Monday, June 30, 2008

Recommended YA-to-adult crossover reads

Are you a grown-up reader looking for beach reading or a post-Harry series? Our Older Readers section is full of classic and contemporary books for adults, but YA books offer writing sophisticated enough to entrance a grown-up audience. Here’s a (believe it or not) brief sampling of YA-to-adult crossover titles of the fantasy/sci-fi persuasion. Ask a Curious George staffer or check out our staff picks for more recommendations.

Feed by M.T. Anderson. Candlewick: 2002.

In a world in which everyone has constant and immediate access to the feed, an implanted cross between television and the internet, being “feedless” is unthinkable. However, when Titus’s feed is shut off by doctors after a misadventure on the moon, he connects with Violet, who is also recovering from feed malfunction. Together, Titus and Violet challenge the social convention of the feed and discover what it truly means to be an individual.

Looking Glass Wars trilogy by Frank Beddor. Dial: 2006, 2007.

This reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books follows orphaned Princess Alyss Heart from her homeland of Wonderland to our own reality. As battles rage in Wonderland between Alyss’s supporters and those of her murderously ambitious Aunt Redd, Alyss tries desperately to find her way back to Wonderland and reclaim her throne. Finally, Alyss confides in Reverend Charles Dodgson – only to have her life story manipulated into a best-selling children’s book. In Seeing Redd, rightful Queen Alyss has just begun her reign when rumors of Redd’s return begin to through Wonderland. Can Alyss bring peace to war-torn Wonderland, or will the conflict spread to our own world? No news on when book three will be released, but in the meantime, author Frank Beddor’s amazingly interactive website is a great companion to the books.

The Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare. Simon and Schuster: 2007, 2008, 2009.

In City of Bones, Clary Fray is astonished to discover an entire world of fallen angels, demons, and demon-hunters. What’s even more incredible is her own family’s secret entanglement in that world! Desperate to find answers (and her missing mother), Clary is forced to join Shadowhunters Jace, Isabelle, and Alex, but she isn’t prepared for the consequences. Full of mystical tattoos, arcane weapons, thwarted romance, prophecies, and plot twists, City of Bones combines fast-paced fantasy with the setting of contemporary New York City. The breakneck pace continues in City of Ashes, which picks up with the aftermath of devastating revelations for Clary and barrels towards a heart-stopping moment for a close friend. The next installment, City of Glass, is due March 2009.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. Macmillan/Tor Teen: 2008.

When seventeen-year-old superhacker Marcus cuts school to play a web-based alternate reality game, he and his friends find themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time: the site of the worst terrorist attack in US history. After Marcus's hacking track record lands him in extreme interrogation with the Department of Homeland Security, he’s faced with the choice to keep quiet about the abuse or to use technology to fight back. This futuristic thriller brilliantly tackles the tricky subjects of technology, freedom, and patriotism for a cyber-savvy audience.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman. HarperTrophy, 2003.

Sometimes when Coraline opens the door in the corner of her new flat's drawing room, it opens on a brick wall dividing her apartment from the one next door. Sometimes, though, it reveals an uncanny copy of her flat -- occupied by her Other Mother and Other Father. As she navigates a world created by the Other Mother, armed only with her own smarts and the questionable advice of a talking cat, Coraline learns that "when you're scared but you still do it anyway, that's brave." Illustrated to deliciously creepy effect by frequent Gaiman collaborator Dave McKean, Coraline is a dark fairy tale for a new generation. Make sure to check out the graphic novel adaptation illustrated by P. Craig Russell!

Stardust by Neil Gaiman. HarperCollins, 1999.

Teenaged Tristran Thorn vows to bring his love a fallen star from beyond the Wall which separates his village from the realm of Faerie. He quickly realizes that such a quest is more easily vowed than done, as Faerie is full of surprises – not the least of which is the star herself! Tristran and Yvaine, the star, must outrace or outwit those who want to find the star for their own purposes. On their dangerous journey back to the Wall, Tristran and Yvaine learn about real love, growing up, and themselves. Catch the audio of a HarperCollins interview with Neil Gaiman about Stardust here.

Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer. Little, Brown: 2005, 2006, 2007.

