Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee

Quiet misfit Rose doesn't expect to fall in love with the sleepy beach town of Leonora. Nor does she expect to become fast friends with beautiful, vivacious Pearl Kelly, organizer of the high school float at the annual Harvest Festival parade. It's better not to get too attached when Rose and her father live on the road, driving their caravan from one place to the next whenever her dad gets itchy feet. But Rose can't resist the mysterious charms of the town or the popular girl, try as she might.
Pearl convinces Rose to visit Edie Baker, once a renowned dressmaker, now a rumored witch. Together Rose and Edie hand-stitch an unforgettable dress of midnight blue for Rose to wear at the Harvest Festival—a dress that will have long-lasting consequences on life in Leonora, a dress that will seal the fate of one of the girls. Karen Foxlee's breathtaking novel weaves friendship, magic, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and distinctly original.

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers 
Number of Pages: 288
Type: Hardcover 

Reviewed by Peyton, age 17

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Fault In Our Stars Movie Soundtrack

So I'm sure we all know that the latest John Green book, The Fault In Our Stars, is becoming a movie (Woohoo!) 

Minnesota author Anne Greenwood Brown emailed us and other MN bloggers a couple weeks ago to see if we'd help spread the word of this amazing song from her daughter, Sammy, and her daughter's best friend, Zach, whose songs began to attract attention when he died May of 2013 of osteosarcoma. This is a rare bone disease,  and also the same disease featured in The Fault In Our Stars. So how fitting would it be for this young man to be honored in a movie about dying young! 

Click here to listen to Sammy and Zach's goodbye song to each other, and the song that's been pitched to the studios for The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack. 

If you'd like to learn more about Zach, you can watch the Youtube documentary about him, here

Ms. Brown would appreciate all the help she can get spreading the word about this song being in the movie's soundtrack! 

All best,
The (YA) Bookcase 

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Number of Pages: 385
Type: Hardcover 

Reviewed by Alex, age 19

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Young Adult Books...For Adults

The lovely ladies over at Epic Reads talked in their biweekly Tea Time Chat about young adults books they'd recommend to adults. In my experience, not many adults willingly pick up young adult books, but when they're given one to read they almost always enjoy it! 

Our own list is based off of books we've seen adults pick up for themselves at The Bookcase:

Happy reading!
The (YA) Bookcase Team

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

GIVEAWAY & REVIEW: All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family.
Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas.
But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever.

This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.

Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Number of Page: 288

Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Rachel, age 17

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 320 
Type: Paperback

Reviewed by Amanda, age 17

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

StarHearts, as fans of Josephine Angelini call themselves, will stay up all night reading Dreamless, the second book in the bestselling Starcrossed series. The saga mixes mythology, romance, action, and intrigue in a completely original way.
Dreamless continues the story of Helen Hamilton, a shy girl living on Nantucket Island whose desire for an ordinary life was thwarted when she discovered she is a Scion, a descendant of a Greek god and a mortal. Each Scion has a power, and Helen’s is the ability to travel to Hades.

Helen is determined to use her talent to stop a war amongst the gods and change her destiny, which is to live a life patterned after that of the tragic Helen of Troy. But her quest may cost her Lucas Delios, the boy she loves.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 487
Type: Paperback 

Reviewed by Alex, age 19

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Of Light and Darkness by Shayne Leighton

We have a fun little excerpt from Of Light and Darkness by Shayne Leighton, an edgy new YA series from Arcadium Entertainment. What do you think?? 

When one human stands before an army of impossible obstacles, the likelihood of overcoming them in this coming-of-age modern fairytale may result in war between light and darkness.

Abandoned as an infant in Prague, naive and strong-willed Charlotte Ruzikova was raised by one of the last Vampires left alive. As a human, she knows no other home than the one nestled deep in the woods of Eastern Europe, where Witches drew spells of enchantment, Phasers threw tea parties, and Elves are the closest in kin. Charlotte has lived her life in the dark with her Guardian, content to having him to herself and
reveling in his attention, until she's realizes she wants more...

Resident medical doctor and Vampire, Valek Ruzik fears the day his ward would come of age and blossom into a fine woman, and he is forced to confront his own motives as time is of the essence once his past catches up to him, and their lives become endangered...

