“High school is the great, universal American experience, and even decades later there are few subjects I warm to more quickly than a juicy account of that traumatic rite of passage. None has made me laugh more than King Dork, the brainy, multilayered, outrageous, and compassionate first novel by Frank Portman.”
Entertainment Weekly

My opinion:

I agree. I recently read King Dork, by Frank Portman, and I had a great time doing so. Imagine if you took the quasi-mystery plot line of John Green’s Paper Towns and the archetypal YA novel first person interior monologue, and mixed it with an enigmatic, elliptical plotline, and a heavy dose of absurdism, and you’d have this book. It’s about a jaded high school sophomore named Tom Henderson who goes to terrible school. He has to deal with the trials and tribulations of being a creative soul in school full of dunces, his new step father, an elusive woman named Fiona and his teachers’ obsessions with The Catcher in the Rye.
Oh, yeah, and on top of that, there’s a murder mystery involving his late father going on as well. This book has the culturally literate first person discourse/narration that we’ve come to expect from a genre (disaffected young adult realistic fiction) that arguably originated in The Catcher in the Rye, but is more serenely jaded and bemused, and less pugnaciously neurotic than some of Holden Caulfield’s other spiritual descendants (*cough cough* every single stinkin’ book by Meg Cabot, John Green, and a host of others *cough cough*). Those other books may capture the teen psychosis better than King Dork, but I still find King Dork to be a better book. The writing is hilarious, the characters (the heroes, at least) are likable, and the plot is intricate, yet easy to follow. Over all, a great read.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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Betrayal (Haunting Emma, #2) by Lee Nichols

Paperback, 304 pages

Published March 1st 2011

Emma Vaile is the most powerful ghostkeeper in centuries. Which is great when she’s battling the wraith-master Neos, but terrible when she’s flirting with fellow ghostkeeper (and soul mate) Bennett. When ghostkeepers fall in love, the weaker one loses all power, and that’s not something Bennett can handle. Heartbroken and alone, Emma tries to lose herself in school with fellow ghostkeeper, Natalie. When a new team of ghostkeepers arrive—one a snarky teen
boy, the other a British scholar—Emma finds solace in training for the battle against Neos. But as the team grows stronger, they are threatened by an unknown force. One they thought was good.
As chilling and page-turning as Deception, this sequel will grab readers and hold them to the last page. No one is safe from suspicion as Emma closes in on the traitor. – Goodreads

My Opinion: This wasn’t as good as the first in the series. However, there was a little more looking into things and we find some more background into how unique Emma is and not just Emma but her family as well. Betrayal had me going there. There was a line in the novel that said something similar to, Betrayal is a hard thing to bear, and who the person was talking about I was thought no way but then, when I started thinking about it, it was plausible.
We are also introduced to the Knell, let me just say… wow, take off the dragon’s head and it all comes crashing down.
The plot was different because now that Bennet and Emma are together, they can’t be together.
I have to also add that the idea of the ghostkeepers is really cool. I almost wish I was one. Almost, but ya the story was interesting and kept me reading it.
Overall: 4 out of 5

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Steel by Carrie Vaughn

Hardcover, 304 pages

Published March 15th 2011 by HarperTeen

It was a slender length of rusted steel, tapered to a point at one end and jagged at the other, as if it had broken. A thousand people would step over it and think it trash, but not her.
This was the tip of a rapier.

Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.
The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate’s life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.
Time travel, swordplay, and romance combine in an original high-seas adventure from New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn. – Goodreads

My Opinion: What is up with all the good books coming out? I knew that this was going to be good because Voices of Dragons was amazing but this was great! You can really learn a lot of great things about this. You can learn about pirate life, boating/sailing in the 18th century, and FENCING. Each chapter is named after a fencing move. How cool is that. There is a glossary at the end of the book that says what each chapter heading/fencing move means. And don’t let me get started on the COVER… again just like with Clarity, this cover really draws you in. Okay now to the book.

Jill was an interesting character. The book starts off adrenaline pumping and you feel her energy because she is fencing or dueling I should say for the third spot in a national competition. My favorite character had  to be Captain Cooper though. She was interesting and the whole mystery of her past was intriguing.

