Books & More from the Teen Scene

Book reviews and other reflections from one of Oregon's young adult librarians

“Man Made Boy” by Jon Skovron December 29, 2013

Man Made Boy cover

Images courtesy of GoodReads.com

The Facts

368 pages; published October 2013

The Basics

Boy – the stitched-together son of Frankenstein’s Monster and the Bride – has grown up in isolation and is aching to see the real world. When he makes a break for it, he finds the outside world is both complicated and offers untold adventures.

Booktalk

Boy is basically a typical modern teen growing up in New York City. He feels a bit resentful of his parents. He’s rebellious and feels trapped by his life. He’s got a crush on a pretty girl. He’s into computers. Except that the parents Boy is resenting are Frankenstein’s Monster and the Bride, who built their son from body parts stolen from area morgues. And he really is trapped – living underground and backstage in The Show, a theater company for magical creatures. And the pretty girl he’s crushing on is a green-skinned, silver-eyed troll. And he has just used his computer to create an advanced artificial intelligence with disturbing powers.

When Boy strikes out to try to make it on his own in the real world, he finds life on the outside offers him both more – and less – than he bargained for. His unique situation leads to a wild cross-country adventure filled with mythology and magic, intense danger, pretty girls, and more drama than ever graced the stage of The Show.

Random Thoughts

This book was a clever and fun romp. Boy won my heart almost immediately. The world might see him as a monster, but we know he’s just plain good people.

I’ll Recommend This To …

  • Boys who think they know everything about computers and gaming
  • Readers who are intrigued by mythology
  • Adventure and action fans
  • Teens who are interested in something a little quirky

 

 

“Poison” by Bridget Zinn April 2, 2013

Filed under: Fantasy,Fiction,Young Adult — hilariouslibrarian @ 11:41 am
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Poison

Images courtesy of GoodReads.com

The Facts

288 pages; published March 2013

The Basics

Kyra is on the run after a failed attempt to assassinate her best friend and the future queen of Mohr. As a Master Potioner and weapons expert who never, never misses, Kyra knows the attempt on her friend’s life should not have failed. And she knows – as only she can know – that Mohr will be destroyed if she doesn’t find the princess and finish the job. If only her life weren’t being complicated by the entire kings guard, one awfully cute little pig, and one distractingly handsome traveler named Fred who keeps wandering into her path.

Booktalk

Kyra is really just like any other 16-year-old girl. Except that she’s a super-clever and resourceful potions master. And a weapons expert that never misses (well, there was that one time …) Oh, and the best friend of the princess of the Kingdom of Mohr who Kyra recently tried to kill for very good reasons that no one else knows about.

But she missed (how did that happen, again?), which turned Kyra into a fugitive, on the run from the king’s army and just about everyone else. Her only companion is her weapons, her wit, her potioner’s bag, and a seeker pig that just couldn’t be cuter. Also, there is the matter of the devastatingly handsome Fred and his dog Langley who keep appearing out of nowhere and hanging around.

In fact, Kyra isn’t much like any other girl or anyone you’ve ever met or read about. Which is why readers – especially those looking for good, clean fantasy – should rush to get their hands on the non-stop action, witty fun, and wild twists and turns of Poison.

Random Thoughts

  • The sad part of this very enjoyable book is that the author died at the age of just 31 and did not live to see its publication. Her friends and fellow authors have championed her legacy in an amazing and touching way. I offer my thanks to Inara Scott – author The Talents and The Marked – for recommending it.
  • If I had better aim, I can think of times when I would love to have some of Kyra’s throwing needles dipped in Doze.

 

 

“Jinx” by Sage Blackwood March 25, 2013

Filed under: Fantasy,Fiction,Young Adult — hilariouslibrarian @ 7:47 pm
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Jinx cover

Images courtesy of GoodReads.com

The Facts

368 pages; published January 2013

The Basics

Jinx is having a pretty rough time. Born into a humble clearing in the magical forest of the Urwald, his stepparents (both his real parents have died) have decided that he’s a bit inconvenient, what with the new baby coming and all. So, his not-very-nice stepfather is planning to abandon him to die in the thick of the forest. Jinx is saved at the last minute, but unfortunately by Simon, who is a good cook and a decent-but-possibly-evil wizard who may or may not be planning to do something dastardly to Jinx.

