Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde

Cloaked in Red is a short story collection of 8 twisted fairy tale versions of Little Red Riding Hood. All stories are set in the time period of most fairy tales- no concrete clues as to when or where the tales are taking place. Some of the stories are creepy-creepier than the original-which Vande Velde notes in her prologue is "a strange and disturbing story that should probably not be shared with children." Some are pretty funny such as Deems the Wood Gatherer, the tale of a near-sighted and clueless woodcutter (time period: before glasses were invented, of course) who crosses paths with not only Little Red Riding Hood, but a large cast of fairy tale characters. This quick read is highly recommended for anyone who loves clever re-tellings of classic stories and fairy tale fans. Gr. 7-10

Monday, May 9, 2011

Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck

Kerry is an invisible sophomore at an extremely prestigious public school on the East Coast. One day, miraculously, three of the most popular girls in school notice her, and ask her to sit with them at lunch. This begins a friendship that oftentimes leaves Kerry feeling somewhat awkward, but awed by her perfect and popular new friends. One day, the unthinkable happens and the three girls are killed in a car accident. Kerry is left feeling alone and misunderstood, until a few months later, she gets a text from her deceased friends telling her to meet them at her aunt's apartment in New York City. Kerry goes to meet them...
This is a great book for anyone who loves to read books about the supernatural, ghosts or even mysteries. It's a quick, scary read, by the extremely well-known and often-honored, Richard Peck. I am more familiar with Peck's historical and oftentimes hilarious novels intended for a younger audience, but this was a good departure.
Gr. 6-10

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book Review: Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

This is a fantastically noirish young adult novel that contains the perfect combination of historical fiction and suspense/thriller. The story begins with 17-year-old Kit Corrigan attempting to make her way in New York City as a Broadway actress. She left behind her brother, sister and father in Providence, RI after a fateful night involving her estranged boyfriend Billy. Billy's father is a lawyer associated with the mob, and makes Kit an offer-a new apartment and the chance to work in one of NYC's most famous nightclubs-as long as she keeps tabs on Billy. Soon Kit becomes caught up in a world she wants nothing to do with...

This book is somewhat similar to Blundell's What I Saw and How I Lied which was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and winner of the 2008 National Book Award. Both of these books are among my favorites, so I looked up what other books she has written. Interestingly, she has been writing series fiction for nearly 20 years under the pen name Jude Watson, and most recently has written two books of the popular 39 Clues series.