Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ROOM, by Emma Donoghue
AR: Not Yet
Interest Level: Upper Grades

I have not purchased the hard copy of this book yet, because Emily wanted it..um....NOW, so I ordered it for the Kindle. I decided to download the audiobook to listen on a road trip, and am SO glad I did! This was one of those books that I became so engrossed in the audio, that I ended up reading it on the Kindle whenever I wasn't in the car. Captivating....to say the least!

This is the story of "Ma" and her son Jack. Ma was abducted off the street when she was nineteen. The entire first half of the book takes place from within the confines of a twelve by twelve foot soundproofed room, where the young woman has spent seven years being raped repeatedly...Jack is the result of that abuse. The book is told in the voice of Jack, a precocious, adorable, brilliant, resilient five year old boy that I immediately fell in love with....and that love only grew with each turn of the page.

As always, I do not want to divulge too much in this blog post--even though there is SO MUCH I could say about this beautiful book.

If there is enough interest, I will order it....Oh, who am I kidding? I'll order it and shout from the rooftops when it comes in....the same way I do with EVERY book.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BLOOD ON MY HANDS, by Todd Strasser

by Todd Strasser
AR: Not Yet
Interest Level: High School and Up

Well, Todd Strasser has done it again! His books are so incredibly popular in our library because they are....juicy! They keep the reader on the edge of their seat for the entire experience of reading them...and this one is no different.

I must be honest and tell you that I haven't finished this book yet. Now that Hailee is driving and taking her sister to school, I am finally able to listen to audiobooks on the way to work again. I started this one yesterday. Even though I haven't finished it yet, I have heard enough to write a blog entry that will make people want to read it! (Don't worry, Emily...I will finish it...especially since you won't tell me what happens!)

From the jacket flap: Callie is at an October keg party in the woods, when she notices that her friend Katherine has gone missing. The kids spread out to look for her and Callie finds her, lying on a path, with a big, bloody fake knife in her. She reaches for the knife and raises it, only to discover, to her horror, that it is real. At that moment, another of the search party stumbles on them, and takes a photo of Callie holding the bloody knife. Now she is the suspect in a grisly murder. How can she prove her innocence - and find the true murderer?

Friday, June 4, 2010

SUCH A PRETTY GIRL, by Laura Wiess


by Laura Wiess

AR: Yes

Interest Level: High School

I read this book in one sitting on a recent fishing trip with my family. I simply could not put it down. It reminded me a little of LIVING DEAD GIRL, but the emotions it evoked in me weren't quite as harsh. Still, it was a tough read.

This is Meredith's story. She is fifteen years old, and at the start of the book, she learns that her father is going to be released from prison after serving only three years of a nine year sentence. For a lot of kids, hearing that their dad is coming home would likely be welcome news. Meredith however, feels her father's homecoming is like the slamming of a prison door on her own life, trapping her in with the worst possible enemy...the man who raped her when she was only twelve.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, I was riveted from the very first sentence in this book. Because her character was so well developed, I wanted to strangle Meredith's mother, who is in total denial over the fact that her husband is a monster. I wanted to grab some of the other characters up in a great big hug of gratitude for the amount of love and support they showed to Meredith.

As usual, I don't want to give too much away in my blog post...but if you like a book that evokes strong emotions, this is a great one!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Trailer for FALLOUT, by Ellen Hopkins

FALLOUT, by Ellen Hopkins
AR: Not Yet
Book Release Date: September 16, 2010
Interest Level: Upper Grades
Trailer by Mrs. Schauer

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

High Point of TLA (for me anyway!)

Last week was the annual Texas Library Association Conference--and I FINALLY got to meet three of my favorite authors: Ellen Hopkins, Sonja Sones and Lisa Schroeder. The were on a panel together, discussing their personal writing styles and the processes they go through to write their books. It was awesome to listen in an three such incredible writers sharing like that. I wish I would have been video taping the audience when Ellen held up the ARC for FALLOUT--we couldn't believe we were going to get our hands on it! Anyway, I took a few photos that I thought I'd post:

Lisa Schroeder and I

A signed copy of FALLOUT for Emily

The ARC for FALLOUT (which isn't hitting bookstores for 5 months!!!)

