Thursday, June 30, 2011


TrashTrash Andy Mulligan

Raphael is a trash sorter at a giant garbage dump outside Manila* when he finds a wallet full of cash and a key. That night, the cops come looking for it, saying that it's important evidence in a murder investigation. Raphael, his friend Gardo, and another dumpsite boy, Rat, are on an adventure through the city as they try to unravel a mystery and save their own skins from the police who don't want them to discover what's actually going on.

LOVE! It sounds depressing, and there are parts that actually are, but a lot like Slumdog Millionaire, it's a very uplifting, feel-good story despite all the police torture. Even better, I love all the different voices-- Raphael and Gardo narrate most of the chapters. Rat gets a few, as do some other characters, most importantly teachers at the Mission School attached to the dumpsite. Y'all know how much I love multiple narrators.

I also love how Mulligan sinks you into a place so well. He really can draw a setting without letting it bog down the narrative.

I like how it's not depressing but not sappy.

I like the suspense.

I love the scene at the end which really reminded me of another excellent scene in Goodbye Lenin (great movie!)

Our YA/J break is 7/8 grade. We have this in YA, but I would not have been surprised if we had put it in J. It's a great book for our in-between readers.

*Ok, so the book never says it takes place in the Philippines, although Mulligan has said that it's based on a real dump outside Manila. Also, my boss is Filipino-American and totally recognized the Filipino setting.

Book Provided by... my local library

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011


BumpedBumped Megan McCafferty

Ok, so in the future, there's a virus that ruins fertility after age 20. It affects large portions of the population. Because of this, teen pregnancy is OK. Some teens have sex with their boyfriends and then give up the children to nonprofit adoption agencies. Some go pro. They have agents and couples offer them large sums of money and other items (Car, college tuition, etc) and then pick a partner for the surrogate to procreate with. Melody has the perfect file and was the first in her school to go pro. The only problem is that she signed a contract years ago and her sponsors STILL haven't found her a guy. She should be on her second or third pregnancy at this point, but she hasn't even tried for her first. To make it worse, she's discovered that her adoptive parents, in addition to having groomed her her entire life to be the perfect pro candidate (which she knew) have borrowed against her equity and are financing their lavish lifestyle on the fertility she's not providing (which she didn't know.)

Her twin sister, Harmony, has just left the fundamentalist compound where she lives to meet Melody for the first time. Harmony's overwhelmed with her awe at the strange world outside of Goodside and her need to save her sister.

So, when Harmony gets a message meant for Melody about how they've finally found a guy (and not just any guy, but a super-celebrity! HOTTTT!) A comedy of mistaken identity ensues.

So, this is obviously the first in a series as there are lots of unresolved issues at the end of the book. Just FYI. Normally that's a deal breaker for me, but I'll give this one a pass because I love the world McCafferty has built. I like how she doesn't spend a lot of time explaining her technological advances, the virus, the slang, or the anything like that. Harmony is used to explain some of it but not an overly large amount. She does have a small role tour guide as we discover this world together, but mostly she's there to sort out her own feelings about her upbringing and her sister's upbringing.

It's told in alternating chapters and it touches on issues of fame, sex, religion, child birth, and a very, very, very believable future.

I am curious as to why people had to have sex to have babies. There's mention of how "petri-babies" are no longer scientifically possible (Because of the virus?) but it doesn't touch why a turkey baster won't work. And while adults can see some of the dark side to this world, it takes Melody a little while longer. The risks of pregnancy and childbirth are always downplayed like they'll never happen. Except, they do. (Which is interesting because so many of the pregnancy books currently on the market tend to overplay all the risks)

It's very different that the Jessica Darling books. But, Zen is much hotter than Marcus any day and this world is pretty horrifying and amazing all at once. I really want to read the next one.

I also like the double meaning of "bumped" You are bumped when you're sporting a bump, but you also bumped in order to get that way.

Book Provided by... my local library

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rage of the Fallen

The Last Apprentice: Rage of the FallenThe Last Apprentice: Rage of the Fallen Joseph Delaney

Tom, Alice, and the Spook have made it to Ireland, where they get a much better reception than they did on the Island of Mona. In Ireland, they encounter new creatures of the dark that they've never faced before, such as Jibbers. But, even darker, it looks like the Celtic witch that Bill Arkwright killed back in Wrath of the Bloodeye isn't dead, and is intent on seeking her revenge on Tom. He can't concentrate too hard on that, though, because he and the Spook are quickly enlisted in a battle between land owners and the goat mages-- dark magicians who draw power from Pan.

There's a lot more going on, but I can't say too much because it gets spoiler-y. One word-- Alice. Holy cow, that girl, how do I love her. She remains the unknown throughout this series and throughout this book, woah.

