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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SURVIVAL COLONY 9 {Excerpt & Giveaway}

From Simon & Schuster
Written by Joshua David Bellin

Fourteen-year-old Querry Genn's world is a desert where small groups of survivors struggle against heat, starvation, and the creatures known as the Skaldi, monsters that appeared on the planet after war swept away the old world. Suffering from amnesia brought on by an accident, Querry struggles to recover the lost memories that might save the human race. But the Skaldi are closing in, and time is running out on Survival Colony 9.

In this excerpt, a scouting party investigates the western desert, where the colony has been driven following a Skaldi attack. There they find an abandoned settlement. Through Querry’s eyes, we meet some of the novel’s main characters: the commander of Survival Colony 9, Querry’s father Laman Genn; Laman’s second-in-command, Aleka; and Querry’s nemesis, Yov. We also hear rumors of the Skaldi, who are an ever-present threat in this world.

The trucks crawled up the hill, coughing and wheezing, pulled up on bare dirt and stopped with a squeal. My dad, moving faster than I’d seen him move in weeks, jumped down from the cab. He took a long look at the place, hands on hips, nodding slowly. Then he turned to us.

“Who found it?” He directed his question at Aleka, but I could tell he hoped the answer was me.

“Yov,” she said. “The kid’s got eyes like a hawk.”

My dad stepped over to Yov and reached up to pat him awkwardly on the shoulder. Yov had a calm look on his face, like he was saying, “hey, just doing my job,” but I knew I’d be hearing about this later. From both of them.

“Good work,” my dad said.

Sure enough, Yov looked sidelong at me and smirked.

“We’ll have to double-check,” my dad said. “Aleka, have your team sweep the perimeter. Querry,” he signaled. “Get over here.”

While Aleka and the others fanned out to circle the compound, I accompanied him to the interior, near the crater. For an hour he had me get down on my hands and knees to peer in the dust for signs of Skaldi. He’d taught me how to detect their presence, but it’s not easy. When they leave a body behind, there’s nothing much to see. Emptied, like a sack of skin.

He kept up a running commentary as I crawled around in the dirt searching for evidence. “It doesn’t have to be much,” he reminded me. “Scraps, flakes. Teeth. Anything they might have left behind.”

“What about this?” I lifted a long, thin strip of some translucent material from the floor of a ruined house.

He scrutinized it. “I don’t think so. Bring it back, though. I’ll have Tyris take a look at it.”

Eventually we came to the very lip of the crater. He considered sending me down inside, but the walls fell away steeply and the rock looked precarious. He made me hunt around the edge anyway.

“Seems clean,” I told him when I was done.

“Check again,” he said.

I dropped to the dust and searched once more for signs I couldn’t see.

We strolled back to the others when he was satisfied with my inspection. “Something about this place,” he said. “Familiar. Like I’ve heard someone talk about it before.”

He shook his head, remembering, not remembering. He’d told me stories about what cities used to look like, with shining towers of steel and legions of cars streaming down the avenues. But he’d never seen one himself, not that he could remember. Only the old woman had, and the holes in her memory gaped as wide as the cracks in the houses that were left.

When we returned to the others, I could feel the anticipation in the air. No one budged, but all eyes zeroed in on him.

“Aleka,” he said. “Report.”

“No sign,” she said. “And Laman—there’s food.”

The magic word shivered through the crowd. His face remained composed, but I saw his eyes light up. “Where?”

Aleka led the two of us to the structure farthest from the nucleus of camp, a windowless square of gray cinderblock overlooking the hill’s eastern edge. My dad said it looked like a bomb shelter, but even if bombs had been flying or Skaldi breathing down our necks, there was nowhere near enough room for our whole camp. Probably it had belonged to a single family in the time before. It seemed to be the only building in the compound with working locks, two in fact, one in front and one on a trapdoor that led to a basement level. But the doors stood open, the deadbolts sprung. A flight of rickety wooden stairs led below. And in a corner of the basement, on the packed dirt floor, sat a pyramid of wooden cases filled with rusty metal cans.

“You’re sure it’s edible?” my dad asked, holding one of the cans up in the glow of Aleka’s flashlight.

