Sunday, April 20, 2014

Books of Note for 2013-2014 is now online

TriState Young Adult Book Review Committee

Books of Note website:
      See BON notable books from 1997 to 2014

Reviews of the notable books can be found at:
 There you will find 2500+ reviews and genre listings by year

Altered (series Crewel World: Book 2).

Albin, Gennifer.  Altered (series Crewel World: Book 2).  Macmillan/Farrar Strauss  2013  390p.  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-374-31642-6  hs  Science fiction  VG-BN      

Sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys, along with Jost, the man she loves, and his estranged brother Erik, accidently falls to Earth when she becomes enraged trying to escape danger on Arras.  Adelice has the ability to change fate by winding and unwinding strands in her surroundings.  When she accidentally pulls the wrong strand and destroys an aero ship, the three are thrust into imminent danger from those trying to capture her to return her to Arras and those she has alerted to her gift on Earth.

As the three try to find answers
about the connection between Earth and Arras, they are befriended by Kincaid, who offers them shelter and a hiding place. Along the way to finding answers the group uncovers secrets, most profoundly about Adelice’s heritage; meet danger at every turn looking for a way back to Arras to rescue family members; are betrayed by Kincaid; and face difficult decisions that will affect their futures permanently. Additionally, Jost and Adelice end their romantic relationship, and Adelice and Erik fall in love.

The action never stops in this exciting novel. Danger arises at every turn as the trio search
es for answers. Fabulous descriptions make readers feel as though they are in the midst of the action, feeling, smelling, and hearing the events as the characters experience them. Albin’s use of rich vocabulary adds to the greater engagement of the reader. Although I have not read the first book, Crewel, I felt that this novel can easily stand alone. The author provides concise spurts of background knowledge as developments progress throughout the story.

This is the second book in the Crewel World
series. Both books in the series have been recognized as Books of Note.    

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys, along with her boyfriend Jost and his brother Erik, accidently falls to Earth from Arras by means of powers unleashed by Adelice’s rage as the trio uncovers many secrets and experiences much danger trying to get back to Arras and save their families.     

Science fiction                                       --Virginia McGarvey

Horde (series Razorland Trilogy: Book 3).

Aquirre, Ann.  Horde (series Razorland Trilogy: Book 3).  Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends      2013  422p  $17.99  ISBN 978-1-250-02463-3  ms/hs  Science fiction  VG-BN           

In this continuation of the Razorland Trilogy, Horde brings Deuce and Fade together in a fight that will decide the future of the world.  In their travels to a town unscathed by the hordes of Freaks roaming earth to take control, Deuce and Fade make new contacts, form an army and use guerilla tactics to take down as many of their enemy as possible.  They realize their limitations against a horde so heavily populated with members, and a large part of their fight involves problem-solving.  Along the way, author Ann Aguirre teams them up with warriors of equal abilities and answers readers’ questions about the origin of the Muties, and she teaches a message of cooperation in a surprise ending that will leave fans of the series satisfied.  Battles are realistically horrific, a trait that will please readers who like action.  Deuce’s rise to leadership portrays her as unassuming yet capable, characteristics designed to teach young adult readers the concept of empowerment.  Empowerment is not the theme, however.  The theme is not revealed until the end of the book, and this is another facet of Aguirre’s writing that is as perfect as her dialogue and descriptive text.  The relationships between warriors, between family members and between warring factions are sublime.  What a great ending to a futuristic book that is both unique in plot and wise in theme.

Summary: Fade works through the PTSD caused by his imprisonment in Book 2, and his inability to reach out to Deuce is resolved, as is the conflict between the Freaks, who are growing ever more intelligent, and the townspeople, who try to preserve their way of life under the threat of annihilation.   

Dystopian novels, Adventure-Fiction       --Martha Squaresky


Beck, Angela.  Rabbits.  Enslow  2014  72p.  ISBN 978-0-7660-4183-7  elem/ms  series: Keeping and Caring for Your Pet  Nonfiction  VG-BN

This book covers in minute detail the care of a pet rabbit, including a listing of breeds, deciding if you are ready for a pet rabbit, equipping your home properly, feeding, provision of toys and treats, and socialization of two rabbits so they get along.  The text is organized into three broad areas: choosing your pet, physically caring for your pet, and entertaining your pet.  There are beautiful photographic illustrations of cute little bunnies, lists of possible signs of disease and ways to diagnose health problems, a list of behaviors and what they mean, and tricks a young person can teach their rabbit to do.  The list of web sites and books for further research is helpful, and there is an index.

Summary: This book covers in minute detail the care of a pet rabbit, including a listing of breeds, deciding if you are ready for a pet rabbit, equipping your home properly, feeding, provision of toys and treats, and socialization of two rabbits so they get along.

Pet care                                              --Carol Kennedy

Harlem Renaissance Artists and Writers.

Beckman, Wendy Hart.  Harlem Renaissance Artists and Writers.     Enslow  2014      112p  $31.93  ISBN 978-0-7660-4165-3  ms/hs series: Inspiring Collective Biographies   Biography   VG  

This collective biography portrays the lives and contributions of ten of the most influential contributors to the Harlem Renaissance.  Each of the ten brief chapters succinctly presents the background, childhood, education, and influence of one important person.  The text is accurate and well written, and the short but concise chapters provide information to young readers without overwhelming them.

In addition to the informative text
, the book has a great deal of visual appeal.  The graphics and black-and-white photographs enhance the text and represent the time period while they support the professional presentation of material.

This newly republished edition of the 2002 Artists and Writers of the Harlem Renaissance will engage young readers.
 It is also a useful resource as it contains a table of contents, chapter notes, lists for further reading and a comprehensive index.

This is one book in the Inspiring Collective Biographies series. There are currently eight titles in the series. 

Summary: A collection of biographies about ten of the most influential African-American people that contributed to the Harlem Renaissance through art, literature, poetry, and music.        

Harlem Renaissance                                    --Virginia McGarvey