As genocide and war threatens their secret society, the dictator in power is ready to wipe out Valek's race, but Charlotte will not allow that to happen. Fighting for the only one she's ever loved and truly believed in, she will do whatever it takes to save their love...before the sun comes up and light takes over.

Finally, she started chopping the carrots, her hands moving fast and furious as she thought about Aiden and the things he told his father. She saw the Wizards’ cogs turning from their high, holy place in the city, and the plans they were plotting against her now. It was only a matter of time. She had to get Valek out of the Occult very soon. She saw Aiden’s lips releasing the secret she had kept for nearly nineteen years. She saw them kissing her—

“Damn!” she blurted out as the silvery knife plummeted to the floor, splattered with blood. “Damn it!” she said again, clutching her wounded finger. She ran over to the brass sink and started rinsing it under warm water.

Valek, who had been lost in thought looming against the threshold, tensed. His pupils engulfed his pretty, blue eyes—gone black as pitch and cold as death. He silently stalked up right behind Charlotte and quickly punched down on the faucet handle, stopping the flow of water.

She spun around, surprised to meet his chest at her eye level. She cautiously looked up into his sable gaze; the blood feeling like it was draining out of her face. She gulped. But his glare wasn’t hungry or scary like she expected. This time it was different somehow.

“You mustn’t curse in this house, Lottie.” One corner of his mouth stretched upward in an agonizingly sweet smile that sent a ripple through her body.

The bronze light created a dull flame in the shiny black behind his lashes, as his fingers began to slide down her arm, searching for her wounded finger. Stuttering incoherently, she meant to protest, but couldn’t find any of the words she wanted to say. He pulled her hand up to his cool lips. She could feel them part under her skin. He smiled down at her again, forcing her to drop her gaze.

He pressed the cut to his mouth and gently sucked.

The pressure sent a new ripple down her spine, causing her to look up at him again. She watched his pleasure with wide, innocent eyes. The inside of his mouth was warm and tantalizing, and she instantly missed the feeling of it when he softly pushed her hand away.

She looked down at her palm that still lingered in his. The cut had completely disappeared. He smiled down at her again.

“I-I...uh—” She stammered to articulate something—anything, but once again came up empty.
He hushed her, putting a finger to her lips. Her heart fluttered as the muscles in her stomach clenched. He lowered his face, so close to hers that she could see her reflections in his black irises. The word “danger” rang out in her mind, but her lips began to ache for his anyway. The effect he had on her was unfair. Be careful what you wish for.

“I would like to speak with you,” he whispered into her mystified face.

Suddenly, a pounding slammed against the front door, interrupting Charlotte mid- thought.

A foreign voice rumbled from the other side. “Open up!” 

Copyright 2013 Shayne Leighton, author of Of Light and Darkness

What do you think? Did you enjoy the excerpt? 

Happy reading,
The (YA) Bookcase

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.
In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.
A Beautiful Dark is the first book in a captivating trilogy by debut author Jocelyn Davies.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 390
Type: Paperback 

Reviewed by Alex, age 19

Monday, July 15, 2013

INTERVIEW & REVIEW: Since You Asked by Maurene Goo

A humorous, debut novel about a Korean-American teenager who accidentally lands her own column in her high school newspaper, and proceeds to rant her way through the school year while struggling to reconcile the traditional Korean values of her parents with contemporary American culture.

Publisher: Scholastic
Number of Pages: 262
Type: Hardcover


Maurene Goo was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she navigated her childhood by practicing extreme bossy Lord-dom over her many cousins. She studied communication at the University of California, San Diego, and received a master's degree in publishing and writing at Emerson College. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a very old cat. You can visit her online at

The main character of Since You Asked…, Holly Kim, and her three best friends—Carrie, Liz, and David—interview author Maurene Goo, their almighty creator.

Warning: Rambling, tangential, maddening, frustrating transcript ahead.