“According to Tyris, properly canned goods have an effective shelf life of forever,” she answered. “But Laman. . . .”

He lowered the can. “I’m listening.”

“It might be best to take what we can carry and go. I’m not—comfortable here. We’re exposed. There’s only one way out. If they were to block the road. . . .”

“Not their typical behavior,” he said. “And you told me the perimeter’s clean.”

“So far as we can ascertain,” she said. “But this room—I suspect it’s been looted.” She shone her flashlight on the floor, revealing parallel tracks where cases had been dragged. “We may not be the only colony to have visited this place.”

“And the ones who beat us to it are plainly gone,” he replied. “Driven away by Skaldi, most likely. Leaving nothing but food the Skaldi won’t return for.”

“Unless they return for us.”

SURVIVAL COLONY 9 is available now from Simon & Schuster, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, select Wal-Mart stores, and other online and physical retailers!

About me:

I've been writing novels since I was eight years old (though the first few were admittedly very short). I taught college for twenty years, wrote a bunch of books for college students, then decided to return to fiction. SURVIVAL COLONY 9 is my first novel, but the sequel’s already in the works!

To connect with me and learn more about SURVIVAL COLONY 9, check out the following links:


For a chance to win an autographed copy of Survival Colony 9, enter below!

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Monday, September 22, 2014

A Letter to I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson

Review by Becca

First off, I want to send Andye a HUGE thank you for having me here on Reading Teen! I've become quite the regular here, which is fabulous! But if you haven't seen one of my reviews yet, I'm going to review I'll Give You the Sun a little bit different than others. I'll be writing a letter to the book, saying what I did/didn't like, similar to how I normally review on my own blog! Be sure to check out more of my review letters at Pivot Book Reviews!

by Jandy Nelson
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Dial (September 16, 2014)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Dear I'll Give You the Sun,

I've been struggling the past few days compiling my thoughts about you. No! It's not because I didn't love you, because that so is not the case. In fact, I adored you- even more than I did The Sky is Everywhere! The reason I've been struggling is merely because how am I supposed to compose a letter to a book that was mesmerizing and beautifully written. It's just- WHAT ARE WORDS?!

Here's three. You. Were. Brilliant.

You follow the story of twins Jude (which is a girl! SUCH A CUTE NAME FOR A GIRL! RIGHT?) and Noah, who interchange chapters during different times in their lives. Noah is 13-14 and Jude is 16. But something between that time they grew apart from being the closest twins you could imagine to barely speaking to each other. In fact, it's as if they switched personalities completely. But why? If that question isn't enough to have someone flipping through your pages like crazy, then I don't know what is.

I wasn't sure I was going to like reading from a boy's POV because I always either completely hate or love it, but that wasn't the case with Noah. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about him, and his escapades with Brain, and then Jude. Oh Jude. She grew so much with each page. I loved that Noah was obsessed with drawing/painting, because I'm pretty much the same way (except with totes!) and I loved that Jude was legit superstitious- to some interesting extremes. All of her little superstitions were so unique, and made me giggle, and then the way everyone interconnected in the end?! It was cray cray. My mind was messed with in such an amazing way!!!

Plus that English accented photographer hiding in your pages? SA-WOOOOOOOON.

As far as your author, Jandy Nelson's, writing. She completely blew me away. You, I'll Give You the Sun, have absolutely NOTHING on your predecessor, The Sky is Everywhere. If anything, your prose is even more beautifully written. Some might wonder if that's possible, but your prose is incredible. I can't state that enough!!!! Everyone raving about you is right in their extreme love for you, and I'm now one of those people. You deserve it. *PUSHES YOU INTO EVERYONE'S HANDS* *PUSH PUSH PUSH* *NUDGE NUDGE NUDGE* I cannot wait to see what your author comes up next. Auto-buy? Heck to the yes. Five bright and shiny stars to a glorious, unforgettable novel. You'll be on my mind for quite some time.

