The Alan Review
Current Editors
Steven Bickmore sbick@lsu.edu
Jacqueline Bach jbach@lsu.edu
Melanie Hundley melanie.hundley@vanderbilt.edu
Volume 38, Number 2
Winter 2011


DLA Ejournal Home | ALAN Home | Table of Contents for this issue | Search ALAN and other ejournals


Clip & File YA Book Reviews


A Faeriewalker Novel: Gimmerglass
by Jenna Black
St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010, 294 pp., $9.99

Fantasy/Coming of Age/Teen Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-312-57593-9

Dana Hathaway has had a difficult time growing up with an alcoholic mother and no father. Her father is Fae and lives in Avalon, the most desirable and beautiful place on our planet. After one of her mother’s typical binges leaves Dana feeling embarrassed at a recital, she decides it is time to go to England to meet her father. What Dana doesn’t realize is that her life is about to become much more complicated. Avalon, with all its spectaculars, is a dangerous place for Dana to be.

Dana always knew she was half Fae, but never expected to be a possible tool in political battle. Through getting to know her father, her relationships with hot Fae guys, newfound friendships, and magic, Dana struggles to figure out where she belongs in two very different worlds. This young adult novel follows Dana through the discovery of her true and powerful identity.

Patricia E. Lovelette
Northbrook, IL

Bullet Point by Peter Abrahams
HarperTeen, 2010, 304 pp., $16.99

Action & Adventure
ISBN: 978-0-06-122769-1

Wyatt has never met his father—Sweetwater State Penitentiary and his mother had made sure of that. But when the economy takes a turn for the worse and Wyatt’s school baseball team gets cut, the teen’s world begins to change. Not only does he move to a new city and school, but Wyatt also meets Greer, an adventurous and independent 19-year-old girl. Now living just a short distance from Sweetwater, Wyatt begins to receive phone calls from his incarcerated father.

As his relationship with his dad and his romance with Greer blossom, Wyatt begins to challenge what he has always believed. Could his father actually be innocent of the crime that has put him away for life? For mature readers, this action thriller will keep readers engaged at every twist and turn.

Leslie Ostrowski
Nashville, TN

Dark Flame by Maya Gold
St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010, 320 pp., $17.99

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
ISBN: 978-0-312-59097-0

The fourth installment in the Immortals series, Dark Flame opens with Ever breaking the news to her best friend Haven that she has been turned into an immortal. Contrary to Ever’s expectations, Haven is ecstatic about her new powers, and soon begins behaving recklessly to test them. Meanwhile, Ever’s quest to free her boyfriend Damen from a magic spell has accidentally bound her to her greatest enemy—Roman.

Now, Ever must not only try to save her best friend from making a huge mistake, but she must also fight the strange, foreign pulse that is beginning to completely take her over. While she is trying desperately to reverse her mistake, her family and friends are becoming more and more worried about her—especially Damen. Ever knows if she doesn’t figure out a way to fix her mistake soon, she could lose everything important to her, including her life.

Jessica S. Joyner
Memphis, TN

Dead Fred, Flying Lunch Boxes, and the Good Luck Circle by Frank McKinney
Health Communications, 2009, 308 pp., $18.95

Quest/Fantasy/Friendship/Courage
ISBN: 978-0-7573-1382-0

Imagine that you are walking to school with your dad, minding your own business, when you spot a dead fish. Oh, yuck! But wait, this dead fish talks! Ppeekk has just moved to Florida. Her parents are too busy for her, and her new school uniform is itchy. Her life is ordinary and lonely until she picks up a talking dead fish named Fred. Ppeekk’s life changes when she is given a mission that can possibly lead to her death. With the help of her new friends, Ppeekk must find the courage to save High Voltage, Fred’s kingdom in the sea. But how can such a small girl battle the great and terrible prehistoric shark, Megalodon? With the help of flying lunch boxes, manatees, and a charmed good luck circle, of course. This is a fantastical adventure beyond anything you will ever experience, and one you certainly won’t forget.

