Friday, December 9, 2011

Princess Academy

Image credit:

Hale, Shannon. Princess Academy. New York: Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2005.

Annotation: Miri goes to a princess academy with other girls from her village after the prince announces he will marry someone from that region.

Book talk:
I don’t want to go. All the teenage girls have to go to a princess academy. The prince said he will choose someone to marry from our region, but we are considered too uncultured and uneducated, so this academy is supposed to make us better. But I don’t even know if I want to be royalty. The academy is so far away from our home. Although I sometimes feel like an outsider in the community because I do not work in the quarry, I love our mountain home, my family and friends. I dream of staying here. What should I do?

Teen Recommended:
  Megan, 16, recommended this book: "[I like] fantasy. I like the magic."

  • Newbery Honor Book
  • New York Times, Book Sense, and PW Best Seller
  • A Book Sense Pick for Fall 2005
  • An ALA Notable Children's Book
  • 2007 Beehive Award winner
  • A New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • A New England Booksellers Association Top 10 Titles for Fall
  • A Book for the Teen Age by The New York Public Library
  • Honorable Mention for "Favorite Novel of the Year," PW's 2005 Cuffie Awards
  • Winner of the 2006 Utah Children's Book Award
  • A Bank Street College Best Children's Books of the Year, starred entry
  • Nominated for the 2008 Arizona Grand Canyon Reader Award
  • Nominated for the 2008 Colorado Children's Book Award
  • Nominated for the 2008 South Carolina Young Adult Book Award
  • Nominated for the 2008 Young Reader's Choice Award, sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Library Association
  • Nominated for the Illinois 2008 Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award
  • Nominated for the 2010 Maud Hart Lovelace award (Minnesota)
  • A 2007 DCF Voting Top Ten (Vermont)
  • A Salt Lake Tribune Best Book of 2005
  • Recommended Reads for Kids 2005 (Dover Community News)
Awards source:


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Simpsons spoofs YA fantasy novels

The episode "The Book Job" has fun with young adult fantasy series, and it stars the writer Neil Gaiman and plays off of the movie "Ocean's Eleven"!

Check out "The Simpsons" episode at Hulu:

Read an article about the episode:

The Lighting Thief

Image credit:
Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief. New York: Disney-Hyperion, 2005.

Annotation: Percy discovers he is a child of a mortal woman and the Greek god Poseidon, and then he and his friends go on an adventure to prevent a war between Greek gods.

Book talk:
You probably thought that Greek myths were just that – myths. That is what Percy thought, too. But while on a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a school he is trying not to get kicked out of, he find finds out the myths are real because he has to fight a winged hag, who also was his teacher. However, Percy founds out not only that the myths real, but he is a demigod, a child of a mortal woman and the god Poseidon. On top of that, he finds out that Zeus thinks that Percy has stolen his master lightning bolt and will start a war if it is not returned. So Percy starts a journey to find who stole the real bolt, fighting with Medusa and going to Hades along the way, but also discovering that he has special abilities. All of this just to prove he is not a lightning thief.

Book Trailer posted by highcrazyloony on You Tube:


Teen Recommended:
Hunter, 12, recommends books about Percy Jackson in his favorite genre of fantasy.
  • A Best Book of 2005, School Library Journal
  • A New York Times Notable Book of 2005
  • A Best Book of 2005, Child Magazine
  • Bluebonnet Award Nominee 2006, Texas Library Association
  • Askews Torchlight Award (UK) Winner, 2006
  • Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book List, 2005
  • VOYA Top Shelf Fiction List for 2005
  • ALA Notable Book for 2005
  • YALSA Best Book for Young Adults 2005
  • Red House Children’s Book Award Winner (UK), 2006
  • CCBC choice award 2006, Cooperative Children’s Book Center
  • A 2006 Notable Children’s Book, National Council for Teachers of English
  • A Publishers Weekly National Children’s Bestseller
  • Warwickshire Book Award Winner (UK), 2007


Image credit:
Shusterman, Neil. Everlost. New York: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2006.

Annotation: Two children end up in Everlost after a car accident, a world between life and death, and they explore it.

