Love the 39 Clues? Read Chapter 1 of Book 2!

If you love The 39 Clues (The Maze of Bones, Book 1) as much as my students and I do, then you will be thrilled to hear that Scholastic has released Chapter 1 of 39 Clues: One False Note online! Though the book is not available until December 2, you can read the excerpt here.


What are you waiting for?  Go read!


James Preller Quotes Me!

How exciting!  I just found out that James Preller quotes me on his blog!  A few days ago I reviewed his book, Six Innings, which I read for the Cybils.  Because it is a baseball-centric book, I probably would not have read it otherwise.  Thank goodness for the Cybils, because I really enjoyed Preller’s writing and look forward to picking up more of his books.

I also look forward to sharing Six Innings with my students. I already have a slew of them in mind who will just eat this book up.

Thanks again, James Preller!

My Father’s Son by Terri Fields

What would you do if you sat down, turned on the evening news, and saw that the worst serial killer in state history had finally been arrested? Probably say, “Good riddance”, right?

What if the man they paraded in front of the news cameras was your father?

What if your father isn’t who you think he is?

What if he is a murderer, a serial killer, and now the most reviled man in the state? In the country? What if you no longer know the man you love more than anything in the world? What do you do?

That is what happens to Kevin, a high schooler who spends every other weekend at his dad’s house and the rest of the time with his mom. He and his dad get along great; playing new computer games together and ordering takeout. His dad bought him his car and lets him go and go a lot more freely than his mom does. It’s the perfect father-son relationship. Until the day Kevin’s father is arrested and accused of being the DB25 killer. My Father’s Son follows Kevin as his life spins out of control following his father’s arrest and the subsequent investigation.

Kevin knows his father didn’t do it. How could he have tortured and killed all those women? But when his father admits his guilt, Kevin’s life is completely turned upside down. Suddenly his fellow students are scared of him. People on the street run in the other direction. His best friends and the girl he has a crush on won’t even be in a room alone with him. The resemblance to his father that was always a point of pride with Kevin is now what turns everyone against him. After all, he is his father’s son, isn’t he?

This was a gripping story that I could not put down. Terri Fields approaches a topic that has always fascinated me- what is it like to be the family of an alleged serial killer, or murderer, or other criminal? What would you do if someone you loved was suddenly the villain marched across TV screen all over the world? Kevin’s entire life changes while he struggles to defend his father and you are right there with him.

My Father’s Son is full of suspense and Terri Fields forces you to imagine life if everything you loved and counted on was ripped away from you. Family, friends, school, and normal routines. The suspense will keep you turning the pages late into the night, racing to the conclusion. It kept me up until 3am because I just And the story will stay with you long after you finish the book.

New Sarah Desson Novel!

Congratulations to Sarah Desson, who just sold a new novel! I loved her last novel, Lock and Key, and I can’t wait to read the new one.

Penguin Young Readers Group, longtime publisher of bestselling YA author Sarah Dessen, has acquired Dessen’s latest novel, Along for the Ride. Regina Hayes, president and publisher of Viking Children’s Books, did the deal with Leigh Feldman of Darhansoff, Verrill, Feldman Literary Agents; Hayes will edit the novel as well. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In Along for the Ride, which is scheduled to pub in June 2009, an 18-year-old high school graduate befriends a fellow insomniac, and together they explore their small town by night.

Dessen is the author of eight novels, most recently Lock and Key (April 2008). Her books have sold more than 1.5 million copies.

courtesy of Publisher’s Weekly.

I know there are a lot of Sarah Dessen fans out there who will be excited to hear this news.  If you don’t already know, be sure to check out her awesome blog!

The Debs by Susan McBride

A few weeks ago I received an ARC from Delacorte Books. Included with the ARC was a lipstick case from my favorite designer ever, Lilly Pulitzer! Now that might be a silly reason to move up the book on my TBR pile but it happened.

The Debs is the first in a new series chronicling the debutante season for four girls in Houston, Texas. The four girls are eagerly awaiting their invitations from The Glass Slipper Club- the elitist ‘club’ that chooses each year’s debs. The book alternated viewpoints between all four girls, three of whom are best friends and a fourth that is their archenemy. It’s typical high school drama multiplied by millions of dollars.

Laura Bell is a size 14 and feels the pressures of not being skinny enough. Yet she still attracts some of the hottest guys around. Mac is struggling with her mother’s death and her father’s recent marriage to a woman young enough to be her sister. While being a Deb isn’t her dream, it was her mother’s. Ginger is the tree-hugging liberal struggling to find herself. All three girls are best friends and can’t wait to go through the deb season together.

Then there is popular Jo-Lynn, whose sole goal is to ensure that Laura Bell does not debut.

The Debs introduced me to high society and debuts in the south, a custom I am not very familiar with. It was fun to be transported to this world where girls wait for invitations with bated breath, try on their grandmother’s debut dresses, and pray for the chance to debut like their mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmother’s did. It’s a fun story and I look forward to reading the remaining books. The story moved quickly and I think teens will get a kick out of it. It’s definitely different than life here in the northeast and I think teens in the south and outside the south will enjoy the story.

The second book “Love, Lies and Texas Dips” comes out in June 2009. I recommend this series for high school readers, due to some mature situations.

Percy Jackson News!

How did I miss this?  (Thanks, Jen!)  The title for the fifth Percy Jackson book has been revealed!


Percy Jackson and THE LAST OLYMPIAN will be published on May 9, 2009.  I am so excited!  There is no cover yet, but more information will be released over the coming weeks.  Percy was a huge favorite in my room last year,so I know there will be a lot of fans excited to hear this news.  Thanks, Rick!

Cinderella retold by Cynthia Rylant

“This is a story about darkness and light, about sorrow and joy, about something lost and something found. This is a story about Love. ” (page 1, Walt Disney’s Cinderella )

Cynthia Rylant is one of my favorite authors, and one I frequently rely on for great mentor texts. When I saw that she had retold Walt Disney’s Cinderella with illustration by Mary Blair, I knew I had to read it. The book does not disappoint.

This is the traditional, Disney version of Cinderella. However, Rylant has put her trademarks of beautiful language and deft storytelling on this edition. The story is gorgeous. Though you already know what happens, you can’t help but to keep turning the pages. And I noted so many spots that I can’t want to point out to my students. It is just a gorgeous book!

Mary Blair’s illustrations are also awe-inspiring. Blair was one of Walt Disney’s most brilliant conceptual designers, defining the look of classic Disney films like Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan. She spent 34 years working as an artist for Disney. Her illustrations are immediately call to mind the classic Disney films that she helped create. Each page is full of large brush strokes, gorgeous backgrounds, and complementary colors. There were many pages that I wish I could have as a print to hang in my home! (If you click on the link, you can search inside the book on Amazon. It’s not the same as viewing them in person, but you get a good feel for the mood the illustrations set).

This is a purchase I am very glad I made. In fact, I can imagine sharing this beautiful book with my own children someday. It’s just that wonderful and classic!