The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 16, 2009

Book review: Teen titles will help you ‘Read Beyond Reality’


Each October, libraries across the country celebrate teens and reading with Teen Read Week. This year’s Teen Read Week (which runs today through Saturday) encourages teens to “Read Beyond Reality.”

This can mean many things, but for this review, it means fantasy and sci-fi. For other suggestions, check out the library’s bulletin board located next to the Reference Desk.

“Princess of the Midnight Ball”

By Jessica Day George

Princess Rose and her 11 sisters are cursed. Each morning when everyone in the castle wakes up, the girls are completely exhausted and their special dancing slippers are worn through. Everyone, especially the king, wants to know why this happens, but the princesses lose their voices or start spouting gibberish any time they try to tell someone what they do each night to wear out their shoes.

Concerned for the girls’ safety and well-being, the king issues a promise to all the princes in the world: The prince who tells the king where the girls go and how they wear out their dancing shoes can marry any daughter he chooses and will be the heir to the kingdom. Of course, none of the princes who try to solve the mystery can. Galen, a former soldier who knits when he isn’t working in the gardens of the palace, might be different from an ordinary prince.

This retelling of the Grimm fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” is so well written and so wonderful that I read it in a single day. The story is fascinating and the characters — even though there are so many of them — are fleshed out and realistic. It’s a very romantic tale that swept me off my feet.

“Need”

By Carrie Jones

What do you get when you mix together pixies, werewolves and an angsty girl who’s new in town? A pretty satisfying, fast-paced fantasy read that fits in well with the popular human/non-human romance genre, but is interesting enough not to get lost in the crowd.

Zara has just lost her beloved step-father to a sudden heart attack and has been shipped off by her mother to a remote Maine town to live with her step-grandmother, Betty. Zara is miserable. Not only does she feel awkward as the new kid in town, she feels like an empty vessel now that her dad is gone — he’s the only father she has ever known and he was a really, really good one.

To make things worse, Zara has a creepy feeling that someone is stalking her, but she also afraid that he is just a figment of her imagination. The stalker was, after all, outside the kitchen window the day her father died.

“Dull Boy”

By Sarah Cross

Avery is trying his best to blend in and be a “dull boy” even though he is developing super powers. For the most part, he does a good job, but he, like Spider-Man, feels that “with great power comes great responsibility” and wants to use his super strength and flight to help people.

When he is approached by an icy woman who offers him a place by her side in an X-Men-like haven for super-humans, Avery has to decide whether leaving everything behind, including his new and equally gifted friends, is worth the risk. Plus, can a woman who turns air into ice be a “good guy?”

Cross takes a long time to build up to the action, but if you like character building, it is worth the wait. She delves into the characters’ thoughts and feelings about their newly emerging powers and the lack of control that comes with them. Readers looking for super-hero action and adventure from the get-go might be a little disappointed, but overall, “Dull Boy” was a good start to what I hope becomes a series.

Cari Boatright Rérat is the teen librarian at Joplin Public Library.