Lots and lots of action, not just for the plot of this book, but also in some over-reaching plot arcs. Lots of resolution, lots of answers, and a whole new batch of problems and questions.

I liked the Irish setting-- there were new creatures and locations to explore, even things the Spook was unaware of, which was cool. I also liked the concept of the Otherworld and how it was drawn and used. I'm ready for our characters to return to the County, but I like how they explore new places every few books, I like how they interact and learn from new experiences and other Spooks. It adds nice dimensions to their fight against the dark, but also them as characters, the world Delaney has built.

This is one of the stronger books in the series, so fans need to go get it NOW.

Book Provided by... my local library

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Outrunning the Darkness

Outrunning the Darkness (Urban Underground #1)Outrunning the Darkness Anne Schraff

Are you familiar with the Bluford High series? If you're a teen librarian, I'm guessing yes. If you're a general fan of YA, maybe not.

I don't know about other libraries, but I CANNOT keep Bluford on the shelf. It's inner-city After School Special-y that is GREAT for reluctant readers. Each book has a different main character and issue, but all the kids go to the same school.

Anyway, Outrunning the Darkness is the first book in a new series by one of the Bluford authors. It has the same vibe, but scales a bit older, so... once your readers outgrow Bluford or have just read them all, Urban Underground is up next. I can't keep this series on the shelf either.

But... I have to wonder why. They're just not... that good. It's predictable and the writing is rather stilted.

In this volume, Jaris is dealing with a depressed father who has taken to drinking. He lets his father's words get to him and is afraid he might end up in the same dark cave. At the same time, there's a pretty girl he likes but she's going to go on a date with a jerk! His grandmother is meddling in all of their family's business and everything is just awful, but salvation might come in the form of school play, which is written by a hip new playwright from New York and being debuted at his school! But... it's just a stage adaption of Tale of Two Cities? How do those go together, I don't know. But, Sydney Carton plays a big role for Jaris and his family, so, yeah.

But here's an example of the writing:

"You know, Trev, sometimes I worry that my parents will break up. Mom hates it when Pop gets all moody and drinks before coming home. She always calls her mother and cries on her shoulder and then Grandma Jessie tells her she's be better off without Pop. I worry that they'll split up," Jaris said.

"You got a good pop," Trevor said. "Mama took our old Ford in to Jackson's, and some other mechanic told her it needed a ton of work, and then your pop just tinkered a little bit and said we'd do fine. He's a good mechanic and he's honest. My mama trusts him. Everybody does. Old Jackson his boss sometimes gives him a hard time, but Jackson tells other people your pop is the best man he's ever had working for him."

"I wish my father was proud of what he did," Jaris complained, "but he's always putting himself down, calling himself a grease monkey. He wanted to go to college when he was young and now he's dissapointed and he turns everything dark. He feels so hopeless and he sort of takes it out being sad and grumpy with Mom. I wish I could make him see he's a winner."

The dialog isn't realistic and the voice is just off.

So, it's not my cup of tea. I've read 1 because it's so popular and won't read the others. But, the teens cannot get enough, so I shouldn't be hogging copies from them anyway! Overall, this is a series that I'm not like "OMG YOU MUST READ THIS!" BUT! If you're a librarian and don't have this series, or work with teens and aren't familiar, you need to know these books.

Book Provided by... my local library

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Prime Baby

Prime BabyPrime Baby Gene Luen Yang

Thaddeus K. Fong knows something's not right with his baby sister. At 18 months, all she says is "ga." His parents don't see this speech delay as an issue, but when Thaddeus discovers that she says "ga" in prime numbers... well, clearly she's an alien.

Of course, she isn't really. She's an inter-dimensional portal so alien slugs who are Missionaries of smiles and happy feelings. They knit a lot of socks. How can Thaddeus save the world from these guys?

It's a bit bizarre and pretty funny. It was originally serialized in the New York Times Magazine. The age range is a bit weird. We have it in our teen section (and our teen acquistions librarian said they had a really hard time deciding where to put it, children, teen, or adult) Thaddeus is 8. And acts like he's 8. But a lot of the humor will be missed on your average 8-year-old. There are a lot of great 1-liners in here. "My mother's womb is a Trojan horse, I tell you."

It's really short and I kinda wanted MORE, but I think the length would have worked really well in its original serialized format.

Overall, a fun, super-quick read that proves sometimes, it's not always sibling jealousy. Sometimes, your baby sister really *is* an alien.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ship Breaker

Ship BreakerShip Breaker Paolo Bacigalupi

In the future, global warming has creating Category 6 Hurricanes, City Killers. New Orleans is under water. As is Orleans II and large portions of the Gulf Coast. There are new energies and corporations rule all.

