Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review : Ice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 1, 1998
Pages: 256
Source: Own

The Story:

Can the truth thaw Chrissa's frozen heart?

It's been three years since Chrissa's father walked out of her life. Too angry even to speak to her mother, Chrissa is obsessed with finding the answers to her questions: Why did her father leave? Why does she never hear from him? And is it somehow her fault, for not being the daughter he wanted her to be?

Now, unable to deal with Chrissa's silence, her mother has sent her away from New York City home to spend a year in the country with her grandmother. Perhaps in Gram's house, in the rural community which her father grew up, Chrissa will discover the secret of his disappearance.

Instead, Chrissa finds more secrets and suspicions. And, surprisingly, she finds strength she never knew she had. Strength she will need when she must confront the most devastating secret of all.

Rating: THREE Gold Stars!!!

My Review: One Word: SUSPENSEFUL

Three years ago Chrissa's father never came home from work ... In those three years she's never heard a word from him ... Why did he just leave her? Was it somehow her fault? Or did her mother have something to do with her father's disappearance?

At the beginning of the novel the setting takes place in New York City, where sixteen year old Chrissa Jennings shares an apartment with her single mother, Lorraine. In the three years Nicholas Jennings has been gone, Chrissa and her mother haven't been able to talk about his abandonment. It was too hard for Chrissa. Unable to blame the actual person causing her pain, Chrissa blames her mother. for her loss. With no other options, Lorraine sends Chrissa to live at her grandmother's house -- which is thirty minutes out of Rochester -- for one year.

Elvina Jennings is Chrissa's grandmother as well as the mother of Chrissa's father. Elvina is a stubborn women but, unlike Chrissa, is easily deceived by appearances. In steps Sister Harmony who isn't who she appears to be. Will Elvina -- also known as Ma Jennings or Grams -- take the bait or see Sister Harmony for who she really is?

What actually happened to Chrissa's father? Is he dead? Alive? Living with another family? Will Chrissa ever forgive her mother? Develop a relationship with her grandmother? But more importantly, will living at her grandmother's thaw out Chrissa's insides that are like ice?

***Check out Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's website for more information about her and Ice: HERE
Happy Reading!
Monday, February 27, 2012

Review : Till Death Do Us Part by Lurlene McDaniel

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Release Date: June 28, 1997
Pages: 224
Source: Own

The Story:

The doctor's diagnosis for April Lancaster is not good. April has a brain tumor which cannot be operated on. She's only 18, and her future is uncertain. But when she meets Mark Gianni, a 21-year-old with a passion for car racing, things change.

Mark is handsome and charming--and has cystic fibrosis. Despite herself, April falls completely in love with him. April says yes when Mark asks her to marry him. But a racing accident aggravates Mark's CF, and April must make a decision that will change the course of her life forever.

RatingFOUR Gold Stars!!!!

My Review: One word: TEAR-JERKER
Seventeen-year-old April Lanchester is the only child of Hugh and Janice Lancaster. It's her senior year in high school and April's been having bad headaches and blackouts lately. Knowing what those headaches could potentially mean, she tried to ignore them as long as she could. But when April passed out during her English class, her parents finally made her go get tested. All of their worst fears came to light: April's cancer was back. She had been cancer-free since five but now the doctors discovered a brain tumor. To make matters worst, the tumor is inoperable. As luck would have it, during her visits to the hospital she met 21-year-old Mark Gianni. Tall and charming with intense brown eyes and dark curly hair, she's still a bit reluctant about him considering her circumstances and the fact that he was a bit on the . . . presumptious side. And that is a nice way to put it since Mark claimed that he fully intended for April to be his wife. The very first time they met! Nonetheless, Mark's charm is had to resist and April finds herself falling deeper into his world. But there's a hitch: Mark has Cystic Fibrosis. An incurable disease that could take him in an instant.
What does fate hold for a studious girl with an inoperable brain tumor and a thrill-seeking guy with CF? Will they beat the odds ... or be torn apart by their life-threatening illnesses?

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from Till Death Do Us Part:

Mark & April: The door slowly opened, and the boy from the rec room stood there. "Hi," he said with a sunny grin.

"Do I know you?" she asked.

"Mark Gianni." He held out his hand.

She took it cautiously. His grip was warm, his palm rough. He was tall and had curling dark brown hair and intense deep brown eyes. But Kelli had been right. He was thin, almost gaunt. "And you're here because...?" She allowed the sentence to trail.