Kim Coyle
Nashville, TN

Falling In by Frances O’Roark Dowell
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010, 245 pp., $16.99

Fantasy/Friendship/Identity
ISBN: 978-1-4169-5032-5

Things are not always what they seem. A closet door in the nurse’s room leads to another world discovered by Isabelle Bean, an outcast at her middle school. Determined to find the witch who terrorizes the enchanted land, Isabelle begins her journey. Along the way, she meets a best friend, the only friend she’s ever really had. Together they encounter a kindly old woman who teaches them the healing arts. When the old woman tells her story, Isabelle figures out that the woman is both the supposed witch and her unknown grandmother. Isabelle must battle her presuppositions in order to complete the quest her grandmother gives her: tell the children of the land the truth so they no longer live in fear.

Dowell gently challenges her readers to examine personal beliefs that lead to false judgments.

Tamara Fyke
Nashville, TN

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
Katherine Tegen Books, 2010, 293 pp., $16.99

Fantasy/Romance
ISBN: 978-0-06-191465-2

Being a teenage girl is tough, especially when there is a boy you can’t live without. Lily Sanderson has been trying to catch the attention of the god-like Brody Bennett for the past three years. She has been waiting to tell him a secret that must be kept quiet. She is half human, half-mermaid. Not just any mermaid, that is, but the princess of a kingdom called Thalassinia.

When Lily found out her mom was human, she decided to see how she fit in on land. After her love at first sight encounter with Brody, she knows he is the one she wants to join her when she rules Thalassinia. Her plan to kiss Brody goes all wrong with a case of mistaken identity. Lily must figure out how to break the bond she made by kissing her sworn enemy—Quince Fletcher. Will her true love be who she thinks?

Jessica Long
Cincinnati, Ohio

God Is in the Pancakes by Robin Epstein
Dial, 2010, 265 pp., $16.99

Identity
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3382-4

Grace is 15, and her first job is as a candy striper in a nursing home. There, she connects with 84-year-old Frank Sands, who is dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease. He stockpiles his pills and asks Grace to help him die. She loves the elderly man for sharing her quirky humor and teaching her to play poker, especially since her dad left home for another woman. She also grows to love and admire his wife Isabelle as she struggles with her decision.

Using a breezy, authentic voice coupled with light-hearted humor, Epstein’s first novel for teens should resonate with adolescent girls. Grace faces thoroughly believable complications as her feelings begin to change toward her best guy pal Eric; as they try to figure out their new relationship, life, faith, romance, and high school all intertwine symbolically, just like pancake bubbles.

Judith A. Hayn
Little Rock, AR

Jump by Elisa Carbone
Viking, 2010, 258 pp. $16.99

Realistic Fiction/Adventure/Relationships
ISBN: 978-0-670-01185-8

When PK’s parents have finally had enough, they decide to send her to boarding school. PK decides differently. If she is going to be away from her family and friends, she is going to do it on her own terms. None of her friends will join her in an escape to the rock climbers’ dream of Yosemite National Park, but she finds an unlikely partner in the mysterious Critter. Initially struggling with issues of trust, PK learns to appreciate Critter’s strange insights into her feelings and moods. Together, they find peace in the act of climbing and a budding relationship, although they are never quite able to outrun their pasts that are quickly closing in.

Readers with climbing experience will appreciate the authentic descriptions of climbs, falls, and the thrill of the summit as they root for PK and Critter to beat the odds.

Ali Wilson
Nashville, TN

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic Press, 2010, 368 pp., $17.99

Fantasy/Science Fiction/Romance
ISBN: 978-0-545-12328-0

The second in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Linger picks up with Sam and Grace, relieved that their cure—injecting Sam with bacterial meningitis—seems to have worked. Despite the cold, Sam has stopped shifting into his wolf form. Now, however, they are faced with even more dangerous challenges. A new wolf, Cole, has joined the pack, and his reckless behavior may threaten everything that keeps them safe. Meanwhile, Mr. Culpepper, who believes the wolves are to blame for his son’s death, is waging a personal war on their population.