Ellen Hopkins and I

Ellen, Sonja, and Lisa

Sunday, April 11, 2010

DRUMS GIRLS AND DANGEROUS PIE, by Jordan Sonnenblick Posted by Mrs. Schauer

by Jordan Sonnenblick
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Upper Middle Grades and Higher

This book has been on my shelf for as long as I've been in my library (four years) and it has been read by countless teen-aged boys--Bubba, Derek, Wessels, and other kids that have to REALLY like a book to give it a thumbs-up, have praised this one. When I have a reluctant reader walk in, and a guy who's read this one is in the library, they ALWAYS recommend it. (OK, to be fair, it's typically a toss up between this one and Vizzini's BE MORE CHILL, but what great company!) I've been meaning to read this one for a long time--for some reason, I just never have. I had to make a trip to Beaumont on Thursday, so I downloaded the audio and listened to it on the ride home. Wow. I know I say that word a lot in my reviews...but seriously....WOW. It is not at all what I expected, and it totally raised my opinion of the kids who rave about it. I have to be honest and say I expected there to be foul language, sex, drugs, or some other kind of "hook" that reluctant readers are normally drawn to. It had none of them. What it DOES have, though, is heart. This is a book that achieves the elusive goal of evoking strong emotion in the reader. I would find myself laughing out loud, while feeling intense sadness at the same time.

It's written in the voice of Steven, a sarcastic, incredibly intelligent, angst-filled teenage boy. Steven fills the reader in on all aspects of life his life. His parents are normal enough--for a teacher and an accountant. His little brother Jeffrey has the face of an angel, but in Stevens words, can be quite demonic at times. Sonnenblick's story starts out breezily--his characters are funny and believeable, and he is hilarious.

The story takes a sharp, unexpected turn early on, though--when a fall in the kitchen results in a bloody nose for Jeffrey. What starts out as a childhood mishap leads to a diagnosis of cancer for Jeffrey--and thus begins the journey that is this book.

I will not give away details--but this is a definite must read for teenage boys--it grabs the reader from the start, and the characters come alive immediately. I am sorry I took so long to read...err....listen to this one, but am so gald I finally did!

EVERLOST, by Neal Shusterman Posted by Mrs. Schauer

EVERLOST, by Neal Shusterman
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Upper Middle Grades and Higher
This book, the first in the SKINJACKER trilogy, has found a definite following in my library, so I decided to give the audio book a listen on a recent trip. I was hooked from the very beginning, as I was drawn into the stories of Nick, Allie, and Leif, and their experiences in Everlost. Everlost is the place where the souls of children and teens go when they are "derailed" on their journey to the light. It is a place filled with danger--like the fact that the "living" land is like quicksand, and to stand on it too long means running the risk of being sucked to the center of the earth. The longer a soul is there, the more they forget about themselves and their earthly existence. There are many, many "Afterlights", which is the name given to the souls that occupy Everlost. There are rumors of a gruesome monster named "The McGill" who does terrible things to the Afterlights he captures. There's a leader named Mary Hightower who has taken on the job of caring for all of the Afterlights. I won't give away the resolution to this one--but it is a shocking one. Readers who love books that spark the imagination will fall in love with this masterfully written tale. I rarely like fantasy, but this one held my attention the entire time.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

FAR FROM YOU, by Lisa Schroeder Posted by Mrs. Schauer

FAR FROM YOU, by Lisa Schroeder
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Upper Grades

Most of you know that I have been on a Lisa Schroeder kick since she reached out to my daughter Hailee, which I blogged about in my I Heart You, You Haunt Me post. I have have read three of her books now, and I do believe that this one is my favorite.
This is Alice's story, and it follows her through the process of grieving her mother's death, accepting her father's new wife and baby, and facing the realities and decisions of young-adulthood. Written in prose, there are so many beautiful words in this book. It is a fast read--but a powerful one.
I will be forever indebted to Lisa for the compassion she showed my baby girl during her time of loss. Hailee is still grieving--and she's grieving hard--but she's healing with the help of her faith in God, her friends, and people like Lisa who have reached out to her. As I told her in an email, when that package came in the mail, the YA lover in me was awed that she would take the time to do something like that, but the mama in me was at a loss for words. (And THAT, for anyone and everyone who knows me, is a rare occurance!)
At this moment, I can honestly say that Lisa Schroeder's books are the most requested books in my library. Kids who NEVER, and mean NEVER read on purpose, just because they want to, are asking for more from her. I hope this is one author that will be around for a long, long time. Her books are a salve for the souls and emotions of people who are dealing with loss and grief.
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU LISA SCHROEDER!!
OH! And I get to meet her next week!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

THE UNWRITTEN RULE by Elizabeth Scott Posted by Mrs. Schauer


by Elizabeth Scott

AR: Not Yet (but soon, or so they tell me!)