Nailer works light crew, scavenging the old oil tankers for copper wire and other light scrap for the corporations to recycle into their new ships. But after a major storm blows on the of the new ships onto an island, Nailer thinks he's found a goldmine, enough to buy him out of his subsistence lifestyle. The only problem is that the girl who owns the ship is still alive, and on the run. Nailer and Nita escape Nailer's father and Nita's family's rivals to try to get Nita to safety in a series of death-defying adventures.

So, even though I'm getting sick of post-apocalyptic adventure novels, I really enjoyed this one. I like the world Bacigalupi has built and how it's so different from our world, but still recognizable as the US. Also, I think it helps to have a post-apocalyptic on the run from those in power novel to be about a BOY instead of a girl. Maybe I just tend to read the ones about girls and there's a whole slew out there about boys. But, it was a nice change. I liked that there were still kick-ass girls (in fact, almost all (all?) of the girls kicked some ass in one way or the other) but the focus stayed on Nailer and the romance was there, but wasn't the main focus of the plot.

This did win a Printz this year and I'm not sure on this. I've read several books that I think that are better examples of literary excellence for teens (off the top of my head, Nothing, Time of Miracles, Finnikin of the Rock). Although this one does have teen appeal. But that's not a Printz requirement.

Overall, I'm not sure on it's Printz worthiness, but it was still a great read (so don't let the shiny medal scare you away?) even if you're more than a little over post-apocalyptic adventures (and frankly, who isn't at this point?)

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dead is Not an Option

Dead Is Not an OptionDead Is Not an Option Marlene Perez

There's never a quiet day in Nightshade.

Tension is running high between the Were and Vamp population, with people being attacked on both sides. Daisy and the Council are doing their best to avoid full-on war, but it's hard. Things get so bad that prom gets canceled in the name of safety.

At the same time Dracula's in town and his grandson is Poppy's new guy, and Circe is back and Council doesn't seem that concerned that she's not doing anything to help turn Bam and Lily back into themselves.

To top it all off, high school is almost done and Daisy hasn't heard back from ANY of her college applications, yes or no. Everyone else knows what they're doing, except for Daisy.

Good-- we finally find out who's in charge of the Scourge. While it was hinted at pretty heavily in this book, I don't remember any clues pointing in that direction in previous volumes.

More good-- this ISN'T the end of the series! Hurrah! No cliffhanger endings where I MUST KNOW MORE, but characters I enjoy and love, a fun voice, and a great balance of dark mystery and light beach read make me gobble these up.

Sad-- we lose a character we know and love. :(

This is a bit darker than previous installments (see the sad above!) but overall, do you like the series? Yes? Then this is a good one. If you haven't read the series yet, go back and start with the first one and work your way up to this one.

Oh! And there's a cool librarian that plays a minor role in this one. I knew I could trust her. She was a librarian, after all. It was their job to save lives with books (p56)

ARC Provided by... the publisher at ALA midwinter

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011


AbandonAbandon Meg Cabot

Two years ago, Pierce died. She hit her head, fell into a pool, and was dead for over an hour before the doctors could bring her back. Since then though, things haven't been the same. The adults in her life think she's slightly mentally unbalanced, and after what happened at her last school, dangerous. But Pierce knows the truth-- there's evil in the world and she can see it. She has to stop it.

After her mother moves her back to her hometown on the Isla Huesos (Island of Bones-- very much based on Cabot's current home of Key West) Pierce starts to discover more and more clues about what happened, and why.

So... this is based on Persephone. Basic premise is Pierce meets John (Death Deity) in a graveyard when she's young. When she dies, she sees him again. He gives her a pretty necklace. Pierce can't accept she's dead, runs away, and ends up back in the world of the living. John keeps showing up to save her from bad guys trying to kill her. And now Pierce has moved right on the gateway of it all (so... like Sunnydale's Hellmouth, but it's the mouth of all dead stuff, good and bad.)

So this is Cabot doing something a bit darker than most of what she does. It's not too twisted or dark or depressing and if you like Cabot, you'll probably like this, but just be warned, it's not funny (and it's not trying to be).

BUT! TOTAL CLIFFHANGER ENDING! Gah! That's how the 2nd book in a trilogy is supposed to end!* Not the first!!!!

I like how this takes a well-known myth and doesn't retell it, but uses it to go in a completely different direction.

I like the world Cabot has built and can't wait to explore it more. I really want to see what's going on with the A-wingers and why Pierce's cousin hates them so much.

I also like Pierce a lot. She's nice and strong, but has believable weak moments, so she seems more real. The tension between her and John doesn't overtake the novel (in fact, there could have been more). I like that she's dealing with some serious other stuff besides boys and her problems aren't of her own invention. She's troubled, but not annoyingly neurotic.

Also, I love that Pierce and her friends who are obviously the good guys are all in the New Pathways program, which is for troubled youth. Yay for a book that paints troubled kids as real kids with yes, problems, but they aren't the bad guys, even if the rest of town sees them that way.