Wondering if I should give YOU the sun,

Becca @ Pivot Book Reviews!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

How Do Fairy Tales Affect Today's Teens? (& POISONED APPLES Giveaway)

When Hannah emailed me about POISONED APPLES, I could basically see her excitement seeping out into the email. It isn't often that she's this stirred up about a book, so when she is, I pay attention. So, of course I agreed to be a part of this blog tour (I promise, Hannah didn't threaten me . . . much). Check out Christine Heppermann's thoughts on Fairy Tales today, and make sure you enter to win a copy of the book below!

How do fairy tales affect today’s teens?
by Christine Heppermann

Many of the best-known fairy tale characters—Rapunzel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, to name a few—are teenagers. They are girls on the verge of adulthood, so I think it’s kind of strange that we view their stories as being for little kids. As far as themes go, fairy tales depict a world in which young women’s bodies are considered so dangerous that they must be controlled and contained. Rapunzel in her tower. Cinderella in her rags and ashes. Sleeping Beauty in her hundred-year coma: girls today can relate. One poem in Poisoned Apples, “Nature Lesson,” talks about a school dress code, a contemporary method for keeping female bodies locked away. I was just reading this morning about a seventeen-year-old girl who was kicked out of her prom, even though her dress met the “fingertip length,” requirement because some of the male chaperones claimed her presence gave them “impure thoughts.” Guess she should have stayed home and scrubbed floors instead of daring to go to the ball.


Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.

Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking."

Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again.

About Christine Heppermann

Christine Heppermann is a writer, poet, and critic. Her book of poetry for young adults, Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty, will be published by Greenwillow Books in September, 2014. Poisoned Apples has been called "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny and heartbreaking" (E. Lockhart) and a "powerful and provocative exploration of body image, media, and love" (Rae Carson).

Christine's first book, City Chickens (Houghton Mifflin, 2012), is a nonfiction story about a shelter for abandoned and unwanted chickens in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In 2015 Greenwillow Books will publish the first book of the Backyard Witch Series, written by Christine and Ron Koertge. The middle-grade series follows three best friends and a mysterious visitor who appears for curious adventures just when they need her most.

Christine was a columnist and reviewer for The Horn Book Magazine from 1996 until 2013. Her poems are published in 5AM, The Magazine of Contemporary Poetry; Poems and Plays; Kite Tales; Nerve Cowboy; The Mas Tequila Review; and The Horn Book Magazine. Her reviews of children's and young adult books have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. She has an MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University.


One finished copy of Poisoned Apples to anyone in the US/Canada
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Blog Tour:

Sept. 21 - Andye @ - Guest Post
Sept. 22 - Liza @ WhoRU Blog - Review
Sept. 23 - Jenny @ Supernatural Snark - Interview / Steph & Meg @ Cuddlebuggery - Joint Review
Sept. 24 - Hannah @ The Irish Banana Review - Review
Sept. 25 - Stephanie @ No BS Book Reviews - Interview
Sept. 26 - Katie @ MundieMoms - Review
Sept. 27 - Mary @ The Book Swarm - Guest Post & Review

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hachette Audio Moving Giveaway! Part 1

Everything Must Go!

Ok, maybe not EVERYTHING, but some things must go. Like, for instance, seven copies of The Young World by Chris Weit!

Hachette Audio is moving offices, and needs to get some audiobooks out & into your hands! Lucky you! :D 

Thanks so much to Mitch, if you don't know Mitch, you should introduce yourself immediately, we have a bunch of audiobooks to give away. We're starting with seven, YES I SAID SEVEN, copies of The Young World. US only, as they're being shipped straight from Hachette Audio, and poor Mitch still needs to feed his family. 

Good luck!

The Young World
By Chris Weitz
Narrated By Spencer Locke, Jose Julian
Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
Release Date: 07-29-14
Goodreads | Audible
Welcome to New York, a city ruled by teens.

After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.  
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GIRL DEFECTIVE by Simmone Howell {Review}

Review my Books Review by Meghann @ Becoming Books

Title: Girl Defective
Author: Simmone Howell
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, imprint of Simon and Schuster
Genre: Young Adult Fiction - Contemporary
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher, opinions are honest and my own.
In the tradition of High Fidelity and Empire Records, this is the literary soundtrack to Skylark Martin’s strange, mysterious, and extraordinary summer.

