readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Did You Read: Under Dogs by Markus Zusak

How wonderful to have three books in one collection: The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl, by Markus Zusak. Thanks much, Scholastic! (And Arthur A. Levine for bringing the set together in hardback originally!) These books were written prior to The Book Thief and stand strongly. In my mind I've sequestered Markus' beautiful, poetic language to The Book Thief, thinking it fit the tone of that lifework so well. However, reading of the Wolfe brothers, I'm reminded it is Markus' voice which blooms with metaphors across his entire body of work. For me, it creates a sympathy, an understanding, a care for Cameron, the youngest brother making his way through his Australian adolescence.

From crazy schemes, to searches for identity, to family and friend relationships, Ruben and Cameron's exploits entertain and touch the heart with resonating honesty and truth. This is one to look for rgz, if you missed it go by. You have to get to know these brothers. Raise the boyfriend bar.

Under Dogs
By Markus Zusak
Scholastic, paperback, 2013

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Watch for It: Untwine, by Edwidge Danticat

According to the acknowledgments in Untwine, we have our own Lisa Sandell to thank for inquiring whether Edwidge Danticat, award-winning author for adults, might have a YA story to share. With a plot line similar to my own work Hit, I was intrigued and dove straight into the novel.

Watch for this release, readergirlz, and drop into the drama of a teen girl losing her twin sister. Walk with a family looking for answers in the midst of deepest grief. Mourn with Giselle and find hope, beautifully.

Welcome to the YA world, Edwidge!

By Eldridge Danticat
Scholastic Press, September 2015

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Watch for It: Sunny Side Up, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Jennifer and Matthew Holm have teamed up again, this time to write a semi-autobiographical graphic novel, Sunny Side Up. Illustrated beautifully by cartoonist Lark Pien, the reader is shot back to August, 1976, West Palm Beach, Florida. Gramps and Sunny reunite outside the Eastern Airlines terminal and their journey begins. Sunny is introduced to Pine Palms Retirement Community; life with seniors; Buzz, the groundskeeper's son; and comics. Flashbacks fill in the backstory of what precipitated Sunny's visit down south. Substance abuse is carefully; yet, honestly handled.

The understanding of each other that the characters attain, the give-and-take, and the discovery of the new is beautiful in this treasure. I would watch for this work on the awards lists. Enjoy the book, readergirlz, and then lend it to your little sister.

Sunny Side Up
by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
illustrated by Lark Pien
Graphix, Scholastic, 2015

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Monday, August 17, 2015

Watch for It: A Little in Love, Eponine's Story, by Susan E. Fletcher

Are you a fan of Les Miserables? Watch for this new novel written as Eponine's story: A Little in Love. With her first book for young adults, Susan E. Fletcher is hitting the U.S. market after winning the Whitbread First Novel Award for adults in the United Kingdom.

This is a bit softer of a retelling/imagined story than the book, play, and musical. We'd love to hear your take once you've finished, readergirlz. Did Fletcher catch Eponine's voice for you? Her motivations? Her values? Let us know when you finish, but for now, watch for it on August 25th!

A Little in Love
by Susan E Fletcher
Chicken House, Scholastic, 2015

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Friday, August 14, 2015

Watch for It: The Lightning Queen

I'm rejoicing in the upcoming release of former readergirlz guest, Laura Resau. In The Lightning Queen there's magic, friendship, truth, and beauty in words calling up a former Oaxaca, Mexico. The modern day accompanying story strings the work together like Esma's own silver-coined necklace. The friendship between her, a Romani girl, and the Mixteco boy, Teo, rises up against impediments and barriers.

Favorite quotes to treasure:

"Give yourself a fortune and make it come true."

"Better to be the head of a mouse than the tail of a lion."

"'You know what you are?'
'What?' I called up.
Through hundreds of sunlit leaves, her coins flashed, and her voice sang out, 'The wings of a bird, my friend! A whole flock of birds! You lift everyone up!'"

Thank you, Laura, for another book of hope and beauty! Watch for it, rgz!

The Lightning Queen
by Laura Resau
Scholastic Press, October 27, 2015