"Because I want you to know that you're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. And I thought I should introduce myself. I mean, we should get to know each other. Since you're the girl I intend to marry."

*** Check out Lurlene McDaniel's website for more information about her and Till Death Do Us Part: HERE

Happy Reading!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review : Tenderness by Robert Cormier

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Release Date: March 10, 1997
Pages: 240
Source: Borrowed

The Story:

Eighteen-year-old Eric Poole has just been released from juvenile detention for murdering his mother and stepfather. Now he’s looking for some tenderness—tenderness he finds in caressing and killing beautiful girls. Fifteen-year-old Lori has run away from home again. Emotionally naive but sexually precocious, she is also looking for tenderness—tenderness she finds in Eric. Will Lori and Eric be each other’s salvation or destruction?

RatingFOUR Gold Stars!!!

My Review: One word: KILLER

Only child Lorelei Cranston is a 15-year-old, somewhat troubled, teenager. Being raised by a single mother who's a serial dater and had a knack for getting boyfriends that would beat her. Her mother is a good person but let her boyfriends take advantage of her. Lori, on the other hand, didn't have boyfriends; guys didn't like her for her, they only wanted her body. That and her mother moving Lorelei around more she can count took a toll. Lorelei has fixations. Those fixations were things she had to do, in order for it to go away. Which is why Lori's fixation on Throb (a singer), who had a missing tooth, urged her to hitchhike to Massachusetts after him. Her fixation was to find him, kiss him, and while kissing him, stuck her tongue through the gap ... Only she'd get sidetrack by someone ... a guy.

Also an only child, Eric is an excellent student who lived with his mother and step-father. Although good-looking, he was still labeled one of the weird kids. But there's something no one would have ever suspected. Poole is a murderer. After the police discovered the Eric murdered his parents he was arrested. From there he was tried for the murder as a juvenile and was held in a correction facility for three years. After being released, eighteen-year-old Eric went to live his aunt.

So how are the two connected? Lori and Eric sought tenderness deeply. They wanted tenderness, they needed it. Tenderness drove Lori to have fixations. Tenderness drove Eric to murder dusky-skinned, thick shoulder-length dark haired girls. Although they were both affected by tenderness, Eric was more strongly affected by it. He found tenderness in killing the girls that he did. There was something about seeing the limpness of bodies that brought the satisfaction of tenderness. Tenderness didn't drive Lori crazy in the same manner though. She was looking for it in someone, to share it with someone. She didn't want tenderness in the form that Eric did, but yet she still managed to fall in love with him.

Will their search for tenderness bring them together ... or tear them apart forever?

***Check out Robert Cormier's website for more information about him and Tenderness: HERE

Happy Reading!
Monday, February 20, 2012

Review : We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Pages: 304
Source: Own

The Story:

Belly has only ever been in love with two boys, both with the last name Fisher. And after being with Jeremiah for the last two years, she's almost positive he is her soul mate. Almost. Conrad has not gotten over the mistake he made when he let Belly go even as Jeremiah has always known that Belly is the girl for him. So when Belly and Jeremiah decide to make things forever, Conrad realizes that it's now or never--tell Belly he loves her, or lose her for good.

Belly will have to confront her feelings for Jeremiah and Conrad and face a truth she has possibly always known: she will have to break one of their hearts.

-via Barnes & Noble

RatingFOUR Gold Stars!!!!

My Review: One word: NOSTALGIC

Isabel "Belly" Conklin always knew she'd have the last name Fisher. The question was: Who was going to be Mr. Fisher? The decision was between the Fisher boys; the only two guys she's ever been in love with, ever. So was it going to be distant, older brother Conrad who break her heart or younger, sweet, dependable Jeremiah who was there to help her put up the pieces?

It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to be with Jeremiah and since she's heard from Conbrad. But the time has brought her closer than ever to Jeremiah and she's almost certain he's "The One." But what is Fate without obstacles? As We'll Always Have Summer brings us to the conclusion of the Summer trilogy ... prepare yourself for some twists!

