* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- definitely will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite!
Eternal, by Cynthia Lietich Smith *** Cynthia has a great voice, which always draws me into her stories from the very first page. For me, though, I didn't really love this. I felt like she did a better job with world-building than on the last book of hers I read, but I didn't love the story, in general. I'm guessing it's my lack of urban-fantasy love.
Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George *** I liked the original take on this fairy tale -- and I definitely liked the happy ending :) The ins and outs between didn't completely hold my attention, though.
Project Sweet Life, by Brent Hartinger ***+ I really love Hartinger's writing. This is a great boy book, btw -- just filled with boy antics. I hope boys discover it, because I think they'll love it! The premise is wonderful, and as always, Hartinger's characters are likable and fun.
Swimming with the Sharks, by Debbie Reed Fischer **** This is one of those books that I didn't love -- in fact, it was painful to read in places. But I think it's an important one for teen girls to read. The cruelty of the characters is wince-worthy -- and although I wish there weren't any kids out there who would resort to this kind of behavior, I know that's not realistic. I especially loved a couple of things: 1) the MC realized how horrible she'd been, so her life was mostly changed (I say mostly, because at the end, she still was a little witchy -- and even though that's also realistic and even called for in the scene, I kind of wished she'd taken the high road); 2) the main antagonist has clear motives for her actions (and by clear, I mean complex and sad but very realistic). So I didn't love this, but I definitely recommend it to teens as a view on how cruelty can overtake you and how to stand up to those who are bullies.
Slept Away, by Julie Kraut ** I actually ended up reading a good portion of this book -- because I was certain it would get better...but for me, it really fell flat. The main character is shallow and...well, just shallow. I didn't really like her, and I didn't connect with her observations about the other characters. For me, there's very little insight anywhere into anything or anyone. And I wasn't convinced that the MC had grown at all by the end, even though we're clearly meant to think that. Definitely a 'meh' book for me. (YA, releases 6/09)
The Sweet Life of Stella Madison, by Lara M. Zeises *** I didn't love this, either, but I felt like the author came up with an unique premise. I did like the MC, and I liked how her story resolved. There were aspects which I would have liked to see emphasized more (as in her love on 'junk' food), but overall, I think it's a fun book that girls will enjoy. (YA, releases 7/09)