Overall, I really liked it and can't wait to read more.

*This is a rule I learned when Boba Fett carted off Han's carbonite encased body at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. It's not a rule I like, but it's one I have come to accept. Luckily for me, when I learned the rule, Return of the Jedi was already out on video, so I didn't have to wait to see what happened next.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Biblio Baby is here!

Hello All!

Just a post to say that Biblio Baby arrived at 2:18 on Saturday morning. 6lbs, 14 oz and a whopping 20 3/4 inches long. (She's almost tall enough to ride the roller coaster!) We're home now and both doing really well, even if I am a bit bleary-eyed.

As this was slightly earlier than expected (she's just making sure we understand who's boss!) I didn't get my posts pre-scheduled.

Please bear with me as I try to figure everything out. I have lots of books to review, lots of reviews written, and lots of books to read.

Posting will resume on as regular of a schedule as we get around here as soon as it can, but who knows when that will be.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Girl, Stolen

Still no baby.

Girl, Stolen (Christy Ottaviano Books)Girl, Stolen April Henry

Cheyenne is asleep in the backseat of the car when it's stolen. When Griffin realizes that he's kidnapped a girl as well as stolen a car, he brings the girl home to his criminal father and ring of seedy illegal chop-shop workers.

The twists are these-- Cheyenne's father is the president of Nike. She's also blind.

It's a pretty fast-paced action-driven novel (as I'm sure you can imagine.) What I really liked is that it's told in alternating chapters by both Cheyenne and Griffin. I also liked how their back stories are woven in.

I like the look we get into Cheyenne's sightless world. She wasn't born blind, so she knows what sight is like, which helps explain things to the sighted reader.

I know a lot of people found the ending a bit unbelievable. I think I might have too, if I hadn't heard so many people complain about it. Because I was already wary of it, it was much more believable than I thought it was going to be, so I totally bought it. (Does that make sense?)

I also like the ambitiousness of the very, very end.

Sorry to be a bit vague, but I don't want to spoil it!

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: How They Croaked

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully FamousHow They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous Georgia Bragg illustrated by Kevin O'Malley

Back in March, I was driving to work on a Saturday morning and listening to Weekend Edition. I love Weekend Edition because, around 8:50, they often talk about kidlit and it's the last story I hear before getting out of the car.

On that fateful day, they were talking with Georgia Bragg about her book about the super-gross ways that super-famous people died. I had the book talk written before the interview was done. Then, I got to work and was talking with a coworker who said "I just heard something on the radio about a book that sounds really great..."

And, really great it is! It took me FOREVER to read though, because it turns out, I do A LOT of my reading while I'm eating. This is not a book to read while eating. It's pretty disgusting. The descriptions of Marie Curie's body before she died "Her blackened fingertips were cracked and oozing, and she incessantly rubbed them together." That's pretty tame. Nothing like the grossness of Washington's mouth, Henry VIII exploding in his coffin, or Einstein's autopsy.

After every chapter, there are extra bits of related information. So, after talking about Washington's death, there extra information includes a list of bloodletting do's (select the largest vein at the bend of the arm) and don'ts (soak the patient in his own blood. Don't soak the sheets, either), Presidential Death Facts, Faces on American Money, and some selections from Washington's 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversations.

Plus, lots of fun facts-- we're not really sure what Edgar Allen Poe died of, but current thinking is rabies.Charles Dickens was a jerk. James Garfield couldn't keep food down, so they gave him enemas of egg, beef extract, and whiskey.

It's history made fun and exciting. (Plus source notes!) The gross-out factor makes it an easy sell to reluctant readers (most likely boys) but there's enough science, history, music, arts, and extras to make it appeal to most kids. And, if you can get past the blatant gross-out factor, adults will enjoy it, too.

Today's Nonfiction Monday round-up is over at Chapter Book of the Day. Be sure to check it out!

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Personal Blather

A few things:

1. People have been asking and no, I don't have a baby yet. Next week.

2. I am so super-jealous of everyone who did the 48 Hour Reading Challenge this weekend. SO JEALOUS! This is the first year in, well, YEARS that I didn't participate. It made me sad. I did, however, clean out the China cabinet and linen closet (and no, that's not extreme nesting, they've been on my to-do list for MONTHS, they've just be super low-priority and it was finally their turn.)

3. I have no idea what this blog is going to look like this summer. I know enough about babies to not make firm plans. I'm trying to pre-write and pre-schedule a bunch of stuff, but WHO KNOWS.

4. That WSJ article was whack. I don't have anything to add to the responses. I actually can't speak coherently about it. The best I get is 'JENNIE MAD! JENNIE SMASH!' Luckily, other people can see through the veil of red better than I can. I especially love Salon's and Roger's responses.