As Sam struggles to assume the role as the leader of the pack, he and Grace are pulled apart, a situation made more difficult when her parents disapprove of their deepening romance. Something more sinister also threatens their love for one another, and it leads them to a decision point for which neither of them is ready.

Ali Wilson
Nashville, TN

Little Miss Red Robin Palmer
Penguin Group, 2010, 254 pp., $7.99

Youth Romance/Coming of Age
ISBN: 978-0-14-241123-0

Sophie Greene is a teenager in Los Angeles and craves the passion and excitement she finds in a romance series featuring Devon Devoreaux, who falls for the gorgeous and dangerous Dante. Sophie is tired of her predictable boyfriend, Michael, who calls her at the same time each night and prefers television to thoughtful conversation. She visits her grandmother in Florida and meets Jack, a motorcycle-riding, smooth-talking musician, who wins her heart instantly. Sophie feels like she is living a life comparable to Devon’s and that she has found her Dante.

As Sophie gets to know Jack, she realizes he is not what she imagined. She discovers there is more to love than motorcycles and sparks and that she may be passing up a meaningful relationship with Michael. Sophie learns that fictional characters are fun to read about, but she must make her own story, rather than follow Devon’s.

Jamie McGee
Nashville, TN

Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers
Amistad, 2010, 247 pp., $16.99

Realistic Fiction/Self-Perception
ISBN 978-0-06-121480-6

Maurice Anderson, or Reese, is 14 years old and serving time at Progress Center, a juvenile detention facility. He tries to keep himself out of trouble there, but the antics of several other inmates, who prey on a younger, weaker boy, cause him to lash out at them. As part of a work-release program, Reese begins visiting curmudgeonly Mr. Hooft at Evergreen, a facility for senior citizens. There, Reese learns both how to control his reactions to those who would provoke him and a strategy for life, one that will help him find his place outside Progress and the dangers of his own neighborhood and old life.

Lockdown is the story of one boy’s efforts to reconcile his fight for life with his need to stay out of the system.

Elizabeth Self
Nashville, TN

Misty Gordon and the Mystery of the Ghost Pirates by Kim Kennedy
Amulet Books, 2010, 218 pp., $15.95

Mystery
ISBN-978-0-8109-9257-0

While assisting her father in the family’s business, the D.E.A.D, “Deceased’s Estate and Antiques Dealer,” a teenaged Misty Gordon discovers a possessed journal that had belonged to the late Fannie Belcher, “the richest old lady in Ashcrumb.” On another voyage with her father to the town’s recently departed clairvoyant’s house, Misty uncovers a pair of eyeglasses, which she soon realizes allow her to see ghosts. With the help of her new powers and her best friend, Yoshi, Misty learns that her small town in New England was not settled by highly regarded colonists but instead by pirates. The ghosts of the pirates are returning to reclaim a dangerous, yet extremely potent treasure—a golden statue with mystical powers that they had lost many centuries ago. Therefore, it is up to Misty to save her hometown by uncovering the treasure before the ghost pirates find it.

Alison E. West
Memphis, TN

Orphan by John R. Weber
WestSide Books, 2010, 302 pp., $16.95

Adventure/Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-934813-38-6

When Homer turns 13, he finds out he’s an orphan. Startled and traumatized by the truth of his past, he runs away from Iowa to New York City, taking his best friend, Jamie, with him. Their adventure doesn’t go as planned, however. After a dangerous run-in with a railroad detective, Homer and Jamie partner up with the hobo Smilin’ Jack and take a detour that takes them through much of the United States. On their journey, they learn about the hobo lifestyle and learn more about not only survival but also themselves.

Eventually Jamie and Homer make it to New York City, but Jamie falls deathly ill. Only then does Homer realize what his impulsiveness could cost him—his own family and Jamie’s family back home. Orphan is a book best suited to a younger audience, maybe even middle grade. The plot is action-driven with endearing characters.

