The Stepsister Scheme

From Rosalia Millan
author: Hines, Jim C.
The Stepsister Scheme
This book picks up a few months after the Cinderella story ends. Danielle(Cinderella) is happy with her husband, but her stepsisters just can’t leave well enough alone. They plot to steal Danielle’s husband and her child. Queen Bea, the prince’s mother, introduces Danielle to Talia and Snow (Sleeping Beauty and Snow White). These two princesses are Queen Bea’s spies, they help her maintain balance in the kingdom. Through out the book we get details regarding the “real stories” of the lives of all of the princesses and get to meet some new and interesting characters. The book is fun but maintains an aura of darkness that keeps it from getting overly silly. This is the first book in a trilogy about a sisterhood of women who are tough and smart.

Gone

From Chelsea, Teen Book Reviewer
author: McMann, Lisa
Gone
Things should be great for Janie, the main character of Gone, by Lisa McMann. She has graduated from high school and is spending her summer with Cabel, the guy she’s totally in love with. Despite the thought, she thinks she is a total train wreck and that she doesn’t deserve him. She starts to think there’s only one way to give Cabel the life he deserves, by disappearing even though it might kill them both. But deep down inside, there is more to worry about. Janie starts panicking about how she’s going to survive her future when getting sucked into other people’s dreams is really starting to take its toll on her life. However, things get even more complicated when she meets a fellow stranger. Her future takes an unexpected twist that requires many life or death decisions from Janie, all when time is running out. I highly recommend this book because it’s a real page-turner and you wouldn’t dare to put it down. I also strongly recommend reading the first two books in the Wake trilogy, because this is the final book in the Wake trilogy.

Briar Rose

From Rosalia Millan
author: Yolen, Jane
Briar Rose
Becca is Gemma’s youngest granddaughter and on Gemma’s death bead she makes Becca promise to find Briar Rose’s castle because it is all she has to leave her.  While Becca and her three sisters were growing up Gemma had always told them the story of Briar Rose and even went so far as to claim to be Briar Rose herself.  This book interweaves Gemma’s retelling of the Briar Rose tale with Becca’s search for the past in an interesting way.  Readers get to experience both Becca’s childhood through the retelling, her adulthood search into Gemma’s past and eventually follow Becca to Poland where she learns Gemma’s history which is beautifully adapted into a dark modern Sleeping Beauty tale, much closer to the Brothers Grimm’s dark original then the modern sanitized version that people usually remember.

Rose Sees Red

From Rosalia Millan
author: Castellucci, Cecil
Rose Sees Red
In Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci Rose goes to the performing arts high school in Manhattan.  Making the decision to attend this high school caused a rift between Rose and her best friend Daisy (who wasn’t really a very good friend in the first place).  The experience hurt Rose so much that she has closed herself off not just from friendship but from life, until the day the Russian girl next door Yrena comes crashing in through the window of her Brooklyn apartment.  The book chronicles Yrena and Rose’s night in the city.  The book takes place during the Cold War and Yrena is from the Soviet Union.  Both girls are ballerinas, the same age and living in the same city, yet they approach life with completely different attitudes and points of view.  Because the book takes place in the 80’s some of the clothes and language are a little outdated; however the story is still incredibly relevant reminding the reader that while style’s may change, growing up really hasn’t. Rose Sees Red is a quick read at only 197 pages but it also has a lot of depth to it.  Readers will enjoy reading about an incredible night out in New York City and watching Rose begin to redevelop self confidence and friendships.

The Sugar Queen

From Rosalia Millan
author: Allen, Sarah  Addison
The Sugar Queen
Josey is a woman living with her mother in a small town.  All anyone can ever remember about Josey is what a difficult child she was, even though now she has completely changed to the point of being totally submissive of all her mother’s desires.  One day she comes home to find Della Lee hiding in her closet, the place where Josey hides her true desires: sweets, romance novels and travel magazines. 

Della Lee has decided she needs to help Josey fix her life.  Just like in Allen’s last novel there is a little bit of magic, whether it’s knowing when someone’s coming or books that follow you around.  There is a huge twist, which is delicately hinted at and the book manages to be both fun and dark without feeling disjointed. I really enjoyed reading it and hope that Sarah Addison Allen continues to write.

Going Bovine

From Rosalia Millan
author: Bray, Libba
Going Bovine
Cameron Smith is a sixteen year old focused on being a slacker, and doing as little as possible.  There is nothing really wrong with his home life, he just feels overlooked and has decided to exploit that for all it’s worth. Everything changes when he contracts Creutzfeldt-Jacob or “Mad Cow” Disease and Dulcie, a punk rock angel, tells him that if he finds Dr.X he can be cured and he can save the world.

This book has a really great road trip adventure story that focuses on the importance of living life, without being overly heavy and trying to beat the reader over the head with a message.  The author makes sure that Cameron gets a chance to experience everything, the good and the bad, without dwelling on Cameron’s disease. The adventure that Cameron and Gonzo go on is all about parallel dimensions and possible time travel, but the reader isn’t bombarded with a bunch of technical science terminology so that even those that are not really into science fiction can enjoy this work.  I completely understand why this book was selected as this year’s Printz Award winner.  It’s an entertaining adventure story with a lot of depth to it.

Fade to Blue

From Rosalia Milan
author: Beaudoin, Sean
Fade to Blue
Sophie thinks she is losing her mind.   She thinks a broken down ice cream truck is following her around and she’s having horrible nightmares where she wakes up with bruises that shadow what happened in her dream.  What makes this book especially interesting is that it shows the beginnings of a dystopia.  Normally in a book about a dystopia you see the after affects of some change in government, technology or the environment.  The reader sees how the effects of a positive or negative change have corrupted the way the world works.  In this book you get to see a brilliant technological development that is being perverted by a small group of people in such a way that how the world works is going to be changed and not necessarily for the better.

Flow : the cultural story of menstruation

From: Rosalia Millan
author: Stein, Elissa
Flow : the cultural story of menstruation

This book was such a brilliant idea, and the authors did a great job.  Flow tells the cultural history of the period and how women’s status and health care have changed over time. It’s written in a friendly, personable style to try and make a topic that makes many people uncomfortable a little bit friendlier. The book isn’t couched in a bunch of scientific jargon that most of us will never understand; everything is in language that is respectful and completely understandable.

There are lots of fun facts and a wonderful collection of advertising for feminine care products from the late 1800s to today. However it is absolutely terrifying to see how woman’s bodies have been mistreated over the years due to lack of scientific study and information.  While there is a lot of good explanation in this book regarding fertility and how a woman’s cycle really works, the most important thing I think anyone can take away from this book is to make sure that you are well informed about exactly what it is you are doing to your body when you make decisions regarding periods and fertility.

The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines

From Rosalia Millan
author: Madrid, Mike
The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines
This book gives a great overview of the place that female superheroes have held in comics over the last 70 years. The author writes in a very easy to read style that makes the book fun and easy to enjoy. For each decade since comics first became popular, the author addresses the changes occurring for women in the decade and how these changes were reflected or in some cases not reflected in comic books. There are also chapters devoted to specific characters or even arch-types within the comic book industry.

While it would be completely crazy to have a book on female superheroes without devoting a chapter to Wonder Woman, the author does cover parts of Wonder Woman’s background in other chapters so by the time you get to her chapter the beginning feels a little bit repetitive, but hold out because the end of the chapter is very interesting.  Otherwise this is a great read for any girl that’s into comics and graphic novels or anyone who wants to see how women’s issues are reflected in the media of the day.