This is the story of a wild girl and a ghost girl; a boy who knew nothing and a boy who thought he knew everything.

It’s a story about Skylark Martin, who lives with her father and brother in a vintage record shop and is trying to find her place in the world. It’s about ten-year-old Super Agent Gully and his case of a lifetime. And about beautiful, reckless, sharp-as-knives Nancy. It’s about tragi-hot Luke, and just-plain-tragic Mia Casey. It’s about the dark underbelly of a curious neighborhood. It’s about summer, and weirdness, and mystery, and music.

And it’s about life and death and grief and romance. All the good stuff. 
Hey Readaholics! Today we have a review from the awesome Meghann from Becoming Books! This book looked so interesting to me, so I was exctited to read her thoughts! Check out what she had to say and let us know what you think! (~andye)

Thanks to Andye for allowing me to be a guest reviewer on Reading Teen! Feel free to check me out over at my regular spot, Becoming Books

Ooo Australian, Teen High Fidelity...

Skylark, ahem... Sky Martin and her brother Seagull, ahem... Gully live above a record shop their father runs. Named after birds and armed with abandonment, rock music and restlessness they team up to solve St. Kilda's mysteries. 

Sky and Gully both escape from the realities of their neglect to investigate a local girl who drowned, Mia, and a mysterious vandal of their record shop. Dad drowns his miseries in beer while mom has skipped the country to be an entertainer. Reminiscent of real life each character is battling their own identity issues tied to the past and the impending future.   

There's a girl and there's a boy...

Sky's friends are limited and focus on Nancy an older teen/twenty-something who has no known roots and a few aliases. Channeling a hippy vibe, Nancy leads Sky to parties and unleashes maternal chats while exposing her to the harsh realities of living without consequence. Nancy plays substitute mom with a Penny Lane (a la Almost Famous) kind of flare. 

Luke enter's the story during Sky's search for solutions and her father's search for help at the shop. In the beginning Sky has no interest in him but Luke's redeeming qualities are far from romantic. Their interactions are awkward and sometimes hilariously painful to watch. However, it's Luke's brooding pain that makes him interesting and his desire to move forward that brings him and Sky together. 

I really like Luke's character and not because he's this brooding, artistic mystery boy. Although, that's nice but because he doesn't let all the Martin family dysfunction scare him off. His bond with Gully, even mid-meltdown, brings about feels. 

It started slow...

but the music and dysfunction drew me in. If you're looking for a clear plot point, don't. Let the character development, darkness and the whimsical sadness act as your focal point. I have to admit I really wanted to know where we were going but I eventually got it and just let go.
The music is the beginning and end, and I can respect that. Music is powerful whether it be a vinyl record or mixtape it's always personal. I stopped along the way to visit YouTube for the songs referenced. 

It's the connections I built to the characters that got me to the end but a stronger plot would've left me gripping my seat. 

The gritty darkness was something...

Sky's nontraditional relationship with her dad allows her to roam around town unchecked which evolves into the exploration of Mia's death and the local music scene. For me there were definitely moments where the scene culture rang true, loud and clear. The scene is a place where innocence is lost and, when the sun comes up, there's no place to hide.

There's this idea that Sky needs to find "her people" and I think it's the darker tones that allow for the silver scarf to be pulled off. At some point the predictable unveilings feel like a Saturday morning PSA but it doesn't make it any less significant. 

These characters have stayed with me...

I cannot shake Nancy and Gully from my head! There are feels involved here and I'm happy with how it all shakes out but it was a bumpy road. Simmone Howell really takes her time building these characters. Exploring their flaws, cracks, and coping mechanisms to tighten up my emotional investment. This is what made Girl Defective for me. 

You'll like this if...

If you enjoy books about music, mysteries and darker contemps. Character development over plot. Similar in writing style and story to the novels Perks of a Wallflower and High Fidelity. 
3 Pieces - Find a record you would trade your house for... everyone deserves an anthem. 

Content: This novel contains the big three... drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll with a side of profanity. I don't have kids but if I did this would be a discussion read.

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