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

Flashback October 2007

I’m flashing back to reviews from years past. Here is what I was reviewing in October 2007.

 The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson & Ernie Colon. My review: “A graphic adaptation of the 9/11 Report, putting forth the time line of what happened on 9/11, then the results of the commission’s investigation of what lead up to 9/11, including how it happened, why, failures, and recommendations.”

Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List. By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. My review: “This is a book about the break up of a friendship; a friendship that is so close and tight, it didn’t have room for anyone else. Oh, Naomi and Ely date others — but their true loves and soulmates? Are each other. Naomi half realizes it, keeping boys at arms length (she’s still a virgin); Ely has had many boyfriends, but it’s all short, hot, romances, no real love. Naomi and Ely — had this book been set in high school, ah, it would have been full of nights out and shared clothes and everyone in school half in awe, half in love with them. A world where NaomiandEly are one word, and they are the it couple who are not a couple. But can that intensity be maintained beyond high school? Should it? Can that type of friendship survive growing up? Falling in love with someone else? No matter how glam and sexy and smart Naomi and Ely are together — they are too close. They just don’t realize it; until Ely kisses [Naomi's boyfriend] Bruce the Second. And Naomi begins to realize — not that yes, Ely is really gay and so will never by her first lover or husband; but that yes, Naomi cannot be the most important person in Ely’s life forever. And a girl who has been let down by her parents — well, to Naomi, once she is no longer the most important person in Ely’s life, it’s as if she is no longer the most important person in anyone’s life. That’s a lonely, cold place.”

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz. Illustrated by Robert Byrd. My review: “Inhabitants of a medieval village, from nephew of the Lord to beggar, provide a look at their lives via poetry and prose. Made of awesome. There is a map of the village (a Medieval Manor, England, 1255) with plenty of details to linger over, from the various walls and fields, including the characters in the book. Each person speaks once; tho characters sometimes mention once another, giving a fuller picture of each individual and the village itself. While most speak in varying forms of poetry, there is some prose; and there are also historical notes to explain things. For example, the son of a knight mentions the Crusades as he would see it; the note provides more detailed information on the Crusades.”

Frankenstein Makes A Sandwich: and other stories you’re sure to like, because they’re about monsters, and some of them are also about food. You like food, don’t you? Well, all right then. by Adam Rex. My review: “A number of poems about a variety of monsters. Each monster gets a different type of unique poem; all are very funny. . . . The Phantom of the Opera: poor guy. Each time it’s his turn in the book, it’s ruined because he has a song stuck in his head that twists his poem. From “It’s a world gone crazy, a world gone wrong” (It’s A Small World) to “All around the Opera House” (Pop Goes the Weasel) to… well, you get the picture.”

The Dark Dreamweaver. The Remin Chronicles, Book I. Nick Ruth, illustrator Sue Concannon. My review: ”David, 11, is having nightmares. But it turns out they are not just bad dreams. There is a place called Remin: “When you dream, the threads of that dream travel through Remin where the imaginary aspects of the dream are given the illusion of reality.” David’s own nightmares (as well as an increase in bad dreams worldwide) are because something is rotten in Remin. It’s up to David to find out and fix it.”

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding. My review: “I loved how Alaizabel Cray is many types of books: A horror story. The beautiful, mysterious Alaizabel bears a strange tattoo; her body is host to a two hundred old year wych; and Thaniel’s world is full of wych-kin (monsters.) Wooding isn’t content to say vampire, werewolf, and the like; instead we get Stitch-Face, a cradlejack, and real wolves prowling the city streets. A mystery; not just, who is Alaizabel, but, also, what are the wych kin? For we find out that wych kin were nothing more than stories until 20 odd years ago, when the Prussians bombed. Are they a Prussian plot? Did bombings unearth long hidden monsters? Why are the wych kin here? How, into the world of science, did the world of the supernatural take hold? A buddy story. We have Thaniel, and his mentor, Cathaline; and along the way, in true buddy adventure mode, they gather a group who helps investigate who Alaizabel is. The group ranges from beggars to police inspectors. Most of all, what I love about Alaizabel Cray, is that it is about the power of belief. What it means to believe, in people and things. And, what it means for a reader: because for any story to work, the reader must believe it to be true. For the characters to be flesh and blood, and the plot believable, whether it’s wych kin. Or puppies. And Wooding, in a world where the names are familiar, only not, makes a world that you believe in. Even as it scares you to death.”

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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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