Waiting on Wednesday–Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  It’s designed for bloggers to spotlight the upcoming releases that they simply can’t wait to read.


I’m on my way to spend a couple days with Jillian, Mindi, and Lea at what we’re calling #readtreat, so today’s post is simple and to the point.  Basically, I loved Split so I simply can’t wait to read Swati Avasthi’s new book Chasing Shadows.  Plus, I love that it’s illustrated!

Chasing ShadowsTitle & Author: Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi, illustrated by Craig Phillips

Release Date: September 24th, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Summary (From Goodreads):

Chasing Shadows is a searing look at the impact of one random act of violence.

Before: Corey, Holly, and Savitri are one unit—fast, strong, inseparable. Together they turn Chicago concrete and asphalt into a freerunner’s jungle gym, ricocheting off walls, scaling buildings, leaping from rooftop to rooftop.

But acting like a superhero doesn’t make you bulletproof…

After: Holly and Savitri are coming unglued. Holly says she’s chasing Corey’s killer, chasing revenge. Savitri fears Holly’s just running wild—and leaving her behind. Friends should stand by each other in times of crissi. But can you hold on too tight? Too long?

In this intense novel, told in two voices, and incorporating comic-style art sections, Swati Avasthi creates a gripping portrait of two girls teetering on the edge of grief and insanity. Two girls who will find out just how many ways there are to lose a friend . . . and how many ways to be lost.

Book Trailer Thursday (76)–Nighttime Ninja & The Diviners

Both of the book trailers I’m featuring today come from Little, Brown!  I know many of my readers work with elementary and middle school students, so I wanted to include a cute book trailer aimed at that audience.  I’ve never heard of Nighttime Ninja before, but it sure does sound good!  I also have the recently released trailer for Libba Bray’s newest book, The Diviners.  Have any of you been lucky enough to read it yet?  If so, what did you think?

Both books release on September 18th, 2012.

As always, I’d love to know what you think of the book trailers! 🙂

Summary of Nighttime Ninja (From Goodreads): Late at night, when all is quiet and everyone is asleep, a ninja creeps silently through the house in search of treasure. Soon he reaches his ultimate goal…and gets a big surprise! Will the nighttime ninja complete his mission?

With spare text and lush illustrations, Nighttime Ninja is a fun, adventure-filled story about the power of play and imagination.


Summary of The Diviners (From Goodreads): Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.”

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.

Flash Reviews (8)

Don’t Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough

Summary (From  Goodreads): Delaney Collins doesn’t believe in fairy tales. And why should she? Her mom is dead, her best friend is across the country, and she’s stuck in California with “Dr. Hank,” her famous life-coach father—a man she barely knows. Happily ever after? Yeah, right.

Then Dr. Hank tells her an outrageous secret: he’s a fairy godmother—an f.g.—and he can prove it. And by the way? The f.g. gene is hereditary. Meaning there’s a good chance that New Jersey tough girl Delaney is someone’s fairy godmother.

But what happens when a fairy godmother needs a wish of her own?

Flash Review:  Kathy McCullough has written an absolutely adorable MG/YA debut novel.  Delaney is tough on the outside, but she’s actually really sweet deep down.  Her witty sarcasm and sense of humor had me giggling and smiling the entire time I read this novel.  She and her father have a strained relationship, most of which results from Delaney not knowing that her dad is an f.g. I love that Dr. Hank is a fairy godmother, because I’m sure most of us wouldn’t expect a man to hold that title.  It increased the amount of humor in the novel while also keeping the story sweet and heartwarming.  Delaney doesn’t know about the ins and outs of being a fairy godmother, so she needs to learn to trust and rely on her dad to learn the ropes.  I definitely recommend reading Don’t Expect Magic.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Summary (From Goodreads): This is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss. The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. . . .

This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final story idea of Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.