Charlotte Wood
Portland, OR

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Bloomsbury Books, 2010, 272 pp., $8.99

Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling
ISBN 978-1-59990-322-4

This story is a retelling of the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, in which 12 princesses of Westfalin attend lavish parties and dances at their Father’s palace. However, they are forced to attend another celebration every night deep underground at King Under Stone’s palace. It was their mother’s deal with an evil magical King that cursed them with their dancing fate. The head gardener’s nephew sets out to find the reasons behind the princesses’ worn out dancing shoes, though many princes have lost their lives in the attempt.

This is a knight-in-shining-armor tale with a twist. It is bravery of under-gardener Galen Werner that saves the day, and ultimately, the princesses. Galen’s invisibility cloak and instincts are part of an exciting journey to free the 12 princesses from King Under Stone’s control.

Kathryn Fry
Nashville, TN

Prism Faye Kellerman and Aliza Kellerman
Harper, 2009, 264 pp., $16.99

Alternate Reality/Survival/Health Care
ISBN 978-0-06-168721-1

Kaida Hutchenson, an independent 15-year-old with purple hair, is dreading her class trip to the Carlsbad Caverns because her best friend, Maria, will not be on the trip, and she will have to put up with the company of both Zeke Anderson and Joy Tallon. However, the two end up being the least of Kaida’s worries when suddenly the van carrying all of the students crashes in the middle of a desert, turning their trip into a nightmare.

The three students band together and seek shelter in a nearby cave where something magical and mysterious happens: the three are transported back to their homes in California at the present time where everything and everyone look the same, but eventually they realize they are in a different dimension. Kaida, Zeke, and Joy must find a way back or they must find a way to endure this new future.

Lauren Wiygul
Nashville, TN

Rush by Jonathan Friesen
Speak, 2010, 295 pp., $9.99

Contemporary Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-14-241258-9

His father is the wealthiest, most powerful man in Brockton, but nothing ever seems to go Jake King’s way. It has something to do with those dark gray clouds that constantly cover his mind and only disappear when he’s around Salome, his best friend and secret love, or when he’s putting his life in serious danger in order to feel a rush.

But trouble is brewing in the area that has nothing to do with Jake’s adrenaline junkie ways. Forest firefighters in Brockton have a habit of dying young and their deaths are shrouded in mystery. When Jake is given the chance to join one of the crews, he jumps at the chance. For him, rappelling into wildfires is the best rush he could ask for. But this new life comes with serious choices and consequences, and Jake has to maneuver the thin lines between life, love, and the rush.

Mollie Johnson
Houston, TX

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic, 2010, 390 pp., $9.99

Fantasy/Wolves/Relationships
ISBN: 978-0-545-12327-3

Few people in Mercy Falls adore the wolves the way Grace does; in fact, most want them dead after the attack on a local teenage boy. But Grace feels a connection with the wolves, especially the one with the yellow eyes. After all, he is the one who saved her years ago when she was attacked.

Sam may not remember everything when he shifts, but he remembers Grace. He has silently watched her from the woods since she was a young girl, feeling a connection to her but never knowing why. When the two finally meet, both of their worlds fall into place as Grace and Sam find something in each other that they have never felt before. But winter is fast approaching and Grace risks losing Sam forever to the pack. Every shiver is a reminder that everything she has always wanted could be gone in an instant.

Mollie Johnson
Houston, TX

Solomon’s Thieves by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham, Alex Puvillan
First Second, 2010, 139 pp., $12.99

Crusades/History
ISBN: 978-1-59643-391-5

Paris. 1307. The knights Templar are straggling back into Western Europe after decades of fighting bloody crusades in the Middle East. Martin and his fellow crusaders arrive home to a changed France, one buckling under poverty and government tax. Before the fighters can reestablish themselves in the community, they are wrongly accused of turning on the church and engaging in witchcraft. While Martin escapes, hundreds of his fellow Templars are imprisoned and tortured. Betrayed and abandoned, Martin joins a small group of Templars in hiding. Afraid for their lives and furious at the false accusations against them, they plan revenge on the church they once served—a heist so incredible, readers will be hearing of it for hundreds of years.

The first in a series of books exploring Martin’s tales, Solomon’s Thieves combines edge-of-your-seat plot with explosive graphic illustrations, perfect for lovers of history, graphic novels, or action books.

