June Teen Book Reviews

katelips_touchLips Touch : Three Times

Laini Taylor, illustrated by Jim DiBartolo

Lips Touch is the compilation of three separate stories, all with a similar nature. Whether it’s goblins, demons, humans, or spirits, love can lead to unexpected things. In “Goblin Fruit,” Kizzy’s heart begs to be loved and for just one kiss she might be willing to risk her soul. “Spicy Little Curses (Such as These)” introduces the reader to the pain and the power of Hell, and to a woman named Estella who can journey back and forth to Hell to make deals and trades and bargains to save lives on Earth. One of those deals results in a curse that goes unchallenged for years until a young man challenges a beautiful woman to voice her love for him. And in “Hatchling,” three women all rely on safety from the same man, a man who is in love with the woman who is a danger to the other two. In a world of demons and unreliable memories, one wonders how much strength love provides. Laini Taylor is an elegant storyteller, and the illustrative talent of Jim DiBartolo enhances the inherent beauty of printed words.

Recommended to older readers, especially those with an appreciation for the short story. Due to the strong fantastical elements, underlying fairy-tale themes, and a focus on love and romantic destiny, these stories will likely appeal particularly to girls and those who love fairy-tale retellings.

katecarbon-diaries-2015Carbon Diaries 2015

Saci Lloyd

The year is 2015 and in an attempt to combat impending global warming, England has issued carbon dioxide rations and strict energy usage plans for families and individuals. At first it’s no big deal. There are occasional blackouts and fuel shortages, but Laura Brown is busy focusing on other things like school, a really cute boy, and her band, the dirty angels. But when the weather begins to change and all of a sudden the summers are scorching and the winters unbearable. The snow and rain and drought begin to overwhelm the country and things become increasingly dangerous. The rationing and the eventual destruction begin to destroy Laura’s family and she can’t seem to hold onto anything “normal” in her life. She doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to put together the pieces of her life, even if everyone she loves survives. The images included don’t do much to enhance the text, and the personality of the characters might not connect with each and every reader, but the story is compelling enough to keep most interested. Like another “what will we do if the world comes to a crashing end?” story written in journal format, Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It, this book will remind readers how potentially fragile the world is, and how strong adversity can make anyone.

Recommended to most readers, especially those who liked Life As We Knew It and the dead & the gone and other dystopian novels or stories involving environmental crisis.


Kevin C. Pyle

Kit doesn’t exactly love his life. He lives in a “’low income’ neighborhood” with only his mom and his older brother. His mom works too hard to make ends meet and support the family, and his socially awkward brother (who is also really smart, but really knows it) makes it clear that things would be better if Kit wasn’t around. Of course, Kit isn’t accepted at school either – as outcasts and strays usually are rejected. When Kit discovers a whole bunch of stray cats, he decides to take care of them, even if it means stealing from the store he works at, dealing with his mother’s anger and frustration, or even putting up with the old crazy cat lady. With the incorporation of Kit’s own illustrations of his superhero “Katman,” this graphic novel honestly tells of Kit’s journey to uncover inner strength and self-acceptance. The ending seems to patch up kind of nice and neat, but it’s the satisfaction of self-discovery that will remain with the reader.

This quick read is recommended to readers who feel like outcasts, want to help out the world somehow, or who can simply recognize how doing something good can change how you feel about who you are.

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Katherine Vasilik, Teen Librarian
Franklin Lakes (NJ) Public Library
tel: 201-891-2224 x105
fax: 201-891-5102
email: vasilik@bccls.org or kate_thelibrarian@yahoo.com
blog: http://katethelibrarian.blogspot.com