A Blog of Children's Literature

Goth Girl Rising August 9, 2011

Goth Girl RisingGoth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lyga, Barry.
Goth Girl Rising.
Oct. 2009 (galley). 388p. Houghton Mifflin Books.
Grades 9 and up.
REVIEW. First published August 9, 2011 (Akibird).

After a stint in rehab, Goth Girl Kyra is back with a vengeance and aiming for Fanboy for putting her in the hospital. Occurring six months after Lyga’s popular The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl, Goth Girl Rising switches to Kyra’s narration and shows a lost teen who must transition back into reality and return to school and so-called friends. Truly understanding girl bravado, Barry Lyga portrays Kyra as outwardly confident with her shaved head, blue lipstick, and killer attitude. However, his creative genius unravels Kyra’s true feelings in her evolving poetry and letters to comic legend Neil Gaiman, exposing a girl grieving the loss of her mother and her muddled relationships. The author’s exploration of Goth Girl’s psyche accurately reveals a damaged soul, terrified of abandonment. Rather than talk openly about her feelings, Kyra is willing to sabotage the life of the boy she loves to fill her emptiness and avoid rejection. With a plethora of eye-opening moments and references to popular graphic novels, Goth Girl Rising will be a favorite of fans of the first in the series and also of those interested in angst and identity formation. Lyga’s use of graphic novels in the characters’ lives shows the format is not just about superheroes and tights but can lead to deeper questioning about life, death, and what it all means.


City of Fallen Angels, Book 4 June 6, 2011

Filed under: Reviews — akibird @ 4:20 pm
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City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, Book 4).
Clare, Cassandra (author).
Apr. 2011. 432p. Margret K. McElderry Books, hardcover $19.99 (9781442403543). Grades 9 and up.
REVIEW. First published June 6, 2011 (Akibird).

The fourth book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, City of Fallen Angels (CFA) takes place a couple months after the defeat of Valentine at the end of Book 3. CFA follows Clary as she begins her transition from average teen to fighting Shadowhunter, the part angel-part humans who protect the world against demons. Tension builds when Shadowhunter bodies are found in various Downworlder territories, pinning vampires, werewolves, faeries, and Shadowhunters against one another. Readers who have previously enjoyed Jace and Clary’s forbidden relationship will savor their struggle and growth as a couple. More will appreciate the stronger development of other characters, including a closer look at Simon’s new life as a cursed Daylighter vampire, who is struggling to appear like a normal teen and dealing with a love triangle with him in the middle. Clare does not disappoint fans, giving them a big helping of the dramatic paranormal lives of their favorite characters. As the fourth book in a series that was originally supposed to end after the third, Clare creates a whole new set of conflicts that are left to be resolved in the final two installments to come. As City of Bones, Book 1 moves into film production, librarians will have a hard time keeping copies on the shelves as fans crave the latest book in the Mortal Instruments series.


Clockwork Angel April 13, 2011

Filed under: Reviews — akibird @ 3:01 pm
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Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1).
Clare, Cassandra (author).
Aug. 2010. 496p. Simon and Schuster, hardcover, $19.99 (9781416975861). Grades 9 and up.
REVIEW. First published April 13, 2011 (Akibird).

The first in Cassandra Clare’s new prequel series, Clockwork Angel takes place in Victorian London over 100 years before her bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Fans of the supernatural elements and creatures in the Mortal Instruments books will enjoy Clockwork Angel as it sets up the traditions and values of the Shadowhunters and their duty to protect humans from demonic creatures. Unaware of this other world full of vampires, demons, and part-angel nephilim, orphan Tessa leaves America to live with her brother in England only to be kidnapped by two warlocks when she arrives. Imprisoned for her gift of shapeshifting, Tessa is trained in preparation for a mysterious man called the Magister until a young Shadowhunter named William Herringdale rescues her. With plenty of action, adventure, and romantic mystery, Tessa, Will and other Shadowhunters must put all the pieces together to solve bizarre human murders, realize the dark purpose of some strange humanlike automatons, and stop the Magister before it is too late. Clare’s strong yet introspective protagonist draws the reader into this dark topsy-turvy world and keeps the pages turning as she struggles to find her brother, understand herself, and save London. With so much left unanswered, readers will be begging for the next in the series and jump at the chance to read the Mortal Instruments if they have not already.


Miss Rumphius (1982): A Book Review March 7, 2011

Filed under: Picture Books,Reviews — akibird @ 10:59 am
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Miss RumphiusMiss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Miss Rumphius.
Cooney, Barbara (author).
Nov. 1982. 32p. illus. Viking, hardcover, $13.95 (0670479586). Ages 4-8.
REVIEW. First published March 7, 2011 (Akibird).

As a winner of the American Book Award and New York Times’ Best Book of the Year, Miss Rumphius is the beautiful tale of Alice, who longs to be like her grandfather by traveling the world and growing old by the sea. However, her grandfather encourages her to accomplish a third task: make the world more beautiful. Exemplifying her trademark style using acrylics and colored pencils, Cooney’s illustrations breathtakingly capture diverse faces from Alice’s journeys as well as flowing seascapes and rolling hills of flowering lupines, creating a welcoming story of growing old. Cooney’s whimsical spirit plays on the imagery in her narrative and builds a composition that draws the reader into the artist’s eye for detail—a wisp of a young girl’s hair flowing in the wind, the curve of a cat’s tail waving contently, and the ornate curls of a figurehead standing ready for the prow of a ship. Reminiscent of the warmth in cup of tea, the thoughtfulness in a soulful jazz tune, or the delight in a smile from a small child, Miss Rumphius is timeless, spreading happiness into the lives of all its readers. As told by Alice’s great-niece, the generational tale gently urges young and old alike to make their own contributions to the world.