April 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Book Reviews from Young Adults

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Our teen reviewers from Bookmarked are back up to speed and full of opinions on new and upcoming titles, including a mystery, a dystopian fairy tale, historical fantasy fiction, and yes, an apocalyptic tale involving a virus. If your library has fans of fairy tale retellings, stay tuned for next month’s Media Mania column, which will feature a fine list of titles which are sure to satisfy their fancy.

BRIAN, Kate. Shadowlands. Hyperion. January 2013. Tr. $17.99. ISBN 9781423164838.


Gr 9 Up—Rory Miller is the target of serial killer Steven Nell. After his attempt to kill her fails, the FBI sends Rory and her family to a safe home on Juniper Island,Vermont. Being hundreds of miles away from Massachusetts at a location supposedly unknown to Nell, Rory tries to feel safe again. She and her sister begin hanging out with a group of local teens, going to parties, and surfing on the beach. Still, unusual things are happening: people are found missing, the locals are acting strange, and Rory suspects that Nell has discovered her whereabouts. There’s a fine line between nightmares and reality in this captivating start to a new trilogy.

This book starts off making readers wonder if Rory will be able to successfully escape Nell—and that’s what drew me in. Nell’s lurking skills, Rory’s paranoia, and the behavior of Juniper Landing locals had me on edge the entire book. Questions constantly arose that had me thirsting for answers. Shadowlands isn’t a book you’ll want to put down, and its unexpected ending will have you wanting more.—Paris E. age 16

SULLIVAN, Laura L. Delusion. Harcourt. January 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780547688367.

DelusionGr 7-12—Set in England during World War II, Delusion follows two flamboyant sisters as they leave behind their world of exciting (but fake) magic and travel to the safety of the boring, out-of-touch, rural town of Bittersweet. Phil, the more adventurous of the two, longs to help out the war effort in any way that she can, while Fee, the romantic, hopes to meet a charming, handsome young man who will sweep her off her feet. When Phil tries to create a Home Guard for Bittersweet, she stumbles upon the concealed Stour, which houses a college for male magicians. This thrusts the sisters into the world of actual magic as Phil continues to support the war effort and Fee finds the man of her dreams. However, they soon find out that the magicians have their own war to fight, one that will determine the fate of all people.

After reading the back cover of Delusion, I was very intrigued; the plot and the setting seemed really interesting. However, the novel didn’t live up to my expectations. At first, I found the characters to be annoying and unlikeable, although some of them did grow on me in time. The plot was all over the place, with too many conflicts, most of which were not fully developed. I did like the book despite its flaws, but I will not be remembering or recommending it.—Kayla T., 16

MEYER, Marissa. Scarlet. Feiwel & Friends. February 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN: 9780312642969.

ScarletGr 7 Up—Scarlet is the sequel to Cinder in the “Lunar Chronicles” series. The book follows the point of view of a 17-year-old girl, Scarlet, who works on a farm with her grandmother. When she discovers that her grandmother has been kidnapped, Scarlet is desperate for any leads that might help her find her. While searching for her grandmother, Scarlet meets an appealing yet untrustworthy street fighter named Wolf, who agrees to help her. In a way, the story serves to present the reader with a dystopian version of the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. Eventually, Scarlet’s story ties in with the story of the main protagonist, Cinder, and many questions are answered. However, just as the reader’s questions are answered, many new conflicts arise and the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, ready for the third book.

When I learned that there was a sequel to Cinder, I was excited to find out what would happen next in the series. You don’t have to read the first book to enjoy Scarlet, but some of the action that occurs in it might be confusing if you haven’t read the first volume of the trilogy. What I liked most about the book was Scarlet’s blossoming romance with the mysterious Wolf. Scarlet ended like Cinder, with a total cliff-hanger, which compels me to read the next book. It was interesting to see how the revelation of a certain secret had forever changed Cinder’s life and further developed the conflict concerning the fate of the Earth. I would recommend this to other young readers who enjoy a good dystopian novel with some fairy tale elements.—Courtney B., age 18

CREWE, Megan. The Lives We Lost. Hyperion. February 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781423146179.

Gr 7-12—A disastrous virus has befallen the world and 17-year-old Kaelyn has a vaccine that could restore civilization. As she and her friends make their way through Canada’s deserted, snowy provinces in search of a doctor that can replicate the vaccine, they encounter people who will stop at nothing to take the vaccine for themselves. After treading hundreds of miles, Kaelyn wonders if the risk she took dragging her friends through such awful circumstances was worth it.

The Lives We LostThe Lives We Lost will have you on the edge of your seat. Every person the group encounters is one that can either make them sick or burglarize and kill them. They hope that there are people who haven’t lost the kindness they may have possessed before the epidemic. Their highest anticipation is finding a doctor or scientist who is working on the cure, but with a thin line between who’s a friend and who’s a foe, their chances grow slim. This compelling novel is detailed enough to read without having read the first book of the trilogy, and it leaves out just enough to have you ready for last book in the series.—Paris E., age 16

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Dodie Ownes About Dodie Ownes

Dodie Ownes left the glamorous world of retrospective conversion and disco to jump on the library vendor train. Since then, she has been learning at the feet of the masters about all things library. Dodie lives in Golden, Colorado, where even the sign which arches the main street says "Howdy."

Empowering Teens: Fostering the Next Generation of Advocates
Teens want to make a difference and become advocates for the things they care about. Librarians working with young people are in a unique position to help them make an impact on their communities and schools. Ignite your thinking and fuel these efforts at your library through this Library Journal online course—April 24 & May 8.