Holly: Well, well, well.
Liz: What the heck is that supposed to mean? Have you been expecting her?
Holly: I don’t know! Seemed appropes.
David: Stop saying “appropes.”
Carrie: Yeah, totes annoy. Ing.
*Conspicuous silence*
Maurene: Anyway. Hi, guys. This should be interesting.
Holly: Yeah, tell us all about yourself. Your loves, hates, dreams.
David: Vague, much? I thought you were a journalist.
Carrie: Yeah, let’s get specific here: Who is the actor you most want to marry?!
Liz: God, Carrie.
Maurene: No, that’s a great one! Well, I’m already happily married (HI CHRIS), but he knows that my two celeb loves are Michael Fassbender and Chris Pine. I know, Chris Pine. So obvious. But there’s something sparkly about him…impish.
Holly: I know what you mean, but yeah that’s kind of cheesy of you. That’s like David’s teenybopper crush on Taylor Swift.
David: WHAT! I say ONE THING…
Holly: You said she had nice hair!
David: So clearly I want her to bear my children.
Liz, Carrie, Holly: EW!
Maurene: She’s charming, I get it.
Holly: Don’t encourage him! Anyway, fine. What were your high school years like? Did you like it?
Maurene: I did, actually. I look back on high school fondly—
David: *Cough* Freak! *Cough*
*Holly cackles*
Maurene: AS I WAS SAYING. I liked high school—I loved my friends, I studied a lot and was just active enough with extracurriculars to feel involved.
Carrie: What extracurriculars? Sports?
Maurene: HAHA. No. I tried out for the tennis team half-heartedly but didn’t want to run that hard when it was hot. So you can imagine, I didn’t make the cut. But all my friends were total brainy jock types.
Holly: Er, isn’t that, like, an oxymoron?
Maurene: You would think. But at my school the jocks were often the smartest kids at our school. And a lot of my good friends were brainy jocks.
Liz: Wow, sounds…thrilling.
Maurene: Thanks.
Carrie: Well, then, what extracurriculars did you do?
Maurene: Like Holly, I was in journalism—that was my favorite. I was also in Key Club, and I was also a “publicist” for the student government which was literally just making signs because I had nice handwriting.
Liz: You do? I demand to see an example.
Maurene: What? How?
Liz: Show me.
Maurene: Fine. *Scribbles something* Here.
Liz: Pretty good.
Holly: Okay, weirdo. Anyway, next question: What are your favorite books?
David: Gee, I wonder if anyone has ever asked her this question before.
Holly: Whatever, D, trying to be all cool in front of an author. You know you’re curious!
Maurene: No, it’s fine. I’ve just finished my blog tour and did answer this a few times. But I always remember new ones. One of my favorites growing up was Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. It’s one of his more quiet stories and the bond between Danny and his father was so beautiful.
Holly: Oh, I’ve never read that one! Adding it to my list!
Carrie: I’m bored. What are your favorite T.V. shows?
Maurene: Okay, you young people are going to stare blankly at me with this one, but I am obsessed with, and am currently re-watching all of, The West Wing right now.
David: Man, I LOVE that show. Josh Lyman is my idol.
Maurene: I don’t know if that makes me happy or depresses me.
*Holly, Liz, and Carrie stare blankly*
Maurene: Anyway. I’m also really into The Mindy Project and Game of Thrones.
*Chaos as all of them start yelling at once*
Holly: Mindy Kaling is my idol!
Carrie: I want to be in a Jon Snow/Robb Stark sandwich.
Liz: I can’t believe Mindy cut her hair in the season finale!
Maurene: See, I can hang with the young people.
Holly: Er. Do you have any pets?
Liz: My God, Holly! Did you lift these questions from a Highlights magazine?
Holly: PARDON ME. I really want to know!
Maurene: Yes, I have 2 cats. One is Walnut a shy chunkster who eats lizards, and the other is Oliver, a 19-year-old human-in-disguise that loves to lick your hands. Here are their photos: 
Holly: Oh, a cat lady. On that note, it’s been real.
Maurene: Oh, that’s it?
Holly: Why, do you have more to say?
Maurene: Yes, I really enjoy writing you guys. I hope everyone finds you as charming as I do.
*Carrie lets out a burp that breaks the sound barrier*
Liz: You were saying?

