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Short Reviews: YA edition #1

July 26, 2011

Throne of Fire: (Kane Chronicles #2)

Rick Riordan, and this book, were the jump-up-and-down-excited centerpiece of the Book Expo for me this year. I got this one signed on my birthday! Birthday wishes from Rick Riordan, too! Best birthday EVER! Definitely fun to read, and definitely a sequel. The series continues beyond this book, too. Write faster, Rick Riordan! Please?
Inventive characterizations of Egyptian gods, great magic system. I read this after listening to the prequel as a terrific audiobook, so I still heard the two readers’ voices in my head, alternating Sadie and Carter chapters to continue the action.
Definitely works well in both audiobook and text formats. A fast, fun read, for kids,, and enough creative adventure to have adult appeal too I think. Maybe, it even scratches the Harry Potter itch, now that we live in a world with no new Harry Potter anything! (So weird!)

When the Stars Go Blue
Caridad Ferrer
Thomas Dunne Fiction 2010 $9.99 paperback
Another BEA grab. I’m a sucker for well written YA, and good adaptations of classical stories, also a sucker for dance narrative.
This book hits a sweet spot for me. Soledad Reyes, a strong, authentic narrator loves to dance, is close to her grandmother, and it’s important to her to stay true to her Hispanic heritage.  After years of training as a dancer,  in ballet and other forms, including flamenco, Soledad gets the chance to be part of an extravagant band performance/competition. They’re using her experience doing flamenco dancing and ballet, and her exotic look, to use her as the centerpiece of the performance, and the only girl in the band, really. Reading this, I could almost picture the performance, and I wish I could see more. Maybe this could turn into a movie?

A love triangle between Soledad, and two boys- one an all-American band guy, one a Spanish soccer player builds a reinterpretation of Carmen into character development and obsession/passion along interesting lines.

Stupid Fast
Geoff Herbach
YA fiction, 311 pages.

Stupid Fast captures the thoughts and voice of Felton Reinstein, a teenager whose sudden growth spurt catapults him from the dork everyone teased and called Squirrel Nut, to a jock, with a suddenly popular crowd of friends. The most fun part of reading this is seeing so completely inside his head- his scathing observations about his small town, self-deprecating humor about suddenly having hair growing everywhere, even a shy first romance. Well-written supporting characters, like his goofy kid brother, his new football friends, and even his mother, flesh the story out. Told in Felton’s wry voice, the mental issues his mom deals with get their due seriousness, without turning into movie-of-the-week mawkish drama.

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