dork she used to be...The former geek is now ultra-chic, rich, and ready to fight her way to the top of the clique. She'll stop at nothing, but what she doesn't know is that they Ashleys don't want her in, and have a few tricks up their designer sleeves...
Fans of Lisi Harrison's The Clique will love this addictive new book by Melissa de la Cruz! We can't wait for #2!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
In honor of Mother's Day, Bookworm Readers has selected a few excellent books involving mothers and their children. Happy Mother's Day to all!
- The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick
- Julep O' Toole: Miss Independent by Trudi Trueit
- 12 Again by Sue Corbett
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- The Diary of Melanie Martin by Carol Weston
- From the Files of Madison Finn by Laura Dower
- My Life Starring Mum by Chloë Rayban
- As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President! by Donna Gephart
- Tennyson by Lesley MM Blume
- Dizzy by Cathy Cassidy
- Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
- Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary
- Poor Little Witch Girl by Marie Desplechin
- So B. It by Sarah Weeks
Friday, May 9, 2008
Mia Thermopolis's life is tough for a high school freshman. She's being ignored by her crush, is the least popular person in the school, doesn't have a date for the Cultural Diversity Dance, is completely and utterly flat-chested, and oh, yeah-her mom is dating her algebra teacher! Sounds pretty bad, huh? Well, think again. As if all of THAT weren't bad enough, Mia has just found out that she is the heir to the throne (yes, a PRINCESS) of a tiny European country, and of course she's the most un-princessly person in the whole world! Now Mia's having to take "princess lessons" with her obnoxious grandmother (the queen)! But the one good thing is that she's being accepted by the popular crowd, which might not do good things to she and her best friend's relationship...Can Princess Mia sort things out before the Cultural Diversity Dance and learn that being a princess isn't always a bad thing? Meg Cabot has created a royally witty and humorous novel that will have readers wanting more!
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Sabrina and Daphne Grimm (the Sisters Grimm) are back in the kick-butt sixth novel of this bestselling fairytale/mystery series by Michael Buckley. This time, the Grimm's friend, Mr. Canis (the Big Bad Wolf) is being put on trial for crimes in the past. Granny Relda is frantic-she hates seeing Canis surrender to the Wolf inside of him, and won't give up. But Sabrina has other thoughts-how could this killer be a friend of the Grimms? She starts wondering if it really would be better to lock him up, much to Relda's dismay. Can the Grimms plead Mr. Canis's innocence before it's too late? Daphne and Sabrina must investigate the story of Little Red Riding Hood to find evidence for Canis's case that might just surprise them and change the whole story...
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Tennyson Fontaine and her little sister, Hattie had always lived happily with their dad, Emery, their moody poet mother, Sadie, and their wild dog, Jos, in their rickety little house called Innisfree in Mississippi. But then one night, Sadie disappears, and Emery must send his daughters to their strange old Aunt Henrietta's home so he can search for his wife. But Aunt Henrietta's house, Aigredoux, holds many dark secrets of the Fontaine family's past, which Tennyson learns through her peculiar dreams. Tennyson is haunted by the once-great plantation, so she decides to bring Aigredoux's past forward for all to see, in her own words. Can Tennyson ever bring back the safe family she loved? And can she free herself of Aigredoux's web of secrets and lies? Lesley MM Blume (author of Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters and The Rising Star of Rusty Nail)'s new novel will suck readers in just like the Mississippi River.
Big trouble has come to Ferryport Landing, home of sisters Sabrina and Daphne Grimm (the great-great-great-great grandaughters of the original Brothers Grimm) and their grandmother, Relda. These fairytale detectives have a couple of big problems on their hands: first, magical items that have been mysteriously disappearing from local Everafters, which in the wrong hands could cause lots of bad and dangerous things to come to Ferryport Landing...And the evil mayor, Queen of Hearts, is taxing ridiculous amounts of money to humans in an evil plot to get rid of the Grimms (the founding family of Ferryport Landing) once and for all! And, finally, dangerous "tears in time"-portals to the past and future-are appearing all over town, and could cause major trouble, confusion, and pain.
Can Sabrina and Daphne save Ferryport Landing (and all of its citizens) from the future before it's too late? This quick and intriguing mystery by Michael Buckley is fantastic, enchanting, and difficult for readers to put down! A five-star book indeed!
Tess Munro is a total soccer chick. So when the school district puts her schools' sports program on hold, Tess and her pals Ibby and Bo known that they need to step in. So now Tess is stuck with levy meetings, a peppy cheerleader club president, an evil next-door neighbor, and an impossible fundraiser in the form of a Halloween haunted house. But on Election Day, will the levy pass? And can Tess's soccer team defeat their rivals and win the last game of the season-or forever?
Dawn FitzGerald has written an awesome, kick-butt sports story that soccer chicks (and non-soccer chicks) of all ages will love!
Guess what, readers? This month, Bookworm had the honor of interviewing the oh-so-awesome (A-W-E-S-O-M-E) author, Donna Gephart, who wrote As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother is Running for President! Enjoy!
Click here for a review of Donna's book.
Bookworm: What inspired you to write As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother is Running for President!
Donna: As If Being 12 3/4... started as a short story about a mother/daughter relationship and blossomed into a coming-of-age story about a gawky, klutzy spelling bee whiz whose mother just happened to be the governor of Florida and running for the President of the United States.
Bookworm: Are you like Vanessa in any way?
Donna: Do you mean other than my size 9 1/2 feet? Okay, size 10 feet...and being occasionally klutzy...and loving the color purple? Yes, growing up, I had a close relationship with my mother just like my main character, Vannessa, and often wished she weren't so busy working. But I've never been followed everywhere by a bodyguard or fielded serious death threats. Thank goodness!
Bookworm: Do you have any experience in politics?
Donna: I follow politics and worked on a political campaign shortly before writing this book.
Bookworm: What are your favorite YA (young adult) books today?
Donna: There are so many wonderful ones! Some of my favorite authors are: Jerry Spinelli, Christopher Paul Curtis and Louis Sachar. Two novels I recently read and enjoyed are: Skin Deep by E.M. Crane and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
Bookworm: Have you ever been in a spelling bee?
Donna: A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y. In third grade, I lost on the word "meant". I thought it was spelled "ment" and Cindy Brown went on to win that spelling bee. And my son was also in a spelling bee in third grade. Like Chester Fields in the opening chapter, my son couldn't spell "thoroughly". While doing research, I interviewed an amazing speller at my son's school who went to the National Bee in Washington, D.C. twice.
Many thanks to Donna for the great interview, and good luck with future books!