Welcome to the latest Teen Menu, where you get generous helpings of YA news and reviews.
Romance Writers of America recently announced the finalists in its annual RITA awards for published novels. The finalists in the Young Adult category are:
Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro
Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
Good luck to all the finalists!
If you're a Twilight/Stephanie Meyer fan, you're in luck. June 5 will see the release of a new Twilight-related novella titled The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Bree was a newborn vampire introduced in Eclipse. According to the image of the book that was in the e-mail I received from Barnes & Noble, $1 from the sale of each book will go to the American Red Cross.
Jinx by Meg Cabot
Last month, I drove to Orlando for a meeting and listened to Meg Cabot's Jinx on the way there. Cabot is, of course, best know for her Princess Diaries series, but I became a fan when I read her Mediator series.
Jean Honeychurch and bad luck have been attached at the hip since the day she was born, so much so that people are just as likely to call her by her nickname, Jinx, as her real name. So it's no surprise that when she dabbles with some witchy spells in her small Iowa hometown, things don't go exactly as planned. Next thing she knows, her parents are shipping her off to New York City to stay with her aunt, uncle and more sophisticated cousin, Tory. But sophisticated isn't the only thing Tory is -- she's also troubled and becomes the bane of Jinx's new existence. Is Jinx really the witch rumored to be in her family, or is Tory? And is it mystical powers or just fate that has Tory's cute next-door neighbor, Zack, suddenly paying attention to Jinx?
This was a fun story, though I have to admit I'm glad I don't have a cousin like Tory. Yeepers! Zack was the type of nice guy next door that I tend to like. And Jinx was a likable heroine just trying to figure out who she is -- like almost every teenager.
Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
This book is a contemporary Beauty and the Beast story, one of my favorite types. It's the story of two teenagers with scars -- both literally and figuratively. Both are starting over at a new school, and the moment their eyes meet on the bus the first day, something touches both of them deeply. For Aurora, she's still trying to get over the loss of her mother. For Lucius, it's the loss of his hands through an accident of his making that sets him apart. Their stories are told in a back-and-forth fashion -- one chapter in Lucius's point of view, the next in Aurora's. It gives us insight into what each is thinking as they circle each other, coming closer and closer until they both admit they have feelings for the other. But their pasts aren't the only obstacles standing in their way. There's also revenge-seeking classmates and strict parents to deal with.
I enjoyed this story not only because of the romance and the stark look at teenage life, but also because of Lucius and the hooks he uses for hands. My dad is an amputee, and on occasion he would wear a hook to replace his missing right hand. His amputation happened after he was an adult, but this story made me wonder what it would have been like to deal with it at a much younger age.