The plot was okay. It sort of reminded of the series Vampirates by Justin Somper, because its similar. Two children fall into water and they are transported back in time to a pirate ship and one falls in love, but that’s about where it ends. What made the book interesting were the characters and the reader thinking about what pirates would have gone through at that time. It was just interesting.

Overall: 4 out of 5

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Deception (Haunting Emma, #1) by Lee Nichols

Paperback, 310 pages

Published June 8th 2010 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books

When Emma Vaile’s parents leave on mysterious business trip, it gives her the perfect excuse to be a rebellious teen. Throw some parties, get a tattoo (or maybe just a piercing), and enjoy the first few weeks of her junior year. Then her best friend stops talking to her, the cops crash her party, and Emma finds herself in the hands of a new guardian—her college-age “knight in J.Crew armor,” Bennett Stern—and on a plane to his museum-like mansion in New England.
After enrolling at Thatcher Academy, Emma settles in by making friends with the popular legacy crowd. But she can’t shake the strange visions that are haunting her. She has memories of Thatcher she can’t explain, as if she’s returning home to a place she’s never been. Emma doesn’t trust anyone anymore—except maybe Bennett. But he’s about to reveal a ghostly secret to Emma. One that will explain the visions . . . and make Emma fear for her life. – Goodreads

My Opinion: This was a very interesting read. I’m surprised at myself that I hadn’t pick this up yet! Emma seems like your regular teenager except the part where she can see ghosts. I think that this was very well written, you can feel everything that Emma feels her confusion and suffocation she feels when she first has the vision at her new school.
Emma is also someone that seems real. My favorite character though had the be Edmund a.k.a the Rake. He was hot! and I mean sizzling. :) The plot was interesting and kept me going. I read it in less then 4 hours. The second book this week! How amazing is that. I love it when there are books just grab your attention like this and this book is definitely an ATTENTION GETTER. Love it Love it Love it! I am starting Betrayal, the second book in the series,  and I can’t wait to find out what happens with Emma and Bennet!
Overall: 5 out of 5

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Before I Die by Jenna Downham

Hardcover, 336 pages

Published July 5th 2007 by David Fickling Books

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallised in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out. – Goodreads

My Opinion: This was very sad. I listened to this on audio and the reader really showed the emotions that Tessa was going through. I also thought that what Tessa was doing was acceptable because if she had been able to live she would have probably done all the things on her list at least once in her life. She was a pretty cool character. I also love that she left a little message for all her friends and relatives on how to get over her death and embrace the living.

I also really liked that the reader had an English accent it made the story more authentic because of the language used. I also just enjoyed the perspective of Tessa her self.

Something that I didn’t enjoy, however, was that we didn’t get to hear a last chapter from one of her friends or her dad, I think that would have made the story have a better ending. It would have been interesting to see how they react at the end of her death because we don’t really find out due to the whole book being Tessa’s perspective.
Overall: 3.75 out of 5

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Clarity (Clarity, #1) by Kim Harrington

Hardcover, 242 pages

Published March 1st 2011 by Scholastic Point

When you can see things others can’t, where do you look for the truth?
This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.
Clarity “Clare” Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It’s a gift.
And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case–but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare’s brother–who has supernatural gifts of his own–becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most? – Goodreads

My Opinion: Unbelievable! I LOVED LOVED LOVED this. I read this in 3-4 hours. I love Clare. She is such a great character. Ms. Harrington, THANK YOU! for writing this amazing piece of art. This was an amazing read and even though the plot is based on the murder of a girl named Victoria and then two more people, it focuses more on Clare and her ability and the type of person she is.
And the COVER! can anyone say gorgeous? I know I can. I’m getting a little tired of all the dark covers appearing. I’m starting to like the lightness and cover contrast in this one. More covers should be coming out lighter I think.
But my favorite character after Clare had to be Madame Maslov. She was just so quirky and fun, I think. And she totally proved to be the impossible. (Was that a little spoilorish? I hope not.) Anyways you guys should definitely read this. A GREAT READ!
Overall: 5 out of 5

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The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicle, #1) by Mary E. Pearson

Hardcover, 266 pages

Published April 29th 2008 by Henry Holt and Co.

