Review: The Diary of B. B. Bright, Possible Princess, by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams (2012)

The pitch: Girl-power middle grade fantasy about a black girl! That was enough to get me to read it, honestly; it’s so rare. BeeBee is the orphaned daughter of the king and queen of Raven World. To keep her safe, she lives on a magical island with only three Godmommies … Continue reading

Review: The Whisper, by Emma Clayton (2012)

The pitch: This sequel to The Roar picks up right where the first book leaves off. The “chosen” children have discovered the Secret and know they need to take over the Northern Government before their parents also discover the Secret and start a war. Wow, I did that all without … Continue reading

Hunger Games Part II: “Why isn’t her boyfriend more upset that she’s kissing that guy on TV?”

Way back in April, I promised a review of the Hunger Games movie from a smart critic of media who hadn’t read the book and knew almost nothing about it going in. My guinea pig friend (we’ll call him The Mad Neuroscientist, or TMN for short) missed the movie while … Continue reading

Review: Revolution pilot

I’m reviewing the new TV show Revolution because it’s basically a YA dystopian. Improbable apocalypse? Check: all “electricity” goes out, which apparently means all cars instantly stop in their tracks, among other things. 15 years later, we have our YA protagonist: Katniss Charlie, chafing in her village and crack shot … Continue reading

Review: Skinny, by Donna Cooner (Oct. 2012)

The pitch: Fat girl Ever is miserable with the weight she’s gained since her mother’s death. She feels “trapped in a fat shell.” After losing weight with gastric bypass surgery, she gains enough confidence to let her gorgeous voice shine in the school musical. The review: First of all, I … Continue reading

Review: Cleopatra’s Moon, by Vicky Alvear Shecter (Aug. 2011)

The pitch: Cleopatra Selene, daughter of the late Cleopatra and Marc Antony, has been cast out of Rome by Octavian and is sailing to meet her fate, a new husband she doesn’t know. Her beloved twin brother is dead; she is desperate to bury him in the Egyptian fashion, which … Continue reading

Review: The Roar, by Emma Clayton (2009)

The pitch: Mika has never gotten over the disappearance of his twin sister Ellie; everyone says she’s dead, but he can’t believe it. When the Northern Government introduces a contest — fly simulated pod fighters and win fabulous prizes! — Mika just knows winning is his ticket to finding Ellie. … Continue reading

Review: Starters, by Lissa Price (Mar. 2012, Delacorte)

The pitch: A couple of years ago, biological warfare wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. The vulnerable young and elderly were vaccinated, but they didn’t have enough for younger adults. Sixteen-year-old Callie and her little brother live like all Starters, kids without grandparents to claim them: squatting … Continue reading

Review: My Mother the Cheerleader, by Robert Sharenow (2007)

The pitch: No, not that kind of cheerleader. Louise’s mother Pauline is one of the women who stands outside William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans and throws tomatoes and insults at Ruby Bridges, its first African-American student. When a handsome stranger from New York shows up at Pauline and … Continue reading