Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Lightning Catcher by Anne Cameron

You know something is seriously wrong when it starts raining newts and frogs…
11 year-old Angus McFangus believes that his parents are boring civil servants, but one stormy night his world is turned upside down when he is mysteriously whisked to the island of Imbur to become an apprentice at the Perilous Exploratorium for Weather and Vicious Storms.
At Perilous, the world’s most dangerous weather is studied to protect mankind from its ravages. There, Angus discovers that his parents are actually famous Lightening Catchers, who have been kidnapped by the villainous Scabious Dankhart. Dankhart wants to find the secret Lightening Vaults hidden somewhere within Perilous, in order to unleash an unending storm.
With the help of his new friends, Dougal Dewsnap and Indigo Midnight, Angus intends to stop him. Along the way, Angus learns that he is a Storm-Prophet: someone with the rare ability to predict catastrophic weather. Angus battles through blizzards in the Weather Tunnel, dodges lightning bolts in the Lightnarium and fends off an attack of Fog Mites!

Will Angus find his parents in time or will Scabious Dankhart achieve world domination?

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Number of Pages: 416
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Lily, age 12

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.
After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.
Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.
Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 391
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Rachel, age 17

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.
Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.
Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.
But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Number of Pages: 352
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Ellie, age 16

Monday, May 20, 2013

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Number of Pages: 448
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Ellie, age 16

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Just Grace, Star on Stage by Charise Mericle Harper

In a starred review, Booklist called the Just Grace series “hilarious” and said, “Give this to . . . anyone looking for a funny book.” Grace is a curious and well-meaning third-grader who occasionally gets into a little bit of trouble. This time, her class is putting on a play, and Grace is determined to be the star! But things don’t work out quite like she planned, and Marta gets the role. Grace is jealous at first, but soon realizes there’s more than one way to shine on stage. This is an act that fans of Judy Moody and Clementine surely won’t want to miss!

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Number of Pages: 208
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Lily, age 12

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Towering by Alex Flinn

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama.
Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.
Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Alex Flinn knows her fairy tales, and Towering is her most mind-bending interpretation yet. Dark and mysterious, this reimagining of Rapunzel will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering where Alex will take them next

Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 293
Type: Hardcover 

Reviewed by Amanda, age 17

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fyre by Angie Sage

Now that Septimus, Jenna, and Beetle are fourteen years old, they have assumed larger roles in their Magykal world. Beetle is the Chief Hermetic Scribe of the Manuscriptorium and Jenna will soon be Queen, but Septimus is still battling the remnants of the Darke Domaine, which will remain until the power of the evil Two-Faced Ring is destroyed forever. To accomplish that, the ancient Alchemie Fyre must be relit--a task that sends Septimus to the very origins of Magyk and Physik, testing both his skills and his loyalties to ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand and Alchemist Marcellus Pye.
In a journey that encapsulates the entire Septimus Heap series, Septimus continues to discover who he is and expand upon his Magykal power and skills. fyre weaves together every character from the series and incorporates many of the Magykal places from each book. Written with Angie Sage's distinctive humor and heart, Fyre is the grand finale that celebrates the greatest Magyk of all: When the Fyre inside is kindled and when the Time Is Right, anything is possible.

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Number of Pages: 720
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Lily, age 12

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Guest Post: Erica Lucke Dean

Y'all, I have been looking forward to this post for what seems like ages now. Erica is a friend of mine and we used to be critique partners. That's maybe why this post feels like forever. I read To Katie With Love a long time ago and fell in love with it--it was one of my favorites of Erica's--and now it is finally out for the world to read! I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Yes, this is an adult novel but I think a lot of older young adult readers would enjoy it as well. Katie is a character we book nerds can all relate to in one way or another. And actually, today she has some words of wisdom just for us teens, so I'll hand this post over to her and Erica! 

So when I was asked to write a blog post for The (YA) Bookcase, I thought to myself…YA? I mean, I love YA, but can I appeal to readers of YA? Sure, a few of my kids’ friends read To Katie With Love while it was still in edits, and they all loved it.  And one of the girls in my critique group was a teenager, and she had nothing but praise for the story. So I figured the book must appeal to a younger audience, but me? I haven’t been accused of being young anything in years. I’m someone’s mom. And the young adults hanging around my house usually stick to the whispering until I’ve left the room. So when I sat down to tackle this post, I figured the best way to go about it was to step outside of myself and let my character do the talking. She’s much younger than I, and still has her finger on the pulse of youth. I’ll let her get straight to the point and share her thoughts on love, life, and being a young adult.