Booktalk

The bad news: Jinx’s stepfather is about to abandon him in the thick woods of the Urwald to die.

The good news: Jinx has been saved by a wizard named Simon.

The bad news: Simon may be evil.

The good news: Trolls have carried off Jinx’s stepfather to his death.

The bad news: Jinx is now sort of enslaved by the wizard.

The good news: Simon makes excellent pumpkin pie.

The bad news: Jinx may have been the victim of Simon’s evil spell that has stolen Jinx’s ability to see people’s feelings.

The good news: He can still talk to the trees.

The bad news: Jinx has headed out alone into the dangerous Urwald to seek his fortune and solve the mystery of his missing powers.

The good news: He has found two companions to come with him on his adventure.

The bad news: Both his new friends seemed to be cursed … and intent on sending Jinx straight into the arms of the almost-certainly-evil wizard, the Bonemaster.

Will there be any more good news?

Random Thoughts

This well-written, clever, rollicking fun fantasy gives me the perfect thing to recommend next time someone asks for a romance-free story for a middle-grade boy.

 

“Thirteen Days to Midnight” by Patrick Carman February 6, 2013

Filed under: Fiction,Science Fiction,Thriller,Young Adult — hilariouslibrarian @ 9:03 am
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Thirteen Days to Midnight cover

Images courtesy of GoodReads.com

The Facts

304 pages; published April 2010

The Basics

Jacob is grieving for his adoptive father, who died when their car crashed into a tree. But he also has other things on his mind – a beautiful new girl at school, his best friend, the future – and the very odd fact that nothing seems to be able to cause him any physical harm since his father, just before the crash, whispered, “You are indestructible.”

Booktalk

It’s a simple question: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

But there are downsides to every superpower, aren’t there? If you could fly, would you be able to learn to control your ability before smashing yourself into a building? If you could read minds, what would you do when you heard things you didn’t want to know? If you had invisibility, would you have to be naked all the time for it to work?

What if you were indestructible? What if nothing could hurt you and you simply couldn’t die? Is there a downside to that? Jacob Fielding is about to find out. It would seem his adoptive father has given him this power – passed it along just before his own death. But cheating death is a tricky thing and not without consequence. With no one to help him understand how the power works, what will Jacob do and who will it put in harm’s way?

Random Thoughts

This book was exciting and interesting, made more so for me because it was set in the author’s hometown, which made it local for me. It’s not a common setting, so it was a nice touch.

 

 

“Vessel” by Sarah Beth Durst January 30, 2013

Filed under: Fantasy,Fiction,Young Adult — hilariouslibrarian @ 8:21 am
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Vessel cover

Images courtesy of GoodReads.com

The Facts

424 pages; September 2012

The Basics

As a chosen Vessel, Liyana is supposed to give her body to her clan’s goddess and drift away into the Dreaming. But when everything goes wrong and the goddess does not come, Liyana finds herself on a wild, desperate search for the magic needed to save her people.

Booktalk

Unlike most people, Liyana knows how she will die. She is the chosen Vessel of the Goat Clan. On the ordained day, as part of a carefully choreographed ceremony, she allow her soul to leave her body so that it can be filled by the Bayla, goddess of her clan. Liyana’s soul will travel forward into the Dreaming and Bayla – using Liyana’s well-prepared and well-trained body – will work the magic needed to save Liyana’s desert clan.

That’s how it was supposed to happen. Liyana did her part. She practiced. She dressed in a flowing robe. She marched to the oasis. She danced. But Bayla didn’t come. Liayana’s clan – believing she has been judged unworthy – leaves her to die.

But strong, smart, resourceful Liyana is not inclined to die. Korbyn, the god of the Raven Clan, appears and offers her an alternate explanation. Perhaps she was not rejected. Perhaps her goddess, among others, has been kidnapped and is in need of rescue. Together, they go on an epic quest to discover the secrets of the desert and what lies beyond.

Random Thoughts

1) I love an good opening line. This book starts, “On the day she was to die, Liyana walked out of her family’s tent to see the dawn.” And just like that, I was all in.

2) I’m a sucker for great characters and Liyana and Korbyn are fantastic. I was crushed when our time together had to end.

3) Is that not a gorgeous cover?