JUNE
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
(netgalley) An unusual book. In a small town in the midwest (?) Jeremy Johnson Johnson has been hearing voices no one else can hear--the voice of Jacob Grimm. Told by this ghost with this old soul perspective, the story takes on its own fairytale aura. But evil things are happening (as they do in Grimm fairy tales!). The inclusion of current events like the TV show, "Uncommon Knowledge" keep pulling us back to reality, but the fairy tale keeps drawing us into the story. Truly creepy as the story nears the end (too intense for younger readers), definitely YA. As one reviewer says, "compulsively readable" for sure. Some romance. Psychopathic torture scenes. (does come back from the edge though)

The Selection by Kiera Cass
For some reason this has gotten horrible reviews on Goodreads. I thought it was OK and will appeal to our YA romance seekers. America Singer (OK that is a bit over the top), is Selected to compete with 35 other virgins for the hand of Prince Maxon. Her true love, Aspen, tells her it just won't work because he's lower than she is on the caste ratings. The dystopian US is kind of interesting although not as clearly drawn as Divergent. This is supposed to be The Bachelor meets Hunger Games. meh. OK. YA for romance.

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Starting with the ride from the hospital to her new home, Carley Connors has to come up with some way to survive becoming a foster kid. Sure her mom was less than optimal, but still. The Murphys are just too good to be true and Carley has a rough start. This is a straightforward story about the rollercoaster life in foster care. Who are you? Where do you belong? CCBA nominee. Very good although I liked Almost Home better. 4th+
Wild Life by Cynthia DeFelice
One review said, "Finally a book about hunting!" I guess there aren't many. This is more about dealing with family troubles in a very current way. Erik Carlson is shipped off to live with Oma and Big Darrell because his parents are being sent to Iraq to train troops. Erik was supposed to go hunting for the first time with his best friend, but instead finds himself in NOwhere North Dakota. The feel for the land is terrific. The survival story is pretty realistic. I did find the change in Big Darrell a bit hard to swallow. Oh yeah, it's a dog story too. Good read for boys. 4th + (CCBA nominee)
Will in Scarlett by Matthew Cody
(netgalley) Excellent introduction to Robin and his Merry
Men and life in the middle ages (Crusades). Will is an heir to a large estate but finds his world turned upsidedown by the evil Sir Guy of Gisborne, the Horse Knight (his armor is pieced together from horse skins). This is a well-built narrative with revenge, battles, escapes, and some losses. The characters are gripping. Loved it. YA for violence and sexual references.
Trash Can Days by Teddy Steinkellner
(netgalley) Jake, rich Jewish and white, has always had his best friend Danny, servant's son and Mexican, growing up. Hannah, Jake's older sister, has always been a queen bee. Dorothy Wu, Asian misfit sixth grader, is not "smart" but is certainly unique. The four of them go through a year of middle school that changes everyone's friendships and understanding of who they really are. Some serious conflict (there are rival gangs who carry weapons, and Hannah has some pretty awful bullying happening), and some very funny moments too (Hannah's blog reads with pitch-perfect voice). This is a winner. YA for sexual discussions.

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
Starla Claudelle has had all she can stand and runs away from her grandmother's home to find her mother in Nashville. Along the way she is picked up by Eula, a black woman who has rescued a white baby.But they are in the deep South and there is more danger than Starla could ever have imagined. This is a moving account of racial relations during the early 60s. It gets scary pretty quickly and the undercurrents make this a YA. Starla is an excellent young character with strength and kindness. The relationship between Starla and Eula becomes gripping. Excellent. YA

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
As usual, Dessen examines another social issue through the life of a young woman in high school and her relationships. This one is a bit more abstract. The plot is not exactly thrilling, but the relationships are great. Emaline has dated Luke since freshmen year. She has a typical combined family of stepdad and stepsisters with some fighting but lots of loyalty. They live in a small coastal vacation town and run the rental realty business. Enter a big city documentary maker and her cute assistant. And Emaline is working through the big changes coming at the end of the summer--especially leaving her town for college. (in this case the character does have implied sex. Not explicit, but accepted). YA. The theme here is how much we are were we live. Can you really leave home?