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from We'll Always Have Summer:

Belly: "He was the first boy I ever kissed. He was my best friend. More and more, I understood. This was the way it was supposed to be. He was the one. My one." [Page 12]

Anika: "Great, now she's comparing losing your virginity to getting a cavity filled," Anika said, getting up. [Page 222]

***Check out Jenny Han's website for more information about her and We'll Always Have Summer:

Happy Reading!
Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review : If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Release Date: January 1998
Pages: 208
Source: Borrowed

The Story:

Jeremiah is confident about who he is -- that is, when he's in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But when he starts attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, he realizes that black teenage boys don't exactly fit in there. So it's a surprise when, during his first week of school, he feels an immediate connection with a white girl named Ellie. In one frozen moment their eyes lock, and after that they know they belong together -- despite the fact that she's Jewish and he's black. Their worlds are so different, but to them that's not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world feels differently.

--via Barnes & Noble

RatingFOUR Gold Stars!!!!

My Review: One word: HEARTWRENCHING

Elisha Sidney Eisen and Jeremiah Roselind are both 15 and attend Percy Academy -- a school neither wanted to attend in the first place. Elisha is a white Jewish girl and Jeremiah is a black boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Love strikes them the first time they lay eyes on each other. It's no surprise when they find themselves facing people who don't want them together.

But as many of us know, not all love ends as the highly sought happily ever after. One fateful day. One crime. One case of mistaken identity ... Pick up a copy and see how Jeremiah and Elisha's story ends.

Having read this novel when I was in middle school, I still believe If You Come Softly is an extraordinary novel. A novel that touches on one of many racial dilemmas people -- for example, interracial couples -- are faced with on a daily basis. Jacqueline Woodson's book is a must read!

Here is one of my favorite quotes from If You Come Softly:

"Ellie smiled, then leaned forward and kissed him again. A black woman eyed them suspiciously... Jeremiah felt Ellie's hand close tighter around his own." [Pages 130-131]

***Check out Jacqueline Woodson's website for more information about her and the If You Come Softly: HERE

Happy Reading!
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review : Hard To Resist by Wendy Loggia

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Release Date: September 8, 1998
Publisher: RandomHouse Children's Books
Pages: 192
Source: Own

The Story:

Leigh Feralano's move to Buffalo has been a blast, thanks to her fun-loving new friend Kerry Cole. Now Leigh's psyched to begin her junior year, and curious to meet Kerry's boyfriend, Christian Archer, who's been studying in England. Leigh can't believe Christian could possibly be as sexy and charming as Kerry claims.

The second Leigh meets Christian, she discovers he's all that...and more. As much as she wants to, Leigh can't deny that she's beginning to develop serious feelings for him. And the more she sees Christian, the more she suspects he's into her too. Still, there's no way anything can happen between her and her best friend's there?

--via Barnes & Noble

RatingTHREE Gold Stars!!!

My Review: One word: IRRESISTIBLE

The shy, quiet Leigh Feralano is a California implant in Buffalo, NY. While in Buffalo, she attends Fillmore High School where she makes best friends with pretty, outgoing, fun-loving Kerry Cole. For the past year, Kerry helped Leigh adjust to life in Buffalo. And after helping Kerry get through the year without her boyfriend and constantly listening about how amazing he is, Leigh is definitely curious to see if he was really all her best friend made him out to be.

For his third year of high school, gorgeous, wavy-haired Christian Archer decided to study abroad in England; leaving behind his life, including his girlfriend, Kerry, in Buffalo. Only thing is: people change. Coming back to America, and the life he left behind, was a lot harder to adjust to then he'd thought.

The plot conlfict of this novel was pretty easy to spot. Forbidden love. As the stars would have it, Leigh falls in love with her best friend's boyfriend. And to add the cherry on top, it was during Kerry and Christian's relationship -- not after they broke up. Apparently, for Leigh it was "love at first sight" and at the time didn't know he was Kerry's boyfriend. Nonetheless, trying to remain a loyal friend on some level, Leigh continued to refuse her feelings her Christian. But, of course, to no avail.

Hard to Resist, shows how three teenagers deal with love, heartbreak, change and more... What would you do if you had to choose between love and loyalty?

***You can find out more about Wendy Loggia and her books: HERE

Happy Reading!
Friday, February 10, 2012

Highly Anticipated YA Books of 2012

So ... I know it's a little late but it's the NEW YEAR!
New Year = New Books!!!
Are you as excited as I am? All I can say is: there are indeed some books that I waould jump over hurdles for that are to be release this year. And with that, moving on the year 2012 and what we, YA addicts, have to look forward to, take a look at what I think are some of the Highly Anticipated YA Books of 2012:
Which 2012 YA books are you anxious to read???
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