Interest Level: Upper Grades

I have read four of Elizabeth's books, and holy smokes, does this lady have some kind of range! My first experience with her books was LOVE YOU HATE YOU MISS YOU, which is the story of a girl dealing with the death of her best friend. It was a heart-wrenching read, but the characters were so believable that the pages seemed to turn on their own. After finishing it, I wanted to read more by Scott, so I gave SOMETHING MAYBE a try. I listened to the audio of it on a road trip and I’m sure I had people in passing cars wondering if I was either drunk or crazy, because I laughed my way through most of it—what a delightful read! (err, listen) I was on an "Elizabeth Scott roll," so I selected another one...and it stopped me dead in my tracks. The experience of reading LIVING DEAD GIRL was like slamming myself full force into a brick wall—repeatedly. I had to wait a month after reading the book before I was able to formulate the blog entry for it. It isn’t a very long book, and the plot-line makes for an extremely fast read. Emotionally, though, it was one of the toughest books I've ever gotten through. Now, I’ve just finished THE UNWRITTEN RULE and I have to say, it's in a class all by itself, just like her other books are.

At first glance, the inside flap summary and cover (love the game of "footsie!") make this seem as if it could be any other teen angst story. You know, girl crushes on boy, boy kind of crushes back, misunderstandings ensue, boy dates girl's best friend, girl secretly pines for boy....blah blah.

WOW...are first impressions wrong! I don't want to divulge too much of the story because I want readers to experience the book for themselves. In Brianna, Sarah and Ryan, the author has created totally relatable characters that unfold for the reader in layers. To me, the way the characters are developed, is what makes this book more than "just another teen angst novel." The girl you want to hate because of her shallowness and catty behavior, you simply
can't, because her character has been developed in a way that makes you totally understand why she behaves the way she does. The girl you want to smack upside the head for being a doormat....again, you can't, because you totally get why she tolerates years of treatment that most people would walk away from after just a few days.

THE UNWRITTEN RULE is a story about friendship and first love...but it's not all tied up neatly with a bow, which is the thing I liked the most about it.

I can’t wait to see what Elizabeth brings to her readers next! (Next on my list? BLOOM.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Playlist...

After posting yesterday's blog entry about I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, by Lisa Schroeder, I have gotten quite a few emails asking for the playlist I referenced. I decided to just post it here, as a blog entry. If you know of any songs that you think would be good for this particular list, please either comment, or email me at: tschauer@pettusisd.esc2.net

1. Adam's Song, by Blink 182

2. Address in the Stars, by Caitlin & Will (Thanks, Deidre)

3. Festival of Friends, by Bruce Cockburn (Thanks, Susan)

4. Forever, by Rascal Flatts (Thanks, Julie!)

5. Gone Away, by The Offspring

6. Hear You, Me, by Jimmy Eat World

7. Here by Me, by 3 Doors Down (Thanks, Lisa!)

8. Meet You There, by Simple Plan

9. Memory, by Sugarcult

10. My Immortal, by Evanescence

11. Slipped Away, by Avril Levigne

12. Stand by Me, by Oasis

13. Untitled (How Could This Happen to Me?) by Simple Plan

14. View from Heaven, by Yellowcard

15. Wish You Were Here, by Pink Floyd

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

WOW...Additions to "The Playlist"

I have gotten some suggestions for additional songs, so I thought I'd add them here, and update it if any more should happen to come in. I'm not including all of them on my personal playlist for my daughter, but I think this could be a fantastic resource for someone to turn to should they ever need it.

16. When I Look to the Sky, by Train (Thanks, Lynn!)

17. Angel, by Sarah MacLachlan (Thanks, Lynn!)

18. I Will Remember You, by Sarah MacLachlan (Thanks, Lynn!)

19. Tears in Heaven, by Eric Clapton (Thanks, Lynn!)

20. Leave Out All the Rest, by Linkin Park (Thanks, Lynn!)

21. Twenty-Three, by MC Lars (Thanks, Jane!)

22. Feel the Healing, by Pam Thum (Thanks, Charlynn!)

23. Life is Hard (God is Good) by Pam Thum (Thanks, Charlynn!)

I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME by Lisa Schroeder Posted by Mrs. Schauer

by LIsa Schroeder
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Upper Grades