Evelyn Baldwin
Fayetteville, AR

Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes by Lisa Greenwald
Amulet Books, 2010, 304 pp., $16.95

Friendship/Romance/Relationships
ISBN: 978-0-8109-8990-0

Olivia, Kate, and Georgia are seventh graders and best friends who revel in the possibility of a Valentine’s Day full of romance. But when a winter storm derails their plans to realize their Valentine dreams at school, they learn that a holiday about love and relationships doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic. They bake and deliver fortune cookies to total strangers throughout their apartment building. Ironically, as they begin to build new friendships and acquaintances, they each come to accept the fact that their friendships with each other are experiencing some growing pains and changing in uncertain ways.

In this novel directed at tween girls, Greenwald captures the uncertainty that comes with growing up. Chapters are narrated by each character on a rotating basis, giving the reader a well-told story that encompasses the day’s events and what it means to not just have a friend, but be a friend.

Julee Phillips
Nashville, TN

Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala
HarperTeen, 2010, 292 pp., $16.99

Teen Pregnancy/Sisters
ISBN: 978-0-06-176666-4

Miranda Mathison’s life is built on secrets. Since the death of her sister Xanda, her family has become separated and withdrawn, each holding beliefs about what really happened the night of the car crash. But Miranda’s got a secret of her own: she’s pregnant. Without the support of her angry mother and absent father, Miranda has to make an impossible choice. When her best friends desert her, Miranda turns to the only place she can find help—her own secret support system, where no one is as they seem.

Tell Me a Secret, the breakout novel by Holly Cupala, takes an honest and unflinching look at the world of teen pregnancy. She faithfully details the pain, frustration, and fear that accompanies Miranda as she struggles alone to make decisions about her world, even as her boyfriend and parents abandon her.

Evelyn Baldwin
Fayetteville, AR

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk
Alfred A. Knopf, 2010, 250 pp., $16.99

Fiction/Mystery
ISBN: 978-0-375-85699-0

Overweight and deaf, Will Halpin does not fit in his new mainstream high school. In one week he has only befriended the strangest kid in his class, Devon, and he’s madly in love with a girl who previously dated Pat, the pretentious captain of the football team. Week two of school proves to be more interesting, when on a field trip Pat is mysteriously murdered. Will and Devon decide they are going to crack the case!

Will’s superior lip-reading skills and Devon’s wily antics make them excellent detectives. The two communicate via text message and a primitive form of sign language. The sultry math teacher, the strange bus driver, and everyone who did and did not receive an invitation to Pat’s party are suspects. This dynamic duo not only learns the surprising outcome of their investigation, but they also understand a new meaning of friendship and personal history.

Brooke Heidecorn
Armonk, NY

The Dreamer by Pam Muños Ryan
Scholastic Press, 2010, 384 pp., $17.99

Historical Fiction/Semi-Biographical
ISBN: 978-0-439-26970-4

Young Neftali Reyes is a shy child who can never meet his father’s expectations, nor can he stop himself from daydreaming about all the wonders he finds in the simple world around him. With an overbearing father and social conflict stirring in his small Chilean town, Neftali must find sources of strength in unlikely places and actions.

Based on the childhood of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda (born Neftali Reyes), Ryan paints a tale about a sensitive boy trying to make sense of the world and stand up for what he feels is right. The tale is laced with Neruda-like poems and delicate, whimsical drawings that augment the sense of wonder, magic, and beauty in the young poet’s thoughts and imaginings. Additional information about Neruda and excerpts of his works are included, adding insight to the life and accomplishments of one of the world’s most read and renowned poets.

Laura Codron
Nashville, TN

The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston
Carolrhoda Lab, 2010, 202 pp., $16.95

Fiction/Emotional Problems
ISBN: 978-0-7613-6212-8

Sixteen-year-old Loa Lindgren witnesses a gruesome car accident that takes the life of her best friend, Esther. The event leaves Loa with a debilitating case of post-traumatic stress disorder. A mysterious figure known as the Bony Guy—death incarnate—terrifies her through vivid hallucinations and haunts her dreams at night. When Loa’s cherished baby sister Asta dies from medical complications, her already-broken family unravels even more.