The Elite by Kiera Cass
The plot thickens--finally! Poor America Singer (cue violins) is now part of the top six choices for future queen of Illea. Yes she does love Prince Maxon--well sort of. But her first (and hotsy) love Aspen is right there as a guard in the palace now. Oh no. The other girls are getting just a bit catty, and Maxon is also getting confusing. Romance aside, the best part of this is the politics. Where is Illea actually headed? Can the caste system be changed? Who is wielding power really, and what was the hero/founder of the kingdom really looking to do? I'm a bit tired of the angst but the government stuff is good for some thought. YA for oh so much romance and some war violence.

House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini
Ick. This reads like a bad TV kids adventure show. It was disjointed and confusing. I never really liked any of the characters, and the "comic" violence was awful. At one point a pirate is stabbed through the eye and one of our "heroes" tells him to stop whining and get an eyepatch. Really? It probably will be a movie since that's what Chris Columbus does. Almost bad enough to not put on the shelf, but not quite. Maybe no one will read it. 0-

Bad Kitty School Daze by Nick Bruel (CCBA nominee)
I read this because it's a CCBA nominee. These have been pretty popular. It's a mix of text and graphic novel, so not heavy reading. I'm not sure I can categorize what reading level. It's certainly not long and the words seem not too difficult. I'll give it to Mary and see if she can read it. Kitty goes off to obedience school with drooly puppy and meets Petunia (a cat hating bulldog), and Dr. Lagomorph (a misguided rabbit). The animals talk to Ms D, in a most politically correct school setting, except Kitty. (strange). The part that I laughed at was the "Love Love Angel Kitten" merchandise. This should be popular. Early reader +

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
(recommended by Avery Hill. Lots of Grimm connections lately. This is a modern day story around a collection of Grimm artifacts in the New York Circulating Material Depository. Elizabeth has just been offered a job there as a page where she meets Marc, Anjali, and Aaron. Things have been going missing and the four pages get in over their heads trying to figure out whom to trust. Great characters, setting and plot. This one pulled me in and kept hold of me (unlike House of Secrets). Very Very Good. 4th+

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Wish it hadn't been so long since I read books one and two. This is another "I love two boys" story packed into a destroy the world story. I will admit this one is infinitely better written than Selection and/or Elite. The individual paragraphs are just better. I think the depiction of angels may be my favorite part of Clare's books. Deadly Glory. The epilogue holds a huge surprise. And all's well that ends well. Very Very Good. YA for yearnings.

Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin and Kevin Cornell
In the vein of Hank the Cowdog, this is about a retired Search and Rescue Dog. Much simpler. This is a beginner chapter book a step above Mercy Watson. Funny dialog. "you smell like a wet dog." said Sugar. "I am a wet dog," I grumbled. Excellent starter book. Kinder+

The Legend of Diamond Lil: a JJ Tully Mystery by Doreen Cronin and Kevin Cornell
see above. same style but even more plot. beginning chapter books that are mysteries are hard to come by. Nicely done. Excellent Kinder+ This might be a first read aloud chapter book. CCBA nominee

Wings of Fire: the Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T Sutherland
CCBA nominee or I would have quit. Reminds me of the cat clan series by Erin Hunter. Clay, a MudWing dragonet, has lived his whole life hidden away in a cave with four others. Meanwhile war overruns the dragon world outside. Ruling queens are horrible and the warfare is vicious. This reads a bit like a video game and there are pretty gory fights to the death. Clay, of course, is peace loving but not much progress in that direction. Too cruel in tone for me. meh. 5th+

will grayson, will grayson by John Green and David Levithan
reviews called it "hilarious". Not for me. I was put off by the language and genetalia references. More crude than funny I guess. I did like the alternating narrators with something as simple as never capitalizing "I" for Will #2. The perspectives were great for contrast. Two angsty smart teenage boys whose relationships are so very confusing. Circling planet Tiny. The gay part was handled particularly thoughtfully. Definitely high school for language and sexual references.