Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tandem by Anna Jarzab

Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse. 
Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.
To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.
The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.


Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 448
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed Ellie, age 16

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Guest Post: Get a "Twisted Lit" Character Named After You!

In honor of William Shakespeare’s birthday (celebrated on April 23), authors Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, have dropped by with a guest blog post to announce a special contest! 

Get A “Twisted Lit” Character Named After You! 

We reimagined William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and “Macbeth,” with our “compulsively readable” YA books, Tempestuous and Exposure. Ever since the novels were published a few months ago through Merit Press we’ve encountered a frequent question: Which of Shakespeare’s plays will inspire your next books in the Twisted Lit series? 

While we’re currently hard at work putting our own spin on the Bard’s “Romeo and Juliet” we thought we’d look to you, the readers, to help us pick the fourth Shakespeare play that will inspire our next book in the series. Got a hankering for a new spin on “Hamlet?” Love to see “King Lear” get a YA update? Would you make much ado over our take on “Much Ado About Nothing?” 

Go to our Facebook page ( and write on our wall to weigh in on which Shakespeare play you’d like us to revamp next. In doing so, you’ll be entered to have your very own name mentioned in one of our upcoming books (either as a character or some other fun reference). If you’ve always wanted to see your name in print — in a YA novel, no less — now’s your chance! The winner will also receive autographed copies of our first two novels, Tempestuous and Exposure

We’re looking forward to hearing your suggestions! (And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @kaskew and @amyhelmes.)

*Winner will not be compensated for use of his or her name, and publication is not guaranteed. Details of plot and character used in connection with the name as it appears in the book are up to the sole discretion of the authors. Contest ends June 1. 

Kim & Amy

To learn more, check out our reviews of Tempestuous and Exposure

Good luck! 
The (YA) Bookcase Team 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

 Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Number of Pages: 330
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Ellie, age 16

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You remember them, don't you? They're the Princes Charming who finally got some credit after they stepped out of the shadows of their princesses - Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Briar Rose - to defeat an evil witch bent on destroying all their kingdoms.
But alas, such fame and recognition only last so long. And when the princes discover that an object of great power might fall into any number of wrong hands, they are going to have to once again band together to stop it from happening - even if no one will ever know it was they who did it.
Christopher Healy, author of the acclaimed The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, takes us back to the hilariously fractured fairy-tale world he created for another tale of medieval mischief. Magical gemstones, bladejaw eels, a mysterious Gray Phantom, and two maniacal warlords bent on world domination - it's all in a day's work for the League of Princes.

Publisher: Harper Collins
Number of Pages: 496 pages
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Lily, age 12

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Minds Games by Kiersten White

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.
Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.
In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 237
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Rachel, age 17

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

In My Mailbox/Blog Announcements

Tune in to get a glimpse of what to expect review-wise on the blog. We got some fun new galleys and --even better--a lot of doubles, which means giveaways galore! Let us know what you're excited to read. Also, we have a fun guest blog post coming from Erica Lucke Dean, a fellow critique partner who is getting her book pubbed. Yesterday, we had one from Travis Heermann, who blogged about writing from the opposite gender's point of view. Check 'em out and let us know what you think! 

*it's always depressing when you can't keep it under 10 minutes

The List
Linked by Imogen Howson (Rachel)
Sweet Legacy by Tera Lynn Childs (Amanda) 
Don't Look Now by Michelle Gagnon (Rachel)
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West (Amanda)
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White (Rachel) 
Defiance by C.J. Redwine (Rachel)
A Radiant Sky by Jocelyn Davies (Alex) 
The End Games by T. Michael Martin (Jack)
Dark Triumph by Robyn LaFevers (Alex) 
In the After by Demitria Lunetta (?)
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (?)
The Broken Hearted by Amelia Kahaney (?)
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson (?)
3:59 by Gretchen McNeil (Rachel) 
How to Love by Katie Cotugno (Rachel)
Arclight by Josin L. McQuein (Rachel)
Another Little Piece by Katie Karyus Quinn (?)
Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock (Amanda)
Blackout by Robison Wells (George)
Descendent by Lesley Livingston (Alex)
Across the Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund (Ellie)
Renegade by J. A. Souders (Amanda & Rachel) *Thanks Sarah!

What books are you looking forward to?

Happy reading!
The Youth Board

Monday, April 8, 2013

Arundel Publishing Writing Contest

Arundel Publishing is announcing our first young adult reading contest. Our newest young adult thriller, Agent Colt Shore: Domino 29 has received many positive reviews from you so, we would like for you to use your creativity to write us!

We are asking that readers write an action and adventure based short story that is both exciting and positive. All stories should include at least one of your favorite characters from the book and can be any length you choose.

Please submit all entries to by December 15th, 2013. Winners will receive an age appropriate spy kit, along with the opportunity to be published in an upcoming F.A.L.C.O.N tale. We look forward to reading your stories!