Thanks for the AWESOME interview, Maurene! To learn more about the author and her book, visit her site here

This was definitely a great book, but I'd have to start off with saying that it would probably be most suitable for younger teens and tweens. I really enjoyed the journey of the main character, such as seeing her family life and where she came from. To me seeing main characters of different cultures and how their life works behind the scenes, is very interesting. There go through more unique struggles than the average American. 

The novel was well-written, but I felt like I was almost waiting for something more to happen. Like the plot wasn't written to its full potential--and I thought it had a lot. In general, I could have used a bit of romance or something scandy to spice it up a bit, but otherwise I found it really enjoyable since I too am interested with my school newspaper and could try and put myself in this situation and see how I'd react. Also, the fact that I enjoyed it and there was no romance in it says something coming from me... 

The main character, Holly, was an interesting person to learn about and I thought she was a little snobby at first but that made her so much more real to me. I grew to really like her and I could see me getting along with her at some points, which impressed me. 

Overall I liked this book, but I would recommend it to younger readers. But, if I was a younger reader I'd like it even more and probably be able to relate more and fantasize about getting the drama in Holly's life to spice up my own freshman year. I think Maurene Goo is a talented writer and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next.

This book is on shelves now!
Buy Hardcover

Happy reading!
Amanda, age 17

Thursday, July 11, 2013

INTERVIEW & REVIEW: A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

Mike Welles had everything under control. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they’re getting confusing at school. He’s losing his sense of direction, and he feels like he’s a mess.
Then there’s a voice in his head. A friend, who’s trying to help him get control again. More than that—the voice can guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything that’s holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.

Telling a story of a rarely recognized segment of eating disorder sufferers—young men—A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger is a book for fans of the complex characters and emotional truths in Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.

Lois Metzger, author of A Trick of the Light, was born in Queens and has always written for young adults. She is the author of three previous novels and two nonfiction books about the Holocaust, and she has edited five anthologies. Her short stories have appeared in collections all over the world. Her writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and Harper's Bazaar. She lives in Greenwich Village with her husband and son.

For more information please visit, and follow the author on Facebook.


1. Why did you choose to write a story about a male who has an eating disorder instead of having a female as the main character? Also, why did you focus on eating disorders, as opposed to other struggles?

The idea for "A Trick of the Light" came from an article I read in the New York Daily News, in August 2004. It was about a 16-year-old boy who, at 13, got anorexia and nearly died. I was shocked and fascinated. I hadn’t realized that boys get anorexia, but as I now know there are about a million young male victims of eating disorders in this country -- about ten percent of all those with eating disorders. That article was the seed for the entire book; I hadn’t been thinking about eating disorders (in girls or boys), or about any other struggles kids go through. Once the story took hold, I didn’t want to write about anything else.

2. What inspired you to write the book from the point of view of the voice inside Mike's head? Was this challenging?

At first Mike (the main character) told his own story in first-person. He had a voice in his head, and this voice kept breaking into his thoughts and actions. Over the years (the book had many rewrites) the voice got louder, more insistent, more powerful. At some point, the voice took over completely and started telling the story. In many ways, this made things a lot easier, and made me feel closer to the reader. Instead of my having to tell the reader that the voice, which thinks it has Mike’s best interests at heart, was actually being manipulative and cruel, the reader would know it instinctively. It’s as if the reader and I were telling each other, yeah, I know what's really going on here.

3. What was your favorite part about writing this book? Least favorite part?

I liked writing the voice when it got upset, when it felt it was losing Mike in some way. When Mike meets Valerie and falls for her, the voice keeps putting her down, saying she is untrustworthy, self-centered, eager to break his heart. Of course she is a perfectly nice girl! When Mike talks about his passion for stop-motion movies, the voice complains it's bored and restless. Which it isn't -- it's scared and worried about its own survival.
The least favorite part was the worry that the book would be a "trigger" in some way -- set off an eating disorder in someone. I was careful not to glamorize anorexia or make it appealing. Eating disorders have the highest death rate of any psychological illness, somewhere between five and 20 percent. In the fictional world of Mike and his voice, I was always aware that eating disorders are very real and very deadly.

4. Are you working on any books/stories right now? If so, can you give us a hint on what they are about?

I'm working on a novel that's set in the near future, a science-fiction story about a girl who is very unhappy and does something drastic to cure her unhappiness. Still in the middle of it, so that's all I can say for now!

