Friday, November 11, 2011

I Lost My Mobile at the Mall (fiction)

Cellphone lost at the mall.
Home computers stolen.
How can Elly cope with losing constant contact with her friends?

Elly's terrible luck doesn't make high school life easy in her all-things-British Australian suburb, as she's not sure where her surfer boyfriend is after school, she doesn't know when friends are getting together for pizza, and she has to use the public computer to log on to her favorite social sites... finding out everything - good or bad - well after everyone else does.

Well-known for her humorous adult books, Australian Wendy Harmer is spot on with Elly's dismay over being out of touch with the rest of Oldcastle High School in her first young adult novel on our Fun Friday. Hope to see more of Elly in future books!

Book info: I Lost My Mobile at the Mall: Teen on the Edge of Technological Breakdown / Wendy Harmer. Kane Miller Children's Books, 2011. [author's website] [publisher site] [author video]

Recommendation: When she loses her cellphone at the mall (again), Elly can’t even report it missing until her Mum gets home from some fancy event she’s organizing - no landline at home, of course. When her parents refuse to buy Elly another cellphone, she finds herself completely out of the loop, unable to text her friends or send photos or talk to her cute surfer boyfriend. Time slows down to a crawl with every minute that she’s out of contact…

Not that life in Oldcastle is at all exciting. Everything in their Australian coastal town has a British name – the shops, the pubs, even Elly and her sister and her parents and her pets! With the Pickering family coat of arms hanging on the bathroom wall, who can take all this seriously? Now, not having a cellphone in ninth grade – that’s serious! She can’t even talk to her best friend about it – no mobile phone means no calls to far-off Queensland where Carmelita moved last year.

When the family’s home computers are stolen, Elly feels fully cut off from everyone as planning for the ninth grade dance goes into overdrive.

Why do her big sister’s new silver sandals fit Elly better than they fit Tilly? What is boyfriend Will doing in that photo on Bianca’s phone? Does her grandmother really want to learn how to use a computer? When will Carmelita’s advice letter arrive? And where’s the Post Office anyway?

Australian comedienne Wendy Harmer’s first book for young adults brings the effervescent Elly to life as a “teen on the edge of technological breakdown.” (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Payback Time (fiction)

What's going on at Lincoln High?
Coach is keeping a talented player on the bench?
A gifted athlete refuses interviews?
His "previous school" history is... blank?

Mitch, stuck as sports reporter instead of newspaper editor his senior year, is puzzled about the new guy on the football team after accidentally witnessing his amazing catches and footwork at the park. Coach says to forget that and just feature the quarterback in every story to help his college scholarship chances.

Trying to find out the truth stirs up more than Mitch could have imagined.
Can he and newspaper photographer Kimi stay out of danger? Is he right about Angel's past? Is Coach covering up so they can win the state championship?

A compelling mystery-action story that you'll enjoy, whether you're a sports fan or not, especially as we go into high school football playoff season, just like Lincoln High...

Book info: Payback Time / Carl Deuker. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010 (paperback Feb. 2012). [author's website] [publisher site] [book recap video]

Recommendation: Sports reporter instead of editor? Mitch isn’t sure he wants to work on the school paper his senior year, even though he’s planning to major in journalism in college. Well, he can write some great articles for his portfolio since Lincoln High is predicted to have a winning football season. And as photographer, Kimi will be with Mitch on most assignments. Maybe it’s time for him to lay off his parents’ fabulous bakery creations and start doing a little running…

When a new transfer player stays on the practice squad despite his obvious talent and the football coach won’t comment, Mitch’s reporter instincts sense a deeper story. Injuries during a crucial game bring Angel off the bench, and he leads the team to victory. But the next game, he’s riding the bench again – is he an undercover cop?

As Mitch and Kimi investigate the story, they receive anonymous threats and begin to worry for Angel’s safety. Lincoln’s football team is headed for the State playoff game, and the midnight caller promises that Angel won’t make it home on the team bus…

Full-contact football games, hard-hitting news investigations, and a cute girl who actually talks to Mitch – will everyone come through safely, now that it’s Payback Time? (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

World traveling, page by page (reflective)

Lots of traveling lately on BooksYALove, especially on World Wednesdays as we look at life through the eyes of folks living outside the USA.

