Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blank Confession by Pete Hautman YP FIC HAUTMAN

Shayne Blank walks into the police station and says that he’s killed somebody. That’s where his story begins, but there’s also Mikey’s story about what happened with Shayne, Mikey’s sister, and her psychopath drug dealing boyfriend on the roof. Dig deeper and find the truth that hides beneath the surface.

This is a really great short read. The story is told in alternating chapters by two narrators: the detective interviewing Shayne and Mikey. Mikey is a really well rounded, funny character and he drives the story and makes the book richer and deeper. Shayne really is a blank, but that’s intentional. The author leaves Shayne hard to figure out, because the book is about how people should always look more deeply at other people. It really pays off, because the book has a lot of suspense, humor throughout, and a very worthwhile climax. If you like gritty and realistic fiction with well written characters, check this one out.

Best Books of 2010!!!

Do you wonder what books you missed in 2010? With so many new books in the library every year how can you tell what was the cream of the crop? Easy! Every year the Texas Library Association makes lists of the best books of the year. TAYSHAS List is the best young adult books for 2010 and the Maverick List is the best graphic novels form teens in 2010. Time to catch up on the best books you missed! Check out the lists then check them out at the library!

All TXLA award books can be found at:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Blood Ninja 2: The Revenge of Lord Oda by Nick Lake YP FIC LAKE

After Taro killed the evil Lord Oda Nobunaga he thought he was safe, but unfortunately Lord Oda is alive, er undead, because he has risen as a vampire! This is bad timing as Taro and his friends are off to find Taro’s missing mother. When they fall into a trap a tragedy occurs that drives Taro to find the Bhudda Ball, a weapon of ultimate power and meet Lord Oda on the battlefield to get Bloody Revenge!!!

Blood Ninja 2 is even bloodier and ninja-ier then the first! It has a great flow of action, awesome swordplay and magic, really evil villains, and exciting plot twists. It is one of the coolest horror-action series in a long while. Fans of the first book or of Darren Shan’s novels should LOVE this book. I love that Lake includes lots of accurate historical detail so it takes you to another place and time. I also think that manga fans will really love the Blood Ninja series, because it totally reads like a really awesome manga. Basically if you like action packed books you should (BAD PUN ALERT) sink your teeth into Blood Ninja 2!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Girl Parts by John M. Cusick YP FIC CUSICK

David and Charlie are about as different as can be. David is popular, rich, and has loads of friends online and off. Charlie is a loner that shuns the online world. The one thing that links them is Rose. She was a gift to David to address his “dissociative disorder” all the kids these days have. She’s a fully lifelike robot that will be the ideal companion, BUT only after David displays patience, respect and openness will she be able to upgrade intimacy. If he tries to rush anything she sends a powerful shock that jolts them both. After David tires of his ‘new toy’ and discards her she meets Charlie and he realizes she could be his first chance at a real friend.

This is a smart and funny look at how technology can connect us and separate us at the same time. The awkward situations that come from a robot learning how to love are both really funny and make a clever metaphor. The characters are well developed and written with distinctive voices. David is your typical spoiled jerk, but we get inside his head to see the loneliness that comes with living a superficial life. Charlie opens more and more as the novel goes on, so we get to know him little by little. The standout is Rose. She is really interesting because she is learning things that humans take for granted and is a wonderful metaphor for how lost people can become in first love and allow themselves to be completely defined by the person they love. Her slowly changing her programming is handled very well and has some great twists. This is a really good read for people that want an offbeat story about love and true friendship.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cthulhu Tales 2: The Whisper of Madness by Various Authors/ artists YP FIC NILES

The world seems a pleasant place, doesn’t it? However, lurking beyond the illusion of safety, peace, and sanity itself lays the horrifying truth: The Ancient Ones. These eternal beings are beyond good or evil and have existed far longer than mortal mind can fathom. And they will return and in returning all existence will be irrevocably changed. This collection of comics is but a warning for when the dread Cthulhu returns and claims all that it surveys as its own.

This is a hit and miss (but almost entirely hit) collection of comics about the H. P. Lovecraft mythos. H. P. Lovecraft was the horror writer that created the mythology of the Ancient Ones and encouraged writers of his time and after him to use his ideas to create new stories of fear and madness, which they have to great effect. This collection has some great art and some really good stories. What makes Lovecraftian horror so scary is the idea that everything we know about our world is wrong and that the Ancient Ones will always win. Very much a downer, but great for horror stories! If you like this collection I’d recommend Lovecraft’s collections in YP FIC LOVECRAF.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

l-1l (in non-mathese: The Absolute Value of Negative One) by Steve Brezenoff YP FIC BREZENOF

Lily, Noah, and Simon made it through middle school (barely), but now in high school life is falling apart. Noah wants to be with Lily, but she only wants Simon. Simon is having a hard time paying attention to either, because his dad is losing to cancer and his whole family is falling apart. To everyone else they are a single indivisible unit, but in reality they hardly know each other and just exist beside each other. A hard compelling look about what friends and family are for.

This is a sometimes dark, sometimes sad, look at isolation and loneliness that is common in the teen ages. The novel is told by Lily, Noah, and Simon with two shorter chapters by Simon’s sister Suzanne (say that five times fast!). This lets us see in each character’s head and see how well or little they see each other and how others see them. The kids seem real and their flaws aren’t easily resolved. l-1l isn’t completely bleak and hopeless, but it doesn’t end with a clean resolution of all the problems, which I appreciated. This is a good read for someone looking for something real and tough.