Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Teen Menu

Welcome to the latest Teen Menu, where you get generous helpings of YA news and reviews.

YA News

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.

YA Reviews

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.


  1. Good morning, Trish! Thanks for another great Teen Menu! I am seriously going to read Going Too Far. I have heard too many good things about it not to. And now that it's nominated for a RITA...I'll take that as a sign. ;-)

    I haven't read any of the Twilight books, but I did see that J.K. Rowling is going to write a trilogy about teenage vampires. Should be good!!

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  3. Thanks for your post today, Trish. I get to see some YA books that are out there and enjoy your posts here at TRD.

  4. Andrea, where did you see the info about J.K. Rowling and vampires? I only saw one brief mention when I did a Google search, and it was on April 1, so I wonder if it's an April Fool's joke. I have to wonder if she'd go down that road, which would be laden with more comparisons to Stephenie Meyer. Last I heard, she said she'd written a political fairy tale. And she said at the Easter event at the White House that we could be seeing a new book from her soon.

    And Going Too Far is a great book. I really enjoyed it.

  5. I saw it on yahoo news, but don't remember what day it was. If it was an April Fool's joke, then that stinks because my son was excited.

  6. Hi Trish! Hi Dishies! What a great post, Trish. Going Too Far sounds like a good read even for us adults. :>

    I'd be interested in knowing if Rowling was pulling everyone's leg on the vampires or not. May have to go a-hunting that info! Ha!

  7. Hey Trish!

    I have to say that I'm totally intrigued by Crazy Beautiful. What an interesting premise for a YA book! I think I'm going to have to add it to my TBB list. It may just be the YA book to get me back into that genre.

    I remember seeing something on the net about JK Rawlings new series because it mentioned the series would give Stephanie Meyer a run for the money.

  8. Hiya Trish! Always enjoy your peek into the world of YA! And don't they have some interesting and unusual stories in this world? Both these books sound great. Congratulations to the YA finalists in the RITA. Actually a very good friend of mine, Vanessa Barneveld, is a finalist for the second time in a row in the YA Golden Heart section. Congratulations, Vanessa, and good luck!

  9. Hey Trish :-) Great list of stories, I really love YA titles. They have a fresher feel, somehow, than many adult romance titles.

    I'm intrigued about the JK Rowling rumor - this is the first I've heard of it. Hmm... googling now..

  10. Hi Trish! Thanks for another terrific YA update. I have a teen girl here this weekend who was bouncing up and down with glee when she read your announcement about the Twilight related novella.

  11. Jeanne, I actually think it was a non-Rowling related site that had a post where they were seeing if readers could guess which items were real and which were April Fool's jokes. I went to Jo's site (J.K. Rowling) and did Google news searches and that's all I found.

  12. Anna, I was thrilled to see Vanessa was a finalist again. I fully expect to see her posting some sale news one day soon. She's talented.

  13. Tawny, if you find anything, let me know. I'm behind on listening to my PotterCast podcasts, so I don't know if they addressed this at all. Will let you all know if I find out anything else.

  14. PJ, I was surprised to see the announcement of the new Twilight story, but I think it's a really cool way to give readers some more from that world and to raise money for the Red Cross.

  15. Well, sounds like the JK Rowling and Vampires thing WAS an April Fools day joke.

    I'm happy too, about Vanessa finaling - isn't that cool?

  16. There are so many good books coming out in the YA field. Have a few in this list I may just have to read.

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  18. Hi, Trish!

    How does Meg Cabot come up with so many fabulous plots? I love MC but I haven't read her work for a while. JINX sounds like a good one to pick up and get a Meg Cabot fix.

    Congrats to the RITA finalists! And thank you, Trish, Anna, and Jeanne for the lovely thoughts on the Golden Heart.