Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Still More New Books!

Just when I thought my life couldn't get any better, we got another cart of shiny new books.

Right after the other one!

So to spread out the joy, I'm going to give these to you a little at a time.

First up: Undercover by Beth Kephart. Elisa has spent her days ghostwriting love notes for boys at her school.

Time out. I've had to explain this enough times for me to know that not everyone knows what "ghostwriting" is. They think it's something psychics do for fun. Not quite.

Ghostwriting is what I used to do for a "living" when I first graduated from college. Basically, it is when someone who is rich, famous, or just a bad writer asks (and pays) someone who likes to write and is good at it to take their fractured, poorly written jumble of a novel, article, or in this case letter, and re-write it into something that is readable and quite good.

James Patterson, who is famous for his Maximum Ride series, often employs a ghostwiter to take over story ideas of his. If you see his name with another, it means that he used one on that novel. Or sometimes, in his case, they co-wrote it.

Ghostwriters imitate the style and language of the person they're working with, but often don't get much (if any) credit for what they do. They live in the shadows and, depending on who they're working for, keep their work quiet.

Elisa is doing that for boys at her school who can't write well enough to woo the girls they like. She does that very thing for her friend Theo, who she falls in love with. Lila, Theo's flame, is beautiful, popular, and everything Elisa is not.

Lila also has no problem reminding Elisa of this.

With her father, the only person Elisa thinks really understands her, away on business, Elisa feels she has no one to turn to. She writes to him, trying to convince him to return, even as she seeks refuge in ice skating, which allows her to express herself with confidence she lacks in her daily life.

When Lila decides Elisa's friendship with Theo has to end and takes her revenge, the horrible results threaten everything Elisa holds dear.

I don't know what happens, don't even ask.

And here is another by the prolific Meg Cabot: Jinx.

Accident-prone Jean (not Jeanne, not Jeanette, not even Jean Marie) leaves Iowa after causing a horrible mess...oops...for New York to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousin Tory who doesn't want her around.

In fact, Tory has a secret she doesn't want Jean to get involved in, and Jean (nicknamed Jinx) is sure to ruin everything. Especially with her newly-discovered magical talents. In fact, the bad luck she's been running from her whole life might not even be enough to save her life.

Next, we have Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. This is a companion novel to his first bestseller, Stargirl.

Stargirl has moved and left her boyfriend behind. Well, her ex-boyfriend. And maybe her future boyfriend--because she'd really rather they hadn't broken up.

As the novel opens, on January 1, Stargirl begins writing letters to Leo describing the world she lives in and the people she meets, in a (somewhat desperate) attempt to win him back.

Of course, the romance is not why you should pick up these books, it is the quirky heroine and each unique character she meets that brings appeal to the series. Alvina and her one glittery nail, agoraphobic Betty Lou who hasn't left her house in nine years, Dootsie the five-year-old "Human Bean," and Perry Delloplane, the blue-eyed thief that has his own place in Stargirl's heart, all make this novel more than just your average teen novel.

In Lucky, by Rachel Vail, Phoebe Avery has it all.

She's rich (of course), popular (duh), smart (naturally), and to top it all off, beautiful. She's even got the perfect dress for the party she's planning with her four best friends and a new crush to go with it.

But then she finds out her parents are broke.


Phoebe embarks on a quest to keep her new circumstances a secret and out of town gossip while keeping her friends and her party intact. Meanwhile, she learns that money isn't everything (because why wouldn't she?) in this altered view added to the spoiled little rich girl genre. But unlike Gossip Girl's S or B, we actually like Phoebe.

Suite Scarlett, by Maureen Johnson (of 13 Little Blue Envelopes) follows Scarlett, a girl who's grown up in the Hopewell, a small Art Deco hotel her family runs in New York City.

When each of Scarlett's family members turn 15, they are placed in charge of a suite. Scarlett's is the Empire Suite, home to a permanent guest named Mrs. Amberson, a washed-out star and world traveler. As she tends to Mrs. Amberson, she meets gorgeous Eric, a young actor who has just arrived in the city, and her summer takes an unexpected turn.

And from one of my favorite young adult authors--Joan Bauer--here is Peeled!

Yes, I'm reading this right now.

Hildy waits every day for her big chance to break out of the dull high school newspaper reporting she's used to and into real journalism. Sadly, her town's biggest story stars a ghost. Not really what she was looking for.

But the local paper swallows each creepy story hook, line, and sinker, so Hildy picks up her pen and reporter's notebook to find out what's really going on before everyone ends up scared out of their wits.

Joan Bauer's writing is hilarious. She fills each book with rich characters, beautiful narration, and descriptions that make you believe you're standing right there in the room moment by moment.

I dare you to read Hope Was Here and not go make yourself a snack twenty pages in. And I promise you'll never look at shoes the same way after Rules of the Road. Peeled promises to join their ranks, and I can't wait to read it.

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