Category Archives: UnsungYA

Review: Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten

Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten

Okay, maybe I’m not trying hard enough, but this is another story I simply can’t review without mentioning some details that occur late in the story. So, SPOILER ALERT!
Early on, Ms. Weingarten establishes the tension with lies and innuendo. Subtle and effective.

From the beginning I knew something was wrong with Sean, but it took me a while to guess. What I liked about his characterization is that Sean is not just an evil character. He is more realistic because of his confusion and charming personality. This complexity adds depth to the story and his relationship with Ellie.

Ellie is naive and too trusting – blinded by hope, perhaps. Some readers may see this as a convenient device or indicative of a poorly developed character. On the contrary, Ellie is also a well rounded character whose naivete stems from her clearly established background story.

Ms. Weingarten manages to sustain the suspense even once the climax is reached (for me, that was Ellie finding the letters).

I have to say this: I knew Nina wasn’t really dead!

Overall, a very satisfying, heart-thumping mystery.

UPDATE: I realized belatedly that this is on my list of UnsungYA titles to read (there are 35 total). Only 33 more to go!

Source: publisher copy
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Unsung YA Giveaway!

Kelly at YAnnabe, the genius who started the Unsung YA Blog Blitz in January, is hosting a giveaway. Head over to her blog to sign up. She has also listed other giveaways featuring Unsung YA books.  Very helpful.

You might be wondering, how is CazzyLibrarian doing with her list of 35 Unsung YA books? Terrible! Pathetic! I have only read one (How to Ditch Your Fairy) from my list! To be fair, I am on a YALSA committee, so I have a fair amount of reading for that, as well as finishing my last semester of library school. And working. Still, I know. I should be doing better. I want to be doing better.

The book I promised to read when I signed up for the giveaway was Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta. Also high on my list is The Explosionist by Jenny Davidson, which has intrigued me ever since I read the description.

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Review: A new kind of fairy

Through the UnsungYA blog blitz, I learned about a number of authors that are new to me, or unknown books from authors I do read. This past week was February vacation for me, and although I had a lot of homework to do, I also did a fair amount of reading.

First up from my UnsungYA reading list: Justine Larbalestier’s How to Ditch Your Fairy.
How to Ditch Your Fairy

Fantastic world building in this book, although it took a bit of time. I almost wish there a little more to it, such as a visit to Ravenna to gain some perspective on its differences from New Avalon. Silly me, I didn’t realize until I finished the book that a glossary existed at the back explaining some of the slang. Although most of it I could figure out from context, I wish I discovered that sooner. I admire Ms. Larbalestier’s use of “pulchritudinous”.

Charlie, the main character, was easily relatable as a teenage girl whose life is further complicated by an unwanted fairy. The most entertaining part of the book for me was definitely the climax of the story. Laughed out loud at Fiorenze’s and Charlie’s antics.

Without revealing too much (I hope), the only change I would have made involves the ending. Something happens that I think takes away from Charlie’s growth as a character.

I can’t wait to share this with my students after vacation!

: personal copy from Goodreads swap

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Unsung YA recap

Kelly from YAnnabe posted the results of the blog blitz this evening. An astounding 73 bloggers joined in the effort! I know I didn’t go to every blog, but I went to many of them! It was so much fun. To see which books were the top 10 most unsung (the ones that appeared on lists more than others), visit YAnnabe for all the fun.

Here I am going to list the books I added to my TBR list as a result of the blog blitz. It is now over 100 books – yikes! Where will I find the time? These are not in any particular order.

  • Cracked Up to Be – Courtney Summers
  • Gentlemen – Michael Northrup
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty – Jenny Han
  • How to Say Goodbye in Robot – Natalie Standiford
  • Same Difference – Siobhan Vivian
  • Wherever Nina Lies – Lynn Weingarten
  • Does My Head Look Big in This? – Randa Abdel-Fattah
  • The Key to the Golden Firebird – Maureen Johnson
  • Girl at Sea – Maureen Johnson
  • How to Ditch Your Fairy – Justine Larbalestier
  • Saving Francesca – Meline Marchetta
  • Broken Soup – Jenny Valentine
  • The Garden – Elsie V. Aidinoff
  • Artichoke’s Heart – Suzanne Supplee
  • North of Beautiful – Justina Chen Headley
  • The Teashop Girls – Laura Schaefer
  • Jackaroo – Cynthia Voigt
  • Feeling Sorry for Celia – Jaclyn Moriarty
  • Princess of the Midnight Ball – Jessica Day George
  • Bones of Faerie – Janni Lee Simner
  • The Realm of Possibility – David Levithan
  • Red Kayak – Priscilla Cummings
  • Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer – Laini Taylor
  • The Singer of All Songs – Kate Constable
  • Fat Kid Rules the World – K.L. Going
  • Make Lemonade – Virginia Euwer Wolff
  • Hard Love – Ellen Wittlinger
  • Shabanu – Suzanne Fisher Staples
  • Boy Meets Boy – David Levithan
  • Lemonade Mouth – Mark Peter Hughes
  • The Explosionist – Jenny Davidson
  • Chicken With Plums – Marjane Satrapi
  • Nothing But Ghosts – Beth Kephart
  • Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film about The Grapes of Wrath – Steven Goldman
  • Flygirl – Sherri L. Smith

Holy moly! That’s 35 new titles. And I want to read them all this instant! Since that is clearly not going to happen, I’m giving myself a year from now. It’s a challenge, but certainly one worth the undertaking.

Anytime I do read a title from this list and blog about it, I will tag it unsungYA, so readers can keep track. Wish me luck!

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Books gathering dust on the shelves

I just discovered a fantastic blog project while perusing Twitter tonight, and decided to jump in on the action, albeit uninvited. Kelly from YAnnabe proposed creating lists of Unsung YA Heroes: books that have not received a lot of attention, but deserve to! Here are five books that I believe have flown under the radar.

My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway ParkMy Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger

Such a wonderful story about family, friendship, growing up, and choosing who you will be. Funny and witty, it literally stole my breath at certain points, and caused me to tear up on occasion. Couldn’t put it down for the last 100 pages.

The Nature of Jade

The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

Jade was a wonderful character: thoughtful, observant, original. I found her voice engaging, and the writing did not get in the way of the story. One unusual by-product of this book: I became very interested in elephants! A lovely story.

And Both Were YoungAnd Both Were Young by Madeleine L’Engle

Set in Switzerland, the story of Flip’s coming-of-age is heartwarming. Although written a number of years ago, this story could easily take place in a contemporary setting, making it accessible to today’s teens. The trials of adolescence, life in boarding school, and grief for a deceased parent merge well under the hand of the incomparable Madeleine L’Engle. True comfort food.

Reaching for SunReaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

A friend of mine recommended this to me last December, promising me I would be glad I read it. She was right. One of the best verse novels I have read.

Beauty Shop for Rent: . . . fully equipped, inquire withinBeauty Shop for Rent: . . . fully equipped, inquire within by Laura Bowers

So refreshing to read a young adult book that is appropriate, deals with family issues realistically, and has well-rounded supporting characters. Abbey, the main character, is immediately likable. Her backstory unfolds slowly, and the beauty shop is such a great tool for bringing characters together. The humor and the characters’ relationships really make this a standout story. I recommend this all the time to my students.

To see the other lists created as part of the Unsung YA Heroes Blog Blitz, go to The Best YA Books You Haven’t Read.


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