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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Flashback April 2010

As I explained earlier this week, I’m beginning a new feature.

As a brief recap, I’m going to be highlighting reviews from past years.

So now, flashback to April 2010!

Passing By by Yona Tepper, illustrated by Gil-Ly Alon Curiel, translated by Dr. Deborah Guthman. Kane Miller, 2010. Picture book. From my review: “Yael is on her balcony with her bunny. Instead of being isolated, she observes (and so is part of) her larger world. A dog goes by, a cat, a truck, a bicycle. Always — some is far away, someone is coming closer, there is something new. A beautifully illustrated book for preschoolers — just the right balance of security (Yael at home, her mother, eventually her father coming home) with adventure (rather, the adventure she observes).”

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell. Balzer & Bray, an imprint of Harper Collins. 2010. Young Adult. From my review: “I loved this book because it works as a classic coming of age story, with Carrie figuring out her world and her place in it; with that world including expanding her horizons beyond her small town. Carrie works on being a writer and what that means. As the book starts, Carrie has been rejected for a summer writing program in New York City. She is at first reluctant to join the school newspaper (it’s not her type of writing); she does not become an investigative journalist, rather, (spoiler!!!) she starts looking at herself and her friends and foes as source material, providing biting (and anonymous) commentary on high school. Sorry about that spoiler. But this is a prequel of sorts, to both the book and film Carrie, so the reader “knows” where Carrie will end up, at least in fifteen odd years. The question isn’t whether Carrie become a writer living in New York City; the question is how that happens. And while there is romance, sex, and love in The Carrie Diaries, this is equally about becoming an artist, finding a voice, and discovering what is, and isn’t, important.”

The Enemy by Charlie Higson. Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group. 2010. Young Adult. From my review: “Zombies! Zombie parents who eat their young! It’s a zombified The Girl Who Owned a City And even better — at one point a character corrects us. It’s not zombies because the adults didn’t die and they can be killed by any traditional killing-a-person methods. Rather, the adults got sick (with a side effect that they look zombie like, decomposing flesh, broken bones, etc.), lost memory/humanity, and now want to eat human flesh. But they didn’t die and then come back from the dead. So, not zombies. ZOMBIES!!! . . . . , so if you are into zombies, you want this book. If you are into “all the adults die, now what do the kids do” books, you want this book. Want to know what is terrific? One kid who is totally set up as a main character — is killed halfway. I mean, in a book like this you know kids will die. And they do. But you don’t think it’s going to be one of the main freaking characters. And not so early in the book! What that tells you — nothing is safe. No one is safe. “Safe” is just a word.”

Lord Sunday by Garth Nix. Scholastic. 2010. Young Adult. From my review: “The seven parts of Keys to the Kingdom is a stunning sequence of books; more like seven volumes of one book than seven books. At first, it didn’t seem like that. It was Monday; there was an adventure. It was Tuesday; there was an adventure. But then, wow, realizing that more, much more, is going on than a simple quest by Arthur to find the seven keys and seven parts of the Will. . . . . And the ending… Lord Sunday delivers everything the last book in a series should. And then some. Some things that the reader had begun to suspect, or fear, come to pass. Middle school book? Oh, yes, middle school students will read and enjoy this series, but the questions and answers given are food for thought for older teens and adults. Arthur may be a seventh grader in the first volume of the book, as is Leaf, but the inhabitants of the House (Suzy, the Will, the Denizens) are all hundreds if not thousands of years old. Or older. And Arthur himself ages, in time and temperament and even appearance, as these books go by. The seven days? Hardly twenty four hour days.”

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. Little, Brown. 2010. Young Adult. From my review: “Because of the love story between Rosie and Silas. Because of the terrific sister relationship between Scarlett and Rosie. Because Scarlett and Rosie are strong, capable, dangerous, lethal hunters. Because I cared so much for Scarlett, Rosie and Silas, I began to think they were real. Because the story line is smart and clever. Because the story is both original yet uses established lore. Because the writing is exciting and lyrical. For all those reasons, this is a Favorite Books Read in 2010.”

The New Brighton Archeological Society by Mark Andrew Smith and Matthew Weldon. Image Comics. 2009. Middle School Graphic Novel. From my review: “Mysteries are introduced in the first few pages (a Manor house, a flying island, a goblin (or fairy?) wedding. Flashforward fifty years, where we see the two sets of parents die in Antarctica while searching for something. So, another mystery! The four kids recover from the loss of their parents by discovering that their parents weren’t simply archaeologists. The parents also trapped ghosts, befriended goblins, and pursued assorted other supernatural thrills and fun. The kids dub themselves, like their parents before them, the New Brighton Archaeological Society.”

Poop Happened!: A History of the World from the Bottom Up by Sarah Albee, illustrated by Robert Leighton. Bloomsbury. 2010. Middle grade. From my review: “Albee uses the history of poop — where humans poop, and how, if at all, they remove poop from where they live — to tell about the history of waste removal (or waste non-removal, as the case may be). It’s more than poop, though, because Albee explains the link between waste and disease. Seriously, learning how many diseases that people get (and die from) that basically comes from contamination from poop is enough to make you throw up, and then become an obsessive compulsive hand washer. And then, when you’re reading history and biography books and that disease gets mentioned and you realize it’s because it was the poop… excuse me as I go throw up and wash my hands.”

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About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

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