5. A very off-topic question: what is your favorite book, and why?

My favorite YA is "I am the cheese" by Robert Cormier. I've read it many times and each time I see something new to admire. It leaves a deep impression, and you just can't stop thinking about it. It's a story that, on one level, is about a boy bicycling to meet his father, and he is also sitting in a bare room, answering questions and getting recorded (told in alternating chapters). The book is told simply and yet is very complicated, which is my favorite kind of writing. There are several different layers of reality, which can be confusing at first, but it all makes sense by the end. Robert Cormier knew that young readers are intelligent and thoughtful -- he even said that his books are too hard for adults! He gave me the courage to "go all out" when it came to writing YA.

© 2013 Lois Metzger, author of A Trick of the Light


To be honest, I had no idea what to expect when I picked up A Trick of The Light by Lois Metzger. However, what I got was very different from what I was expecting: Mike is a teenage boy, dealing with far more than he should be. With his parent’s relationship beginning to go to pieces and his own social life starting to fall apart, Mike is trying to find stability in his rapidly deteriorating world…and that search for stability is the beginning of his true problem: his battle with anorexia and with a voice in his head, a voice that is urging his illness on.

Male anorexia is not a wildly popular topic in literature, so I am glad to see it finally making its mark. This book paints a haunting portrait of how anorexia progresses and how it can effect you. The prose was particularly disturbing, as the story was told from the point of view of the voice in Mike’s head: the anorexia itself. While this point of view added authenticity and intrigue to the novel, it also created an atmosphere of uneasiness. I didn’t want to put the book down, as both the main plotline and the subplots of Mike’s familial and friend-related relationships were captivating.

My only complaint about this book would be that, since it is on such a serious topic, it was difficult to read for extended periods of time. This isn’t so much of a complaint as a warning: unless you want to feel disturbed/sad, keep a more lighthearted book on hand! I, personally, read a little bit everyday, while also reading a lighter book in order to give me a break. However, this does not mean that the book is bad: on the contrary, I genuinely enjoyed this book. The topic is just meant for mature readers, and I feel that it is an important book that carries a message that we should all learn.

I would recommend this book to mature readers looking for a serious, unique book that will make you think.

Win a hardcover of A Trick of the Light

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Happy reading!
Ellie, age 16

Monday, July 8, 2013

Belladonna by Fiona Paul

In Renaissance Italy, love, lust, intrigue and secret societies converge to stunning results!
In the second in the stunning Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancé, Luca. But Luca seems to have his own secrets. When he’s arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass’s life is once again thrown into chaos. She must save Luca, and that means finding the Book of the Eternal Rose—the only evidence that will prove he’s innocent.
So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of vampirism, secret soirees and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who is working for the Order’s eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself.
Can Cass trust her heart to lead her to the truth this time?

Nothing is as it seems in this seductive thriller, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.

Publisher: Philomel 
Number of Pages: 352
Type: Hardcover 

Reviewed by Rachel, age 17

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Blackout by Robison Wells

Laura and Alec are trained terrorists.
Jack and Aubrey are high school students.
There was no reason for them to ever meet.
But now, a mysterious virus is spreading throughout America, infecting teenagers with impossible powers. And these four are about to find their lives intertwined in a complex web of deception, loyalty, and catastrophic danger—where one wrong choice could trigger an explosion that ends it all.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 352
Type: Hardcover 

Reviewed by Jack, age 14

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters by Diane Zahler

The classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty is transformed into a dazzling new story of two sisters fighting a powerful curse by Diane Zahler, the acclaimed author of The Thirteenth Princess. Briskly paced and full of lush descriptions, readers who enjoy the work of Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine will be swept away by this spellbinding novel
The daughters of Sleeping Beauty, Princesses Aurora and Luna, have grown up in a cliff-top palace by the sea, where they are carefully protected by their parents. No one visits, the girls cannot stray beyond the castle walls, and all sharp objects are forbidden here.
But accidents will happen--particularly when an old curse still has power. Soon, in spite of all precautions, Aurora is struggling not to slip into an enchanted sleep.

