Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List

by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Namoi and Ely. Ely and Naomi. They were like ham and eggs. Or at least they were until the ham kissed the eggs' boyfriend and the eggs thought that was the last straw in a series of small petty annoyances and decided to draw a line in the home fried... so to speak.

What made me really excited for this book was that it's written by the same dynamic duo that brought us Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist which has to be one of my favourites, still. Different characters, but still, the chemistry! The problem is that while some of the same ups and downs and near misses are at work here, at its heart, this is the story of a breakup, while Nick & Nora was a love story, and that? Is so much more satisfying.

The writing is still tight, and the voices arch and interesting, but I must admit that I didn't love either character - neither is really someone you'd like, even if they are charismatic, and I wasn't really rooting for them the way I was for - well, you know, the other couple. So while I wouldn't say I really liked this, I would also have to say in fairness, that it was not what I was looking for either, which made me more disappointed than anything else about it.

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The Search for Delicious

by Natalie Babbitt

This is one of those classics that I had never quite gotten around to reading but always wanted to... until I saw it sitting out one day a couple of months ago, and grabbed it. Glad that I did, too!

Set in a world that is perched on the border between olden days (maybe even medieval) and fantasy, this tale begins with a Prime Minister who is creating a dictionary for the king, and providing relateable examples for each entry. When he gets to "delicious," however, a dispute erupts in the castle and sows discontent. The king sends the Prime Minister's boy, Gaylen, out to poll the countryside on the topic, ignoring the likelihood of spreading even more dissent, and off the boy went on this errand. This may have been enough to cause problems, but the king's jealous, ambitious brother-in-law set out as well, spreading lies in a bid to create havoc that would let him lead a coup.

Aside from all of this, there are old, near-forgotten tales of creatures believed to be the stuff of fairy tales that are discovered to be real, though few would credit it, and their stories are interwoven and used by both the brother-in-law and, as he learns more, Gaylen in his effort to stop Hemlock.

The whole is a wonderful fantasy, and a book that would make a terrific read-aloud, being a great story and gentle enough for younger kids. I'd recommend it for reading to grades 1-4 or for dreamier older kids to read on their own.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011


The Agency: A Spy in the House

by Y. S. Lee

This spy mystery is set in Victorian London, and features the kind of anachronistic spunky young girl that makes the Enola Holmes mysteries so fun and engaging. In this case, though, she's not just going it alone, but is found and trained up by an agency that uses the invisibility of young women to gain entry into areas not open to police or male spies.

Her adventures are fast-paced, action-packed, and complex enough to keep teen readers guessing until the last. Along the way, she must deal with shadowy government types, suitors, society folk, and baddies alike, each with their own set of perils. She proves herself quite able, though, and by book -----2, is a trusted member of the mysterious Agency. Now to go and find book 2...

Book 1 is newly available in trade paperback.

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