Category Archives: Book Review

Dear Teen Me: Bloggers Respond to THE ART OF GETTING STARED AT

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We have been so moved by the reviews for Laura Langston’s important and engrossing YA novel, The Art of Getting Stared At. In addition to posting their thoughts on the book, our bloggers have included messages to their teen selves about body image and self esteem. Check them all out here:

The Art of Getting Stared At is a rich story that deals with illness and body image, and does it in such a way that it’s easy to relate to, but also something to reflect on. “

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“Please pick up this book because it needs to be read, it will change you because it change me after I finished it, and it begs to be read and it deserves all the praise in the world. “ Conversations of a Reading Addict

“The Art of Getting Stared At is a thought provoking novel about one girl learning there’s always more to people than what meets the eye. I loved that it communicated the message that people are more than just one thing. “More Than Just Magic

“Langston is clearly an author to watch and someone who knows how to handle difficult subjects with equal measures of honesty and heart. “ Xpresso Reads

I would recommend this read to teens everywhere. Not only to become aware of alopecia, but to read a story where looks are not everything, and that no matter what, things will be okay in the end. “ Chapter x Chapter

“I really enjoyed Sloane’s voice, even though she was stubborn and kept this secret for such a long time. I acknowledged her struggles and I especially loved her dynamic relationship with her stepmother…I really enjoyed The Art of Getting Stared At and I hope more books like it will keep on getting written. Maji Bookshelf

“A compelling, engaging story with a cast of flawed, likeable characters in a novel that promises to both educate and entertain, The Art Of Getting Stared At is one novel that will keep you thinking long after you turn the final page and that can, and will, stand proudly amongst its peers. “ Pop Goes the Reader

Friday Reads: Half Bad

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Title: HALF BAD by Sally Green

Story in a Nutshell: In an alternate version of modern day England two warring factions of witches (white and black) live among humans. Nathan, a half-code, is an abomination. Hunted, beaten, and held captive in a cage, Nathan’s only hope is his mysterious and absentee father Marcus, who happens to be the most violent witch in the world.

For Fans Of: Severus Snape, Draco Malfoy, The Knife of Never Letting Go

Awesome Quote: “The trick is not to mind. Not to mind about it hurting, not mind about anything. The trick of not minding is key, it’s the only trick in town. Only this is not a town, it’s a cage, beside a cottage, surrounded by loads of hills and trees and sky. It’s a one- trick cage.”

What People Are Saying:

 “Highly entertaining and dangerously addictive.” -TIME magazine review

“Half Bad draws you in so you forget you are reading, until your phone rings and you realize it’s 100 pages later.” Geeks of Doom review

Ever wonder what the Harry Potter series would have been like from Draco’s perspective? Or perhaps if it’s protagonist had be Voldemort’s son? It’s not had to imagine, right? Half Bad takes this concept and makes it achingly real. It mixes it’s mythology with prejudice, and assumptions, and offers an addictive look at nature vs nurture.” –Glass of Wine Review

Friday Reads: Grasshopper Jungle

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Title: GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by Andrew Smith 

Story in a Nutshell: Best friends Austin and Robby accidentally unleash an army of horny, hungry, six-foot tall insects in their small town, possibly bringing about the end of the world.

For Fans Of: Slaugtherhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut),  No One Else Can Have You (Kathleen Hale),  Mars Attacks! (the movie)

Awesome Quote: “Robby and I were the gods of concrete rivers, and history does prove to us that wherever boys ride bicycles, paved roadways ribbon along afterward like intestinal tapeworms.”

What People Are Saying: 

“Grasshopper Jungle is a rollicking tale that is simultaneously creepy and hilarious. It’s propulsive plot would be delightful enough on its own, but Smith’s ability to blend teenage drama into a bug invasion is a literary joy to behold… his technique reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut’s in “Slaughterhouse Five,” in the best sense.” New York Times Book Review

“In many ways, Grasshopper Jungle is very close to being a perfect read.” The Book Smugglers 

“Like it or not, you’ll have to admit this is a shocking, daring, one-of-a-kind book that will have you laughing, crying, and scratching your head on the very same page.” Hypable 

For the Love of Laurie Halse Anderson

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This week is all about Laurie Halse Anderson, who is Kind of a Big Deal…(take it away, Anchorman!)