Book talk:
Do you know what happens when you die? What would you do in the afterlife if you had all eternity to do it? Well, Nick and Allie find out that death is not what they expected. They are in a car accident, but they don’t make it to their final destination after they die. Instead, they are bumped out of the tunnel of light early and end up in Everlost, a place on Earth between the dead and the living that resembles Earth but has magical qualities. It is full of ghost children who run wild and is a place where they can’t stay still too long or they will sink to the center of the Earth. In Everlost, they want explore and to find out what happened to them and their families and maybe even find a way back to the living. And they do just that while discovering, and sometimes breaking, the strange world’s rules and avoiding the monster. Find out if Nick and Allie will reach their final destination or if they are Everlost.

Audio of the beginning of Everlost from bluehound6 at YouTube:

Teen Recommended:
"The story pulls me into [Everlost]. I get pulled into the plot. Everlost and Everwild have interesting stories about what people do after they die and finding a way back."
-- Kyle, 16

  • Garden State Teen Book Award Nominee (NJ),
  • Isinglass Teen Read List Selection,
  • PEN USA Literary Award Finalist

Fantasy genre

Fantasy works for some teens but not for others. Check out what these teens had to say about their favorite genres:

"[I like] fantasy because they are interesting."
-- Ambrea, 13

"I love adventure with heroes of all kinds."
-- Christine, 13

"[I like] fantasy. It explains me."
-- Cory, 14

"I read fantasy because I'm interested in learning about life."
-- Kelsey, 12

"[I like] fiction because it's made up but still feels real."
-- Nicole, 14

"My favorite genre is survival because it is normally very suspenseful and involves a character being put in life-or-death situations."
-- Haley, 12

"I read young adult fantasy and fairy tales. I love to read so I'll read just about anything."
-- Ashley, 15


Image credit:

Dixon, Heather. Entwined. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2011.

Annotation: After Azalea’s mother dies, her father, the King, wants his daughters to go into mourning. Refusing to give up dancing, the sisters enter the enchanted path to dance the night away, but there is a cost.

Book talk:
Will they become Entwined? After her mother died, the King forbade Azalea and her eleven sisters to dance anymore. But how can they do that? Not only did they lose a mother, but now they have lost what they have enjoyed the most. However, the sisters found a way. Similar to The Twelve Dancing Princesses, the sisters sneak off in an enchanted passage to dance the night away with the Keeper. All seems great at first, but the Keeper might not be what he seems. Will they be able to protect their kingdom, or will they become Entwined?

Enjoy the book trailer from Harper Collins:

Awards: None.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making

Image credit:
Valente, Catherynne M. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. New York: Feiwell and Friends, 2011.

Annotation: After her father goes to war and her mother goes to work, September is taken by the Green Wind and a leopard to Fairyland, where Earth’s rules don’t apply and her adventure begins.

Book talk:
Which would you choose -- "To Lose your Way, To Lose your Life, To Lose your Mind or To Lose your Heart? Tough decision? Well, these are the choices September had to decide which path to take in Fairyland.She ended up in Fairyland by invitation of the Green Wind and the Leopard. But getting into Fairyland was the easy part. Once there, she has to decide what path to take and meets a variety of creatures, including a boy named Saturday and a dragon who loves books. And she has to remember she shouldn't eat fairy food! So which path does September choose? Find out and the rest of her adventures in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making.

Check out the book trailer on YouTube!

  • Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award Maser List
  • Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
Awards source:



Image credit:

Gaiman, Neil. Stardust. New York: Avon Books, 1999.

Annotation: Tristran Thorn crosses a wall into the magical world of Faerie to find a fallen star to present to his love, Victoria. However, in Faerie, adventure awaits because some things are not how a person would imagine them to be. 

Book talk:
In our town – the town of Wall – there is a wall that separates our town from Faerie. We are not allowed to cross the wall; there’s even guards there to prevent us from crossing the wall. We are only allowed to cross every nine years during a fair. And boy do they sell the strangest things, like storm-filled eggshells and glass flowers. If the fair is any indication, Faerie must be a magical place indeed. Well, I’m about to find out because I have to cross the wall. I’m in love with Victoria, you see, and she promised to marry me if I bring her back a fallen star that just fell on the other side of the wall. What is Faerie like? Are the people as strange as they are during the fair? I’ve overheard talk of unicorns, witches and flying pirates. What does a fallen star look like? Well I’m going to find out because I need to bring it back to Victoria. So how do I get past the guard and cross the wall into Faerie?   

Awards source: