I Moved!

As of today, I have a new place on the internet. Head on over to yaurban.com to see the new site and join in discussing YA books!


Radio Silence Interrupted, or: THE ASH-BORN BOY

It's May 15th!

Not only does the paperback edition of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (AMAZING AUTHOR FLAIL ARMS OKAY FANBOYING OVER) come out today, but, to celebrate its release, "The Ash-Born Boy" is finally up over at Disney*Hyperion's website!

So, what IS "The Ash-Born Boy"? It's a (free) story Victoria wrote as a thank-you to her fans, and she wrote it to answer ONE question: Who was Cole before he came to Near? Now, if you've already read The Near Witch, "The Ash-Born Boy" is guaranteed to change the way you see Cole. But if you haven't read The Near Witch yet, don't worry, it won't spoil anything! So basically, either way, you should go read Cole's story.

And if you want to wait and read The Near Witch first, don't worry! Cole's story will stay up on Disney*Hyperion's website, and if it ever comes down, Victoria will carve out a space for it on her own site. It will always be available somewhere, and it will always be free. And! Cole's story isn't the only goodie to go along with the paperback release. In the back of the paperback, you'll find the first chapter of Victoria's new book, The Archived, which doesn't come out until January! So what are you waiting for?


Blog Radio Silence

So if you read my blog (really?? You do!? Aww, thank you so much.) you might have been wondering what's with the silence. This is because I'm wrapping up a new and improved, verrrry pretty blog design. I'm super excited to show you all! Crossing my fingers that you like it as much as I do and bouncing on my feet for it to be up. Squeeeeeeeeee. *runs around*


★DEMONGLASS by Rachel Hawkins

Bought | Published by Hyperion

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a risky procedure that will either destroy her powers forever — or kill her.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new housemates? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Acher to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

I'm pretty sure Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall books can can pick up just about anyone, in any bad mood. The sarcasm is balanced perfectly with the Serious Business, so Serious Business Scenes don't fall flat. Sophie is a great narrator, and, in Demonglass, there is a love triangle, but it's done well. (She may or may not even make a choice by the end. I like that.) Demonglass is very unpredictable. I wanted to know what was going to happen really badly, and I tried to guess — and I was dead wrong.

Also, I went through this really fast. I read almost all of it in fleeting moments between classes at school. I like how Sophie grows as both a person and a demon, learning more about the lore of the Hex Hall books (without info dumps), too. Demonglass is as fast-paced, hilarious, and original as Hex Hall, possibly with even more surprises. The sort-of-cliffhanger ending makes me want to die for Spell Bound, the last Hex Hall novel, even though that ending was really well-done and solid. I'm glad I finally got around to reading this!


★STARDUST by Neil Gaiman

Bought | Published by HarperPerennial, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

Young Tristrian Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria—even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that stone wall, Tristran learns, lies Faerie—where nothing, not even a fallen star, is what he imagined.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman comes a remarkable quest into the dark and miraculous—in pursuit of love and the utterly impossible.

Unforgettable and touchingly beautiful, Stardust is a thrilling and authentic fairy tale, matched only by Gaiman's other novels. His prose and storytelling is glittery and unparalleled — you can really see exactly what his words mean to picture, and he pieces things together in a brilliant way that forces you to look up for a moment and just think.

The equally gorgeous UK cover.
To some, Tristran may seem like the classic fairy tale protagonist — and while that may hold some truth to it, I feel that Gaiman adds a depth to that that I've never seen elsewhere. If you're an older reader of this blog, you'll know that cookie-cutter, flat characters that don't grow make me scream bloody murder. Luckily, the case is quite the opposite here, because, hello!, Neil Gaiman is a genius. As with all novels I adore, I love all the characters in Stardust. The antagonists are some of the most well-written I have ever come across. There are definitely a good handful of quirky people, and I love quirkiness (especially quirkiness that reminds me of Maureen Johnson, a very quirky person that writes very quirky books).

The village of Wall, and the fact that it doubles as a border between the real world and Faerie (a magical world of things unknown that Gaiman writes so fantastically), are just two of Neil's ideas that make me jealous of his brain. Stardust was my gateway novel into Neil's work; I'm so glad that I finally discovered him and as soon as I can, I'll be getting my grabby hands on his other novels.

Since Stardust's first demographic is technically adults (Neil says that he wanted to write a fairy tale for, well, adults), I should probably state here that if you're not an older or mature teen, you should probably wait a while to read this one, blah, blah-blah, blah-blah, but it is most definitely a crossover novel for teens, as evidenced by its several tie-ins. Stardust is also an amazing film, to let you know, but, obviously, read it first.

While I want to say that this is perfect for everyone, because I think it is impossible not to love a Neil Gaiman book, I should also tell you that I think Stardust is perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones, Laini Taylor, or Alexandra Bracken. Also, I love this book.


★WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green & David Levithan

Bought | Published by Speak, an imprint of Penguin

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.

Where do I even begin? Obviously, because it's by John Green and David Levithan, Will Grayson, Will Grayson is fabulous. As with any John Green book, my love for this book makes it far harder for me to go into details than usual, but I try.

As the latter paragraph of the synopsis mentions, Will Grayson, Will Grayson is profound and resonates with the heart while also being downright hysterical. This is the funniest John Green book I've read, honestly. Green and Levithan write very real characters, including two very different Will Graysons, and explore the complications of friendship, love, and family with perfection. The Q&A in the back of the paperback touches on this, and I think it's really important: there are lots of YA books in which one or more of the characters begin to suffer with depression, but there aren't many about after-- in which a character lives his life with depression as just a constant thing that has been there for a long time, something that isn't at all new. Lowercase will grayson suffers from depression, but it's not new. Another important thing about that is that his depression is not what makes will grayson himself; it's something he deals with. An illness or mental condition does not make a person who they are, and Levithan definitely portrays that. Authentically philosophical yet comedic, Will Grayson, Will Grayson will have readers obsessed in a heartbeat, all topped off with the best musical to ever have been performed.


★13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES by Maureen Johnson

Bought | Published by HarperTeen

Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket.

In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat.

The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist.

Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/thief/bloke-about-town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous-- though utterly romantic-- results. But will she ever see him again?

Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it's all because of the 13 little blue envelopes.

Need I say anything but "It's by Maureen Johnson"?

Unfortunately, that would take no effort at all and would be a very boring review, so here we go.

Johnson's prose is humorous, lushly describes the places Ginny must go without ever boring, and hits close to home as Ginny is pushed into foreign territory where the only thing familiar is herself, all at the same time. The pacing is just right-- there was never a moment where it dragged, or where I had to force myself to read. (Quite the opposite, actually. I had to force myself to stop reading so I could get to bed and be alive for school the next day.) As Ginny travels, she meets some very unlikely, very interesting people and comes to terms with Aunt Peg while she finds a little more of herself. 

Basically, this book is like a drug, and a good one I was always sad when I found that I had to put it down. Always.

Johnson writes some of the most authentic, unforgettable characters I have ever met. (The book itself is unforgettable, actually. Any book that doesn't allow you to forget it-- in a positive way, obviously-- has to be stellar. And 13 Little Blue Envelopes is. There isn't a book out there quite like it, or written as fabulously as this.)

Seriously, the writing is amazing. I never doubted a thing, which is to say, there is total believability, no matter how low the odds. Maureen Johnson is also an expert on when to tell certain things and when to show them. She's a genius and I love her.

THIS BOOK. I just want to scream because I love it so much It's uplifting, inspirational, REALLY funny, and unique. It's better than all those adjectives combined.

I would expect no less from Maureen Johnson.