Under a Bear Moon

Author: Carrie S. Masek
Reviewed by Jessica McCurdy-Crooks

10110403Animal shelter volunteer and high school student Lynda Malone was drawn to the mysterious new student, Greg Ursek. What she didn’t know is that the handsome teen was not all he appeared to be. Is he a man or beast or a combination of both?

Things came to ahead when Greg had to rescue Lynda from a gang of hoodlums. In so doing he placed his life at risk, and exposed his family’s closely guarded secret. Will love conquer all?

Under a Bear Moon is Greg’s and Lynda’s journey into a world that few know exists, but friendship and love, young love, must triumph. Can her faith in him help her to conquer the unknown world of folklore and see only through the eyes of love?

You’ll have to read this wonderful YA to find out. The book will keep you turning the pages until the end.

Carrie Masek has written an engaging YA fantasy. There is enough mystery and fantasy to satisfy lovers of fantasy regardless of age and sex. There is something for everyone.


October 28, 2004 in Young Adults | Permalink | Comments (0)

The City of the Golden Sun

Author: Marilyn Peake
Genre: Young Adults
Reviewed by Kevin Tipple

10290403Picking up right where The Fisherman's Son left off, this sequel proves to be just as enjoyable and well written with no let down at all in reading quality. This second installment of a planned trilogy finds Wiley O'Mara and the six children he rescued from the city at the bottom of the ocean back on dry land. Wiley is faced with the challenge of explaining their presence in his small village. He also is faced with explaining to the boys how things work now and with helping them to adjust to their new surroundings.

As Wiley makes plans to obtain food and clothing for the boys of various ages and temperaments, he begins to realize just how daunting his task of assimilating the kids will be. He soon realizes that a neighboring village some distance away but reachable, might be the best place for the boys. To get there they will have to pass through the magical forest that borders the area. The boys' disbelief in such things is quickly vanquished when they meet the magical Lucinda who tells them to go back to the ocean and wait for Elden. The quest has begun.

What follows is a rich fantasy tale of exploration as the boys go back in time to The City of the Golden Sun. As before, the writing is clear, the descriptions compelling, and the tale vivid as most of the action takes place in the distant past in a time that could have been. Like the first book, this sequel appeals to young and old.

Like The Fisherman's Son, this fun story is perfect for the pre-teen reader. With a minimum of violence, plenty of action, and lots of history, as well as a continuing appreciation for nature, beauty and magic, the reader is swept away. Wiley's maturity as a character continues to grow and this sequel follows nicely the original novel with no gaps in the tale or changes in writing style.


October 28, 2004 in Young Adults | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Free Fall

Author: Jane Ratcliffe
Genre: Young Adult
Reviewed by Susan DiPlacido

568Violet Hitchcock is a sixteen year old girl searching for what she calls "the shine". It's a rare and ethereal quality, an essence of grace. And she tends to chase after people who have it, and discard people who don't.

For her 16th birthday, Violet is given a new Honda, a beautiful car that she cherishes. However, she also rapidly matures and rebels against her incredibly rich, incredibly dysfunctional parents by descending into drugs and booze. Although she watched her older brother tank his life in the same manner, she's ultimately repeating his pattern in the face of her manic mother and detail obsessed father, neither of whom have the brains or decency to place the necessary limits on her, for fear of her turning as sour as her brother.

So Violet focuses on Henry, a leather-clad older boy, also from super- rich parents, in whom she thinks she detects the shine. Despite warnings from her friend when her life starts to deteriorate as she drinks, snorts, and sexes even more. And while scratching and dinging her new car, she soon finds herself torn between the sexy Henry and a new friend, the laid-back, wizened Rider.

Ratcliffe never backs off in The Free Fall. Not only does she loving craft a rich and thoughtful literary novel that's exceptionally well written. She's also honest in her portrayal of teenagers, including drugs, sex, liquor, and heaps of self- involvement. It's with this honest and vivid description that she can create this fast-paced and moving story, a modern coming-of-age with serious repercussions. Though some of the material may shock and scare some parents, I'd think that teenage girls in particular will not only be riveted by Ratcliffe's graceful prose, but may value the most from having read and learning from Violet.