Frantic, the princesses accept the help of a young fisherman named Symon and embark on a daring ocean voyage to find their aunt--a fairy who may be able to break the spell. From fearsome beasts to raging storms, many dangers befall them, yet they must not give up . . . for if Aurora sleeps, she will not wake for one hundred years.
Publisher: HarperCollins 
Number of Pages: 256
Type: Hardcover 

Reviewed by Dee Dee, age 13

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Across the Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction–the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars–is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.
On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.
Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.
Publisher: Balzer + Bray 
Number of Pages: 464
Type: Hardcover 

Reviewed by Ellie, age 16

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

INTERVIEW: Megan Shepherd

If you've read the blog this year, then you know that many of the reviewers read and enjoyed The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd. (You can read Rachel's review, here.) This book is creepy, unique, suspenseful, scary, sweet, horrifying, romantic--pretty much all the things you could hope for in a book! We had very few complaints. Now, the title and cover have been revealed for the sequel, Her Dark Curiosity, which was inspired by the themes in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Read our interview with Ms. Shepherd to learn more about it! 

What can we expect to be different and what can we expect to be the same in Her Dark Curiosity in comparison to The Madman's Daughter

I think they’re similar books in terms of mood and tone, and many of the main characters are the same, though HER DARK CURIOSITY introduces some new faces. Though THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER largely took place on a tropical island, HER DARK CURIOSITY finds Juliet back in London in wintertime, but I think she finds that in some ways the city can be just as savage and dangerous as the jungle.

What are you most excited for in Her Dark Curiosity? Did you enjoy writing it as much as The Madman's Daughter?

Writing HER DARK CURIOSITY was much harder, largely because of the internal struggle in many of the characters. In the first book Juliet defeats her father physically, and yet she still has to deal with his dark legacy, and how much she is becoming like him. It was a challenge to weave in themes, plots, and characters from THE STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE (which serves as inspiration for the second book), but it was a challenge I loved doing.

Describe Her Dark Curiosity in three words.


I absolutely loved the characters in The Madman's Daughter. Monsters and humans alike! But as far as the three main characters go...

Describe Montgomery and Juliet's relationship in 3 words.


Describe Edward and Juliet's relationship in 3 words. 


What inspired you most while writing Her Dark Curiosity?

My husband and I took a trip to London to research the book. Late one night, we took a Jack the Ripper tour through twisting Whitechapel lanes and saw the actual places where the grisly murders were committed. The buildings and streets hadn’t changed all that much since the Victorian era. It was so disturbing and frightening that one lady on the tour fainted. Needless to say, many of those twisting streets serve as a creepy setting in the book.

Anything you can tell us about Book #3?

Book Three continues to explore the themes of scientific arrogance and dark experimentation introduced in the first two books, but this time it takes place on a remote and ancient manor in northern Scotland. If the theme of the first book is man versus animal, and the theme of the second book is man versus self, then the theme of the third book is man (or woman!) versus death. So that fits nicely with the Frankenstein theme, though it isn’t a straight retelling of Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN.

Thanks so much, Ms. Shepherd! A  remote tropical island, London, Scotland...We can't wait for Her Dark Curiosity and Book Three to hit shelves!!! 

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Happy reading! 
The (YA) Bookcase

Monday, July 1, 2013

GIVEAWAY: The Dark Unwinding & A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron

Recently The Bookcase received a package from Scholastic with a finished copy, an ARC and a signed book plate. Enclosed was this letter from Scholastic's Executive Editor: 
"It is always thrilling to publish a book I adore, one in which I can absolutely lose myself inside a richly built world filled with characters who come to feel like friends. But to have the opportunity to re-enter such a world is even more exciting. With A Spark Unseen, Sharon Cameron's sequel to The Dark Unwinding, readers will get to do just that--lose themselves once again in the beautiful, dangerous world of Katharine Tulman and her uncle Tully's marvelous inventions." 
We would love to review these books, but unfortunately all the reviewers are stacked and there's no time. So we're giving the package away. (A hardcover of The Dark Unwinding, an ARC of A Spark Unseen, and a signed book plate from Sharon Cameron). 

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Good luck!
The (YA) Bookcase