Flash Review:  A Monster Calls took my breath away.  The writing, the story, and the illustrations are stunning.  Conor is dealing with his mother’s illness and has been suffering from nightmares.  One night after the recurring nightmare, the monster shows up and wants Conor to give him the truth.  The monster helps Conor understand what truth he’s looking for through stories.  These stories are intended for Conor to come to a realization and give the monster what it’s looking for, even if Conor doesn’t understand this at the beginning.  I was completely engrossed in this novel.  My dad is a cancer survivor, so I was able to empathize with Conor.  My personal connection may be why I adore this novel so much, but I can’t imagine someone not being moved by A Monster Calls.   When I finished this novel I was speechless and bawled like a baby.


Thank you for the Flash Reviews idea, GreenBeanTeenQueen

Book Trailer Thursday (37)

Patrick Ness is truly a gifted writer. I fell in love with The Knife of Never Letting Go even though I never thought I’d enjoy a book like that.  His stories are compelling, poignant, and thought-provoking.  I’m featuring the trailer for his new book, A Monster Calls.  I just bought my copy the other day and plan on starting it today.  Teachers/bloggers/librarians I trust have been raving about this book, so I can’t wait to read it.  The book trailer is awesome and the music is beautiful.  Enjoy!

P.S. A Monster Calls has been nominated for a Cybils award 🙂

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Summary from Goodreads):

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.



In My Mailbox (24)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme sponsored by The Story Siren.  It’s a way for bloggers to share what books they’ve received for review, borrowed from the library, or bought from the store.

Today’s my birthday, so I’m keeping this post short and simple! 🙂

Won from Good Books and Good Wine (Thank you, April!):

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Goodreads)
  • Fury by Elizabeth Miles (Goodreads)
  • Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham (illustrator) (Goodreads)
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Goodreads)


  • I’m Not Her by Janet Gurtler (Goodreads)
  • Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles (Goodreads)
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (Goodreads)

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver Liesl & Po

320 pp.  Harper (HarperCollins)  2011  ISBN: 978-0-06-201451-1

Release Date: October 4, 2011

Interest: First middle grade title from YA author

Source: ARC received from the publisher

Summary (From Goodreads):

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist’s apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable

Will’s mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.

During some conversations I had with my freshmen last school year, I discovered that many of them still enjoy middle grade titles, especially fantasy and action/adventure titles.  Since then I’ve been making a point of seeking titles like these out and reading them.  When I heard about Liesl & Po, and that it’s written by Lauren Oliver, I knew I had to read it.  Truth–I think I like this book more than Before I Fall.

Lauren Oliver has a note in the very beginning of the ARC (I hope it’s in the finished copy as well) explaining why she wrote this book.  It’s incredibly moving and something I thought back to many times while reading this book.  I’d rather not go into detail about the note, though, because I think you should experience it for yourself.  It made reading the book feel more personal, and I appreciate that sort of honesty from an author.

The illustrations by Kei Acedera are fantastic!  I wasn’t expecting any art, so it was a very pleasant surprise and experience.  I like that they’re paced throughout the novel and I like the style used to create the setting & characters.  I’m not very good with art/drawing terminology, so please forgive my ignorance on this.  The drawings felt like how I would see the characters if this book were made into an animated Disney movie or something.  But the shading and everything also felt whimsical.  I may not be making any sense, but regardless, I love the illustrations.  They added an element that made the story come alive.  I wish more books could include illustrations, MG and YA alike.

Another element I love about this book is the cast of characters.  Liesl is sweet and caring, but also full of adventure.  Po is mysterious, but I love that it looks out for Liesl and begins to feel human emotions again.  I also couldn’t get enough of Po’s wit and one-liners, especially when Will, the alchemist’s assistant, enters the scene.  Liesl & Po forge an unusual friendship, but it’s ultimately one of trust and understanding.  There’s also a few villains, of course.  Liesl’s stepmother is truly horrible; she has Liesl locked up in an attic and barely feeds her.  The Lady Premiere, who expects to receive the box of magic, rivals Liesl’s stepmother in the evilness category.  These characters, along with others, made for a fantastic story full of magic and hope despite all the gray.

Lauren Oliver has written a story that children, tweens and teens will appreciate and enjoy.  There are plenty of universal themes like loneliness, the importance of family, grieving, etc.  This is another title that I’m excited to share with my students, and I’m equally excited to buy a finished copy.

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