Loa meets Corey, a confident and peculiar schoolmate, who persuades her to join the debate team. But as their strange friendship blossoms, Corey abruptly leaves for Europe. Without friends or family to help, Loa begins to cope with her condition through, of all things, theoretical astrophysics. Loa’s mom enrolls at a university and the once-private and rural family find themselves connecting to each other and learning what it means to move on.

Kevin Sawyer
Nashville, TN

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
Feiwel and Friends, 2010, 232 pp., $16.99

Science Fiction/Environmental Concerns
ISBN: 978-0-312-37016-9

Life is difficult for 15-year-old Mason: he longs for a father he’s never met, his face is permanently scarred from a vicious dog attack, and his mother is struggling to make ends meet . . . and to keep herself sober. But his world grows even more complex when he encounters a beautiful girl whose dark past lingers just outside the borders of her memory. Mason feels compelled to rescue this fascinating stranger at any cost. Little does he know that following his protective instinct will lead him to uncover his own past, which is entangled with a scientific experiment that may change the fate of humanity.

The fast-moving plot of The Gardener will draw readers in, and the ethical dilemmas it raises will keep them thinking long after they close the book.

Allison Matthews
Columbia, SC

The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2010, 480 pp., $18.99

Fiction/Gothic
ISBN: 978-0-545-06972-4

The “real world” threatens Emily, Cassie, Lydia, and Toby as they begin their final year at Ashbury High. Right away they commence the Higher School Certificate exams required for entrance to a university. Unexpectedly, a mysterious couple transfers to Ashbury to begin their final year, as well. Students and faculty wonder about the reclusive yet talented Amelia and Riley and the rumors they hear of the couple’s delinquent pasts. What’s more, Emily is convinced that the ghost of a former student haunts the school.

In this suspenseful tale, the characters realize that a wealth of intriguing connections and potentially dangerous secrets lie beneath the surface of their experiences and relationships. Moriarty weaves traditional elements of a Gothic novel with a contemporary multigenre format, and breathes life into quirky adolescents who, in the midst of grappling with heavy life issues, learn a lot about themselves.

Erin Bridges
Nashville, TN

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer
Little, Brown, 2010, 178 pp, $13.99

Fantasy/Teen Fiction/Suspense
ISBN: 978-0-316-12558-1

In this young adult novel, Stephenie Meyer brings to life a minor character from Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight series. Bree Tanner is a newborn vampire created for a purpose she doesn’t quite understand or give much thought to. That was before she met Diego and realized there can be more to her new life than the thirst for blood. Throughout this Eclipse novella, Bree tries to piece together the lies, the identities of her creators, and the world of vampires while attempting to stay alive.

Bree was created to fight—to fight in a battle against the vampires well known for their roles in the Twilight series. As Bree becomes more familiar with the myths and realities of being a vampire, she comes closer to meeting the Cullen clan, closer to a fight she isn’t sure she has a choice about being a part of.

Patricia E Lovelette
Northbrook, IL

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
Simon Pulse, 2010, 210 pp., $16.99

Best Friends/Friendship/Dating
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7891-6

Seventeen-year-old Sarah has been best friends with Brianna forever, but when she starts liking Brianna’s boyfriend, their friendship takes a turn for the worse. Sarah knows the Unwritten Rule: “You don’t like your best friend’s boyfriend.” But she can’t help but think of him looking at her, holding her hand, and kissing her.

Through the eyes and mind of Sarah, Elizabeth Scott tells the honest and realistic story of how high school dating can be complicated and confusing. Sarah has always been the quiet one who never stands up for herself, while Brianna is the outspoken one who gets what she wants. When something happens between Sarah and Ryan one night, Sarah has to live with the guilt of going behind her best friend’s back. Does she continue liking her best friend’s boyfriend or does she forget about him in order to save her friendship?