Which is the real Australia - the remote Red Center where Gemma's kidnapper has taken her, Stolen from her parents in a busy airport?
The sleepy country town where Laura and Leon investigate the mysteries surrounding The Visconti House?
Urban Sydney where The Reformed Vampire Support Group meets every Tuesday night, trying to keep out of temptation's way?

Deo loves soccer and his family - will he have either one left after fleeing a massacre? Now is the Time for Running as he suddenly becomes one of the many refugees struggling to enter South Africa.

Maya's trip from her birthplace in Canada to her parents' homeland of India became a much longer and more perilous journey than she or her father ever imagined, as chronicled in the verse-novel Karma.

When I Was Joe jumps right out of the headlines about urban London gang fights and the witness protection programme, followed by the gripping Almost True - yes, Keren David is writing a third book about Ty right now.

Trapped between a massive glacier and the frozen fjord, Solveig and her siblings pray for rescue by their royal father, listening for Icefall, trapped in a mountain fort with a traitor.

Louise suddenly went from the Connecticut suburbs to the decks and plush staterooms of the Titanic as she unwittingly became The Time-Traveling Fashionista.

Of course, the River of Time series took us far away and far back in time, as Gabi and Lia traveled back to the 14th century from their archaeologist mother's dig site in Tuscany. Swordfights, romance, and intrigue! Start with Waterfall (first in the series), then continue the adventure in Cascade and Torrent. Lisa T. Bergren is working on the next book in the series, after her recent trip to Italy for more research.

More of the wide world coming up, as we travel soon to Iran, to the Moon, to the future, to Australia, and beyond with the BooksYALove (but won't find on the bestsellers' lists).

Found this great statue of kids reading in Kingston, Jamaica.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Magnolia League (fiction)

Does tradition give you a secure place or trap you?
How do others' expectations drive your choices?
When is breaking an agreement the best thing to do?
Questions for our Mysterious Monday and a new paranormal series...

Snatched from her laid-back life on a West Coast commune, Alex doesn't realize at first that hoodoo spells and uneasy psychic alliances support the gorgeous looks and shopping frenzies of her new debutante "sisters" in Savannah.

Haint blue windowsills and boohags, calling on John the Conqueror and concocting mojo bags... alongside text messages and fast cars and even faster parties under the moss-draped ancient oak trees. But how much magic can the debs draw on for their beauty and popularity before paying the price?

Next book in the series is The White Glove War, currently on its way to the printers, says author Katie Crouch whose adult novels also examine love and loss in the South.

Book info: The Magnolia League / Katie Crouch. Poppy, 2011. [author's website] [publisher site]

Recommendation: Stunned by her mother’s death, Alexandria is whisked from their California commune to Savannah and the grandmother she’s never met. Her very rich, very Southern grandmother announces that Alex will be presented as a debutante at the Christmas Ball, fancy formal dress and all. Why can’t slim, elegant “Miss Lee” see that Alex would rather keep her own ample proportions, streaked dreadlocks, and vintage rock band t-shirts?

Miss Lee enlists the help of other “Magnolias” from Alex’s debutante class to get her ready for the Ball and show her around the fancy private school. Somehow, 16 years of laid-back commune life making herbal potions with her mom has not prepared Alex for the politics and pitfalls of high school with the rich kids.

But there’s more to the Magnolia League than just high-society debutante party-planning –Miss Lee and the other grandmothers look so youthful. Everyone at school, including faculty, let the Magnolia debs get away with anything. Hayes and Madison eat three lunches each and still look like models!

Ballroom dance lessons, endless shopping trips with Hayes and Madison, constant reminders from her grandmother to behave as a Magnolia should - Alex can see why her mother left soon after her own debutante ball. Thankfully, Thaddeus is interested in Alex despite her grandmother’s money and reputation.

A chance encounter with an elegant black gentleman on a charming side street leaves Alex wondering how exactly the Magnolias became the leaders of city society and why the other debs complain that they’ll never be able to leave Savannah.

Old bargains and ancient hoodoo spells, dark nights among the moss-draped oaks, graveyard parties and strange requests… Could Alex really stay in Savannah forever when her mother felt so compelled to flee? Why has Miss Lee kept her daughter’s room in the mansion untouched since her departure? Does Alex want to have it all as a Magnolia or should she risk everything for love?

Alex gets herself into some risky situations and dangerous encounters in this shiveringly good book for very mature readers, promised to be first in a series. Review copy courtesy of the publisher.