Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sekret by Lindsay Smith

Yulia lives in Communist Russia in the early 1960s.  Yulia has an unusual ability, she can read the minds of people she touches, and when she touches objects can read the memories of the people who have touched them.  Yulia is captured by the KGB and forced to work as a spy, along with a handful of other psychic teenagers.  Their job is to find a traitor in the Russian space program who is passing secrets to the Americans.  Yulia quickly realizes that she is not being told everything about her powers, and that her mind is not truly her own.

I was enjoying this when it first started off.  But then things started making less and less sense and I had more and more questions. 

I liked the idea behind the story, and I liked the setting.  Russia during the Cold War in the midst of the Space Race.  Yulia has learned first hand that while everyone is supposed to be equal in Communist Russia, some people are more equal than others.  The KGB can show up at any time and take you or your family away, which is exactly what happens to Yulia.  She agrees to work for the KGB because they have her mother and brother.

Yulia finds that the other kids in the program have different kinds of psychic abilities.  Some can see the future, others can view remotely, one can even manipulate people's thoughts.  The head of the program, Rostov, is also a "scrubber," someone with the ability to manipulate people's minds, and Yulia beings to realize she can't trust her own thoughts.  What is her own and what's been erased or put there by someone else?  It's difficult to know who to trust.  So a good premise, but there were a lot of holes.

There will be lots of spoilers, so just be prepared.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stoke.

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on The Art of Lainey by Paula Stoke.

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with, if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

The Art of Lainey comes out May 10, 2014.


Happy National Library week!  

Teen Lit Day is Thursday!  Celebrate by Rocking the Drop.  From readergirlz.

Should celebrities stop writing children's books?  From The Guardian.

The 10 most notorious parts of famous books.  From PW.

Where's the African-American Harry Potter or the Mexican Katniss?  From CNN.

Madeleine L'Engle on  creativity, censorship, writing, and the duty of children's books.  From brainpickings.

Lauren Myracle on censorship.  From The Huffington Post.

Five slightly more plausible dystopias Quirk Books would like to see as YA novels.

Recent wins on school library positions spark optimism.  From SLJ.

Children's books: a shifting market.  From PW.

9 children's book morals for adulthood.  From Mashable.

Speak turns 15.  From Entertainment Weekly.

Writing middle grade fiction's first boy-boy kiss.  From SLJ.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King.


Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities—but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way...until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions—and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying.

A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last—a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future comes out October 14, 2014.

Monday, April 7, 2014


New book features unpublished songs by Margaret Wise Brown.  From SLJ.

Bechel reacts to Fun Home controversy in South Caroline.  From PW.

Lost poem of Douglas Adams.  From The Guardian.

Diversity issues in librarianship.  From SLJ.

SLJ talks to Susan Kuklin about her book on transgender teens.

Retelling 12 Years a Slave for a younger audience.  From National Geographic.

It's the 100th birthday of Dr. Seuss

A Dr. Seuss-inspired guide to Twitter.  From HootSource.

What Dr. Seuss can teach an adult about life.  From The Huffington Post.

Principals Know: school librarians are the heart of the school

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Why are booksellers afraid of children's poetry?  From The Guardian.

Guess what?  Babies can't learn to read.  From The Atlantic.

French booksellers pose naked to support children's book on nudity.  From The Guardian.

An open letter to JK Rowling to not stop writing. From The Huffington Post.

Escapist postcards from YA favorites.  From BookRiot.

This makes me happy: Memorial services for E.L. Konigsburg held at the Metropolitan Museum.  From PW.

Dr. Seuss influenced nearly every American who learned to read.  From The Denver Post.

Children's book villains get sentenced in court.  From Book Patrol.

Ten classic children's books that will never be dated.  From BookRiot.

YA retellings brought to you by Epic Reads.

Harriet the Spy at 50:

Harriet the Spy turns 50.  From The Washington Post.

Contemporary authors reflect on Harriet the Spy.  From BookTribe.

Harriet the Spy: the most unlikeable hero in children's books.  From Salon.

Harriet the Spy turns 50.  From Al Jazeera America.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

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