professornana (professornana) wrote,

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finally, some new stuff

I got back from two days of YA seminars at midnight last night and am already 200 miles from home again, in San Antonio for the International Reading Association conference. Once again, thanks to the airlines and the lovely TSA folks I have had plenty of time to read in the past few days. I finished FUNNY LITTLE MONKEY, a first novel by Andrew Auseon. What an incredible talent. The book was a fast read, alternately funny and touching. Arty's twin brother Kurt towers two feet taller than he. Arty is determined to seek revenge for the cruel behavior of his once beloved brother. He seeks help from an underground group at school headed by a wildly eccentric cast of characters who exist secretly beneath the art wing of Millard Fillmore High School, home of Millie the boxing turtle. When Millie's likeness is stolen from the school and obliterated in front of the student body, Arty has his chance to gain revenge. Does he still have the heart? This black comedy is sure to win fans for Auseon.

Melissa Lion's new book, UPSTREAM, proves that this young author is also another emerging talent in YA lit. UPSTREAM is a story of family, of loss, of grief, of acceptance, of friendship, and so much more. Marty has had the summer to try to recover from the death of her boyfriend Steven. She is also hoping that the summer has given the residents of her small Alaskan town time to move past the suspicious nature of Steven's death. Only Marty knows the whole story and she does not want to talk more about that fateful afternoon when she lost the love of her life. This book is much more than a look at the aftermath of death in a relationship. Lion examines the dynamics of family and school, how friendships can develop slowly, and how someone like Marty who has lost so much can find some way out of grief. SWOLLEN, Lion's first novel, gave readers a glimpse of her talent. UPSTREAM should cement readers' admiration for her storytelling ability.

THE MISADVENTURES OF MAUD MARCH OR TROUBLE RIDES A FAST HORSE marks a radical departure for award winning author Audrey Couloumbis. This fast paced action-adventure Western features an unlikely pair of heroines in Maud and her sister Sallie who are orphaned at the beginning of the novel when their Aunt Ruthie is accidentally shot. Circumstances dictate that the sisters head out on their own in search of Ruthie's brother. The girls soon find out that surviving on their own is tough even when they disguise their identities as two young boys and are joined by the very man who ended Aunt Ruthie's life. Dime novels, outlaws (real and imagined), skin of teeth escapes, and the travails of nature all conspire to make this a funny, riveting read.

I also read today the newest book by actress Julie Andrews. I am known for not being kind about books by celebs. However, THE GREAT AMERICAN MOUSICAL was a delightful and fast read. Can a band of plucky mice pull off a New Year's Eve performance when the odds are against them? Of course, as the show must go on. This novel reminded me in part of Michael Hoeye's stories of Hermux Tantamoq, especially THERE'S NO TIME LIKE SHOW TIME.
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