Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Book Details
Title: The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Page Count: 370
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book #1 in Shades of London
Release Date: September 29, 2011 (Not Yet Published!)

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Why Wait?
This is a departure from Maureen's usual. I loved, loved, loved Suite Scarlett and 13 Little Blue Envelopes. So I'm interested to see how she takes on a suspenseful, thriller with a dark subject. And come on, secret ghost police? How freaking awesome.

Also, Maureen Johnson will be Austin Teen Book Festival on October 1st in Austin, Texas!! *fangirl moment*

Book Extras
Add to Goodreads
Maureen Johnson's Website
Follow Maureen on Twitter

Put your copy on hold today!

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. All books featured on TeenScene's WoW posts are planned future reviews and anticipated purchases for our library's collection.

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Book Details
Title: The Mockingbirds
Author: Daisy Whitney (debut author)
Page Count: 332
Format: Hardcover
Series: 1st
Release Date: November 2, 2010

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

I had a copy of The Mockingbirds
sitting on my shelf for months. I really wanted to read it and needed to read it, but rape is a hard subject to tackle and you really have to be in the right frame of mind and mood to read something this heavy.

The opening scene is Alex waking up in the dorm room of a stranger--or more accurately, a strange boy. She's disoriented, groggy, lying in bed with a boy she doesn't know, and can't remember how she got there. Her confusion and realizations are horrifying and absolutely gripping. I was hooked by the end of the first page. It's startling because author, Daisy Whitney captures the after-effects of Alex's date rape with pinpoint accuracy and cringe-worthy details. She makes the reader slowly relive the moment over and over as Alex's memory comes back a little at a time.

Despite the burden she carries, Alex is encouraged to seek justice thru the Mockingbirds since she knows the school officials will not and going to the police is out of the question for her. They are a secret society that investigates, hears, and tries the cases that the school officials sweep under the rug. The dirty little secrets that couldn't possible happen at "their" fine institution of learning. Based on the principles from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, the society takes a fair and just approach--students seeking justice for their peers.

Whitney expertly handles her subject matter, giving Alex a strong support system. Even though Alex is learning to cope and deal with the aftermath (& flashbacks), she never comes off as weak. She finds strength in her friends, the Mockingbirds, and most importantly--her own voice. It will stay with you long after you leave the pages behind.

Keep an eye out for the follow-up title, The Rivals due out on February 6, 2012!

Reading Rating
A gripping read! Despite its heavy subject matter, it is so compelling and well-written that you will fly thru the pages. It is VERY realistic, so I recommend it for mature readers. The author's note at the end helps give you more insight into the background behind the development of this story. Highly recommend--especially for a book club or discussion group.

Book Extras
RAINN - Get Help
Take Back the Night - Resources
Reading Group Guide -
Discussion Questions
Add The Mockingbirds to Goodreads
Add The Rivals to Goodreads

Reviewed by: ch3rrybl0ss0m

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Book Details
Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis (debut author)
Page Count: 398
Format: Hardcover
Series: 1st in trilogy
Release Date: January 11, 2011

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awake on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into a brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone—one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship—tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

I've been a bit of reading slump, so a book has to REALLY captivate me to get me thru to the end these days. I'll also start off by disclaiming that I'm not a huge fan of science fiction/outer space, so I started this book with much trepidation. But from the first few pages, Beth Revis had me squirming and cringing (so frexing awesome!) as Amy and her parents are preparing to be frozen for their 300 year journey across space. Needless to say, she had me hooked.

Across the Universe alternates between Amy's point of view and Elder's, a teenage boy who has been born and raised on the ship--and its future leader. Normally, I am not a huge fan of alternating POVs but Revis made a smart choice. As a reader, you were able to find out more about each character's situation, but she was also able to hide things from Amy & Elder this way. Very important for maintaining mystery and suspense! There is a lot of foreshadowing (perhaps a bit too much?) and subtle hints to help you along. But trust me--you will be SLAMMED at the end with the truth. It's worth it.

Aside from her strong characters, Revis also successfully creates the world within the space ship. At times you forget where and when they are...but Amy's chapters remind you just how small their world really is. Each person's place is carefully defined. I kind of really adored this book, which turned out to be part mystery/part romance/part sci fi--and totally claustrophobic. I felt myself longing for the stars just as much as anyone on Godspeed.

Revis successfully captivated me right until the very end. It feels like a complete story, but it left openings for the next installment. And of course, I want the next book--you know, right this second. Look for book two, A Million Suns, which is due out January 10, 2012.

Reading Rating
This was a particularly fast read for me--even with its staggering page count. But don't be intimidated, it is worth the read (or try it on audio). Murder mystery in space--say, yes please! You will find yourself suspecting everyone...

Book Extras
Across the Universe - Explore Godspeed
Beth Revis - Official Website
Beth's Blog - Excellent Source for Writers!
Follow Beth on Twitter
Add to Goodreads

Reviewed by ch3rrybl0ss0m


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