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn’t remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?
This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson’s vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication. – Goodreads

My Opinion: This was very interesting, there are many themes and Jenna is a very interesting character. I listened to this on Audiobook. The book talks about bio-medical ethics because of how advanced the technology is and what they can do with it in medicine. The reader was I think really good because she read in a way that showed how confused Jenna was and how she would have been feeling.
I thought that idea of how there was a Organization in the government(?) that decided how many organs people can have after being injured. I think that that’s pretty smart because  then people would be getting hurt if they knew of how Jenna changes and her senses. But something that bugged me was that it was based on such a low point system. Or at least lower the point values of the organs so that people that actually need them, can get them.
Something that was really interesting was that at the end of the audiobook, that there is an interview with the author, Mary E. Pearson. I think its definitely a book to read.
Overall: 4.5 out of 5

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The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, an Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer

Hardcover, 178 pages

Published June 5th 2010 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits.
In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.
Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood… life before she became a vampire.
All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don’t draw attention to yourself and, above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn’t know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.
Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they know only as “her”. As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagines, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth? – Goodreads

My Opinion: This was very well written. When I saw the movie, Eclipse I didn’t think that the girl being killed was so unique and observant.  I never thought that all that was happening in that moment was so intense and interesting. I really liked this story it had suspense and loneliness as well as isolation. I really liked Bree’s story that even though she was changed, Bree still kept apart of herself and didn’t let herself be fooled (or did she?). Just listening to Bree’s thoughts was amazing. All these things that were happening with the newborns is just amazing.
I listened to this. The reader was  Emma Galvin and she wasn’t that great of a reader. Her voice was very monotonous and it was easy to lose concentration and I had to repeat some of the tracks again. Other than the reader though I really enjoyed the book.
Overall: 5 out of 5

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Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1) by Melissa Marr
Hardcover, 328 pages

Published June 12th 2007 by HarperTeen

Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.
Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.
Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires.
Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.
Faerie intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr’s stunning 21st century faery tale. – Goodreads
My Opinion: I listened to this on audio. The reader read really slowly… I probably would have finished the book faster if I had read it my self. However the reader did do all the voices and it was interesting. I really liked that whole she and her family being the only ones that can see the faeries but I’m not sure I liked Seth. Seth just seemed way to accepting of the fact that faeries are stalking her and that they exist. I don’t think that if someone said that in real life that it would be very believable. I like books that have that element where if it was possible in real life… there would be some questioning at least. But with Seth, it was okay you can see faeries, that’s cool. I have already read Ink Exchange and I liked that one so much better than this one. Now I’m on the fence of reading the 3rd in the series because it is a continuation of this story. I will try to see if I can get it on audio again but it might be a while before I check it out from the library and review it.
Something else that I didn’t like about this was that it moved very slowly. There wasn’t really any mystery or adventure or action or really woeing on the part of Keenan to get her to go out with him.
However something that I did enjoy was the cover… I really like the flower covered in ice… I wonder what its significance is. Danya (?) was my favorite character though and maybe Baira (?) also.
Overall: 3.5 out of 5
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The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald

Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: April 12th 2011 by Candlewick Press
Three unlikely allies team up for a night of rebellion, romance, and revenge in a high-stakes dramedy from acclaimed young author Abby McDonald. They’ve spent years at the same high school without speaking a word to one another, but that’s all about to change. Popular Bliss was having the perfect prom until she found her BFF and boyfriend making out in the back of a limo. Bad girl Jolene wouldn’t be caught dead at the prom, yet here she is, trussed up in pink ruffles, risking her reputation for some guy – some guy who is forty minutes late. And shy, studious, über-planner Meg never counted on her date’s standing her up and leaving her idling in the parking lot outside the prom. Get ready for The Anti-Prom, Abby McDonald’s hilarious, heart-tugging tale about three girls and one unforgettable prom night. – Goodreads
My Opinion: This is a very fun book. It was a quick read and its basically about learning about friendship and how it can grow form nothing. At first when I read the summary of this book I thought that it would be similar to the movie John Tucker Must Die but in the end it was different all thought the ending itself was similar because all three of the girls, Meg, Jolene, and Bliss turned out to become very good friends.
I really enjoyed the aspect of getting revenge. I thought that it added such a huge spike it in being 
appealing because usually when girls are targeted by boyfriends and abandonment from parents that they sort of play the victim and I thought that the whole running around made this so much fun and adventurous.  I almost sort of wish my prom to be like that although I plan on being there for it.
This was a fun and amazing read about a new and real friendship.
Overall: 5 out of 5
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