Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe

Probably my favorite YA book to come out in the last several months...

Jasmine Callahan is nearly six feet tall, and that’s before she slips on her favorite pair of cowboy boots.

In other words, it’s hard to miss Jas, and maybe that’s why it’s so easy for trouble to find her.

Simply lounging by the pool at the Venetian in Las Vegas with Sheri!, her twenty-five-year-old step-mother, Jas certainly did not expect to have an enormous three-legged cat launch himself at her and imbed his claws in her chest.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Jas had merely been eyeing the tall (yes, tall enough for her), guy at the Snack Hut, but the three-legged orange furball stuck on her body pretty much killed the mood.

And how can it be her fault that in trying to disengage the cat’s claws from her chest she interrupted a Vegas wedding, knocked over a five-tiered wedding cake and watched in horror as the bride, in full regalia, jumped into the pool to try to save it? Quite simply, it cannot.

But try telling that to Jas’s dad and the security staff of the Venetian when they request that you, your father, step-mother, aunt, uncle, cousin and cousin’s dippy friend, all leave the hotel as soon as possible and please, don’t return.

All because a cat jumped out of nowhere?

A cat that belongs to Fiona Bristol, the Fiona Bristol whose husband is on the lam for killing his wife’s boyfriend?

Oh, there is definitely more to this story, and Jasmine Callahan will get to the heart of it. Yes, Jasmine Callahan, seventeen-year-old aspiring detective will get to the bottom of this mystery.

Of course, first she’ll have to outwit her father, who insists that she stay out of trouble, handle her evil cousin Alyson and Alyson’s equally evil friend Veronique and address the surprise appearance of her best friends, Polly, Roxy and Tom, in her suite in the Venetian. All that and maybe find that hot guy from the Snack Hut again.

Certainly that’s not too much for one weekend in Vegas.

Not for Jasmine Callahan, it isn’t.

But remember, this all started with a Bad Kitty.

Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What it Means to be a Hero

I recently (as in this morning)finished reading The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. This series of five books, written in the mid-1960s, encompasses all that is good about fantasy novels. Like The Lord of the Rings, we have a funky looking character who turns out to be of a decent sort (that would be Gurgi in the Prydain novels), an unlikely hero in Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper and a few wise mentors in the form of Prince Gwydain and Dallben.

And what hero novel would be complete without someone like Eilonwey, a princess and enchantress who refuses to be left at home to embroider while all of the men go off to battle?

I have enjoyed reading the five books, and I can understand why my boyfriend (the person who recommended them to me in the first place) searched far and wide for more in the series when he read them as a kid. I don't want to stop knowing Prydain. I want to know what happens to Taran and Eilonwy in the future.

I also want to know if being heroic really means choosing "a kingdom of sorrow over a kingdom of happiness"?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

2007 Printz Award Winner

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Jin Wang moves with his family from San Francisco’s China Town, where he had friends to watch cartoons with every Saturday morning, to a suburb, where he is only the second Asian person in the classroom

Eventually, a third, Wei-Chen Sun, arrives from China.

Wei-Chen is brand new to America, and Jin Wang tries as hard as possible to avoid being lumped in with this boy who prefers to speak a Chinese dialect, rather than converse in English. Jin Wang just wants to fit in.

With the class bullies refusing to admit Jin Wang into classroom society, though, Wei-Chen becomes his best friend by default.

But even best friends who stick together through bullies and name calling cannot always overcome…girlfriends.

Throughout the book, there is also the growing presence of the Monkey King and the problem of cousin Chin-Kee…

Jin Wang may just want to fit-in, but at what price?

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Booktalk: An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Colin Singleton.

Colin Singleton has just been dumped by Katherine XIX, the 19th Katherine to dump him in the course of his short life.

Colin Singleton, former child prodigy, has just graduated high school, as the valedictorian, of course, has $10,000 from his winnings on a little watched children’s quiz show, and no desire to do anything other than lay in his bedroom floor and try not to vomit.

Luckily for Colin, his best friend Hassan, an overgrown Arab guy with a taste for Hardee’s Monster Thick Burgers, is fresh from his gap year, the year after high school in which he did nothing at all but watch Judge Judy every day, and raring for some action. Well, not so much raring for action as sick of watching Colin wallow in his rejected love for Katherine XIX.

So, they embark on a road trip in Colin’s broken down old car, affectionately referred to as “Satan’s Hearse.” After leaving Chicago, they pass up the opportunity to see the world’s largest crucifix in Kentucky, but Colin insists that he and Hassan go out into the middle of nowhere, to Gunshot, Tennessee, to see the grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the man whose death sparked the start of World War I.

While they do find a grave in Gunshot, Colin and Hassan’s encounters with a girl named Lindsey, another guy named Colin and the folks that work at factory that produces tampon strings determine the outcome of the entire road trip.

…and then there are the abundance of Katherines who have dumped Colin, and he will use this trip to determine the theorem, the mathematical equation, that will predict the course of all relationships and explain his tendency to be the dumpee. And why wouldn’t a theorem make it possible for him to get over Katherine? It will. Of course it will. Won’t it?

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

And so, here I am

After two years (well, 18 months really) in library school and a lifetime of experience dealing with teenagers, it's official, I am one of them.

I am a professional teenager. I am a Young Adult Librarian.

I will use this blog to post my booktalks, book reviews, thoughts on programs and some insight into the profession in general.