Katie James, obsessive romance novel fanatic, and relationship phobic banker, at your service. I may not be a young adult anymore—today’s my 29th birthday—but I don’t really feel that old. In fact, I feel pretty young and naïve most of the time. Phil—he’s my boss—he thinks I’m a total novice about most everything, and I need more life experience.

I know it probably sounds pathetic, but I’ve come to the sad conclusion that books are far better than boyfriends. Not that I don’t love men—believe me I do—but unlike guys, books have never once let me down. They never say they’re going to call me back just to leave me hanging. They never tell me my butt looks big in my favorite pair of jeans. And they absolutely never leave me lonely on a Saturday night.

Silvia—she’s like a second mom to me—says I spend too much time obsessing over my books and not enough time in the real world. She’s probably right. But she also knows the only guy I’m even remotely interested in, and we both know he’s completely off limits.

Why? Because he’s my client. And the first rule of being a grown up is never get involved with a client. Or never go to bed without brushing your teeth and washing off your make-up. It’s one or the other. But still…my resolve is hanging by a thread here. Especially since Mr. Off Limits himself, Cooper Maxwell just showed up.

The man is deliciously tall, dark, and handsome, and just the slightest tip of his lips makes my knees go weak. And if he speaks? I’m done for. His voice drips of honey and sex—I may as well just hand over the keys to my heart. He completely owns me.

So I guess the moral of the story is life is going to throw curve balls at you. You just have to know when to duck. As for me? I got hit right in the side of the head with that pitch. What was I saying about books? Let’s just forget about that and concentrate on the flesh and blood guy in front of me.

And sure, Vicky keeps telling me he has secrets…but who doesn’t have secrets? I have secrets. Well, I would if I did anything remotely interesting. So what do I do? Do I listen to my heart and take the plunge? Risk my heart, and possibly my life, getting involved with a guy who could possibly have a few skeletons in his closet? Or run, screaming into the night and hide under my blankets with my imaginary cat?

It’s times like these I wish I had a few trusted girl friends to confide in. But I’m stuck with this group. And they give out the absolute worst advice ever.

I can already tell it’s going to be an interesting night.



Banker Katie James has a serious thing for romance novels. She’d almost rather settle for a fictional boyfriend than risk her heart on a flesh-and-blood man. Besides, the onlyreal guy she’s remotely interested in is her rich, unattainable client, the mysterious Cooper Maxwell.
Looking less like the ultra-conservative man she knows and more like a drop-dead sexy character from one of her books, Cooper crashes Katie’s 29th birthday party. But one too many drinks lands Katie in uncharted territory… Cooper’s bedroom!
Drunk on love, Katie dives headfirst into the relationship only to discover that Cooper is keeping secrets… dangerous ones. As if things couldn’t get worse, her meddling mother makes a surprise visit, digging up a whole new set of problems.
Who would have guessed having an assassin for a boyfriend would be the least of her worries?

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What do you think? 

Happy reading!
Rachel & The Youth Board 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Book on the Hot Spot 11

Welcome to our 11th Book on the Hot Spot! This week we put The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting on the Hot Spot. Join in and win some scary prizes at the end! 

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting | $9.99
Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting | $9.99
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting | $9.99
Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting | $17.99

Need more scary? Visit Kimberly's Favorite Crime/Horror TV Shows/Movies Post on Epic Reads

and if you buy anything from our online store

a Rafflecopter giveaway
What's your favorite YA mystery?

Happy reading!
Rachel & Amanda

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Child of Vengeance by David Kirk

A bold and vivid historical epic of feudal Japan, based on the real-life exploits of the legendary samurai Musashi Miyamoto.
Japan in the late 16th century was a land in turmoil. Lords of the great clans schemed against each other, served by aristocratic samurai bound to them by a rigid code of honor. Bennosuke is a high-born but lonely teenager living in his ancestral village. His mother died when he was a young boy, and his powerful warrior father Munisai has abandoned him for a life of service to his Lord, Shinmei. Bennosuke has been raised by his uncle Dorinbo, a Buddhist monk who urges the boy to forgo the violence of the samurai and embrace the contemplative life. But Bennosuke worships his absent father, and when Munisai returns, gravely injured, Bennosuke is forced to confront truths about his family's history and his own place in it. These revelations soon guide him down the samurai's path—awash with blood, bravery, and vengeance. His journey will culminate in the epochal battle of Sekigahara—in which Bennosuke will first proclaim his name as Mushashi Miyamoto. This rich and absorbing epic explores the complexities of one young man's quest while capturing a crucial turning point in Japanese history with visceral mastery, sharp psychological insight and tremendous narrative momentum.

Publisher: Doubleday 
Number of Pages: 322
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Connor, age 17

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.
And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Number of Pages: 496
Type: Hardcover 

Reviewed by Amanda, age 17