Showing posts from February, 2011

The Piper's Son written by Melina Marchetta, 328 pp, RL: TEEN

The Piper's Son was released in March of 2010 in Australia, right side.  I can't decide which cover I like better. The Piper's Son  by  Melina Marchetta  revisits the characters from her 2003 novel,  Saving Francesca , some five years after that book ended. Marchetta has a fascination with and an astounding ability to portray (and with great tenderness) the pain of families falling apart and the difficult path to coming back together. Not only are the families in  The Piper's Son  in pieces, but the family members are grieving the loss of their beloved Joe and the resulting disintegration of a family that they loved deeply and depended on. In  The Piper's Son  Marchetta focuses on two main characters, Thomas Mackee from  Saving Francesca , and his aunt Georgie, who is also the twin sister of his father, Dominic. I'm not sure that  The Piper's Son  will (or should) have the same impact on a young adult reading this book, just starting his or her life, as

Melina Marchetta Week!!

I am so excited to be part of Melina Marchetta's blog tour for her newest book, The Piper's Son , that I decided to devote a whole week to her amazing books. I first encountered Marchetta's work last summer when I read and reviewed her fourth book, Finnikin of the Rock , and was moved almost beyond words. While I had always intended to read the rest of her novels, the chance to interview her bumped them to the top of my TBR pile. I read Saving Francesca , The Piper's Son and Jellicoe Road ( Looking for Alibrandi is still in my TBR pile...) totaling almost 1,000 pages, in about two weeks, which is phenomenal for me. Her writing is so compelling that I was reading on my breaks, while walking my dogs and way past my bedtime. And, I pretty much spent most of that time sobbing, sniffling and generally teary-eyed. Marchetta's characters and their lives are so real and she always finds them at a transitional point in their lives in which they are struggling with family

The Call: The Magnificent 12 Series written by Michael Grant, 243 pp, RL 4

Because  The Magnificent 12:  The Call  was one of the shortlisted books for the CYBILS 2010 Fantasy & Science Fiction that I was assigned to read and judge, I decided to write my review with a synopsis of the book as well as a digression on how I critically unravelled the merits of each book while determining the best of the bunch. The Magnificent 12:  The Call  begins by telling us what a medium, regular kind of kid 12 year old David (Mack) MacAvoy is.  He goes to Richard Gere Middle School in Sedona, AZ and is among the bullied in a school where there are so many different kinds of bullies that they have organized.  Mack also has a raft of phobias that does not include a rational fear of bullies.  Through a series of mishaps, he ends up almost being punched in the face by Stefan Marrs, the 15 year old 7th grader who is the head bully among bullies, that ends with Mack saving Stefan's life and being taken under his wing.  In addition to this middle school drama, Mack (and

Dead Boys written by Royce Buckingham, 201 pp, RL 5

Dead Boys by Royce Buckingham begins with a prologue that tells the story of an old sycamore tree growing in Richland, WA in the arid, eastern part of the state.  Just down the road from the Hanford Nuclear Plant, site of some serious toxic waste dumps into the Columbia River in the 1940s.  This dump fills the tree with toxic energy, turning it hungry and violent.  When a twelve-year old boy hides out in the hollow of the tree's trunk one day in an attempt to escape punishment from his father, the tree senses his energy and wants it.  When the boy becomes weak and dehydrated over the course of his stand-off, the tree catches him in the place between life and death and, like the half-life decay of a radioactive substance.  By the time that Teddy and his single mom move to town for her new job, the tree has claimed five other boys, all aged twelve at the time of their disappearance.  However, Teddy doesn't know any of this at first.  He just knows that the menacing sycamor

Reckless, written and illustrated by Cornelia Funke, translated by Oliver Latsch, 394 pp, RL: MIDDLE GRADE

With Reckless  Cornelia Funke returns to the dark world of fairy tales, however this time the portal to another world is a mirror instead of the magical voice of a reader. Although their last name is Reckless, brothers Jacob and Will seem to be direct descendants of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and the fairy tales that they recorded. In  Reckless , the first book in what is to be a series, Funke proves that she has mastered both the magic and the brutality and cruelty that is at the heart of so many of the traditional fairy tales. The book begins with twelve year old Jacob, the older Reckless brother, entering the untouched study of his father who has been missing for a year. In a silent rage, Jacob tears apart the room and in turn finds a possible clue to his father's whereabouts - a slip of paper that contains "symbols, equations, a sketch of a peacock, a sun, two moons" and one sentence that reads, "THE MIRROR WILL OPEN FOR HE WHO CANNOT SEE HIMSELF." Jacob tu

Fever Crumb, written by Philip Reeve, 323 pp, RL MIDDLE GRADE

Fever Crumb was one of the seven books shortlisted for the Cybil's finalists in the Fanstasy & Science Fiction (Middle Grade) category. While I didn't give it the critical treatment here that I did for the other books that were nominated, I will tell you that it was the top contender for the award, along with Jacqueline West's The Shadows.  All the judges loved it but, ultimately, we felt that is was too mature for the intended readers in this category.  Had it been placed in the Fantasy & Science Ficiton (Young Adult) cateogory, I know it would have given the winner quite a challenge. With  Fever Crumb ,  Philip Reeve  begins a new series that precedes the events of his Mortal Engines Quartet .  While  Fever Crumb  is a wonderful stand-alone book (albeit one that leaves you wanting to know more about this intriguing character and her world) readers might be interested to learn more about the world of the  Mortal Engines Quartet  and can do so by visiting