Jillicious Reading: August 2008


The Seer of Shadows
by Avi

Summary: Horace, a fourteen-year-old New Yorker, is apprenticed to a shady photographer, Enoch Middleditch. When the wealthy Mrs. Von Macht asks Mr. Middleditch to photograph her for her deceased daughter’s grave, the photographer decides to take advantage of the situation. He enlists the reluctant Horace’s help in creating a double exposed picture that will appear to show the young girl’s ghost. Horace is shocked, however, when the girl’s ghost actually begins appearing in the photos without any tricks of photography!

Thoughts: Avi creates a frightning, haunting tale in The Seer of Shadows. It is a creative, fast-paced ghost story that pulls in the reader with quick, cliff-hanging chapters.

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

by Ally Carter

Summary: This sequel to I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You picks right up with Cammie Morgan beginning her sophomore year at the Gallagher Academy (the secret training ground for young female spies). Cammie is trying to heal from her recent break-up with non-spy Josh and is hoping for a normal semester (or at least as normal a semester as a Covert Ops student can expect). But, Cammie and her friends are thrown for a loop when boys from the mysterious Blackthorn school infiltrate the Gallagher academy.
Thoughts: This is such a fun series and a great one to experience on audio! I love how Cammie and her friends are geniuses at spywork but very inexperienced with boys & romance. 🙂 Reading about Cammie makes me wish I was a spy-in-training!

All Shook Up

by Shelley Pearsall

Summary: Since his parents divorced years ago, Josh has become used to being a “shared kid” and dividing his time between his mom in Boston and his dad in Chicago. When his grandmother falls and needs his mother’s help, Josh must move to Chicago, change schools, and spend more than the usual time with his dad. He expects some challenges like trying to fit in at a new school, but he does not expect to discover that his dad has become an Elvis impersonator!

Thoughts: Josh’s narrative is believable and touching as he describes the struggles of being a child of divorce and having a parent who is so embarrassing!


Breaking Dawn
by Stephenie Meyer

Summary: The saga of Bella and Edward, the vampire she loves, comes to an exciting conclusion.

Thoughts: It is often difficult for such a highly anticipated volume to please a series’ devoted fans; so, it is natural that this book has been met with mixed reviews. I, however, thought this was a creative, fitting end to the Twilight saga. The story has several surprises and allows Bella to develop into a stronger, more confident character along the way. I like the title and the saga’s entry into a “new day.”


The Fold

by An Na

Summary: Joyce is always compared to her beautiful, smart older sister Helen. The summer before her senior year, Joyce’s aunt Gomo offers to pay for Joyce to get “the fold”, a plastic surgery that creates a crease in Asian eyes and makes them look more Western. Joyce wrestles with this decision. If she does go under the knife, she might look a lot prettier (more like Helen) and finally attract the attention of her longtime crush. On the other hand, she is very frightened about the surgery and wonders if she might lose herself in the process.

Thoughts: This is a realistic look at self-image. I liked how Joyce thought about all the different aspects of a “quick fix” and how this might affect her both positively and negatively.


Antsy Does Time

by Neal Shusterman

Summary: Antsy Bonano of The Schwa Was Here is back! In this adventure, Antsy befriends classmate Gunnar who is suffering from a terminal illness. In effort to help Gunnar form a more positive outlook in his final months, Antsy offers to “give” Gunnar a month of his life. Things spiral from there as others start to donate months of their lives and Antsy starts trading time like stocks on Wall Street! To add to the mayhem, Antsy falls for Gunnar’s gorgeous older sister Kjersten. Antsy is in for a ride as he tries to juggle all of this along with school, working at his parents’ restaurant, cranky old Mr. Crawley, ex-girlfriend Lexie, and his overbearing aunt.

Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It was engaging, funny, and thought-provoking. Antsy is such a great character, and it was a treat to follow him on another adventure. Kudos to Mr. Shusterman! I hope there will be more to come!

Oh. My. Gods.
by Tera Lynn Childs

Summary: Phoebe’s dreams of a perfect senior year vanish when her mother announces that she is getting married, and they are all moving to Greece! Instead of spending the year with her best friends and securing a track scholarship to USC, Phoebe is whisked around the world to attend a school run by her soon-to-be stepfather! Things only get worse when Phoebe learns that this elite school’s students (including her evil stepsister) are actually descendants of the Greek gods. How will she ever fit in? Phoebe just hopes she can survive the 9 months, but she is in for a lot of surprises …. starting with the gorgeous boy she meets jogging on the beach the first day of school!

Thoughts: Oh.My.Gods is such a fresh, fun novel! I loved the mix of realism and mythology; it’s somewhat of a Lightning Thief meets chick lit. 🙂 I am eagerly awaiting the upcoming sequel!


by Gail Carson Levine

Summary: When Kezi’s mother becomes deathly ill, her father makes a bargain with their god Admat to spare her. Kezi’s mother is saved, but then things take a horrible turn: it will be beloved Kezi who must be sacrificed. Olus, the Akkan god of the winds, has been watching this unfold. He has fallen in love with the beautiful human girl. Can she return his love and could he possibly save her from sacrifice?

Thoughts: What a creative, captivating fantasy! It takes the reader away to another world and delivers action, suspense, and romance. A very entertaining read!

Go Big or Go Home

by Will Hobbs

Summary: Brady is stunned when a meteorite crashes through the roof of his house! He can hardly wait to show the space rock to his cousin Quinn. But during the boys’ bike rides and basketball games, Brady starts to exhibit extreme capabilities far beyond his natural level. Could the cause be the meteorite? This is the start of a wild summer for the boys that is full of extreme adventures and many surprises.

Thoughts: Go Big or Go Home is an action-packed novel. I enjoyed the fast pace and the boys’ interest in extreme sports & astronomy. The novel made me wish I lived in the Black Hills of South Dakota!


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