* 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.
Double-Click for Trouble, by Chris Woodworth ****+ I've been on the lookout for tween boy books, and this one caught my eye. I actually didn't think I'd like it (based on the jacket copy), but I really did. The MC is very likable, and I felt that the story unfolded nicely. I loved the older characters in here, as well, and felt they were portrayed compassionately. (Boy is sent to mom's hometown after breaking the house rules.) Definitely recommended.
First Boy, by Gary Schmidt ****+ I think I'm a now officially a Schmidt fan -- I enjoyed Trouble, and I like this one even more. Cooper is such a great character -- man, I'd love for my kids to know him :) Again, the older characters in here were well-done, as well, and the ending was exactly the type I like (without being saccharine, imo). Another recommendation for tween boys. (Boy loses grandfather and determines he'll keep the family farm going alone in his memory.)
Same Difference, by Siobhan Vivian *** I had a hard time getting into this, because the MC is pretty self-centered -- but she starting changing and showing her vulnerability early enough that I stuck with it. There are some nice insights about friendship here. (Girl goes off to art school and is torn between her past friends and new interests.)
Notes from the Midnight Driver, by Jordan Sonnenblick ***+ I loved the snarky humor in this; the MC is definitely likable. Another boy book, though this is YA. (Boy is sentenced to community service in a retirement home after a drunk driving incident.)
Eli the Good, by Silas House ** This is a very literary story, and the prose (and characterization) is quite lovely in spots. But you all know me and literary ;) A great MG boy book, however (though I would even call it tween because of the mature themes of his dad being a Vietnam war vet). (Boy deals with a completely changed dad after the Vietnam war.) (upper MG/tween, came out in 9/09)
Al Capone Shines my Shoes, by Gennifer Choldenko ***+ I didn't read the first one, so this one seemed very original to me. The voice is great, and the history captivating (the historical note at the end was my favorite part). (Boy lives on Alcatraz Island in the '30s and knows Al Capone.) (tween, came out 9/09)
The Devil's Kiss, by Sarwat Chadda ** This has gotten some great reviews -- and I'm not disagreeing with any of them...it's just not for me. If you like paranormal with history mixed in, however, this is probably right up your alley! (Girl must make difficult choices between her duty as a Knight Templar and her heart.) (YA, came out 9/09)
The Demon King, by Cinda Williams Chima *** This is pretty interesting. I like the parallel (and oft-overlapping) character threads (and plot lines) of Han and Raisa, and the ending certainly packs a punch! I will look for the next one, without a doubt. (Girl is being forced into a shady marriage for the sake of her realm; boy is trying to find his path, without knowing who he really is.) (YA, releases this month)
Hush, Hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick bec_fitzpatrick ****+ This is a great romance, with tons of tension and mystery. I haven't been able to read the actual ending yet, as the ARC doesn't have the same ending as the published book -- but I'm going to find it! Patch and Nora have great chemistry, and the paranormal aspects are fascinating. (Girl meets the new boy, whose interest in her isn't all it seems.) Nicely done, Becca! (YA, releases this month)