Before I review this book, I would like to share how I got it. This Friday will be three weeks since my fifteen year old daughter Hailee lost her best friend Mariano in a car accident. While trying to find a way to help her heal, I began to search for songs so I could create a playlist for her, similar to the one in Schroeder's book CHASING BROOKLYN. I wondered if there was an actual playlist to go along with the book so I decided to search a little. I found Lisa's blog and a reference to the playlist Brooklyn used while training. I also saw that she was planning to work on the "From Joy to Sorrow" playlist, so I commented and asked her if she had ever gotten it done. I explained that I had already put a dozen or so songs together, but would love to see the titles she had come up with. She said she hadn't gotten to it (I can't imagine how busy she must be--her blog alone is FANTASTIC, not to mention book releases and all the other fabulous things that a best selling YA author must get to do) She said she'd love to see the songs I had come up with, so I emailed them to her, along with a few more details of what Hailee was going through. Her reply took my breath away. She asked if it would be OK if she sent Hailee a copy of I HEART YOU YOU HAUNT ME because many teens had told her it had helped them deal with loss. Would it be OK???? Are you kidding me?

When I got home yesterday, there it was: the package! Inside were copies of CHASING BROOKLYN and I HEART YOU YOU HAUNT ME. She had personally inscribed them with a message that Mariano would want joy for Hailee, not sorrow and that he will live on with her forever, in her heart. She also included a beautiful, heartfelt note to Hailee. Even as I type this, I am getting all teary-eyed. I CAN'T WAIT for her session at TLA--and now Hailee is begging me to take her with me so she can thank her in person. What an amazing, thoughtful person Lisa Shroeder is!

OK...now about the book....

This novel in verse opens with Ava attending her first funeral, for her boyfriend Jackson. She is mired in a grief so painful and real that she can barely breathe. Her grief is coupled with tremendous guilt, because she feels Jackson's death was her fault.

About a week after the funeral, she's in her bathroom, when she suddenly feels a splash of cool air and she senses that someone is behind her, and when she glances in the mirror, she sees, just for a split second, not just her reflection, but someone else--Jackson's. So begins the continuation of their love story. From the book jacket, "Ava can't see or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here. Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds."

I really don't want to say much more about this book because I think it is one that the reader needs to experience it all the way. I do know, without a doubt, that reading it is going to provide healing for my baby girl--as soon as she's ready. Lisa Schroeder totally ROCKS MY SOCKS OFF!!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Trailer for HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins Created by Aleanthea Brewster

This trailer for HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins was created by Aleanthea Brewster of Canadian, Texas. There is an AR quiz for this book and it is appropriate for the upper middle grades (6-8) and higher.

Trailer for I'D TELL YOU I LOV E YOU BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter Created by Sarah Loch

This trailer for I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU, by Ally Carter, was created by Sarah Loch, of Midwest City, Oklahoma. There is an AR quiz available for the book and it is appropriate for upper middle grades (6-8) and higher.

Trailer for WAITING FOR NORMAL by Leslie O'Connor, created by Sarah Loch

This trailer is for WAITING FOR NORMAL, by Leslie Connor. There is an AR quiz available and it is appropriate for middle grades (4-8) and up.

Trailer for THIRTEENTH CHILD, by Patricia Wrede, created by Sarah Loch

This trailer for THIRTEENTH CHILD by Patricia Wrede, was created by Sarah Loch of Midwest City, Oklahoma. There is an AR quiz available for the book and it is appropriate for middle grades (4th-8th) and up.

Trailer for HUSH, HUSH by Rebecca Fitzpatrick, created by Aleanthea Brewster

This trailer for HUSH, HUSH, by Rebecca Fitzpatrick, was created by Aleanthea Brewster, who is a librarian in Canadian, Texas. There is an AR quiz available for the book and it is appropriate for upper grades. (9-12)

Trailer for COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL by Suzanne Selfors, created by Pamela Thompson

This trailer for COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL by Suzanne Selfors was created by Pamela Thompson, a librarian in El Paso, Texas. This book is appropriate for upper grades. (9-12)

UMBRELLA SUMMER by Lisa Graff, created by Melanie Mubarek

This trailer for UMBRELLA SUMMER by Lisa Graff, was created by Melanie Mubarek, a librarian in Sugarland, Texas. There is an AR quiz available for this book and it is appropriate for middle grades (4th-8th) and up.

Trailer for THE COMPOUND, by SA Bodeen Trailer created by Pamela Thompson

This trailer for THE COMPOUND by SA Bodeen, was created by Pamela Thompson, who is a librarian in El Paso, Texas.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book Trailer for UNWIND, by Neal Shusterman Trailer Created by June Henson

Check out the trailer for UNWIND, by Neal Shusterman. It was created by June Henson, who is the librarian at Downing Middle School in Flower Mound, Texas.