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Her latest YA novel The Impossible Knife of Memory hit shelves yesterday and is raking in the rave reviews. So far, TIKOM has earned FOUR starred reviews, which is about as good as it gets. Plus you can expect more praise in upcoming reviews in Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times.

You know, no big deal.

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Here is a brief glimpse at what Canadian readers are saying:

“The true and complex humanity of each and every one of these characters resonated with me deeply. Their joys, their pain, their ability to find humour in even the darkest situations, was what made this story so beautiful.“ Mabel’s Raves and Faves

With her customary sensitivity, grace and realism, Anderson tackles the subject of post-traumatic stress disorder head-on at a time when this subject could not be more relevant or timely. “ Pop Goes the Reader

This book will change you the moment you read it. It is for everyone and anyone who has struggled in your teen years, it is for all who love real and flawed characters that you cannot help but root for. It is amazing and a must read for 2014. “ Conversations of a Reading Addict

“There is a dark comedic edge as well that made me smile consistently, despite it’s serious themes. It’s a layered and important novel that will appeal to new and old Laurie Halse Anderson fans alike “More Than Just Magic

“Laurie Halse Anderson has done it again. This woman just never fails to leave me speechless. “ Maji Bookshelf

The Impossible Knife of Memory was a powerful, moving and incredibly touching story. Though moments were downright difficult to read, Hayley’s and her dad’s story is one that deserves and needs to be read and shared by everyone. “ Emilie’s Book World

 So what are you waiting for? Pick up a copy and let us know what you think @RazorbillCA

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Quote of the Week!

“I hope it lives up to my goal to be ‘brutal + awesome, with kissing.”

—Author Jessica Spotswood, talking about her new novel Star Cursed on Goodreads. Sounds like my kind of book!

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Summary:

In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess’ quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

Fans of this series praise its potent mix of paranormal, fantasy, history, and romance, calling it “addictive” and “thrilling.” If you love books with witches and a high swoon-factor (um, who doesn’t?), check out Star Cursed, out now!

Book Couple of the Week by Kelsey Marshall

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This past weekend I started reading Invisibility, the new novel by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan. This is my first encounter with either Cremer or Levithan, despite their collective repertoire of literary awesomeness. Cremer brings her experience with sci-fi and fantasy – previous work includes the enigmatic Nightshade series – and Levithan brings his knack for humour and emotionally honest characters – such as those in Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. Combined, they make a pretty kick-ass author twosome.

I thought I would share a few delightful nuggets from what is turning out to be a witty and entertaining story about a dude who has been cursed with invisibility (Stephen) and the first girl who can actually see him (Elizabeth). Just like Cremer and Levithan, they compliment each other awesomely:

Elizabeth:

“He smiles and a real person breaks through the mask of disbelief he’s worn up to that moment. He’s cute. The floppy kind of cute with dark hair I want to push out of his eyes and overly conscientious body movements, as if touching anything by accident would be a crisis. And his eyes…they’re strange, but alluring. It’s a colour a painter might create, but only with lots of effort and an infinite palette to experiment with.” – page14

Stephen:

“For days, I avoid her. I hear more furniture being moved into her apartment. I hear her and her brother in the hall. Her and her mother. I don’t dare go out there.

What if she sees me again?

What if she doesn’t?

All of my secrets start with the first one. All of my life is built around the secrets.

I am not ready to let that go. I am not ready to see what happens next. Because it’s possible that nothing will happen, and that might break me.” – page 26

Are you intrigued yet? Let me know what you think! Who is your new favourite book couple?

The Gypsy King: A Gush-tastic Review by Kelsey Marshall

The Gypsy King by Maureen Fergus

There is something really satisfying about a good old-fashioned adventure story. A story that completely transports you to another time and place and makes you feel like you did when you were a kid reading under the covers with a flashlight. The Gypsy King is one such story. Now, before I launch into my review, I should confess something: I am a total newbie when it comes to reading YA. The Gypsy King was enthusiastically thrust upon me by my friend Amy, who is a YA fanatic. I didn’t know what to expect—My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding meets King Arthur? Um, not exactly. I was in for a pleasant surprise.

The Gypsy King captured my imagination. From the very first pages—there is a seriously epic prologue that sets the stage for what’s to come—I was captivated. Maureen Fergus is a terrifically talented writer. Her prose is evocative and her pacing is swift; there is nothing superfluous in this book. It was refreshing, whimsical, and cinematic. Like an edgier version of The Princess Bride (and if you don’t like that book, we’re fighting).