Lauren Wiygul
Nashville, TN

This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas
Frances Foster Books, 2010, 209 pp., $16.99

Religion/Teacher–Student Relationships
ISBN 978-0-374-31472-9

When 17-year-old Olivia Peters wins a writing contest, she’s thrilled to be able to study one-on-one with celebrated author and priest Mark Brendan. He’s charismatic, brilliant, and very interested in her work. But soon, Father Mark’s interest shifts to Olivia herself, complicating their relationship and leaving Olivia confused and frightened. Afraid to speak out, Olivia desperately tries to hide the constant pressure and attention from her mentor, until Father Mark pulls them both one step too far.

Donna Freitas continues her success in merging religion and adolescence with this, her second young adult novel. A timely and intense work, This Gorgeous Game highlights one girl’s struggle to confront the truth and to save herself from a situation she never dreamed of being in. A novel that is unafraid to address both faith and failure, the book would appeal particularly to high school readers, ages 14 and up.

Evelyn Baldwin
Fayetteville, AR

Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1
by Stephenie Meyer, Art and Adaptation by Young Kim
Yen Press, 2010, 224 pp., $19.99

Graphic Novel/Fantasy
ISBN-978-0-7595-2943-4

The artist Young Kim breathes new life into the vampire series. In collaboration with Meyer, Kim combines delicate artistry and graphic elements to retell the story. The use of light and dark combined with splashes of color bring nuance to the graphic retelling of the novel. The layout reads with ease and enjoyment. For readers who are familiar with the Twilight story, this first volume concludes in the middle of Meyer’s first novel.

However, readers are likely to see more collaboration between the two because of their relationship. Meyers explains that “Young has done an incredible job transforming the words that I have written into beautiful images. The characters and settings are very close to what I was imagining while writing the series.” Hence, this graphic novel provides insight into the author’s vision as it is brought to life in this riveting new medium.

Alison E. West
Memphis, TN

White Cat by Holly Black
Margret K. McElderry Books, 2010, 310 pp., $17.99

Fantasy/Intrigue/Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-4169-6396-7

Cassel comes from a family of criminals. They are curse workers—people with special powers that can change memories, create good luck, or even kill. Curse working is illegal, so workers are all criminals, often becoming mobsters and con artists. Everyone in Cassel’s family is a worker—except him, that is. But when his sleepwalking gets him suspended from school and his two brothers’ secretive maneuvering gets increasingly suspicious, Cassel begins thinking something sinister is in the works. To figure out what is going on and what role he has in it, he will have to out-con the con artists, but he must also confront his own dark past—three years ago, he murdered his best friend, Lila. In White Cat, Black creates a fascinating and smart protagonist who must confront real issues of trust and loyalty. This fantasy noir keeps the pages turning and comes to a shocking conclusion.

Michael Ebling
Gainesville, FL

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
Dutton Books, 2010, 310 pp., $17.99

Realistic Fiction/Romance & Friendship
ISBN: 978-0-525-42158-0

In what seems like a page from a Broadway show, two boys named Will Grayson meet under bizarre circumstances. Will Grayson literally stands in the shadow of his humongous best friend, content with going through life unnoticed. Will Grayson is self-loathing and has problems coming to terms with his homosexuality. Though seemingly unalike, despite their name, the boys’ lives overlap.

Green and Levithan alternate chapters from the two differing perspectives to give the reader a complete picture of the Wills’s influence on each other. Each Will challenges and invites love into their life with the help and inspiration of the other. And as they both struggle with standing up for what and who they believe in, they learn that their lives may not be so different after all. With humor and gravity, the authors weave a story that culminates in the most colorful high school musical of all time.

Brooke Heidecorn
Armonk, NY

Publishers who wish to submit a book for possible review should send a copy of the book to:
Melanie Hundley
1021 Delmas Ave.
Nashville, TN 37216-3630

To submit a review for possible publication or to become a reviewer, contact Melanie Hundley at melanie.hundley@Vanderbilt.edu.


DLA Ejournal Home | ALAN Home | Table of Contents for this issue | Search ALAN and other ejournals