Book Trailer for PRINCESS BEN, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock Trailer Created by June Henson

Check out this trailer for PRINCESS BEN, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, created by June Henson, the librarian at Downing Middle School in Flower Mound, Texas

Book Trailer for I AM A GENIUS OF UNSPEAKABLE EVIL AND I WANT TO BE YOUR CLASS PRESIDENT, by Josh Lieb Trailer Created by June Henson

Check out this trailer for I AM A GENIUS OF UNSPEAKABLE EVIL AND I WANT TO BE YOUR CLASS PRESIDENT by Josh Lieb. The trailer was created by June Henson, librarian at Downing Middle School, in Flower Mound, Texas.

Friday, January 29, 2010

40 Great TAYSHAS Books Trailer by Robin Henry

Check out this trailer, which showcases 40 great books from the TAYSHAS list for 2010. The trailer was created by Robin Henry. Mrs. Henry is the librarian at Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas.

THE MORGUE AND ME by John C. Ford Trailer by Robin Henry

Check out this trailer for THE MORGUE AND ME, by John C. The trailer was created by Robin Henry. Mrs. Henry is the librarian at Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas. Visit their blog at: http://wakelandlibrary

GENTLEMEN, by Michael Northrup Trailer by Robin Henry

Check out this trailer for GENTLEMEN, by Michael Northrup. The trailer was created by Robin Henry. Mrs. Henry is the librarian at Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas. Visit their blog at: http://wakelandlibrary.wordpress.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

LIVING DEAD GIRL, by Elizabeth Scott Posted by Mrs. Schauer

by Elizabeth Scott
AR: Yes
Interest Level: UPPER Grades

I read this book more than a month ago, and at the time I decided I would not blog about it because...well...I just couldn't find the words. My emotions were raw and I was afraid that my words would not do the author justice. However, after reading more than a few reviews that I disagree with COMPLETELY, I feel it's my responsibility out of respect for Elizabeth Scott, to try--so bear with me while I attempt to voice emotions for which I honestly don't think there are words.

One particular review I came across said, "What I don't get is the point of this book, other than to shock and disturb. For me, there was no salvation, no redemption, no hope. I think a book targeted for young adults, which deals with such adult material, must offer one of those things. This one doesn't." (http://stateofdenmark2.wordpress.com) Hmmmmm....

My review is a stark contrast to that! What I totally get is the point of this book. Does it shock? Yes. Does it disturb? Absolutely. To me, though, causing the reader to feel shocked and disturbed isn't the point of the book--they are merely the tools the author uses to make us think about things we otherwise would not want to think about. The fact of the matter is, there are situations like Alice's happening every day--sometimes right under society's nose. According to Alice, there are three life lessons: 1. No one will see you. 2. No one will say anything. 3. No one will save you. Several times while reading this book, I asked myself, "What if?" What if someone who knew Alice had said something? What if someone would have followed their instinct that something was just "not right" with the father and his growing-skinnier-by-the-day-daughter? This caused me to reflect on times in my own life where I might have had an inkling about something being "not quite right" yet did nothing. Have there been situations where I could have helped, but instead, turned a blind eye? I'm not saying that everyone has a sadistic pedophile living next door--but...what if?

Does this book offer any type of salvation, redemption or hope? For me, the answer to that is a resounding yes...it may not be wrapped up neatly with a bow--it doesn't leave the reader with a warm-fuzzy feeling of awesomeness at the end--but who says every situation in life is or does? If life can be harsh and mean, why can't a book mirror that? For many of our young adults, life is hard--it is messy, mean, and uncomfortable. Our teens are wiser than many adults give them credit for being.

When asked about how the idea for Living Dead Girl originated, Elizabeth Scott describes a disturbing dream she had. Upon waking, she wrote the details of the dream down, and Alice's story was born. She knew it was a story that she needed to tell, but she was preoccupied with other projects and attempted to put it on the back burner. When she had the same dream consecutively over the next two nights, she knew that the story was demanding to be told. She also describes the writing of LDG--that it was intense--it just came out onto the paper with great speed. For me, reading about the origination of Alice's story, totally made me get the point of the book. It was a story that demanded to be told, period.

Soooooooooooooooooooo, does this book belong on the shelves of a high school library? YES! Is this book for every student? I'll answer that one with my philosophy on matching books and kids: Every book is not perfect for every person, but for every person, there is a perfect book. That's why it is so important to have trained librarians who not only know our books, but also understand how important it is to know our students--that way, we can make the match!

Did I love the book? No--I hated it--but I couldn't put it down, and I read it in a couple of hours. Some things in life are not pleasurable, but they're important--this book is one of those things.