Happy writing!
Arundel Publishing

Read The (YA) Bookcase's review of Agent Colt Shore: Domino 29, here!
Buy the book so you can get started on the contest, here! $9.95

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book on the Hot Spot (10)

Today we put Deep Betrayal by Anne Greenwood Brown on the Hot Spot! If you like mysteries, (scary) mermaids and sexy boy protagonists...then press play! At the end, sign up for a chance to win it! 

*sorry for the occasional blurriness! 

Read our interview with Ms. Brown, here
Buy Lies Beneath (paperback) | $8.99
Buy Deep Betrayal (hardcover) | $17.99

Book Trailer


a Rafflecopter giveaway
What book has your favorite mermaid?

Happy reading!
Rachel & Amanda

Guest Post: Travis Heermann

We're so excited to have Travis Heermann on the blog to talk about writing his new book, The Wild Boys, from a female protagonist's point of view! How many of you have tried writing from the opposite gender's point of view? Or have read a book where the author did that? It's interesting, yeah? Well read on to learn about Heermann's trials and tribulations in connecting with his 'inner girl' and writing Mia.

Writing from the other set of chromosomes
by Travis Heermann

Most people have no idea what goes in the minds of the opposite sex. The wreckage left by dating and relationships is ample evidence of that. How many times have you said or heard something like, "I have NO idea what he/she is thinking!" with frustration and chagrin?

Writers are no different. Nevertheless, to write a convincing story, we have to understand the subtleties of the differences between men and women well enough to create convincing characters. Nothing blows a reader out of a story quicker than a character who behaves in a way that feels "wrong," unless that "wrongness" is established and built into the character.

When I started developing The Wild Boys' story, I knew that the main character had to be a teenage girl, which was a great challenge for me, never having been a teenage girl. It was more difficult than I anticipated.

One reader from my early drafts said that she could tell the story was written by a man, which told me that I had some distance to go before I had the voice right for a teenage girl. What did teenage girls think about? I had only a vague idea.

Therefore, I did the only thing I could do: I showed the manuscript to several astute readers who had been teenage girls. Those readers were kind enough to pinpoint areas that didn't feel true, and then I went back and reworked those things.

Some things that I got wrong in early drafts were ideas about body image, height versus figure, the relentless push-pull of the guilt and desire associated with sex, the internal and external social pressures of it, the physical sensations of arousal, and what happens in the mind of a girl with huge crush. That, it turns out, is not all that different from what boys experience, but the way that expresses itself in behavior is somewhat different. Girls are more secretive about such things.

This is all heightened by the fact that the teenage years are such a fragile, sensitive time for everyone, filled with angst, worry, heartbreaks galore, and the occasional triumph.

Boys and girls in Western culture have very different concerns and cultural baggage, particularly with respect to sexuality and gender roles. The things that make girls feel attraction toward someone, compared to boys, are similar in some ways but different in others. We key on different physical and personality traits, although there is also considerable overlap. Girls are also socialized to be much more in tune with emotions, theirs and others', and those emotions must be expressed in the writing, or else the story will not ring true.

So how does a writer do this? The answer is simple but difficult: by study and observation. Part of my study was talking to women and researching social dynamics. I even read a couple of romance novels. The observation is the fun part: quietly watching people and observing how they interact. The writer's job is to watch life unfold around him, store all those observations away, until they can be dredged up by the subconscious mind and incorporated into the narrative to make the story feel real.

And sometimes, fiction is more real than reality. 

Read our review of The Wild Boys, here!

The Wild Boys by Travis Heermann

One sixteen-year-old girl versus a plague of beasts. Can a sixteen-year-old girl stem the tide of a lycanthropocalypse? When three younger boys show up on Mia's doorstep, naked and on the run, she is drawn into a shadow world where a series of strange disappearances heralds a slowly spreading plague of lycanthropy. Mia must save the three orphaned boys from their brutal Alpha, a man-beast who believes humans are food. A war is brewing for the top of the food chain. Mia doesn't know it yet, but she holds the key to the future of the human race.

Publisher: Damnation Books, LLC
Number of Pages: 226
Type: Paperback

Reviewed by Amanda, age 17

Monday, April 1, 2013

Agent Colt Shore: Domino 29 by Axel Avian

When an ordinary kid learns he’s the heir to a secret agent dynasty, F.A.L.C.O.N puts him on a case to protect a famous rock group and find a missing journalist. Before he knows it, Colt Shore has gone from body guard to rock star to full-fledged agent when he learns that a human trafficking ring plans to kidnap a group of teenage girls. It will take more than his ingenuity and skills and a couple of cool gadgets to protect his new friends and rescue the captured girls before it’s too late.

Publisher: Arundel Publishing
Number of Pages: 370
Type: Paperback

Reviewed by Lily, age 12