June 11, 2004 in Young Adults | Permalink | Comments (0)

McClellan's Bluff

Author: Mary E. Trimble
Genre: Young Adult
Reviewed by Susan DiPlacido

10150402At just seventeen years old, Leslie Cahill is already a smart, talented, and beautiful young woman, and she's at the critical juncture where she's ready to start maturing even more. She takes her first steps when a an older man, twenty-eight year old Sloan Stroh, shows an interest in her. Leslie finds herself flattered and excited by this strange new man in town even though her father and brother vehemently protest her association with him.

In McClellan's Bluff, Mary Trimble skillfully weaves together the conflicting emotions of a young woman who's blossoming with adult desires while still trying to balance those feelings with her inexperience and hesitation. Throw in an extremely protective family hawkeyeing her every move, along with rapid, severe change in that family's dynamics as her father prepares to remarry, and mix it with sleek, sexually charged stranger, and the end result is a volatile delight to read. Trimble definitely nails the psyche of a seventeen year old girl consumed with a new infatuation with the whiff of sexual expectation. And she does an admirable job of bringing her entire life and personality to life. The atmosphere is thick with details of the ranch life, something she's obviously knowledgeable about, and which proves interesting to readers. Additionally, she unfolds the story with darker twists while infusing it with Leslie's maturation in other areas too. She grows as a person as she learns to be a sister and truer friend, taking on more responsibility in her life.

There's no doubt that McClellan's Bluff is a wonderfully written story that will engage the target audience. Additionally, it's so good that most adults would enjoy reading it, and should feel comfortable letting their children read it with the way Trimble handles the situations in both language and tone.


May 15, 2004 in Young Adults | Permalink | Comments (0)

Listen to the Ghost

Author: Beverly Stowe McClure
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Reviewed by Deb Watson

10150401Jade Dalton, her best friend Elaine, along with Jade’s older brother David and his best friend Matt, are spending their summer vacation house- sitting for Jade’s grandparents in Charleston, North Carolina. In addition to the house sitting duties, David and Matt are working at a local restaurant during the summer, while Jade and Elaine have brought from Texas several of Jade’s paintings to show and sell during the Piccolo Spoleto festival. But before their summer adventures begin, odd things begin to happen to Jade. She hears music that can’t be explained, someone is whispering her name, but no one can be found calling her, now her diamond earrings are missing and she sees a pink mist floating overhead. She thinks she is going crazy until Elaine and David admit that they too have heard the singing. However, when the food starts flying and attacking all four teens finally believe that it's not the faulty wiring in the old house but that a ghost is present.

Eventually the pink mist turns into a young woman named Phoebe whose appearance is similar to Jade's. Phoebe is enchanting and mischievous. She adds a moustache and beard to Jade’s favorite painting, wears Jade’s clothes and jewelry and even warns her to stay away from her former boyfriend whom she believes is trouble for Jade. Jade begins to lose patience with Phoebe’s meddling until Phoebe finally agrees to stop creating mischief if the teens will help Phoebe find her wedding rings by July first. If they find the rings by that date Phoebe will be able to leave her ghostly form and rest peacefully and stop haunting the house. The quest to find the rings results in exciting escapades for the four teens.

I am always looking for a book which will ignite and delight the imaginations of my adolescent nieces and nephews. Listen to the Ghost fits the bill. McClure does a fine job of sparking the reader's imagination and creating suspense. She takes you on a roller coaster ride from her opening lines when Jade hears the voice of the ghost through the tense confrontation with Jade’s ex-boyfriend, and ends in a successful conclusion of solving Phoebe’s mystery of her missing wedding rings and a new romance for Jade. Listen to the Ghost should delight the younger adolescent readers.

May 15, 2004 in Young Adults | Permalink | Comments (0)