Ordinary teen Bella Swan moves to Forks, Oregon, where she meets extraordinary Edward Cullen. Much to Bella’s surprise, Edward is as magnetically attracted to her as she is to him. This attraction proves dangerous when Bella discovers the Cullen family secret: they’re vampires. New Moon and Eclipse test Bella and Edward’s devotion to each other by introducing new threats and a wide cast of characters, including rival vampire clans and (relatively) friendly werewolves. Breaking Dawn, book four in this NY Times best-selling saga, will be released August 2, 2008. Also look for Meyer’s adult novel, The Host (2008), in our “Older Readers” section. Host takes place on a futuristic earth where humans are systematically possessed by alien parasites known as “souls.” The alien protagonist, Wanderer, discovers what happens when her “host” refuses to relinquish her body.

Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix. HarperCollins: 1995, 2001, 2003.

Sabriel is next in a long line of Abhorsens, a family of necromancers dedicated to binding the dead. When her father, the current Abhorsen, disappears on a mission in the magical Old Kingdom, Sabriel sets out to save him. She’s accompanied by Mogget, a free magic spirit in the form of a cat, and Touchstone, a disgraced palace guard whose queen was assassinated 300 years ago. This epic fantasy trilogy continues in Lirael. Feeling out of place in an enclave of psychic Clayr, ordinary Lirael’s longs to be special, but this yearning leads her to attempt magic far beyond her ability and trespass into forbidden chambers. Fortunately, Lirael’s misadventures lead her to both the magical Disreputable Dog and an unexpected destiny. In Abhorsen, the final volume, Sabriel and Lirael have different but vital roles to play in a desperate struggle against a greater danger than either woman has ever faced before. Choose from editions featuring gorgeous jacket illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon or slightly more “grown-up” editions with stark, yet elegant, design.

Inheritance trilogy by Christopher Paolini. Knopf: 2003, 2005.

While hunting in the treacherous Spine mountain range, eponymous Eragon discovers a strange blue stone. Eragon brings the stone home, hoping to sell it or trade it for food. Instead, the course of his life is forever altered when the stone hatches a baby dragon. Soon Eragon and Saphira are inseparable, bound by psychic ties. However, Saphira is one of the last of her kind and several forces, good and evil, seek to control this new dragon and Dragonrider. Together Eragon and Saphira must weigh legacies, loyalties, and the fate of Alagesia itself to decide their path. In Eldest, Eragon and Saphira are hailed as heroes of the realm, but need time to recover from physical and emotional wounds sustained in the battle with tyrant Galbatorix. The land of the elves, Ellesmera, provides a haven where they can rebuild their strength and continue their training -- they’ll need both in the continuing struggle to oust Galbatorix. We’re impatiently awaiting the last installment, Brisingr, which is due out September 23, 2008. (In the meantime, ask us for a complimentary Inheritance bag to take home your books!)

Look for more crossover recommendations in the near future, but while you're waiting, let us know what your favorite YA books are!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Julia D and the Mystery Novel

The latest from CG resident illustrator Julia Denos is here! Julia's distinctively dazzling art graces the cover of new title Marley Z and the Bloodstained Violin, a middle grade mystery by Jim Fusilli. Blending the genres of girl detective story (a la Nancy Drew, Sammy Keyes, or Veronica Mars) and art caper, Marley Z features an intrepid eighth grader who's determined to clear a friend accused of stealing a valuable violin.

Head over to Julia's blog to see illustrations from her upcoming picture book collaboration with singer Tim McGraw and leave her some love.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rock-n-Romp Summer Kick-Off Show!

Are you a Mom or Dad lamenting the loss of your concert-going days? Never fear! Rock-n-Romp, a totally genius and hip Boston organization, is beginning their summer series of toddler-friendly rock shows where "kids must be accompanied by an adult and adults must be accompanied by a kid." We especially like the picture book readings included on the slate for each evening's show. This week The Main Drag and The Sterns are joined by DJ Michael Savant and Scott Magoon, illustrator of Rabbit and Squirrel: A Tale of War & Peas. Check our Rock-n-Romp on MySpace for upcoming acts and more information.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hot off the press: the Coraline graphic novel, new Warriors, and lots more!

We've been impatiently awaiting the Coraline graphic novel for months, and we're thrilled to say that it's arrived at last! While it's hard to beat Dave McKean's original images for sheer creepy-crawliness, P. Craig Russell has done an amazing job adapting author Neil Gaiman's text to a sequential art format. We love Coraline's feline companion, whose dry humor is eloquently captured in Russell's illustrations. Look for the hardcover edition on the chapter book room new titles display and in the graphic novel section.