The story opens on Persephone—a spunky slave who hates her pig-like owner and isn’t afraid to show it. Her simple, dreary life is forever changed when she happens upon a Gypsy thief named Azriel, who is trying to steal one of her owner’s chickens.

Oh, Azriel. What a great character. He is a true rascal—rough around the edges, mischievous but moral, with chiselled good looks and a goofy sense of humour. Of course, he and Persephone have fiery chemistry; their prickly banter made me laugh out loud more than once.


A Fools Errand by Maureen Fergus

As anyone who grew up on a diet of Disney movies will tell you, the best part of a good adventure story is often the villain—and this story has a killer villain. Meet the Regent Mordecai: a psychopath with a horribly disfigured body, perfect face, and serious inferiority complex. He is soothed by the pain and suffering of others—think King Joffrey in Game of Thrones. You get it now, right? This guy is a real piece of work. It’s especially bad for the Gypsies, who Mordecai hates with a passion (you’ll find out why) and who have been systematically slaughtered to the brink of extinction.

I will leave it at that. The Gypsy King is a classic adventure story with impressive plot twists, great characters, non-cheesy romance, suspense, mystery, and humour. For me, it was a splendid introduction to the world of YA and a throwback to the badass fairy tales that I devoured growing up. The best part? It has a sequel coming out this October! Don’t mind me; I’ll just be under the covers with my flashlight, reading.

Guest Post: EVERY NEVER AFTER by Lesley Livingston Review

Al is trying to come to grips with being the third wheel with her best friend, Clare, and Clare’s boyfriend, Milo, who also happens to be Al’s cousin. Little did she know that she was about to embark on an adventure that will test her skills and her friendships.

by Siobhan Clayton

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Title:
EVERY NEVER AFTER

Author:
Lesley Livingston

Publication Date:
12 Mar 2013

It’s happening again!

Despite their vow to each other at the end of Once Every Never, best friends Clare and Allie once more find themselves in trouble—and travelling in time. Indulging in a low-key vacation at Glastonbury Tor, taking part in an archaeological dig while soaking up the sights of summertime England, the girls have promised each other: no time travel shenanigans; no involvement with dangerous Druids or villainous museum thieves; and definitely no weirdness about the fact that Clare is now seriously dating Milo, Allie’s super-genius hottie cousin!

But when Allie makes an unexpected discovery at the dig site—a skull—the grisly artifact sends her spiralling back in time to a Roman encampment besieged by rampaging Celts. Caught between the Legions and the war band, Allie is rescued from certain death by Marcus, a young Roman soldier with a secret. As she struggles to survive in the past, Clare and Milo race desperately against time in the present to bring Allie home…before she loses her head OR her heart.

REVIEW

It has happened again. Al and Clare are thrust into a situation that involves time travel and a man who doesn’t seem to want to disappear, even if he is trapped a thousand years before he was even born.

In Every Never After, we follow Clare and Al on a journey that spans years, thousands of years, in fact. But this time it’s not Clare who goes back in time, it’s Al, and she has bigger problems than losing her heart to a very handsome solider—she has no way of getting back.

What I loved most about this book was the rich history that surrounds not only Al, but also Clare and the very sweet Milo. They all have a connection to the past, and it’s evident on every page. The representation of the Roman time period is amazingly done, and I found myself wanting to read more and more of those passages. These parts of the book were solely focused on Al, and I was so glad they were. We didn’t get to see a lot of her in the first book, and this time we got a clear view. I love Al—she is so much more than you think. Yes, she is obsessed with technology and being the third wheel to Milo and Clare’s relationship, but she doesn’t seem to see what everyone else around her does—that she is beautiful and wanted.

Al and Clare are two of my favourite young adult characters. Why? Because they are smart, naive, and just plain awesome. Al is a self-professed geek who loves Star Wars and anything tech related. Clare is trying to find her place in between two people she considers the smartest she knows, and not being able to help Al is tearing her apart.

If you have not read this series yet, please do. Lesley Livingston has a way with words. She knows how to capture the essence of a teenage girl on the brink of her life, or two teenage girls in this case. The dialogue is sarcastic and full of wit. You will not be disappointed!

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