* 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.
Bobby Vs. Girls (Accidentally), by Lisa Yee lisayee ****+ This is a such a cute story! In some ways, it reminds me of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, except I like Bobby better than Peter (personally). The story: When Bobby returns to school for 4th grade, he discovers that his best friend Holly has become friends with Jillian, one of Bobby's least favorite people. It doesn't take long before Bobby finds himself at war with all the girls in their class, though he never really meant to do that. (MG, POC challenge)
Stupid Cupid, by Rhonda Stapleton ****+ I really enjoyed this one, as well. It's a light, fluffy romance, with a touch of wisdom tossed into the mix. The story: Felicity gets a new job at a matchmaking company, only to learn that she's actually a cupid, magic 'arrows' (sent through e-mail) and all. When she tries to match up one of her best friends, however, things go a little wonky. I'll definitely look for the next one by Rhonda -- Flirting with Disaster. (YA)
The Queen of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner ***+ I think the reason this works so well is the contrast between Gen and the queen -- he's so open and giving, and she's closed-off and proud. I look forward to the next one, because I think I'll get to see more of their interactions. The story: After the Queen of Attolia punishes Gen for being the Thief of Eddis, the two countries must find some way to work out their differences, and Gen finds himself at the core of the solution. (YA fantasy)
The Real Real, by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus ***+ This was certainly an interesting premise, though I think it's been done before (however, I haven't read any others until this one) -- and I liked the romantic tension between Jesse and Drew, as well as how some of the other relationships worked out. The story: When a reality TV show wants to film at Jesse's high school, a few students are chosen as the focus of the 'story', and Jesse is one of them -- along with her crush, Drew. Jesse agrees to do it, hoping she'll get closer to Drew, but things don't quite go as planned as the director has other ideas about who he wants to see Jesse with. (upper YA)
Some Girls Are, by Courtney Summers **** When I first finished this, I was torn about how I felt about it -- but since then, I haven't been able to stop thinking about Regina and her life. I appreciate books which make me think and which open my eyes to a type of person I hadn't know before, along with books about different kinds of courage. Regina certainly fits both of those (and although I wouldn't have made her choices, her courage is astounding to me), and I would definitely recommend this for those reasons -- as well as because it's extremely well written (no surprise to those who've read Courtney's first book, Cracked Up to Be). The story: Regina worked hard to find her way into the top echelon of girls at her high school, but all it takes is one misunderstanding for her to be shoved back out -- and then she experiences the cruelty of those girls firsthand. As a fighter, she digs in and takes it, until they ask for the one thing she can't give. (upper YA)
Violet by Design, by Melissa Walker ** I liked the main character okay in this, but the story just didn't draw me in. I don't think models and their challenges are my thing, but I bet this is a big hit with all those interested in Project Runway these days. (YA)
Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher **** This is a fascinating world, and I thought the story was nicely involved and complex (though I figured out one of the main 'mysteries' practically from the first mention of it). My favorite part was the revelation about Incarceron -- that truly did surprise me, and I have to say, it's such a clever idea! The story: Finn is a prisoner in Incarceron, a living prison which never allows its prisoners to escape -- except for one, who's a hero to the current prisoners. Claudia is set to marry into the royal line, making her the queen of the country. Neither is free, and when Claudia 'meets' Finn, she decides there need to be changes -- a challenge when her father is the Warden of Incarceron. (YA fantasy)
The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, by Lauren Willig **** I'm so glad she wrote another of these! Penelope is such a feisty heroine, and the contrast between her and Alex is well done. The story: Eloise continues her studies on the English spies who took on flower names to hide their purpose. She learns about Penelope and Captain Alex Reid and their travel through India in this installment. (adult, romantic suspense)
Canterwood Crest: Best Enemies, by Jessica Burkhart ** Although these aren't really to my personal taste, I think there very true to a tween's perspective. Not only that, but the horse knowledge and understanding must appeal to the many girls out there who love horses. I thought the romantic aspects were also nice. The story: Sasha continues to work toward her goal of making a national equestrian team, but her attention is divided when two of the other girls begin fighting over their own dreams. (tween)
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, by Brandon Sanderson ** This is another which isn't really to my taste, but I like how Alcatraz (a 13-year old boy) is so snarky and clever. The world itself is snarky, and it reminds me of tween boys. The story: Alcatraz discovers his role in the world is different than he thought on his 13th birthday, when a box of sand arrives from his long-absent parents -- and suddenly everyone wants not only the sand, but Alcatraz himself. (tween quirky fantasy)