Erin Hunter's immensely popular Warriors series continues with the next installment of Power of Three in September. (In case you missed Outcast, the third in the Power of Three saga, hit our shelves a few weeks ago.) Never fear -- two new Hunter books will tide you over until fall! Cats of the Clans, a beautifully illustrated companion to the Warriors novels, provides clan legend and lore. The Quest Begins is the first in a brand-new series called Seekers. This new series will follow the journeys of three young bears who find their separate paths converging towards a frightening future.

It seems authors (and their publishers) are well-prepared for series summer reading needs. The latest arrivals:
Kate Thompson's The Last of the High Kings (sequel to The New Policeman)
D.J. MacHale's Raven Rise (book nine in the Pendragon series)
Michael Scott's The Magician (book two in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series)
John Flanagan's The Battle for Scandia (book four in The Ranger's Apprentice series)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Wave review in "Shelf Awareness"

We receive the daily bookseller mailing "Shelf Awareness" to help us stay current with book news. Friday's edition had a great review of a recent picture book we're very excited about, Suzy Lee's The Wave. The review reads in part,
If it is possible to capture in book form a child's first flirtation with the sea, Lee (The Zoo) does it here. Because there are no words to describe that initiation, Lee uses none. Instead, her charcoal pencil depicts a girl on a vast beach running from her mother's side to the water's edge. . . In 40 wordless pages, Lee captures the fascination, awe and ongoing sense of wonder that the ocean inspires in each of us, no matter how old.
The Wave is currently in our summer display -- we think you'll be as enchanted by it as we (and Shelf Awareness writers!) are.

Welcome to the Blogosphere!

We're thrilled to announce that our favorite dog portraitist and CG staff member Jess has just created a blog to keep the world up-to-date on her artistic adventures. Go visit The Golden Briard to see her amazing paintings! (Curious George is bursting with creative staff members -- we write poetry, plan birthday parties, journal, print on letter presses, bind books, sew pajamas, illustrate magazine articles, bake cupcakes, make buttons, paint, take pictures, belly dance, blog, collage, screenprint, edit manuscripts, and more. Support our other resident visual artists Julia, Emily, Laure, and Lee!)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tasha Tudor 1915 - 2008

Beloved author and illustrator Tasha Tudor died at her home in Vermont on Wednesday. We love her illustrations for The Night Before Christmas as well as puppy picture book Corgiville Fair and the adorable board book 1 is One. She lived a fascinating life and illustrated nearly 100 books. Read more about her here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards announced!

So totally crashing the award ceremony. Just saying.

Non-Fiction: The Wall by Peter Sis
Fiction and Poetry: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Picture Book: At Night by Jonathan Bean
Special Citation: The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Check out more detailed descriptions and cover images of the winners and honor books at The Horn Book website.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Everyone's a critic...

You know you can always check Notes From the Hut for reviews of new and noteworthy books, but we at Curious George are upping the recommendation power in-store with on-shelf staff picks. Staff picks will provide you with the age range, genre, and brief summary of a book while you have it in hand to better inform your book selection. Our knowledgeable staffers are busily choosing their favorite reads from our vast array of chapter books to share these books with you! Look for staff picks in our chapter book room soon.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Oh, Jo!

An update to last week's J.K. Rowling news! JKR contributed a story postcard to non-profits England PEN and Dyslexia Action for a charity auction. The card, which raised £25,000 (nearly $50,000), features an 800-word vignette of teenaged Sirius Black and James Potter doing what they do best: managing mischief. Read this story and more by some of our other favorite authors -- including Lauren Child, Michael Rosen, and Neil Gaiman -- here. The postcards will be collected in a limited edition anthology with all proceeds donated to charity.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Harry Potter and the Harvard Commencement

Harvard was lucky enough to conjure up Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling to speak at this year's commencement ceremony on Thursday. If, like us, you were not able to sneak in, console yourself with the video and transcript of her entire speech at Harvard's website. They've also posted a great article about the event here.

If you haven't already, make sure to take a peek at JKR's official site. In addition to catching up with her latest activities, visitors can uncover secret sections and solve puzzles (thanks to the magic of excellent web design!).

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Contest Winners!

See all of the award-winning artwork and writing submissions from this year's Curious George Just For Kids art and writing contest HERE.